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I'm on the sidelines

|Includes: FactSet Research Systems Inc. (FDS)

This is just a quick note to tell you that I'm sitting on the sidelines right now until after I see how the market reacts on Thursday to the State of the Union address Wednesday evening. I've learned in the last few years how I can be lulled into a trance because I see market and economic signs that are either positive or negative, so I place my bet on that direction. Then someone opens their mouth on TV or at a press conference and I have months of gains wiped out in an instant. Long trades tank or short positions need to be covered because of a short term media generated blip. I'm not blaming Obama on this; it just happens. Press conferences by Bush, Greenspan, Obama and Bernanke have all caused me to take a hit. I blame no one but other panicky investors.

I do believe that in the long run, the only thing that counts is earnings. My accounting background makes me a fundamentalist at heart. Companies with increasing earnings eventually go up and companies with increasing losses eventually go down. It's that in between time that bothers me. The real numbers and the perceived numbers sometimes have a disconnect and it's during that period of disconnect that people get hurt.

My decision to procrastinate is a decision. I am cutting Factset Research (FDS) from my Wall Street Survivor portfolio. They seem to be having just that disconnect I'm talking about and I don't know why. Although the numbers and press look good the stock is taking a hit so I'm out. I'll think about replacing the funds but not before I see how the market reacts to the State of the Union address.

Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters here and on Financial Tides. Please leave a comment below or email

Disclosure: no position in FDS at the time of publication