Archive for 2009

Hotels Feel the Pain of a Glut of Empty Rooms and Lower Room Rates

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Hotels Feel the Pain of a Glut of Empty Rooms and Lower Room Rates

Resort in ArizonaCourtesy of Mish

Hotels are slashing rates to attract customers. However, it’s not working and Resorts are Suffering From Financial Strains. From Arizona Central …

A glut of empty rooms and panic pricing are taking a serious toll on hotel and resort owners in the Phoenix area.

Foreclosure proceedings were initiated against seven financially squeezed properties, two of them brand new, in the first half of the year. That’s just one less than in all of 2008 and more than double the number in 2007, according to Ion Data, a Mesa real-estate research firm.

There are other signs of financial stress, too, including major liens filed against resorts that recently expanded or renovated, and big projects being put on hold, some midstream.

The worst part: Many experts say the foreclosure woes are likely in the early stages given the volume of big-ticket deals during the boom years, the severity of the hotel downturn in Greater Phoenix and few signs business will solidly rebound anytime soon.

"This is probably still the tip of the iceberg," said Robert Hayward, principal with the Phoenix hospitality consulting and research firm Warnick & Co.

Metro Phoenix, usually a magnet for vacationers and big meetings, continues to post some of the industry’s biggest declines in occupancy, average daily rate and other measures, with many at the lowest levels on record, according to Smith Travel Research.

Preliminary figures show June occupancy was about 45 percent, nearly 10 percentage points, or 17 percent, below June 2008, when occupancy was already hurting. Most are calling it an industry depression, rather than recession.

Richard Warnick of Warnick & Co. said he’d be surprised if nearly all hotels and resorts, here and across the country, weren’t in technical default on their loans, falling below required minimums on debt service coverage, for example, given the sad state of travel. That is often a precursor to more serious financial problems that prompt lenders to foreclose.

Nationally, the number of delinquent hotel loans has been climbing sharply since the recession deepened last fall. The delinquency rate jumped from 0.3 percent of so-called hotel commercial mortgage-backed securities loans in September to 2.8 percent in May, according to Realpoint data provided by real-estate


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Is A Case Of Quant Trading Sabotage About To Destroy Goldman Sachs

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Is A Case Of Quant Trading Sabotage About To Destroy Goldman Sachs?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

Major developing story: Matt Goldstein over at Reuters may have just broken a story that could spell doom if not [for] the entire Goldman Sachs program trading group, then at least those who deal with "low latency (microseconds) event-driven market data processing, strategy, and order submissions." Visions of swirling, gray storm clouds over Goldman’s SLP and hi-fi traders begin to form.

Back-up: This week’s NYSE Program Trading report was very odd: not only because program trading hit 48.6% of all NYSE trading, a record high at least since the NYSE has kept tabs on this data, and a datapoint which in itself was startling enough to cause some serious red flags as I jaunt from village to village in what little is left of Europe’s bison country, but what was shocking was the disappearance of the #1 mainstay of complete trading domination (i.e., Goldman Sachs) from not just the aforementioned #1 spot, but the entire complete list. In other words: Goldman went from 1st to N/A in one week.

Even more odd, this "disappearance" comes hot on the heels of what Zero Hedge reported could be potentially a major change to the way the NYSE provides its weekly program trading report. Of course, Ray over at the NYSE immediately replied to Zero Hedge that all was going to be same as always … Odd, maybe he meant that all is back to normal except the reporting of Goldman’s trades. Either way, it might very well be time for proactive readers to again contact the two employees publicly disclosed by the NYSE as lead-contacts on the issue.  Readers will recall that it was these same two who were previously steadfastly assuring anyone who would listen that there would be no change at all in data reporting.

Robert Airo, Senior Vice President, NYSE Euronext at (212) 656-5663 or
Aleksandra Radakovic, Vice President, NYSE Regulation at (212) 656-4144

Alas, the just released weekly data proves that either theirs was a material misrepresentation of facts, or Goldman simply suddenly decided to stop transacting with the


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A Goldman trading scandal?

