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Behind the Numbers,with Sam Stovall

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“Just when I thought it was safe to become defensive, the economy takes off,” jokes S & P’s chief investment strategist, noting that based on May’s strong performance, there should have been some shift in allocations. That only one of our panelists made any change is attributed to what Stovall calls the “Yeah, but” factor (e.g., unemployment declines but fewer-than- expected new jobs were created; or core CPI data looks good, but not PPI and overall CPI). He believes that investors are looking for reasons to be optimistic and that May’s enthusiasm was premature. Stovall expects a fourth quarter “Santa Claus rally” later this year rather than one this summer.–Robert F. Keane