Posts Tagged ‘bonuses’

Why America’s Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart, and What Washington Isn’t Doing About It

Courtesy of Robert Reich

America’s two economies are getting wider apart.

The Big Money economy is booming. According to a new Commerce Department report, third-quarter profits of American businesses rose at an annual record-breaking $1.659 trillion – besting even the boom year of 2006 (in nominal dollars). Profits have soared for seven consecutive quarters now, matching or beating their fastest pace in history.

Executive pay is linked to profits, so top pay is soaring as well.

Higher profits are also translating into the nice gains in the stock market, which is a boon to everyone with lots of financial assets.

And Wall Street is back. Bonuses on the Street are expected to rise about 5 percent this year, according to a survey by compensation consultants Johnson Associates Inc.

But nothing is trickling down to the Average Worker economy. Job growth is still anemic. At October’s rate of only 50,000 new private-sector jobs, unemployment won’t get down to pre-recession levels for twenty years. And almost half of October’s new jobs were in temporary help.

Meanwhile, the median wage is barely rising, adjusted for inflation. And the value of the major asset of most Americans – their homes – continues to drop.

Why are America’s two economies going in opposite directions? Two reasons.

First, big profits are coming from overseas sales of goods and services made abroad, not here. The world’s fastest-growing markets are China and India, whose inhabitants are eager to buy “American” products, and just as eager to work for the American companies that sell them. The U.S. market is barely moving.

Increasingly, American corporations are able to extract healthy gains from their global operations without adding much in the United States except executive talent.

new world finance, ponzi, too big to fail banksSecond, American businesses are boosting productivity by having U.S. employees do more work for less pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between the third quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2010, productivity rose 2.5 percent, output increased 4.1 percent, the number of hours worked was up 1.6 percent, and unit labor costs dropped by 1.9 percent.

In other words, American workers are losing even more bargaining power as a sizeable chunk of corporate profit goes into software and digital equipment that can do what people used to do – but more cheaply.

So what is Washington doing about all this?

Making the tax code more progressive so more Americans reap…
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Currency Wars: Debase, Default, Deny!

Currency Wars: Debase, Default, Deny! 

Hiker pausing at fork in path

Courtesy of Gordon T Long of Tipping Points

In September 2008 the US came to a fork in the road. The Public Policy decision to not seize the banks, to not place them in bankruptcy court with the government acting as the Debtor-in-Possession (DIP), to not split them up by selling off the assets to successful and solvent entities, set the world on the path to global currency wars.

By lowering interest rates and effectively guaranteeing a weak dollar through undisciplined fiscal policy, the US ignited an almost riskless global US$ Carry Trade and triggered an uncontrolled Currency War with the mercantilist, export driven Asian economies. We are now debasing the US dollar with reckless spending and money printing with the policies of Quantitative Easing (QE) and the expectations of QE II. Both are nothing more than effectively defaulting on our obligations to sound money policy and a “strong US$”. Meanwhile with a straight face we deny that this is our intention. 

It’s called debase, default and deny.

Though prior to the 2008 financial crisis our largest banks had become casino like speculators with public money lacking in fiduciary responsibility, our elected officials bailed them out. Our leadership placed America and the world unknowingly (knowingly?) on a preordained destructive path because it was politically expedient and the easiest way out of a difficult predicament. By kicking the can down the road our political leadership, like the banks, avoided their fiduciary responsibility. Similar to a parent wanting to be liked and a friend to their children they avoided the difficult discipline that is required at certain critical moments in life. The discipline to make America swallow a needed pill. The discipline to ask Americans to accept a period of intense adjustment. A period that by now would be starting to show signs of success versus the abyss we now find ourselves staring into.  A future that is now significantly worse and with potentially fatal pain still to come.

Unemployed Americans, the casualties of the financial crisis wrought by the banks, witness the same banks declaring record earnings while these banks refuse to lend. When the banks once more are caught with their fingers in the cookie jar with falsified robo-signing mortgage title fraud, they again look for the compliant parent to look the other way. Meanwhile the US debt levels and spending associated with protecting these failed…
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SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, “Cruel” Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence

SIGTARP Calls Out Tim Geithner On Various Violations Including Data Manipulation, Lack Of Transparency, "Cruel" Cynicism, And Gross Incompetence

Neil BarofskyCourtesy of Tyler Durden

SigTarp Neil Barofsky has just released the most scathing critique of all the idiots in the administration, with a particular soft spot for Tim Geithner.

