Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change


Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change

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Courtesy of Adam Moolna, Keele University

Is your morning coffee an espresso or a skinny latte? Is it from a darkly roasted French or Italian blend? If it’s a high quality brew, it’s almost certainly made with beans from the Arabica species (Coffea arabica), which is known for its finer flavours. Examples would be Javan coffees, Ethiopian sidamo, and the expensive Jamaican blue mountain.

If you’ve stirred together an instant blend, it’s probably from a different species, Robusta (Coffea canephora), known for its harsher taste. But there are more than 100 species of coffee in the wild. All produce similar beans that you could make a recognisable coffee drink from.

Robusta is sometimes openly mixed with Arabica in commercial products – and is often secretly used to adulterate “100% Arabica” products, too. A third species, Coffea liberica, native to west and central Africa, is widely grown for local use in tropical countries, but is not globally traded because of its more bitter taste.

A fourth species Coffea eugenoides was bred with Robusta in ancient times to give rise to Arabica, a crossbreed. Another 38 closely related species can cross-fertilise commercial coffees through pollen transfer.

There are a further 82 species which are more distantly related to the commercial breeds, but scientists could interbreed them with commercial coffees in a lab. All these coffee relatives can help enhance the genetic diversity of commercial coffee species, making them more adaptable to changes in their environment.

Arabica coffee beans growing in Colombia. Fotos593/Shutterstock

Dark days ahead for coffee

Climate change is threatening global coffee yields as changing temperatures and rainfall patterns affect plant growth. The changing climate may also be leaving plants more vulnerable to disease.

All major commercial coffee growing countries have been badly affected by the fungal disease “coffee leaf rust”, which spread across Africa and into Asia during the early 20th century, then to South America, becoming entrenched globally by…
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Chicago’s Only 3-Michelin Star Restaurant Offers Clemson Tigers “Special” Victory Meal

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

How many tasting menus would a 300-pound lineman need to consume to feel satisfied? Well, we might be about to find out.

After "Good Morning America" host Michael Strahan, in a pioneering example of what we've termed "lobster signaling", invited the members of the championship Clemson Tigers football team to a "proper meal" of lobster and caviar while criticizing President Trump's now-infamous shutdown-inspired "fast food feast",  Alinea, Chicago's only three-Michelin star restaurant, has decided to one-up the former Superbowl-winning pro football player by inviting the team for a special victory meal at its restaurant.


Of course, given the NCAA's rules against players accepting gifts, it's unclear whether the team will be able to accept the offer. But the restaurant's owner, who specified that he "doesn't care about football", said in a tweet that the special meal would be "what an actual celebration dinner should be" and that it would be "worth it."


To be clear, Kokonas said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that he doesn't think there's anything wrong with fast food. But he said the football players likely have never experienced "nothing quite like what we do."

"I like a burger as much as anyone else. At the end of the day, though, I’m betting they’ve had that, as football players, a thousand times. I bet they’ve had nothing quite like what we do."

And in a snarky aside directed at Trump, Kokonas said that, though "we are not billionaires", his restaurant group has enough resources to "do it right."

“We’re not billionaires, but we can afford to do it the right way," Kokonas continued. "I’m trying to make this as nonpolitical as possible. For me, this isn’t about politics. It’s about something we can do to correct something I thought was just wrong. That’s it."

We're still waiting for Warren Buffett – another notable McDonald's fan – to invite the entire team to dinner at his favorite Omaha steakhouse.

Stay The Course


Stay The Course

Courtesy of 

“Jack Bogle has done probably more for the American investor than any man in the country.”
– Warren Buffett

I didn’t have any worthwhile mentorship during the first half of my career. It wasn’t until I shed my brokerage licenses and became a fiduciary investment advisor ten years ago that I came into contact with the ideas and philosophies of John C. Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and inventor of the index fund, who died yesterday at the age of 89.

But the way in which he described good investing, the morality behind his message and the unmistakeable truth and clarity with which he explained things changed everything for me. The only people who come across his message and then subsequently disagree with it are those whose careers depend upon their not believing. Bogle had the math on his side, and just about all of the salient facts pertaining to industry conflicts, human psychology and investor behavior.

People mistakenly infer from Jack’s career that he only believed in market-cap weighted indexing. This is a gigantic misunderstanding. What he actually believed, based on over fifty years of experience in the mutual fund business, is that keeping costs low (fees, expenses, tax liabilities, etc) is preferable to any amount of excess return that an active manager might be relied upon to generate. Jack once said he’d rather invest in a low cost active fund than a high cost passive fund. His son actively managed a mutual fund in which Jack himself was an investor. In fact, nearly half of Vanguard’s assets under management are in actively managed funds, such as the Wellington fund, one of the crown jewels of the firm’s collection.

Jack Bogle and Chip Roame, April 2017 in New York City

Registered investment advisory firms like mine created an entire multi-trillion business based on the teachings of Bogle and

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Getting Bogle’s Back


Getting Bogle’s Back

Courtesy of 

This weekend’s Barron’s had a great interview with Jack Bogle of Vanguard. Jack took on some of the more popular myths about the index revolution, including the one where people accuse the popularity of ETFs and the like for pushing up the values of the top ten stocks.

