Archive for January, 2010

77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP

My belief is the benefits of TARP and the entire alphabet soup of lending facilities was not as stated by Bernnake and Geithner, but rather to shift as much responsibility as quickly as possible on to the backs of taxpayers while trumping up nonsensical benefits of doing so. This was done to bail out the banks at any and all cost to the taxpayers. – Mish

77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP

Courtesy of Mish

Magnifying glass over US dollar bills

Inquiring minds are reading the SIGTARP Quarterly Report To Congress. The report is a massive 224 pages long. I will do my best to condense it down to the critical highlights involving Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, etc.

Let’s start with the SIGTARP mission, then the findings. 

Mission

SIGTARP’s mission is to advance economic stability by promoting the efficiency and effectiveness of TARP management, through transparency, through coordinated oversight, and through robust enforcement against those, whether inside or outside of Government, who waste, steal or abuse TARP funds.

Let’s dive into the 224 page report and see how well TARP, and the alphabet soup of lending facilities met their stated goals. 

On the positive side, there are clear signs that aspects of the financial system are far more stable than they were at the height of the crisis in the fall of 2008. Many large banks have once again been able to raise funds in the capital markets, and some institutions — including some that appeared to be on the verge of collapse — have recovered sufficiently to repay their TARP investments years earlier than most would have predicted. These repayments and the sales of the warrants associated with them have meant that Treasury (and thus the taxpayer) has turned a profit on some of the individual TARP investments; as a result of these repayments, among other positive developments, it now appears that the ultimate cost of TARP to the American taxpayer, while still substantial, might be significantly less than initially estimated.

Mish: The idea that there are "profits" is fictitious. It’s effectively praising making 10 cents on a dollar while not counting hundreds of $billions lost on AIG and Fannie Mae, and ignoring $300 billion worth of loan guarantees at Citigroup still in effect.

Moreover, the only reason banks…
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The Breakdown Of The American Employment Model

The Breakdown Of The American Employment Model

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What

FDR Via the Glittering Eye, I was directed to this post on the breakdown of the American employment model. It’s an inciteful piece of writing that’s going to leave you with a lot to think about. Here is the opening:

Here in the quiet precincts of the stately Mead manor in exclusive Queens, as the dew gently falls over the mist-shrouded lawns and the pigeons coo soothingly from the historic-landmarked eaves, it is sometimes hard to believe, but out there in the workaday world the long and graceful decay of the American social model is accelerating into a more rapid and dangerous decline.  The core institutions, ideas and expectations that shaped American life for the sixty years after the New Deal don’t work anymore, and the gaps between the social system we’ve inherited and the system we need today are becoming so wide that we can no longer paper them over or ignore them.

In the old system, both blue collar and white collar workers hold stable jobs, a professional career civil service administers a growing state, with living standards for all social classes steadily rising while the gaps between the classes remain fairly stable, and with an increasing ’social dividend’ being paid out in various forms: longer vacations, more and cheaper state-supported education, earlier retirement, shorter work weeks and so on.  Graduate from high school and you were pretty much guaranteed lifetime employment in a job that gave you a comfortable lower middle class lifestyle; graduate from college and you would be better paid and equally secure.

Life would just go on getting better.  From generation to generation we would live a life of incremental improvements — the details of life would keep getting better but the broad outlines of our society would stay the same.  The advanced industrial democracies of had in fact reached the ‘end of history’: this is what ‘developed’ human society looked like and there would be no more radical changes because the picture had fully developed.

Call


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A few thoughts on the Burlington acquisition

A few thoughts on the Burlington acquisition

Courtesy of Vitaliy Katsenelson at Contrarian Edge

warren buffettI have tremendous respect for Mr. Buffett.  But every word that comes out of his mouth should not be looked upon as prophecy, or the gospel truth.  I get a feeling that Buffett has been canonized into a value investor saint  – investors and the media worship the ground he walks on and the air he breathes.  The media are unable to get any critical quotes from his investors, and nobody wants to be caught disagreeing with the Oracle of Omaha – after all he’s been right more often than wrong – and so we only get positive puff pieces.  On the rare occasion when Berkshire Hathaway stock declines more than the market, you see an article asserting that “Buffett has lost his magic touch,” but these articles are usually followed by stellar performance by Berkshire.  Though Buffett deserves admiration – he is brilliant and likable and he has achieved incredible returns for his investors over the last half-century – he should not be canonized, and not everything he does or says is the ultimate truth.  