Wow, interesting, h/t to Econompic. Goldman Sach's secrets

A Goldman trading scandal?

Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on Reuters Blogs.

Did someone try to steal Goldman Sachs’ secret sauce?

While most in the US were celebrating the 4th of July, a Russian immigrant living in New Jersey was being held on federal charges of stealing top-secret computer trading codes from a major New York-based financial institution—that sources say is none other than Goldman Sachs.

The allegations, if true, are big news because the codes the accused man, Sergey Aleynikov, tried to steal is the secret code to unlocking Goldman’s automated stocks and commodities trading businesses. Federal authorities allege the computer codes and related-trading files that Aleynikov uploaded to a German-based website help this major “financial institution” generate millions of dollars in profits each year.

The platform is one of the things that apparently gives Goldman a leg-up over the competition when it comes to rapid-fire trading of stocks and commodities. Federal authorities say the platform quickly processes rapid developments in the markets and uses top secret mathematical formulas to allow the firm to make highly-profitable automated trades.

The criminal case has the potential to shed a light on the inner workings of an important profit center for Goldman and other Wall Street firms. The federal charges also raise serious questions about the safeguards Wall Street firms deploy to protect their proprietary trading systems.

The criminal case began to unfold on the evening of July 3 when Aleynikov was arrested by FBI agents at Newark Liberty Airport, after returning from Chicago. Aleynikov had just started a job with another firm in Chicago, after leaving the big firm in NY in early June. It appears the financial institution allegedly victimized by Aleynikov had alerted federal authorities that its former employee might be up to no good.

On July 4, Aleynikov was processed on a “theft of trade secrets” charge in a criminal complaint that was filed in federal court in Manhattan. As of this afternoon, he was still being held in federal custody pending posting of bail…

The bio information for Aleynikov on LinkedIn says he joined Goldman in May 2007 and was vice president for equity strategy. The bio says he was responsible for “development of a distributed real-time


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It’s Time For A Market In Human Organs

I’ve added a few comments at the end, relying on old information, but from the content of this article, there’s been no improvement in the situation in the last 15 years.  Thanks to Joe for bringing up this important topic! – Ilene

It’s Time For A Market In Human Organs

Apple CEO Steve Jobs (400x300)Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at ClusterStock

The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby writes that the Steve Jobs liver transplant, and the fact that he may have put his name on the list of several states in order to ensure maximum odds of getting a liver, is a reminder of how horribly broken and dysfunctional this current system is.

What we need is a market mechanism to compensate and encourage organ donors:

No one would dream of suggesting that medical care is too vital or sacred to be treated as a commodity, or to be bought and sold like any other service. If the law prohibited any “valuable consideration’’ for healing the sick, the result would be far fewer doctors and far more sickness and death.

The result of our misguided altruism-only organ donation system is much the same: too few organs and too much death. More than 100,000 Americans are currently on the national organ waiting list. Last year, 28,000 transplants were performed, but 49,000 new patients were added to the queue. As the list grows longer, the wait grows deadlier, and the shortage of available organs grows more acute. Last year, 6,600 people died while awaiting the kidney or liver or heart that could have kept them alive. Another 18 people will die today. And another 18 tomorrow. And another 18 every day, until Congress fixes the law that causes so many valuable organs to be wasted, and so many lives to be needlessly lost.

The fact that we have so many people waiting for kidneys, waiting on expensive and painful dialysis, is proof of how bad the system is, since healthy people don’t need two kidneys, and since having only one kidney doesn’t increase your own odds of getting sick (kidney failure strikes both at the same time, typically).

Rather than delve into all the details of how it would work in practice, let’s just consider some common objections to organ markets, and why they’re all so


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Cap and Trade and the Illusion of the New Green Economy

Here’s Roy Spencer’s article on the Cap and Trade energy plan that Mish recommended as an excellent read.

