Author Archive for Zero Hedge

“It Was All A Lie”: Homeless Vet, NJ Couple Charged In $400,000 GoFundMe Grift

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A feel-good story about a New Jersey couple who raised over $400,000 to help a homeless good Samaritan – before they pilfered his GoFundMe account – was all a scam, a prosecutor said Thursday. 

39-year-old Mark D’Amico (left), 28-year-old Kate McClure (center) and 35-year-old Johnny Bobbitt (right) are facing theft and conspiracy charges.

Kate McClure, 28, Mark D’Amico, 39, and drug-addicted homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt, 35, were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception, after the three concocted a story that Bobbitt had given McClure his last $20 after her car ran out of fuel, leaving her stranded on the side of I-95 in a dangerous Philadelphia neighborhood. 

In numerous media appearances, McClure claimed she was driving to meet a friend in September 2017 when she ran out of gas around midnight on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia and Bobbitt, who was sleeping under a nearby overpass, came to her rescue. She claimed Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas.

I pulled over to the side of the road as far as I could and I was going to get out and walk to the nearest gas station because it was not that far away, and that’s when I met Johnny,” McClure said last November in a “Good Morning America” interview. “He walked up and he said, ‘Get back in the car. Lock the doors. I’ll be back.’ I was just like, ‘OK.’“ -ABC

They said they wanted to “pay it forward,” and established a GoFundMe campaign with an initial goal of raising $10,000. After the story went viral, the three raised $403,000

The net proceeds were $360,000 after fees, which went into an acount controlled by McClure. Bobbitt received approximately $75,000 of it according to Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina.

“The entire campaign was predicated on a lie,” said Coffina during a Thursday news conference. “Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was fake,” he said. 

In one of the texts read by Coffina, McClure allegedly wrote to a friend, “Ok, so wait, the gas part is completely made up but the guy isn’t. I had to make something up to make people

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Stocks Swing On Headline Chaos As Cable Clobbered & Credit Cracked

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Another day, another headline-driven chaos ride…

China was higher overnight…

European stocks fell with Italy leading the charge…

US Stocks bounced around 1pmET on reports of a trade truce from USTR Lighthizer…then sank a little on Ross comments…and then dropped again after Lighthizer’s office denied reports of a trade truce…

Futures show a relatively uneventful night and then all hell broke loose…

On the week, Trannies are the only index in the green…

Retailers fell for the 5th day in a row…

Banks bounced… barely… (aprt from JPM which outperformed)

Credit markets have begun to seriously crack…

Treasury yields ended the day lower…with the belly once again outperforming

The Dollar ended lower after a big surge (as cable tumbled) overnight – chaotic trading in the USD but the pattern seems quite clear – buying overnight (dollar shortage) selling in US…

Yuan extended its gains on the week…

Cable had an ugly day after May pitched her Brexit deal…

Bitcoin Cash – amid its Fork – plunged further on the week, Bitcoin was relatively stable after yesterday’s crash…

Dollar weakness helped commodities hold on to gains…

WTI Crude managed a small gain for the 2nd day in a row…

The big ugly in the energy complex gave some back today…

Finally, Eurodollar curves suggest the market is rejecting Fed tightening almost entirely… 1.5 hikes in 2018 and actual rate cuts priced in for now for 2020 and 2021…

And based on the ongoing tightness of financial conditions, S&P should be trading notably lower…

Shocking Nat Gas Price Swings Prompt “Emergency Action” By CME

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Yesterday’s furious short squeeze in natural gas has seen an equal and opposite sell off today, with Natgas now unchanged from before yesterday’s sharp ramp that sent the front contract higher by 20% only to see a 15% drop today.

In addition to pairing of positions, Thursday’s decline was likely exacerbated by a report showing that producers had injected 39 billion cubic feet of gas into underground storage last week, higher than consensus estimates, bringing total stocks to 3.247tn cu ft. Still, stocks remained at the lowest level for this time of year since 2005, leaving the market vulnerable to fears about a weather-induced shortfall.

