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Archive for 2008

How to Make $1Bn a Month Manipulating the NYMEX

I’m working on some general oil stuff, all contributions about shenanigans in the energy market would be appreciated.

- Phil

 

 

Questions for Congress as they reconvene:

Why is a country that consumes 20Mb of oil a day and supposedly had "supply issues" and a shortage of refineries EXPORTING 1.5M barrels a day of refined products OUT of the country?  That’s adding 7.5% to our total "demand" AND taking up 7.5% of our "tight" US refining capacity in order to flip the barrels for a quick buck in foreign countries while using 10Mb a week from our current crude inventory and removing 10Mb a week from our refined products inventories.

Why is it that, since Congress ordered Bush to stop filling the SPR on May 17th, he has added 3.2M barrels to the SPR?   That is more than double the rate at which oil was added in the 5 weeks BEFORE he was told to stop.  It’s interesting that an article in Platts, in which the DOE said they would stop filling the SPR on May 16th, has been removed (thank you Google Cache for saving everything!).  At the time "Megan Barnett, a DOE spokeswoman, said deliveries to the SPR could actually stop earlier than the July 1 date should Congress and the Bush administration reach an agreement on the SPR measures passed this week. "The department will work to the maximum extent to defer deliveries to the SPR and comply with the law," she said."

We have 705Mb of oil in the SPR and 253M "non-speculative" barrels of oil were traded on the NYMEX on Thursday for the Month of August alone.  Why can’t the government simply buy 50M August contracts and RELEASE 10M barrels a week from the SPR for 5 weeks to bring down prices.  5 weeks from now they will get their 50M barrels back from the "free" market and can refill the reserve or we can dump those barrels back on the US spot market while we buy 50M September contracts.

 

 





The Other “Peak Oil”

Here’s another article by JD, courtesy of Peak Oil Debunked, providing some telling charts on the changes in oil consumption, which is not generally mentioned in talk about peak oil.  Thank you, JD.   

THE OTHER "PEAK OIL"

We all know the classic image of peak oil. This graph of U.S. production says it all:


The peak oil community is obsessively focused on images like this. Peak graphs are presented for every country, like a slide show, and after viewing the whole series, you’re damn lucky if your eyeballs haven’t turned white and coagulated from raw anxiety.

But that’s just one side of the story. Today I’d like to show you a different series of peak oil graphs — the ugly stepsisters who don’t seem to get any attention. These are the graphs of peak oil consumption. Figures and images come from EIA country profiles. Take a deep breath, and fasten your seatbelt for a rude awakening to the realities of "peak oil".

Figure 2: Japan Oil Consumption Has Been Declining Since 1996


As you can see, "peak oil" occurred in 1996 in Japan — 12 years ago — and was an entirely demand-driven phenomenon.

Figure 3: Israel Oil Consumption Has Been Declining Since 2001


Wooh baby, that’ll turn your hair white… Israel "went over the cliff" in 2001, and is now down 16% from it’s peak level.

Figure 4: Germany Oil Consumption Has Been Declining Since 1998

The decline of Denmark has an interesting dual-peak structure. It’s down 34% from its primary peak in 1980, and 20% from its secondary peak in 1996:

Italy peaked in 1995 and is now down 14%:

Savinar says a 10-15% drop will put your economy in the hospital — shatter the economy and reduce the population to poverty. Apparently Italy didn’t get the memo.

Sweden hit its final peak in 1996:

It’s such a shame because these graphs hold the important clues about peak oil. Yet they get almost none of the airplay. The fact that oil production will peak is just a truism — a statement of basic logic. The fact that a country can reduce it’s oil consumption without duress is like a miracle… something to really think about and learn from.





Futures Prices

Interesting site for those following the oil saga, called "Peak Oil Debunked," written by JD in Japan.  

Amusing disclaimer"Debunking peak oil hype with facts and figures, and exposing the agendas behind peak oil.  DISCLAIMER FOR IDIOTS: This site officially accepts that oil is finite, and will peak someday."

FUTURES PRICES DETERMINE PHYSICAL OIL PRICES 

- Courtesy of JD.

A number of high-profile economists, like Paul Krugman, have recently been making the argument that trading in oil futures can’t really influence the price of physical oil because it doesn’t remove any oil from the market. Here’s a classic statement of this argument by Jon Birger, a staff writer from Fortune:

Here’s a suggestion: The next time a Congressional committee wants to hold a hearing on how "speculators" are driving up oil prices, each committee member should first be required to demonstrate – preferably in their opening remarks – a basic understanding of the mechanics of futures trading.

Even better, they should be required to explain in detail how it is that investors who never take delivery of a single barrel of crude – and thus never remove a drop of oil from the open market – are causing record high oil prices.

