Paul, Yes, Penney's revenue problems are its own doing and a separate matter from the so-called "fiscal cliff".Many years ago, so long I can't remember exactly when but probably the mid '90's, Barron's ran an article arguing that the US was "over stored" and "over banked" and that both would see retracements though consolidations and individual failures. That JCP might go the way of Montgomery Wards is likely. Who knows how things will play out? And it's not just the retailers who are in trouble. In every sector and industry, there are going to be Chapter 11 filings as the economy contracts. That creates problems (and choices) for would-be bond (and stock) investors. In response, they can try to become super defensive and try to avoid even the appearance of default-risk, but suffer the consequences of inflation-risk and tax- risk, and end up not making a real rate of return. Or they can continue to run a widely-diversified portfolio, knowing fully well they are going to suffer some losses but --hopefully-- still come out ahead of the super-defensives in terms of money that can be spent at the grocery store. Long ago, I decided which path was the truly safer one. Others can make such choices as they see fit. Charlie
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