Which is actually illogical when you think about it. Wouldn’t those flows be more meaningful to the thousands of smaller stocks that are also being “bought indiscriminately”? And why, then, are there stocks that were in the top ten recently that have fallen so hard if easy money is just flowing in to buy everything?

Michael and I tackle the topic, the data comes from his blog post here.  Watch the video and make sure you subscribe to our channel at YouTube so you never miss an update!



Jack Bogle’s Battle (Barron’s)

On Second Thought…

The Compound (YouTube)


This post was originally published on May 22nd, 2018

SocGen Weighs Closure Of Prop Trading Unit After Stunning 20% Loss

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Shortly after BNP Paribas closed its prop trading unit (reminding readers of the financial press that the practice of risking shareholder money for profit continued in Europe after the financial crisis, along with the sometimes enormous consequences of seemingly trivial human errors) and its US commodities derivatives trading unit, the Paris-based bank's smaller cross-town rival SocGen is weighing whether to close its own $4.7 billion prop trading desk after four years of middling-to-abysmal returns, crowned by a 20% loss in 2018 that the bank blamed on the explosion of volatility during Q4, according to Bloomberg.


Q4 earnings season is still in its early days, but already every major bank has blamed trading-unit losses on Q4 volatility, and SocGen isn't an exception. BBG reported that the bank shuttered its prop unit's Hong Kong trading desk late last year as losses force it to abandon several trading strategies (BTFD?).


The bank has already revealed a 10% drop in revenue for its market unit that it attributed to activity in Q4.

French regulators allowed prop trading to continue after the crisis – while the Volcker rule effectively banned the practice in the US – but prop trading units must now follow more strict controls on capital requirements and costs, among other factors.

To be sure, this isn't the first time the bank has placed its prop trading unit under review.

Descartes, named for the 17th-century French philosopher, had 4.1 billion euros ($4.7 billion) of assets at the end of 2017, according to filings. The unit had 377 million euros of capital, equal to about 4.5 percent of SocGen’s funds for global-markets and investor services activities, the filings show.

Executives at SocGen have reviewed the performance of Descartes several times since its creation. The unit, which has staff in Paris and London, has made less than 1 million euros in accumulated profits between 2015 and 2017, according to filings.

The losses at the Descartes unit will likely make life even more difficult for SocGen CEO Frederic Oudea after the bank paid some $2.6 billion in fines last year

The issues at Descartes compound the problems facing SocGen…
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John Bogle’s Bombshell Gift to Americans

Courtesy of Pam Martens

John Bogle, Founder of the Vanguard Group

John Bogle, Founder of the Vanguard Group

The legendary John Bogle passed away yesterday in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He was 89. Bogle was the founder of Vanguard Group. In announcing his death, Vanguard said that Bogle “introduced the first index mutual fund for investors and, in the face of skeptics, stood behind the concept until it gained widespread acceptance; and he drove down costs across the mutual fund industry by ceaselessly campaigning in the interests of investors.”

We’ll always remember Bogle for the courage he demonstrated on April 23, 2013 when he appeared on the PBS program Frontline. Bogle dropped the bombshell that Wall Street has attempted to hide for half a century: If you work for 50 years and receive the typical long-term return of 7 percent on your 401(k) plan and your fees are 2 percent, almost two-thirds of your account will go to Wall Street.

Bogle explained the math to Frontline’s Martin Smith:

Bogle: What happens in the fund business is the magic of compound returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs. It’s a mathematical fact. There’s no getting around it. The fact that we don’t look at it— too bad for us.

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Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives — so what happens now?


Brexit deal flops, Theresa May survives — so what happens now?

Courtesy of Victoria Honeyman, University of Leeds

As the clock ticks down to March 29 2019, all of the political manoeuvring, negotiating, arguing and fighting is coming to a peak. In the two and a half years since the 2016 EU referendum, views on both sides have hardened and agreement still seems as far away as it was the day after the referendum.

With Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement disliked by all sides, and voted down by an unprecedented majority in the House of Commons, everyone is wondering what can and should be done next?

While there are a number of options, some are more realistic than others. But in these turbulent times, it is impossible to conclusively rule any out. Here are some possibilities.

Present a new deal

Having seen her deal roundly rejected by parliament, the most obvious move for May might seem to be to go back to the EU to renegotiate. But the EU-27 have been clear from the day of the referendum result about what they were willing to offer. As the larger partner in the negotiations, and with a legal and political framework to protect, the EU could not rip up its own rules for one country. Indeed, the withdrawal agreement stretched the EU’s own red lines and they have repeatedly said that they could not, and would not, offer any more.

