Posts Tagged ‘deficits’

DEBT AND DELEVERAGING: A FISHER, MINSKY, KOO APPROACH

DEBT AND DELEVERAGING: A FISHER, MINSKY, KOO APPROACH

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

The following paper by Paul Krugman is an excellent analysis of the current situation in the United States.  Professor Krugman accepts Richard Koo’s “balance sheet recession” and draws similar conclusions to Koo – primarily that government must maintain large deficits in order to offset the lack of spending by the private sector.  The key component missing in both Krugman and Koo’s argument is the idea that a nation that is sovereign in its own currency cannot default on its “debt”.  Nonetheless, the conclusions we all come to are similar – a temporary deficit is not only necessary, but an economic benefit during a balance sheet recession:

“In this paper we have sought to formalize the notion of a deleveraging crisis, in which there is an abrupt downward revision of views about how much debt it is safe for individual agents to have, and in which this revision of views forces highly indebted agents to reduce their spending sharply. Such a sudden shift to deleveraging can, if it is large enough, create major problems of macroeconomic management. For if a slump is to be avoided, someone must spend more to compensate for the fact that debtors are spending less; yet even a zero nominal interest rate may not be low enough to induce the needed spending.

Formalizing this concept integrates several important strands in economic thought. Fisher’s famous idea of debt deflation emerges naturally, while the deleveraging shock can be seen as our version of the increasingly popular notion of a “Minsky moment.” And the process of recovery, which depends on debtors paying down their liabilities, corresponds quite closely to Koo’s notion of a protracted “balance sheet recession.”

One thing that is especially clear from the analysis is the likelihood that policy discussion in the aftermath of a deleveraging shock will be even more confused than usual, at least viewed through the lens of the model. Why? Because the shock pushes us into a world of topsy-turvy, in which saving is a vice, increased productivity can reduce output, and flexible wages increase unemployment. However, expansionary fiscal policy should be effective, in part because the macroeconomic effects of a deleveraging shock are inherently temporary, so the fiscal response need be only temporary as well. And the model suggests that a temporary rise in government spending not only won’t


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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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Preserve and Protect: The Jaws Of Death

Courtesy of Gordon T. Long of Tipping Points

Preserve and Protect: The Jaws Of Death

The United States is facing both a structural and demand problem – it is not the cyclical recessionary business cycle or the fallout of a credit supply crisis which the Washington spin would have you believe.

It is my opinion that the Washington political machine is being forced to take this position, because it simply does not know what to do about the real dilemma associated with the implications of the massive structural debt and deficits facing the US.  This is a politically dangerous predicament because the reality is we are on the cusp of an imminent and significant collapse in the standard of living for most Americans.

The politicos’ proven tool of stimulus spending, which has been the silver bullet solution for decades to everything that has even hinted of being a problem, is clearly no longer working. Monetary and Fiscal policy are presently no match for the collapse of the Shadow Banking System. A $2.1 Trillion YTD drop in Shadow Banking Liabilities has become an insurmountable problem for the Federal Reserve without a further and dramatic increase in Quantitative Easing. The fallout from this action will be an intractable problem which we will face for the next five to eight years, resulting in the ‘Jaws of Death’ for the American public.

The ‘Jaws of Death’ is the crushing squeeze of a shrinking gap between incomes and a rising burden of the real cost of debt burdens. Many may say there is nothing new in this, but I would respectfully disagree. There is a widespread misperception of what is actually evolving that stops voters from forcing politicians to address America’s substantial underlying dilemma.  It also stops investors from positioning themselves correctly.

Any solutions of real substance are presently considered political suicide. It is wiser to wait for a crisis event to unfold. As White House Chief of Staff and a primary Obama political strategist, Rahm Emanuel has said on numerous occasions: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. It doesn’t take much intelligence to understand this also implies looking for a crisis as a political shield, for example from an almost insurmountable political problem such as a generational reduction in the US standard of living.

Before I delve into misperceptions of…
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The Last Chapter

The Last Chapter 

Courtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts From The Frontline 

Two people climbing rope to birdcage containing goose and golden egg

The Last Chapter 
Let’s Look at the Rules 
Six Impossible Things 
Killing the Goose 
Home and Then Europe

This week you will get a kind of preview as this week’s letter. I am desperately trying to finish the first draft of my book and am one chapter away from having that draft. I have promised my editor (Debra Englander) that she would see a rough draft next week, and the final version will be delivered on the last day of September. More on that process for those interested at the end of the letter. But this week’s letter will be part of what will probably be the 4th or 5th chapter, where we look at the rules of economics.

