Archive for April, 2017

5 Head Scratchers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

Market dislocations occur when financial markets, operating under stressful conditions, experience large widespread asset mispricing.

Welcome to this week’s edition of “World Out Of Whack” where every Wednesday we take time out of our day to laugh, poke fun at and present to you absurdity in global financial markets in all its glorious insanity.

While we enjoy a good laugh, the truth is that the first step to protecting ourselves from losses is to protect ourselves from ignorance. Think of the “World Out Of Whack” as your double thick armour plated side impact protection system in a financial world littered with drunk drivers.

Selfishly we also know that the biggest (and often the fastest) returns come from asymmetric market moves. But, in order to identify these moves we must first identify where they live.

Occasionally we find opportunities where we can buy (or sell) assets for mere cents on the dollar – because, after all, we are capitalists.

In this week’s edition of the WOW: 5 head scratchers

Today we’re going to blast through a few shards of information that have bloodied my windshield recently… but first some context.

The world is a web, interconnected at multiple levels but in it’s entirety it is one giant capital flow chart. This is why looking at events, trends and prices from multiple angles and with historical context is critical. It means that in order to understand global capital flows and the world at large investors needs to be generalists. Specialisation renders one towards narrow focus by necessity. There is nothing wrong with narrow focus when you need it so long as it can be brought into focus through a broad understanding.

Let’s therefore look at a number of topics.

1: Saudi Arabia Got WHAT??

In what I dearly wish was a delayed April fools joke the United Nations just elected Saudi Arabia to the Woman’s Rights Commission. No isht!

A quick reminder: this is the only country in the world which actually bans women from driving cars while implementing Sharia Law, which – for those among you who haven’t read the intricacies of – permits, among other heinous things, honour killings. Way to go UN!

Question: does this make the UN complicit in crimes against humanity committed by Saudi Arabia’s government? Oh, wait…

Why do I


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Here Is The Simplest Reason Why The Reflation Trade Is About To Fizzle

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Forget Trump, forget China, forget oil, forget central banks unwinding their balance sheets, forget Reuters trial balloons: there is a far simpler reason why the ‘reflation trade’ is about to hit a major pothole.

Back in October, when the “credible” media gave Trump about 5% odds of becoming president and when there was approximately $12 trillion in negative yielding bonds around the globe, we said inflation was about to spike for a very simple reason: energy prices were about to anniversary their multi-year lows, and as a result of the base effect, headline CPI would surge dramatically around the globe for the next 6 months. It did just that, in many cases spilling over into core CPI, and in other cases confusing central bankers and traders into believing that inflation had returned.

Now it’s time for the hangover.

As SocGen writes in previewing tomorrow’s Headline and Core PCE deflators numbers, after spending nearly five years missing to the downside on the inflation target, the Fed finally achieved its goal as the yoy headline PCE deflator hit 2.1% in February. Unfortunately, Fed officials cannot take a victory lap, because they will be right back to missing the target again when the March figures are released. The data in hand from the PPI and CPI suggest that the headline PCE deflator likely fell by 0.164% in March, which would result in the yoy rate falling from 2.1% to 1.9% (1.885% un-rounded).

Energy prices – now virtually unchanged from a year ago – in the CPI fell by 3.2% last month, and these likely flowed through into the PCE as well. However, given the smaller weight of energy in the PCE gauge, the drop in energy prices will result in a smaller drag on the headline PCE index (almost a tenth less than in the CPI). Meanwhile, the CPI’s food index increased by 0.34% in March (that being said, the PCE food index is broader, and the food indexes in the PCE not present in the CPI have been a bit volatile of late).

So aside from anniversarying the unchanged Y/Y base effect, here is what else SocGen expects from tomorrow’s anti-reflationary PCE prints: the core PCE deflator looks to have declined by 0.1% in March (-0.072% un-rounded). A reading in line with our forecast would


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Welcome To The Corporatocracy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,

The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable.

America’s large corporations and its government have merged. Or was it an acquisition? If the latter, who acquired whom? Unfortunately, the labels affixed to purely corporate combinations lose their analytical usefulness here. While the two retain their own distinct legal structures and managements, so to speak, such a close community of interest has evolved that it’s no longer possible to separate them or delineate their individual contours. Political labels are no help; the ones most often used have become hopelessly imprecise. The Wikipedia definition of “fascism” is over 8,000 words, with 43 notes and 16 references.

