Archive for May, 2011

EU: Politics Financialized, Economies Privatized

Courtesy of ilene

Courtesy of Michael Hudson

Breakup of the euro?

Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland?

This article is an excerpt from Prof. Hudson’s upcoming book, “Debts that Can’t be Paid, Won’t Be,” to be published later this year.

Last month Iceland voted against submitting to British and Dutch demands that it compensate their national bank insurance agencies for bailing out their own domestic Icesave depositors. This was the second vote against settlement (by a ratio of 3:2), and Icelandic support for membership in the Eurozone has fallen to just 30 percent. The feeling is that European politics are being run for the benefit of bankers, not the social democracy that Iceland imagined was the guiding philosophy – as indeed it was when the European Economic Community (Common Market) was formed in 1957.

By permitting Britain and the Netherlands to blackball Iceland to pay for the mistakes of Gordon Brown and his Dutch counterparts, Europe has made Icelandic membership conditional upon imposing financial austerity and poverty on the population – all to pay money that legally it does not owe. The problem is to find an honest court willing to enforce Europe’s own banking laws placing responsibility where it legally lies.

The reason why the EU has fought so hard to make Iceland’s government take responsibility for Icesave debts is what creditors call “contagion.” Ireland and Greece are faced with much larger debts. Europe’s creditor “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and the IMF – view debt write-downs and progressive taxation to protect their domestic economies as a communicable disease.

Like Greece, Ireland asked for debt relief so that its government would not be forced to slash spending in the face of deepening recession. “The Irish press reported that EU officials ‘hit the roof’ when Irish negotiators talked of broader burden-sharing. The European Central Bank is afraid that any such move would cause instant contagion through the debt markets of southern Europe,” wrote one journalist, warning that the cost of taking reckless public debt onto the national balance sheet threatened to bankrupt the economy.[1]Europe – in effect, German and Dutch banks – refused to let the government scale back the debts it had taken on (except to smaller and less politically influential depositors). “The comments came just as the EU authorities were…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman’s VPN Firewall

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO "transgression" (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous: 

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, "discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building." Not only was this notebook…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman's VPN Firewall?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO “transgression” (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous:

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, “discarded in a…
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[Belated] Memorial Day: Enter Hitler, Release 2.0

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     As the sage Robert Crumb once remarked about our homeland: "You can’t make this shit up." 

    Sarah Palin entered the race for president this week (without stating it in so many words) with a national bus tour, itself kicked off with a motorcycle parade through Washington.

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press – Sun May 29, 5:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Sarah Palin rumbled through Washington on the back of a Harley as she and her family began an East Coast tour Sunday, renewing speculation that the former Alaska governor would join the still unsettled Republican presidential contest.

     Wearing a black leather jacket and surrounded by a throng of cheering fans, Palin and family members jumped on bikes and joined thousands of other motorcyclists on the Memorial Day weekend ride from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial…. 

     "How do you wear all this leather and stay cool?" she asked one woman. Palin asked others to show off their tattoos as she took off her own leather jacket and worked her way through a crush of fans, photographers and reporters. 

 
Palin 2.jpg

     Adolf Hitler liked leather and crypto-military costumes, too, and the build-up to the Third Reich was all about colorful pageantry. Make no mistake – to borrow a favored presidential locution, if I may – Sarah Palin’s campaign is all about shame, about being a nation of losers and feeling bad about it. Adolf Hitler’s career was all about him feeling like a loser at a peculiar moment in history when his whole country felt like a loser nation. His feelings resonated with the crowd’s. Germany had just lost the First World War. The victors (England, France, The USA) had imposed a harsh peace, including massive cash reparations. Germany was broke, demoralized, and humiliated. Hitler had fled to Germany from his own loser homeland, the fading empire of Austria, after a shiftless decade in Vienna of living in rented rooms and homeless men’s shelters, having failed twice to get into the national arts college.

 
Palin - Hitler - Leather.jpg

     Hitler loved the First World War. It energized him. The German army was the first club he was comfortable being in. When the war was over, he stayed on the army’s payroll as long as possible, even as he became active in Munich’s post-war


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Weekly Gasoline Update: A Second Week of Price Declines

Courtesy of Doug Short

Here is my weekly gasoline chart update from Department of Energy data with an overlay of West Texas Crude (WTIC). Gasoline at the pump declined for the second consecutive week: regular and premium are both down 1.4%. Year-to-date, the average price for regular has risen 74 cents, down 17 cents from the interim high three weeks ago. Meanwhile, WTIC is 9.6% off its interim high of 113.94 on April 29th.

