Posts Tagged ‘David Einhorn’

A Reporter’s Notepad: My Almost Book On The Blame-Shifters

A Reporter’s Notepad: My Almost Book On The Blame-Shifters

Courtesy of Roddy Boyd, THE FINANCIAL INVESTIGATOR

Shadow Of Woman Writing

Editor’s Note: There is perhaps nothing so silly and attention-seeking as the reporter who willingly inserts him- or herself into a story for some narrative purpose or other, but I am going to make a (big) and one-time exception to this rule by posting this.

The backstory: Prior to committing to a book on AIG and its collapse, I had begun to pitch a book called “Shifting The Blame.”

The idea was simplicity itself: I’d take about eight or nine companies–from Overstock to Lehman, from Arthrocare to MBIA–who had hit the skids and who had, at some point, blamed some combination of reporters and short-sellers for their woes. As opposed to, say, embellishing their financials, lying, losing money, hiding losses, incompetence…you take the point. My goal was to fuse investigative reporting and the naturally dramatic arc of their sleazy behavior and comeuppances to make for an eye-opening read. I’d raise a few eyebrows, get some laughs, maybe make a deeper point about free speech, investigative reporting and the real scandals in the market.

My agent, summoning me to a breakfast one Saturday, said she loved the idea but, well, there was another book coming out by a fellow named Rick Sauer and it was going to hit on a few of the same themes. I lamely tried to suggest that Sauer’s book was an “Inside-the-SEC guy-turned-shortseller” type thing, where as my work was a series of inter-connected investigative essays.

No matter. The market is the market and the market didn’t, apparently, want two of these books. So I scrapped it.

This was the preface to the book, telling a story about an earnest PR guy who had the unenviable job of spinning a discredited yarn into gold for his revenge-hungry clients. I found it in a musty corner of the hard-drive and showed it to a few pretty smart former colleagues of mine who said they liked it.

I sort of do too. It’s dated, but like a hiss on an old record album, it gives it some gravity. Maybe.

The origin of this book lies with a series of phone conversations between myself and Jeffrey Lloyd, a partner at the public relations firm of Sitrick and Company, in the early autumn of 2008.

Lloyd, a courteous…
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SEC Crazy Talk

SEC Crazy Talk

By Gary Weiss, Portfolio.com

Sam Antar is an unlikely whistleblower: a convicted felon who went to jail for his role in the Crazy Eddie stock scandal and now spends his time fighting securities fraud. He says the SEC has been giving him—and other whistleblowers—a hard time.

A couple of weeks ago, a man from New York by the name of Sam Antar forwarded a zip drive to the Securities and Exchange Commission containing 37,000 documents that regulators wanted to see—a quarter of a million pages in all. “Just to open each file,” he told me, “I calculated that at a rate of two files a minute, it would take an SEC investigator, working seven hours a day, eight weeks to get through them all.”

Antar spent weeks fighting the agency over this, but eventually he decided the legal expenses of fighting it in court would be too crushing. It’s hard to be too sympathetic with Antar at first blush. When the SEC wants documents, it should get them, right? After all, everyone wants a vigorous, crime-fighting SEC. But in this case, the commission wasn’t targeting adversaries, but allies.

And that’s just one of the reasons why this probe smacks of the SEC’s infamous persecution of David Einhorn—a short-seller who was targeted rather than a company that he believed was engaged in improper practices, which the SEC eventually sanctioned. This is the kind of thing that has gotten me to increasingly wonder: What in heaven’s name is the SEC thinking? Is it completely out to lunch?

[...]

What makes this all even worse than the Einhorn mess is that the SEC is probing the two men’s contacts with those two Dow Jones reporters. That can’t help but have a chilling effect on the ability of the financial press to do its job. The agency has rules strictly limiting subpoenas to the media. Similar rules are needed to keep it from engaging in fishing expeditions aimed at people talking to the press.

Full article here.>


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TALKING OURSELVES OFF THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF

TALKING OURSELVES OFF THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Yesterday’s WSJ MarketBeat blog took David Einhorn to task for his op-ed in the NY Times titled “Easy Money, Hard Truths“.  They make the argument that Einhorn is simply pushing his massive gold position.  I fear Einhorn is doing something much worse – helping to scare us all into continued recession.

