Posts Tagged ‘spending’

RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK

The Pragmatic Capitalist discusses RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK.  In addtition to listing David Rosenberg’s concerns, Pragcap adds one of his own — a double dip in housing. – Ilene 

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Lightning striking miniature house

David Rosenberg provided a nice list of risk in this morning’s client letter.  The one major risk that Rosenberg and the market is largely overlooking at this juncture is the housing double dip. This has the potential to be THE most important story of 2011.  As I’ve previously explained, declining asset values are highly destructive during a balance sheet recession.  If the housing double dip surprises to the downside the problems that we’ve swept under the rug will quickly reemerge and this time there won’t be any political will for government intervention.

I still believe we are mired in a balance sheet recession that will result in below trend growth, deflationary risks and leaves us extremely vulnerable to exogenous risks that could exacerbate the current malaise. Rosenberg’s excellent list follows:

1.  China is getting more active in its policy tightening moves as inflation pressures intensify. It’s not just food but wages too. Headline inflation, at 4.4%, is at a 25-month high. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) just hiked banking sector reserve ratios by 50 basis points to 18.5% — the second such increase in the past two weeks and the fifth for the year. This could well keep commodity prices under wraps over the near-term.

2.  European debt concerns will not be fully alleviated just because a rescue plan has been cobbled together for Ireland as it deals with its banking crisis. The focus will now likely shift to other basket cases such as Portugal and Spain. Greece has a two-year lifeline before it defaults. This saga is going to continue for some time yet.

3. Massive tightening in U.S. fiscal policy coming via spending cuts and tax hikes. This is the part of the macro forecast that is not given enough attention. See States Raise Payroll Taxes to Repay Loans on page A5 of the weekend WSJ.

4. Gasoline prices are about six cents shy of re-testing the $3-a-gallon threshold for the first time since mid October 2008. On a national average basis, prices at the pump are up 26 cents from a year ago — effectively draining about $25 billion out of household cash flow. Tack on the coming


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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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Telling Signs-of-the-Times: Layaways, Off-Brands, Goodwill Stores, Consignment Sales, Frugality, all Thrive in Middle-Class Suburbia

Telling Signs-of-the-Times: Layaways, Off-Brands, Goodwill Stores, Consignment Sales, Frugality, all Thrive in Middle-Class Suburbia

Courtesy of Mish

Boutique window display

Telling Signs-of-the-Times: In grocery stores, "No-Name" sales are up 2% and now represent 22% of total sales. Some full priced stores now offer consignment sections, an unheard of practice a couple years back.

Layaway sales are back in vogue at Toys-R-Us and jewelers alike. Layaways are a depression era phenomenon that all but died with the mass marketing of credit cards.

Old Stigmas Become New Badge of Honor

Frugality is the new "badge of honor" says the Yahoo!Finance report In a tough economy, old stigmas fall away

The Goodwill store in this middle-class New York suburb is buzzing on a recent weekend afternoon. A steady flow of shoppers comb through racks filled with second-hand clothes, shoes, blankets and dishes.

A few years ago, opening a Goodwill store here wouldn’t have made sense. Paramus is one of the biggest ZIP codes in the country for retail sales. Shoppers have their pick of hundreds of respected names like Macy’s and Lord &Taylor along this busy highway strip.

But in the wake of the Great Recession, the stigma attached to certain consumer behavior has fallen away. What some people once thought of as lowbrow, they now accept — even consider a frugal badge of honor.

At the supermarket, shoppers are buying more store-labeled products, like no-name detergents and cereal, and not returning to national brands.

And in a telling trend, Americans are turning to layaway more often when they buy expensive items such as engagement rings and iPads. The wealthy are also using layaway more often, a drastic change from the past.

"The old stigmas are the new realities," says Emanuel Weintraub, a New York-based retail consultant. "Now, people don’t have a problem saying, ‘I can’t afford it.’ It’s a sign of strength."

Two years ago, having second-hand clothes in the same store that sells regular-priced goods might have driven well-heeled shoppers away. Today, the concept works. The new consignment area, called My Secret Closet, has brought in new customers. Shoppers browse both the retail and consignment areas without hesitation.

"We are seeing a permanent change in how people shop, and we have to respond to that," says Tom Patrolia, who has owned the store for 24 years.

