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Well, it took way longer than I thought to review the portfolios but it looks like retail numbers are a big concern and the markets are dropping ahead of the open.

Sanyo had very rough numbers which surprised people in Asia and should worry US tech. There’s an article in the Journal that some China-focused hedge funds are doing poorly but the Hang Seng was closed today so no real read over there. Brokers are still weak on that side of the planet.

Europe is mostly closed and the DAX is right at 8,000, which we said last week would be a good sign but it remains to bee seen whether the 1.7% gain on Friday was a real sign of a turn or just a pump job. Speaking of pump jobs, oil is back over $95 so it looks like they’re going to take advantage of a slow week to make another run at $100 - this will be a shorting opportunity I can’t resist!

Berkshire (NYSE:BRK.A) bought something sensible (yawn!) but retail shortfalls are a HUGE concern and the homebuilders index was down yet again, down 6.7% in October. Our next retail survey is going to be how fast are mall stores shutting down as I am already seeing people clearing their shelves and this is likely to pressure commercial real estate during ‘08. As always, we watch (NYSE:BXP) and (NYSE:VNO) as leading indicators.

Source: Wednesday Morning