Thanks to Phil (again) for the lessons on the art of the roll, selling premium and hanging tight under fire (particularly in the first hour of trading-MADNESS). Watching you manage the $25KP has really helped my trading in a big way.
In options trading, one must remain flexible with the ability to adjust to take advantage of the unexpected moves in the market. It is like chess - spend most of your time strategizing the next move. A good understanding of options is necessary to change direction and make adjustments as the market moves against you. I have a friend that honed his option skills while a member of Phil's elite membership over a period of two years. With the education acquired, he made over $2 Mil in that period, trading options and following the plays put on by Phil. If making money is your goal, then he is the go-to guy, as he knows option strategies better than anyone, and market timing is also a skill he has mastered.
All I can say is — I understand that the Universe sent me to PSW for a reason. So, I'm listening!! …and studying. Your commentary is literally outstanding. …and your members are impressive as well.
Peace of mind / I have a portfolio mainly consisting of long term long calls, short term short calls and puts, and long term BCS. Three years, ago when I started my journey on this board I would be freaking out panicking as to what to do, as many of the short calls are ITM, Three years later (today) I look at the screen and serenely process the information. Three years ago, I inevitably made the wrong decisions which cost me a lot of money. Three years on I calmly roll the positions to whatever makes sense. No drama, no hair pulling, and a great cost saver. I guess they call that the power of education.
Thanks for you guidance – Your "student" will be passing on the McMuffins and having Lobster dinners tonight!
I have been very fortunate over the years as an investor. Last year was on of my best in terms of percentage gains. I have to attribute much of this success to my membership in PSW which gave me the best education available anywhere when it comes to the understanding of option trading , discipline and general trading strategies. I will be forever grateful to Phil and the many "highly skilled" traders that have offered their advice.
100KP dividend plays - FYI, I'm loving them...thanks, Phil!!! Including the $0.848/share dividend, I am up 100% on my $2.38 net entry on LYG...that's pretty cool!
Phil - I got your earlier trade a month or so ago on MSFT 2015 32/37 BCS, selling 2015 30 puts. Nice up 75% now!
BTW Phil, I wanted to relate a conversation I had with my business partner yesterday. I told him that I have been much more relaxed about my investments ever since I joined your site. It's funny how a 15-20% cushion does to your nerves. My returns have increased dramatically and my risk diminished. Many thanks for the guidance and patience. Good thing I am doing better financially as you might have increased my life expectancy as well!
Being on this board is better than successfully completing the Times crossword. Phil's panoply of comments manage to excite, illuminate, frustrate, exasperate, confuse, enlighten, outrage, invigorate and stupefy (and that's par for the morning session only!). But goddammit, it's addictive, informative and when it all goes right extremely profitable.
I would like to thank Phil and PSW crew for the insight and assistance (even the liberals).
In December I initiated long stock positions buying stock, writing calls and puts in AAPL, WFR and CHK (scaling in and out). Over the last week I have been trimming back my positions selling stock and taking out my callers and putters. I am now back to my initial 25% position that I started with in December. However this time, my cost basis on shares AAPL, WFR, and CHK is $0! With money to spare from those positions.
Phil, thanks for the webinar and options subject…I wasn't shown as attending but I was there for most of it. Your memory amazes me, your speed on the computer amazes me, your math skills blow me away. coke
Phil - It is nice being more discipline with my trading. Generally, I am out earlier than most, but my results, overall, are much better than they were when I was trying to squeeze 80 cups of lemonade out of one lemon! On the other side, I am learning the value of rolling and turning losses into non-losses or small gains. I so appreciate the time you have spent with me and others who have benefited greatly from your knowledge. Thank you!
Phil/Everyone here/Thank you - What everyone here with their insightful comments (including yourself) has helped me with is that I'm greatly increasing my ability to trade more psychologically neutral, although I've got a ways to go. Two years ago I'd wake up early and my heart would race if futures weren't pointing exactly how I wanted… I've noticed an exponential leap in my discipline skills especially over this past two weeks. The old me would have ran with that trade for profits without even asking. Now I know that there are ALWAYS more trades and that I have PLENTY of options to turn a bad trade even. Also, it's more logical and less emotionally draining which lets me focus my faculties on my wife, college, my job, and studying for the ol' Series 7. Would it be safe to say that one of the most important skills to develop is the ability to adjust? I'd love to get to the point where I can look at a bracket and know, for example, what I need to sell for cover in what month in order to get my desired results. Both COF and my past DMM venture have been excellent learning experiences. Thanks, everyone. I look forward to further lessons.
