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Despite strong performances from U.S. equity markets in 2009, many businesses are yet to see a noticeable uptick in activity, as consumers have been slow to loosen the pursestrings  and begin spending again. With unemployment rates above 10% and rising (regardless of what the “official” numbers indicate), many retailers have struggled, and many had been hoping for a surge in sales during the holiday season to salvage an otherwise forgettable year. [click to continue…]

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Once considered a vital “return enhancer” in almost every portfolio, real estate as an asset class has fallen out of favor with investors following its spectacular collapse during (and role in causing) the recent global economic downturn. Real estate was historically embraced because of its potential for delivering excess returns in bull property markets and low correlation with traditional stock and bond investments. But as default rates skyrocketed, values plummeted, and correlations went to 1.0, asset managers have sold off real property and reallocated investor portfolios to equities and fixed income. [click to continue…]

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The day after Thanksgiving traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season, one of the most important times of the year for consumers and investors alike. While promotional campaigns and receipt tallies from “Black Friday” are always closely monitored, this year the day comes with added importance. As the U.S. economy heads towards the finish line […]

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Over the last year, swine flu has been the news story that just won’t die. After an early initial scare, H1N1 faded into the background of the minds of many for several months, before returning in full force as flu season approached. Of course, the threat posed by the disease never really diminished, and health […]

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