``New Year's is just two weeks away -- and with it the statutory tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The stock market appears to have adopted a surprisingly benign view that Congress and the White House will reach agreement to avert the full impact of the fiscal contraction. Many portfolio managers now explicitly assume a deal will be struck by year end (or possibly early January) that raises taxes on upper income Americans and curbs the growth rate of entitlement spending.''

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