However, the conjoined blob is so big, rapacious, and intrusive that akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition of obscenity, everybody knows it when they see or otherwise come into contact with it. This article will use the term “corporatocracy.” It’s less letters, dashes, and words to type than “the corporate-government-combination.” No serviceable understanding of either US history or current events is possible without close study of the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, such study, like entomology or cleaning septic tanks, requires a stout constitution. But take heart, entomologists grow to love their creepy crawly things, and septic tank cleaners say that after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell.

A cherished delusion of naive liberals holds that big government is a counterweight, not a partner, to big business. Such a rationale is touted when the righteous demand new regulation, the public and media endorse it, the legislators pass it, and the president signs it into law. However, there are always unpaved stretches on the road to hell—once regulation is law, the righteous, public, media, legislators, and president, and their ostensibly good intentions, are on to the next cause.

In the quiet obscurity they relish, regulators and regulated get down to doing what they do best: bending the law to their joint benefit. Business, whose P&L’s can be powerfully affected by regulations, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers in a never ending effort to tilt the playing field in their direction, and improve bottom lines, stock prices, and executive bonuses. The return on such investment is far higher than on old fashioned expenditures like research


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What’s The Oldest Business In Your State?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Is the oldest business in your state a mom-and-pop shop, or a famous megabrand?

Today’s infographic from Busy Beaver Button Co. maps the diverse range of companies that claim to be the oldest in their respective states. While many of them exist today as modest family-owned businesses such as pizzerias or taverns, Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes that some have also grown into respected brands known around the country, like Jim Beam or Imperial Sugar.

Source: Visual Capitalist

THE MOST INTERESTING STANDOUTS

Here are the standouts from the list, including a pirate-themed restaurant and a global aerospace company.

Georgia: The Pirates’ House (est. 1753)

Located in downtown Savannah, The Pirates’ House is thought to be the oldest standing building in the state of Georgia. It was once an inn and tavern for seaman visiting from abroad, developing quite a negative reputation among the locals for scoundrelry and drunkenness. Today, the restaurant is obviously more family-friendly – and it is one of Savannah’s most-popular tourist attractions.

California: Ducommun (est. 1849)

Ducommun is an aerospace and defense manufacturer based founded in Carson, California with a current $320 million market capitalization on the NYSE. The company manufactures structural and electronic components for commercial, military, and space aircraft, including the Boeing 737 NG and 777 airliners.

Kentucky: Jim Beam (est. 1795)

Amazingly, seven generations of the Beam family have been involved in whiskey production for the company since it was founded in 1795. After Prohibition impacted the business, the company was rebuilt by James B. Beam, and the whiskey still bears his name today.

Texas: Imperial Sugar (est. 1843)

Located in the aptly-named Sugar Land, Texas, this company is a sugar behemoth with revenues of nearly $1 billion per year. Imperial Sugar focuses on producing sugar products and sweeteners that are made from non-GMO cane sugar.

Vermont: Fort Ticonderoga Ferry (est. 1799)

The oldest business in Vermont is not a multi-national brand – but instead, a quaint seven-minute ferry ride that provides scenic daytime crossings on Lake Champlain between Ticonderoga, New York and Shoreham, Vermont.





Ludwig von Mises’ Century Of Validation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by EconomicPrism’s MN Gordon, annotated by Acting-Man’s Pater Tenebrarum,

Seeing the Light

It has been said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  No one quite knows who first uttered this remark; it has been attributed to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and has even been said to be an Ancient Chinese Proverb.  What is known is that this cliché has been repeated over and over again so often that its mere mention substantiates its own definition.

Several of the ladies and gentlemen above wanted to let us know that they’re merely eccentric,  and if they want to do things all over again and again and again, we should let them…

 

Nonetheless, we repeat it again because it’s particularly fitting to today’s deliberations.  Here we begin with a look back to the past in search of edification.  For the miscalculations of the past continue to dictate the insanity of the present.

