Archive for 2015

Benzinga's Weekend M&A Chatter

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Benzinga's Weekend M&A Chatter

The following are the M&A deals, rumors and chatter circulating on Wall Street for Friday February 13 Through Monday February 16, 2015:

Intrexon to Acquire Actogenix for ~$30M Cash, $30M in Intrexon Stock

The Deal:
Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) announced Friday, it has agreed to acquire European clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, ActoGeniX, for approximately $30 million in cash and $30 million in Intrexon common stock. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2015.

Intrexon shares gained $1.05 Friday, closing at $39.30.

Endo Expressed Interest in Salix Pharmaceuticals

The Rumor:
Endo International PLC (NASDAQ: ENDP) reportedly has expressed in acquiring Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NASDAQ: SLXP), according to a report from Reuters. Sources say the advances, which include letters sent by Endo to Salix have been rejected, but that Endo remains interested in a deal.

Endo joins a growing list of potential suitors for Salix, including Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX), which reportedly has arranged financing for a potential deal and Shire plc (NASDAQ: SHPG), said to be working with advisers on a bid.

Salix shares rose 2% Friday, to close at $152.35.

Freescale Semiconductor Reportedly in Sale Talks

The Rumor:
Former Motorola Unit, Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL), is in sale talks, according to the New York Post.

Sources say, the company has hired investment bankers to investigate a potential sale.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (OTC: SSNLF) has been mentioned as a potential buyer. A spokesperson for Freescale Semiconductor, could not be reached for comment.

Freescale shares closed Friday at $37.53, a gain of 8%.

Phillips 66 Partners to Acquire Equity Interests in 3 Pipeline Systems for ~$1B

The Deal:
Phillips 66 Partners LP (NYSE: PSXP) announced Monday, that it has agreed to acquire Phillips 66′ (NYSE: PSX) interests in three pipeline systems, for total consideration of $1.01 billion, including $880 million in cash and 1,726,914 newly issued PSXP units, to be allocated between common units and general partner units in a proportion allowing the general partner to maintain its 2 percent general partner interest. The deal is expected to close in early March 2015.

Phillips 66 Partners shares closed Friday at $78.83, a gain of 2.5%.

Posted-In: News Rumors M&A Movers

30 Years Ago, Greece Bluffed Europe… And Won

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While tomorrow America’s population (and carbon-based traders) enjoys a day off to celebrate the birthday of the first US president, Europe will be gripped by the high drama that is the latest Eurogroup summit to take place in a few short hours, and during which the fate of Greece – either in or out of the European monetary union – may finally be decided. Tomorrow is also the expiration of Dijsselbloem‘s 10 day ultimatum to Greece by which the country “must apply for a bailout extension to keep Eurozone financial backing.”

Still, as the WSJ reports and as many talking heads opined over the past 48 hours, the probability of a successful outcome tomorrow is slim to none, with the best possible outcome being the can getting kicked once again. According to the WSJ, ‘Few believe that finance ministers will resolve this impasse at a special summit on Monday—or even by the end of the week, the point at which it becomes too late to secure the necessary parliamentary ratification in several member states for a program extension.”

As it further adds: “any hope of a deal hinges on what Athens means by “70% of the program” and whether Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras can wring sufficient fiscal and reform concessions to enable him to sell an extension as a “new” program. The crucial sticking point is Greece’s insistence on reversing key labor-market reforms. “That is nonnegotiable,” says a senior German official. “We consider these to be 80% of the program.

The compromise option is the so-called Plan B:

Faced with the risk that Greece does allow its current program to lapse when it expires at the end of this month, some eurozone officials have started to discuss how to make a program exit as “clean” as possible. This would involve setting out a clear timetable for negotiations on a new program, including a deadline for a deal, says one of these officials. The hope is that this would encourage Greeks to keep their money in the banks and persuade the European Central Bank to continue to allow the banks to receive emergency funding. That might buy a little extra time to negotiate a new long-term deal.

