Archive for 2016

Labor Markets and Minimum Wage: Crash Course Economics #28

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Labor Markets and Minimum Wage: Crash Course Economics #28

Published on Mar 27, 2016


How much should you get paid for your job? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Your skill set, the demand for the skills you have, and what other people are getting paid around you all factor in. In a lot of ways, labor markets work on supply and demand, just like many of the markets we talk about in Crash Course Econ. But, again, there aren’t a lot of pure, true markets in the world. There are all kinds of oddities and regulations that change the way labor markets work. One common (and kind of controversial one) is the minimum wage. The minimum wage has potential upsides and downsides, and we’ll take a look at the various arguments for an against it.

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Minimum Wage

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How Stupid Do You Have To Be To Let This Happen?

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization and the source of most of the trends and bodies of knowledge that define modernity. The average European speaks several languages versus sometimes less than one for Americans. They are, in short, a well-schooled people with vast accumulated wisdom.

So how do we explain this: After World War II most European countries set up generous entitlement systems including government pensions designed to offer dignified retirements to citizens who had worked hard and paid taxes and obeyed the rules for a lifetime. BUT they didn’t bother putting anything aside for the inevitable — and mathematically predictable — retirement of the immense baby boomer generation. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Wall Street Journal article outlining the problem:

Europe Faces Pension Predicament

State-funded pensions are at the heart of Europe’s social-welfare model, insulating people from extreme poverty in old age. Most European countries have set aside almost nothing to pay these benefits, simply funding them each year out of tax revenue. Now, European countries face a demographic tsunami, in the form of a growing mismatch between low birthrates and high longevity, for which few are prepared.

Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers.

“Western European governments are close to bankruptcy because of the pension time bomb,” said Roy Stockell, head of asset management at Ernst & Young. “We have so many baby boomers moving into retirement [with] the expectation that the government will provide.”

The demographic squeeze could be eased by the influx of more than a million migrants in the past year. If many of them eventually join the working population, the result could be increased tax revenue to keep the pension model afloat. Before migrants are even given the right to work, however, they require housing, food, education and medical treatment. Their arrival will have effects on public finances that officials have only started to assess.


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Does The United States Still Exist?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida

To answer the question that is the title, we have to know of what the US consists. Is it an ethnic group, a collection of buildings and resources, a land mass with boundaries, or is it the Constitution. Clearly what differentiates the US from other countries is the US Constitution. The Constitution defines us as a people. Without the Constitution we would be a different country. Therefore, to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

Does the Constitution still exist? Let us examine the document and come to a conclusion.

The Constitution consists of a description of a republic with three independent branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, each with its own powers, and the Bill of Rights incorporated as constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights describes the civil liberties of citizens that cannot be violated by the government.

Article I of the Constitution describes legislative powers. Article II describes executive powers, and Article III describes the power of the judiciary. For example, Article I, Section 1 gives all legislative powers to Congress. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to declare war.

The Bill of Rights protects citizens from the government by making law a shield of the people rather than a weapon in the hands of the government.

The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, the press, and assembly or public protest.

The Second Amendment gives the people the right “to keep and bear arms.”

The Third Amendment has to do with quartering of soldiers on civilians, a large complaint against King George III, but not a practice of present-day armies.?

The Fourth Amendment grants “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and prevents the issue of warrants except “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment prevents police and prosecutors from going on “fishing expeditions” in an effort to find some offense with which to charge a targeted individual.

The Fifth Amendment prohibits double jeopardy, self-incrimination, the taking of life, liberty, or property without due process
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Chasing Headlines

 

Chasing Headlines

Courtesy of Wade of Investing Caffeine

Chasing FreeImages

It’s been an amazing start to the year. First the market cratered on slowing China economic concerns, domestic recessionary fears, deteriorating oil prices, and negative interest rates abroad. In response to all these worries (and others), stocks dove more than -11% (S&P 500 Index) in January, before settling down. Subsequently, the market has made a screaming recovery, in part due to dovish monetary policy comments (i.e., reduction in forecasted interest rate hikes) and diminished anxiety over a potential global collapse. Month-to-date stocks are up an impressive +5.4%, and year-to-date equities are flattish, or down less than -1%.