While the catalyst behind the furious spike has yet to be confirmed, the severity of the price action prompted analysts and traders to speculate if one or more hedge funds were liquidating positions during a frantic week in global energy markets that saw gains for gas as crude oil prices took a dive.

As we noted yesterday, the recent turmoil in the two commodities was likely due to a massive bearish positions in gas offset by longs in crude oil and “the unwinding of positions in one of these two commodities could potentially have triggered the opposite effect on the other commodity,” Citigroup said.

Indeed, as shown in the chart below, the 2-week rate of change in natgas vs WTI was the highest going back nearly 15 years.

And as Bloomberg reported, for nat gas traders, Wednesday’s price rally was so extreme that some were left comparing it to the turmoil that followed the notorious Amaranth blow-up 12 years ago. Gas futures rocketed up as much as 20 percent while  there was an even bigger surge in the so-called widowmaker spread between two longer-dated contracts — in effect a play on how big stockpiles will be at the end of winter. It’s the dramatic move in the spread that’s leading observers to draw parallels with the 2006 implosion of hedge fund Amaranth Advisors, which lost $6.6 billion following wrong-way nat gas trades by Brian Hunter. While so far there’s no suggestion of losses of that magnitude this time around, the gyrations set commodities markets abuzz.

Whatever the reason behind the trade unwind, the CME took what it called “emergency action” to widen price  fluctuation limits for eight nat
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Stocks Slammed After Ross Says US Still Plans 25% China Tariffs In January

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Easy come, easy go.

As we reported earlier, shortly after noon ET stocks surged after the FT reported the USTR’s Lighthizer has told some industry executives the next tranche of levies were already on hold.

The FT cited Chris Johnson, a former CIA China analyst now at the CSIS think-tank, who said the US and China remained “at risk of being stuck” because there was insufficient time before the G20 to reach a broad agreement.

“There is no possibility of a truly comprehensive deal, and that is a good thing because the issues are so complex,” said Mr Johnson. “There is still the possibility of some kind of a framework agreement, where we do something like freezing the current tariffs and empowering the negotiators.”

Such an outcome, the FT reported, would mean US tariff rates on more than $200bn of Chinese goods would remain at 10 per cent instead of rising to 25 per cent in January as planned. As long as negotiations continued, the US would also refrain from putting levies on another $267bn of goods, which Mr Trump has threatened.

The news prompted a furious bounce in the S&P, which after trading down as low as 2,671, jumped as high as 2,736.

However, it was not meant to be, and seemingly in response to the FT story which hinted at a detente in the trade wars, moments US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was quoted by Bloomberg saying that the US is still planning to raise tariffs on Chinese imports to 25%, negating the FT report.


In kneejerk response, the Dow tumbled nearly 100 points, with the S&P trimming much of its gains on the day

Since then, however, upward momentum algos appear to have regained control and the Dow is almost back to unchanged since the Ross headline, as markets realized that the rising tariff – which was announced in September – is due to rise in January, however that plan can change after the Xi-Trump meeting which has yet to be held.

Meanwhile, doubling down on the anti-detente, Reuters cited a US official who said that China’s trade offer to the US – referring to the letter sent by Beijing to Trump which we discussed yesterday
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Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo To Cut ‘Hundreds Of Jobs’ As Shares Slump

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Given that the Swiss bank’s shares have fallen 40% since CEO Tidjane Thiam took over Credit Suisse three-and-a-half years ago, the fact that he has managed to hang on is a small miracle. But with shareholders growing ever more anxious as CS’s shares have slumped nearly 30% YTD, the embattled CEO is now taking a page out of Wells Fargo’s book and resorting to a tried-and-true strategy for boosting profits: Staff cuts.