There is just so little writing time left that I have to focus on that book for a little bit. I am writing this book with co-author Jonathan Tepper of Variant Perception (who is based in London), a young and very gifted Rhodes scholar with a talent for economic analysis and writing. We each write the first draft of a chapter and then go back and forth until the chapter has been much improved. Alas, gentle reader, you will only get my first draft. You will have to wait for the book to get the new, improved version. But this is the last one I have to write. And Jonathan has done all his initial chapters. We are on the home stretch.

But first, my partners at Altegris Investments have written a White Paper entitled "The New Normal: Implications for Hedge Fund Investing." It is a very instructive read. If you are in the US and have already signed up for my Accredited Investor letter, you should already have been sent a link or a copy. If not, and you are an accredited investor (basically net worth of $1.5 million or more) and would like to see the paper, or are interested in learning more about how hedge funds, commodity funds, and other absolute-return strategies might fit into your investment portfolio, I suggest you click on www.accreditedinvestor.ws and fill out the form, and a professional will get back to you. And if you live outside the US and are interested, I have partners around the world who can work with…
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The Dark Side of Deficits

The Dark Side of Deficits

Bear and bull market collage

Courtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts from the Frontline

Secular Bull and Bear Markets 
It’s Not the (Stupid) Economy 
The Consequences of a Credit Crisis 
The Dark Side of Deficits 
LA, Europe, Kansas City, and Houston

In the pre-crisis days, I used to write about things like P/E ratios, secular bull and bear markets, valuations, and all of the things we used to think about in the Old Normal. But what about those topics as we begin our trip through the New Normal? It’s time to reconvene class and think through what might change and what will remain the same. I think this will be a fun read – and let me tip my hand. I come out on the side of a new secular bull that gets us back to trend – but not just yet. The New Normal has to have its turn first. (Note: this will print out longer than usual, as there are a lot of charts.)

And speaking of first, I once again need some help from readers. I will be in "jail" next week for the Muscular Dystrophy Society. I need you to help bail me out. You can go to https://www.joinmda.org/downtowndallas2010/johnm and make a donation to help kids and families who really need help in these difficult times, and also help sponsor research that will eventually cure this disease. If you follow the link, you can see a cute video – and then make your donation!

I thank you and I am sure Jerry’s kids thank you too!

Secular Bull and Bear Markets

Market analysts (of which I am a minor variety) talk all the time about secular bull and bear cycles. I argued in this column in 2002 (and later in Bull’s Eye Investing) that most market analysts use the wrong metric for analyzing bull and bear cycles.

(For the record, even though I am talking about the US stock market, the principles apply to most markets everywhere. We are all human.)

CANYONLANDS, UT - OCTOBER 25:  The full moon rises over the White Rim Trail with the La Salle Mountains as a backdrop on October 25, 2007 in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

"Cycles" are defined as events that repeat in a sequence. For there to be a cycle, some condition or situation must recur over a period of time. We are able to observe a wide variety of cycles in our lives: patterns in the weather, the moon, radio waves, etc.…
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DO BOND MARKETS FUND OUR SPENDING?

DO BOND MARKETS FUND OUR SPENDING?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

High angle view of a globe on a heap of Indian banknotes and Euro banknotes Vertical

This idea that the United States is the next Greece persists.  We saw it several times this week from various analysts and the regular pundits who continue to trot out this argument despite having been terribly wrong about their hyperinflation and/or default thesis over the last few years.  I think it’s very important that investors understand that the United States cannot default on its obligations in the same way that Greece, a US state or a household can.  Why is it important to understand this?  Because markets are psychologically driven.  Regular readers know I am not the most optimistic prognosticator.  Anyone who has read this site over the last few years knows that I have and continue to believe we are mired in a balance sheet recession.  My outlook is not rosey, but it is not dire either.  I do not believe doom is on the horizon and I most certainly do not believe the United States, as the sovereign supplier of a non-convertible floating exchange rate currency, will default on its obligations.

At the center of this argument is the actual workings of our monetary system. So, how does the United States actually fund itself?  Unlike a household, the United States does not require revenue or debt to fund itself.  The United States government simply credits bank accounts.  They walk into a room and input numbers into computers – literally.  This might sound counter-intuitive to the rest of us who fund our spending through debt issuance or revenue streams, but the same is not true for the Federal Government. This was best explained last week in an interview on BNN by Marshall Auerback, a portfolio strategist with RAB Capital:

“Governments spend by crediting bank accounts.  The causation is that you spend money first.  What happens afterwards is bonds are issued as a reserve drain.  They don’t actually fund anything.  This is one of the great myths that is perpetuated by most of the economics profession.  So the idea that we have “unfunded liabilities” is ludicrous.  If we declare a war, for example, in Iraq or Afghanistan, we don’t go to our bond holders.  We don’t go to China to give them a line-item veto for what we can and can’t spend.  We just spend the money. The implicit assumption here is that somehow we have some external constraint.  The


