Posts Tagged ‘Lehman Brothers’

Bankruptcy as Economic Stimulus

Bankruptcy as Economic Stimulus

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

With bankruptcy this lucrative, who needs solvency?

Lehman Brothers’ demise has so far meant more than a billion dollars in fees for its reorganization pallbearers.  Makes you think we missed a great opportunity for economic stimulus by propping up so many other faltering companies up…

From DealBook:

Lehman Brothers Holdings on Monday said it has paid more than $1 billion to its lawyers, consultants and financial advisers since filing the largest U.S. bankruptcy two years ago, Reuters reports.

Professional and other fees totaled $1.01 billion through September 30, up $51.8 million from $961.3 million a month earlier, a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan shows.

Lehman’s bankruptcy is the costliest in U.S. history, surpassing Enron and WorldCom, according to the UCLA Law School professor Lynn LoPucki.

Well, I want in on some of that action!  Maybe I’ll walk over and see if they could use a blogger on the job or something.  I mean, since it’s a carrion feast anyway, how could one more beak in the mix hurt anyone?

Source:

Lehman Bankruptcy Fees Top $1 Billion (DealBook) 


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What is Accounting?

What is Accounting?

Courtesy of Sam Antar at White Collar Fraud 

The best definition of accounting I’ve ever heard comes from securities attorney Howard Sirota appearing on Russia Today’s segment, "US Marks two years since Lehman Brothers collapse."

The difference between arithmetic and accounting is that in accounting the result can be any number you want it to be.

See the video below:

Back in the day, my former nemesis Howard Sirota was lead attorney in the successful class action litigation against Crazy Eddie. Today, Sirota represents whistleblowers, such as me, who are frequent targets of retaliation by unscrupulous public companies.

Written by Sam E. Antar

Disclosure:

I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped my cousin Eddie Antar and other members of our family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980′s. I committed my crimes in cold-blood for fun and profit, and simply because I could.

If it weren’t for the efforts of the FBI, SEC, Postal Inspector’s Office, US Attorney’s Office, and class action plaintiff’s lawyers who investigated, prosecuted, and sued me, I would still be the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie today.

There is a saying, "It takes one to know one." Today, I work very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies in training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals.

I do not seek or want forgiveness for my vicious crimes from my victims. I plan on frying in hell with other white-collar criminals for a very long time.

Recently, I exposed GAAP violations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) which caused the company to restate its financial reports for the third time in three years. The SEC is now investigating Overstock.com and its CEO Patrick Byrne for securities law violations (Details herehere, and here).

In addition, the SEC is now investigating possible GAAP violations by Bidz.com (NASDAQ: BIDZ) after I alerted them about the company’s inventory accounting practices.

I do not own any securities in Overstock.com or Bidz.com, long or short. My investigation of these companies is a freebie for securities regulators to get me into heaven, though I doubt I will ever get there.


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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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Lehman: Doomed By Short Term Funding

Lehman: Doomed By Short Term Funding

By Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture 

Amongst the items coming out of the FCIC hearings last week were new docs that revealed exactly how over-reliant LEH was on daily, short term funding to cover their longer terms costs. It was a recipe for disaster, a trailer park in search of a tornado.

Here is the WSJ:

“In looking last week at Lehman’s demise, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission produced testimony and documents that suggest the firm’s short-term funding was a serious problem well before its Sept. 15, 2008 crash. The new Lehman material is a brutal reminder of the flightiness of short-term debt. And it begs the question: Why didn’t Dodd-Frank do more to limit banks’ use of things like repo markets, in which banks take out short-term collateralized loans?

It was in the repo market that Lehman experienced stress from early 2008. J.P. Morgan Chase, which plays a central role in the “triparty” repo market, decided to introduce a reform in early 2008 aimed at making the market safer. The firm decided that borrowers would have to start providing collateral that slightly exceeded the intraday amounts it had advanced them. This extra collateral is called margin. When discussing the change, a Lehman executive called it “a problem,” in a February 2008 email contained in FCIC documents.”

via www.ritholtz.com

More here. 


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Does Our Economy Really Have to Run on Fraud?

Does Our Economy Really Have to Run on Fraud?

Courtesy of MICHAEL HUDSON, writing at CounterPunch 

William Hogarth's print published in 1721, satirising the South Sea Bubble. People queue to enter Devil's shop, while he cuts up Fortune. Clerics of various denominations gamble (1.foreground) People ride on wooden hobby horse. Honour is flogged in the stocks by Villainy and Honesty is broken on the wheel with self-interest acting as confessor. Engraving

What is the difference between today’s economy and Lehman Brothers just before it collapsed in September 2008? Should Lehman, the economy, Wall Street – or none of the above – be bailed out of bad mortgage debt? How did the Fed and Treasury decide which Wall Street firms to save – and how do they decide whether or not to save U.S. companies, personal mortgage debtors, states and cities from bankruptcy and insolvency today? Why did it start by saving the richest financial institutions, leaving the “real” economy locked in debt deflation?