But… “As a Plan B, this is deeply flawed. The Greek economy contracted by 0.2%…
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Guest Post: The Great War Of The American Empire

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Michael S Rozeff via,

Looking at a map of current American military engagements overseas, one cannot help but notice their wide geographical spread and their seemingly interminable nature. Battles have raged in Europe (Yugoslavia and Ukraine), in Africa, in the Middle East, and in central Asia. The American Empire has launched this country into a series of battles that have no end in sight and no location that may not become a focal point of military force. These battles, each a war in its own right, have drawn in forces and resources from U.S. allies in Europe through NATO and even drawn in Japan. The scope of this war is global. In fact, one part of this war has been called the Global War on Terror. To understand this war and grasp its meaning, in the hope of bringing it to an end, a descriptive name is needed that tells us what this war is about. The name suggested here is the “Great War of the American Empire”. Since World War I, another disastrous war that America joined, is called the Great War, we can refer to the Great War of the American Empire also as Great War II.

Great War II comprises a number of sub-wars. The American Empire is the common element and the most important driver in all the sub-wars mentioned below. American involvement has never been necessary in these sub-wars, but the decisions to make them America’s business have come from the Empire’s leaders. The name “Great War of the American Empire” emphasizes the continuity of all the sub-wars to produce one Great War, and the responsibility of the American Empire in choosing to participate in and create this Great War. Had America’s leaders chosen the radically different path of non-intervention and true defense of this continent, rather than overseas interventions, Great War II would not have occurred and not still be occurring.

The Great War of the American Empire began 25 years ago. It began on August 2, 1990 with the Gulf War against Iraq and continues to the present. Earlier wars involving Israel and America sowed the seeds of this Great War. So did American involvements in Iran, the 1977-1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Even earlier American actions also set the…
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Greek Negotiations and Philosophical Questions

Courtesy of Mish.

Three interesting philosophical questions have arisen this evening in regards to Greek negotiations.

The three questions I ask at the bottom of this post are based on statements made by a global foreign exchange strategy chief at UniCredit bank and two negotiation demands by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

I highlighted in red and italics the source of my questions. Stop at the questions and think about your answers before reading further. 

 Greece Rift Wider Than Expected

As an 11th hour meeting between Greece and creditors takes place on Monday. But a larger than expected Gap Still Yawns Between the Parties.

Weekend talks uncovered a bigger-than-expected gap between the two sides, setting up a difficult stand-off between Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, and his eurozone counterparts when they meet on Monday night.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, is determined that Athens should stick to its rescue programme as a condition of further financial assistance. Dogged resistance to such demands from Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, has seen his poll standing soar at home, with thousands taking to the streets on Sunday in a support rally.

Panagiotis Lafazanis, leader of Syriza’s far-left faction, adopted a less-emollient tone, saying he would not allow his party’s economic plans to be “chopped up, subdivided or split into good and bad”.

If our so-called partners insist on an extension of the current programme in one form or another — the sinful memorandum — there won’t be an agreement,” he said on Sunday.

Germany wants Greece to stay in the eurozone, but not at any price. “If we go deeper into the [debt] discount debate, there will be no more reforms in Europe,” said a senior German official. “There will be joyful celebrations in the Elysée and probably in Rome, too, if we go down this path.”

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Vasileios Gkionakis, global foreign exchange strategy chief at UniCredit bank, wrote to clients: “I think it is fair to say that . . . the irresistible force will be meeting the immovable object.

Germany and other creditors have agreed that the three organisations supervising the bailout programme — the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank — will no longer be called “the troika”, in a nod to Greek demands. But Berlin insists the same bodies will continue as Greece’s watchdog, even if renamed “the institutions….

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Four Key Themes From Q4 Earnings: From Dollar Headwinds To Management Over-Confidence

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears – given the data – they will be disappointed.

Via Goldman Sachs,

Key takeaways from S&P 500 fourth-quarter 2014 conference calls

The Summary of Commentary on Economic Conditions, commonly known as the “Beige Book,” is published by the Federal Reserve eight times per year. In it, the 12 regional Reserve branches offer anecdotal evidence on the current economic environment in their respective regions based on interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources.

In our quarterly Beige Book publication, we review the earnings transcripts of companies in the S&P 500 to monitor the anecdotal evidence of fundamental and thematic trends. We highlight four major themes from 4Q 2014 earnings commentary.

Theme 1: Multinationals lament the strong US dollar

Companies most exposed to international sales faced negative currency impacts on revenue and EPS. Even with hedges in place, managements predict this trend will continue in 2015. Companies that also incur significant costs in non-US locations witnessed an offset to lower revenue on the bottom line.