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Pirate Equity’s Recipe for Ugly

Pirate Equity’s Recipe for Ugly

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Recipe book, eggs, measuring cup, bowl, whisk and muffin tin

I don’t do a lot of cooking-related posts here, but this particular recipe caught my eye.  Follow the instructions perfectly – we wouldn’t want anything to accidentally go right or anything:

From Pirate Equity:

Ingredients:

  • .4% increase in retail sales in July
  • Rising 4 week average of Initial jobless claims
  • .3% rise in value of business inventories in June
  • Rising savings rate
  • 9% rise in foreclosures in July
  • 19% rise in trade deficit on declining exports
  • Anemic GDP growth
  • Rising fiscal deficit
  • Modest income growth
  • Tight credit
  • Likelihood of higher taxes next year

Separate autos and gasoline from numbers to extract negative retail sales.  Mix together with increase in savings rate, rising 4 week average of initial jobless claims, .3% rise in value of business stockpiles in June, rising savings rate and a 9% increase in foreclosures in July.  Gently pour mixture into a large bowl with a 19% rise in the trade deficit, anemic GDP growth, a rising fiscal deficit, modest income growth, tight credit conditions and the high likelihood of higher taxes in the future.

Use egg beater to mix the above to creamy texture.  Pour over a bed of Chinese rice and serve cold.

Yield:  1 healthy serving of an ugly economic outlook for the US.

Source:

Recipe For Ugly (Pirate Equity)


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2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase

These are some startling numbers, and, unfortunately, it seems if you have more than $1 million and plans to die soon, you may as well go before New Years (but WAIT till the last minute in case the rules get changed--and, yikes, they could be changed in retrospect as a cruel, cruel joke.) – Ilene 

2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase

Courtesy of Michael Synder at The Economic Collapse 

Unless the U.S. Congress acts, there is going to be a massive wave of tax increases in 2011. In fact, some are already calling 2011 the year of the tax increase. A whole host of tax cuts that Congress established between 2001 and 2003 are set to expire in January unless Congress chooses to renew them. But with Democrats firmly in control of both houses that appears to be extremely unlikely. These tax increases are going to affect every single American (at least those who actually pay taxes). But this will be just the first wave of tax increases. Another huge slate of tax increases passed in the health care reform law is scheduled to go into effect by 2019.  So Americans that are already infuriated by our tax system are only going to become more frustrated in the years ahead. The reality is that the U.S. government will soon be digging much deeper into our wallets.

The following are some of the tax increases that are scheduled to go into effect in 2011…. 

1 – The lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.

2 – The next lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 25 percent to 28 percent.

3 – The 28 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 31 percent.

4 – The 33 percent tax bracket…
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Dan Gross: When Deficits are a Good Sign

Dan Gross: When Deficits are a Good Sign

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Dan Gross has been one of the more bullish voices in the econoblogosphere this spring/summer, and his latest piece for Slate is sure to be controversial.  In it, he explains how deficits and surpluses show up out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly…

The fiscal 2010 deficit—$1 trillion and counting—is an encouraging sign.

Let me explain. Federal tax revenues are highly leveraged to economic growth and to the performance of markets, corporations, and rich people. This means they can be volatile. When markets and profits boom, capital gains taxes, payroll and income taxes, and corporate income taxes flow like a mighty stream. As a result, it’s not uncommon for tax receipts to rise 6 percent or 7 percent in a year when the economy grows by 3 percent. This volatility works to the downside, too. When the economy contracts and markets crash, capital gains and corporate income tax revenues dry up. For example, corporate income taxes (click here and scroll down to Page 30) fell from $370 billion in fiscal 2007 to $304 billion in fiscal 2008 (down 18 percent), and then plunged to $138 billion in fiscal 2009 (down 55 percent). In fiscal 2009, a period in which the economy shrunk about 2.6 percent, government receipts plummeted 16 percent, from $2.5 trillion to $2.1 trillion. To aggravate matters, some government spending is countercyclical. That means that in good times, when tax receipts are high, less money is spent on stimulus and social welfare benefits. In bad times, when tax receipts are ebbing, more money goes out the door. And that’s why surpluses and deficits can materialize out of nowhere.

He goes on to point out how the deficit for 2009 came in below expectations as a result of asset price refaltion and other factors.  Without being a fan of long-term entitlements and debt, he makes an interesting case based on the numbers for a toning down of the deficit-hawk rhetoric.

Source:

The Miracle Deficit Cure?  Growth.  (Slate)


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Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

As usual, Steve presents a very balanced view of economic matters.  Always worth reading. – Ilene  

Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity

Globes Floating Against Red and Purple Sky

I’ve been on whatever planet I go to when I’m not writing. Don’t ask, your guess is as good as mine.