Stated another way, why was Lehman the only Wall Street firm permitted to go under? How does the logic that Washington used in its case compare to how it is treating the economy at large? Why bail out Wall Street – whose managers are rich enough not to need to spend their gains – and not the quarter of U.S. homeowners unfortunate enough also to suffer “negative equity” but not qualify for the help that the officials they elect gave to Wall Street’s winners by enabling Bear Stearns, A.I.G., Countrywide Financial and other gamblers to pay their bad debts?

There was disagreement last Wednesday at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission now plodding along through its post mortem hearings on the causes of Wall Street’s autumn 2008 collapse and ensuing bailout. Federal Reserve economists argue that the economy – and Wall Street firms apart from Lehman – merely had a liquidity problem, a temporary failure to find buyers for its junk mortgages. By contrast, Lehman had a more deep-seated “balance sheet” problem: negative equity. A taxpayer bailout would have been an utter waste, not recoverable.

Lehman CEO Dick Fuld is bitter. He claims that Lehman was unfairly singled out. After all, the Fed lent $29 billion to help JPMorgan Chase buy out Bear Stearns the preceding spring. In the wake of Lehman’s failure it seemed to gain the courage to say, “Never again,” and avoided new collapses by bailing out A.I.G. – saving all its counterparties from having to take a loss.

Was this not a giveaway? Fuld implied. Why couldn’t the Fed and Treasury do for Lehman what they did with other Wall Street investment firms and stock brokers: let it reclassify itself as a bank so it could pawn off…
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Bernanke On Lehman Regret: I Shouldn’t Have Been a Liar and a Fat Mouth

Bernanke On Lehman Regret: I Shouldn’t Have Been a Liar and a Fat Mouth

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Alright so he didn’t come out and admit he’s a big fat liar but it’s about the closest to that admission as we might ever get so enjoy it, kids.

Bloomberg:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he regretted not saying in congressional testimony shortly after the failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008 that the central bank had no authority to save the firm.

The testimony at the time “has supported this myth that we did have a way of saving Lehman,” Bernanke said in response to questions during a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearing in Washington today. “I regret not being more straightforward there because clearly it has supported the mistaken impression that in fact we could have done something.”

Is Bernanke sure that the Fed had the authority to save the firms they did? Is Maiden Lane (I, II and III) within the Fed’s authority? Is it in the Fed’s authority to lie and say the crap they took on their balance sheet isn’t really junk grade like it is?

Me thinks the baldy doth protest too much. 


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Trillions for Wall Street

Trillions for Wall Street

Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch

High angle view of a stack of Indian banknotes of different denominations near a flame Square

On Tuesday, the 30-year fixed rate for mortgages plunged to an all-time low of 4.56 per cent. Rates are falling because investors are still  moving into risk-free liquid assets, like Treasuries. It’s a sign of panic and the Fed’s lame policy response has done nothing to sooth the public’s fears. The flight-to-safety continues a full two years after Lehman Bros blew up. 

Housing demand has fallen off a cliff in spite of the historic low rates. Purchases of new and existing homes are roughly 25 per cent of what they were at peak in 2006. Case/Schiller reported on Monday that June new homes sales were the "worst on record", but the media twisted the story to create the impression that sales were actually improving! Here are a few of Monday’s misleading headlines: "New Home Sales Bounce Back in June"--Los Angeles Times. "Builders Lifted by June New-home Sales", Marketwatch. "New Home Sales Rebound 24 per cent", CNN. "June Sales of New Homes Climb more than Forecast", Bloomberg.

The media’s lies are only adding to the sense of uncertainty. When uncertainty grows, long-term expectations change and investment nosedives. Lying has an adverse effect on consumer confidence and, thus, on demand. This is from Bloomberg:

The Conference Board’s confidence index dropped to a 5-month low of 50.4 from 54.3 in June. According to Bloomberg News:

"Sentiment may be slow to improve until companies start adding to payrolls at a faster rate, and the Federal Reserve projects unemployment will take time to decline. Today’s figures showed income expectations at their lowest point in more than a year, posing a risk for consumer spending that accounts for 70 per cent of the economy.

