Archive for October, 2017

Connecticut Becomes Last State To Pass A Budget After 123-Day Battle

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Four months after the beginning of the fiscal year, Connecticut has become the last state in the US to pass a budget after Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bipartisan budget bill, but used his line-item veto power to block a section of the nearly 900-page document related to the controversial hospital tax.

The deal marks the culmination of a bitter struggle between Malloy and lawmakers in both chambers of the CT legislature as they struggled to close a $3.5 billion two-year budget deficit. Fiscal problems have plagued the state since the financial crisis thanks to its overly generous benefits from state employees that have left its pension accounts dangerously underfunded. Malloy was effectively frozen out of the budget negotiations after vetoing a bipartisan budget that was sent to his desk in late September.

“After 123 days without a budget, it is time to sign this bipartisan bill into law and continue the steady and significant progress our state has made over the past several years,” Malloy said.

“Connecticut’s families and businesses deserve to have a budget in place, one that provides a stable environment to live and work,’’ Malloy said.

“While there are certainly many provisions of this budget I find problematic, there’s also a clear recognition of many of the fiscal priorities and concerns I’ve consistently articulated since January. I appreciate the work of the General Assembly in passing a budget to my desk that I can sign.”

The budget battle became the longest such stalemate in Connecticut history, surpassing the epic, summer-long fight to create the state income tax that ended on Aug. 22, 1991.

Connecticut was the last of nearly a dozen states that experienced last-minute budget battles in May and June ahead of the end of the fiscal year. Many of those states – as a senior official at S&P Ratings warned at the time – were struggling with festering budget problems and woefully underfunded employee pension programs that the official characterized as “chronic budget stress.”

The battles triggered government shutdowns in Maine and New Jersey, and nearly triggered a ratings downgrade in Illinois after the state legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner blew past a deadline


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Previewing Wednesday’s Fed Policy Decision: The Week’s Biggest Non-Event

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While normally Wednesday's Fed meeting would be the week's biggest market-moving event, this time – smack in the middle of the busiest earnings week of the year – it may not even make the top three, buried ahead of the coming news of the next Fed Chair (in which Trump is set to unveil Jerome Powell on Thursday), and the GOP tax bill (which just saw its Wednesday release delayed by one day). One can make the argument that tomorrow's fully priced in FOMC announcement is also secondary to not only Friday's jobs report, which may help decide who is right, the Fed's "dots" or the market, but also to tomorrow's Treasury refunding announcement.

In fact, the latter is precisely what JPM analyst Jay Barry claimed earlier today, saying the "quarterly refunding announcement at 8:30am ET Wednesday “has the possibility to be a bigger event for markets in the morning than the Fed statement in the afternoon” and since market are “priced for a December hike,” the FOMC meeting isn’t likely to alter expectations in a way that would move the market. Where there is confusion is in the Treasury market, where market participants are divided on whether the Treasury will announce increases to coupon auction sizes Wednesday, or wait until the 1Q refunding announcement in February: “There’s a dispersion of views because of the pivot the Treasury Department has had over last few years,” specifically toward portfolio metrics and aiming to extend the weighted average maturity of the portfolio. Merely reversing the cuts that have been made to 2Y and 3Y auctions since 2013 wouldn’t serve that objective.

“If they don’t get announced tomorrow, it’s a muted rally, and if they do, it’s a muted steepening, but I think it’s all small because the numbers we’re talking about are only $1 billion month, and because Treasury has been clear in communicating that financing needs are moving higher over the medium term”

Ok so, while hardly the market terror of years and months gone by, at least we one can agree that tomorrow's FOMC Monetary Policy decision will be somewhat important, ranking behind the Fed Chairman choice, the unveiling of the GOP tax proposal, Friday's payrolls report, and tomorrow's Treasury refunding announcement… oh and


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Kentucky Teachers Blast Pension Reform Plan; Warn That 401(k) Plans Will “Dismantle Public Education”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Graves County Superintendent Kim Dublin in Kentucky is apparently concerned that forcing her teachers to accept the same retirement plans offered to almost every private sector employee in the country would literally "dismantle public education" as we know it.

Speaking to a local NBC affiliate in Kentucky, Dublin told reporters that she relies on the excessive generosity of Kentucky taxpayers to underwrite her state's lavish defined benefit plans that she uses as a recruiting tool to attract the 'best talent'.

A local school leader says she believes proposed changes to Kentucky’s pension system would dismantle public education.

Any day now, Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin could call for a special session for a vote on pension reform.

Some changes include putting new teachers — or teachers who have fewer than five years of experience — onto a 401k style system. Teachers with more than five years in the classroom will still be able to retire with a full pension after 27 years.

That would limit how long they could continue paying into a pension after reaching that number of years. The current proposal allows for three additional years.

Graves County Superintendent Kim Dublin is concerned by many aspects of the proposal.

