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‘CommonPass’: New COVID-19 Security Measures Will Make Health A Prerequisite For Travel

‘CommonPass’: New COVID-19 Security Measures Will Make Health A Prerequisite For Travel

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'CommonPass': New COVID-19 Security Measures Will Make Health A Prerequisite For Travel Tyler Durden Mon, 11/02/2020 - 05:00

Authored by Raul Diego via MintPressNews.com,

As the multi-sector, global response to the coronavirus tightens the noose around civil liberties, CommonPass stands out as one of the most appalling and dangerous attacks on basic human rights in the name of public health.

Imagine standing at a TSA security checkpoint on your way home for the holidays. You’re getting ready to go through the awkward travel procedures instituted almost immediately after 9/11 when the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) was created and air travel in the United States morphed into a search and seizure operation with the implied possibility of your detention and interrogation.

The initial outrage such expressions of implicit state violence caused early on eventually gave way to begrudging acceptance. But now, a new layer of “security,” that could restrict freedom of movement even further, is being rolled out at several ports of entry in partnership with health technology industry leaders, academic institutions, and government health entities in more than three dozen countries.

A new digital certificate called CommonPass, designed to serve as a clearance mechanism for passengers based on a health diagnosis underwent its first transatlantic test on October 21 under the watchful eye of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at Heathrow Airport in London. There, a group of select participants embarked on United flight 15 to Newark, New Jersey after being screened and tested for COVID-19 at the point of departure in a largely ceremonial exercise that included initiative co-founders, Paul Meyer and Bradley Perkins.

The app’s first trial run took place with much less media fanfare last month on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Hong Kong to Singapore and marked the beginning of the CommonPass pilot project launched by The Commons Project non-profit organization in-tandem with the World Economic Forum.

Travel industry insiders claim that CommonPass will allow international travel to resume before a COVID-19 vaccine is made widely available by applying standard methods for certification of lab results and vaccination records of travelers through the CommonPass Framework, based on criteria set by the governments of each port of entry.

A graphic from a Commons Project presser lays out the basics of the CommonPass

J.D. O’Hara, CEO of one of the world’s largest travel services companies and one of the participants at Wednesday’s CommonPass trial run, hailed the app’s ability to “verify health

information in a secure, verified manner,” while Roger Dow of the U.S. Travel Association released a statement praising it for paving a “way forward” for the global economy in the wake of the pandemic.

As the multi-sector, global response to the coronavirus tightens the noose around civil liberties, CommonPass stands out as one of the most appalling and dangerous attacks on basic human rights in the name of public health and is rife with a potential for abuse so great, that it behooves us to find out more about the people and interests behind it.

Feudal revivalists

In medieval times, the ‘commons’ denoted the de facto and collective ownership of land, which peasants used to plow, sow and harvest or raise sheep and cattle. The rise of the land-owning classes in post-Magna Carta Europe, and England in particular, slowly eviscerated this form of communal privilege through the enclosure system, which redistributed the commons to the proto-capitalist class in partnership with the monarchies and create the system of oppressive labor exploitation known as feudalism.

Starting in 1604, the Enclosure Acts of England created legal property rights for land that had belonged to the farmers and shepherds, forming the basis of modern-day capitalism. Today, that scene is being repeated as the Internet, an information ‘commons’ is being carved out by Big Tech and led by organizations like The Commons Project, which avails itself of a name that connotes the total opposite of its purpose.

Co-founders Paul Meyer and Bradley Perkins are the non-profit’s CEO and Chief Medical Officer, respectively. Perkins began his career over thirty years ago at the Center for Disease Control and, for nearly a decade, worked at the RAND corporation’s health care policy division, RAND Health Advisory Board. Meyer, for his part, is a Yale law school graduate, who was writing President Clinton’s speeches years before receiving his graduation diploma from the storied institution. Both have extensive career histories in the fields of health and technology, though in very different areas and with strange bedfellows along the way.

