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Editor's Introduction: Staying Out Of The Cold

Market historians and optimists might be hopeful about the stock marketin the coming months, even year.

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Over time, midterm elections during the first-terms of Democratic presidents have brought stunning market rallies, on the assumption that the combination of a Democrat in the White House and a Republican-controlled senate often results in gridlock, which tends to reduce uncertainty for Wall Street.

If that is the case, US stocks in 2010 will almost certainly finish higher for the second straight year after a devastating 2008 and a down 2007. They might even manage a double-digit gain.

There's always the exception, however, and this year has brought more than its share for stocks: a red-hot July and September; a brutal, cold August.

What's more, given the health of the US economy—and the global one—as well as changes in the world of investing, there's ample reason for pause.

Demand and growth remain weak and debt high for both consumers and governments. The growing role of high-frequency tradingand other institutional, computer-driven investing forces sometimes make technical factors as powerful as fundamental ones in moving stock prices.

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Meanwhile, two years after the financial crisis and ten years after the great bear market, retail investors are feeling twice burned and very much shy about re-entering the stock market. Financial advisors these days seem to spend as much time on hand holding as they do actively managing their clientsportfolios.

There's growing talk of a bond bubble and a gold bubble in a safe-haven-obsessed marketplace.

For all the talk of a new normal, some may be wondering if it is more a matter of no normal. Do the same rules rules—diversification, buy and hold—and vehicles—mutual funds, single stocks—still apply? Is there a new calculus, physics to the world of investing?

It's against this backdrop, that we've assembled our annual our "Winterizing Your Portfolio" special report, addressing some of the nagging concerns and questions.

Analysis & Advice:

Slideshows:

Earnings

Commodities

Currencies

  • The dollar hovered at eight-year highs against the yen early on Thursday, having stopped short of breaking above its 2007 peak as it consolidated recent gains against the euro and other peers.

  • The euro scaled a three-weak peak against the dollar on optimism about Greece's prospects after the government reshuffled its bailout team.

  • Roche, the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs, reported a 3 percent rise in sales in the first quarter on Wednesday.

Mutual Funds

  • NEW YORK, May 27- Investors in U.S.-based mutual funds poured $4.3 billion into funds that specialize in international shares in the week ended May 20 as part of a continued rotation into European shares, data from the Investment Company Institute showed on Wednesday. "You had a substantial over-allocation to the U.S. over the last couple of years," said Bryan...

  • Jack Bogle

    Jack Bogle, Vanguard's founder, identifies the tenets of mutual fund investing: low fees and high ratings.

  • NEW YORK, May 22- If you can't beat them, buy them. That's the theory underlying a move by a growing number of mutual fund managers at companies including T. Rowe Price and Eaton Vance to slip shares of indexed exchange traded funds into their actively managed fund portfolios. Putting money into ETFs rather than having it sit in cash is a "cheap and efficient way to gain...

Bonds