Posts Tagged ‘Financial System’

US Dollar About to Lose Reserve Currency Status – Fact or Fantasy?

Courtesy of Mish

A number of sites are commenting on a Bloomberg video in which El-Erian, PIMCO Co-CEO says "Dollar could lose its reserve currency status".


Bloomberg: "Mohammad what does a weak dollar signal to you, a dollar that can’t jump up here on a day like we’ve seen today?"

El-Erian: "It is a warning shot to America that we cannot simply assume flight to quality, flight to safety. That people are starting to worry about the fiscal situation in the U.S. They are starting to worry about the level of debt. They are starting to worry about what they hear about states and municipalities. So, I would take this as a warning shot that we cannot assume that we will maintain the standing of the reserve currency as we have in the past."

Reserve Currency Definition

Before we can debate whether or not the US will lose reserve currency standing, we must first define what it means.

Investopedia defines Reserve Currency as follows.

"A foreign currency held by central banks and other major financial institutions as a means to pay off international debt obligations, or to influence their domestic exchange rate."

I accept that definition. Unfortunately Investopedia rambles on with nonsense about the implications: "A large percentage of commodities, such as gold and oil, are usually priced in the reserve currency,causing other countries to hold this currency to pay for these goods."

That sentence is a widely believed fallacy. The reality is no country is obligated to hold dollars to buy goods denominated in dollars.

Currencies are Fungible

Currencies other that illiquid currencies with low or no trading volume (think of Yap Island stones or the Cuban Peso) are fungible. It is a trivial process to switch from one currency to another.

You can buy gold or silver in any country, and I assure you those transactions do not all take place in dollars. Thus, just because a commodity is widely priced in dollars does not mean it only trades in dollars.

That holds true for oil as well.

I keep pointing this out, unfortunately to no avail, that oil trades in Euros right now. There is no selling of Euros to buy dollars on the front causing the oil producers to trade dollars for euros on the back end. The oil states simply sell oil for a price in Euros and then hold Euros in their…
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Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?

Could The Financial Crisis Erupting In Ireland, Portugal, Greece And Spain Lead To The End Of The Euro And The Break Up Of The European Union?

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

The Irish banking system is melting down right in front of our eyes.  Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain are all drowning in debt.  It is becoming extremely expensive for all of those nations to issue new debt.  Officials all over Europe are begging Ireland to accept a bailout.  Portugal has already indicated that they will probably be next in line.  Most economists are now acknowledging that without a new round of bailouts the dominoes could start to fall and we could see a wave of debt defaults by European governments.  All of this is pushing the monetary union in Europe to its limits.  In fact, some of Europe’s top politicians are now publicly warning that this crisis may not only mean the end of the euro, but also the end of the European Union itself.

Yes, things really are that serious in Europe right now.  In order for the euro and the European Union to hold together, two things have got to happen.  Number one, Germany and the other European nations that are in good financial condition have got to agree to keep bailing out nations such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece that are complete economic basket cases.  Number two, the European nations receiving these bailouts have got to convince their citizens to comply with the very harsh austerity measures being imposed upon them by the EU and the IMF.

Those two things should not be taken for granted.  In Germany, many taxpayers are already sick and tired of pouring hundreds of billions of euros into a black hole.  The truth is that the Germans are not going to accept carrying weak sisters like Greece and Portugal on their backs indefinitely.

In addition, we have already seen the kinds of riots that have erupted in Greece over the austerity measures being implemented there.  If there is an overwhelming backlash against austerity in some parts of Europe will some nations actually attempt to leave the EU?