Many years ago, a bright minded and well intentioned Italian pursued a devious undertaking.  His efforts aimed to conceive a pure theory of a socialist economy.  His objective was to take the sordid teachings of Marx and pencil out the mechanics of how a centrally planned economy could bring a life of security and abundance for all.  What follows is an approximation of how the dirty deed went down.

In 1908, Italian economist Enrico Barone suffered an abstraction.  One late night he skipped a bite of his meatballs and marinara, and gazed into the outer frontiers of deep space.  Looking around, he couldn’t believe his eyes. For in this far corner of absolute darkness, he saw something truly amazing.  Out in the distant reaches of nothingness, peering into a black hole, he saw not the dark.  Rather, he thought he saw the light.

Barone’s light was a socialist utopia achieved through “scientific management” of the economy, lorded over by the Ministry of Production.  Through this endeavor, he imagined, an economy could attain something called “maximum collective welfare.”

Enrico Barone in the only photo of him we could find. Both Vilfredo Pareto (in 1897) and Barone (in 1908, in the monograph “The Ministry of Production” discussed above) used a


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Japan Is Dumping A Record Amount Of Foreign Bonds: Here Are The Implications

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Back in February, around the time Bloomberg caught up to what we had been discussing for the past year, namely the historic dumping of US Treasurys by offshore official investors (such as central banks and reserve managers, just as the selling had in fact reversed and foreigners had resumed buying once more) we noticed that it was not China but Japan that had emerged as one of the most aggressive sellers of Treasuries following material Mark-to-Market losses on existing TSY holdings, prompting the foremost ex-Fed shadow banking expert Zoltan Poszar to declare the selling “a deer in the headlights moment”.

Fast forward two months, when according to the latest update from Deutsche Bank, Japan’s revulsion to fixed income products has accelerateed, and the Pacific island was a net seller of foreign bonds again in the past week, divesting another $12bn worth of securities. It was not only the third straight week of selling out of Japan, according to MOF data, but more remarkably, the the year-to-date divestment of $66bn in foreign bonds YTD is the biggest since 2002, the first full year of such data is available.

What is prompting the sudden liquidation? According to Deustche, “profit-taking most likely explains Japan’s selling.”

Ten-year Treasury yields declined in April to a lower level than any previous month since the Trump election. In the process, yen cross-currency basis has tightened to levels not seen since January 2016. Japanese investors use the yen basis (or more precisely, their derivative FX forwards) to hedge the currency risk of their coupon flows from non-yen bonds. The basis tightens when there is a drop in demand to swap yen for dollar.

The next chart, which shows the distinctive inverse relationship between cumulative Japanese purchases of foreign bonds and the 3m yen basis, should be useful to anyone still confused by what has been the biggest driver behind the gradual drop and sudden recent spike in the USD-JPY currency basis: it all has to do with Japanese TSY demand, and hedging costs (which we pointed out had risen so high last August it made TSYs and JGBs look equally priced to Japanese investors).

However, it’s not just the Yen basis (and thus relative


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The Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Gary Novak via Science Errors blog,

An electric auto will convert 5-10% of the energy in natural gas into motion. A normal vehicle will convert 20-30% of the energy in gasoline into motion. That’s 3 or 4 times more energy recovered with an internal combustion vehicle than an electric vehicle.

Electricity is a specialty product. It’s not appropriate for transportation. It looks cheap at this time, but that’s because it was designed for toasters, not transportation. Increase the amount of wiring and infrastructure by a factor of a thousand, and it’s not cheap.

Electricity does not scale up properly to the transportation level due to its miniscule nature. Sure, a whole lot can be used for something, but at extraordinary expense and materials.

Using electricity as an energy source requires two energy transformation steps, while using petroleum requires only one. With electricity, the original energy, usually chemical energy, must be transformed into electrical energy; and then the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of motion. With an internal combustion engine, the only transformation step is the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy in the combustion chamber.

The difference matters, because there is a lot of energy lost every time it is transformed or used. Electrical energy is harder to handle and loses more in handling.

The use of electrical energy requires it to move into and out of the space medium (aether) through induction. Induction through the aether medium should be referred to as another form of energy, but physicists sandwich it into the category of electrical energy. Going into and out of the aether through induction loses a lot of energy.