Source

I will now provide that explanation, and in the process show that both Krugman and Birger are grossly misinformed about the way physical crude is actually priced in the global oil market.

Most crude oil is traded based on long-term contracts, and the prices in those contracts are set by a system known as "formula pricing". In this system, the price of delivered crude is set by adding a premium to, or subtracting a discount from, certain benchmark or marker crudes, namely: West Texas Intermediate (WTI), Brent and Dubai-Oman. Generally, WTI is used as the benchmark for oil sold to North America, Brent for oil sold to Europe and Africa, and Dubai-Oman for Gulf crude sold in the Asia-Pacific market (Source1, Source2).

Originally, the benchmark prices were spot prices, but over time problems began to arise due to the depletion of the benchmark crudes:

In the early stages of the current oil pricing system which emerged in the period 1986-88, crude oil was priced off the spot market quotations of these benchmarks (namely dated Brent, spot WTI and Dubai) as assessed by oil reporting agencies such as Platts and Petroleum


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Ethanol Insanity

Commentary, courtesy of Mish, on our misguided ethanol policies and the (presumably) unintended consequences.  Mish’s article refers to the article in The Guardian mentioned a couple days ago, and also brings to our attention the financial distress of a number of ethanol plants.  — Ilene

Insane U.S. Ethanol Policies

A World Bank Report suggests Biofuels behind food price hikes. 

Biofuels have caused world food prices to increase by 75 percent, according to the findings of an unpublished World Bank report published in The Guardian newspaper on Friday.

The report’s author, a senior World Bank economist, assessed that contrary to claims by US President George W. Bush, increased demand from India and China has not been the cause of rising food prices.

"Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," the report said.

16 Ethanol Plants File Bankruptcy

The US Ethanol Industry Is In Distress.

The U.S. ethanol industry is in trouble and can expect to see a rash of bankruptcies and dismantling of at least some production, according to a specialist who helps companies in distress.

Alex Moglia, president of Moglia Advisors based in the Chicago area, said he knows of at least 16 ethanol companies that are filing for bankruptcy, and there will be at least two to three times that number filing within the next year.

The weakness of the U.S. dollar makes it possible for foreign investors to acquire ethanol plants "at a deep discount," he said.

"They can buy as low as 20 or 30 cents on the dollar," Moglia said. "That should scare the hell out of anyone in the biofuels industry. I’ve worked with plants that are incomplete, others that can’t offer profitably so they’ve all shut down. This will shake out most of small- and mid-sized players. Larger players will survive because they have buying power."

More ethanol producers will continue to file bankruptcy, he said, because of high feedstock costs and a "limited upside flexibility in terms of how much you can sell ethanol for."

"The demand for ethanol is not there," Moglia said. "The same thing happening to ethanol is happening in the biodiesel business. It will be the Wal-Mart-ization of the ethanol industry. It’s just a mess."

Peiffer said many ethanol plants are and will be folding because "the business model


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A Noisy World

All around us signals are transmitted and received each day.  Within those signals valuable information is intertwined with spurious content.  As a result, receiving devices have filters built in to discern the ’signal’ from the ‘noise’.  High Signal to Noise ratios convey A LOT of information while low Signal to Noise ratios convey very little information!  Indeed, when the noise levels increase above threshold levels, signals may be corrupted entirely, resulting in no information at the receiving end.  

But what has this to do with the stock market?  As traders, we are receiving information each day that we must learn to process and indeed we must learn to filter some of it out.  This is an enormously challenging task because our natural inclination is to apply bias to the information we receive.  For example, if we are bullish on a stock and an analyst disseminates a report that aligns with our views, our opinions are more likely to strengthen.  In order to achieve our objective of trading without bias, we must recognize that history is laden with examples of the stock market confounding expectations.

In the 1970s, few envisioned that commodity prices would elevate to the degree they did or that bond yields would rise up to 15% by 1981 or that bond yields would decline to around 3% in 2003 or that a protracted equity bull market would ensue.  Few expected that almost two deacdes after the Japanese market reached its peak, it would still be down 60% from its highs.  Few recognized in 2000 that commodity prices were at historic lows while China and India were emerging rapidly.

Recognizing that the opinions you hear from others originate from a place of vested interest means critically analyzing comments becomes imperative.  For example, just a couple of months ago, Lehman’s CEO announced that "the worst is behind us".  It is evident from the chart below that the worst had certainly not been priced into the stock yet! 

 

Clearly a delineation between expressed views and market action took place in all previous examples.  The insurmountable challenge most traders encounter when confronted with such a delineation is their own attempt to justify the action.  Why did Lehman go down?  Why did bond yields surge?  Why did commodity prices soar?  Why has the Japanese market not recovered?  A lot of calories may be wasted in striving to justify market action.  The reason they are wasted is not because it
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Teens Skip $50 Jeans

Looks like teens are having to shopper cheaper.  Courtesy of Trader Mark. 