“Consumers’ faith in the economic recovery is failing,” said guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, whose forecast of 50.3 for the confidence index was the closest among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. “The job market is slow and volatile, and it’ll be 2013 before we see any semblance of normality in the labor market." (Bloomberg)

Confidence is falling because unemployment is soaring, because the media is lying, and because the Fed’s monetary policy has failed. Notice that Bloomberg does not mention consumer worries over "curbing the deficits". In truth, the public has only a passing interest in the large…
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Lehman Sues JP Morgan From the Grave

Lehman Sues JP Morgan From the Grave

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

First WaMu came back from the grave to haunt JP Morgan, now Lehman is rising from the dead and demanding reparations for its murder. Go figure.

I’m not arguing that Lehman didn’t have it coming, I’ll leave it for a judge to decide whether or not it was JP Morgan’s fault for taking advantage of that fact.

Business Week:

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sued JPMorgan Chase & Co. to recover tens of billions of dollars in “lost value,” accusing the bank of precipitating its downfall and preventing it from winding down in an orderly fashion.

JPMorgan, which was Lehman’s main short-term lender before its September 2008 bankruptcy, helped cause the failure by demanding $8.6 billion of collateral as credit markets tightened during the financial crisis, Lehman said in a complaint filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

“On the brink of LBHI’s bankruptcy, JPMorgan leveraged its life and death power as the brokerage firm’s primary clearing bank to force LBHI into a series of one-sided agreements and to siphon billions of dollars in critically needed assets,” Lehman said in the complaint.

Lehman, once the fourth-biggest investment bank, has said it may spend another five years selling assets to pay unsecured creditors as little as 14.7 cents on the dollar. Any money recovered through lawsuits may increase the payout.

“The lawsuit is ill conceived, and the costly litigation will cause a further drain on the limited resources available to the Lehman bankruptcy estate,” said Joe Evangelisti, a JPMorgan spokesman.

DealBook shared the entire complaint

 


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A DEFLATIONARY RED FLAG IN THE $U.S. DOLLAR

A DEFLATIONARY RED FLAG IN THE $U.S. DOLLAR

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Red Flag against Blue Sky

If the chart below doesn’t grab your attention then few things will. In my opinion, the performance of the dollar is the surest evidence of the kind of environment we’re currently in. The surging dollar is a clear sign that inflation is not the concern of global investors. This is almost a sure sign that deflation is once again gripping the global economy and should be setting off red flags for equity investors around the world.

The recent action in the dollar is eerily reminiscent of the peak worries in the credit crisis when deflation appeared to be taking a death grip on the global economy and demand for dollars was extremely high. The recent 16% rally in the dollar is a sign that investors are once again worried about the continuing problem of debt around the world and they’re reaching for the safety of the world’s reserve currency – the dollar. As asset prices decline and bond yields collapse this is a clear sign that inflation is not the near-term concern, but rather that the debt based deflationary trends continue to dominate global economic trends.

This is exactly the kind of market action we saw leading up to Lehman Brothers. In 2008 the dollar rallied as signs of deflation began to sprout up. This was an instant red flag for anyone who understood the deflationary forces at work (and a total surprise for the inflationistas). The dollar ultimately rallied 26% from peak to trough. Coincidentally, the dollar had rallied 16% from trough to peak just prior to the Lehman collapse when the dollar surge accelerated.

USD2 A DEFLATIONARY RED FLAG IN THE $U.S. DOLLAR

 

Of course, the inflationistas will argue that gold is rising in anticipation of inflation. In my opinion, this is incorrect. First of all, if inflation were a major global concern the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index wouldn’t be almost 65% off its all-time high and just 33% above its 2009 low. Second, and perhaps most importantly, bond yields around the globe wouldn’t be plummeting if there were rampant inflationary fears. For a much more detailed analysis on the reasons why inflation is not a near-term concern please see here.

Oriental dragon mask

As for the gold rally, I think it’s clear gold is rallying in anticipation of its potential to become a future reserve currency. The…
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Geithner Allowed CDS ‘Kiting’ on Wall Street

Geithner Allowed CDS ‘Kiting’ on Wall Street

Courtesy of John Lounsbury

Colorful kite in sky

Definition from Wikipedia:

Check kiting is the illegal act of taking advantage of the float to make use of non-existent funds in a checking or other bank account. It is commonly defined as writing a check from one bank knowingly with non-sufficient funds, then writing a check to another bank, also with non-sufficient funds, in order to cover the absence. The purpose of check kiting is to falsely inflate the balance of a checking account in order to allow checks that have been written that would otherwise bounce to clear.

From July 2004 through September 2008, Lawrence G. McDonald was a Vice President of Distressed Debt and Convertible Securities Trading at Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ.PK). He is now a Managing Director at Pangea Capital Management LP. Lawrence is most famous as author of the best selling book "A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: the Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers".

