Archive for July, 2018

Japan, China Markets Turmoiling

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As the first full trading day since The BoJ shifted policy ever-so-gently, Japanese bond yields have blown out, spiking to 11bps. At the same time, Chinese stocks and Yuan are sliding on the heels of Trump's tariff escalation.

It seems no one was interested in buying 10Y JGBs as Kuroda faces his first test…

"The market is more likely to test an upside to bond yields sooner or later given the BOJ allows wider deviations in the 10-year yield, and the yen will probably strengthen during the process," Kato said.

The policy tweak "points to a distant-future exit and thus is a catalyst for yen strength in the medium-to-long term."

This is the widest intraday range since 2016…

The offshore yuan slipped as China weakened its fixing for the currency to the lowest since May 2017.

“The tariff issue is ongoing, I think it’s a negotiating tactic,” Nick Griffin, chief investment officer at Munro Partners, said on Bloomberg Television.

“How much we take of this as real and affecting earnings is questionable at this stage. In terms of an actual earnings effect, it’s not that big at the moment, it’s mainly just sentiment and risk appetite and for that it’s a moving feast.”

And that is continuing to weigh on Chinese stocks at the break…

And US Futures have been unable to rebound for now…





A perfect storm of factors is making wildfires bigger and more expensive to control

 

A perfect storm of factors is making wildfires bigger and more expensive to control

File 20180730 106502 1mukxhg.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

The Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California, July 26, 2018. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Courtesy of Cassandra Moseley, University of Oregon

Hopes for fewer large wildfires in 2018, after last year’s disastrous fire season, are rapidly disappearing across the West. Six deaths have been reported in Northern California’s Carr Fire, including two firefighters. Fires have scorched Yosemite, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Sequoia and Grand Canyon national parks. A blaze in June forced Colorado to shut down the San Juan National Forest. So far this year, 4.6 million acres have burned nationwide – less than last year, but well above the 10-year average of 3.7 million acres at this date.

These active wildfire years also mean higher firefighting costs. For my research on natural resource management and rural economic development, I work frequently with the U.S. Forest Service, which does most federal firefighting. Rising fire suppression costs over the past three decades have nearly destroyed the agency’s budget. Its overall funding has been flat for decades, while fire suppression costs have grown dramatically.

Earlier this year Congress passed a “fire funding fix” that changes the way in which the federal government will pay for large fires during expensive fire seasons. But it doesn’t affect the factors that are making fire suppression more costly, such as climate trends and more people living in fire prone landscapes.

Annual wildfire-burned area (in millions of acres), 1983 to 2015. The Forest Service stopped collecting statistics in 1997. National Interagency Fire Center

More burn days, more fuel

What is driving this trend? Many factors have come together to create a perfect storm. They include climate change, past forest and fire management practices, housing development, increased focus on community protection and the professionalization of wildfire management.

Fire seasons are growing longer in the United States and worldwide. According to the Forest Service, climate change has expanded the wildfire season by an average of 78 days per year since 1970. This means…
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Does America View Its Trade Relationships as Fair?

 

Does America View Its Trade Relationships as Fair?

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Understandably, most people are not experts on the subject of trade.

But while the average person won’t likely be able to guess the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, perceptions of trade relationships in the public eye are still a crucial indicator.

If the majority of Americans think they are getting the short end of the stick on international trade, this sentiment ultimately affects how politicians campaign, how policy decisions are made, and the success of the wider economy.

U.S. PERCEPTIONS OF TRADE

In today’s chart, we break down the data from a recent Gallup poll on how Americans view the country’s trade relationships.

At a high level, here is how it looks by country:

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

At a high level, here is how it looks by country:

Source: Gallup, June 18-24, 2018

The majority of Americans think relationships with Canada (65%), the European Union (56%), and Japan (55%) are fair. When it comes to Mexico, respondents are split (44% fair, 46% unfair).