On the failure of TARP to increase lending:

As these quarterly reports to congress have well chronicled and as Treasury itself recently conceded in its acknowledgement that "banks continue to report falling loan balances," TARP has failed to "increase lending" with small businesses in particular unable to secured badly needed credit. Indeed, even now, overall lending continues to contract, despite the hundreds of billions of TARP dollars provided to banks with the express purpose to increase lending.

On TARP’s sole success of boosting Wall Street bonuses:

While large bonuses are returning to Wall Street, the nation’s poverty rate increased from 13.2% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2009, and for far too many, the recession has ended in name only.

On TARP’s failure in general:

Finally, the most specific of TARP’s Main Street goals, "preserving homeownership" has so far fallen woefully short, with TARP’s portion of the Administration’s mortgage modification program yielding only approximately 207,000 ongoing permanent modifications since TARP’s inception, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million homes receiving foreclosure filings and more than 1.7 million homes that have been lost to foreclosure since January 2009.

On the Treasury’s scam in minimizing publicized AIG losses, and on Geithner as a Wall Street puppet whose actions are increasingly destroying public faith in the government:

While SIGTARP offers no opinion on the appropriateness or accuracy of the valuation contained in the Retrospective, we believe that the Retrospective fails to meet basic transparency standards by failing to disclose: (1) that the new lower estimate followed a change in the methodology that Treasury previously used to calculate expected losses on its AIG investment; and (2) that Treasury would be required by its auditors to use the older, and presumably less favorable, methodology in the official audited financials statements. To avoid potential confusion, Treasury should have disclosed that it had changed its valuation methodology and should have published a side-by-side comparison of its new numbers with what the projected losses would be under the auditor-approved methodology that Treasury had used previously and will


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CalPERS Bumped Pay as Fund Dived?

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis at Zero Hedge 

Cathy Bussewitz of the Huffington Post reports, CalPERS Bumped Pay as Fund Dived (HT: Peter):

 
 

As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country’s largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.

Board member Tony Olivera said the California Public Employees’ Retirement System tried to reduce the bonuses but was under contractual obligations to pay them.

CalPERS’ plunging value came as stock values tumbled around the world, the state’s economy suffered its worst decline in decades and basic state services faced severe budget cuts.

Virtually all of CalPERS’ investment managers were awarded bonuses of more than $10,000 each, with several earning bonuses of more than $100,000 during the 2008-09 fiscal year. The cash awards were distributed as the fund lost $59 billion.

Steve Deutsch, director of pensions and endowment at Morningstar Inc., said many public pension plans award performance bonuses, and called CalPERS’ performance during 2008-09 "middle of the road."

"It’s absolutely very widespread, but very low profile in terms of being acknowledged, discussed, or disclosed by the plans," Deutsch said.

The revelations prompted two key Republican lawmakers to call for more oversight of how CalPERS and other state pension funds compensate employees and make investment decisions, while a Democratic lawmaker promised legislation to control salaries and bonuses.

CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said bonuses are based on the fund’s performance over five years, not just the year immediately preceding the bonus, in order to encourage managers to seek long-term investments rather than short-term gains. He said bonuses in the 2008-09 fiscal year were 50 percent lower than in 2006-07 and that the market declines will continue to dampen bonuses in future years.

"Incentives are part of total compensation and critical to the fund’s long-term success as well as recruitment and retention of skilled investment professionals," Pacheco said in an e-mail.

Bonuses also were paid to employees who are not part of the fund’s investment team, including a public affairs officer who received bonuses of nearly $19,000 a year two years in a row and a human resources executive who received bonuses topping $16,000 both years.

The number of CalPERS executives making $200,000 a year or more


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30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years.  In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well.  While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever.  This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well.  So why aren’t all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? 

Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can’t spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to.  A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon.  On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?

Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a "have" or a "have not".  The recent article on CNBC referenced above described it this way….

Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.
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SP 500 Daily Chart and The Planet of the Apes

SP 500 Daily Chart and The Planet of the Apes

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

The SP futures declined to briefly touch a channel trendline that goes all the way back to the intraday spike lows of October 2009!

The market is rallying sharply now, and if it can retake the old support, now resistance, around 1105 it has a good chance of setting a new uptrend back to the top of the channel. This could just be a dead cat bounce. I was looking at some of the indicators last night, and they were at record oversold levels going back at least four years, including the crash.

Was all this a trading gambit mixed with petulance over the financial reform package? In a normal market I would say "nonsense." But this market is thin, like a Ponzi scheme, driven by high frequency trading and artificial liquidity. The few genuine investors are being chased and shot down like the human beings in The Planet of the Apes. The Wall Street gorillas have all the horses, nets and rifles, courtesy of the government, the regulators, and the Fed.

The smackdown in gold and silver ahead of option expiration next week, and the miners’ option expiration today, was some of the most blatant and heavy handed market manipulation I have seen in a long time.

The US is badly in need of adult supervision and behavioural modification. Not the much maligned people, the long suffering public which seeks only to go about its daily business creating wealth in the real economy in the face of mounting hardships, but rather the corrupt and irresponsible government, and the pampered princes of Wall Street, who are engaged primarily in wealth extraction and redistribution, primarily for themselves.

Washington can pass all the reforms it wishes. But until it obtains the will and the regulators to enforce the laws, including the existing laws, it is all merely a show to placate the public and maintain a misplaced confidence in ‘extend and pretend’ sustained by self-serving neo-liberal economic mythology.

June Futures Daily Chart
 

"Meanwhile, the financial sector is to be enriched by the translation of junk economics into international policy. Living in the short run is the financial sector¹s time frame while distracting the attention of indebted populations from calculations that Wall Street understands quite well: the debts cannot be paid in the end.

But they can be paid in


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Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle

Wall Street’s Bailout Hustle

Goldman Sachs and other big banks aren’t just pocketing the trillions we gave them to rescue the economy – they’re re-creating the conditions for another crash

By MATT TAIBBI 

Matt Taibbi "wall street bailout hustle" Rolling StoneOn January 21st, Lloyd Blankfein left a peculiar voicemail message on the work phones of his employees at Goldman Sachs. Fast becoming America’s pre-eminent Marvel Comics supervillain, the CEO used the call to deploy his secret weapon: a pair of giant, nuclear-powered testicles. In his message, Blankfein addressed his plan to pay out gigantic year-end bonuses amid widespread controversy over Goldman’s role in precipitating the global financial crisis.

The bank had already set aside a tidy $16.2 billion for salaries and bonuses — meaning that Goldman employees were each set to take home an average of $498,246, a number roughly commensurate with what they received during the bubble years. Still, the troops were worried: There were rumors that Dr. Ballsachs, bowing to political pressure, might be forced to scale the number back. After all, the country was broke, 14.8 million Americans were stranded on the unemployment line, and Barack Obama and the Democrats were trying to recover the populist high ground after their bitch-whipping in Massachusetts by calling for a "bailout tax" on banks. Maybe this wasn’t the right time for Goldman to be throwing its annual Roman bonus orgy.

 

Not to worry, Blankfein reassured employees. "In a year that proved to have no shortage of story lines," he said, "I believe very strongly that performance is the ultimate narrative."

Translation: We made a shitload of money last year because we’re so amazing at our jobs, so fuck all those people who want us to reduce our bonuses.