In 2009, Perkins became the Chief Technology Officer for a publicly-traded cross-national operator of hospitals and clinics called Vanguard Health Systems. Vanguard had been established with funding from Morgan Stanley and controlled by the Blackstone Group since 2004, maintaining control all though the company’s IPO in 2011. Two years later, Vanguard was acquired by Tenet Healthcare, creating the third-largest investor-owned hospital company in the United States with a total of 65 hospitals nationwide and over 500 healthcare facilities.

Paul Meyer, center, is pictured in a screenshot of a media briefing touting CommonPass

Besides being one of the biggest healthcare companies in the United States, Tenet is also one of the most notoriously corrupt. The same year it bought Vanguard, it was slapped with a major whistleblower complaint that disclosed the company’s fraudulent practices. That lawsuit resulted in a $514 million settlement. A more recent case involving a conspiracy between Oklahoma orthopedic surgeons at one of its facilities was settled for $66 million in 2019. But, Tenet’s problems go back even further to the early 2000s when fraud and performing unneeded surgeries led to a multitude of lawsuits and even a Senate investigation.

The Vanguard deal marked the end of Perkins’ tenure there, who chose to take a $1.9 million package instead of joining the newly merged conglomerate like its CEO and much of its staff did. He would move on to create a company of his own called Sapiens Data Science; a health tech platform that provides access to “credible scientifically validated data algorithms” and looks to create a “new revolutionary health ecosystem.”

Meyer’s background is more complicated, and his arrival on the healthcare scene runs through different channels linked to American intelligence cover operations dating back to NATO’s war in Kosovo and the former Yugoslavia during the early Clinton years. It is his involvement with an infamous human-trafficking outfit known as the International Rescue Committee or IRC, that should be cause for concern given his role in The Commons Project and flagship CommonPass app.

The Meyer of Kosovo

Before he was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum or Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and even before becoming a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and receiving MIT’s 2003 Humanitarian of the Year award, Paul Meyer found himself in war-torn Kosovo installing a new Internet infrastructure system to replace the one destroyed in the war, only days after NATO bombs had stopped shelling the Serbian people.

Barely out of law school and having spent two years writing President Clinton’s speeches as the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was transpiring, Meyer was tapped by the IRC to lead a UN and private relief effort called the Internet Projekti Kosova (IPKO) or Kosovo Internet Project, with tech-savvy local Akan Ismaili to handle the complex technical issues and Teresa Crawford from the Advocacy Project to “uplink” satellites in the region with the stated purpose of reuniting displaced Albanian families. The system was set up atop a building used by the British KFOR Civil-Military Cooperation CIMIC and British Royal Engineers were also brought onto the project, among others.

Eventually, the IRC gave the project to a non-profit organization “dedicated to providing wide access to the Internet in Kosovo.” IPKO is today the largest telecom, internet, and cable TV company in Kosovo. Meyer remains involved through the IPKO Foundation, which he co-founded to provide “free technology education” to Kosovar students.

By the 1950s, the IRC was known to be an “integral link” in the CIA’s covert network led by Tony Blair protégé and former British Foreign Minister, David Miliband since 2013. In 2018, the IRC was embroiled in a child-sex trafficking scandal dubbed the “sex-for-food scandal” covered extensively by Whitney Webb in a recent article. The organization’s cover-up of dozens of sex abuse, bribery and fraud allegations resulted in the U.K. government withdrawing its funding from the organizations. However, no IRC employees were prosecuted over the 37 incidents detailed in the report.

Currently, the IRC is very involved in the implementation of a biometric ID system for refugees of the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, a project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation-backed ID2020 Alliance, which also funds The Commons Project. IRC’s Mae La initiative, however, receives most of its funding through the notorious CIA-cutout USAID and intends to create a “blockchain-based digital identification” system using iris recognition technology to give refugees access to IRC’s services in Thailand. Long term goals include rolling health, work and financial data together into a single ID system, that will determine access to food, healthcare and mobility.

