Way to go Phil! Have I said how much I appreciate your site lately! Your ability to teach and your willingless to give others a forum to demonstrate their own skill sets makes your site remarkable. I got great help from you, jmm1951, and Iflantheman (special thanks!) today. Hell, if I have many more days like this I may even be able to sign up for a full year rather than doing it just quarterly. Tomorrow is another day but, fabulous job today!
Phil fantastic call on the markets… I owe you BIG…thanks and have a great weekend!
I have been a member for over six years and I still learn something new every day. This site gives you the skills to trade without having to be spoon fed. More importantly it teaches you about risk which is WAY more important than profit. Honestly, it is not a get rich quick scheme!
Phil I have been applying your arsenal (matresses, Edz plays, Ugl verticals etc.) to my gold holdings . So a big thank you for "teaching me how to fish" rather than just giving me the fish...
Phil: Once again thanks for those inciteful comments, and the old links to Sage's portfolio management (I hadn't read before). I'm an experienced stock trader, but over the last 3 or 4 months have come to appreciate options trading here at PSW, and the consistency of your many premium-selling strategies. It is liberating to have to worry less about getting direction right and being able to generate 5% MONTHLY returns with close to delta-neutral positioning. Much appreciated!
Hey I just did a nice options trade on LL for $800 (50%) gain thanks to this site, so… not bad for my first day! An hour of reading you guys and I already paid for two months subscription! Thank you!
Phil - I LOVE these futures trades at random hours! I wasnt able to get in on the 612 part but if I had it wouldve been 130$ (2.6%) on a 5k contract in less than 30 minutes. I know you have to sleep, spend time with fam, ect but Im just letting you know that your posts after hours/late at night has made people who followed them a decent chunk of change. Thank you, we appreciate it!
Its been a "perfect" month. Every stock I wrote calls against looks like it will be called away next week, every put I wrote will expire worthless. Thanks Phil, now I need some new buy/write candidates, or the new 100K portfolio….
Phil, Passed a milestone today since joining 2 months ago. 25% of my account is in buy/writes, bull call spreads and disaster hedges. A majority of the trades were taken directly from your ideas or someone else`s contributions. Some were daytrades that became spreads.
That part of my account is up 30% as of today. I don`t worry about it, or mess with it much, did a few rolls etc.
Rest of the account is there to day trade, cover the writes and take advantage of opportunities.
Thanks to everyone who contributes here, what a sweet way to trade, so many opportunities.
Brilliant covering of the arcane, the profane , but never the mundane!
Easy to understand the reason for your huge following, Phil, and why you have become a must read on my daily agenda. Please accept my complete appreciation.
Boring trading – Phil/ Thanks to PSW, my yearly covered-writes are on pace for 15%. Add the long puts and well over 20%… and I look at it once a day and never lose sleep over it. Actually doing better than my trading account at this point (Thanks, summer 2013)
Anyway, the point is that anyone with enough money would be wise to do the 20% – 40% stuff and do trading as a hobby…
Thank you so much for the good daily news in review Phil. I love your commentary! It is such a breath of fresh air in the smog cluttered news networks.
Thanks, Phil. I really appreciate your sentiment and commitment! Just want to thank you for what you do for all of us.
I love it when a trade really comes together. After 4 DD's and a roll, I cashed out 16 times my initial position in TLT today for a 140% gain. Thank you Phil for the lessons in scaling in, and paying for position.
SPY/Phil, I took a big swing on January 26th following your advice to another member and bought 1615 contracts of Mar 185/190 BCS on SPY that will expire ITM today paying $290,700 on the $500k bet. I thought it might be fun to see what a winning trade looks like. Great call on your part and looking back it seems pretty obvious.
Thanks, after years of blood and blunders, I have reached a significant milestone – I don't lose money. Net net, I rarely have a losing week, market up, market down. And that I owe to you. Balanced positions. More premium sold than bought. Fundamental criteria applied to good companies, not momentum/ news headlines/ stock du jour/ triangle squeezies. But rather earnings, P/E, dividends, competitive position — the boring stuff that takes study, thought,….and patience. You have been a great teacher, and I have embarassed myself repeatedly day with how slowly I learn.