Firms with the highest international sales faced significant pressure from a strengthening US dollar. Currency translation impacts on earnings were more muted for companies that also incur significant costs overseas. We forecast both the euro and yen will depreciate by roughly 20% relative to the US dollar by 2017.

Selected examples: C, CAT, DD, GE, GOOGL, IBM, JNJ, MCD, PG, PSX, UTX, and XOM.

Theme 2: Low oil boosts US economy and business outlook

Lower oil prices were viewed as an overall benefit to US economic growth and consumer spending. Companies with significant oil-based costs also experienced a boost to earnings. However, unsurprisingly, certain Energy companies suffered severe negative effects to their businesses.

Our economists estimate that lower gasoline prices equate to…
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Welcome To Eccles Island: Where Tulips Bloom In A Polar Vortex

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mark St.Cyr,

The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tippled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?

Nearly every recently released metric (consumer sales et al) that should at the very least showing signs of steady improvement helping bolster the argument as to why the markets are continually rising, are not only contracting; rather – they’re falling off a cliff.

This is amplifying the evidence that at the very least the U.S. capital markets are experiencing a bubble dwarfing the dot-com mania of the late 90’s. Quite possibly having more in common with the peak of the tulip mania of the 1600’s than the former. The reason? It’s not just one area of a market any longer. It’s now the entirety of the markets as a whole.

Preposterous you say? Fair enough. So let’s think this through since it’s a long weekend for pondering such hypotheticals via the proverbial 50,000 ft. view from above.

During the dot-com boom you had insane valuations and metrics that perpetuated the narrative of “this time it’s different.” In some ways it was, for as I sit here typing away both the machines I use as well as the delivery channels were truly revolutionary. Yet, as far as the business models that came along as it progressed; anyone with commonsense could see it wasn’t that different. Bubbles are bubbles and are easy to see. The hard part is convincing people they’re in the midst of one. Till they pop.

Currently we are within proximity of surpassing those very lofty dot-com highs. For all intents and purposes based on the recent markets behavior we could eclipse it within a week. (we are less than 5% away via the latest NASDAQ™ close)

Remember, this was a contemporary “mania” high. And should not be viewed in the same context as previous so-called “mania” points that eventually get surpassed via the monetary evolutionary process…
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“The World’s Most Sophisticated Cyber Attack” – How Hackers Infiltrated The Banks & Stole Millions

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Since late 2013, The NY Times reports that an unknown group of hackers has reportedly stolen $300 million ­- possibly as much as triple that amount – from banks across the world, with the majority of the victims in Russia. The attacks continue, all using roughly the same modus operandi

Hackers send email containing a malware program called Carbanak to hundreds of bank employees, hoping to infect a bank’s administrative computer.

Programs installed by the malware record keystrokes and take screen shots of the bank’s computers, so that hackers can learn bank procedures. They also enable hackers to control the banks’ computers remotely.

By mimicking the bank procedures they have learned, hackers direct the banks’ computers to steal money in a variety of ways:

Source: Kasperskly Labs

As The NY Times reports,

In late 2013, an A.T.M. in Kiev started dispensing cash at seemingly random times of day. No one had put in a card or touched a button. Cameras showed that the piles of money had been swept up by customers who appeared lucky to be there at the right moment.

But when a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, was called to Ukraine to investigate, it discovered that the errant machine was the least of the bank’s problems.

The bank’s internal computers, used by employees who process daily transfers and conduct bookkeeping, had been penetrated by malware that allowed cybercriminals to record their every move. The malicious software lurked for months, sending back video feeds and images that told a criminal group — including Russians, Chinese and Europeans — how the bank conducted its daily routines, according to the investigators.

Then the group impersonated bank officers, not only turning on various cash machines, but also transferring millions of dollars from banks in Russia, Japan, Switzerland, the United States and the Netherlands into dummy accounts set up in other countries.

In a report to be published on Monday, and provided in advance to The New York Times, Kaspersky Lab says that the scope of this attack on more than 100 banks and other financial institutions in 30 nations could make it one of the largest bank thefts ever — and one conducted without the usual signs of robbery.