Cap and Trade and the Illusion of the New Green Economy

The Earth seen from Apollo 17Courtesy of Roy W. Spencer, at Roy Spencer’s Global Warming Blog

I don’t think Al Gore in his wildest dreams could have imagined how successful the “climate crisis” movement would become. It is probably safe to assume that this success is not so much the result of Gore’s charisma as it is humanity’s spiritual need to be involved in something transcendent – like saving the Earth.

After all, who wouldn’t want to Save the Earth? I certainly would. If I really believed that manmade global warming was a serious threat to life on Earth, I would be actively campaigning to ‘fix’ the problem.

But there are two practical problems with the theory of anthropogenic global warming: (1) global warming is (or at least was) likely to be a mostly natural process; and (2) even if global warming is manmade, it will be immensely difficult to avoid further warming without new energy technologies that do not currently exist.

On the first point, since the scientific evidence against global warming being anthropogenic is what most of the rest of this website is about, I won’t repeat it here. But on the second point…what if the alarmists are correct? What if humanity’s burning of fossil fuels really is causing global warming? What is the best path to follow to fix the problem?

Cap-and-Trade

The most popular solution today is carbon cap-and-trade legislation. The European Union has hands-on experience with cap-and-trade over the last couple of years, and it isn’t pretty. Over there it is called their Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Here in the U.S., the House of Representatives last Friday narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey bill. The Senate plans on taking up the bill as early as the fall of 2009.

Under cap-and-trade, the government institutes “caps” on how much carbon dioxide can be emitted, and then allows companies to “trade” carbon credits so that the market rewards those companies that find ways to produce less CO2. If a company ends up having more credits than they need, they can then sell those credits to other companies.

While it’s advertised as a “market-based” approach to pollution reduction, it really isn’t since the market did not freely choose cap-and-trade…it was imposed upon…
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Biden: We Blew It On The Economy

Biden: We Blew It On The Economy

obamahalt tbi, Obama

Courtesy of Henry Blodget at ClusterStock

Joe Biden told "This Week" that the Obama administration "misread how bad the economy was." 

He also the administration made this mistake because they just looked at the consensus forecasts at the time…and they proved to be wrong.

If the latter is true, the administration deserves the crap it has been getting.  In the months leading up to Obama’s inauguration, the economy fell off a cliff.  The credit markets seized up.  Several major investment banks went bust.  The Fed and Treasury talked of an apocalypse.  Everywhere you looked, you heard one analyst after another saying the country was plunging toward another Great Depression.

Joe BidenIf anything, the economy since the inauguration has been better than many analysts feared.  So this "we didn’t get it" sounds like revisionist history to us. 

More likely, in our opinon, the administration concluded that it would never get its huge spending increases passed if its projections reflected the "most likely" scenario for the economy.  And so it produced the economic forecasts (growth, stress tests, jobs, etc) that have begun to destroy Obama’s credibility on this critical issue.

Regardless of the thinking behind the over-optimism, Obama has made a serious error here.  Recovering from financial disasters like this usually takes years--and it likely will this time, too, regardless of what Obama does. 

Above all else on the economy, Obama had to under-promise and over-deliver.  By promising a relatively swift recovery, he has set himself up for failure.  If the economy does recover, he’ll be fine, but if it doesn’t (which seems more likely), he will increasingly be blamed for failing to fix it.  And given the singular importance of this issue to most Americans right now, it is hard to see how his presidency will survive that.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said the Obama administration "misread how bad the economy was" but stands by its stimulus package and believes the plan will create more jobs as the pace of its spending picks up.

Biden, in an interview airing Sunday on TV network ABC’s "This Week," said the nation’s 9.5 percent unemployment rate is "much too high."