Meanwhile, it’s clear that most Americans think they are getting the short end of the stick with China, with 62% of respondents describing the relationship as unfair.

THE CHINA PROBLEM

China is America’s largest trading partner, so this negative sentiment has meaningful implications.

The balance of trade that the U.S. has with China is also crystal clear: in 2017, the two countries traded $636 billion of goods, but the vast majority of this number comes from Chinese imports into the United States:

Most economists actually think that trade deficits are less important than they appear, but this trade gap is also visceral for many people. After all, U.S. exports barely make a dent in the mix, and this sends a message that America is “losing”.

Between the above trade deficit, intellectual property issues, and jobs going overseas, it’s understandable why the perception of Chinese-U.S. trade…
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Five Trillion Dollars! Doomed US Pensions’ Shortfall Now The Size Of Japan’s Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Scores of public pensions across the United States are so massively underfunded that the shortfall is roughly equal to Japan's GDP – the world's third-largest economy, according to Moody's Investors Service.

State and local pension plans in the U.S. now have less than three- quarters of the money they need to meet their promised payouts, their lowest level since at least 2001, according to Public Plans Database figures weighted by plan size. In dollar terms the hole for state and local pensions is now $5 trillion, according to Moody’s Investors Service. -WSJ

If governments don't increase taxes, convince pensioners to take less than they were promised or divert funds from elsewhere, an increasing number of funds face insolvency, reports the Wall Street Journal

In Kentucky, for example, a major pension for state employees had around 16% of what it needs to fulfill its obligations based on 2017 fiscal year figures, according to the Public Plans database which tracks state and local pension funds. A Chicago municipal employee fund had less than 30% of what it needed during the same fiscal year, while New Jersey's state pension is so underfunded it faces insolvency in 12 years according to a Pew Charitable Trusts Study.

For an example of what happens when a pension hits a brick wall, look no further than Central Falls, Rhode Island – a city of 19,359 which was forced to cut monthly checks to retired police and firefighters by as much as 55% as the entire town tried to stave off bankruptcy. Alas, the town still filed in 2011 – and while its financial situation has improved, retired city employees aren't getting their full pensions back.

Paul Grenon

“It’s not only a financial thing,” said 73-year-old retired Central Falls firefighter Paul Grenon, who retired after a falling wall punctured his lung, broke his back and five ribs, and left him unable to perform basic tasks required for the job like climbing ladders. “It really gets you sick mentally and physically to go through something like this. It’s a betrayal, as far as I’m concerned.

After


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“There’s Just No Slack In The System” – The Real Perils Of Pandemic Risk

Courtesy of Adam Taggart, PeakProsperity.com

As far as existential threats to the human species go, pandemics rank near the top of the list.

What's the probability of an aggressive, highly-fatal outbreak occuring soon? Is it high enough to worry about?

And if one occurs, what can/should we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones?

To address these questions, we interview John M. Barry, author of the award-winning New York Times best-seller The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. John was the only non-scientist to serve on the US government's Infectious Disease Board of Experts and has served on advisory boards for MIT's Center for Engineering System Fundamentals and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has consulted on influenza preparedness and response to national security entities, the George W. Bush and Obama White Houses, state governments, and the private sector.

His verdict? The risk of a massively fatal world-wide pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu is remote, but very real — and is heightened by the hyper-connectedness of our modern society (i.e., the ease and speed with with people can travel). And our readiness for such an outbreak is woefully lacking:

An often-overlooked part of the damage a virulent pandemic can do is its impact on supply chains and the economy.

If you’ve got 20 to 30% of your air traffic controllers sick at the same time, what's that going to do to your economy?

Most of the power plants in the United States are still coal powered. They get their coal, most of them, from Wyoming. You see these enormous trains – that's a highly skilled position, the engineers who move those trains which are a mile and a half long. Suppose they're out. You're not going to have power in many of the power plants.

These are things that we don’t automatically think of as relating to a pandemic. Even a mild one that makes a lot of people sick without killing them will wreak an economic impact.