Another problem with electricity is that it loses energy to heat production due to resistance in the wires. A short transmission line will have 20% loss built in, and a long line will have 50% loss built in. These losses are designed in, because reducing the loss by half would require twice as much metal in the wires. Wires have to be optimized for diameter and strength, which means doubling the metal would be doubling the number of transmission lines.

High voltage transformers can get 90% efficiency with expensive designs, but household level voltages get 50% efficiency. Electric motors can get up to 60% efficiency, but only at optimum rpms


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Central Banks’ Obsession With Price Stability Leads To Economic Instability

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute,

For most economists the key factor that sets the foundation for healthy economic fundamentals is a stable price level as depicted by the consumer price index.

According to this way of thinking, a stable price level doesn’t obscure the visibility of the relative changes in the prices of goods and services, and enables businesses to see clearly market signals that are conveyed by the relative changes in the prices of goods and services. Consequently, it is held, this leads to the efficient use of the economy’s scarce resources and hence results in better economic fundamentals.

The Rationale for Price-Stabilization Policies 

For instance, let us say that demand increases for potatoes versus tomatoes. This relative strengthening, it is held, is going to be depicted by a greater increase in the price of potatoes than for tomatoes. 

Now in an unhampered market, businesses pay attention to consumer wishes as manifested by changes in the relative prices of goods and services. Failing to abide by consumer wishes will lead to the wrong production mix of goods and services and will lead to losses.

Hence in our example, by paying attention to relative changes in prices, businesses are likely to increase the production of potatoes versus tomatoes.

According to this way of thinking, if the price level is not stable, then the visibility of the relative price changes becomes blurred and consequently, businesses cannot ascertain the relative changes in the demand for goods and services and make correct production decisions.

Thus, it is feared that unstable prices will lead to a misallocation of resources and to the weakening of economic fundamentals. Unstable changes in the price level obscure changes in the relative prices of goods and services. Consequently, businesses will find it difficult to recognize a change in relative prices when the price level is unstable.

Based on this way of thinking it is not surprising that the mandate of the central bank is to pursue policies that will bring price stability, i.e., a stable price level.

By means of various quantitative methods, the Fed’s economists have established that at present, policymakers must aim at keeping price inflation at 2 percent. Any significant deviation from this figure constitutes deviation from the growth path of price stability.

Note that in this way of thinking changes in the


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So Much For That Obama Administration ‘Plan’ To “End Private Prison Use” In The US

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Duane via Free Market Shooter blog,

In August of last year, Free Market Shooter wrote in support of an Obama administration directive to end the use of private prisons in the United States, one of the only policy issues the administration managed to get right:

Why, you ask, is a free market advocate in favor of ending private prisons?  Simple: because these facilities aren’t  “private” at all.

The reason why should be obvious.  Prisoners are their only “customer”, if you want to call them a customer at all; the “customers” are provided by the government, who pays private prison companies for their incarceration.

What else makes private prisons so profitable? This should also be obvious – having as many facilities and customers as possible. They have every incentive to encourage laws that keep as many incarcerated as possible, as it increases their “customer” base. Moreover, they then sell the “labor” from prisoners to companies who source prison labor at bargain basement prices, increasing their margins even further.

We all should have known the Obama administration would manage to screw this up; it just took two weeks into the job for new Attorney General and Drug War champion Jeff Sessions to flick his pen and undo Obama’s efforts:

The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons.

In a memo made public on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Obama policy impaired the government’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal prison system.

The Obama administration said in August 2016 it planned a gradual phase-out of private prisons by letting contracts expire or by scaling them back to a level consistent with recent declines in the U.S. prison population.

And, in case you weren’t aware, this is the same Jeff Sessions who is on the record as being not only against medicinal marijuana, it is the same Jeff Sessions that has stated that marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin:

Jeff Sessions, to reporters in Richmond just now: “I think medical


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Bond Bears Battered By The Biggest Short Squeeze In History

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In the week when it was confirmed that Q1 was the weakest economic growth for a rate hike period since 1980…

Bond bears have never puked so much in such a short period of time as the $25 billion plus short-cover in 10Y Treasury bond futures in the last week.