And it's a funny thing – if you don't lose, the gains start to pile up. The arithmetic is cruel to the downside, and becomes a gift in the other direction. And I'm in this for the long run, having made myself unemployable through a need for diversification. Moreover, what I've learned here has also elided into other areas, including real estate and ex-U.S. investment. Pretty cool. Have a great weekend.
Peter D: great write-up for Short Strangles, Part 1, looking forward to Part 2, particularly the adjustment part.
Thanks, Phil!!! I just crushed today with it with silver (SLV) calls today, thanks to your persistent reminders of how ridiculously cheap it has become, and watching my TSLA this week $240 puts dissolve into chump change added an extra note of amusement.
GLD I took out my callers and rolled down my longs this morning, woo hoo!
Opt, I think the hardest thing is being disciplined enough to trade with you. Atleast now when I see something go in the red I know how much I'm going to loose and that I will profit somewhere else and have enough money left at the end of the day to trade again. Thanks for all your hard work! My stress levels are down 75% and I have even made a small profit in the short time I've been here
I am an Economist at Harvard and some of my colleagues and I would like to let you know that we follow your posts on SA, and find your analysis refreshing, rigorous, and acute. Great work! Though many of us (including myself) have our work covered in the Wall St Journal, in many ways your macro commentary is more fearless and accurate than what is generally found in that venerable publication.
I've been trading/investing since the early 80's (my dad started me out young). I've had seven figure accounts (in the past) and I've done lots of trading, so I can say that I'm a well seasoned investor. Phil is the real deal. His trades make sense and his strategy is sound. He sees things that others miss and he's one of the best at finding price anomalies. When he makes a mistake, he has an exit strategy already planned. He hedges very well and he has an instict which tells him to go to cash or to be all in.
Phil, did you by chance publish the weekly webinar on Youtube yet? I have been watching these and they are awesome. Unfortunately, I can't cut out of work to attend live webinars. Again, they are just awesome content – thank you.
Phil, i wanted to thank you again for helping me protect future stock allocations at work - finally, i feel like i am owning my own destiny with stocks vs. letting the market dictate what you get – thanks again.
Phil, I don't know if I told you lately but you da man! I'm doing so much better following your guidelines. It's like you actually know what you are talking about. 8-) I've tried a lot of services and none of them are as comprehensive or honest AND successful. I appreciate all youz other guys/gals input as well…learning tons as a relative newbie to this game.
Sold the BG puts I got yesterday at $1.30 for $2 just now. Might be a little early, but I'm happy with that gain. Thanks Phil.
Phil - I'm with you just little bit longer than a month and you can not imagine how happy I am now, and not just because my P/L improved ( and I'm sure that it will be even better), but I found that the worst thing in trader's carrier is a LONELINESS. Here I found so many bright good guys, I looked for this service for years.
THANK YOU AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF BECAUSE I PLAN TO STAY HERE AND RIDE THIS CREASY MARKET WITH YOU FOR ANOTHER 20-30 YEARS
Hey Phil -- I want to thank you every chance I get for helping me to grow my previous portfolio to being profitable enough to pay off some debts my family had and left me with $1,000 left to use in the markets. You should know that your premium membership is amazing on many levels, You and your readers offer a ton of economic and statistical analysis that I was able to use in my clerical level job in finance. It's a shame that someone as talented and honest as you is not on television each night providing a true service to the investing public and not the clowns and hucksters that are talking up their books to dump on retail investors. Sorry for the long post. I had to say something to you that I never thought I would have the opportunity to. You helped put my family in an almost debt-free life through the stock and option plays that I made during my time as a customer of your service and that has made us very happy. You are a good man and I wish you and your family many years of joy and happiness. I wish I could do ads for you!
GOOG, NFLX and AAPL all bought last hour Friday. Sold into the excitement the first hour today for an average of 15% on the options. And lots of them. Thanks again Phil for teaching me so well.