In terms of the health care system, practically all of the antibiotics are imported. If you interrupt those supply chains then you start getting people dying from diseases that are unrelated to


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Futures, Yuan Slammed As US Plans Higher Tariffs On $200 Billion In Chinese Imports

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Hours after Bloomberg reported that Beijing and Washington are working towards a resumption of trade talks, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two countries have "yet to make meaningful progress" moving forward from an impasse, as the next wave of US tariffs are set to hit as soon as Wednesday. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese envoy Liu He and their staffs continue to talk about a possible meeting, said officials in both capitals, but the talks remain at a very preliminary stage. Both sides argue that it is up to the other to make the first move after several preliminary Chinese offers, mainly involving the purchase of more U.S. goods, were rejected by President  Trump as inadequate.

The two sides have agreed that their initial offers weren’t a solid base for further negotiations, according to a senior member of the U.S. business community tracking the discussions. Those included the Chinese offer to buy more U.S. exports, and the U.S. demand that China essentially scrap the industrial policy that turned it into an economic powerhouse, the senior executive said. -WSJ

But wait – now Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration is set to increase a proposed 10% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% - "ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to return to the negotiating table." If enacted, it would mean overall tariffs of $505 billion on Chinese imports.

The U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products in early July, and the review period on another $16 billion of imports ends Wednesday. President Donald Trump has threatened an additional $200 billion with levies of 10 percent, a level the administration may raise to 25 percent in a Federal Register notice in coming days, one of the people said. The change isn’t final yet and may not go forward after a public review, the people said. -Bloomberg

Here's what the market thought after hours – completely wiping out the gains from Apple's earnings announcement: 

The Yuan, meanwhile, reversed on the news: 

“They are discarding useless ideas and rhetoric,” the executive said. “They are figuring out what could
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The Internet Is Changing Its Mind About Elon Musk

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Anthony Xie  (Founder of HODLbot), via Hackernoon.com,

Elon Musk is perhaps this century’s most enigmatic figure. For two decades, he’s been unstoppable, uprooting more industries?—?energy, transportation, payments, space? -?than any one person could reasonably expect in a lifetime.

For a while, Elon Musk seemed like our greatest hope. He claimed his sole aim was to fight off humanity’s greatest existential threats. We were enamoured by his optimism, and his grandiose visions of the future.

But something has changed. If you look at today’s headlines about Elon Musk, you won’t find stories about his heroics.

Instead you find the picture of a frantic man falling short of his promises to shareholders, lashing out at critics on Twitter.

The same news outlets that worshipped him are now dragging his name through the dirt.

Quantifying a change in sentiment

Rather than relying on anecdotal evidence, we’re going to quantify this change in sentiment. Reddit is often considered a trend-setter on the internet, so we’ll start there.

I’ve pulled over 250,000 comments mentioning Elon Musk from January 1, 2015 to July 27, 2018.

Here is the number of comments plotted over time.

Following a peak in February, we are coming off the precipice of another period of Musk-mania.

Here are the 25 subreddits with the most mentions of Elon.

Calculating the Sentiment Score of 250,000 Comments

Looking at the # of comments is all fine and dandy, but our real mission is to understand sentiment.

To do so, we’re going to enlist the help of a powerful python library called VADER (Valence Aware Dictionary and sEntiment Reasoner). VADER was specifically designed to help analyze social media text. You can read more from the paper here.

Not that VADER

You can think of VADER as a giant dictionary of sentiment. It looks up a phrase and spits out a sentiment score between -1 and +1.

Here are a…
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Judge Issues Temporary Order Suspending Website’s 3D-Gun-Plans Downloads

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Update: Somewhat as expected, after the hysteria if the last few days, CNN reports that Federal Judge Robert Lasnik – an Obama appointee – issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday "blocking (the) federal government from allowing distribution of downloadable 3D printed" guns, according to a tweet from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.