The growth in layaway also reflects Americans’ new willingness to set aside


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Revolutionizing House Monetary Policy; Balanced Budget Amendment Wins Backers; Plea to Republicans; Case for Compromise; Irony of Bernanke’s QEII

Revolutionizing House Monetary Policy; Balanced Budget Amendment Wins Backers; Plea to Republicans; Case for Compromise; Irony of Bernanke’s QEII

Courtesy of Mish

With Republicans taking control of the House, Ron Paul becomes the senior member on the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee.

Paul looks to raise hell judging from his plans.

Those looking for good news amidst the insanity of QEII can find it here: Ron Paul Is About to Totally Revolutionize the House Monetary Policy Panel

“I will approach that committee like no one has ever approached it because we’re living in times like no one has ever seen,” Paul said in an interview with NetNet Thursday.

Paul said his first priority will be to open up the books of the Federal Reserve to the American people. “We need to create transparency there. To see what it is they are buying and lending, and who it is they are dealing with,” Paul said.

Paul mentioned that he hoped to use subcommittee hearings to educate the public about the causes of business cycles—which he believes are mainly attributable to monetary manipulation by central bankers.

Monetary reform is also on the agenda. Paul is a noted advocate of the gold standard.

“We will have to have monetary reform,” Paul said. “I think those on the other side of this issue are already planning. They are going to try to replace a bad system with an equally bad system.”

Rubio Supports Balanced Budget Amendment

Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, Tea Party backed candidates, both won and both back a balanced budget amendment.

Please consider Rubio On A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment

RUBIO: “Growing our economy is essential. We need new jobs in America. New jobs means new prosperity. New prosperity, by the way, leads to more revenue for government. But what would they use this new revenue for?

“Well, I think that unless there are specific provisions in law preventing it from doing it, government, no matter who’s in charge – Republicans or Democrats, will use it to grow government. That’s why it’s so important that spending constraints be put into law and, specifically in today’s topic, in the Constitution.

“Here’s the deal: history teaches us that no matter who’s in charge of government – Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals – eventually, they will use it to grow government. And


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Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Courtesy of Mish 

The BEA Advance GDP for Third Quarter 2010 came in at +2.0%. However, Table 2. Contributions to Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product shows that Change in private inventories contributed +1.44 while real final sales contributed a mere .6.

How sustainable is that?

The answer is not very. This is likely the last hurrah for inventory replenishment even without factoring in upcoming cutbacks at the state level.

Not a V-Shaped Recovery

In terms of real final sales, this "recovery", is the weakest on record. Dave Rosenberg has some thoughts on that in Lunch with Dave.

U.S. REAL FINAL SALES 60 BASIS POINTS SHY OF DOUBLE-DIPPING

The major problem in the third quarter report was the split between inventories and real final sales. Nonfarm business inventories soared to a $115.5 billion at an annual rate from the already strong $68.8 billion build in the second quarter — this alone contributed 70% to the headline growth rate last quarter. If we do get a slowdown in inventory investment in Q4, as we anticipate, it would really not take much to get GDP into negative terrain. We estimate that if the change in inventories slowed to about $94.0 billion in Q4 (about $22 billion below Q3 levels), GDP would contract fractionally. In other words, it won’t take much for GDP to slip into negative terrain.

The recession may have technically ended, but outside of inventories, and the best days of the re-stocking process look to be behind us, this has been a listless recovery. At 60 basis points above zero, real final sales are just a shock away from double-dipping — a shock like looming tax hikes, accelerating fiscal cutbacks at the state/local government level or the millions of “99ers” about to fall off the extended jobless benefit rolls at the end of November.

In terms of components, the good news was that consumer spending did accelerate to a 2.6% annual rate from 2.2% in the second quarter — the best performance since Q4 2006. Non-residential construction eked out a 3.8% annualized gain, the first advance since Q2 2008. But the good news pretty well stopped there.

It is also no surprise to see imports bulge when inventories did the same, but what caught our eye in the external trade portion of the GDP report was


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Boomergeddon

Book Review: Boomergeddon

Courtesy of JOHN RUBINO of Dollar Collapse 

The trouble began in the early 1980s, when we baby boomers entered our 30s and began molding the world in our own image. You can graph the spreading darkness from that point, as US debt, the number of government employees, the trade deficit and virtually every other measure of societal pathology inflected upward. Our generation, says James Bacon, a Virginia writer and magazine publisher, will go down in history as the one that ended the American empire — along with the retirement dreams of pretty much everyone everywhere.