Most investors agree with Buffett’s criticism of Kraft’s decision to buy a fairly valued (or overvalued) Cadbury at 22 times earnings (over the past 15 years, its average price-to-earnings ratio has been 21), using Kraft’s undervalued stock.  Cadbury runs a global, noncyclical confectionary business that, if properly managed, should have a very high return on capital.  Buffett, a shareholder of Kraft, was very public about his dismay – he said he felt poorer when Cadbury accepted Kraft’s increased offer.  

 But though many agree with Mr. Buffett’s assessment of the Kraft/Cadbury deal, investors and media are completely ignoring Berkshire’s own, $30-billion-plus acquisition of a very cyclical, capital-intensive, not terrifically high-return-on-capital business – Burlington Northern.  A railroad for which Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire will lay out 18 times earnings (over last 15 years its average P/E was 15); and to make it even worse, part of the deal will be financed by issuing what Buffett recently called “cheap” Berkshire stock.  Burlington stock is not cheap, it is fairly priced at best, and likely overpriced.  Also, Buffett owning Burlington Northern will not make the railroad business any more valuable.  There is little value to be unlocked in this business, and Buffett will practice his usual hands-off approach. 

Though Mr.…
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What’s The End Game For A Long-Term Recession?

What’s The End Game For A Long-Term Recession?

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What

Henry Blodget has a good post with a couple of great graphs addressing the trends in federal revenues and expenditures. I’ll borrow the graphs and then offer a couple of comments:

US Government Spending Versus Revenue

debttogdp3.png

Now, those sorts of numbers have been published before in one form or another but these two do a good job of bringing home the reality we face. So, what are the implications?

Blodget suggests that we either spend a couple of decades paying back the debt and suffering the implications of living on less during that period or it ends in a debacle.

I tend to agree that in a rational world the first would be a likely outcome and the second would occur if the political class continues to ignore reality. I tend to think that all the talk of deficit reduction might well be a recognition within the hallowed halls of government that we have indeed reached a point at which our ability to float substantially more debt is going to be constrained. If that’s the case then one has to ask how do you sell this to the public without a wholesale restructuring of the division of spoils in the American society. In other words, how do you maintain the status quo while you ask most of the country to put aside promises upon which they’ve constructed their lives.

You see, you might well propose that we suffer for a couple of decades in order to put the fiscal house in order, but if you offer that solution then you have to deal with an unequal distribution of suffering. Right now, the burden has fallen more or less on the private sector. At the state level, government employees are starting to feel the pinch, so we’ll see how that plays out. At the federal level, it’s business as usual.

Spreading the pain is not something that politicians are likely to willingly undertake. If you don’t do so then you risk schisms within society that give rise to radical solutions that fundamentally change structures. Look at the results of recent elections, the rise of groups like the Tea Baggers and the apparent attractiveness of populist rhetoric to get a sense of the unease that exists.

You can talk


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Don’t Let The Correction Take Away Your Profits

Don’t Let The Correction Take Away Your Profits

Courtesy of David Grandey
All About Trends

After one of the strongest rallies in the history of the U.S. Stock Market, the market may finally be in the early stages of its first meaningful correction since the rally began last March.
 
Don’t let the correction take away your hard-earned profits again! 
 
If YOU continue to think the way YOU’VE always thought, YOU’LL continue to get the results YOU’VE always got.
If YOU are getting the results YOU want then continue to think the way YOU’VE always thought.
If YOU are not getting the results you want, Then YOU YOU YOU need to change YOUR thinking.

That all being said, welcome to the brave new world, the world where it’s ALL ABOUT YOU and taking control of YOUR future!

Its no secret that the markets have been vicious, especially to the conventional Wall St. Type of accounts. You know the ones we are talking about right? The ones where the battle cry/motto is:

Buy and hold. You can’t time the market. Invest for the long haul. Put your money in mutual funds where everyone gets paid except for YOU!
 

 

If you continue to do what you’ve done then you have no choice but to grin and bear it.

Managing or having your account managed in a Buy and Hope as the market goes so goes your account format IS NOT an option. Better learn how to trade, better learn how to hit and run. Better learn how to short stocks as you need to be able to make money when the market moves in either direction.  Trade your plan and plan your trades.