Kaspersky Lab says it has seen evidence of $300 million in theft

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The Greatest Obama “Error” Ever?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Presented without comment.

h/t @RL_Bynum

JPY Slides After Japanese GDP Disappoints (Again); Economy Minister “Hopes” For Wage Increases

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

It appears “hope” is a strategy in Japan. Abe’s nation emerged from recession in Q4 but with business spending (capex grew at a mere 0.1%) and private consumption (+0.3% – which Amari defined as “solid private demand supporting economic recovery”) both coming in considerably below estimates, Japanese GDP QoQ SAAR grew at+2.2% (missing expectations of 3.7%) but real GDP growth was negative for the 3rd quarter in a row. Of course the GDP deflator grew at 2.3%, beating expectations, is desperately clung to by Japan’s economy minster Amari as evidence of the end of deflation in Japan.

Real GDP growth negative for 3rd quarter in a row…

Japanese GDP Deflator surged (again) to 2.3% – its largest on record… (since 1995)

And on th eback of that load of crap… Japan’s Economy Minister Amari said the following:




Which – as far as we remember – sentiment never actually spent any money… actions speak louder than surveys…


Oh yes they are… any year now..

David Stockman: The Global Economy Has Entered The Crack-Up Phase

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Adam Taggart via Peak Prosperity,

Few people understand the global economy and its (mis)management better than David Stockman — former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, best-selling author of The Great Deformation, and veteran financier.

David is now loudly warning that events have entered the crack-up phase, which he predicts will be defined by the following 4 developments:

  • Increasingly desperate moves by the world's central banks
  • Increased market volatility and losses
  • Deflation in industrial and commodity prices
  • Decreasing demand due to Peak Debt

As the crack-up phase gains momentum, he predicts an increasing number of "financial breaks" that will add to the unpredictability and instability of the environment for investors. Even 'dancing close to the door' sounds excessively risky at this point.

We’re in the crack-up phase. I think there are four big characteristics of that which are going to shape the way the economy and the markets unfold as we go forward.

You’re going to see increasing desperation and extreme central bank financial repression because they have gotten themselves painted so deep into the corner that they're lost and desperate. Almost week by week, we have another central bank – this week, it was Sweden – lowering their money market rates into negative territory. The Swiss Bank is already there, the Denmark Bank is there, the ECB is there on the deposit rate, the Bank of Japan’s there. All of the central banks of the world now are desperately driving interest rates into negative territory. I believe that they’re lost; they're in a race to the bottom whether they acknowledge it or not. The central bank of China can’t sit still much longer when the reminbi has appreciated something like 30% against the Japanese yet because of the massive bubble of monetary expansion that’s being created there. So that’s the first thing going on. Central banks out of control in a race to the bottom, sliding by the seat of their pants, making up really incoherent theories as they go.

The second thing is increasing market disorder and volatility. In the last three months, the stock market has behaved like a drunken sailor. But it’s really just a bunch of robots and day traders that have traded chart points until somebody can figure

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Zero Hedge

Americans' Economic Hope Has Collapsed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Which came first, the confidence or the stock market rally?

One thing is for sure, the crash in stocks in December has crushed the hope of Americans that their economic future is going to be better under President Trump.

Overall confidence dipped to 58.1 - a 4-month low, but, U.S. consumers this month were the most downbeat on the economy since November 2016, a third straight drop after expectations reached a 16-year high just three months earlier, as the partial government shutdown wears on toward a fourth week.


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Triple Breakout Test In Play For S&P 500!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the rally of late about to run out of steam or is a major breakout about to take place in the S&P 500? What happens at current prices should go a long way in determining this question.

This chart looks at the equal weight S&P 500 ETF (RSP) on a daily basis over the past 15-months.

The rally from the lows on Christmas Eve has RSP testing the top of a newly formed falling channel while testing the underneath side of the 2018 trading range and its falling 50-day moving average at (1).

At this time RPS is facing a triple resistance test. Wil...

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Phil's Favorites

Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?


Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives -- so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?


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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Bubble: Will Bitcoin Bottom In February Or Has It Already?

Courtesy of Michelle Jones via

The new year has been relatively good for the price of bitcoin after a spectacular collapse of the cryptocurrency bubble in 2018. It’s up notably since the middle of December and traded around the psychological level of $4,000... so is this a sign that the crypto market is about to recover?

Of course, it depends on who you ask, but one analyst discovered a pattern which might point to a bottom next month.

A year after the cryptocurrency bubble popped


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D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...

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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ... more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...

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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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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

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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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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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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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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