We want your DNA

The difference between IRC’s Mae La project and The Commons Project is a question of class. Class status, to be specific. But, it is essentially the same idea and covers the same interests of the groups and individuals who form part of the Commons Project’s board of trustees; many of whom have been part of the digital tracking and healthcare technology space for years.

People like Linda Dillman, who ran Wal-Mart’s implementation of RFID employee tracking technology as the retail giant’s CIO or the former Chief Technology Officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bryan Sivak, who is now a Managing Director at Managing Director at Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest healthcare insurance plan providers in the nation. Other trustee affiliations stand out, as well, such as Will Fitzpatrick, General Counsel to the Omidyar Network and George W. Bush’s Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr.

At the core of these efforts is the desire to create a DNA-based population screening agenda, which people like Perkins and Meyer are forcefully pushing forward. Perkins worked as the CMO at a company called Human Longevity, Inc., which “combines state-of-the-art DNA sequencing and expert analysis with machine learning, to help change medicine to a more data-driven science.”

A microbiologist demonstrates a whole-genome DNA sequencing machine called a MiSeq at CDC HQ in Atlanta. David Goldman | AP

Meyer developed a precursor to CommonPass in 2016, when he merged his mobile health services company, Voxiva, which implemented the “first nationwide digital disease surveillance systems in Peru and Rwanda” in partnership with the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with Sense Health to form a health messaging service called Wellpass Meyer described as “an integrated platform… [that] helps overcome the challenges of deploying fragmented engagement and population health solutions.”

Dubious technology

The reliability of the DNA-based, algorithmically-deduced health diagnoses used for the CommonPass trial run must also be called into question given the history of the company furnishing the technology. Prenetics, Ltd is the Hong Kong-based, Alibaba-funded company that also performed the COVID-19 testing for the UK’s Premier League’s Project Restart, which used a similar health status app called Covi-Pass, covered by this author in June.

Prenetics’ COVID tests rely on DNA-based technology it acquired in 2018, when it purchased DNAFit; a company founded by South African businessman Avrom “Avi” Lasarow, who came on board after the merger as Prenetics’ Chief Executive Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Lasarow, who also heads the Premier League’s coronavirus testing program, just settled a civil case against him in the U.S. last May for nearly $60,000 surrounding allegations of “deceptive health claims”.

Lifestyle genetics pioneer” Lasarow has a long track record of settling out of court over such issues, including a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2015, which accused Lasarow Healthcare Technologies Ltd., aka L Health Ltd., and two other defendants of making false or unsubstantiated claims regarding a “melanoma detection” app. As part of that settlement, Lasarow was “prohibited from making any misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits or efficacy of any product or service.”

Prenetics has been reportedly working on establishing a partnership with VSTE Enterprises, the same company that developed the V-Code technology that underpins Covi-Pass, since May. Nevertheless, such red flags pale in comparison to the individuals and organizations that are behind CommonPass, itself, who have plans for a much vaster digital enclosure based on DNA population screening technologies through initiatives like the The Commons Project, which aims to fundamentally transform medicine and impose new limits on our freedom of movement as the CommonPass rollout is slated to quickly expand to other routes across Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

A common thread

Just as Bush’s Aviation and Transportation Security Act opened the doors for certain technology and security sectors to flourish in the wake of 9/11, this novel health-focused expansion of the national security state has bypassed all levers of democratic power to allow for the entrenchment of a far larger and more dangerous group of entities, within the health, technology and life sciences industries together with an increasingly more powerful clique of federal health agencies and officials, like Robert Kadlec, who are pushing for a full spectrum surveillance society.

Taking your shoes off at the airport and exposing your body to radiation has become routine now at every airport in the nation and most ‘temporary’ laws passed through emergency legislation remain on the books nearly two decades later. Precedent demands that we assume the same will occur with the majority of the new restrictions on our freedom of movement and quality of life currently being implemented throughout the country and the world.

Rolling back these draconian measures is not in any of their plans, as promised by the president of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, who confidently asserted after Wednesday’s successful CommonPass trail run, that the app will let us “navigate out of the crippling economic fallout of COVID-related travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” adding that it will “pay further dividends for more seamless and convenient travel even once the pandemic has subsided.”