One of the common denominators with past bear market rallies is that near the end of them the talking heads started parading around saying the worst is over, that was the bottom, you gotta buy stocks, etc. Sound familiar?

Speaking of plans: Let’s say your portfolio is $50,000 and let’s say that your whole strategy is hit and run get your $500 a week and go. Now let’s say that you do two trades a month only using 50% of your acct. That’s 1,000.00 per month times 12 months equals $12,000 per year. Divided by $50,000 equals 24% after one year. Think the indexes…
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Clinton presses China over Iran nuke sanctions

Clinton presses China over Iran nuke sanctions

Courtesy of Mish

The war of rhetoric with China continues. Hillary Clinton is again battling China over China’s relationship with Iran. Please consider Clinton presses China over Iran nuke sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned China on Friday it risks diplomatic isolation and disruption to its energy supplies unless it helps keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Speaking in Paris, Clinton said she and others who support additional sanctions on Iran for refusing to prove it has peaceful nuclear intentions are lobbying China to back new U.N. penalties on the Iranian government.

The United States is the most visible leader in the new push for U.N. Security Council sanctions, and Clinton spent much of her time in Europe this week lobbying major powers whose support she needs to pass and enforce new economic penalties.

The risks of an Iranian bomb are manifold, Clinton said.

"It will produce an arms race," in the Persian Gulf, and Israel will feel its very existence threatened, Clinton said in response to a question from an audience member during a speech at a French military academy. "All of that is incredibly dangerous."

The United States has cautioned Israel publicly against a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s known nuclear facilities, arguing that such an attack would invite an arms race and retaliation.

China has traditionally resisted U.N. Security Council sanctions, saying they are counterproductive and harm efforts to persuade Iran to prove its claim that the nuclear program is peaceful.

The country most responsible for the "Arms Race" is the United States of America. US troops stationed all over the world are a destabilizing force.

We invaded Iraq without justification, blew Iraq to smithereens, and any country in region their right mind would not want that to happen to them.

Indeed, a strong argument can be made that Iran having a nuclear bomb would be a stabilizing force. If Iran could adequately protect itself, the US would think twice about invading.

One can argue this from many points of view, including China’s. China has everything to gain, both short and long term, from its policy of assisting Iran. Moreover, threats of "diplomatic isolation of China" are laughable. Think the world would go along with that? Heck, not even the US would.

Earlier today I commented on a huge


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The New Perspective

"At Davos, the Globalizers Are Gone," is an excellent article by Ian Bremmer, and in sharp contrast to another excellent article I posted yesterday by George F. Smith writing at Mises Daily, By the Way, Free Markets Are Free. I would submit that the ideals of a truly free market are an illusion because we do not have the political system and laws framed in such a way as to support a truly free market system. We cannot go straight to free market remedies because we cannot dispense with the need for a functional, non-corrupted, political and legal system – laws constraining freedom – to provide the framework in which a free market can operate.  And hence, "free" is not completely free and it can’t be. – Ilene

The New Perspective

Woman Standing on Globe Beach Ball

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at When Giants Fall

Say what you will, but one reason why globalization has had the traction it has up until recently, despite anecdotal and other evidence that it has not lived up to many of the promises of its proponents, is because of the support of the movers and the shakers. In America and elsewhere, corporate executives and other powerful interests have used their money and influence to ensure that policymakers were not swayed to move in a different direction. But the times are a-changin’. As foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer notes in a commentary for the Washington Post, "At Davos, the Globalizers Are Gone," some of the biggest supporters of unfettered cross-border trade and free markets, no doubt shaken by the events of the past two years, seem to have lost their mojo.

For 40 years there’s been a consensus view at the Davos World Economic Forum that globalization’s increasingly free cross-border flow of ideas, information, people, money, goods and services is both irreversible and a powerful force for prosperity. As with meetings of the G7 group of industrialized nations, there was broad agreement on the proper role for the state in the performance of markets. Sure, a French cabinet official and an American investment banker might spar over the relative merits of state paternalism and Anglo-Saxon labor laws, but the bargaining table was still reserved for champions of Western-style free market capitalism.