Bloomberg: Teens Skip $50 Jeans in Squeeze of Gas, Job Shortage

In all the excitement this week I skimped on some fundamental/economic stories to focus more on the market and transactions. So we have some catching up to do.

I said long ago as the economy weakens the last things to go would be teenagers and their Abercrombie (ANF) $100 jeans, and video games/gadgets. Well it appears all we have left now are the video games/gadgets. You know Americans are "pooring" when they won’t even splurge on their kids. (Note to Bloomberg reporters – $50 jeans?  What Abercrombie store did you not visit to file your report?) (Note to Wall Street pundits – what will it take for you to admit we are in recession?)

  • The financial pressures of adults are finally catching up with American teenagers. Since summer jobs dried up, gasoline prices topped $4 a gallon and parents ran out of spare cash, teens have had to cool it on spending for clothes.
  • “I’ve had to cut down on a bunch of stuff because I don’t like spending my own money,” said 14-year-old Haley McClelland from Waldwick, New Jersey, who was shopping at the nearby Paramus Park mall. She said her parents are “more careful” about what they give her
  • Teens like Haley are among the last American consumers to cut back. Even as adults trimmed purchases, the kids managed to prop up revenue for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. because of handouts from parents and part-time jobs, said Adrienne Tennant, an analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Retailers dependent on that group are feeling the pinch. First-quarter net income at American Eagle plunged 44 percent because of discounting, and the retailer may post its first annual profit drop in five years. Same-store sales have fallen for the past two quarters. At Gap Inc.‘s Old Navy chain, sales in May were off 25 percent from


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50% (of the Dow, of the Year) Report

USA Stock Train CrashI did an Index Round-Up way back on December 31st, he year where I said the following:

"Although the Dow, Nasdaq and the NYSE are well up since (my August review), we’ve lost ground on the Transports, S&P and SOX so our mission for January is clear – will the top three come down or will the bottom three come up (the Russell is our tiebreaker)."  Obviously, our leaders have turned down to meet the bad boys, all off about 15% EXCEPT the transports, who surprisingly are up slightly for the year.

I also noted: "It will only take the smallest bit of bad news to push us to retest the 2007 lows around 12,500 whch is how I agree, yet disagree with Stuart Freeman (BusinessWeek’s market forecast winner of ‘07) as he sees the Dow bottoming in the summer in the low 12,000’s but I see it going lower now and topping in the summer, perhaps close to 15,000 but we both see the year ending around 14,500."  Well, so far I’m right about it going lower than 12,000 in the first half - but can I still be right about us turning it around in the summer?

MSFT did not spur a tech rally with Vista and the SOX are not leading us out of trouble and our OPEC friends have not helped us get the price of oil down (I’ve given up even thinking that the administration will do anything) and, of course, there has been no turnaround in the financials (quite the opposite) due to a similar lack of action to address the foreclosure crisis, which marches on and on and on and on…

It doesn’t sound at all good does it and, if I were a foreign investor, I wouldn’t touch this banana republic with a 10-foot pole – and they didn’t!  Foreigners have been panicking out of US equities since last fall and have driven the Dow back to it’s post 9/11 lows at 7,200.  No, I’m not on another investing planet, on the left is a chart from Seeking Alpha of the Dow adjusted for Euros since 2001 – not a pretty picture is it?

What it is though, is a good place for a bottom hopefully as we have a solid 30% sell-off in the past 9 months and even the Hang Seng bounced off the 30% line, as it slipped from 32,000…
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k1p – The k1 Virtual Portfolio

New Members Entry Point – If you’ve arrived on this page looking for the k1 Project and all the reference material on Phil’s strategy, follow this: Front Page of the  K1 Project.





Biofuels Increased Food Prices 75%

Discussion of the effect of biofuels on food prices, p

World Bank: Biofuels Increased Food Prices 75%

Excerpt:  "The Guardian has a leaked copy of a World Bank study that finds biofuels to be the biggest culprit in global food price increases. This finding will not only feed calls to scrap biofuels (save perhaps those derived from sugar) but may lead to a recognition that resource challenges cannot be pursued in isolation. In particular, food, water, and energy scarcity are interconnected problems and need to be addressed on an integrated basis. It also disputes the claim that increased consumption of meat in developing economies played a significant role in food price inflation.

A potentially inflammatory element is that the report was completed in April and allegedly deep-sixed so as not to discomfit President Bush.

From the Guardian:

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% – far more than previously estimated – according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil….

The news comes at a critical point in the world’s negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.

