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Potential Government Shutdown Looming. Would Anybody Notice?


Most global markets are welcoming greed with rallies off of every drop, despite the showdown in Washington.

Just when you thought your elected officials in Washington, DC just couldn't do any less, they pull yet another crisis out of their red, white, and blue Uncle Sam top hats. We are a few weeks away from a government shutdown if Congress doesn't vote for a continuing resolution to keep the waterworks working. Last time we were in this spot, there were odds out there on it actually happening... but right now, I can't find any. Maybe the odds makers lost their funding due to sequestration and had to close up shop.

But fear not, greed is emerging from the mist and the markets are welcoming it with rallies off of every drop as the Dow (INDEXDJX:DJI), S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC), FTSE (INDEXFTSE:UKX), DAX (INDEXDB:DAX), and CAC (INDEXEURO:PX1) are all nicely positive for the year. The only negative we see is the Hang Seng (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI), but then again, how important can China be to the health of the global economy, anyway?

The Wall hangs in there at twenty-three only because two perennial trouble makers -- Washington, DC and the recently deceased Hugo Chavez -- have thrown us a couple of nuggets of uncertainty to add to our list. You just can't keep a good Wall down.

Click on the image below for an interactive version of this week's Wall of Worry, or scroll down for the text-only version.

QE: The Ben Bunch at the Fed squashed any QE ending interpretations right quick.

US ECONOMY: Sure, I'd love someone on the inside to punch me in the budgetary gut as I'm about to straighten up and fly right!

UNEMPLOYMENT: The US clinging to a sub-8.0% number by a wink and a nod.

INVESTOR SENTIMENT: Greed lands a roundhouse kick to the glass jaw of fear, and the markets go wild!

HOUSING CRISIS: When the rain and snow stop, we can blow dry and dig out all those "For Sale" signs and really see how many abodes we can move.

Not so bad in the North. Not so good in the South.

CONSUMER SENTIMENT: Taking a lot of hits but still "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!"

SOVEREIGN DEBT: Cyprus, care to explain yourself?

SPAIN: Missed their budget cut goal. Now there's a shocker.

VOLATILITY: It's back and keeping market watchers glued to their screens "Minute by Minute" once again.

Lloyd: You ready for a market correction?
HAL: All dressed up and no place to go.

CHINA: Sets the expectation bar at a modest +7.5% GDP growth for 2013. I wonder what the whisper number is.

ITALIAN ELECTIONS: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the National Anthem of Italy... while they still have one.

GLOBAL ECONOMY: Hey, Africa, how about kicking in some GDP so the rest of us can continue wallowing around in confusion?

SPENDING CUTS: Coming soon to a government agency near you!

JAPAN: Definitely top of the currency question market list. And it likely will be for the next few years.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: The aces in Washington, DC have until the end of March to come up with a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown. See you March 26 with an update.

DRAGHI: Sure could use an interest rate cut in the eurozone. Sure not sure they gonna get it.

VENEZUELA: Okay, now what?

SEQUESTRATION: We asked for it, we got it.

US CONGRESS: This overflowing from the suggestion box: "Early retirement, much?"

US PRESIDENT: Time to place a call to Monty Hall, the one guy who never failed to get people to make a deal.

THE EURO: This too-strong currency is a self-contained economic austerity package you can just fold up and carry around in your pocket.

What Is Lloyd's Wall of Worry?
by Lloyd Khaner

Welcome to my at-a-glance guide to the issues facing investors this week -- a unique tool for traders and money managers.

Typically the term "wall of worry" refers to the entire body of concerns influencing stock market action. When the wall is high, meaning the market is nervous, stocks tend to get cheaper.

This wall of worry is even more specific. Every week I list the exact concerns in the marketplace and use the list to help me make buying and selling decisions. As I like to say, "Buy fear, sell cheer."

In other words, once the the wall rises above 15 blocks, start looking for deals. If the worry count sinks below 10, consider selling; prices have likely peaked.
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