Davos has always had its critics. For those who believe globalization empowers the rich at


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Singing “Davos Done and We Need Another Loan”

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan

Work our lives just to lose our homes
Interest come and we need another loan
Stack default swaps till they come undone
Interest come and we need another loan

Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan
Come on Economists, tell us some more BS
Interest come and we need another loan

6%, 7% – it's a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan
6%, 7% – it's a credit crunch
Interest come and we need another loan

Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
Interest come and we need another loan
Debt-O, debt-uh-oh
When interest comes we'll need another loan

 

It was the best of times (with the IMF predicting 3.9% Global growth) and the worst of times (with Roubini saying we're all doomed) at Davos this week as the men who rule the world gathered to divide the spoils over card games while vying with each other for podium and TV time so they could talk their various books from the safety of the Swiss mountains.  Davos, a tiny village perched on a mountain with just two main streets, lacks the protests of other Global gatherings.  During the annual meeting, the town is taken hostage by thousands of police.  “Anyone who looks like a protester can be thrown off the train,” says Marco Leutholz, head of the local Socialist party (and that train often overlooks steep cliffs!).  Sir Howard Davies (director of the LSE) writes:

The mood is certainly better than last year, when the world was ending, but it is worse than at the beginning of last week. Alessandro Profumo of Unicredit acutely observed that Davos is likely to accentuate whatever mood you arrived in, rather as alcohol does, I guess. So those who arrived nervous about the economic prospects are leaving even more jittery. If you arrived feeling pessimistic, you will leave somewhere between suicidal and homicidal.

The market background has not helped. Anxiety about Greece has grown over the past three days. In the circumstances, it was strange to see both the Greek prime minister and his finance minister here. Maybe the subtext was to show that there can be no crisis if they are munching muesli


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US China Relationship Sours Over $6.4 Billion Weapons Sales To Taiwan; China Overtakes U.S. as Largest Saudi Customer

US China Relationship Sours Over $6.4 Billion Weapons Sales To Taiwan; China Overtakes U.S. as Largest Saudi Customer

Courtesy of Mish 

China Lifestyles

The already strained relationship between US and China is took a turn for the worse when US announced $6.4 billion in arms sales to Taiwan.

The United States is planning to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan, a move that will infuriate China and test whether President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve trust with Beijing will carry the countries through a tense time.

The United States, which told China of the sale only hours before the announcement, acknowledged that Beijing may retaliate by cutting off military talks with Washington, which happened after the Bush administration announced a multibillion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan in 2008.

The U.S. is "obstinately making the wrong decision," China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday after Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei warned Ambassador Jon Huntsman the sale would "cause consequences that both sides are unwilling to see." The vice minister urged that the sale be immediately canceled, it said.

Despite its size, the U.S. weapons package dodges a touchy issue: F-16 fighter jets that Taiwan covets are not included. Senior U.S. officials said they are aware of Taiwan’s desire for F-16s and are assessing Taiwan’s needs.

The arms package includes 114 PAC-3 missiles and other equipment, costing more than $2.8 billion; 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, costing $3.1 billion; information distribution systems and other equipment, at $340 million; two Osprey Class Mine Hunting Ships, at a cost of about $105 million; and other items.

U.S. officials say the Obama administration’s China policy is meant to improve trust between the countries, so that disagreements over Taiwan or Tibet do not reverse efforts to cooperate on nuclear standoffs in Iran and North Korea, and attempts to deal with economic and climate change issues.

China aims more than 1,000 ballistic missiles at Taiwan; the U.S. government is bound by law to ensure the island is able to respond to Chinese threats.

Obama’s national security adviser, Jim Jones, said Friday that both Washington and Beijing do things "periodically that may not make everybody completely happy."

China Suspends Military Exchanges With The US

China’s response was easy to predict: China summons US defence attache over Taiwan deal.
 

China says it will suspend its military


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1929-32 Market Decline Has Almost Been Repeated

1929-32 Market Decline Has Almost Been Repeated

Courtesy of John Lounsbury

The 10-year bear market in stocks has accelerated in the past two years. What about the bull market from 2003-07, you ask? It didn’t exist if you use gold (GLD) as your medium of exchange. This can be seen in the following graph from ChartOfTheDay.com:

dow priced in gold
We are currently about 79% below the market top of late 1999 to early 2000. At the market low in March, we were down about 82%. At that point, we were close to the 89% decline of 1929-32, when the market was actually traded in gold due to the gold standard for the U.S. dollar.