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
I have followed along with your commentary and alerts and have been flabbergasted at your quick analytical skills and your journalistic skills to explain it clearly. In a little over three weeks I have cleared almost 1000.00 dollars and got an intensive education at the same time. I would like to immediately upgrade my membership.
Cory Booker for President. :) . Thanks for all the good futures guidance Phil! Having one of my best months yet. Account is up 75% YTD!
There are a lot of us that have been here a long time and we all learn something everyday. Just keep asking questions, there are a lot of smart people here and they are willing to help and then of course, you have Phil.
Thanks Phil, your note at the close was responsible for making those silly GOOG sellers pay for my NYC sojourn, nice!!
I must add yet another paen to Phil's "cash and short" call, as my TZA shorts are past paying for Similac and Pampers and have now covered all doctors and Mt. Sinai hospital bills for young Charlotte, as TZA took the portfolio up 10%.
I would like to echo the sentiments of dclark41. Joining this site was the best thing I have ever done to aid my growth as a trader/investor. There are so many smart and experienced people here sharing their ideas that regardless what your investing style is you will learn something daily. Thank you and all the regular contributors for your generosity.
Phil: Thank You!
Scaling, Scaling, and Scaling… then patience, patience, patience I'm 2 to 1 short and even on a day the broad market is up I had my largest one day gain in years. The last 6 weeks in fact have been great. I really feel I've learned to use some tools that will enable me to deal with the turbulence ahead. Selling short calls is definitely my preferred approach. Even allowed me to play golf this afternoon while the premium melted away and shoot a career low round. I owe you man!
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.
Have not done my 10,000 hours, but a couple of years at PSW, and moved from fishing with a single line to owner of a commercial trawler (metaphorically speaking). Now I fish with many lines. It is amazing when you go over the same information time and time again, eventually it clicks. Like planting trees; being the house, 20% sale items, selling into the excitement. and patience. I just sold an AAPL Jan 12 340/390 BCS financed by the sales of Jan 12 275 Put. The trade was put on one year ago for a net credit and exited five minutes ago for a 49 dollar per contract profit. No point in waiting till opex to see what happens, and I will just sell 10 of those VLO puts to make myself net the round 50.
I no longer worry about opex coming as I have adjusted well in time for most positions that go against me. I still make some howlers (RIMM, TBT, TRGT) but I play the percentages and my winners outdistance my losers by many miles.
I would never be in this position if it were not for Phil. He is a treasure, pure and simple. The goose that lays the golden egg if we care to listen and practice. Phil, a mighty big thank you.
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.
Just closed out my V put for 50% in 24 hours thanks Phil!
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!
Phil, I was so impressed with the personal note in the comments that I went ahead and paid for a months trial of premium that I have been on the fence for awhile about. Just reading the comments makes me already glad for the purchase.
I want to thank you for the FREE LL trade. I This was the first spread trade for me and promised to join your service if I made money. I closed the spread last week and will be joining next week when we return home.
I want to thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. I've learned a lot (and still am) about your trading strategy, but also I see a man who truly cares about our country, America. Thank you.
The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions:
“Of course, we doubt if many public prescriptions are really intended to solve problems. People certainly believe they are when they propose them. But, like so much of what goes on in a public spectacle, its favorite slogans, too, are delusional – more in the nature of placebos than propositions. People repeat them like Hail Marys because it makes them feel better. Most of our beliefs about the economy – and everything else – are of this nature. They are forms of self medication, superstitious lip service we pay to the powers of the dark, like touching wood….or throwing salt over your shoulder. “Stocks for the long run,” “Globalization is good.” We repeat slogans to ourselves, because everyone else does. It is not so much bad luck we want to avoid as being on our own. Why it is that losing your life savings should be less painful if you have lost it in the company of one million other losers, we don’t know. But mankind is first of all a herd animal and fears nothing more than not being part of the herd.”
We have arrived at critical juncture in the ongoing financial crisis. Have the government actions of the last year successfully spurred the animal spirits of Americans, resulting in a self-sustaining recovery?
The Obama administration and most of the mainstream media would answer yes. GDP has been positive for the last four quarters. Consumer spending has increased in five consecutive months. Corporate profits have been relatively strong. The country has stopped losing jobs. The missing piece has been a housing recovery.