Right now the focus is on Ireland.  The Irish banking system is a basket case at the moment and the Irish government is drowning in red ink.  European Union officials are urging Ireland to request a bailout, but so far…
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Obama No Longer Bothering to Lie Credibly: Claims Financial Crisis Cost Less Than S&L Crisis

Obama No Longer Bothering to Lie Credibly: Claims Financial Crisis Cost Less Than S&L Crisis

Courtesy of Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism 

I’m so offended by the latest Obama canard, that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 cost less than 1% of GDP, that I barely know where to begin. Not only does this Administration lie on a routine basis, it doesn’t even bother to tell credible lies. .And this one came directly from the top, not via minions. It’s not that this misrepresentation is earth-shaking, but that it epitomizes why the Obama Administration is well on its way to being an abject failure.

On the Jon Stewart Show (starting roughly at the 1:10 mark on this segment) Obama claims the cost of this crisis will be less than 1% of GDP, versus 2.5% for the savings and loan crisis (hat tip George Washington, sorry, no embed code, you need to go here):

Picture 3

The reason Obama makes such baldfacedly phony statements is twofold: first, his pattern of seeing PR as the preferred solution to all problems, and second, his resulting slavish devotion to smoke and mirrors over sound policy.

The savings & loan crisis led to FDIC takeovers of dud banks and the creation of a resolution authority to dispose of bad assets. That produced costs which were largely funded by the Federal government. I’ve heard economists repeatedly peg the costs at $110 to $120 billion; Wikipedia puts it at about $150 billion. This approach, of cleaning up and resolving banks, has been found repeatedly to be the fastest and least costly way to contend with a financial crisis.

The reason Obama can claim such phony figures is that many of the costs of saving the financial system are hidden, the biggest being the ongoing transfer from savers to banks of negative real interest rates, which is a covert way…
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Mortgage Investors To Bank Of America: We’re Pissed And We Want Our 47 Billion Dollars Back

Mortgage Investors To Bank Of America: We’re Pissed And We Want Our 47 Billion Dollars Back

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The American Dream

Everyone knew that the foreclosure fraud crisis was going to spawn a festival of lawsuits, and now it looks like it is already beginning.  The New York Federal Reserve Bank is part of a consortium of eight large institutional investment firms that has launched an effort to force Bank of America to repurchase $47 billion worth of mortgages packaged into bonds by its Countrywide Financial unit.  It turns out that most mortgage bond contracts explicitly require the repurchase of loans when the quality of the loans falls short of promises made by the sellers.  As most of us know by now, many of these mortgages that were packaged together into "AAA rated" securities were actually a bunch of junk.  But this is just the beginning.  There are going to be hordes of lawsuits stemming from this crisis and it is going to take years and years for this thing to work through the legal system. 

All of the big players in the U.S. mortgage industry are going to be paralyzed for an extended period of time by this crisis, and that means that buying a home and achieving the American Dream is going to become a lot harder for millions of Americans.  Not only that, if mortgage lending institutions end up being forced to take back gigantic mountains of bad mortgages it could end up sinking a whole lot of them.  The implications for the U.S. financial system would be staggering. 

And it turns out that the effort by the consortium of eight large institutional investment firms to get Bank of America to take back $47 billion in mortgages is not the only action already being taken.  An even larger mortgage repurchase initiative involving investors holding a total of more than $500 billion in mortgage debt is being coordinated by Dallas lawyer Talcott Franklin.…
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Ben’s Cohiba

Ben’s Cohiba

Courtesy of Bruce Krasting

Last Sunday night I wrote about the coming week:

If next Friday the Buck is lower across the board and the BoJ is a bit bloodied Ben Bernanke will light a cigar.

Okay, so our boy Ben is smoking a big fat cigar tonight. He could not be happier. Everything is going his way.

-On the week the dollar got crushed against the majors.

-The Japanese central bank did get its nose bloodied. As of the close in NY they are down about $700mm on the 9/15 intervention of $25b. It’s not just the money (actually it is the money). They lost a battle. The USD/JPY has to go lower. The BOJ has tipped their hand. They are playing defense. And that is losing strategy. Their internal effort at QE just got trumped by Ben’s weak dollar policy. They must be pissed.