As I write this, GasBuddy.com shows 6 states (and DC) with the average price of regular above $4. That’s the same number as last week.

The price increases in crude oil and gasoline were reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index data for February and more recently in Personal Consumption Expenditures. For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the Consumer Price Index, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).







Stock Market Bulls and Bears Face Off This Week

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Read more from Wall Street Sector Selector here

 

Disclosure: Wall Street Sector Selector actively trades a wide range of ETFs and positions can change at any time.

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Stock Markets Rally On Bad Economic News

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Réal Desrochers to Head CalPERS Private Equity

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

Marc Lifsher of the LA Times reports, CalPERS names new private equity investment executive:

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest public pension fund, has named an investment executive to run its $49-billion private equity investment portfolio.

 

Real Desrochers, who spent a decade doing a similar job for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, replaces Leon Shahinian, who resigned in August after being caught in a spreading CalPERS corruption scandal.

 

Private equity generated annual returns of more than 17% for the teachers’ fund under Desrochers’ leadership in the decade before 2009, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear said.

 

Earlier in his career, Desrochers worked for Canada’s largest pension fund, Caisse de Depot of Quebec. After leaving CalSTRS, he advised a number of investors, including Blackstone Capital, J.H. Whitney, Texas Pacific Group, Permira and China Renaissance Industries. He also was chief investment officer for the Saudi Arabian Investment Co.

 

Desrochers joins CalPERS as the country’s largest public pension fund, with $236 billion in assets, is clawing its way back from losing $100 billion between late 2007 and early 2009. The fund reached an all-time high of $260 billion in October 2007 before the Great Recession hit.

 

CalPERS currently faces more than financial difficulties. The 2,300-person agency, which serves 1.6 million state and local workers, their families and retirees, also is facing a morale crisis as it seeks to deal with a so-called pay-to-play scandal that has touched three former board members, a former chief executive and a number of outside investment consultants and managers.

 

Shahinian was mentioned in a 2010 state attorney general’s lawsuit for taking gifts of luxury travel to New York City to attend a charitable dinner honoring the chairman of Apollo Global Management, Leon Black.

 

Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member turned middleman dealmaker, picked up most of Shahinian’s tab on behalf of his client, Apollo. The gifts to Shahinian were not reported as required by state law.

 

Shahinian later recommended that CalPERS purchase a 9% stake in Apollo.

Neither Shahinian nor Black have been charged with any wrongdoing.

Let me take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Réal. I had the immense pleasure of meeting him in 2005 when I
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MERS ACTION ALERT!!! | Oregon Fraudclosure “Fix” Postponed but Effort Appears in Jeopardy

Courtesy of 4closureFraud

 

Okay all. You need to get on the phones and send emails on this one ASAP.

This can not be passed. This can not be the framework for things to come.

Spread the word! Email it, facebook it, digg it, stumble it, tweet it, repost it, etc.

If you live in Oregon, get over to the hearing and make some noise.

This is absolutely unacceptable!

MERS foreclosure fix postponed but effort appears in jeopardy, legislator says

A bid by major financial institutions to retroactively waive Oregon recording requirements blocking foreclosure sales appears in jeopardy but will get at least one more day, a legislative leader says.

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee today postponed until Wednesday a hearing on Senate Bill 519 which largely deals with publicly subsidized housing in foreclosure. But an amendment to that bill introduced last week would relieve lenders of ensuring a property’s ownership history is properly recorded in public records before foreclosing outside a courtroom.

Committee co-chair Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, said after today’s hearing that the committee supports the bill, which protects affordable housing financing in units under foreclosure. A "dash-six" amendment to the bill, allowing public agencies to buy subsidized housing in foreclosure, also garners support, he said.

But Barker said he did not find support to pass a "dash-seven" amendment put forth Thursday at the financial industry’s request. That would rid the recording requirement that has hung up foreclosures across the nation involving the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS. Federal judges in Oregon have blocked such foreclosures, saying MERS failed to record them properly.

"From the people I’ve talked to, there’s consensus to move the dash six amendments but not the dash sevens," Barker said.

Co-chair Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thursday’s amendment has drawn opposition from the National Association of Independent Title Agents and 90 percent of more than 900 readers voting over the weekend on an OregonLive.com poll.