The following graph shows the relationships between the Dow-listed value and gold for an 89% decline from the market top – the Dow as of Jan. 29, 2010 and as of the recent market low in March 2009.

In an Instablog today, I suggested that making comparisons of today to the start of the Great Depression had more curiosity value than utility. I received some criticism for that remark.

In this analysis, the curiosity value has more utility than most comparisons (at least for me) because it shows how close we have already come to repeating the market decline of 1929-32. The parameters can be read from the chart for an exact reproduction. For example, Dow at 10,000 and gold at $2,200 or Dow at 7,000 and gold at $1,500 produce a loss of 89%.

Disclosure: Currently own GLL (short gold).

 





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Legal cannabis celebrates its first anniversary in Canada: What's next?

 

Legal cannabis celebrates its first anniversary in Canada: What's next?

Montrealers hold up a Canadian flag with a marijuana logo on it outside a government cannabis store in the city Oct. 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Courtesy of Michael J. Armstrong, Brock University

This week marks the first anniversary of Canada’s recreational cannabis legalization. It’s an appropriate time to review what happened last year and consider what’s coming next.

Legalization brought big changes for some folks. About 9,200 employees now work at cannabis producers, with ...



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Zero Hedge

Pork-Panic Sends China CPI To 6 Year Highs As Factory Deflation Deepens

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

China's producer prices deflated for the 3rd straight month, slumping 1.2% YoY - the biggest deflationary impulse since July 2016 - but, thanks to the explosion in pork prices (as 'pig ebola' spreads), Chinese consumers are facing the worst inflation since 2013.

  • China Sept CPI +3.0% YoY (2.9% exp and 2.9% prior)

  • China Sept PPI -1.2% YoY (-1.2% exp and -0.8% prior)

...



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Chart School

Review of Andrew CardWell RSI with Wyckoff price waves

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

RSI measures relative strength of price action of a set period versus prior set periods. It helps review the price swings or waves, the power of each price thrust into new ground, or lack of it. Price thrust like many things relies on energy, and energy is not a constant, it has a birth, a life and a death and relative strength helps us see that cycle. 

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Banks Should Send Critical Message To Stocks This Week!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Bank earnings could go a long way to impacting the broad market in a big way this week. Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank Of America, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley all announce earning the next couple of days.

As these earning announcements are to take place, the Bank Index (BKX) finds itself facing a key breakout test.

The index remains inside of bullish rising channel (1), as it has created a series of higher lows and higher highs over the past 8-years.

The index has little to brag about over the past 20-months, as it has created a series of lower highs and lower lows inside of falling chan...



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The Technical Traders

Daily Market Analysis and Trade Setups

Courtesy of Technical Traders

CLICK HERE TO GET REAL TIME TRADE ALERTS!

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Insider Scoop

22 Healthcare Stocks Moving In Tuesday's Pre-Market Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers
  • Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RETA) stock surged 45.2% to $146.07 during Tuesday's pre-market session. The market value of their outstanding shares is at $2.8 billion. The most recent rating by Cantor Fitzgerald, on October 15, is at Overweight, with a price target of $180.00.
  • Aphria, Inc. (NYSE: APHA) stock increased by 18.6% to $5.16. The market value of their outstanding shares is at $1.8 billion. According to the most recent rating by CIBC, on July 26, the current rating is at Underperformer.
  • ...


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Digital Currencies

Zuck Delays Libra Launch Date Due To Issues "Sensitive To Society"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by William Suberg via CoinTelegraph.com,

Facebook is taking a much more careful approach to Libra than its previous projects, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed. 

“Obviously we want to move forward at some point soon [and] not have this take many years to roll out,” he said. “But ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Look Out Bears! Fed New QE Now Up to $165 Billion

Courtesy of Lee Adler

I have been warning for months that the Fed would need new QE to counter the impact of massive waves of Treasury supply. I thought that that would come later, rather than sooner. Sorry folks, wrong about that. The NY Fed announced another round of new TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) today.

In addition to the $75 billion in overnight repos that the Fed issued and has been rolling over since Tuesday, next week the Fed will issue another $90 billion. They’ll come in the form of three $30 billion, 14 day repos to be offered next week.

That brings the new Fed QE to a total of $165 billion. Even in the worst days of the financial crisis, I can’t remember the Fed ballooning its balance sheet by $165 bi...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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