No need to worry. Famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) $15 billion man John Paulson has assured the world that house prices will rise 8% to 10% in 2011. His basis for this forecast is that California prices have rebounded 8% to 10% in the last year, and this recovery will spread to the rest of the nation.
Maybe Paulson has teamed up with his buddies at Goldman Sachs to develop a product that guarantees a housing recovery. I tend to not believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone associated with Wall Street, but let’s assess the facts and see if they point to an impressive housing recovery in 2011.
The man who has been right on housing for the last ten years has been Yale Professor Robert Shiller. His analysis of U.S. housing prices from 1890 until present, which he first published in 2005, unequivocally proved that we were in the midst of the greatest housing bubble in history. At the same time, David Lereah, the chief economist (shill) for the National Association of Realtors, was pronouncing it was the best time to buy. He published his masterpiece of market tops, Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? at the 2005 housing peak. He called a bottom in January 2007, and the NAR has continued to tell Americans it is the best time to buy for the last five years as prices have dropped 36% nationally.
Dr. Shiller continues to be the voice of reason when it comes to the housing market. He is doubtful that the recent “recovery” will continue:
“Recent polls show that economic forecasters are largely bullish about the housing market for the next year or two. But one wonders about the basis for such a positive forecast. Momentum may be on the forecasts’
Some really interesting thoughts by Robert Shiller on the psychology of the markets and how negative psychology is beginning to compound, creating a snowball effect. Mr. Shiller is increasingly concerned about the economic outlook and the potential that we are talking ourselves off the edge of the cliff:
Today’s chart of the day comes to us courtesy of Robert Shiller at Yale University. The following is Shiller’s famous inflation adjusted home price index. Interestingly, despite a 30%+ decline from peak to trough, housing prices are still more expensive than at any other point in the last 120 years when you exclude the recent bubble era. Some say housing prices have bottomed. Not unless it’s truly “different this time”.
The couple bought their first home in a modest suburb in the late 1970s for an undisclosed price, then bought a home in another suburb in 1980 for $96,000. In 1987 they sold that residence for $110,000 and bought another one for $135,000. They then sold that house for $400,000 in 2002 and bought their current home for a price "in the $600,000s" (realtor-speak for about $650,000). After peaking in value at the bubble top in 2005-06 at around $1,000,000, the home is now on the market for $637,000 ($600,000 + 6% commission).
To peek under the hood of the larger trends, I’ve laid out each buy/sell along with its inflation adjusted value in current dollars. As always, I use the BLS inflation calculator; though it reflects the flaws of the CPI calculation methodology, it is consistent.
1980 purchase: $96,000
in 2010 dollars: $252,000
1987 sale: $110,000
in 2010 dollars: $210,000
1987 purchase: $135,000
in 2010 dollars: $257,000
2002 sale: $400,000
in 2010 dollars: $482,000
2002 purchase: $650,000
in 2010 dollars: $783,000
2010 sale: (projected) $637,000
These inflation-adjusted "real" numbers are insightfully different from the nominal prices.
To place the 1980 valuations in proper context, we need to recall that the U.S. was suffering from sky-high inflation in the late 70s and extremely high rates of new household formation as the 78 millon Baby Boomers went out and bought houses. Those two factors created a housing boom, both in valuations and homes built.
It took $1.36 in 1980 to buy what $1 had bought a mere three years before in 1977. As people fled the stock market for tangible assets and Boomers started families, real estate soared (as did gold). While I don’t have the numbers for that house bought for $96,000 in 1980, anecdotally I can assure you that homes…
Some of the world’s smartest and dumbest economists have gathered in Davos, Switzerland to talk about the global banking system and how they’re all hoping that 2010 doesn’t turn out like 2008. CNBC’s Becky Quick grabbed Yale economist Robert Shiller for a quick chat.
Obviously, Shiller is one of the sharper tools in the economic shed, starting this interview by noting of his duller brethren: "The problem with a lot of economic theory is that they have not recognized what drives the economy." Sad, but true.
Relying on the valuation methodology made famous by Yale professor Robert Shiller, author of the prescient bestseller Irrational Exuberance, along with some analysis of his own, Doug Short, publisher of dshort.com, raises the question that many bulls seem to be ignoring (or avoiding): "Is the Stock Market Cheap?":
For a more precise view of how today’s P/E10 relates to the past, our chart includes horizontal bands to divide the monthly valuations into quintiles — five groups, each with 20% of the total. Ratios in the top 20% suggest a highly overvalued market, the bottom 20% a highly undervalued market. What can we learn from this analysis? Over the past several months, the decline from the all-time P/E10 high dramatically accelerated toward value territory, with the ratio dropping from the 1st to the upper 4th quintile in March. The price rebound since March has now put the ratio at the top of the 2nd quintile — quite expensive!
