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Gurgling Google and a Real Company

Friday, 18 Apr 2008 | 4:01 PM ET

From Tyler Mathisen:

Today's moves for Dow and Nasdaq confirm for me something I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's that big parts of America's economy are performing well. It's difficult to remember that fact, especially when so much of the financial system is choking on the credit crunch hairball -- and when so much of the financial media live in the same towns with the banking and I-banking men and women who see their businesses melting away.

Take Google , up 20% at mid-day today after yesterday's profit report. According to our tech reporter Jim Goldman, that company has added $34 billion in market value today alone. Eric Schmidt, the Google CEO and my high school classmate at dear old Yorktown High in Arlington, Virginia, made a billion today. (He was really good a math.) His buddies, the Google founders Sergei and Larry (Brin and Page, respectively), made roughly three times as much. It's easy to see why Google is gurgling. The company is growing, doesn't have much debt and hence isn't dragged down by the sputtering financial system. Usually in recessions, the economy drags down the financials; this time, it's the other way around.

Caterpillar is another case in point. Good numbers. Great global sales story. A real company that sells real machines for money and doesn't merely trade acronymic paper in an incomprehensible marketplace leveraged beyond all reason. Gotta love that.

The point: the broad economy may be better off than bankers (and the journalists who love them) think. Keep you eye on solidly growing companies with strong balance sheets and your portfolio should do just fine in the long run.

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