My sixty-fifth birthday present to myself-the date is October 11th, for those wishing to send cards, cakes and/or currency-is finally to bring this monthly series of columns to a close. Herewith, my valedictory.

The process which brought me to this decision need not be reviewed in detail. Suffice it to say that, once the decision itself was made, I felt an immense sense of relief. It has grown increasingly difficult for me to develop what I considered first-rate content both for my newsletter, Nick Murray Interactive, and for the magazine column.

Moreover, on those ccasions when I did do something for the magazine that I thought was particularly useful, I felt perhaps that it should fairly have been reserved for my newsletter subscribers. Something eventually had to give, and my first loyalty had to be to my subscribers. That loyalty, I felt, must no longer be divided.

This certainly doesn't mean I'll never have something to say that I think might be appropriate for the magazine. And, assuming Evan Simonoff and his excellent editorial staff agree, I'll look forward to speaking to you again in these pages.                                                        

Looking back on these columns, I hope you've found- as I do-that they've been, if nothing else, consistent. I've sought through them, as well as through the newsletter, to give aid and comfort to the retail financial advisor, who has suffered since the turn of this century both the collapse of the greatest stock market bubble of all time and the unwinding of the greatest credit bubble of all time.

These once-in-a-generation events have left the global economy, the world's financial markets, and the value of U.S. equities on a firmer footing than they've been in years-indeed, than they've been in this century. As agonizing as the process has been, it hasn't been anything our system couldn't handle. And even as the "crisis" unfolded, I've insisted in these columns that the economy was not and would not be in recession, by any reasonable definition.

Indeed-amid the most horrific fear-mongering I've ever seen the financial press do' the universally predicted recession has once again failed to materialize. Just before Labor Day came the revision of GDP numbers for 2Q08. The original estimate of 1.9%, which journalism had at first tried to write off as the temporary result of the stimulus checks, was due to be raised-everybody knew that.

Consensus was 2.7%, which seemed reasonable to me, since my favorite working economist, First Trust's Brian Wesbury, was at 2.8%. The actual number was 3.3%.

This is not a blip. And the harder you looked at the numbers, the better they were. Exports added 3.1% points to real GDP growth (the original estimate was 2.4%), and inventories, which had been estimated to have subtracted 1.9%, actually took growth down only 1.4%. It should be noted that the positive effect of exports completely overwhelmed the negative 0.6% drag from homebuilding-a story the mainstream media has single-mindedly refused to report-and that excluding housing, real GDP grew at a 4.0% rate in Q2, and is up 3.2% year-over-year.

This report also provided new data on corporate profits. After inventory and capital consumption adjustments, pre-tax profits declined 9.2% in the quarter, and they're down 7% since last year-the worst since 2001, but not quite enough to summon up the shade of Herbert Hoover. Significantly, corporate cash flow (without inventory/capital adjustments) went up at a 0.6% rate in the second quarter, and it's up 2.1% year-over-year.

Finally, even the employment figures-very nearly the last refuge of the bear case-showed gradual improvement. New claims for unemployment fell steadily in August-down 32,000 in three weeks to 425,000. Continuing claims ticked up 64,000 to 3.42 million-in a country of 305 million souls.

Time is running out for the catastrophists. As I suggested in these columns that it would (most particularly in August 2008's "The Great Value Rally of 2008"), the tsunami of monetary stimulus that attends upon a negative real short-term interest rate-plus the additional fiscal stimulus of giving people back a whole year's oil price increases-turned the tide. You'd probably better be looking for growth well in excess of 2.0% in 3Q08, accompanied by a continuing re-acceleration of productivity...and some ugly inflation numbers.

That confluence will, I can only hope, free the Fed to tighten-or at least to begin sending tightening signals. With other OECD central banks on hold because of the weakening economies in the eurozone, this should lead to the next leg up for the dollar-and the next leg down for oil, gold and commodities, in a virtuous cycle.

Perhaps the proudest thing I can say about these columns, especially in the last twelve months, is that if you heeded them, you and your clients didn't succumb to panic, and are still holding your long-term, diversified equity portfolio. This-and not jumping in and out of the market-is the only investment strategy that ever works in the long run, a conviction from which this column has never for a moment wavered.

As I suggested earlier, all the best thinking and writing of which I'm capable on a monthly basis will now be channeled into Nick Murray Interactive. In addition to an average of eight pages of material per month, subscribers have direct access to me for situational "spot" coaching. And I think you'll find a fair number of long-time subscribers who'll tell you that one critical exchange of Q&A, when there was an awful lot riding on it, paid for an entire year's subscription. I invite you to visit, and to download the current sample issue. And I look forward to welcoming you to our rapidly growing subscriber list.

Thank you for the many kind comments you've made to me about these columns over the years. I sincerely wish you every continued success.