A more cautionary observation is that every time the P/E10 has fallen from the first to the fourth quintile, it has ultimately declined to the fifth quintile and bottomed in single digits. Based on the latest 10-year earnings average, to reach a P/E10 in the high single digits would require an S&P 500 price decline below 600. Of course, a happier alternative would be for corporate earnings to make a strong and prolonged surge. When might we see the P/E10 bottom? These secular declines have ranged in length from over 19 years to as few as three. The current decline is now nearing its tenth year.
I would add that the equity market’s low-valuation extremes were hit during what might be described as "turbulent times," including World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the stagflation of the late-1970s. Except for the most delusional of permabulls, it would be hard for anyone to argue that the unraveling that began more than two years ago doesn’t also fit that bill.
The owners of capital fared no better, with the nominal S&P500 stock price index down 20% for the decade. The dividends stockholders collected made up for some of that, but inflation took away even more.
Blue line: Nominal value of S&P500 stock index, January 1980 to December 2009. Red line: value as of January 2000. Data source: Robert Shiller.
One of the reasons stocks did so badly was that real earnings ended the decade 80% lower than they began. Even when you smooth out cyclical variations by taking a decade-long average as in the dashed blue line below, the downturn in earnings at the end of the decade is still pretty significant.
Green line: Real value (in 2009 dollars) of earnings on the S&P500, January 1980 to December 2009. Dashed blue line: arithmetic average of green line for the preceding 10 years. Data source: Robert Shiller.
But a bigger reason why stocks did so badly was the changed valuation of those earnings. Yale Professor Robert Shiller likes to summarize this by using decade-long averages of real earnings to calculate a price-earnings ratio. In January 2000, this cyclically adjusted P/E ratio was profoundly out of line with the average values we’d seen over the previous century. If you trust the tendency of this series to revert to its long-run average, it means that whenever the blue line is above the red, you should expect stock prices to grow at a slower rate than earnings. If you bought when the blue was as far above the red as it was in January 2000, then I hope there was something else you found to enjoy about the naughty aughts.
Cyclically adjusted P/E over the last century. Blue line: Ratio of real value (in 2009 dollars) of S&P composite index to the arithmetic average value of real earnings over
Always and everywhere the market timing argument resurfaces in multifarious forms. The idea is simple: sell high and buy low: what could be more obvious? Well, there’s a problem. It’s not necessarily insurmountable but it’s definitely a bit tricky.
You may need a time machine to implement the concept successfully.
The idea behind market timing is easy to state. Sell stocks when they’re high and buy them when they’re low. It’s the basic idea the lies behind all investment in stocks so it’s hard to see why anyone should object. The difficulty lies in the impossibility of implementing the technique accurately in the timescales generally envisaged. Which, to be precise, tends to mean any timescale you can envisage at all. Mostly we have no idea ahead of time whether any given stock has peaked or troughed. Most guesses – let’s not dignify these with the term “forecast” – turn out to be wrong.
Unfortunately the idea is seductive and apparently easy to implement, in hindsight. Looking back everything seems so obvious that the untrained human brain finds it almost impossible to believe that the future isn’t equally predictable.
Buy and Hold
A recent study from the CFA shows that markets go up twice as much as they go down. Their recommendation, if you have cash to invest, is to invest everything now: the research shows that this will maximise your returns over an investment lifetime.
However, this is a pretty unnerving suggestion: had you thrown your money into the market back in the middle of 2006 you’d be sitting on a very nasty loss. Of course, you’d have been appallingly unlucky to get your timing that wrong, but inevitably some people did and the fact that the odds were against them doing so will be no consolation. The alternative suggested by the authors is to feed your money into the markets gradually – averaging your costs. This is a form of insurance, ensuring that you don’t put all your cash in at the market top or, of course, the market bottom.
However, the research also shows that there’s a limit to the value of averaging. After eighteen months there’s no discernable benefit to spreading the timescale of your investments. The vast majority of the benefit comes
Robert Shiller of the infamous Case-Shiller index has a particularly interesting piece in the NYT. Instead of hammering on numbers he takes a look at the psychology of home buyers and sellers and why that might affect home prices for some time to come.