Thanks Phil, your note at the close was responsible for making those silly GOOG sellers pay for my NYC sojourn, nice!!
Excellent analysis by Jesse covering a number of items, including Robert Prechter’s successes and failures, the contraction in credit, gold, the Federal Reserve, the financial elite, and the sad truth that America’s dominant industry is financial fraud. - Ilene
First, Richard Russell does not ‘slam’ Prechter because he is a gentleman and doesn’t really ‘slam’ anyone. Fights between pundits can be fun in a voyeuristic way, but they are largely unproductive and generally used as a means of gaining attention, and providing distraction from what really matters, in the manner of panem et circenses. And sometimes people use provocative headlines to garner interest as well, in the manner of the New York Post and Daily News.
What Russell is saying is that Prechter is wrong in his interpretation of how deflation will play out, and what the endgame will look like. And he is saying almost the same thing that others, including Eric Janszen and myself, have been saying for quite some time, but in a slightly different ways.
Second, what Bob Prechter does not realize is that a contraction in credit does not imply a one for one decrease in ‘money’ just as an increase in credit these days does not result in a one for one increase in money. That is because credit is not money, it is the potential for money. Why more people don’t get that is beyond me. They trumpet the diminishing returns of money production for each marginal dollar of credit, but they don’t admit that this credit is vaporous, and as it dissipates it does not reduce money supply one for one either.
Third, and probably most importantly of all, even as the credit contracts, and the money supply contracts at some lesser rate as show in the money supply figures, the ‘basis of value’ of the money is also contracting. Since the US dollar is not based on gold, we have to look at what is providing the basis of its value. And what are those things, and what is happening to THEIR value.
And finally, there is a huge overhang of eurodollars out there, that are largely parked in Treasuries mostly of a moderate duration of three to ten years. By buying the Three and Ten year notes the Fed is ‘monetizing them’ and taking…
Could the world economy be headed for a depression in 2011?
As inconceivable as that may seem to a lot of people, the truth is that top economists and governmental authorities all over the globe say that the economic warning signs are there and that we need to start paying attention to them. The two primary ingredients for a depression are debt and fear, and the reality is that we have both of them in abundance in the financial world today.
In response to the global financial meltdown of 2007 and 2008, governments around the world spent unprecedented amounts of money and got into a ton of debt. All of that spending did help bail out the global banking system, but now that an increasing number of governments around the world are in need of bailouts themselves, what is going to happen? We have already seen the fear that is generated when one small little nation like Greece even hints at defaulting. When it becomes apparent that quite a few governments around the globe cannot handle their debt burdens, what kind of shockwave is that going to send through financial markets?
The truth is that we are facing the greatest sovereign debt crisis in modern history. There is no way out of this financial mess that does not include a significant amount of economic pain.
When you add mountains of debt to paralyzing fear to strict austerity measures, what do you get?
The end of Keynesianism? Yes, I think we’re seeing it now. Fed Chief Bernanke in his writing blamed the Great Depression on the Fed for shrinking the money supply. In fact, Bernanke even apologized on the part of the Fed for “causing the Great Depression.” Bernanke, wrote a famous piece explaining to “us know-nothings” that the Fed has a magic instrument, it was the ability to print money, and, if necessary, to drop this Fed-created money to the American people from helicopters. With his magic power, concluded Ben, there was no way the US could slide into another Great Depression.
It was great and comforting concept, but it didn’t work. After leaving rates at zero, printing over two trillion “dollars” and backing billions of dollars in stimulus plans, unemployment remains high, housing stays in the dumps and the national debt has sky-rocketed beyond all reckoning.
The spending plans of the Obama administration and the expansion of money by the Fed has left the US in worse shape than ever. Unemployment is still high, and the US has taken its place along with Greece and Portugal as another “half-broke banana republic.”
