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Everyone's an Economist

Remember the good old days when all you needed to do was find a good company, and the economy would do the rest?

Even for simple stock-pickers like myself, there's no getting around the fact that ignoring macro-economic news is portfolio suicide.

With the Federal Reserves’ QE2 ending and a EURO-Crisis looming, it's increasingly difficult to buy stocks with conviction. Not because the companies outlook is negative, but because the entire world's economic outlook is negative.

When building a portfolio - I'm weighting my picks to companies with a lot of cash on hand (think Microsoft) and a stellar dividend paying record (Pitney Bowes).

With so many variables seemingly working against the market right now it's best to be conservative and hunker down for a disappointing final 6 months of the year.