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Tuesday, December 31, 2013 (This is Mark Vickery covering for Sheraz Mian one final time this year.) I'm not really a Guy Lombardo type, let alone Dick Clark, but I'm still moved by the idea of a New Year's celebration this year. Sure, I'm happy to tip back a little bubbly -- and who wouldn't after such a gangbusters stock market in 2013; seriously, if your portfolio didn't perform GREAT this past year, then you clearly haven't paid enough attention to our Zacks recommendations -- but my excitement has even more to do with what's to come. Assuming 2014 isn't unduly fouled up by federal government measures that score political points for a particular faction but damage the U.S. economy as a whole (I'm looking at you, 2013), I expect good things on a macro-level this coming year. And even if they do happen, the U.S. has proven to be more robust than many "experts" had anticipated. There's no reason to think that any one thing has the power to end this trajectory of firming up the domestic market. And Europe is finally not so much a liability. And Asia -- with all its question marks all over the place all the time -- is still growing at a faster pace than even we are -- so what's stopping anyone? Even the rather risky proposition of putting the Winter Olympics in Russia (still a head-scratcher of a decision, I must say; Sochi is beautiful [and Beijing pulled off a good showing a few years back] but we're now wayyyy beyond what that old French dude originally envisioned when he came up with the idea for the modern Olympiad) probably isn't frightful enough to do too much damage to the global economy. On a personal note, I'd like to thank Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian for granting me the opportunity to temporarily fill his shoes here. It's a good feeling communicating with everyone in this format, and I truly wish everyone a safe, eventful and prosperous New Year. Cue "Auld Lang Syne"! Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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