She says the current pension system allows her to recruit and retain qualified teachers. “Our success is because of people, not programs,” she says.

Teacher

Of course, a couple of things seem to be lost on Ms. Dublin.  First, she has no idea whether or not she's managed to attract the best "talent" to her schools because her teacher union would never allow her track performance metrics and subsequently use those metrics to make hiring/firing decisions.  After all, treating public employees the same way their private sector counterparts are treated just can't be allowed.

Second, Ms. Dublin seems to not understand that failure to enact pension reform in the state of Kentucky will almost certainly result in her pension ponzi going bust in the not so distant future, thus leaving her teachers with a fraction of the retirement benefits they expected.

As we've pointed out frequently of late, Kentucky's public pensions


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Russia Tried To Undermine Trump After The Election

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following today's Senate Judiciary panel hearings with social media executives, the establishment's 'Russians colluded with Trump' narrative is hanging but all but the thinnest of threads.

Having shown that so-called 'Russian actors' "were trying to create discord between Americans," during the election – which politicians attempted to position as "directed against Clinton," top lawyers from Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that Russian-linked posts and advertisements placed on the social networks after Election Day sought to sow doubt about President Donald Trump's victory.

As we showed earlier, sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016 organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS – a Russian-linked group.

The event was shared with 61,000 users.

“Join us in the streets! Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!” reads the Facebook event page for the rally.

“Divided is the reason we just fell. We must unite despite our differences to stop HATE from ruling the land.”

And that appears to have the 'Russians' m.o. after the election, as Politico reports, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch told a Senate Judiciary panel that content generated by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency after Nov. 8 centered on “fomenting discord about the validity of his [Trump’s] election.”

“During the election, they were trying to create discord between Americans, most of it directed against Clinton.

After the election you saw Russian-tied groups and organizations trying to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. Is that what you saw on Facebook?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked at the hearing.

Stretch and his Twitter counterpart, Sean Edgett, called that an "accurate" statement.

Not really the one-sided, reason-for-my-loss, Russians-colluded narrative that the left (and right establishment) would like to be spun.

The social media giants' counsels parried most grandstanding blows from the various politicians; however, there were five key moments that Politico identified during the hearings…

1) First look at the fake Russian ads

Tuesday's hearing offered the public its first look at political ads that Facebook and Twitter


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When Will The Tesla Stock-Promote Finally Fail

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Via AdventuresInCapitalism.com,

The history of industry leading consumer tech products has not been kind to investors who overstay their welcome. You need look no further than all the hundreds of notable recent failures, to realize that these companies almost always flame out. The list below (in no particular order) is a nice trip down memory lane of former favorites, that are now either bankrupt or shells of their former selves—often consumed by some other entity that fortunately put them out of their misery. Of course, the list below, is just from the past decade or two,

Palm, Gateway, Research In Motion, GoPro, FitBit, Heelys, Handspring, Compaq, BlueRay, Garmin, Delorean, Casio, Sega, Tamaguchi, TiVo, Betamax, AOL, Walkman (Sony), Set Top Boxes (Scientific American), Kodak, Atari, Napster, Netscape, Polaroid, etc.

It’s hard at the top. You must guess each change in technology, each generation of improvement and design it for fickle consumers, while constantly outlaying capital for research and development that may never go anywhere. All the time, others are constantly trying to overtake you.

If you look at the lifecycles of these companies, they often follow a similar trajectory from ingenious creation with huge margins, to a few generations of new products with smaller margins, to massive competition as deep pocketed competitors and venture capitalists try and emulate your product, to missing a product cycle, to becoming obsolete. These consumer product companies rarely last more than a decade; often just a few years. In the end, consumer focused tech is vicious and Darwinian, with very few long-term competitive advantages.

Of course, Tesla (TSLA – USA) is something of an anomaly here. While the companies in the above list, all produced prodigious cash while they were industry leaders, Tesla seems to incinerate cash while in the lead—using repeated equity and now debt offerings to plug the hole. While other companies had a huge stash of cash to fall back on when others overtook them, Tesla’s cash balance leaves it only a few quarters from insolvency. Add in a host of questionable related party transactions, convoluted financial statements (what the hell is pro-forma revenue?), the inability to ever hit company guidance, deceptive disclosures and a business that seems to lose more money with


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The Delays Begin: Release Of Republican Tax Bill Postponed Until Thursday

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In our comprehensive review of the GOP tax bill which was scheduled to be unveiled tomorrow, we noted the following key caveat  "There are a lot of unknowns in this process, the biggest of which – of course – is whether the bill will be delayed from its scheduled Wednesday appearance." In retrospect, and in light of the conflicting reports about what may be contained in the final draft of the bill, this has proved prophetic because moments ago, Axios reported that week's 2nd biggest events – after Trump's announcement of Jay Powell as the next Fed chair – the release of the Republican tax bill is being postponed by at least one day, from Wednesday to Thursday.