First off, I have no problem when someone talks their book.  In fact, I almost prefer for people to talk their book.  There’s a certain trust in someone who is willing to “put their money where their mouth is”.  It’s the primary reason why I believe the hedge fund business is such a wonderful advancement beyond traditional mutual funds – the manager’s interests are generally aligned with those of the investor.  If you can find a manager who is not only intelligent, but has a sound moral compass you’ve wandered upon quite a gem.  From all accounts David Einhorn appears to fit the mold.  But I take very serious issue with his recent comments which I believe are filled with half-truths and propaganda that we continually hear from the inflationistas (all of whom have been terribly wrong thus far in terms of their macroeconomic outlook) who are driving the country towards the edge of the cliff.

Einhorn is a great investor and clearly a brilliant man, but for two years I have watched policymakers and fear mongerers misdiagnose the problems that we confront and this is, in my opinion, why we are still wrangling with these issues. In 2008 I wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve saying that this was a classic “balance sheet recession” with problems rooted in the private sector – specifically the consumer.  I told them that saving banks was not the solution and that monetary policy would prove as fruitless in the U.S. as it has in Japan.  I was shocked to receive a friendly response to my letter but not shocked to see Mr. Bernanke implement his Friedman-like monetarist campaign of “saving the world”.  Obviously it hasn’t worked (unless you’re a banker) as we sit here two years later still discussing this wretched credit crisis and the ranks of the unemployed continue to climb.  If we cannot properly diagnose the problems we cannot find a proper cure.  Thus far, we have failed.…
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But, You Sputtered, I’m Just A Hack….

But, You Sputtered, I’m Just A Hack….

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

That is, with all my pesky math and charts like this:

Remember that I’ve been preaching for a while that we embedded a roughly $500-600 billion structural deficit into the economy post-2000?  And that now, in response to this recession (and in a refusal to admit that we have been playing credit drunk) we’ve now embedded a roughly 10% structural deficit – three times the former?

Before you consider me a chucklehead for having the temerity to look at the math you might take it up with the BIS - the Bank of International Settlements, or the "bankers’ bank" – which agrees with me:

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the United States’ structural deficit — the amount of our deficit adjusted for the economic cycle — has increased from 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 9.2 percent in 2010.

Gee, you mean they looked at the same chart I’ve been preaching from? 

This stuff isn’t hard folks!

Now Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, a rather-well-known hedge fund manager, is sounding off.  He said:

A good percentage of the structural increase in the deficit is because last year’s “stimulus” was not stimulus in the traditional sense. Rather than a one-time injection of spending to replace a cyclical reduction in private demand, the vast majority of the stimulus has been a permanent increase in the base level of government spending — including spending on federal jobs.

Yep.

This is exactly what I’ve been saying now since this mess began and the "response" became clear: Government didn’t "stimulate", it instead built in structural deficits – just as it did in 2003.

But you can read David’s missive any time you’d like, or the BIS’.

The key question is why would the government take such a step?

Some would claim that it was about trying to exert more control over the economy, as of there is some sort of grand conspiracy extant to take every piece of control you have over your life and transfer it to government.

I’m a bit more realistic in my assessment – and less conspiratorial.

Government did this because it was the only way to avoid having to admit that we have too much debt in the…
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THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Nothing would derail the Fed’s great reflation/recovery experiment like higher interest rates.  Several notable investors including David Einhorn (see Einhorn’s thoughts here) and Julian Robertson (see Robertson’s thoughts here), have expressed their concerns over the potential for higher interest rates.  The great Richard Russell of the Dow Theory Letters has long feared a spike in interest rates.  In a recent note he explained that the end of quantitative easing has bond investors worried over the future of interest rates.  Russell believes higher rates are the next big move in the bond market:

“Older subscribers may remember that I said that the Fed could continue its “quantitative easing” (printing money) until the bond market says it can’t. Below is a daily chart of the 30-year Treasury bond. The bond market doesn’t like what it sees. I view the pattern on this chart as a huge, down-slanting head-and-shoulder top with the bond sitting right on support. The bond appears weak, and if support is violated, interest rates will be heading higher. And that’s the last thing the Fed wants at this time.” 

