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9:00 AM EDT, Friday, October 23, 2009: No one knows where this market is going. But there's no question corporate earnings (this is earnings season) are remarkably strong and remarkably strong than depressed Wall Street analysts were predicting. This has been a remarkable run. If you chart it with daily movements, it looks like it's getting toppy.

If you chart it on a weekly basis, it looks like it has a long way to go.

What you mustn't underestimate is how robust the earnings recovery has been. The recession may gone in history as having a major good points -- like waking many companies up -- forcing them to clean up their acts -- fire superfluous workers, drop prices, introduce new products, etc. The usual stuff that gets ignored when times are good.

Putting the 60% rally into some sort of perspective. Courtesy Contrary Investor. I don't know what this means, if anything.

Stock markets are up 60% plus. How does this rally stack up with previous ones? Here are some key criteria of what previous 60% rallies have looked like when analyzed across 10 different key economic dimensions :

+ Year over Year Retail Sales: 9.3% average in prior 60% rallies versus -5.3% in the current one

+ Consumer Confidence: 95.5 average; 53.1 now

+ Capacity Utilization: 79.9% average; 66.6% now

+ Year over Year Industrial Production: 4.1% average; -10.7% now

+ ISM: 53.9 average; 52.6 now

+ Payroll employment gains over period: 2.2% average; -2.0% now

+ Decline in continued unemployment claims from cycle peak: -26.3 average; -11.6% now

+ Year over Year growth in total credit market debt: 9.3% average; 3.0% now

+ Year over Year growth in household debt: 8.8% average; -0.1% now

+ P/E Multiple: 16.8x average; 20.0x now

What financial sites are worth visiting? Contrary Investor has a neat list, along with explanations of why they like the site, at something called Link Letter.

The electronic reading battle heats up. It's cheaper to read a book electronically than on paper -- hardcover or paperback. Electronically you have two choices -- a dedicated device -- like Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook (available next month) or Sony's eReader -- or free software and read it on your existing device -- a PC, a Mac, an iPod or iPod Touch.

Everyone and their uncle thinks this is the next great electronics growth area. They eye the ongoing "razor blade" revenue -- sale of books, magazines and newspapers. Amazon said yesterday it will software next month to let people buy Kindle books and read them on a computer, regardless of whether they own a Kindle device.

I love books. I love owning them. But there are times where it's more convenient to read them on my computer -- like when I'm traveling and weight matters. I take the computer everywhere, so its weight doesn't count. I see people in the subway reading on Kindles and iPods. It hasn't eclipsed listening to loud music which is annoying on elevators. But ereading is growing.

My recommendation is simple. Download one of the free apps for software your computer or iPod. Pick up some of the free books. Then try reading them. For the iPod or iPod touch, try Stanza. For your PC, try BN Reader from Barnes & Noble (now called eReader). Click here.

If you want to pay money for a book, here are my recent three favorite books:

Watch out for virus-bearing emails. This one looks so official, so Microsoft. Yet it's 100% bogus. Click on the link and something awful will happen to your computer. You can easily tell it's bogus. Right click on the email. Click on "View Source" and look carefully at the blue underlined link. The original says The source says "" That is not Microsoft.

In short, when in doubt, don't.

Energy investments from Jim Kingsdale. My dear Jim starts his popular blog Energy Investment Strategies:

Interviewer: "What accounts for your success, Mr. Getty?"

J. Paul Getty: "Some people find oil, some don't."

Jim has cancer and needs to battle it. He has posted his final newsletter. Excerpts:

Over the next five years the price of oil is likely to rise due to three factors:

1. Supply/demand: increasing decline rates for old fields (peak oil) and growing automobile-related demand from developing countries will outweigh new field production opportunities and consumption saving in developed countries from new technologies for high mileage vehicles.

2. Higher marginal production costs: new supplies are overwhelmingly coming from increasingly expensive deep water fields. Such fields are a substantial challenge to drilling technology and some have cost structures that can only be estimated today, but which are clearly above the current price of oil. Also, from a longer term perspective, such deep sea fields tend to have higher decline rates and far fewer work-over possibilities than land-based fields.