With an endless amount of information flowing across our smart phones and computers, it becomes quite easy and tempting to chase news headlines, just like a hyper dog chasing a car. But even once an investor catches up (or reacts) to a headline, there’s confusion around how to profit from the fleeting information. First of all, every plugged-in hedge fund and institutional investor has likely already traded on the stale information you received. Second of all, rarely is the data relevant to the long-term cash generating capabilities of the company or economy. And lastly, the news is more often than not, instantly factored into the stock price. Chasing news headlines only leaves individual investors holding the bag of performance-shattering transactions costs, taxes, and worn-out pricing.

The heightened volatility in late 2015 and early 2016 hasn’t prevented investors and so-called pundits from attempting to time the market. Any battle-tested investment veteran knows it’s virtually impossible to consistently time the market (see also Market Timing Treadmill), but this fact hasn’t prevented speculators from attempting the feat nonetheless. Famed investment guru, Peter Lynch, who earned an average +29% annual return from 1977-1990, summed it up well when he stated the following:

“Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.”

The Important Factors

As I’ve written many times in the past, the keys to long-term stock performance are not knee-jerk reactions to headlines, but rather these following crucial factors (see also Don’t Be a
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The re-emergence of the Jacksonians

 

[Pictures are from the slideshow: Andrew Jackson the Common Man's President by cortezushistory]

The re-emergence of the Jacksonians

By Michael Pettis of China Financial Markets

We’ve pelted Donald Trump with all the withering humor we can muster, and even though it is hard to imagine an easier target for elitist humor, with his blustering narcissism, his intellectual inconsistency, his questionable business record, and his truly stupid television show, above all of which rages his ferocious hair, it’s been so frustrating. Although we have shown again and again that he is dishonest, unfit for the presidency, and incapable of office, not only has he been able to survive, but he actually seems to thrive on the relentless series of what for any other candidate would have been knockout blows. Donald Trump’s supporters are indifferent to our wit and to our arguments, and we’ve convinced ourselves that this only proves what probably didn’t need much proving, that his supporters are racist nitwits and that they support Donald Trump for reasons that are too trivial to matter. This frightens us because collectively they seem to be bringing something new to American politics.

But we are wrong on all counts. Most of Trump’s supporters are not racist nitwits, and not only do they have legitimate reasons behind their support of Donald Trump, in fact they are very important ones. We are finally starting to see this. We are wrong, however, to see recent events as some kind of turning point in American history. The outrage which the American political establishment is being rejected certainly brings dangers and risks, but much fewer than we think because in fact we’ve been here many times before, and by remembering our history we can make some pretty good guesses as to how this all of will evolve.

Trump’s supporters belong to what we sometimes call the Jacksonian tradition in American history, and their history, which of course pre-dates the presidency of the man who gave them their name, combines the impressive with the shameful. Like Andrew Jackson himself they have been the strongest defenders of some of our most fundamental American values while undermining others. While their social…
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Something Just Snapped In The VIX ETF Complex

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As TVIX, the double-levered long VIX ETF unleashed in Nov 2010, decays to record low prices…

An unusual (and almost unprecedented) event has occurred. Just as we saw in Gold ETFs, and Oil ETFs, TVIX Shares Outstanding have exploded by a stunning 225% in the last 4 weeks… [the last 3 times TVIX has undeergone such an epic surge in demand marked a major turning point and led a violent surge in VIX]

with the largest inflows (bearish bets) on record in the last week

The entire VIX complex is perturbed as the huge bearish TVIX flows contrast with the complacency of the steepest term structure since Nov 2014 (post Bullard-Bounce)…

And net speculative positioning at its shortest VIX (most bullish) in 2016…

We saw this kind of manic ETF creation recently in Blackrock’s Gold ETF, which forced them to halt creation – for lack of supply…

In the case of the current scramble for TVIX units, forced buying of VIX futures (which explains the steepness of the futures curve) suggests VIX buying pressure is building…

As Barron’s adds, volatility is back, but too few investors even know it.

Most are too focused on the CBOE Volatility Index’s extraordinary collapse in recent weeks to 15 from about 28. When the VIX is low, as it is now, it tends to be interpreted as a green light to buy stocks. . .or a sign of investor complacency.

Not enough people realize that the VIX is just a 30-day snapshot of expected returns for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. A more meaningful, if esoteric, indicator is the VIX futures curve, which offers a long-term view of the stock market’s perceived risk.