When I checked out out a few weeks ago, there was a debate raging on “fiscal austerity”. Checking back in, it continues to rage. In the course of about a half an hour, I’ve read about ten posts on the subject. See e.g. Martin Wolf and Yves SmithMike Konczal, and just about everything Paul Krugman has written lately. While I’ve been writing, Tyler Cowen has a new post, which is fantastic. Mark Thoma has delightfully named one side of the debate the “austerians”. Surely someone can come up with a cleverly risqué coinage for those in favor of stimulus?

Here are some obvious points:

Austerity is stupid. Austerity is first-order stupid whenever there are people to whom the opportunity cost of providing goods and services that others desire is negative. To some economists, that sentence is a non sequitur. After all, nothing prevents people from providing goods and services for free, if doing the work is more beneficial to them than alternative uses of their time right? Economists who make this argument need to get out more. Doing paid work has social meaning beyond the fact of the activity, and doing what is ordinarily paid work for free has a very different social meaning. It is perfectly possible, and perfectly common, that a person’s gains from doing work are greater than their total pay, so that in theory you could confiscate their wages or pay them nothing and they would still do the job. But in practice, you can’t do that, because if you don’t actually pay them, it is no longer paid work. The nonmonetary benefits of work are inconveniently bundled with a paycheck. Under this circumstance, having the government pay for the work is welfare improving unless the second-order costs of government spending exceed both the benefits to the worker in excess of pay and the benefit to consumers or users of the goods and services purchased.

Stimulus is dangerous. The second-order costs of government spending are real, and we are very far…
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Phil's Favorites

American influence could take the hit as Putin, Zelenskiy try to make peace in Donbass

 

American influence could take the hit as Putin, Zelenskiy try to make peace in Donbass

Zelenskiy is facing a tough meeting with Russia’s Putin on Dec. 9. Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

Courtesy of Erik C. Nisbet, The Ohio State University and Olga Kamenchuk, The Ohio State University

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, are set ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Miners Indicator Attempting Multi-Year Breakout, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are Gold Mining stocks about to be sent a bullish signal they haven’t received in years? Possible says Joe Friday.

This chart looks at the Senior Miner/Junior miner (GDXJ/GDX) ratio over the past few years. Historically when the ratio is heading up, miners tend to do very well.

The ratio has created a series of lower highs just below the falling line (1), since the summer of 2016. The ratio is currently testing the strong falling resistance line and the June 2019 highs at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am; If the ratio succeeds in a double breakout at (2), it sends miners a long-awaited bullish message.

...

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Zero Hedge

4 Dead After Two Robbers Hijack UPS Van, Ending In Epic Gun Battle On Florida Highway 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Four people have been confirmed dead after a UPS truck was hijacked by two suspects following a robbery attempt of a jewelry store on South Florida's Miracle Mile Thursday, reported CBS Miami.

The suspects led police on a two-county rush-hour chase through Miami and ended in a hail of gunfire on Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road in Miramar.

The incident began around 4 pm Thursday in Miami-Dade County, where two people attempted to rob a jewelry store on the Miracle Mile.

The suspects exchanged gu...



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Insider Scoop

Scott Galloway Calls For Twitter's Board To Replace 'Part-Time CEO' Jack Dorsey Amid Africa Move Plans

Courtesy of Benzinga

A shareholder in Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR) and New York University business professor wrote an open letter Friday to the company's board calling for the replacement of CEO Jack Dorsey.

What To Know

Scott Galloway, who owns more than 330,000 shares of Twitter stock a...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Chart School

Silver stock taking the sector higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

As the US economy begins to show late cycle characteristics like: GDP slowing, higher inflation, higher wage costs, CEO confidence slump. 

Previous Post: Gold Stocks Review

The big players in the market are looking for the next swing off good value lows. This means more money is finding it way into the gold and silver sector, and it is said gold and silver stocks actually lead the metal prices.

The cycle below shows prices are ready to move in the months ahead (older chart re posted).


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Digital Currencies

Chinese Crypto Exchange IDAX Locks Cold Wallet As CEO "Goes Missing"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

By William Suberg via CoinTelegraph.com

Chinese cryptocurrency exchange IDAX has suspended deposits and withdrawals after its CEO allegedly disappeared.

In a blog post on Nov. 29, IDAX, which earlier this week warned it was seeing a run on withdrawals, said the whereabouts of Lei Guorong were currently unkno...



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Members' Corner

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

 

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

By Matt Wilstein

Excerpt:

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism and hate Thursday. And the comedian and actor used his keynote speech to single out the one Jewish-American who he believes is doing the most to facilitate “hate and violence” in America: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He began with a joke at the Trump administration’s expense. “Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” Baron Cohen said, according to his prepared...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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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:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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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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