The delay of the scheduled release, by the House Ways and Means Committee, reveals the difficulties the team has had in resolving how to raise enough money to pay for the massive corporate tax cuts. Political hot button issues — like the treatment of 401k savings — are still in flux. The delay shouldn't affect the timing for the mark-up, which is expected to happen Monday.

Separately, the Hill adds that the GOP now says the bill will be released on Thursday as lawmakers scramble to reach a consensus on how to restructure the nation’s tax laws.

Fights over possible changes to the tax status of 401(k) retirement plans and the state and local taxes deduction are at the center of the delay. Lobbyists chattered throughout the day over whether Wednesday’s big unveiling of the GOP tax package would have to be delayed as it became clear that lawmakers were differing over various reductions.

Hours before the decision was made to punt the release for a day, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters that he intended to release text of a bill Wednesday — but that it would not be a chairman’s mark. This would allow Brady to make changes to the text through the weekend ahead of a planned markup on Monday in the Ways and Means Committee.

President Trump had sought to quash any changes to 401(k) plans last week, but it has become clear that Republicans have not stopped talking


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A Few Simple Charts Spell Disaster For Public Pension Ponzi Schemes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Earlier today, Milliman released their 2017 Public Pension Funding Study which explores the funded status of the 100 largest U.S. public pension plans.  Not surprisingly, this study only served to confirm many of the rather alarming trends surrounding public pension ponzi's that we discuss on a regular basis.

Starting with a high-level status update, Milliman figures the largest 100 public pensions were roughly just as underfunded on June 30, 2017 as they were on June 30, 2016…not an encouraging development given that the S&P 500 surged 15% over that same period.

This 2017 report is based on information that was reported by the plan sponsors at their last fiscal year ends—June 30, 2016 is the measurement date for most of the plans in our 2017 study. At that time, plan assets were still feeling the effects of market downturns in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. Total plan assets as of the last fiscal year ends stood at $3.19 trillion, down from $3.24 trillion as of the prior fiscal year ends (generally June 30, 2015). However, market performance since the last fiscal year ends has been strong, and we estimate that aggregate plan assets have jumped to $3.44 trillion as of June 30, 2017. We estimate that the plans experienced a median annualized return on assets of 11.49% in the period between their fiscal year ends and June 30, 2017.

The Total Pension Liability reported at the last fiscal year ends totaled $4.72 trillion, up from $4.43 trillion as of the prior fiscal year ends. We estimate that the Total Pension Liability has increased to $4.87 trillion as of June 30, 2017. The aggregate underfunding as of the last fiscal year ends stood at $1.53 trillion, but we estimate that the underfunding has narrowed to $1.43 trillion as of June 30, 2017.

Meanwhile, 32% of the top 100 plans were less than 60% funded.

Of course, the discussion gets far more interesting when Milliman analyzes the prevailing discount rates used by public pensions compared to independent analyses of where those discount rates should be set. 

As our readers are well aware, we've long argued that


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As Under Armour Collapses, CEO Builds Elitist Hotel & Whiskey Distillery

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Earlier, we reported on Under Armour’s epic stock collapse down over -75% from its September 2015 highs. This is one stock Central Bankers forgot to buy. Today’s stock crash -15% is being felt across Baltimore once again, city streets are eerily calm, as the latest round of millennials who ‘bought the dip’ called in sick this morning. Something tells us, the avocado and toast breakfast will be sadly missed by many….

Bloomberg sums up today’s terrible earnings report blamed on ‘shortfall on operational disruptions from a recent technology systems transition’, and also provides a dismal macro outlook for the company.

Even international’s 34% constant currency growth represents “significant deceleration” from 2Q’s 54% growth, Nikic writes in note.

Gross margin (GM) continue to come under pressure (down 130bps y/y in 3Q), and 4Q forecast implies even worse margin erosion: GM implied down 350-400bps, which would be 4th straight year 4Q GM declined >150bps, would result in 1,000bps of cumulative erosion since 4Q13.  

 
UAA business continues to come under pressure due to macro headwinds, off-trend product assortment (focus on technical/performance rather than casual/lifestyle), internal operational issues warranting underperform rating. 

In terms of trades, Kevin Plank (CEO) appears to be a genius – selling stock at highs. Form 4s concludes, he’s sold over $145 million worth of paper even during the stock collapse.

Immediately, Kevin Plank – through his full-service real estate firm called Sagamore Development Company – embarked on the construction of his whiskey distillery nestled in Baltimore’s inner harbor.

At the point of construction in 2H15, the stock crashed -20% to -30%. Fast forward to April 2017, Plank in a need of a drink opened his whiskey distillery, as the stock crashed another -50%.