The curve has lately been flat, indicating little risk to owning stocks between now and more distant months. But the futures curve is now “upward sloping,” as if sophisticated investors have suddenly regained visibility into what was an opaque stock market.

Nothing bores people more than nerdy derivatives measures, including VIX futures curves. But you should add this volatility gauge to your arsenal of indicators if you trade options or want to be a smarter stock investor.

Once again it appears the ETF tail is wagging the underlying market ‘dog’ as hedging with the ‘cheapest’ instrument…
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Condaleeza Rice To Struggling Ukrainians: “Be Thankful You’re Not In Liberia”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via OrientalReview.org,

Earlier this month while delivering a public lecture in Kiev, “The Challenges of an Ever-Changing World,” former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an inspiring remark for anyone who might have been thinking that life in Ukraine was bad:

“You should go to Liberia where the standard of living is much lower, and then you will be thankful.”

Ironically, Forbes Ukraine reacted to this with a slightly perplexed analysis that nonetheless led to a conclusion of flawless logic: “Although Liberia has one of the weakest economies in the world, it lags only slightly behind Ukraine with respect to a number of macroeconomic parameters,” and the magazine supported its argument with some anemic statistics (failing however to mention that Liberia’s 85% unemployment rate is far worse than Ukraine’s, even today).

The rapid deterioration of the Ukrainian economy over the past two post-Maidan years is no longer a taboo topic in the international press (the prominent US academic and former diplomat Nicolai Petro’s recent article in the Guardian made that crystal clear). But to make a long story short, the full picture looks even more depressing:

People are scrambling to get out of Ukraine. A Kiev-based headhunting agency claims that according to their polls, 70% of the population does not see any future in Ukraine. Ten out of eleven (!!!) Ukrainians are ready to leave the country if offered a job abroad. Forty percent of Kiev’s white-collar workers do not see a secure future for themselves nowadays. Another opinion poll shows that compared to the pre-Maidan period, public pessimism is on the rise. Only 19% of the respondents expected 2016 to bring positive changes for Ukraine (down from 42% in 2013).

These sentiments are quite understandable if we look at average incomes in Ukraine. According to official data from the finance ministry (as of March 2, 2016), the average salary in Ukraine is only 4,362 hryvnas per month (approximately 145 Euros). The minimum monthly wage is currently set at 1,378 hryvnas (46 Euros). Therefore, the vast majority of working people in Ukraine have to get by on a salary of 2,000-3,000 hryvnas (70-100 Euros) each month. And the number of employed is declining every day. In September 2015,…
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Rich Dad’s Demographic Crash Thesis vs. Mish’s “Pain Trade” Thesis

Courtesy of Mish.

Author and real estate mogul Robert Kiyosaki, better known as “Rich Dad“, is predicting a stock market crash starting in 2016.

Unlike others who perpetually predict crashes, Kiyosaki made his crash claim in his 2002 book “Rich Dad’s Prophecy”.

Kiyosaki’s most recent prediction is based on demographics. He now says we are “right on schedule” for a 2016 crash.

In a writing career spanning decades, Kiyosaki wrote a series of books, and conducted countless promotions and seminars incorporating the name “Rich Dad”.

In a recent MarketWatch interview, ‘Rich Dad’ Author Says Collapse he Foresaw in 2002 is Coming.

Fourteen years ago, the author of a series of popular personal-finance books predicted that 2016 would bring about the worst market crash in history, damaging the financial dreams of millions of baby boomers just as they started to depend on that money to fund retirement.

But Robert Kiyosaki — who made that 2016 forecast in the 2002 book “Rich Dad’s Prophecy” — says the meltdown is under way, and there’s little investors can do but buy gold or silverand hope the Federal Reserve slows the slide.

In 2002, Kiyosaki wrote that the stock market would crash in 2016 as the first wave of baby boomers began to hit 70 1/2 in 2016 and started taking required-by-law distributions from traditional individual retirement accounts.

He still believes that: “Demography is destiny.”

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 76 million individuals were born between 1946 and 1964; researchers at the Population Reference Bureau determined in 2014 that 65 million of them were still living. After immigrants are added in, according to that 2014 report, the number of living U.S. baby boomers was back above 76 million.