-Euro group chairman Junker (ZH article) said the weak dollar will hurt EU growth. Sure it will. That is what Ben wants. He wants to export our deflation to our “friends”. They also must be pissed that Ben is dishing this out to them.

-The gold moves were impressive. If I were at the Fed and watching this near daily slap in the face I would be unsettled. I wonder if they even care. At one time they did, but not in the last few years. Ben is probably pleased with the ratchet up in gold. He not only wants to boost inflation he wants to increase expectations on inflation. High marks on that score for the week.

-Stocks keep going up. Why shouldn’t they? A weak dollar makes top line numbers of a big chunk of the S&P look better. Also, you have to look at what money is competing with. The five-year closed at 1.1%. After-tax that comes to 0.7%. Against a very low rate of inflation the tax adjusted yield guarantees the investor a negative 8% return. Not hard to beat, one would think. So stock multiples have to widen. Right? If so, can we do this forever? If not, how long can we continue?

-The commodity numbers are blowouts. Sugar, wheat, corn, copper, every


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Tavakoli: Biggest Fraud in the History of the Capital Markets

Tavakoli: Biggest Fraud in the History of the Capital Markets

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

newjanpic.jpg

Washington Post
‘This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets’
By Ezra Klein
10/8/2010 

Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc. She sounded some of the earliest warnings on the structured finance market, leading the University of Chicago to profile her as a "Structured Success," and Business Week to call her "The Cassandra of Credit Derivatives." We spoke this afternoon about the turmoil in the housing market, and an edited transcript of our conversation follows.

Ezra Klein: What’s happening here? Why are we suddenly faced with a crisis that wasn’t apparent two weeks ago?

Janet Tavakoli: This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets. And it’s not something that happened last week. It happened when these loans were originated, in some cases years ago. Loans have representations and warranties that have to be met. In the past, you had a certain period of time, 60 to 90 days, where you sort through these loans and, if they’re bad, you kick them back. If the documentation wasn’t correct, you’d kick it back. If you found the incomes of the buyers had been overstated, or the houses had been appraised at twice their worth, you’d kick it back. But that didn’t happen here. And it turned out there were loan files that were missing required documentation. Part of putting the deal together is that the securitization professional, and in this case that’s banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, has to watch for this stuff. It’s called perfecting the security interest, and it’s not optional. 

EK: And how much danger are the banks themselves in?

JT: When we had the financial crisis, the first thing the banks did was run to Congress and ask for accounting relief. They asked to be able to avoid pricing this stuff at the price where people would buy them. So no one can tell you the size of the hole in these balance sheets. We’ve thrown a lot of money at it. TARP was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve given them guarantees on debts, low-cost funding from the Fed. But a lot of these mortgages just cannot be saved. Had we acknowledged this problem in 2005, we could’ve cleaned it up


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Nassim Taleb Says The Financial System Is Now Riskier Than It Was Before The 2008 Crisis

Nassim Taleb Says The Financial System Is Now Riskier Than It Was Before The 2008 Crisis

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: A Black Swan sits in the water as Nicolas Ivanoff of France competes during the Red Bull Air Race Training day on April 15, 2010 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race)

Nassim Taleb is out making waves once again, this time at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg today, where he said he was “betting on the collapse of government bonds” and that investors should avoid stocks. To be sure this is not a new position for Nassim, who in February had the same message, when he said that "every single human being" should be short U.S. treasuries. Indeed since then bonds have gone up in a straight line as the bond bubble has grown to record levels, and with the ongoing help of the Fed, is it any wonder. The only question is when will this last bubble also pop.

More from Bloomberg:

“I’m very pessimistic,” he said at the . “By staying in cash or hedging against inflation, you won’t regret it in two years.”

Treasuries have rallied amid speculation the global economic recovery is faltering, driving yields on two-year notes to a record low of 0.4892 percent today. The Federal Reserve yesterday reversed plans to exit from monetary stimulus and decided to keep its bond holdings level to support an economic recovery it described as weaker than anticipated. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated 16 percent between April 23 and July 2, the biggest slump during the bull market.