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Spread & Containment

A Slowdown in Showings

Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: A Slowdown in ShowingsA brief excerpt: The following data is courtesy of David Arbit, Director of Research at the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and NorthstarMLS (posted with permission). Here is a lin…

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Today, in the Calculated Risk Real Estate Newsletter: A Slowdown in Showings

A brief excerpt:
The following data is courtesy of David Arbit, Director of Research at the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® and NorthstarMLS (posted with permission). Here is a link to their data.

The first graph shows the 7-day average showings for the Twin Cities area for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

There was a huge dip in showings in 2020 (black) at the start of the pandemic, and then showing were well above 2019 (blue) levels for the rest of the year. And showings in 2021 (gold) were very strong in the first half of the year, and then were closer to 2019 in the 2nd half.

Click on graph for larger image.

Note that there were dips in showings during holidays (July 4th, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas), and also dips related to protests and curfews related to the deaths of George Floyd and Daunte Wright.

2022 (red) started off solid but is now below the previous three years.
There is much more in the article. You can subscribe at https://calculatedrisk.substack.com/

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Stocks

Top 10 Long-Term Stocks For Investors To Buy and Hold

Building a portfolio with the top 10 long-term stocks can help investors build long-term wealth over time.
The post Top 10 Long-Term Stocks For Investors…

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Building a portfolio with the top 10 long-term stocks can help investors build wealth over time. The key to long-term wealth-building prospects and managing risk is having a good foundation.

New investors should look for stocks that offer the best combination of potential and risk aversion. So, the best long-term stocks listed below should serve as good starting points.

What is a Long-Term Stock?

Day trading stocks should not get confused with the best long-term investments. In contrast to traders that seek to profit from intraday volatility and low-priced stocks, long-term investors are more concerned with the long-term performance of companies.

In other words, the best long-term stocks are not necessarily the best performers today, but those that have the most potential to capitalize on secular trends in the long run. With that said, here are the top 10 long-term stocks to buy and hold.

Top 10 Long-Term Stocks To Buy and Hold

Coca-Cola (Nasdaq: COKE)

Coca-Cola is one of America’s most popular beverage companies, providing more than 4,100 drinks under 500 well-known brands. This includes…

  • Coca-Cola
  • Diet Coke
  • Coca-Cola Zero
  • Sprite
  • Fanta
  • Minute Maid
  • Powerade

Even outside of America, it has a strong brand. Coca-Cola is a globally recognized company known by consumers around the world, including Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. With 250 bottling companies, 900 manufacturing plants and 27 million retail outlets, the company has a massive global scale. Moreover, Coca-Cola stock has been a part of Warren Buffett’s portfolio for decades. And it pays a respectable dividend of 2.8%.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest consumer healthcare product companies in the world. In every drugstore, Johnson & Johnson products can be found on the shelves. With its consumer health, pharmaceuticals and medical device products leading the way in sales, Johnson & Johnson is a mainstay in the economy. Some of its popular consumer health product brands include…

  • Band-Aid
  • Listerine
  • Visine
  • Aveeno
  • Neutrogena
  • Neosporin
  • Benadryl
  • Sudafed

Moreover, the company offers more than over-the-counter products. Johnson & Johnson sells surgical tools, hip and knee replacements, blood glucose monitoring equipment and catheters in its medical devices segment. Investing in healthcare is a safe bet because people will always need healthcare products. And the essential nature of Johnson & Johnson’s products enables the company to maintain its scale as an industry leader. Furthermore, the stock pays a healthy dividend yield of 2.3%.

Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL)

With the help of Google and YouTube, Alphabet dominates the search engine universe and online video. The company became the fourth company to reach a market cap of over $1 trillion on January 16, 2020. Moreover, you probably use Alphabet’s services every day. The company’s products and services include…

  • Google Chrome
  • Android
  • Nest
  • Fitbit
  • Waze
  • Google Search
  • Google Maps
  • Gmail
  • YouTube

Moreover, the company doesn’t stop there. It provides many other apps and services as well. Its three business divisions are Google Services, Google Cloud and Other Bets. If you aren’t familiar with Other Bets, it’s Alphabet’s venture capital and private equity division. This division is home to emerging companies at various stages of development.

Alphabet has announced that its stock will be split 20-for-1 on July 15. By splitting its stock, the tech giant could gain entry into the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Following the split, GOOGL stock might become more accessible to retail investors.

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A)

Investing in Berkshire stock is like betting on Warren Buffett, the world’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $112 billion as of May 13, 2022. Furthermore, it means owning a slice of both renowned and obscure companies. Berkshire owns a wide variety of businesses, some in their entirety, others in part. The second group consists mostly of common stocks of major American companies. Its four major holdings account for a big part of Berkshire’s value, consisting of…

  • Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)
  • Bank of America (BYSE: BAC)
  • American Express (NYSE: AXP)
  • Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)

Buffett took control of the company in 1965. Had you invested $1,000 then, your investment would have been worth millions of dollars by 2022. So, it’s no surprise this company made the list of top 10 long-term stocks.

Shopify (NYSE: SHOP)

Globally, Shopify is one of the top e-commerce stocks. Shopify allows online retailers of all sizes and experience levels to create their online presence or “Shopify” websites. The company makes it easy for any business to maintain an online presence in today’s increasingly competitive online market.

New investors still have time to add Shopify to their portfolios even though it’s seen a large run-up in recent years. Although the transition from retail to online e-commerce was already well underway, the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for businesses to operate online. Almost every business needs an online presence today, and Shopify provides the perfect solution.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL)

It’s no surprise that this company made the list. Apple’s product offerings and services consistently drive record financials for this tech giant. Moreover, Apple became the first U.S. company to land a market capitalization of $1 trillion in 2018.

Moreover, a global brand like Apple hasn’t escaped Warren Buffett’s attention. That’s why Berkshire Hathaway is one of Apple’s largest shareholders. As of May 2022, Apple is the largest holding in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. The company owns 887.1 million shares with a market value of $157.5 billion.

This company dominates other tech stocks. As of the third quarter of 2021, Apple held a 47% share of the U.S. smartphone market. As of the fourth quarter, it had a market share of 29.2% in the tablet industry. Furthermore, this company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It continues to be a key player in its industry, giving long-term investors of AAPL stock a unique opportunity.

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX)

Internationally and domestically, Netflix is recognized as one of the leading video streaming services. However, the company has a reasonable price tag, given its position as an industry leader.

Additionally, Netflix stock has already turned ordinary investors into millionaires, and the momentum is still going. In the years to come, Netflix hopes to make new highs, and there’s nothing that suggests it won’t be a market leader for the foreseeable future.

With traditional cable companies losing market share and the rest of the world becoming more internet-accessible, Netflix will benefit most from the growing addressable market. Investing in Netflix now will most likely make investors happy ten years down the road, even after the incredible run.

Keep Reading This Article and Find Out the Final 3 Long Term Stocks to Buy and Hold!

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Economics

How to Invest in a Bear Market: 5 Tips to Boost Returns

Keep reading for a few tips to help you learn how to invest in a bear market and still make money. Let’s get started.
The post How to Invest in a Bear…

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Investors are bracing for the worst as the market continues selling off, and talks of a recession are rising. If you wish to boost your returns this year, learning the ins and outs of how to invest in a bear market is a good place to start.

Stocks are in a bear market when major indexes fall over 20%. For example, the pandemic was the last time it happened, causing the SPDR S&P500 Trust (NYSE: SPY) to fall over 35% from its ATH.

The fallout was short-lived as the Federal Reserve (Fed) eased policies to support the economy. Will this time be different?

With inflation up 8.3% in the past year, the Fed is changing its pro-growth policy stance to focus on calming the overheated economy. Furthermore, the tension in Ukraine is heating up as nations continue proposing sanctions to dampen Russia’s ability to raise war funds.

