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Santa's sleigh reaches for the sky as values face falling off a cliff

18 Nov 2012 SUN HERALD - PATRICK COMMINS



WELCOME to the last race of the year, and it's starting to look like the market may have saved the worst for last. The looming "fiscal cliff" in the US could ring in the New Year with a scream and a thud, and investors are busy attaching their parachutes.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark index slipped 3 per cent - curse those Yanks - and our local Aussie heroes, the miners and friends, were the hardest hit.

Speaking of heroes, into the crossfire of global economic fearmongering step a new band of brothers. The ever graphic Richard Pritchard has charted his way to top spot early, earning a mighty $250 in the process. Strategic Energy Resources and coal explorer Blackwood Corp spiked almost 25 per cent, which was enough to offset some howlers at the other end of his list. While Rich was the only one to make money, a trio of racers new to the game beat the index handily. Leading the pack is reader Angela Smith who, remarkably, also picked Strategic Energy Resources. Contract manager David Peda also performed admirably with a reliable looking portfolio that didn't let him down (relatively speaking).

Hold on! Who's this? White beard, red robes, funny hat ... some kind of creepy cultist? No, wait, it's Santa Claus! Fresh from the North Pole, the jolly fellow can tell whether you've been naughty or nice, but does this talent extend to companies? He is an expert in stockings but is he in stocks? Oh, we could go on, but suffice to say he's off to a decent start. There's some daylight between the top four and the rest and Doreen, business manager Manish Bansal, Pottsy and Dartboard will need something special next week.