The financial system is riskier that it was than before the 2008 crisis that led the U.S. economy to the worst contraction since the Great Depression, Taleb said.

Will the Black Swan author be correct? Perhaps (and given enough time, certainly), although as virtually everyone is expecting a dire outcome in both the public and private sector, courtesy of the untenable balance sheet, the surprise will most certainly have to come from some other place. And with even The Atlantic now posting cover stories on the Iran war spark, it is increasingly less likely that geopolitics will be the issue. Is every possible dire outcome priced in? If so, Taleb should focus his formidable intellect on answering just what the market is missing.


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Wall Street’s Big Win

Excellent article. I recommend reading the whole thing… Matt tells the story behind the sabotage of real financial reform as reflected in the final bill. – Ilene 

Wall Street’s Big Win

Finance reform won’t stop the high-risk gambling that wrecked the economy – and Republicans aren’t the only ones to blame

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone 

Excerpts:

But Dodd-Frank was neither an FDR-style, paradigm-shifting reform, nor a historic assault on free enterprise. What it was, ultimately, was a cop-out, a Band-Aid on a severed artery. If it marks the end of anything at all, it represents the end of the best opportunity we had to do something real about the criminal hijacking of America’s financial-services industry. During the yearlong legislative battle that forged this bill, Congress took a long, hard look at the shape of the modern American economy – and then decided that it didn’t have the stones to wipe out our country’s one dependably thriving profit center: theft.

[...]

All of this is great, but taken together, these reforms fail to address even a tenth of the real problem. Worse: They fail to even define what the real problem is. Over a long year of feverish lobbying and brutally intense backroom negotiations, a group of D.C. insiders fought over a single question: Just how much of the truth about the financial crisis should we share with the public? Do we admit that control over the economy in the past decade was ceded to a small group of rapacious criminals who to this day are engaged in a mind-­numbing campaign of theft on a global scale? Or do we pretend that, minus a few bumps in the road that have mostly been smoothed out, the clean-hands capitalism of Adam Smith still rules the day in America? In other words, do people need to know the real version, in all its majestic whorebotchery, or can we get away with some bullshit cover story? 

In passing Dodd-Frank, they went with the cover story.

[...]

Both of these takes were engineered to avoid an uncomfortable political truth: The huge profits that Wall Street earned in the past decade were driven in large part by a single, far-reaching scheme, one in which bankers, home lenders and other players exploited loopholes in the system to magically transform subprime home borrowers into AAA investments, sell them off to unsuspecting pension funds and foreign trade unions…
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Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses

Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

The losses from the mortgage securities frauds and the subsequent bubble collapse continue to debilitate the US financial system, particularly the regional banks, in a slow bleed costing the US government additional millions each week. The public relations campaign promoting the idea that the bank bailouts are done and successful, and that the US made money on this egregious abuse of public monies is patently false, and probably can be described as corporatist propaganda.

The banks continue to mount a campaign to resist reform and regulation. They are taking advantage of the weakness of the Obama administration in failing to reform the banking system through liquidations and managed bankruptcies, including indictments and investigations as was seen in the Savings and Loan scandal.

It is difficult to continue to assume good intentions in this administration, or even mere incompetence. The objections put up by Geithner and Summers to the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new consumer protection agency shows how reactionary they continue to be, and resistant to fundamental reforms.

American Banker
Failures on Two Coasts Stretch Toll for Year to 108

By Joe Adler
Friday, July 30, 2010

Five bank closures in four states Friday cost the federal government an additional $334 million in losses.

Regulators shuttered the $373 million-asset Coastal Community Bank in Panama City Beach, Fla., the $66 million-asset Bayside Savings Bank in Port Saint Joe, Fla., the $168 million-asset NorthWest Bank and Trust in Acworth, Ga., the $529 million-asset The Cowlitz Bank in Longview, Wash., and the $768-asset LibertyBank in Eugene, Ore. The failures brought the year’s total to 108.

