Win, Lose and Draw

If I had to briefly describe the markets' performance in 2011, I would have to call it a tie -- not a win or a loss, but a very unsatisfying tie. In the first half of the year, it appeared as though the markets would lead the shaky economy higher. But then a bout of volatility over the summer, a U.S. debt downgrade, and a European debt implosion made every trading day seem like a new adventure, reminiscent of the fourth quarter of 2008. Thankfully, volatility this year never reached 2008 levels.

Short of any wild activity today, the last trading day of the year, the S&P 500 will end the year basically flat. The smaller names have had a more difficult time, with the Russell Microcap Index down 9% on the year. Small value as measured by the Russell Microcap Value Index is down 10%. There's isn't a lot a lot of excitement, and it's slim pickings in value land....329 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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