With the withdrawal agreement sunk, renegotiating with the EU along the same lines is a waste of time. The only type of renegotiation likely to have any chance of success is one where the larger issues, such as the customs union, are put back on the table. That seems to be something which May appears unwilling to do. It is hard to see how a new deal, without such renegotiation, would be any different to the old deal.

Cross-party talks

May has complained that while members of parliament have been very clear about what they won’t accept, they haven’t given any clear steer on what they will accept. That is undoubtedly true, largely because the House of Commons does not have a settled view of what…
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Brexit: Theresa May survives confidence vote, but Brussels is in charge now


Brexit: Theresa May survives confidence vote, but Brussels is in charge now

Courtesy of Chris Stafford, University of Nottingham

Just 24 hours after suffering a historic defeat in parliament over her Brexit deal, the prime minister has survived a vote of no confidence in her government – thanks to the support of her backbench MPs. Up until this point, these same backbench MPs have been all too willing to vote against her and her Brexit deal.

The result was expected, given that a Conservative rebellion would have likely resulted in a general election that might have gone very badly for the party. Ousting the prime minister is less appealing when, instead of offering the potential for career advancement, there is a strong chance that it would instead lead to a demotion to the shadow cabinet.

With the very public plotting and scheming that has been displayed over Brexit, it is little wonder that British people have become profoundly mistrustful of their elected representatives and their motivations. What happens next is therefore crucial not only for the prime minister and the country, but also the public’s faith in the nation’s democracy.

The way forward is not clear and many in the EU would like to know just what it is the UK actually wants. In an attempt to find out, May has promised to consult with leading parliamentarians over the way forward. She has been criticised for not doing this sooner and, while it could perhaps throw up a fresh idea to move things forward, it is hard to see what assurances the prime minister or the European Union can give that would placate anyone.

Re-open the negotiations?

Realistically speaking the only way to get the major changes on the controversial issues would be to re-open Brexit negotiations with the European Union and extend the article 50 period. While there is some support for the latter, the former has not been an acceptable option on the continent for some time now. That doesn’t appear likely to change.

Many prominent hard Brexit supporters have suggested that parliament’s dismissal of the deal will put the EU under pressure. They think Brussels will come back to the…
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Federal Workers Taking Odd Jobs To Make Ends Meet During Shutdown

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown are turning to various side jobs to make ends meet, according to the Associated Press

Some, such as immigration lawyer Cheryl Inzunza Blum of Tucson has been renting out a room on Airbnb for extra cash – capitalizing on the busy winter travel season in Arizona after she stopped receiving paychecks for her government contract work at a local immigration lawyer. She says she's working for free since she has clients who depend on her – some of whom are detained or have court hearings. 

Cheryl Inzunza Blum

But she also has bills: her Arizona state bar dues, malpractice insurance and a more than $500 phone bill for the past two months because she uses her phone so heavily for work. Blum bills the government for her work, but the office that pays her hasn’t processed any paychecks to her since before the shutdown began. So she’s been tapping every source she can to keep herself afloat — even her high school- and college-aged children — and is even thinking about driving for Uber and Lyft as well. -AP

"So after working in court all day I’m going to go home and get the room super clean because they’re arriving this evening," she said, referring to her Airbnb renters. 

"I have a young man who’s visiting town to do some biking, and he’s going to come tomorrow and stay a week," she added. "I’m thrilled because that means immediate money. Once they check in, the next day there’s some money in my account."

Other federal workers are driving for Uber, turning to handyman work, and looking for traditional temporary gigs in order to help pay the bills during the longest shutdown in US history. 

Fortunately for unpaid federal workers, the shutdown is happening during a relatively strong economy. 

The Labor Department reported that employers posted 6.9 million jobs in November, the latest figures available. That’s not far from the record high of 7.3 million reached in August.

Roughly 8,700 Uber driver positions are advertised nationwide on

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Animal Spirits: The Richest 50%


Animal Spirits: The Richest 50%

Courtesy of 

Today’s Animal Spirits is presented by YCharts. Mention Animal Spirits to receive 20% off (*New YCharts users only).

On today’s Animal Spirits we discuss:

What’s going on with Softbank and WeWork

Sears was a giant

The U.S. housing market

How Japan defied demographics

1 in 5 millennials

Who shares fake news?

Is the stock market moving faster?

Listen Here:


Billion Dollar Whale

The Monk of Mokha

Molly’s Game

Charts Mentioned


Tweets Mentioned


Zero Hedge

NYC's Housing-Market Weakness Spreads From Manhattan To The Outer Boroughs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Throughout vast swaths of New York City, members of the city's vast middle class work force can barely afford even a modest apartment. Yet for years after the post-crisis housing market recovery began, that reality did little to slow down the rise in home valuations as foreign capital and rock bottom interest rates fueled a buying frenzy, pushing rents ever-higher. But after citywide rents peaked in 2014, the NYC housing market, particularly the most expensive areas o...

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#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...

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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics


Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...

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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain


Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...

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Insider Scoop Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ... more from Insider

Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...

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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn


Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...

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Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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


Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.


more from Biotech

Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...

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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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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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.

Market Shadows >>