"The judge's rule is clear," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said at a news conference. "We go back to the status quo, before the federal government made the disastrous decision to undo these protections for public safety."

"Disastrous decision", "reckless" – once again the hysterical reactions from the left spew forth, but as spokeswoman Brionna Aho notes, the judge's ruling does not order Defense Distribution to take the plans for the guns off their website, but keeping them up is again illegal.

"The effect is restoring the status quo before the government took action but (the judge) hasn't technically ruled on the lawfulness of the government action yet."

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said the site has disabled downloads until he reviews the order.

*  *  *

President Trump appeared to voice his opposition to 3-D printed guns being sold to the public, in a tweet this morning, saying that he had already spoken to the National Rifle Association about the issue and that it did not appear to make much sense

I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018

As The Daily Caller notes, the issue of 3-D printed guns has reached a fever pitch in recent days after a Texas non-profit organization won the right to post the plans for such weapons online for public consumption.

The downloadable plans range from rudimentary handguns to rifles similar to an AR-15. The plans can be used by anyone with a 3D printer and minimal outside materials to create an untraceable firearm.


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Indices Struggle To Recover Monday’s Losses

Courtesy of Declan.

While today ended as a day for bulls to take satisfaction, there is still plenty of work to do to get indices back to the multi-year highs which were challenged last week. The losses endured on Friday and Monday were enough to drive technical breaks, but not all of these were undone by today’s buying.

The S&P managed to retain its breakout as buyers looked to defend its 50-day MA. Volume climbed to register an accumulation day as supporting technicals remained in the green.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been working through its supply issues in what has been a very scrappy six month period. Watch for an upside break of the channel although a move to the lower channel is still looking more likely at this stage.

Small Caps had a very good day, but there is much lost ground still to make up. The worrying development was the channel breakdown on Friday, but if it can break above 1,710 it would reaffirm the bullish trend established since May. Technicals are now considered net bearish with the loss of the bullish mid-line for slow stochastics [39,1].

The Nasdaq has been working its 50-day MA for the second time since its last successful test in June. Today’s action can be read as a bullish harami, which means bulls can buy with a stop on a loss of 7,605. The initial target is to recover 7,800 and challenge the ‘bull trap’.

The worry is the Semiconductor Index. After doing well to break 1,380 it now finds itself again on a bearish foot following a fresh ‘bull trap’. It may drift down to its 200-day MA (yet again) but each such test increases the chances for a breakdown.  While the index has yet to establish a new trend as it works through its consolidation a triangle, a new downtrend would be bad news for the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 (and eventually Large and Small Cap indices too).

For tomorrow, all eyes…
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Colombian Raid Yields $2 Million In Gold Bars

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by James Anderson via SilverDoctors.com,

For those concerned about furthering cashless future where cash and privacy get further reviled, stories like these serve as an easy pretext…

News stories like this one below, can create the impression that cash / bullion / and even crypto currencies are the bastion of criminal and even terrorist activity.

Looks like a recent Colombian military raid found 54 kilos of illegally mined gold bar from targets who also produce cocaine.

Just over a week ago, the Colombian military reported this raid pictured below which produced over $2 million USD in gold value, given today’s current gold spot price.

Reported Illegal Gold Bars Confiscated by the Colombian Military

Illegal gold mining in the Amazon rainforest is not new news.

The fact that many of the illegal gold mining proceeds are funneling into further illegal activities is not surprising. Countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil (see a 2016 video clip below) all have evidence of illegal gold mining operations ongoing.

Illegal Gold Mining in Brazil, 2016

Wildcat #Gold mine

in #Brasil's #Amazon ->https://t.co/zdKZp696tG

Some allege responsible mines not profitable w/ artificial $1134 oz price pic.twitter.com/Jn7e5TdPiC

— James Henry Anderson (@jameshenryand) December 17, 2016

Colombia, and neighboring Venezuela today…

Although much safer today than the 1980s and 1990s, much evidence points towards continued Colombian narcoterrorist groups like the ELN and The El Clan Del Golfo involvement with illegal cocaine production and wildcat gold mining.