Shiller examines the behavioral biases that lead people to “irrationally” hold onto houses during a period or declining values. The concluding paragraphs are thought provoking:
For this reason, not all economists agree that home price declines are really predictable. Ray Fair, my colleague at Yale, for one, warns that any trend up or down may suddenly be reversed if there is an economic “regime change” — a shift big enough to make people change their thinking.
But market changes that big don’t occur every day. And when they do, there is a coordination problem: people won’t all change their views about homeownership at once. Some will focus on recent price declines, which may seem to belie any improvement in the economy, reinforcing negative attitudes about the housing market.
Even if there is a quick end to the recession, the housing market’s poor performance may linger. After the last home price boom, which ended about the time of the 1990-91 recession, home prices did not start moving upward, even incrementally, until 1997.
I say it’s thought provoking because when you look at the recent frenzy in the lower priced end of the housing markets it’s hard to come up with a theory that squares with Shiller’s ideas. Unless you are of the opinion that the drastic decline in prices constitutes an economic “regime change.” Certainly, there hasn’t been any fundamental shift at all in the general economy that has prevailed in this sudden shift from a buyers to sellers market. So what might be driving it?
The only plausible theory I can come up with is that the buyers perceived an exceptional opportunity to purchase housing at favorable prices. Did they do so on the assumption that prices were about to begin a march back? Is the meme that you can’t lose money long term buying real estate so firmly ingrained that no amount of empirical evidence to the contrary will diminish it or are they simply grabbing an opportunity to buy shelter?
The premise of this column is that Robert Shiller advanced our understanding of how stock investing works in a “revolutionary” (Shiller’s word) way in 1981 when he published research showing that valuations affect long-term returns. If that’s so, then risk is not static (as it would be if the market were efficient, as we once thought was proved by research done by Eugene Fama in the 1960s) but variable. Investors can dramatically reduce stock investing risk by practicing price discipline when buying stocks (going with higher stock allocations when prices are low than they go with when prices are high).
To say that this idea is controversial would be the understatement of the Century. The textbooks in this field assume market...
European, Asian stocks and S&P futures are all up again in early trading, a repeat of the Monday session, buoyed by a generally upbeat corporate earnings season, rising economic confidence and signs of improvement in the world’s biggest economies. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held near its highest level since March as fed fund futures prices Monday indicated there’s a 71 percent chance of a rate increase this year, up from 68 percent last week. The dollar rose after Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said it’s likely that interest rates will be...
U.S. natural gas futures slid the most since July, dragging shares of most major producers down as warmer-than-average weather in the Midwest prompted speculation that a mild winter will curtail demand for the heating fuel.
Hillary Clinton will be a one term President. The reason I say this is because I suspect that her economic plan will not be very stimulative and I think that four more years of weak economic growth will be intolerable. And the main driver of my thinking here is deeply rooted in Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Back in the late 90’s the US government ran a brief budget surplus. It was heralded as an act of “fiscal responsibility” at the time. Of course, when the economy tanked immediately following the surplus the government was driven back in the red as tax receipts cratered and automatic spending jumped.
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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.
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Historically, when strong bull markets have taken place, Banks go along for the ride. Since the summer of 2014, banks have under performed the broad market by around 12%, as the S&P is just a couple of percent from all-time highs. Are banks about to act healthier and put a smile on this sector, which could help the S&P breakout above the 2,150 level?
The good news... Waiting since 1945, after 71 years, the Chicago Cubs have a chance to win their first WS since 1908. The bad news... The Cubs face an Indian's team that has been waiting since 1948 to win a WS and last appeared in 1997.
CLE swept BOS, and took out TOR who had swept TEX, and has only lost ONE post season game. That being Game 4 ALCS at TO, yet, during that series, no Indians starting pitcher made it through more than six innings.
In fact, Trevor Bauer, only lasted two outs during his one start, leaving Merritt and the pen to bear the burden of over eight innings of baseball. Mid range reliever Merritt notched a victory in that game with ERA 1.80; WHIP 0.60 with 5 IP.
What does all that tell you? Oddly enough, without Carr...
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...
I was so pleased yesterday by the announcement that I have joined the Research team at GoldCore as it meant that I could finally start talking about it and was back in a role that lets me indulge in my passion by researching and geeking out on all things gold, silver and money.
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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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