Ahead of an investor day set for next month, Thiam is expanding his yearslong drive to cut costs by announcing possibly hundreds of job cuts, with some of the dismissals potentially beginning before the end of the year. The dismissals, Bloomberg said, will help the bank achieve its 2019 expense targets. Amazingly, while the bank’s struggling trading business won’t be effected, the cuts could come from its International Wealth Management and Swiss Universal Bank businesses, which have historically been money-makers for the bank. More confusing still, Thiam has said he doesn’t plan to cut any more trading jobs, while acknowledging that wealth management has been a money maker for the bank.


Thiam’s decision to raise billions of francs in capital by offering new shares hasn’t helped the banks’ shares, and the volpocalypse blowup that killed XIV (which CS created) in February stoked fears of lawsuit-related payouts (despite being the largest shareholder of the ETN, the bank has insisted that it had been ‘completely hedged’).

But Thiam, who has cut some $4 billion of costs since the bank’s “restructuring” began in 2015, will still need to explain to investors next month how he plans to boost revenues as his pivot to emerging markets and wealth management has produced only tepid returns.

If Thiam doesn’t figure it out soon, he could be the next CS employee to pack all of his stuff into a cardboard box and turn in his security pass.

Here Are Goldman’s Top Trades For 2019

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

As per an annual tradition, earlier today Goldman released two reports previewing what Goldman thinks will be the top 10 themes for the 2019, as well as its first release of “top trades” for the coming year.

While we will break out Goldman’s top themes in a subsequent post, Goldman strategist Charles Himmelberg – picking up on his ominous report from last week which warned that a “stocks may be about to enter a sustained bear market” – warns that following October rout, many investors appear to be questioning whether risk assets will find their footing in 2019.

He cautions that the US economic outlook “appears to be turning increasingly less friendly” and notes that after more than eight years of growth the business cycle has matured; domestic activity looks quite likely to slow next year as the effect of 2017’s tax cuts wanes and tighter financial conditions begin to bite; and the Federal Reserve seems intent on steadily raising interest rates due to tight labor markets and growing inflation pressures.

Add to this list an ongoing (and possibly escalating) trade conflict between the US and China, the budget tensions in Italy, and fragile growth in a number of emerging market economies, and it is not hard to understand market concerns about a challenging investing climate over the next 12 months.

Yet despite the uncertainties, Goldman thinks it is “too soon to head for the risk bunker” adding that “while some incremental caution is likely warranted in 2019, our view is that portfolios should maintain a modestly pro-risk tilt, for a few reasons.”

  • First, Goldman economists expect global growth to hold up reasonably well, and for activity outside the US to accelerate moderately on a sequential basis. This mostly reflects a rebound in several medium-sized emerging markets which struggled this year—Turkey, Argentina, Russia, South Africa and Brazil—and roughly steady growth in the rest of the world.
  • Second, Himmelberg predicts that activity in China is likely approaching levels that are intolerably low for the government, and there is a good chance that growth momentum may bottom over the next few months on the back of more determined policy support. The current five-year plan underlying much economic decision-making in China includes a goal to double real GDP between 2010 and 2020. Based on growth since 2010, reaching

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Stocks Bounce On USTR Lighthizer ‘Trade Truce’ Comments

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The hyper-trade-sensitive stock market jumped in the early afternoon after reports from The FT that USTR Lighthizer had told some industry executives the next tranche of levies was already on hold.   

“The best we can hope for is for the two presidents to kick the can down the road at the G20 and start a process to narrow the gap,” he said.

Hope remains though…

There is no possibility of a truly comprehensive deal, and that is a good thing because the issues are so complex,” said Mr Johnson. “There is still the possibility of some kind of a framework agreement, where we do something like freezing the current tariffs and empowering the negotiators.”

While the reaction was slow to form, there is little other catalyst for the ramp narrative…

Bond yields inched higher and while Yuan gained, the usd was unchanged.