How did this horror story befall the once “greatest nation on earth” and the one-time “Arsenal of Democracy?” If a house is built on sandstone and with rotten timber it’s not a question of whether that house will fall apart — it’s a question of WHEN. Ever since the end of World War II, Americans have been enjoying the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen. How did we do it? Was it hard work, sweat, original thinking, risk-taking or pure luck? Hardly any of those, it was through borrowing and creating a gigantic house-of-cards. The cards were the newly-created bits of paper that we call dollars (actually, they are Federal Reserve notes backed by nothing).
Without its abilities to create fiat money, the US could never have built its “house-of-cards economy.” Without the insidious Fed, the US would never have had the ability to create trillions of unbacked Fed notes.
I’ve insisted all along that the US should have allowed the primary bear forces to fully express themselves, as they inevitably will do anyway. But in its arrogance and ignorance, the administration decided that they could halt or sidestep a
Richard Russell has been very vocally bearish of late. He’s not the only notable investor who has turned increasingly bearish in recent months. Currently, Russell believes we are in the “dead zone” – a sort of no man’s land for the market where we could potentially meander for a while, attempt to regain our footing and then get knocked flat on our backs:
“We’re in the area that I call the “dead zone.” I’ve been here before, and it’s not easy to write in the dead zone. The dead zone tends to appear after a period of dramatic and clearly-defined action. After such periods the market will often act like an exhausted prize fighter who has been knocked down to the canvas. He gets to his feet, but he is unsteady on his feet, and he’s playing for time — until his head clears. He’s fending off the other fighter as best he can, and he’s depending on his experience. Will he make it to the end of the round? But what kind of shape is he in for the next round?
To be more specific, the last significant low for the Dow was recorded on June 7 at 9816, Transports 4038. I want to watch these two points for indications of further strength or weakness.
The Lowry’s figures are important at this juncture. Their Selling Pressure Index at 707 is 462 points above their Buying Power Index which stands at 245. Thus Selling Pressure is in the dominant position, which suggests that the market should work sharply lower at the drop of a dime.”
Nothing would derail the Fed’s great reflation/recovery experiment like higher interest rates. Several notable investors including David Einhorn (see Einhorn’s thoughts here) and Julian Robertson (see Robertson’s thoughts here), have expressed their concerns over the potential for higher interest rates. The great Richard Russell of the Dow Theory Letters has long feared a spike in interest rates. In a recent note he explained that the end of quantitative easing has bond investors worried over the future of interest rates. Russell believes higher rates are the next big move in the bond market:
“Older subscribers may remember that I said that the Fed could continue its “quantitative easing” (printing money) until the bond market says it can’t. Below is a daily chart of the 30-year Treasury bond. The bond market doesn’t like what it sees. I view the pattern on this chart as a huge, down-slanting head-and-shoulder top with the bond sitting right on support. The bond appears weak, and if support is violated, interest rates will be heading higher. And that’s the last thing the Fed wants at this time.”
“I know of only one rule that always holds true for the stock market. The market will advance to a state of overvaluation and over-enthusiasm, and this will usually identify a top. The top is followed by a long road to a state of over-pessimism and undervaluation and this will identify a bottom. We call the extended and winding travels between these two — bull and bear markets. Most unusual is the investor who can stay invested for the full length of a bull market or the investor who will remain OUT for the full length of a bear market.
Why so? It’s because of greed that investors won’t stay out of a bear market. And it’s because of fear that an investor won’t stay in during the full length of a bull market. I’ve often likened the stock market to a living animal. It’s an animal that is scheming and fighting to part us from our money. It’s been said that never has anything invented by man been so frustrating to man as the stock market.
The remarkable thing about the stock market is that it contains the sum total of what everybody knows about absolutely everything. It’s been said the “everybody knows more than any one person.” And that’s what I find so fascinating about the stock market. The combined wisdom of hundreds of millions of people are reflected in the action of the stock market every minute and hour of each session.
The trick is to interpret the action of the market and what the action is telling us. I’ve searched for 50 years trying to find that “pot of gold,” and as far as I know, nobody has ever succeeded. It’s the eternal mystery, it’s the everlasting puzzle. The day that some genius fully understands and beats the market, that day the market will cease to exist.