"The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip


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DAVID TICE ISN’T JUST BEARISH

DAVID TICE ISN’T JUST BEARISH

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

This guy  is calling for all out armageddon.  Not completely rational in my opinion, but worth listening to nonetheless:

 

 


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How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

Courtesy of Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario

How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

banks alienating peopleThe banking industry is exceeding all expectations.  The biggest players are raking in profits and planning much higher compensation so far this year, on the back of increased market share (wouldn’t you like two of your major competitors to go out of business?).  And banks in general are managing to project widely a completely negative attitude towards all attempts to protect consumers.

This is a dangerous combination for the industry, yet it is not being handled well.  Just look at the current strategy of the American Bankers’ Association.

Edward L. Yingling is justifiably proud of his organization’s postion as one of the country’s most powerful lobbies

His testimony to Congress on the potential new Consumer Financial Protection Agency plainly shows where his group stands.  The most revealing quote, highlighted in the ABA’s own press release, reads:

“It is now widely understood that the current economic situation originated primarily in the largely unregulated non-bank sector,” he said. “Banks watched as mortgage brokers and others made loans to consumers that a good banker just would not make and they now face the prospect of another burdensome layer of regulation aimed primarily at their less-regulated or unregulated competitors. It is simply unfair to inflict another burden on these banks that had nothing to do with the problems that were created.”

The premise here is false.  If major banks had really not been involved in the mortgage fiasco, we would not have had to roughly double our national debt-to-GDP in order to save the US and world economy.

Within the banking community, and presumably within the ABA’s membership, there is serious tension.  The small banks feel – overall with some justification – that the essence of the recent problem was not about them.  But they can’t bring themselves to suggest publicly that the economic and political power of the largest banks should be curtailed.

Small banks have always had clout in the American political system, particularly when they work through the Senate.  But we have not always had our current kind of crisis.  The executives of these banks lived comfortably in the 1950s and 1960s; their kind of banking was boring, stable, and nicely remunerated.

It is the changing nature and power of the largest financial institutions – banks of various kinds – that has damaged our
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RECORD STOCK SALES A BOON FOR INVESTMENT BANKS

RECORD STOCK SALES A BOON FOR INVESTMENT BANKS

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

As corporations pour stock on the investing public at a record pace the beneficiaries of this dilution are the underwriters.  The conspiracy theorists and Goldman Sachs lovers are going to hate this fact.  Oppenheimer is expecting record levels of secondary underwriting this quarter after mass dilutions.  Expect the I-banks to once again benefit from the public’s dilution and losses….

Bloomberg reports:

July 2 (Bloomberg) — “Equity underwriting returned in spades” during the second quarter and lifted earnings at U.S. investment banks, according to Chris Kotowski, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows U.S. underwriting amounted to $122.6 billion, a ninefold surge from the first quarter, by his estimate. The total was more than double the quarterly average since 2005, based on data from Dealogic that Kotowski cited today in a report.

Revenue from investment-banking fees probably climbed about 20 percent from the first quarter because of the pickup in stock sales, the report said. Bond underwriting was relatively stable after fees more than doubled in the first quarter, he added.

“Investors should skew their financial holdings toward investment banks,” he wrote. Returns on equity, a profitability gauge, are likely to return to normal much sooner at these firms than at most commercial banks, he added… [continue here].

secnds, stock sales benefit investment banks

 

Source:  Surging Stock Sales Benefit U.S. Investment Banks: Chart of Day, by David Wilson, Bloomberg

 


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The Oxen Group: Trading Results and Strategies

The Oxen Group:  Trading Results and Strategies 

stock tradingBy Ilene 

David, of The Oxen Group, has been giving us high-probability trade recommendations that have been a terrific addition to our trading strategies – simple stock selections, great for single day trades. If you haven’t been following, or wish to see David’s updated results, there’s a summary of results table below. As you can see, out of 23 trades, 20 were breakeven (two) or profitable (18), and only three ended in losses.
 
In our experience of a little over one month, we’ve identified a dynamic factor to keep in mind:  market moving news. News that can change the premise of a trade may come out between the time of David’s recommendation and the opening of the equity markets. This has occurred with TYH – the Direxion Daily Technology Bull ETF.  A similar situation occurred recently when the trade was an either-or trade, but a specific pre-condition changed. 
 
