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INTRO Here's my semi-annual exercise to see if I remember why I own the stocks I own, and so I can check back and see if their stories have changed. I include the economy and markets to check my perception of the bigger picture. I post in case it helps others too.

Economy & Markets
When I look at the markets over the last five years I am impressed. The same is true for unemployment and housing. There are cautions, as always. The markets' rise may simply reflect the cash infusion from Quantitative Easing and a pursuit of financial mechanisms instead of productive output. China's actions in their stock market and with their currency suggest a larger disruption than they are publicizing. China's slowdown has affected commodity prices. The oil price wars have exacerbated the drop in that commodity. The drop in commodity prices is destabilizing for commodity-dependent countries like Russia. With interest rates very low, and negative in some places, there are concerns about deflation. Housing has recovered in many places, and is bubbling in a few. The housing bubble in places like London and Palo Alto may be a flight of capital from China and from other asset classes. Wage growth is due, and is beginning to happen. Comparing many of the economic drivers, there are enough concerns that the markets may be due for a correction or worse. The US market and economy have issues of leverage, stalled reform, and Federal debt; but the US is considered a safe haven because so many other countries are having difficulties. I don't know if the US will be the foundation that others can build upon, or if its international supports are at risk which means the US economy and markets are at risk as well. Increased global productivity, reduced inequality, wage growth, investment in goods and services rather than finances, are the kinds of issues that would encourage me to think the economy and markets are encouraging. I continue to look for such signs, but mostly see cautions (though that may be because they make better news.) I consider these to be more uncertain times than during the Great Recession.

(I've also collected links to the other discussion boards and my other stocks over on my blog
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