I note that most analysts are now bullish, and that they are recommending stocks for the “continuing advance.” At the same time, most economists are optimistic, arguing that the “longest
Russell continues to believe we are in a secular bear market and currently believes we could be in a topping process preceding a “vicious” downturn:
I haven’t liked the stock market. I can’t tell with any certainty at this time, but this bear market rally could be in the process of topping out. If it is, I think we’re in for a vicious collapse. Remember, rallies in a primary bear market are movements against the main force or tide of the market. In other words, during a rally, the bear forces have been held back. When a bear market rally breaks up, the market tends to make up for lost time. That means the declines tend to be rapid, violent and vicious. As I said, I can’t tell with certainty whether the advance from the March low is breathing its last. But if it is — watch out; it’s not going to be pretty.
Perhaps scariest facet of another potential leg down is the ramifications with regards to government and monetary policy. Russell believes a substantial downturn below the March lows would mean the Fed policy has completely failed:
By the way, IF the advance from the March low is topping out, here are the implications. It would mean that all the Fed’s machinations and efforts to halt the deflation have gone to waste. Furthermore, if the March lows are violated (and nobody believes they will be) we will probably be in the final and most costly and frightening leg of this bear market.
While I agree with Russell that we are in the middle of a secular de-leveraging bear, I have a more difficult time believing that the market is about to revisit…
There are a number of items favoring higher gold now.
(1) Interest rates are at zero, which means the “opportunity cost” of owning gold now is highly favorable. You sacrifice no yield in owning gold vs. Treasury bills. T-bills pay you nothing, so you might as well have your money in gold.
(2) The Bernanke Fed will evidently stop at nothing in its all-out attempt to “jump start” the wobbly US economy. This means spending and building debt at a never-seen-before rate. This will result in inflation. The Fed can create fiat money — any quantity at will, but it cannot direct where that money will go. So far, the money is not going into the economy, banks remain reluctant to lend and consumers are reluctant to spend. The newly-created money has been going into bank reserves and into the stock market. Stocks have been rising on an ocean of liquidity. The sinking dollar has been a huge help to the big Dow-type stocks which benefit from their ability to export. This is resulting in world-wide central bank inflation as the banks seek to devalue their money in an effort to keep the dollar strong.
(3) The world’s central banks are now seeking to protect themselves from a falling dollar by buying gold. After years of selling gold, ironically, the central banks are now buying gold. In today’s WSJ we see the headline, “Central Banks Join A New Gold Rush.” Russell Comment — This is indeed ironic. In swapping their own paper for gold, many central banks are admitting that gold is superior to the very paper they are creating out of thin air.
(4) Many nations are now seeking to boost the ratio of gold to paper in their reserves. The US has the largest ratio of gold to junk fiat paper, 77.4%. But the US stupidly only places the value of our gold at $42.22 an ounce. If the US marked our gold to market, it would be a tremendous help to our government’s balance sheet. But the US prefers to live in a fantasy world where gold is worth less than $50 an ounce!
Richard Russell is better than fine wine. His thoughts, as always, are excellent. Investors interested in his daily missives would be wise to investigate his website:
There are two ways to view the stock market’s advance from the March lows. One way is to assume that the stock market, despite an awful lot of negative news, is discounting better times ahead. This is the usual way of viewing a steady stock market advance, and it is undoubtedly the way most bulls are thinking.
The other way to view the advance from the March low is that this is the normal and expected recovery following a semi-crash in the stock market. I consider the 2007 to 2009 collapse a semi-crash. The automatic recovery following a crash is the single surest action in the market. Normally following a crash, the market will recoup one-third to two-thirds of the territory lost during the crash. The Dow would have to advance to the 10300 area to recover just half its 2007 to 2009 loses.
Meanwhile, we are facing an extraordinary situation in US finances. Wall Street, or I should say, the Federal Reserve, has bailed out Wall Street banks and entities that were considered “too big to fail.” The actual and potential costs of the financial bailout put US taxpayers on the hook for $17.8 trillion (that’s trillion), which is more than the entire annual gross domestic product of the US.