MacDonald, in an article at The Huffington Post entitled "The Geithner Deception", lays major blame for the financial collapse of 2008 at the feet of now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner was President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 through 2008 as the credit bubble expanded and exploded into crisis.

Unsettled Derivatives Trades

McDonald’s premise is that a major reason for the collapse of Lehman and, very quickly, the world’s financial structure, was unsettled derivative trades. The most notorious of these were known as CDS (credit default swaps) which amounted to guarantees by a seller to make payment to the buyer should there be a credit default by a third party. We’ll come back to discuss CDSs further in the next section.

But first, let’s complete the picture so well laid out by Lawrence McDonald. He compares the operation of CDS trades to those in a regulated market, such as the stock exchanges or regulated derivative markets such as the CBOE (The Chicago Board of Options Exchange). When trades are made in those markets, the buyer must deliver payment by the settlement date or the trade is cancelled. In the case of stocks, settlement is required within three days.

McDonald says the problem became blatantly evident to Geithner in…
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Zero Hedge

Nearly Half Of US Consumers Report Their Incomes Don't Cover Their Expenses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Low-income consumers are struggling to make ends meet despite the "greatest economy ever," and if a recession strikes or the employment cycle continues to decelerate -- this could mean the average American with insurmountable debts will likely fall behind on their debt servicing payments, according to a UBS report, first reported by Bloomberg

UBS analyst Matthew Mish wrote in a recent report that 4...



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The Technical Traders

Indexes Struggle and TRAN suggests a possible top

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Nearing the end of October, traders are usually a bit more cautious about the markets than at other times of the year. History has proven that October can be a month full of surprises.  It appears in 2019 is no different. Right now, the markets are still range bound and appear to be waiting for some news or other information to push the markets outside of the defined range.

We still have at least one more trading week to go in October, yet the US markets just don’t want to move away from this 25,000 to 27,000 range for the Dow Industrials. In fact, since early 2019, we have traded within a fairly moderate price range of about 3200 points on the YM – a rotation...



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Phil's Favorites

Arrogance destroyed the World Trade Organisation. What replaces it will be even worse

 

Arrogance destroyed the World Trade Organisation. What replaces it will be even worse

As the public face of globalism, the WTO mobilised protesters. It’ll be replaced by the law of the jungle. fuzheado/Flikr, CC BY-SA

Courtesy of John Quiggin, The University of Queensland

In line with his usual practice, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed Donald Trump over the World Trade Organisation, criticising of China’s status in it as a “developing country”.

Critics of the int...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Apple Bullish Breakout Suggesting Tech Follows In Its Path?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is Apple sending a bullish message to the overall Tech market? Sure could be

Apple (AAPL) is working on a breakout above last year’s highs at (1), after creating a series of higher lows over the past year.

Tech ETF QQQ has been a similar-looking pattern to Apple over the past few months, as it is near old highs while creating higher lows.

Is Apple’s upside breakout suggesting that QQQ will follow in its footsteps and breakout?

Str...



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Insider Scoop

How Much Litigation Risk Is Priced Into Johnson & Johnson?

Courtesy of Benzinga

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) just can't seem to shake its talcum powder problems.

On Friday, Johnson & Johnson recalled 33,000 bottles of baby powder after a bottle purchased online by the FDA tested positive to asbestos.

Last year, a jury awarded a group ...



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Digital Currencies

Five hurdles blockchain faces to revolutionise banking

 

Five hurdles blockchain faces to revolutionise banking

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Markos Zachariadis, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

Blockchain is touted as the next step in the digital revolution, a technology that will change every industry from music to wast...



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Chart School

Gold Stocks Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Gold stocks are swinging back forth between the range, and a break out swing higher is due. Gold stocks are holding a near perfect Wyckoff accumulation pattern. All should get ready to play this sector. Yet we must recognize that gold stocks are a one of the most crazy rides at the stock market fair, so play very carefully.

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GDX PnF chart from within the video

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Important channels around the HUI.
...

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Lee's Free Thinking

Look Out Bears! Fed New QE Now Up to $165 Billion

Courtesy of Lee Adler

I have been warning for months that the Fed would need new QE to counter the impact of massive waves of Treasury supply. I thought that that would come later, rather than sooner. Sorry folks, wrong about that. The NY Fed announced another round of new TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) today.

In addition to the $75 billion in overnight repos that the Fed issued and has been rolling over since Tuesday, next week the Fed will issue another $90 billion. They’ll come in the form of three $30 billion, 14 day repos to be offered next week.

That brings the new Fed QE to a total of $165 billion. Even in the worst days of the financial crisis, I can’t remember the Fed ballooning its balance sheet by $165 bi...



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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

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:

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