The hammered Southeast bore the brunt of the failure activity, as it has for so many Fridays since the financial crisis began. Twenty banks have been seized in Florida in 2010, while 11 have failed in Georgia so far this year.

The two Florida institutions that failed Friday went to one buyer: Centennial Bank in Conway, Ark. The acquirer agreed to take over Coastal Community’s $363 million in deposits, Bayside Savings’ $52 million in deposits and roughly all of the assets of both institutions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to share losses with Centennial on $303 million of Coastal Community’s assets, and $48


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Interview: Chaostheorien

Interview: Chaostheorien

Karl Denninger Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

Good reading here, if you’re interested in my views "in a nutshell":

Karl Denninger, the publisher of “The Market Ticker”, in an exclusive interview for chaostheorien.de: “In order to honestly assess what’s going on and what has to be done to fix the problems, we first must admit our mistakes.” Furthermore he says why the financial system is more and more a farce, gives his stance on the prospects of a military dictatorship in the United States, and explains his position with regard to Peak Oil.

Have a read….. but grab a beer first. 

 


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Zero Hedge

Watch Live: President Trump And Israeli PM Netanyahu Joint Press Conference

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Having confirmed earlier in his press conference with Israeli President Rivlin that 1) he did not say the word 'Israel' to the Russians, and 2) Iran are the bad guys (confirming the narrative from the Saudis the day before), President Trump is due to join Israeli PM Benjamin Netantahu shortly for a joint press conference...

Trump meets with President Rivlin at his residence for a bilat. Trump commended Rivlin's work, and the two discussed the "opportunity" for Israel and other countries in the Middle East to come together.

"Thi...



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Phil's Favorites

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Financial Markets and Economy

Producers Set to Extend Cuts as Rally Stalls: OPEC Reality Check (Bloomberg)

Reeling from the worst oil-market rout in a generation, producers controlling about 60 percent of the world’s supply came together last year determined to put an end to the global glut. 

OPEC's Worst Cheater Will Get Harder to Ignore as Curbs...



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ValueWalk

FPA Crescent Fund 1Q17 Letter, Audio, Transcript: Arconic Letter And More

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

FPA Crescent Fund commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017.

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

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Dear Shareholders:

The FPA Crescent Fund (“the Fund”) returned 3.37% in the first quarter of 2017. This compares to the 6.07% return of the S&P 500 in the period and the 6.91% return of the MSCI ACWI index.

The first quarte...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Stocks don't need the Trump bump anymore (Business Insider)

Does the stock market even need the Trump trade anymore?

Merely posing such a question may strike some equity enthusiasts as blasphemy. After all, in the months right after the presidential election, the sectors seen as most closely tied to President Donald Trump's proposed policies — most notably financials and industrials — soared.

Stocks Rise, Dollar Slum...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Soars Above $2000 For First Time Ever

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Bitcoin is now up over 100% in 2017, amid global political uncertainty and increased interest in Asia, suddenly spiking above $2000 this afternoon for the first time ever...

That is a year-over-year gain of more than 350%. The move comes, as CoinDesk notes, amid a broader boost in the cryptocurrency market, which broke the $60bn barrier today. The increase has taken place amid strong surges from Ripple's XRP, which seeks to lower costs in enterprise cross-border payments, and ethereum's ether token, a cryptographic asse...



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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Chart School

...And Then Things Went Pear Shaped

Courtesy of Declan.

After days of steady gains, it was surprising to see the level of selling on show today; the last day like today in the markets was last December. How today plays out in the long term is still up for grabs as key trading ranges haven't been breached. Shorts will be watching for opportunities, but what followed last December was another kick start for the rally - bulls have a reason for optimism.

The biggest reversal was in the Semiconductor Index. Yesterday's 1.5% gain was whipped by a 4.4% loss. The attempt to break out of the rising channel was snapped away, putting the breakout gap from last week under pressure.

...

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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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