0 THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

Source: Dow Theory Letters 


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GURU OUTLOOK: DAVID EINHORN IS VERY WORRIED ABOUT THE DEBTS

GURU OUTLOOK: DAVID EINHORN IS VERY WORRIED ABOUT THE DEBTS

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

David Einhorn became a household name last year when he attacked Lehman Brothers (among other companies) for their poor financial condition.  He very publicly shorted the stock ahead of the firm’s implosion.  This didn’t help Einhorn from losing money for the first time in his career, however.  His firm’s flagship fund finished the year down 22.7% in 2008.  It looks bad at first glance, but this was just half of the losses the S&P 500 experienced last year.  He has since recouped all of the losses this year.  Einhorn is famous for his 2006 18th place finish in the World Series of Poker and has proven over the last 13 years to be one of the best risk managers on Wall Street.  So what does Einhorn like now?  Let’s take a look.

Einhorn is increasingly concerned about the debts in the financial system.  Einhorn had some very interesting comments earlier this year regarding gold, which has become one of Greenlight’s favorite positions.  He isn’t a goldbug, but Einhorn is growing increasingly concerned about the future of fiat currencies due to irresponsible monetary and fiscal policies.  Einhorn has very little faith in the Fed to print us back to prosperity.  The following is an excerpt from his 2008 year-end letter:

We never thought we would ever buy gold or gold stocks.   David’s grandfather Benjamin was a goldbug.   From the time David was ten, Grandpa Ben took every opportunity to tell David  about  the  problems  with  fiat  currencies  and  the  coming  inflation  and  advised  that the only sensible thing to do was to buy gold and gold stocks.  And, for the last thirty years of his life, that is what Grandpa Ben did.   And it was a lousy investment.   Being a patient investor is one thing.  Being “wrong” for three decades is quite another. To everyone’s dismay, we believe that some of Grandpa Ben’s predictions are playing out. Our  current  chairman  of  the  Federal  Reserve,  Ben  Bernanke,  is  an  “inflationist.”   When times  were  good,  he  supported  an  easy  money  policy.   Even  when  the  Fed  raised  rates, Bernanke  took  great  pains  to  give  the  markets  many  warnings  to  insure  that  the  higher rates  wouldn’t  break  up 


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Did The Markit Group, A Black-Box Company Partially Owned By Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Devastate Markets?

The Markit Group: A Black-Box Company that Devastated Markets

markitCourtesy of Mark Mitchell at Deep Capture

Although much attention has been directed at the contribution made by credit default swaps  to the financial crisis, most discussion has focused on the companies, such as American International Group (AIG), that posted big losses because they sold these instruments without sufficient due diligence.

Another line of inquiry has not been pursued, however, though it is of equal, and perhaps greater, significance. That line of inquiry concerns the way in which the prices of credit default swaps effect the perceived value of all forms of debt — corporate bonds, commercial mortgages, home mortgages, and collateralized debt obligations — and as a result, the ability of hedge funds manipulators to use credit default swaps in bear raids on public companies.

If short sellers can manipulate the price of credit default swaps, they can disrupt those companies whose debt is insured by the credit default swaps whose prices are manipulated.  The game plan runs as follows: find a company that relies on a layer of debt that is both permanent, and which rolls over frequently (most financial firms fit this description). Short sell that company’s stock. Then manipulate the price of the CDS upwards, preferably into a spike, as you spread the news of the skyrocketing CDS price (perhaps with the cooperation of compliant journalists at, say, CNBC).

Frightened Woman

Because the CDS is, in essence, an insurance policy on the debt of the company, the spiking CDS pricing will cause the company’s lenders to panic and cut off access to credit. As this happens, the company’s stock will nosedive, thereby cutting off access to equity capital. Thus suddenly deprived of credit and equity, the firm collapses, and the hedge fund collects on its short bets.