It will also put pressure on the British government, which is due to release its own report on the impact of biofuels, the Gallagher Report. The Guardian has previously reported that the British study will state that plant fuels have played a "significant" part in pushing up food prices to record levels. Although it was expected last week, the report has still not been released.

"Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises," said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam. "It is imperative that we have the full


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Optrader’s swing trading virtual portfolio-Analysis-July 4th.

That was another superb month! Profit since June 8th is 57R or 172% for 3% risk per trade.
We are up 570% in the first 3 1/2 months of the virtual portfolio, without compounding. All trades were posted live in the comments and in the virtual portfolio and were simple calls or puts.

During the month we closed 31 trades. 21 (68%) of them were winning trades and 10 (32%) were losses.
Total wins were 65.18R
Total losses were 8.18R
Average win was 3.1R
Average loss was 0.82R

Expectancy is (68%X3.1R)-(32%X0.82R)=1.84R
This means that on average we should expect on each trade a profit of 1.84R.

We increased our expectancy compared to the previous months, and we did it while having more losers. That was our goal and we should be very pleased with this. 68% winning rate is a better reflection of what we should expect (we had a 90% winning rate in the previous months), but we still improved results because we let our winners run longer. Average win was 3.1R compared to 2R in previous months. That’s thanks to some very good trades with puts where stocks (retailers and COF mainly) kept falling day after day and we stayed with the trades. A very good run with CCJ as well.
Our biggest loss was 1.62R on GS, which is OK. Kept most other ones around or below 1R.
CLF was the one trade where a very nice profit that turned into a loss. But thankfully we only had 1/3 left when the stock dropped significantly and we got a nice exit on Thursday.

I want to thank everyone who has been participating in the comments. We have a great group going, focused on making money and exchanging some great ideas.
I am especially very happy to see so many of you making money and trading successfully in such a difficult market.

Happy 4th of July! Optrader





 

Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Zero Hedge

Pope: "Corruption Is a Greater Evil than Sin"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by George Washington.

Modern interpretation of Christ driving the money changers from the temple by Anthony Freda/Daniel Zollinger

 

Preface: If you are an atheist (or adherent of another faith) and believe that the Catholic faith is crazy, you are obviously entitled to your belief.  But please remember that very few A...



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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: Up 4.12% for the Week

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 oscillated a bit during its opening hour, hitting its -0.23% intraday low in the first 30 minutes of trading. The index then rose in a couple of waves to its 0.71% closing gain, fractionally off its 0.74% intraday high. This was a big week for the 500, surging 4.12% and nearly erasing its October loss, which now stands at -0.39%. It is now only 2.33% from its record close on September 18th.

The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.29%, unchanged from yesterday's close and up 7 bps from last Friday's close.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the week.

On the daily chart below we see that volume was relatively light -- the first daily gain with volume below its 50-day moving average since September 26th. Today's closing price is just a hair below its 50-day day moving average.

...

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Phil's Favorites

Ten Insane Things We Believe On Wall Street

Ten Insane Things We Believe On Wall Street

Courtesy of 

To outsiders, Wall Street is a manic, dangerous and ridiculous republic unto itself – a sort of bizarro world where nothing adds up and common sense is virtually inapplicable.

Consider the following insane things that we believe on Wall Street, that make no sense whatsoever in the real world:

1. Falling gas and home heating prices are a bad thing

2. Layoffs are great news, the more the better

3. Billionaires from Greenwich, CT can understand the customers of JC Penney, Olive Garden, K-Mart and Sears

4. A company is plagued by the fact&nbs...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Insider Scoop

UPDATE: Morgan Stanley Reiterates On ResMed Following 1Q15 Earnings Report

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related RMD Morning Market Movers Qualcomm Announces New Connected Health Collaborations at Connect 2014

In a report published Friday, Morgan Stanley analyst Sean Laaman reiterated an Equal-Weight rating on ResMed (NYSE: RMD), and raised the price target from $46.19 to $49.57.

In the report, Morgan Stanley noted, “Currency headwinds and part quarter release of the S10 downplayed expectations ahead of the result. Despite this, RMD beat on US revenue driv...



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Market Shadows

Bill Ackman's Big Pharma Trade Is Making Wall Street A Super Awkward Place

 

#452525522 / gettyimages.com

Intro by Ilene

If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article. 

Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...



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Option Review

LUV Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sharp selloff in stocks sets up long-awaiting buying opportunity

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.

Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...



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Digital Currencies

Goodbye War On Drugs, Hello Libertarian Utopia. Dominic Frisby's Bitcoin: The Future of Money?

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?

With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of October 20th, 2014

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly. Just sign in with your PSW user name and password. (Or take a free trial.)

#457319216 / gettyimages.com

 

...

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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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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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About Ilene:

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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