3. The declining value of the U.S. dollar. The recent global economic meltdown has created a temporary glut of spare oil capacity. My most recent supply/demand projection analysis posted last March incorporated an assumption that excess spare oil capacity will peak at 5.8 mb/d in 2010. That projection still seems to be in the ball park. If the global economy has begun to start growing as recent reports seem to indicate and if it continues to experience moderate growth, my projection of oil supplies becoming tight by 2012 and extremely tight by 2014 should still be valid. So I continue to think we’ll see $100+ oil prices within a year or two and perhaps $200+ prices within five years, based only on supply and demand considerations. Of course the fact is that speculators tend to expand price ranges in anticipation of trends, as we are currently seeing with the price of oil. So the above high range could be conservative.

Jim also talks about rare earth elements. Jim's take:

The popular press suddenly focused on rare earth elements over the past few months in response to China’s most recent reduction in its REE export quotas and the growing understanding among western governments and investors of the strategic importance of REEs, particularly for energy conservation, communications and military applications. As you know, China currently supplies 95% of global REE demand.

Demand is growing rapidly for REEs. Industry is working hard to find alternatives to scarce REEs, but often that’s not possible. New mines will be opened but that process takes many years so new supply coming to market is not likely to be rapid. If China grows 10% a year - or 33% in three years - and if China is now using the great bulk of it’s production domestically and if China is working to shut down and/or re-engineer small, environmentally toxic REE mines which are an important share of their total REE production, then it seems pretty likely that there will be a global shortage of REEs at some point in the foreseeable future.

One impact of the increased REE-awareness has been a dramatic spurt in the price of many REE stocks. Some have increased by seven-fold, all have increase greatly. There is some thought that the REE equities are now ahead of themselves, and I would not argue with that. Nonetheless, I think the attractive supply/demand outlook for REEs over the intermediate term of, say, the next four years justifies being invested in the sector.

My favorite is Lynas (LYSCF) which has the world’s largest REE supply and has now secured sufficient equity financing without Chinese domination. I also like Avalon (AVARF) which has North American reserves that emphasize the especially valuable “heavy REEs.” I also own some Great Western Minerals (GWMGF). It would not be surprising to see some additional pullback in these stocks beyond the 10% or so we’ve seen lately. But over a two or three year holding period I think they have room to be rewarding.

Yesterday on rebalancing your portfolio. If you didn't read yesterday on rebalancing, please do so this weekend. Here's the key chart from UBS.

My conclusion: a combination of rebalancing and 15% Rules works the best. I'd include at least one extra category -- Your Personal Picks. For example, there has to be a space for those stocks you really like (irrespective of what category they fit into) -- e.g. Apple, BYDDF, Google, GLD, EWA and EWZ (despite the Brazilian government's recent creative tax ideas). For yesterday's column, click here.

Copy what others are doing. Does it work? Allegedly, yes. Have I used it? No. Here's a web site that touts, "invest smarter by following the stock ideas of the world's top fund managers." It's classed AlphaClone.

There are no good dentist jokes. I spent four hours and $,2335 at the dentist yesterday. My conclusion: Dentists are interested less in jokes and more in money. Things were bad until yours truly fronted with a mouthful of misery.

They looked into my mouth. My mouth is a disaster, I asked. "No," he replied. "It's an annuity."

I asked for a prescription for Viagra. He said it had nothing to do with dentistry. I corrected him. As he inflicted pain, I needed something to hold on to.

My favorite dentist joke remains:

A young Dentist had just started his own Clinic. He rented a beautiful office and had it furnished with antiques. He saw a man come into the front office. Wishing to appear the "busy dentist", the dentist picked up the phone and started to pretend he had to give an appointment.

Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, "Can I help you?"

The man said, "Yeah, I've come to activate the phone."

Have a great weekend. Clean and floss your teeth. You don't want mine or, worse, their bills.

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.