Full disclosure: I’ve known Jim Bacon ever since I wrote for one of his magazines back in the 1980s. He was one of my favorite editors, both because he had a light touch and because he almost always saw the real story behind the noise and opinion. So I expected his new book, Boomergeddon to be both easy to read and incisive, and he’s succeed on both counts. Here’s a representative excerpt from the intro:

When you wake up 20 years from now, shaking your head of thinning white hair (those of you who have hair), groping for your bifocals, and feeling all out of sorts because your “golden” years have become as shopworn as cheap costume jewelry, you’ll know whom to blame. Just look in the mirror and take a long hard look at the miscreant who failed to save enough money, despite abundant warnings that retirement would be very, very expensive. Then head to East Capital Street, N.E./ Washington, D.C., where you can accost any  member of the 535 members of Congress who, through successive decisions more short-sighted than your own rheumy eyeballs, racked up mountains of debt, presided over the disintegration of the United States retirement safety net, and ruined whatever shot you had at living an old age where the words “happy,” “carefree” and “solvent” applied.

Bacon’s main point early on is that the system has devolved to the point where it no longer matters who’s in charge. Each major party is run by a ruling class of lobbyists, bureaucrats and professional politicians who are beholden to a set of interest groups that demand higher spending and increased money printing. Each side blames the other for the mounting problems, so elections tend to be alternating landslides, as opposition candidates demonize incumbents, are given a chance to…
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Federal Reserve Officials: Americans Are Saving Too Much Money So We Need To Purposely Generate More Inflation To Get Them Spending Again

Federal Reserve Officials: Americans Are Saving Too Much Money So We Need To Purposely Generate More Inflation To Get Them Spending Again

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Some top Federal Reserve officials have come up with a really bizarre proposal for stimulating the U.S. economy.  As unbelievable as it sounds, what they actually propose to do is to purposely raise the rate of inflation so that Americans will stop saving so much money and will start spending wildly again.  The idea behind it is that if inflation rises a couple of percentage points, but consumers are only earning half a percent (or less) on their savings accounts, then there will be an incentive for consumers to spend that money as the value of it deteriorates sitting in the bank. 

Yes, that is how bizarre things have gotten.  It is not as if U.S. consumers are even saving that much money.  Several decades ago, Americans typically saved between 8 and 12 percent of their incomes, but over this past decade the personal saving rate got down near zero a number of times as Americans were living far beyond their means. Once the recession hit, Americans very wisely started saving more money, and so now the personal saving rate has been hovering around the 5 to 7 percent range.  This is well below historical levels, but the folks at the Fed apparently are eager for Americans to pull that money out and start spending it again.

In an article entitled "Fed Officials Mull Inflation as a Fix", Wall Street Journal columnist Sudeep Reddy described this bizarre new economic approach that some over at the Federal Reserve are now advocating….   

"But as the U.S. economy struggles and flirts with the prospect of deflation, some central bank officials are publicly broaching a controversial idea: lifting inflation above the Fed’s informal target."

Does increasing inflation as a way to stimulate the economy sound like a good idea to any of you?…
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The Big Interview with David Stockman

The Big Interview with David Stockman

"In some ways Herbert Hoover got a bad rap," says David Stockman in an interview with WSJ’s Alan Murray. The Former Reagan Administration budget director lays out a plan for economic recovery by cutting spending, raising taxes, and allowing for years of austerity. ….WSJ


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Soaring Corporate Profits As US Worker Pay for Productivity Hits Record Lows

Soaring Corporate Profits As US Worker Pay for Productivity Hits Record Lows

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Two sets of charts tell the story. 

The problem is that when workers are pressed to the wall on pay they lose the ability to consume without taking on debt. And at some point the debt leverage mechanism for consumption breaks down.

Perhaps the problem is related to the one Wall Street is now confronting. How do you continue on in business after having impoverished, alienated, or driven away most of your clientele in the heat of a short term greed enabled by a corrupted political and regulatory system? 

Those who were around in the late 1970′s will recall the absolute disrepute in which equities were held by the public after the grinding bear market of 1973-74. Pit traders spent the better part of the day practicing their origami skills, for lack of serious ‘outside participation.’ Skinning each other when you have run out of greater fools is truly a zero sum game.

Weather report: Cloudy, with a chance of whirlwinds.

Fat profits, slim wages: the fruits of monetary bubbles and trickle down economics.