Goldman wasn’t alone. The nation’s six largest banks — all committed to this balls-out, I drink your milkshake! strategy of flagrantly gorging themselves as America goes hungry — set aside a whopping $140 billion for executive compensation last year, a sum only slightly less than the $164 billion they paid themselves in the pre-crash year of 2007. In a gesture of self-sacrifice, Blankfein himself took a humiliatingly low bonus of $9 million, less than the 2009 pay of elephantine New York Knicks washout Eddy Curry. But in reality, not much had changed. "What is the state of our moral being when Lloyd Blankfein taking a $9 million bonus is viewed as this great act of contrition, when every…
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Here’s a Suggestion for AIG and Its $100 Million Bonus Plan

Here’s a Suggestion for AIG and Its $100 Million Bonus Plan

Workers Arrive At The Offices Of Troubled Insurance Company AIG

Courtesy of PETER COHAN at Daily Finance

The Washington Post reports that American International Group (AIG) is poised to pay workers in its Financial Products Group (FPG) a $100 million bonus today. FPG sold credit default swaps (CDSs), a form of bond insurance, without reserving against the possibility that it would have to pay claims on them. And that group is primarily responsible for America’s $182.3 billion AIG bailout in September 2008.

In a normal business, you pay bonuses to top-performing employees if the business earns a hefty profit. So, of course, AIG must have earned a profit, right? Not exactly. It lost $99 billion in 2008 and $5 billion in the first three quarters of 2009. So why do these people now deserve a bonus?

AIG defenders might argue that the $100 million bonus — an average of only $500,000 per employee — is a great deal because FPG’s 200 employees were originally scheduled for a nearly $200 million bonus this March after getting $168 million last year, according to the Post. Do the folks at FPG deserve even that $100 million for contributing to a company that has generated over $100 billion in losses in the last two years?  

Continue here.>>

 


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Morgan Paying Out 62% of Revenues in Bonuses and Pay While Average Families Face ‘Years of Pain’

Morgan Paying Out 62% of Revenues in Bonuses and Pay While Average Families Face ‘Years of Pain’ 

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

bernankeOne has to wonder how much of that ‘revenue’ is merely the result of artificial mark to market accounting and prop desk speculation, and not real cash flow from commercial banking operations.

That is not the pay method for a bank. That’s a hedge fund. And that would be all very well and good if they were a hedge fund and responsible for their own failures and successes, but they are obtaining the discount window and federal guarantees and subsidies from the taxpayers as though they were a commercial bank.

This highlights the problem with this ‘trickle down’ approach that characterizes neo-liberal stimulus versus the approach of, let’s say, the Roosevelt administration, that of putting people to work and keeping their savings safe as the first priority.

The US and UK are packing the banks with public money to ‘save the system.’ Their hope seems to be that as the banks recover, they will start lending to the private sector again, and eventually this money will trickle down to the public as real wages generated by organic economic activity.

Another approach would have been to guarantee the people’s savings in banks and Credit Unions, the cash value of insurance policies, and money market funds, up to let’s say $2,000,000 per individual and $5,000,000 per couple.

Keeping the people whole, the government would have then been able to effectively place the banks in receivership as required, and work them through the resolution of their problems, handing out some stiff losses to shareholders and speculators and the debt-holders.

No mechanism to do this? They could have nationalized the banks temporarily with a single executive order, as readily as it took Hank Paulson and Tim to type up a ten page document to give away $700 billion. The guarantees on all savings and private investments would have prevented a panic from the public, but quite a few more bankers and hedge funds might have taken the hard results of their recklessness.

This would have placed all the bailout money in the hands of the people, who could have chosen where they wished to place it after the nationalization process as the banks were either shuttered or restored. We would have ended up with


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Oligopolistic Banking System and Compensation

Outrageous results displayed in colorful charts, by Jake at Econompic Data.

I have no problem with people who work hard, work smart, innovate and produce great things, making lots of money, but this isn’t that (see e.g. Morgan Paying Out 62% of Revenues in Bonuses and Pay While Average Families Face ‘Years of Pain’ and Joseph Stiglitz on ‘Ersatz Capitalism’ and Moral Bankruptcy). - Ilene

Oligopolistic Banking System and Compensation

At this stage, most of us are familiar with the idea that compensation within the financial services industry has grown much faster than compensation outside the system. As can be seen below, this trend has largely gone uninterrupted throughout the crisis.

Financial services weekly salary

And while this level of compensation remains exorbitantly high across all of financial services, the lack of competition among the largest banks has caused compensation within the industry to become even more concentrated.