“Interest income or cash flow on savings is virtually nonexistent, and capital-gains plays in the stock market are thwarted because stock prices are at record highs,” he said.

Whatever burden millions of boomers might put on the market, he said, the situation is being made worse by events overseas, where one big country is wielding the monkey wrench.

“China has been in a bubble for 20-something years,” said Kiyosaki. “It has propped up the U.S. economy falsely. When [China] stops importing, the world crashes with them.”

Kiyosaki, who has written or co-written more than two dozen books — including New


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Marc Faber Warns “Gold Will Be The Most Desirable Currency” As ‘Terror’ Spreads

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

“Overall, I’d be rather cautious about investments in equities…”  the editor and publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report told CNBC’s “Fast Money” traders this week.

However, “over the last 12 to 24 months, many sectors have had huge declines,…And I see here, there are some opportunities.”

“…US markets are over-valued.”

Faber also added that “I still think the mining sector has embarked on a new bull market.”

“[The U.S. dollar] is not a desirable currency,” Faber explains, “I think the most desirable currency will be gold, silver, platinum and palladium.”

“I don’t understand why the world is so enthusiastic about the US Dollar…in the long-run the US dollar will be a weak currency.”

Full interview below:





Mysterious Tombstone For Donald Trump Appears In Central Park

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As part of Trump’s blistering, unconventional and very unexpected rise to the top of the Republican presidential nominee ranks, he has seen his share of threats – some serious, most in jest – to both his person, and in some cases his life. Apocryphally, some commentators have predicted that a Trump presidency would be such a shock to the status quo that if successful in winning the presidency, he would never make to inauguration day alive.

Today, such concerns were once again inflamed when a mysterious tombstone on behalf of Donald J. Trump (the date of death is blank: 1946 – …) was erected in Central Park.

As Gothamist first reported, “someone erected a very classy Trump tombstone in the middle of Central Park this weekend, and were kind enough to leave his expiration date open to the fates.”

Gothamist adds that “tipster Annie Reiss came upon the beautiful tribute to the presumptive GOP presidential candidate this morning near Sheep’s Meadow. “There were people taking pictures which is why I stopped,” she told us. “It was definitely provocative, strange for Easter morning.”

The tombstone has the inscription, “Made America Hate Again.”

As Mashable adds, plenty of people shared photos of the tombstone on social media, but no one seems to know what it means, other than “being a prank of questionable taste.”

By evening, the tombstone had been removed by park officials. 

According to Trump’s latest Tweets, he is either unaware, or doesn’t seem too worried about this implicit threat or poorly made joke; instead he is focusing his energy on the previously noted lawsuit which the real estate billionaire threatens to file against Ted Cruz for “stealing” delegates

Just to show you how unfair Republican primary politics can be, I won the State of Louisiana and get less delegates than Cruz-Lawsuit coming

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2016

… as well as the ongoing “wife-gate” involving Heidi Cruz and Melania Trump:

See Lyin’ Ted, even the @DailyBeast (no fan of mine) says this story came from Rubio, not Trump! pic.twitter.com/Okc8XajVnz

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2016

Once again, we can only imagine the shocked media reaction if a tombstone mysteriously emerged in one of the world’s busiest venues for any of the other presidential candidates.





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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Phil's Favorites

This Is The One Chart Every Trader Should Have "Taped To Their Screen"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

After a year of tapering, the Fed’s balance sheet finally captured the market’s attention during the last three months of 2018.

By the start of the fourth quarter, the Fed had finished raising the caps on monthly roll-off of its balance sheet to the full $50bn per month (peaking at $30bn USTs, $20bn MBS, although on many months the (balance sheet) B/S does not actually shrink by this full amount which depends on the redemption schedule) and by end-Q4 markets also experienced some of the largest volatility and drawdowns in nearly a decade.

As Nomura&...



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ValueWalk

The Competition For Capital Has Made Stocks Cheap

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The new year is upon us, and now is the time many investors look at what 2018 was and prepare for what 2019 might be. Recession jitters are starting to pick back up again, especially now that the full picture of 2018 is in the books. But what if you could pick only one theme for 2018? Jefferies strategist Sean Darby and team have a suggestion which is especially timely given that it appears to mark the end of an era.

StockSnap / PixabayVolatility carries into the new year

This past year was one of extremes, and the markets ended i...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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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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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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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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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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