Archive for April, 2019

Blow Off Top: Bay Area Median Home Price Drops For First Time In 7 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

San Francisco Bay Area homes declined last month on a y/y basis for the first time in seven years, according to CoreLogic.

The median price paid for an existing home in the nine counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma) was $830,000, down 0.1% compared with March 2018.

The last time prices fell on a y/y basis was March 2012. After that, the Federal Reserve injected several more rounds of quantitative easing that sent home prices soaring for 83 consecutive months. In March 2018, the median home price gained 16.2% over March 2016.

In 2H18, the appreciation rate dramatically slowed due to quantitative tightening, mortgage rate increase, and the start of a synchronized global slowdown.

“It’s not that surprising that we hit the wall, at least in terms of a pause,” said Andrew LePage, a CoreLogic analyst, wrote in a release.

Glen Bell, a real estate broker with BetterHomes and Gardens Reliance Partners in the East Bay region, said home sales and prices tend to accelerate between February and March as buyers prepare to move before the summer months. He said there was a slight pick up in activity, “but not as strong as last year.”

“It reflects a trend that began in mid-2018 when home sales slowed and inventory grew, forcing sellers to be more competitive,” LePage said.”The year-over-year increase in the region’s median sale price was 16.2% in March last year. But after that, the gains in the median gradually decreased each month and fell to the 2 to 3% range early this year and then disappeared this March.”

Sales of homes in the nine counties were 15% lower in March when compared with last year. It was the lowest March in terms of sales in 11 years. Sales have been slowing on a y/y basis for the last 10 months – an ominous sign that not just the top is in, but a quick reversal in price is immient.

Santa Clara County noticed the most significant y/y median home price declines, falling 10% to $1.08 million in March. It was one of the hottest markets on the West Coast, if not the entire country last year – has fallen into a dangerous slump…
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FOMC Preview: Goldilocks Sets The Stage For Rate HIkes… Or Cuts

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Tomorrow, at 2pm, the FOMC will leave its rates unchanged. As RanSquawk notes, the Fed will not publish new economic projections at this meeting (the next SEP is released in June), although the market will be closely watching whether the Fed outlines conditions that might compel the Committee to discuss lowering rates. There are some risks that the Fed might tweak its statement to reflect stronger growth and softer inflation since the last meeting, although the market has already priced in a “goldilocks” environment. There is also a small possibility the Fed could lower its IOER rate, which has been trading 4 basis points below the Effective Fed Funds rate and is in need of adjustment. Overall, the Committee’s tone is likely to remain one of patience and data dependence.

FEDERAL FUNDS RATE: Money markets have assigned a 97.5% probability that the FOMC will keep rates at 2.25-2.50% this week; there is no chance of a hike, and a very small (but not negligible) probability of a rate cut. Recently, remarks made my Charles Evans (voter, dove) have received attention, after he floated the possibility of cutting rates if inflation and inflation expectations decline further. Accordingly, Powell may be quizzed about the conditions the FOMC would need to see that would compel it to begin discussing rate cuts. Looking ahead, there is an approximately 60% chance of a rate cut this year, according to money markets pricing. Analysts at Citi stress that, as before, it does not think the Fed is planning to cut the FFR in the near-term, but instead, it is building optionality to cut rates should it need to in the future, and the hurdle for such cuts remains very low. “The Fed would mostly aim to ratify recent market pricing, but given the most recent moves there is also hawkish risk if Powell pushes  away the possibility of rate cuts this year.”

GROWTH: In its last statement (20 March) the FOMC stated that “growth of economic activity has slowed from its solid rate in the fourth quarter,” and that “recent indicators point to slower growth of household spending and business fixed investment in the first quarter.” But looking ahead, “the Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity… as its most likely outcome.” Last week’s Q1 GDP report saw headline growth…
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Breast cancer diagnosis by AI now as good as human experts

 

Breast cancer diagnosis by AI now as good as human experts

File 20190426 194612 x1u4yl.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Could a machine do better? Shutterstock

Courtesy of Helen Yule, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. It accounts for 15% of all new cases in the country, and about one in eight women will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime. In the NHS, breast cancer screening routinely includes a mammogram, which is essentially an X-ray of the breast.

But the future of this early test is at risk as the number of specialists able to read them declines. While this skills shortfall can’t be made up immediately, promising advances in artificial intelligence may be able to help.

Interpreting a mammogram is a complex process normally performed by specially trained radiologists and radiographers. Their skills are vital to the early detection and diagnosis of this cancer. They visually scrutinise batches of mammograms in a session for signs of breast cancer.

