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No. of Recommendations: 3
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
Congratulations to the markets and the economy for powering along so well. Records are being broken. Unemployment is down. Foreclosures are down. Interest rates are still low. If only my portfolio was keeping up with it.

The drop in last quarter's GDP is a bit unsettling. Unemployment is down, but that's partly because many of the unemployed are no longer counted as unemployed even though they don't have jobs. Housing sales are being curtailed by the lack of first-time home buyers, and they're in diminished supply because student debt, low entry level wages, and a reduced lack of belief in the long term value of real estate.

In the short term, things will probably stay about the way they are, though the market is about due for a correction.
In the long term, there are worrying signs in that the average net worth and income are outpacing the median net worth and income, which is a sign of concentration of wealth and the attendant lack of economic fluidity.

My primary investment choice remains individual stocks, particularly potentially disruptive startups, as I believe that large cap stocks are driven by high-frequency trading, quantitative easing, and large financial institutions in an environment that is not competitive for an individual investor. In general, I have a few decades of investing to give me confidence in that strategy, but the last three years have been evidence to the contrary. (Details on my blog:

I suspect fundamental assumptions will be challenged as the debate and discussion has intensified rather than diminished since Occupy Wall Street, because China is undergoing large shifts, and because many old systems are not keeping up with shifts in demographics and technology. As a result I am diversifying my currency by accepting BitCoins in my consulting business, and am working to decentralize as much of my life as possible. Interesting times we are in.

(I've also collected links to other topics and my stocks over on my blog
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