In fact the stunning swing in sentiment in the last 8 weeks (with almost $62 billion in 10Y Treasury shorts dumped) is shocking to see, smashing Speculative Positioning from its shortest ever to its longest in over 9 years…

And perhaps more notably, the aggregate Treasury futures complex has shifted to a net long speculative position for the first time since July 2016

Note that Eurodollar futures shorts (rate hike bets) did increase modestly this last week (after dropping the week before).





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Rogue science strikes again: The case of the first gene-edited babies

 

Rogue science strikes again: The case of the first gene-edited babies

Chinese scientists led by He Jiankui claimed they used CRISPR to modify human embryos that eventually were born as twin girls. AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Courtesy of G. Owen Schaefer, National University of Singapore

The idea of scientists tinkering with the genes of babies was once the provenance of science fiction, but now it’s apparently entered the realm of reality: On Nov. 26, Chinese scientist He Jiankui reported the historic live births of ...



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Zero Hedge

Trump Administration Considering Issuance Of 50, 100-Year Treasuries

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The last time the US was seriously considering issuing ultra-long dated bonds - those with a maturity of 50 and 100 years - was back in late 2016 and early 2017, when yields were near the record lows hit in recent days. As we reported back in November 2016, shortly after Steven Mnuchin was confirmed as US Treasury Secretary, the former Goldman banker proceeded to roil the bond market when he told CNBC he would look at extending the maturity of future Tr...



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Insider Scoop

Heavy Volume Drives Low-Float Stock Plus Therapeutics Up 200%

Courtesy of Benzinga

Plus Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: PSTV) is the latest and one of the most extreme recent examples of the powerful combination of low float and heavy trading volume.

Plus shares traded higher by more than 215% on Friday. The biotech stock more than tripled after the company reported ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Long Term Stock Market Chart Perspective

Courtesy of Lee Adler

After a big day like yesterday, I like to get a little long term stock market chart perspective. (Yes, this stilted verbiage is for search engine optimization ).

We do that with a monthly bar chart, which I update when relevant in Lee Adler’s Technical Trader. That’s in addition to the regular daily bar/cycle charts covering the past year, and a weekly cycle chart covering the past 4 years.

I wrote on July 14, in reference to the price and indicator patterns on the weekly chart:

The market has overshot a 3-4 year cycle projection in terms of both price and time. There are no long term projections. A 4 year cycle high is ideally due now. A 4 ye...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P About To Decline 14%, Catching Up With The Crude Oil Declines?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

This chart looks at the performance of the S&P 500, Crude Oil and the Yield on the 10-Year note over the past 4-months.

Crude Oil has declined around 14% more than the S&P during this time frame. Yields have declined, even more, around 36%. The is a huge spread between these assets over this short of a time period.

A few importa...



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Chart School

Bitcoin 2019 fractal with Gold 2013

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Funny how price action patterns repeat, double tops, head and shoulders. These are simply market fractals of supply and demand.

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Ref: US Crypto Holders Only Have a Few Days to Reply to the IRS 6173 Letter

Today's news from the US IRS has been blamed for the recent price slump, yet the bitcoin fractal like the gold fractal suggest the market players have set bitcoin up for a slump to $9000 USD long before the IRS news hit the wire.

Get the impression some market players missed out on the b...

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The Technical Traders

Global Central Banks Move To Keep The Party Rolling - Part III

Courtesy of Technical Traders

This section of our multi-part article regarding current and past central bank actions, we are going to attempt to look at key elements of the past and present to highlight what we believe may turn out to be an incredible “setup” in the global markets. 

This setup is almost like a complex chess game where two skilled players battle for control and near the end of the game, one player is left with the King, a Rook, and a Pawn while the other player has a dramatic advantage with stronger chess pieces.  Yet, as the game continues, the weaker player is able to remove one or two of the stronger players key pieces and move his pawn to his opponent’s side to r...



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Digital Currencies

New Zealand Becomes 1st Country To Legalize Payment Of Salaries In Crypto

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been on a persistent upswing this year, but they're still pretty volatile. But during a time when even some of the most developed economies in the word are watching their currencies bounce around like the Argentine peso (just take a look at a six-month chart for GBPUSD), New Zealand has decided to take the plunge and become the first country to legalize payment in bitcoin, the FT reports.

The ruling by New Zealand’s tax authority allows salaries and wages to b...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Biotech

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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

 

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...



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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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