But these signs are often ambiguous or hard to see. False negative rates – where cancers are incorrectly diagnosed or missed – are between 20 and 30% for mammography. These are either errors in perception or errors in interpretation, and can be attributed to the sensitivity or specificity of the reader.

It is widely believed that the key to developing the expertise needed to interpret mammograms is rigorous training, extensive practice and experience. And while researchers like myself are looking into training strategies and perceptual learning modules which can expedite the transition from novice reader to expert, others have been investigating how AI could be used to speed up diagnosis and improve its accuracy.

Machine diagnosis

As in countless other fields, the potential for AI algorithms to help with cancer diagnosis has not gone unrecognised. Along with breast cancer, researchers have been looking at how AI can improve the efficacy and efficiency of care for lung, brain and prostate cancer, in order to meet ever increasing diagnosis demands. Even Google is looking at how AI can be used to diagnose cancer. The search giant has trained…
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Philstockworld April Portfolio Review (Members Only)

Image result for one million dollars animated gif

Your love (your love keeps lifting me)

Keep on lifting (love keeps lifting me)

Higher (lifting me)

Higher and higher (higher) – Jackie Wilson

Up and up the markets go, where they stop — well, they don't seem to be stopping, do they?

Last month we couldn't believe we were already close to $2M in our primary paired portfolios.  The Long-Term and Short-Term Portfolios stood at $1,990,381 as of about the 15th of March and, although we played cautiously and added more hedges, the LTP has marched on to $1,429,270 by itself (as of the 4/18 review) while the STP took a $36,413 hit but that still left it at $704,785 for a combined total of $2,134,055 – up $1,534,055 (255%) from our original $600,000 start on Jan 2nd, 2018 and up $143,674 for the month, which is 24% of $600,000 but "just" 7.2% higher than where we were in March.

I hate to be in this position as we're clearly benefitting from RIDICULOUS market conditions and I know from experience that, no matter how many times I say it, people won't believe how quickly we can give back a big chunk of these profits.  Just this morning, GOOGL went down 8%, INTC is down 13% in the past week…  If that can happen to big blue chip stocks – what can happen to the other crap?  

We've been purging things we think are overvalued and we keep hedging but, when you make 255% in less than 18 months you have to KNOW that there's something wrong with the markets and, eventually, things may normalize on you.  I've discussed FOMO (fear of missing out) a lot lately and sure, we'd hate to have missed another $143,674 in gains and now those gains are a buffer against future losses but $2M is A LOT of money to risk and we're getting to the point where I'd rather cash it and start again with a fresh $600,000 – locking $1.4M away in a safer place.


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“Organized Crime Scheme” Ad-Click Fraud Is Costing Companies $50 Billion A Year

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Advertising fraud online is being called the second largest organized crime scheme globally, according to Digital News Daily. About 3/4 of US fraudulent advertising traffic is now considered “sophisticated” invalid traffic, according to recently released data. 

Looking over IP addresses and blacklists no longer helps companies combat this fraud, according to Guy Tytunovich, CHEQ founder-CEO, and a former Israeli military intelligence officer. He started CHEQ to advocate for free internet. ”If we can’t help sustain digital advertising by blocking these fraudsters, then we can’t help sustain the beautiful concept called the free internet,” he said. 

He continued: “The industry needs to understand that for the last 10 years, vendors have been talking about different methods for detecting fraud through probabilistic and simplistic approaches. At the end of the day, which I learned working for the defense intelligence in Israel, it’s a cat-and-mouse game. These methods no longer work.”

Source: IAS Insider

Tytunovich’s company, CHEQ, continues to build out a military grade ad verification service. Their service has analyzed 4.1 billion ad requests made in the United States across 1.2 million websites between October 2018 and February 2019. This number was up about 20% YOY and about 18% of the online traffic to advertisements was found to be fraudulent.

Of this fraudulent traffic, 77% of it was classified as “sophisticated invalid traffic” (SIVT), which relies on far more advanced malicious methods to defraud the advertising system than “general invalid traffic” (GIVT). While GIVT can be detected by IP and user agent blacklists, SIVT requires sophisticated capabilities, such as operating system and device fingerprinting, bot traps and network behavior analysis.

In its evaluation, CHEQ found “570 million SIVT attacks, each using a triple-lock of interwoven frauds that combines sophisticated domain-masking, invalid-referrals and viewability fraud in a coordinated attempt to evade detection.”

Other techniques that were used included domain spoofing, where scammers create hidden iframes and webpages to run that consumers never see. There have also been various means used to falsify location data. CHEQ found and blocked 743 million instances of combined GIVT and SIVT ad requests. 

According to Tytunovich, brands are now losing between $20 billion and $50 billion per year, as a result of ad fraud.