 

Charts courtesy of ContraryInvestor


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KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

lawyersPaul Krugman was on CNBC today calling for more stimulus.  He wants to give Congress the ability to spend another $800B in an effort to get the economy going again.  He says this is feasible because the bond market is allowing us to “fund” future spending via historically low rates.  There are a lot of things wrong here, but I’ll keep my comments brief.

First of all, it’s clear that Krugman is still suffering from neo-classical bewilderment.  Despite the operational evidence pointing to the contrary it’s clear that Krugman still believes we are living in a gold standard world where the USA’s deficits really are funded by taxes and bond markets.  Unfortunately for Mr. Krugman, we now live in a non-convertible fiat monetatry system where the USA is the monopoly supplier of currency.  Nonetheless, he still seems to make the connection that we can afford to spend even though it’s obviously not for the correct reasons.

Second, Mr. Krugman has no qualms about giving Congress the last call on where this money gets spent.  This is astonishingly naive in my opinion.  The efficiency of the original stimulus package was low to say the least and the latest CBO figures show that the impacts on the economy have been enough to keep us afloat, but far from enough to solve the actual problems.   What we have here is a balance sheet recession due to a debt bubble and implosion.  So, what we need is balance sheet repair.  We don’t need more solutions that merely kick the can down the road.  We don’t need to stimulate loan growth or to stimulate the banking sector. We don’t need to prop up the housing sector or to stimulate auto sales.  If we’re going to let Congress pass a stimulus bill we should put money in the pockets of the people who need it.  If we’re going to spend money on these plans we should actually target the problems as opposed to letting Congress chop up $800B so they can send 75% of it towards programs that will not even resolve the problem.

Mr. Krugman appears to be towing the political party line here by saying that tax cuts won’t help resolve the problem.  As usual, he’s letting his politics get in the way of his thinking.  I absolutely do not think…
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Zero Hedge

Japan Increases Lead Over China As Largest Foreign Holder Of U.S. Treasurys

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

For much of 2019, many were wondering if, or rather when, as a result of the ongoing trade war, China would lose its status as the largest US foreign creditor. The answer was revealed last month, when in June, Japan finally surpassed China as the top foreign US creditor, however due to a plunge in Chinese TSY holdings, but due to a jump in Japanese holdings of US paper. One month later, the trend continued as Japan extended its gain on China as the largest US creditor .

...



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Phil's Favorites

Suddenly, the world's biggest trade agreement won't allow corporations to sue governments

 

Suddenly, the world's biggest trade agreement won't allow corporations to sue governments

The 16 nations negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership account for almost half the world’s population. Shutterstock/Datawrapper

Courtesy of Pat Ranald, University of Sydney

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership has been touted as the best hope for keeping world trade flowing after the attacks on the World Trade Organisation.

The WTO isn’t dead yet, but in a two-pronged attack, US P...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Create A Panic Peak This Week?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Yesterday Crude Oil rallied nearly 15%. How often does Crude rally this much in a day? Not often!

How many times has Crude rallied nearly 15% in the past 20-years? Only one other time, which suggests that yesterdays move was a rare event.

This chart looks at Crude Oil on a weekly basis over the past 2-years. Last year Crude Oil created a bearish reversal pattern at the 2018 highs and a bullish reversal pattern at the 2018 lows.

Earlier this year, Crude created a bearish reversal pattern (bearish wick pattern), while testing its 61% retracement level of last years hig...



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The Technical Traders

VIX To Begin A New Uptrend and What it Means

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The news of the drone attack on Saudi Arabia over the weekend prompted a big upside move in Oil (over 10%) and a moderate downside rotation in the US major indexes/stock market.  Although prices had recovered slightly by the opening bell on Monday, September 16, the shock wave resulting from this disruption in oil supply is just now starting to play out.

The long term uncertainty in the markets, as well as the rotation in the US Dollar and other foreign currencies, could play a bigger role in the type of volatility and extend of the immediate price rotation that may result from this external news event.  Our VIX predictions and ADL predictive modeling system are suggesting volatility wi...



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Insider Scoop

3 Takeaways From SeaWorld CEO's Surprise Resignation

Courtesy of Benzinga

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS) announced Monday evening that Gustavo Antorcha resigned as CEO and board member due to a "difference of approach."

What Happened

Antorcha's resignation will be effective immediately and he will be replaced with CFO Marc ...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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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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