Before specifically detailing those firms, lets go to Wall Street Pit:

The Journal reported that based on its analysis — which includes banking giants J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Citigroup, securities firms such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and exchange operators CME Group Inc. and NYSE Euronext Inc. — executives, traders and money managers at 38 top financial firms can expect to earn nearly 18% more than they did last year, and slightly more than they did in the record year of 2007.

While 18% seems like a massive jump (it is) from a level that was already too high (in my opinion), it ignores the broader issue of what has resulted from a government (i.e. taxpayer) guarantee on the downside risks of those banks deemed too big to fail… a MASSIVE increase in compensation (the joys of a "too big to fail" title for the select few).

The chart below details the compensation for all of those 38 firms, grouped here by JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, and "Other" (all others). BUT, slice off Citi and "other" and we can see that the remaining four make up more than 100% of that 18% jump (let it be known that the data below is not an apples to apples comparison – as Felix points out these charts don’t account for the fact that JP Morgan and Bank of America have swallowed


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Insider Scoop

9 Technology Stocks Moving In Wednesday's After-Market Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers

Teradyne, Inc. (NASDAQ:TER) shares increased by 11.6% to $82.10 during Wednesday's after-market session. The most recent rating by Evercore ISI Group, on January 13, is at Outperform, with a price target of $85.00.

PTC, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTC) shares rose 8.1% to $86.43. The most recent rating by Barclays, on November 04, is at Overweight, with a price target of $81.00.

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:...



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Zero Hedge

China Quarantines City Of 11 Million As Hong Kong Confirms Second Case Of Coronavirus

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Update 6 (1530ET): Hong Kong has reportedly confirmed a second case of coronavirus.

Hong Kong authorities report a second confirmed case of coronavirus. RTHK

— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) January 22, 2020

More details to come...

* * *

Update 5 (1500ET): After praising all of China's efforts to contain the outbreak, the WHO Director General an...



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Phil's Favorites

"It Just Keeps Getting Crazier" - Options Speculation Reaches Record High

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Despite the fact that the bond market refuses to sell-off (as it should in a well-behaved market sending stocks to record-er and record-er highs each and every day), the levered long crowd has never been more "all-in" than they are right now.

While stocks are at record highs, bond yields are plumbing 2 month lows...

Source: Bloomberg

However, there are some notable anomalies in the VIX term structure that could become problematic in the next few days. As contracts expire, so the very steep term structure (fueling lots of short-vol-tilted carry trades) will flatten...

...



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The Technical Traders

TRADING STRATEGIES FOR GDXJ, SPY, BONDS, AND NATURAL GAS

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen joins me today to shares his trading strategy for 4 different markets. While most of these markets are not correlated he has reasons for why he is long in each. Pick and choose where you want to deploy your capital.

Get Chris’ Trade Signals Today – Click Here

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Hang Seng Index Double Topping At 2007 Highs?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Could the Hang Seng Index be “Double Topping” at its 2007 highs? Possible, yet not proven!

The Hang Seng Index attempted to break above its 2007 highs at (1), only to see a key reversal pattern take place the following month.

After the reversal pattern, the index has created a series of lower highs, just below falling resistance.

So far this month, the index is attempting to break above falling resistance, where it could be created a bearish reversal monthly pattern at (2).

What would it take to prove that a double top was i...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Monday, 16 September 2019, 05:22:48 PM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: This chart says SP500 should go back to 2016 levels (overshoot will occur of course)



Date Found: Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 01:53:30 AM

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Comment: This would be HUGE...got gold!


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Members' Corner

The War on All Fact People

 

David Brin shares an excerpt from his new book on the relentless war against democracy and how we can fight back. You can also read the first, second and final chapters of Polemical Judo at David's blog Contrary Brin.

The War on All Fact People 

Excerpted from David Brin's new book, the beginning of chapter 5, Polemical Judo: Memes...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Have Surged Since Soleimani Death, Bitcoin Tops $8,000

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin is up over 15% since the assassination of Iran General Soleimani...

Source: Bloomberg

...topping $8,000 for the first time since before Thanksgiving...

Source: Bloomberg

Testing its key 100-day moving-average for the first time since October...

...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

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

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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:

 

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