And the fraud isn’t just with ads, he said: “Now there’s a thing called ‘fake news,’ and I’m…
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Mark Zuckerberg Makes A Joke About Privacy… And Nobody Laughs

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

The company that has made a mockery out of privacy and has exposed the most private information of (allegedly) billions of people to the highest bidder, while growing its market cap into the hundreds of billions and making it founders rich beyond their wildest dreams, is now vowing to… respect privacy!?

Standing on stage before an audience of developers at the annual F8 Conference on Tuesday, Zuckerberg — the same guy who spent years convincing billions of people to share their every thought and action with the world, and has for the past few years been busted auctioning off his users' most intimate details to both the private and public sector  — explained all the ways Facebook is going to, don't laugh, help people keep that same information under wraps.

“I believe the future is private,” the CEO said according to Wired, almost as soon as he began, setting the tone for a day of product announcements across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp…. and more than one failed joke from the CEO who until two years ago was "secretly" gunning for political office.

In his "much-anticipated" keynote address, Zuckerberg admitted he’s an odd champion for the cause of privacy, particularly after the year Facebook has had. The social networking giant now faces more than a dozen international investigations into its history of privacy violations, from its years of willy-nilly data sharing to several recent data breaches.

The punchline, however, was when Zuck tried to make a joke about privacy… and, well,  nobody laughed.

 

“I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly,” Zuckerberg said adding a dramatic pause for comedic effect. There was none.

Abysmal attempt at humor aside, Zuck seems to believe a Facebook redesign and a litany of new products focused on messaging and groups could turn that reputation around. "At the end of the day, this isn't just about building some new products,” Zuckerberg said. “It's a major shift in how we…
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Like the bandwagon-chasing loser I am, I bought a weed stock last week

Who hasn't done something like this? smiley

Like the bandwagon-chasing loser I am, I bought a weed stock last week

Courtesy of 

Trader Josh Brown buys Canopy Growth, explains why from CNBC.

I don’t really have any more to say than what I said on TV last week. A few days prior I had bought my first shares in a cannabis company, the only public company where I have a clear understanding of why they’ll make money and benefit from the inevitability of recreational marijuana across America. Canopy Growth seems serious about developing their products, and it’s a multi-pronged approach for them involving real estate, production, consumer brand awareness, big partnerships, etc.

You should read more about it than I’m able to discuss here, as I’m new to the story and don’t have any particularly important insights into the company’s plans.

And the best part is that because I don’t own a lot, I’m rooting for the stock to fall at some point to produce a better opportunity to buy more.

The second best part is my boy Todd Harrison will be proud of me, maybe tousle my hair the next time I see him.

Just a reminder, nothing on this site is ever a recommendation or solicitation for anyone to buy or sell any securities. I don’t give advice here, we do that in real life and not on the internet.

See my full terms and conditions in the 3,000 word disclaimer linked below.





U.S. obstructs UN resolution on rape. Why? A long history of religious nationalism

 

U.S. obstructs UN resolution on rape. Why? A long history of religious nationalism

File 20190426 194623 1el09v4.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Amal Clooney speaks during a Security Council meeting on sexual violence at United Nations headquarters last week while Nadia Murad Basee Taha, right, listens. (AP/Seth Wenig)

Courtesy of J.M. Opal, McGill University

Last week, the U.S. used the threat of its veto power and generalized clout to weaken a United Nations Security Council resolution against rape in war zones. The watered-down version, which passed on April 23, excludes all references to sexual and reproductive health.

The issue, apparently, was that the resolution mentioned family planning clinics. For anti-abortion extremists in the Donald Trump administration, such as Vice-President Mike Pence, the worry was that a woman from a war zone might choose to terminate a pregnancy rather than have her rapist’s child.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives Mike Pence the thumbs up. @TrumpPence16

We should expect as much from America’s religious right. Since emerging as a major force in the Republican Party in the 1980s, conservative evangelicals have opposed everything that the civil rights and women’s rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s achieved. At home and abroad, they oppose LGBTQ rights, sex education and birth control along with abortion.

Their leaders claim to be men of faith, but they seem 100 per cent certain that God is on their side, which is why they wouldn’t flinch at telling a traumatized woman to have that baby.

The puzzle is why these views have wider purchase in Trump’s America, even from those — like Trump himself — who aren’t pious. Why do men like Trump and Pence understand each other so well? Contemporary politics aside, the answer has to do with a particular kind of religious nationalism with deep roots in American history.