Plank, a smart guy, knew the only way to comfort shareholders was to offer them a bottle of good American whiskey to soothe the pain of Under Armour’s stock crash.

This is by far, a much better class act of distractions when compared to Elon Musk’s circus act


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Russell 2000 Returns Yesterday Reversal

Courtesy of Declan

There wasn't a whole lot of action today but the Russell 2000 did manage to make back yesterday's losses.  The 'bull flag' is still intact and today's buying didn't quite register as a resistance breakout but tomorrow may be the day for follow through.
 


There wasn't a whole lot going on in the Nasdaq. The index did manage low volume gains which came with a MACD trigger 'buy'.  The upside target of the rising channel remains in play.
 


The Nasdaq 100 finished on a neutral doji slap bang in the middle of the rising channel. Nothing more to say on this index.
 


Likewise, Large Caps did little today.
 


For tomorrow, keep eyes on the Russell 2000. If it can break from the 'bull flag' it could set up a nice little run higher.  Momentum players can keep an eye on the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 as it looks to expand on Friday's breakout.





Gentrification? Bring it

 

Gentrification? Bring it

Courtesy of Jonathan WynnUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst and Andrew DeenerUniversity of Connecticut

File 20171010 17691 2xiyau.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Cash-strapped Hartford is one of a number American cities that have missed out on the nation’s urban renaissance. Jessica Hill/AP Photo

In July, a group of long-time, mostly Latino residents of Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood staged protests outside a trendy new coffee shop called Weird Wave Coffee, holding signs that read “Amerikkkano” and “WHITE COFFEE.”

Across the country in Brooklyn’s rapidly gentrifying Crown Heights neighborhood, locals lashed out over a new restaurant with decor that included fake bullet holes and a menu that offered a drink called “40 ounce rosé” (malt liquor and wine) served in a paper bag.

Over the past few decades, gentrification debates have migrated from the pages of academic journals into the streets and the mainstream press.

The word, in many ways, is tinged with negativity. And for good reason. In tight real estate markets, it can lead to development that privileges profits over community and shuts people out of neighborhoods they have lived in for decades.

But what about cities struggling to overcome the threat of bankruptcy like Hartford? How does gentrification look in New South cities like Austin and Nashville, where midcentury urban planning destroyed residential communities and left downtowns largely unoccupied?

While doing research on the economic health of Hartford, one of us asked the head of a downtown Hartford nonprofit about gentrification. Her response? “We could use some of that. But we are so far away from it, it’s not even an issue.”

If residential patterns and urban areas vary, so too must the story of gentrification. In other words: Have big cities hijacked the gentrification debate?

The origins of gentrification

“Gentrification” is a term coined by the British sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964 to explain the return of the middle class to London’s center city.

In the U.S., academics and urban planners first started extensively talking about and debating gentrification in the 1970s. Between 1950 and 1970, urban manufacturing went overseas and white middle-class city-dwellers moved to the suburbs. Concerns over blighted urban centers grew. Sociologists, planners and…
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Zero Hedge

Schiff: Negative Interest Rates Are "Boneheaded"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Via SchiffGold.com,

Donald Trump has been badgering Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for months, begging for lower interest rates. This week, he took things to another level, saying that the “boneheads” at the Fed need to push rates into negative territory.

In his podcast, Peter Schiff said negative interest rates are boneheaded. ...



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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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Phil's Favorites

Black Hole Investing

 

Black Hole Investing

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline 

Scientists say the rules change in a cosmic “black hole” at what astrophysicists call the event horizon. How do they know that? Not by observation, since what happens in there is, by definition, un-seeable. They infer it from the surroundings, which say that the mathematics of the universe as we understand them change at the event horizon.

Or maybe not. One theory says we are all inside a black hole right now. That could possibly explain a few things about central bank policy. ...



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Insider Scoop

The Street Reacts To Kroger's Q2 With Mixed Takeaways

Courtesy of Benzinga

Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) reported second-quarter results that came in better than expected. The earnings beat may have been overshadowed by management's decision to remove its prior guidance of $400 million in incremental EBIT by fiscal 2021.

Q2 A Mix Of Positives And Negativ...

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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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Lee's Free Thinking

Nonfarm Payrolls Not Seasonally Adjusted Tell the Real Story - Unspinning Wall Street™

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Not seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls, that is, the actual numbers, give us a truer picture of the jobs market than the seasonally adjusted garbage that Wall Street spews.

Friday’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls jobs headline numbers disappointed investors with slower than expected growth. But was it really that bad?

Here’s How The Street Spun It – Wall Street Journal Modest August Job Growth Shows Economy Expanding, but Slowly

Employers added 130,000 nonfarm jobs, jobless rate held steady at 3.7%

U.S. employment grew only modestly in August, suggesting that a global economic slowdown isn’t driving the U.S. into recession but has dente...



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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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