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— Consider, for example, the ten local stocks that had the biggest gains last year. In second place was biotech Illumina, rising 178.8 percent to $39.31. But it had hit $51.63 in 2000, the year it went public. In third place was biotech Sequenom, which rose 129.4 percent to $4.68. But it had soared to $573.75 in 2000, its first year, and traded at $65 and $32 in each of the next two years. In fourth place last year was Diversa, rising 126.7 percent to $10.88. But it had zoomed 212 percent to $75 on its first day of trading in 2000, continued up to $169.19, and changed hands above $10.88 much of the time until 2005. In fifth place was retailer PriceSmart, which rose 114.2 percent to $17.91. But it had hit highs above $40 from 1999 through 2002. In sixth place was biotech Isis Pharmaceuticals, rising 112.2 percent to $11.12. But from 1996 through 2002, Isis generally sported yearly highs above $20 and almost hit $40 in 2000.

In ninth place was telecom Leap Wireless International. It rose 57 percent to $59.47. But Leap sold at $94 in 1999 and $110.50 the next year. Then it plunged to zero in 2003 and 2004 as it went through bankruptcy reorganization, shedding $2 billion in debt. Now it is riding tall in the saddle again. Ride these wild horses at your own risk.

If you own your home free and clear or have a conventional mortgage on a residence you plan to stay in, you may dodge San Diego's 2007 woes, and you probably will be able to buy some goods at discount prices. If home values get hit really hard, you might even speculate in the housing market. If the home bloodbath is severe enough, good population growth may resume, assuming there are jobs. But at 3.1 million, isn't the population high enough already?

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