Moreover, credit default swap prices are the primary inputs for important indices (such as the CMBX and the ABX) measuring the movement of the overall market for commercial and home mortgages.  In the months leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, short sellers pointed to these indices in order to argue  that investment banks – most notably Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers – had overvalued the mortgage debt and property on their books. Meanwhile, several hedge funds made billions in profits betting that those indexes would drop.

It should therefore be a…
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Einhorn: Break up too big to fail financial institutions

Einhorn: Break up too big to fail financial institutions

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

David Einhorn delivered a speech at the 2009 Value Investing Conference that is creating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. He said a lot of interesting things about the investing and political climate.  A surprising amount of it comes out of the playbook here at Credit Writedowns.

Below are the quotes I want to highlight for you. At the bottom is an embedded copy of his speech.

Enjoy.

On short-termism in politics and government

Winston Churchill said that, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for
all the others that have been tried from time to time.”

As I see it, there are two basic problems in how we have designed our government.
The first is that officials favor policies with short-term impact over those in our long-term
interest because they need to be popular while they are in office and they want to be reelected. In recent times, opinion tracking polls, the immediate reactions of focus groups, the 24/7 news cycle, the constant campaign, and the moment-to-moment obsession with the Dow Jones Industrial Average have magnified the political pressures to favor short-term solutions. Earlier this year, the political topic du jour was to debate whether the stimulus was working, before it had even been spent.

On crony capitalism and regulatory capture

The second weakness in our government is “concentrated benefit versus diffuse harm” also known as the problem of special interests. Decision makers help small groups who care about narrow issues and whose “special interests” invest substantial resources to be better heard through lobbying, public relations and campaign support. The special interests benefit while the associated costs and consequences are spread broadly through the rest of the population. With individuals bearing a comparatively small extra burden, they are less motivated or able to fight in Washington.

In the context of the recent economic crisis, a highly motivated and organized banking lobby has demonstrated enormous influence. Bankers advance ideas like, “without banks, we would have no economy.” Of course, there was a public interest in protecting the guts of the system, but the ATMs could have continued working, even with forced debt-to-equity conversions that would not have required any public funds. Instead, our leaders responded by handing over hundreds of billions


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David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

Courtesy of Market Folly

While David Einhorn’s short position in Moody’s (MCO) is by no means new information, we did recently learn that his hedge fund Greenlight Capital is now also short McGraw Hill (MHP), the parent company of fellow ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. He initiated the position after a U.S. judge refused to dismiss a case against the ratings agencies. Those agencies were seeking refuge from such litigation under the notion that their opinions on ratings are protected by free-speech rights. This U.S. District Judge’s refusal to throw out the case could be a landmark ruling, Einhorn says. While this could potentially be a chink in the armor, it is also prudent to point out that 10 of the 11 claims were dismissed; a fact that Moody’s representatives have been quick to point out.

Einhorn presented his short position in Moody’s back at the Ira Sohn Conference where numerous hedge fund managers shared investment ideas. While we can’t track their short positions via SEC filings, we have covered Greenlight’s long portfolio here. Greenlight was up 16.3% for the second quarter and year to date for 2009 is up 21.5%. For more of Einhorn’s tirades shorting companies, we highly recommend reading his book Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story. In it, you’ll learn how Greenlight constructs and researches investment theses. Not to mention, it’s just an interesting read and story in general.

Instead of summarizing Einhorn’s thoughts regarding why he is short the ratings agencies, we figured we’d just let him tell you himself. Embedded below is his presentation from the Ira Sohn investment conference entitled ‘The Curse of the Triple A.’ You can download the .pdf here or read on below:
 

David Einhorn’s Ira Sohn Presentation

So, while he presented that argument back in late May of this year, he appeared on television a few days ago to further elaborate on his argument. Below is the video where he presents his case to CNBC anchors:
 


And lastly, for posterity’s sake, we would also like to highlight Einhorn’s thoughts…
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Zero Hedge

"I'll Die For Hong Kong": Students Transform Campuses Into Armories As Protests Rage For 4th Straight Day

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The situation in Hong Kong went from bad to worse on Thursday, as the unprecedented weekday protests - a violation of the tacit agreement between the pro-democracy movement and the business community not to disrupt weekday commerce -continued for a fourth day on Thursday.

