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A Time For Thanks

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Some Holiday History...

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in America commemorating the plentiful harvest reaped by the settlers of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, after a winter of great starvation and privation.

In 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed the first day of Thanksgiving and a feast was shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. The celebration lasted three days and the Indians brought deer and corn while the Pilgrims hunted turkeys for the great banquet. In the following years, there were similar observances held locally but it was not until after the American Revolution that the first national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by George Washington, on November 26, 1789. The sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, made the holiday official in 1863, appointing as the date the last Thursday of November. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving Day to the third Thursday in November, rousing the ire of state governors across America. Due to the unfavorable contradiction arising from Roosevelt's proclamation, Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should be on the fourth Thursday of November. That is the day we now observe with church services and family reunions, and the traditional menu is a reminder of the wild turkeys served at the first thanksgiving feast.

Thanks to the Pilgrims, we have greater freedom in religion and government today and that's something for which we should all be grateful.

Happy Holidays!

Editors Note: Since we are discussing the subject of past events, it's that time of the year to start thinking about the historical trading relationship between small-cap and large-cap stocks. Some experts refer to this phenomenon as the "January Effect." The change is barely noticeable but generally the big-caps outperform smaller-cap issues from mid-November to mid-December due to profit-taking in the lower priced stocks. As we move towards the coming year, many investors transition into the small-caps and the trend reverses. The historically strong performance of small stocks in the first few months of the year is well known and easily proven. The less obvious cycle in November and December is probably more profitable as the majority of traders don't use the trend to their advantage, thus leaving the effect intact for those that are aware of it's existence. Some of the analysts that participate in this strategy are debating whether or not the recent market activity has skewed the cycle for this year but regardless of the outcome, a successful trader should be aware of these market tendencies and use that knowledge to his (or her) advantage.

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