The ELN is also alleged to work with the Venezuelan Maduro regime as well. You likely know Venezuela is running out of its gold reserves, and her oil production is down 50% since 2014.

Where else might Maduro be getting some of his regim€’$ stay in power foreign cashflows?

Many eastern drug flows to Europe are reportedly running through dictatorial hyperinflating Venezuela into corrupt eastern African states all with various terror group inhabitants and war lords.

Ongoing …
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Zero Hedge

WeWork Board, Softbank Officials Push For CEO Neumann's Ouster

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The odds of WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann becoming "the world's first trillionaire"  maybe about to take another major hit.

In what appears to be the latest attempt to salvage the farce that is the WeWork IPO (and the massive hole it will leave in Masayoshi Son's balance sheet and credibility), ...



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Insider Scoop

Notable Insider Buys In The Past Week: AbbVie, Kraft Heinz And More

Courtesy of Benzinga

Insider buying can be an encouraging signal for potential investors.

A packaged food giant and two drugmakers saw notable insider buying activity this past week.

Some of this insider buying occurred alongside insider sales.

Conventional wisdom says that insiders and 10% owners really only buy shares of a company for one reason — they believe the stock price will rise and they want to profit. So insider...



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Phil's Favorites

Peloton IPO Guide... And Why It Makes No Sense

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

By Scott Willis via Grizzle.com

BOTTOM LINE

At the end of the day, Peloton is a gym membership pretending to be a tech company.

We fully admit the product is exciting and unique in the market, but Peloton still faces the same problem...



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Digital Currencies

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

 

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

Recent revelations about the lack of privacy protections in place at the companies involved in Facebook’s new Libra crytocurrency raise concerns about how much trust users can place in Libra. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Alfred Lehar, University of Calgary

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, stunned the world earlier this year with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

The launch has raised questions about the difference between Libra and existing cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of private companies competing with s...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Look Out Bears! Fed New QE Now Up to $165 Billion

Courtesy of Lee Adler

I have been warning for months that the Fed would need new QE to counter the impact of massive waves of Treasury supply. I thought that that would come later, rather than sooner. Sorry folks, wrong about that. The NY Fed announced another round of new TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) today.

In addition to the $75 billion in overnight repos that the Fed issued and has been rolling over since Tuesday, next week the Fed will issue another $90 billion. They’ll come in the form of three $30 billion, 14 day repos to be offered next week.

That brings the new Fed QE to a total of $165 billion. Even in the worst days of the financial crisis, I can’t remember the Fed ballooning its balance sheet by $165 bi...



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The Technical Traders

Is A Price Revaluation Event About To Happen?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Skilled technical traders must be aware that price is setting up for a breakout or breakdown event with recent Doji, Hammer
and other narrow range price bars.  These types of Japanese Candlestick patterns are warnings that price is coiling into
a tight range and the more we see them in a series, the more likely price is building up some type of explosive price breakout/breakdown move in the near future.  The ES (S&P 500 E-mini futures) chart is a perfect example of these types of price bars on the Daily chart (see below).

Tri-Star Tops, Three River Evening Star patterns, Hammers/Hangmen and Dojis are all very common near extreme price peaks and troughs.  The rea...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

India About To Experience Major Strength? Possible Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

If one invested in the India ETF (INDA) back in January of 2012, your total 7-year return would be 24%. During the same time frame, the S&P 500 made 124%. The 7-year spread between the two is a large 100%!

Are things about to improve for the INDA ETF and could it be time for the relative weakness to change? Possible!

This chart looks at the INDA/SPX ratio since early 2012. The ratio continues to be in a major downtrend.

The ratio hit a 7-year low a few months ago and this week it kissed those lows again at (1). The ratio near weeks end is attempting to...



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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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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

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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.

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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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