Analysts are predicting a global economic slowdown as a result. There has never been a better time to get defensive between slowing economic conditions and the rising price of goods. Keep reading to learn how to invest in a bear market and get your portfolio back in the green this year.

How To Invest in a Bear Market and Still Make Money

Bear markets are a natural part of the financial system and can happen anytime. Although they are typically short-lived compared to bull markets, they can wreak havoc on your portfolio. Learning how to invest in a bear market can help protect your account from significant drawdowns while boosting returns over time.

In bull markets, growth opportunities are abundant. But, in a bear market, the chances of finding quality growth stocks are much more difficult. Therefore, it’s important to follow a set of rules to keep you focused and grounded during the panic. Below are a few tips to help you learn how to invest in a bear market and still make money.

No. 5 Reassess Your Conviction

With many stocks already down 30, 40 and 50% from their highs, it may be a good time to rethink your investments. Go through your portfolio and consider if you still feel the same way about the company now as when you bought it. Ask yourself…

  • Why did you invest in the company in the first place?
  • Do you feel the same as when you first invested?

If you do, the stock is likely worth holding. Bear markets are not forever. Then again, it would be best if you also consider your investment goals and time horizon. If you are a long-term investor, giving the market time to bounce back will help multiply returns in the long run.

If you bought the company on a whim or heard it was “going to the moon,” now may be the best time to reconsider. Does the company still have the ability to grow and generate earnings?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself when learning how to invest in a bear market. Focus on companies with strong free cash flow and a history of paying dividends.

No. 4 Buy Leaders

In the stock market, leaders tend to lead. In other words, companies with solid cash flow, bulletproof balance sheets and the ability to generate earnings.

More important, market leaders with pricing power (the ability to raise prices without significant loss of demand) are best positioned for long-term growth. A few questions to ask yourself…

  • Is there a better substitute?
  • With less income to spend, will consumers still buy it?

If there are better or cheaper alternatives people will buy instead, you might want to avoid it. Otherwise, if there are no better alternatives and consumers will continue spending, it sounds like a long-term leader.

Keep reading to learn more about how to invest in a bear market.

No. 3 Cash Is King

In a bear market, if you answered “Yes” to either question above, you may want to park your money somewhere else. For instance, holding cash allows you to purchase when the time is right. Furthermore, you can set price targets and average down if you plan to do so.

Holding cash in a bear market is better than owning a company with no solid plans for future growth. Otherwise, setting price targets for buying leaders can help create maximum long-term returns. Other than the obvious holding cash, looking for companies that generate earnings with strong cash flow can also help in a bear market.

No. 2 Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

The old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” comes from an ancient proverb, suggesting you risk dropping it and losing everything if you do. You can apply the same meaning to the stock market.

Investing all your money in one stock or asset risks losing everything if something goes wrong. Instead, buying leaders in different markets can help cushion downfalls and provide even greater upside. For example, if your portfolio heavily favors tech stocks, investing in consumer defensive stocks such as Walmart (NYSE: WMT) will diversify your account.

No. 1 How to Invest in a Bear Market: Be Patient, Stay Calm

The first rule for investing in a bear market is to stay calm. With this in mind, the last thing you want to do is panic sell and miss out on long-term returns.

Learning how to invest in a bear market is no easy task. In particular, every bear market is different. These markets can appear out of nowhere, lasting days to years, and can produce significant losses.

However, if you go into it with a plan, it can be an opportunity to accelerate long-term returns. If you stay patient, wait for good entry points and buy leaders, history has shown us the market is in your favor in the long run.

Lastly, bear markets are not known to be long-lasting. According to recent research, the average bear market lasts 9.6 months while bull markets last 2.7 years. In other words, if you are a long-term investor, keep your sights set on more significant returns in the long run. Now is the chance for you to adjust your portfolio for optimal growth going forward.

Keep Reading This Article and Find Out the Top 2 Tips on How to Invest in a Bear Market


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