One thing is sure – manipulating the stock market over short periods of time with a fake trade-war headline is likely at its most profitable right now.

The lack of excitment is FX and rates markets is understandable because at the same time as The FT report, Commerce Sec Ross confirmed no China trade deal will happen before January.

“Significant Winter Storm” Expected To Strike Northeast 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A "significant winter storm" will strike the Ohio Valley, Appalachians, and Mid-Atlantic Thursday and the Northeast this evening, according to the latest NWS Weather Prediction Center's short-range forecast.

A potent upper-level low will push through the Ohio Valley Thursday, resulting in dangerous wintry conditions there to continue and move northeastward.

Models suggest that parts of the Ohio Valley could receive a few additional inches of snow and some freezing rain.

According to the forecast, a low-pressure surface system will gain strength over the Southeast coast and charge northward along the Eastern Seaboard on Thursday and Friday, resulting in freezing rain across the Southern and Central Appalachians as warm air collides with fridge air at ground level. NWS warns ice accumulations could be over a quarter of an inch there.

Later this evening, into the overnight hour, the upper-level and surface lows are expected to produce "a perfect storm" with heavy snowfall in the northern Mid-Atlantic and into the interior Northeast. Snow totals in interior Pennsylvania and New York could measure about one foot. State and local governments across the Northeast have already issued Winter Storm and Ice Warnings as well as Winter Weather Advisories.

Models show the heaviest of this wintry precipitation will remain slightly west of major cities DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, but a wintry mix is possible for those areas Thursday evening and could cause severe travel headaches. 

"A strong early season winter storm is impacting the central and eastern United States to end the week, spreading snow and ice into places like St. Louis, Indianapolis, and other portions of the Midwest early Thursday. Heavy snow and ice is anticipated to impact the suburbs of the I-95 corridor from Washington to Boston, with even some brief wintry precipitation into the major cities before a change to rain. However, strongest impacts will be felt from central Pennsylvania northeastward into the mountains of northern New England where locally up to 0.25” of icing and a foot of snow

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Albert Edwards: “Time Has Run Out”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

At the start of his latest note, SocGen's Albert Edwards highlights a recent warning by the Chinese central bank that that financial risks associated with “grey rhino” events – highly obvious yet ignored threats – may surface next year, and reminds readers that going into the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, many of the massive macro imbalances and credit bubbles that ultimately sunk the global economy were all too apparent.

Yet, with his usual gloomy irony, Edwards notes that back then these "grey rhinos" were dismissed as serious threats by mainstream commentators – the same way they are being dismissed now – "in large part because they had been in plain sight for a long time, and yet the global economy had continued to go from strength to strength. Hence naysayers, such as myself – who had correctly identified the extent of the credit bubbles and global imbalances, and hence the likely depth of the coming crisis – were dismissed as stopped clocks (and I still am)."

The SocGen strategist takes this trip down memory lane for two reasons: first to point out that it is not angst about the unknown that gets traders killed – it is complacency about what is obvious to everyone that is the real danger:

I remember being told many years ago on a South African game reserve that the buffalo was the most dangerous of the big five game animals. In large part, this is because of the complacency shown towards them relative to the other, more obviously dangerous big five game animals (ie the lion, leopard, rhino and elephant). It's also a fact that unlike the other big five, the buffalo gives no warning of an imminent charge (see link). It’s complacency that gets you killed, and the same goes for investors with the macro-risks. We all know what the big macro-imbalances are out there, caused by years of loose money, but investors continue to ignore them at their peril.

The second reason is to give the context for his report, in which Edwards shifts away from his usual observation subjects, to focus on what he believes may be two potential epicenters of the next crisis, to wit:

We spend most

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Oil Prices Are Confirming Global Reflation Is Over

Courtesy of Lance Roberts,

In Tuesday’s technical update, I discussed the breakdown in the major markets both internationally as well as domestically. Of note, was the massive bear market in China which is currently down nearly 50% from its peak.