International law and American vengeance

By and large, the revolutionary leaders of the 1770s and 1780s weren’t religious nationalists, if only because they wanted recognition as a neutral country that honoured treaties and respected international law. But the French Revolution and Napoleonic…
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Billionaires Aren’t Quite As Rich As We Think They Are

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Justin Murray via The Mises Institute,

One of the most enduring justifications for State intervention in an economy is the concept of wealth inequality. As the story goes, just 1% of the population owns roughly half of the wealth in the world. This is used as justification for a long range of programs, such as welfare, the graduated income tax and multiple components of the Green New Deal. However, the problem with this narrative is it fails to address two major questions:

1. What are the components of that wealth?

2. Who are the primary beneficiaries of that wealth?

Wealth Isn’t Uniform

To begin, we need to first understand how wealth is defined. Wealth, in investment terms, is defined as “the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country.” The underlying issue of the definition of wealth is within the concept of value. Value is not an objective concept; each individual will value every good or service on the planet differently based on personal interests. This is best defined in theParadox of Value. Water is objectively more important to survival than a sack of diamonds; a person living by a river would trade truckloads of water for a sack of diamonds while a person stranded in the Sahara would eagerly trade a sack of diamonds for a CamelBak full of water. This is the underlying purpose of trade — to obtain something of relatively low supply locally for something of local abundance.

The problem here is that such valuations are subjective and highly reliant on meeting specific conditions. If we look at the components of wealth, the wealth of the 1% is made up predominantly of business ownership stakes .

Business ownership is typically represented by stock share in the company. How a person’s wealth is defined here is taking the current listed market price of the stock and multiplying it by the ownership stake of that individual. The problem with this definition is how equity is traded. The value of equity you will see on the Dow Jones is not the value of every share in existence. It is, instead, effectively the last marginal transaction for that particular company. So if Amazon is listing at $1,800 per share, all this…
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Data insecurity leads to economic injustice – and hits the pocketbooks of the poor most

 

Data insecurity leads to economic injustice – and hits the pocketbooks of the poor most

File 20190429 194609 1wo0c28.gif?ixlib=rb 1.1

Facebook allows advertisers to target low-income Americans. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Courtesy of Michele Gilman, University of Baltimore

Congress may finally be on the verge of passing a comprehensive federal privacy law after almost a half-century of trying. Even the tech lobby is on board following years of resistance.

The growing bipartisan support for privacy legislation seems to be responding to the public “techlash” against a drumbeat of data breaches and social media misinformation campaigns. It also appears aimed at preventing a patchwork of state laws after California passed its own privacy legislation in 2018.

While the time is right to enact a new law, what you may not realize is that data privacy is actually an important economic justice issue. As a clinical law professor representing low-income people for the last 20 years, I have seen how one’s digital privacy experience varies depending on social class.

And poorer Americans are among those who have the most at risk.

Data targeting

Take data brokers, which are companies that sell personal data collected from sources such as public records, internet browsing activity, social media posts, emails, app usage and retail loyalty cards.

This industry is one reason why you are barraged with online ads for a product you may have glanced at only briefly. For most of us, this is simply an annoying fact of life. For low-income people, the harms extend beyond this shared sense of creepiness.

For example, the digital dossiers assembled by data brokers are used to target low-income Americans for predatory products such as payday loans, high-interest mortgages and for-profit educational scams. These brokers segment consumers into highly specific categories, such as “rural and barely making it” and “credit crunched: city families.”

While a slew of lawsuits pushed Facebook to stop allowing its advertisers to target groups based on gender, race, zip code and age, advertisers can continue to discriminate against people simply because they are poor. Poverty is not a protected category under our civil…
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Zero Hedge

Explosion Hits Russia's Largest Virus Lab Which Houses Plague, Smallpox, Ebola And Other Deadly Viruses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A sudden explosion at a Siberian virus research center on Monday reportedly left the facility engulfed in flames, according to several Russian news outlets. 

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the "Vector Institute" located several miles from Novosibirsk - an emergency which was upgraded "from an ordinary emergency to a major incident," a...



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Phil's Favorites

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

 

The future of work will still include plenty of jobs

Even though the future is unknown, Canada’s employment rate has risen steadily from 53 per cent in 1946 to more than 61 per cent today. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Wayne Simpson, University of Manitoba

There is now widespread anxiety over the future of work, often accompanied by calls for a basic income to protect those displaced by automation and other technological changes.

As a labour economis...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Insider Scoop

New Relic Cuts 2020 Sales Guidance, Announces Changes In Management

Courtesy of Benzinga

New Relic (NYSE: NEWR) has reaffirmed its second-quarter guidance and cut its sales guidance for fiscal year 2020 from $600 million-$607 million to $586 million-$593 million.

The company’s chief technology officer, Jim Gochee, and chief revenue officer, Erica Schultz, have resigned. New Relic also named board member Michael Christenson as its chief operating officer. Christenson joins from his ...



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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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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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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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