In 1990 the 20 largest companies in the nation controlled 12% of US financial assets. Today the 20 largest companies control more than 70% of US financial assets. Many of these include corporations that have been deemed “to big to fail.” The Russell comment is “if they’re too big to fail, then they’re too big to exist.” In a true capitalist (not socialist) economy, if you fail you fail and you’re bankrupt. You just haven’t made the “grade.” If any business is so reckless and so ignorant of risk that it goes broke, then damn it — let it go under. And let its CEO and board be accountable. But that’s hardly what’s happening in the US today.
While the run of Americans are struggling with their economic lives, the big bankers are back…
Never a disappointing read – Russell has never lost site of the big picture despite the rapid short-term gyrations in the market. If you’re not a subscriber of the Dow Theory Newsletters I highly recommend it:
Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
I want to include a few paragraphs from a most important article by the brilliant Niall Ferguson, author of “The Ascent of Money, A Financial History of the world.” Ferguson’s article is about the coming “divorce” between the US and China. I believe the future of the world will revolve around the relationship of US and China. The Ferguson article appeared in Newsweek magazine (Aug. 21) and is entitled, “Chimerica Is Headed For Divorce.” And I quote –
“Let’s look at the numbers. China’s holding of US Treasuries rose to $801.5 billion in May, an increase of 5% from the $763.5 billion in April. Call it $40 billion a month. And let’s imagine the Chinese do that every month through this fiscal year. That would be a credit line to the US government of $480 billion. Given that the total US deficit is forecast to be about $2 trillion, that means the Chinese may finance less than a quarter of total Federal-government borrowing — whereas a few years ago they were financing virtually the whole deficit.
“The trouble is that the Chinese clearly feel they have enough US government bonds. Their great anxiety is that the Obama administration’s very lax fiscal policy, plus the Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing (in laymen’s terms, printing money) are going to cause one of two things to happen: the price of US bonds could fall and/or the purchasing power of the dollar could fall. Either way, the Chinese lose. Their current strategy is to shift their purchases to the short end of the yield curve, buying Treasury bills instead of 10-year bonds. But that doesn’t address the currency risk. In a best-selling book titled Currency Wars, Chinese economist Song
Before I give an explanation, let’s be sure we all know what an explanation is. An explanation is not a justification. The collapse of education in the US is so severe that many Americans, especially younger ones, cannot tell the difference between an explanation and a defense, justification, or apology for what they regard as a guilty person or party. If an explanation is not damning or sufficiently damning of what they want damned, the explanation is interpreted as an excu...
"This whole 'red scare' thing has become so thoroughly ridiculous, so blatantly propagandist and overblown, so pervasively passed around by mainstream media outlets without serious investigation, so obviously picked up off a shelf in ad hoc convenience, and so completely hypocritical by the professional elite, that I am tempted to write it off and forget about it. But I should probably be deeply troubled for other reasons.
It is a sign of the establishment going further off the deep end, and further dropping its pretenses. It is a sign of...
OPEC agrees to cut output. Oil jumps, stocks rise, gold falls. The political focus shifts to upcoming Italian, French and Austrian elections, all of which could go against the establishment. India’s war on cash may turn into war on gold. Political class still searching for an explanation (see “Best of the Web”). Trump’s cabinet takes shape, with mostly old and a few new faces.
Internet troubles have limited me tonight, but the one chart I want to show is the near 5% loss in the Semiconductor Index. Having escaped relatively unscathed from recent day's selling it was a whirlwind of action for the index today.
This had obvious consequences on the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq did relatively well to suffer just over a 1% loss. However, there were 'sell' triggers for On-Balance-Volume and Directional Index. There was also an acceleration in the relative underperformance of the index to the S&P.
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Last Thursday we reported that in a startling development seeking to breach the privacy veil of users of America's largest bitcoin exchange, the IRS filed court papers seeking a judicial order to serve a so-called “John Doe” summons on the San Francisco-based Bitcoin platform Coinbase.
The government’s request is part of a bitcoin tax-evasion probe, and se...
There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.
Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...
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Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer. One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."
Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.
Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.' Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color). Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...
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