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If you look at a five-year chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you would have to wonder what all the whining out of Wall Street is about. Admittedly, my own portfolio is looking less fulsome than, say, it was nine months ago–and I can only imagine when real money is involved how much it hurts. We are living through the deflation of another bubble–this time, the cheap credit bubble. On the plus side, it didn’t pop for most of us like the tech bubble; on the negative, we may still have a lot more fallout with which to cope. Companies now must depend more on actual internal growth to generate higher share prices, and the always reliable American consumer may not have the wherewithal to help out this time.

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