On the day of the TYH trade, in pre-market comments, Phil suggested passing on the trade due to news that came out prior to the opening. Phil wrote:  "Well I’m generally worried and David is bullish so that’s a "no play" to me.  Also, note that he took that position around midnight, when the Hang Seng and Nikkei still looked good and oil was pumped up to $73, all that collapsed with the World Bank report.  If we do hold our floor, then it can be a fun trade but I sure wouldn’t be jumping right into a 3x bull tech this morning."  In this case, TYH drifted down all day - the premise for the trade was over powered by the intervening World Bank report.
 
We will try to notify readers when we know of events prior to the open that may affect a pending trade idea.  However, even if you don’t see anything specific, remember that over-riding and unforeseeable market forces may come into play after David’s analysis.  
 
The second incident was last Thursday.  David’s premise didn’t change, but the number he was initially looking at was preempted by other numbers.  The jobs report was worse than expected, resulting in the actual trade being ERY (not ERX). 
 
While we work on ways to get information to traders quickly, please be sure to check The Oxen Group’s site for trading
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Phil's Favorites

Brexit identities: how Leave versus Remain replaced Conservative versus Labour affiliations of British voters

 

Brexit identities: how Leave versus Remain replaced Conservative versus Labour affiliations of British voters

Courtesy of Geoffrey Evans, University of Oxford and Florian Schaffner, University of Oxford

British politics was relatively stable in the post-war decades, and voters’ strong party loyalties were influenced by their place in society. More recently, there has been a marked decline in the number of people identifying with a political party, and in the strength of that attachment.

Now, our new research for a repor...



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Zero Hedge

Stocks Jump On Kudlow Denial: "There Is No Cancellation. None. Zero."

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"There are no cancellations. None. Zero. Let's put that to rest."

Hours after a headline from the FT about the US cancelling a round of trade talks with two senior Chinese ministers send stocks reeling to their lows of the day, the administration has dispatched Larry Kudlow (who apparently had to wait until 20 mins before the close thanks to CNBC's wall-to-wall Davos coverage) to jawbone the markets back into the green by...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P and Crude both testing key breakout levels!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The correlation between Crude Oil and the S&P 500 has been rather high over the last 100-days, as each looks to have peaked at the same time around the 1st of October at (1).

After peaking together in October, Crude fell over 40% and the S&P nearly declined 20%, with both bottoming on Christmas Eve at each (2).

Both have experienced counter-trend rallies since the lows, as Crude is up 23% and the S&P 13%.

These rallies have both testing dual resist...



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Insider Scoop

Cowen Suits Up With Nike, Looks To Outperform

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related NKE Consumer Discretionary Q4 Earnings: U.S. Consumer Appears Strong Amid Heightened Global Uncertainty Golf Equipmen...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 20, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

After entering the week quite overbought, indexes took a small retreat Monday before hurling back upwards.  This is typical of the “V” shaped moves up after any significant selloff, we’ve seen most of the past decade and watching them unfurl is quite amazing actually.  Thought maybe this time would be “different” but not so much.  So two week’s ago we asked “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problem in 1 speech?” – and thus far the market has answered resoundingly yes.  The word of the year thus far in 2019 is “patience” as that simple insert into a speech change the whole complexion of everything.

China has also been busy stimulating; on Tuesday:

An announcement from the People’s Bank of China that ...



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ValueWalk

Everyone Else Is Selling Stocks, So Is It Time To Buy?

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

After a difficult few trading days in the beginning of the year, U.S. stocks are bouncing back with meaningful gains on Monday following Friday’s strong rally. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq 100 were all up by more than half a percent by midday. It looks like investors could be taking advantage of the end-of-the-year declines, but is this a wise time to be buying?

Trying to time the bottom of the market will almost always be a fool’s errand, but one firm suggests equities could have much farther to fall before they hit bottom in 2019.

...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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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.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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