Representatives of the Oregon Financial Services Association, the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Oregon Land Title Association support the bill, saying the fix is needed to remove a cloud on many foreclosure sales and lift the housing market. The American Land Title…
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Measuring the Performance of the Ivy Portfolio

Courtesy of Doug Short

I’ve been posting a monthly moving average update for the five ETFs in featured in Mebane Faber and Eric Richardson’s Ivy Portfolio since the spring of 2009, when I featured my review of the book.

In addition to the monthly updates, I’ve also made a couple of generic studies of momentum investing with moving averages.

Investing strategies are not the primary focus of my website, and I don’t personally track the performance of the Ivy Portfolio other than to highlight the monthly signals. For ETF performance tracking and backtesting, I use ETFReplay.com, an excellent website for analyzing the performance of individual ETFs and ETF portfolios based on customized moving-average strategies. There are many free tools on ETFReplay.com. However performance backtesting of portfolios does require a paid subscription.

The image below illustrates my research on the Ivy Portfolio since 2007. If you click the image, you’ll open a HUGE version that also shows the monthly performance over the complete range as compared to SPY (SPDR S&P 500 Index). For cash, I’ve used SHY (Barclays Low Duration Treasury (2-yr).

Now, the portfolio in this illustration doesn’t *exactly* match the Ivy five. I picked 2007 as my starting point to show the performance from before the market peak in the Fall of that year. Thus I was forced to make one substitution for the Ivy ETFs — EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund) in place of VEU (Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF), which was launched in early 2007 and didn’t produce a 10-month signal until December of that year. But the substitution presumably understates the all-Vanguard IVY portfolio: I make this assumption because VEU has outperformed EFA since the March 2009 market low (122.2% versus 103.7% as of May 31).

For anyone interested in researching momentum investing with ETFs, the ETFReplay.com website is an outstanding resource, one that I’m pleased to include in my dshort.com Favorites.





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Explosion Hits Russia's Largest Virus Lab Which Houses Plague, Smallpox, Ebola And Other Deadly Viruses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A sudden explosion at a Siberian virus research center on Monday reportedly left the facility engulfed in flames, according to several Russian news outlets. 

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the "Vector Institute" located several miles from Novosibirsk - an emergency which was upgraded "from an ordinary emergency to a major incident," a...



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Phil's Favorites

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

 

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

Even though the future is unknown, Canada’s employment rate has risen steadily from 53 per cent in 1946 to more than 61 per cent today. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Wayne Simpson, University of Manitoba

There is now widespread anxiety over the future of work, often accompanied by calls for a basic income to protect those displaced by automation and other technological changes.

As a labour economis...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Insider Scoop

New Relic Cuts 2020 Sales Guidance, Announces Changes In Management

Courtesy of Benzinga

New Relic (NYSE: NEWR) has reaffirmed its second-quarter guidance and cut its sales guidance for fiscal year 2020 from $600 million-$607 million to $586 million-$593 million.

The company’s chief technology officer, Jim Gochee, and chief revenue officer, Erica Schultz, have resigned. New Relic also named board member Michael Christenson as its chief operating officer. Christenson joins from his ...



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The Technical Traders

Metals are following downside sell off prediction before the next rally

Courtesy of Technical Traders

It is absolutely amazing how the precious metals markets have followed our October 2018 predictions almost like clockwork.  Our call for an April 21~24 momentum base below $1300 followed by an extensive rally to levels above $1550 has been playing out almost like we scripted these future price moves.

Now that the $1550 level has been reached, we are expecting a rotation to levels that may reach just below the $1490~1500 level before attempting to set up another momentum base/bottom formation.  And just like clockwork, Gold has followed our predictions and price is falling as we expected. Just look at our October 2018 chart where we forecasted the price of gold...



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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bond Yields Due For Rally After Declining More Than 1987 Stock Crash

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields – 2, 5, 10, 30 Year Durations

The past year has seen treasury bond yields decline sharply, yet in an orderly fashion.

This has spurred recession concerns for much of 2019. Needless to say, it’s a confusing time for investors.

In today’s chart of the day, we look at a longer-term view of the 2, 5, 10, and 30-year treasury bond yields.

Short to long term bond yields are all testing 7 to 10-year support levels as momentum is at the lowest levels in a decade.

A yield rally is likely due across the board after a recent decline that was bigger than the stock crash in 1987!

If yields fail to ral...



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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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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:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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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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