December 26, 2011
Brief Holiday Update
The Market Climate in stocks last week continued to fall into a classification that has often been associated with a "whipsaw trap," though as usual, we are aware that about 30% of these instances have gone on to achieve some amount of extended gains, so we continue to monitor the evidence - particularly market internals and sentiment - closely here. As I noted last week, there is a typical "sentiment cycle" in economic surprises, which we would expect to roll over to an increasing number of economic disappointments in the weeks ahead, but we'll respond to the data as it emerges. Given that we're in a typically low-volume, slightly positive seasonal period, I expect that day-to-day movements over the next several sessions may be more influenced by those factors than by meaningful economic or international developments, but we remain defensive in Strategic Growth and Strategic International at present in any event. No change in our bond or precious metals positions in Strategic Total Return, though we did use last week's unusual strength in utilities as a point to clip our utility position in Strategic Total Return to less than 1% of assets, as utilities often do not escape having a beta in unfavorable stock market climates, which we still observe here.
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