After a squad of HK police officers earlier this week raided the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, but purportedly found nothing, protesters accused them of unjustly harassing students, many of whom are simply trying to get through the semes...



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Phil's Favorites

Disney Did In 1 Day What Took HBO 4 Years: 10 Million Streaming Subscribers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Somewhere Netflix and Amazon video are sweating.

Disney announced today that Disney+ has reached a stunning 10 million plus subscribers just 24 hours after its launch yesterday in the U.S., Canada, and Netherlands; the figure surprised analysts who had expected a much slower rollout for Disney to reach that level, although let's just ignore that most of the new "subs" are only there thanks to one of the various free streaming offers (perhaps someone should launch WeStream).

Separately, Apptopia reported 3.2 million mobile app downloads in the first 24 hours, with an estimated 89% of mobile downloads in the U.S., 9% in Canada, and 2% in the Netherlands. In just one day, users spent 1.3 million hours watching it, Apptopia said, more th...



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The Technical Traders

Great Cycles Article PG 9 in TradersWorld Mag - Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

  1. How to Use Price Cycles and Profit as a Swing Trader
  2. Geodetics and the Affairs of Men – USA, and China
  3. Cosmological Economics
  4. Time Machine
  5. Trading Means Pr...


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Digital Currencies

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

 

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

Courtesy of 

As part of Coindesk’s popup podcast series centered around today’s Invest conference, I answered a few questions for Nolan Bauerly about Bitcoin from a wealth management perspective. I decided in December of 2017 that investing directly into crypto currencies was unnecessary and not a good use of a portfolio’s allocation slots. I remain in this posture today but I am openminded about how this may change in the future.

You can listen to this short exchange below:

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver Testing This Support For The First Time In 8-Years!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Its been a good while since Silver bulls could say that it is testing support. Well, this week that can be said! Will this support test hold? Silver Bulls sure hope so!

This chart looks at Silver Futures over the past 10-years. Silver has spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of the pink shaded falling channel, as it has created lower highs and lower lows.

Silver broke above the top of this falling channel around 90-days ago at (1). It quickly rallied over 15%, before creating a large bearish reversal pattern, around 5-weeks after the bre...



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Insider Scoop

Analysts Upbeat On Skyworks' Fundamentals

Courtesy of Benzinga

Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ: SWKS) reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenues, but the stock is slipping in reaction to the year-over-year declines in both metrics.

The Analysts

Bank of America analyst Vivek Arya reiterated an Underperform rating and $92 price target for Skyworks shares. (See his track record ...



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Chart School

Gold Gann and Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Gold has performed well, golden skies are here again. In fact it has been a straight line move, and this is typically unusual and a pause can be expected.

It seems the markets are happy again, new highs in the SP500, US 10 year interest rates look to re bound, negative interest may soften. The US FED has reversed their QT and now doing $250BN (not QE) repo. The main point is the FED has stopped QT, and will do QE forever. The evidence now is the FED put is under market risk and the possibility of excessive losses do not exist. 

Point: If in future if there is market risk, the FED will print it's way out of it.
Subject To: In this blog view. The above is so until the amount required rocks confidence in the US dollar as a reserve currency.&n...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Today's Fed POMO TOMO FOMC Alphabet Soup Unspin

Courtesy of Lee Adler

But make no mistake, if the Fed wants money rates to stay down by another quarter, it will need to imagineer even more money.

That’s on top of the $281 billion it has already imagineered into existence since addressing its “one-off” repo market emergency on September 17. This came via  “Temporary” Repo Man Operations money, and $70.6 billion in Permanent Open Market Operations (POMO) money.

By my calculations that averages out to $7.4 billion per business day. That works out to a monthly pace of $155 billion or so.

If they keep this up, it will be more than enough to absorb every penny of new Treasury supply. That supply had caused the system to run out of money in mid September.  This flood of paper had been inundati...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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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.

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About Phil:

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