What is important about China, besides being a major trading partner of the U.S., is that their economy has been a massive debt-driven experiment from building massive infrastructure projects that no one uses; to entire cities that no one lives in. However, the credit-driven impulse has maintained the illusion of economic growth over the last several years as China remained a major consumer of commodities. Yet despite the Government headlines of economic prosperity, the markets have been signaling a very different story.

In the U.S., the story is much the same. Near-term economic growth has been driven by artificial stimulus, government spending, and fiscal policy which provides an illusion of prosperity. For example, the chart below shows raw corporate profits (NIPA) both before, and after, tax.

Importantly, note that corporate profits, pre-tax, are at the same level as in 2012.  In other words, corporate profits have not grown over the last 6-years, yet it was the decline in the effective tax rate which pushed after-tax corporate profits to a record in the second quarter. Since consumption makes up roughly 70% of the economy, then corporate profits pre-tax profits should be growing if the economy was indeed growing substantially above 2%.

Corporate profitability is a lagging indicator of the economy as it is reported “after the fact.” As discussed previously, given that economic data in particular is subject to heavy backward revisions, the stock market tends to be a strong leading indicator of recessionary downturns.

Prior to 1980, the NBER did not officially date recession starting and ending points, but the market turned lower prior to previous recessions.

Besides the stock market, economically sensitive commodities also have a tendency to signal changes to the overall trend of the economy given their direct input into both the production and demand sides of the economic equation.

Oil is a highly sensitive indicator relative to the expansion or…
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Phil's Favorites

Life in South Africa's economic hub is improving -- but big challenges remain


Life in South Africa's economic hub is improving -- but big challenges remain

The Gauteng City-Region is home to a quarter of South Africa’s population. Mark Momberg

Courtesy of Julia de Kadt, Gauteng City-Region Observatory and Alexandra Parker, Gauteng City-Region Observatory

More than 14 million people live in South Africa’s economic hub, the Gauteng City-Region. That’s 25% of the country’s population.

A lot of media reporting and public discussion about Gauteng i...

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Zero Hedge

"It Was All A Lie": Homeless Vet, NJ Couple Charged In $400,000 GoFundMe Grift

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A feel-good story about a New Jersey couple who raised over $400,000 to help a homeless good Samaritan - before they pilfered his GoFundMe account - was all a scam, a prosecutor said Thursday. 

39-year-old Mark D'Amico (left), 28-year-old Kate McClure (center) and 35-year-old Johnny Bobbitt (right) are facing theft and conspir...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Bugs; Would Love This To Be A Double Top!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold, Silver, and the precious metals industry have a pretty simple relationship with the U.S. Dollar: They perform better when the Dollar is weakening… and they tend to struggle when the Dollar is strengthening.

One of our favorite ratios to monitor for Gold Bugs is the U.S. Dollar/Gold ratio. It tells us when the Dollar is weakening or heading lower (which is good for gold) or when it is strengthening or heading higher (bad for gold).

Looking at the Dollar/Gold chart below, we can see that the ratio climbed higher from late 2011 to early 2016. This wreaked havoc on Gold prices. Since peaking in early 2016, the ratio has formed a broad declining channel (pink shaded area). Each swing lower has provided a tailwind for Gold prices, while each counter-swing higher has been a headwind.

in ...

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Insider Scoop

Macy's Receives Mixed Analyst Reaction After Q3 Earnings Beat, Sales Miss

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related M Big Box Bonanza: Walmart Beats Most Estimates, But Brexit Could Steal Attention Mid-A... more from Insider

Members' Corner



This is a three-part Opinion Video Series from NY Times about Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections as part of its "decades-long campaign to tear the West apart." This is not fake news. Read more about the series here.



By Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlik...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern - but it may be a price worth paying


Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying


Courtesy of Steven Huckle, University of Sussex

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity.

However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitc...

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Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...

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Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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


Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...

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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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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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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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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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