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Archive for 2008

Bicentennial VIX Parade

Adam Warner, at Daily Options Report, on the VIX.  

Bicentennial VIX Parade

 


One rather ugly week after expiration, we see financial stocks going to zero, commodities going to the moon, and the VIX hovering around the low, but wildly important 19.76 level.

OK, it’s not important, just low.

And a see a whole lotta buzzin’ going on about this Bull Market in complacency. So I’d like to take a moment to reiterate something I noted last week.

Option markets anticipate volatility of the underlying product between now and when the options expire. If there is segment of time between now and when the options expire that traders expect the market to be slow, they will lower bids accordingly. This has the effect of lowering statistical volatility readings without lowering the perception of *real* volatility going forward.

Obviously options do not always estimate future stock volatility correctly. In fact they never get it exactly right, it’s an estimate. Surprises happen. But all things being equal, we are not going to be volatile over the next couple weeks. If you see a low VIX, you can call it complacency, or you can say that it’s simply a realistic anticipation of non-activity in a traditionally slow stretch. I am going with the later.

And I am using VIX for simplicity sake, but it’s for every option.

The point is that IF volatility looks low and you are inclined to call that complacency, and then are inclined to use that perception of complacency as a sign to get bearish, be very careful.

Yes, it’s noteworthy that in this time of Fannie and Freddie meltage, there’s no evidence of Fear. But by the same token we have 10 slow calendar days in front of us, so it’s perfectly rational to lower bids ahead of that.

Again, at this particular juncture in time, the VIX futures and options provide a better volatility gauge than the *cash* VIX. And they have barely budged, as the market expects 22+ volatility in September. The fact that there is a premium in the futures is expected, in fact, barring an actual uptick in fear, it happens every time. As I noted last week about the VIX Sep futures, "These are trading markets, and as such will price in the holiday. Right now


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Solars – uptrend continuing?

More on Solar

Courtesy of Allan – recommending long positions in a couple solar stocks, Canadian Solar Inc., CSIQ, and Trina Solar Ltd., TSL. 

A friend of mine [David Gordon] emailed me this weekend and suggested that I take a step back from my charts, remove my trend lines and allow my intuitive powers out, in an attempt to see the charts as what they are, not what I am interpreting them to be. So for much of Sunday I have been occupied with looking at charts without any preconceived bias. The result: The solars look great.


Above is a CSIQ-Daily of price only, you decide.

Below the weekly, does this help?

Finally, let’s throw my trend lines back on:

Next, a simple line chart of another Solar, TSL, with only Triangle signals:

And once again, with my trend lines:

Solars are great trading stocks, they seem to cycle very nicely and provide excellent Intermediate percentage returns. For example, either of these two Solars could return 50% on a modest move back to the top of their respective channels.

I still don’t know if this sector belongs in the Energy complex, the Technology complex, or are their own complex. Doesn’t matter. My trend lines merely represent what my eyes are seeing, without the trend lines. Both these stocks look to be oversold and beginning a rally to overbought…….and that is the Trade.





Swing trading virtual portfolio – the lost week

So, I am on vacation this week. But we still get a new post :) I will try to check in once or twice a day. Probably before opening and at or after close. Enjoy and let’s keep it rolling!

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

To view the full strategy, please click here

- Optrader





Obama’s Dueling Views

Mish discusses Obama’s view on the economy and his tax proposal, in comparison with McCain’s.  

Obama’s Dueling Views on Economy

Is Obama the liberal’s liberal or something else? In How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy, the New York Times attempts to portray Obama as some sort of quasi free-market half-conservative "Chicago School" pragmatist in favor of more regulation, handouts, and redistribution of wealth schemes. Is that possible? Let’s take a look.

The United States remains a fabulously prosperous country, relative to almost any other country, at any point in history. Yet Americans seem to realize that something has gone wrong. In recent polls, about 80 percent of respondents say the economy is in bad shape, and almost 70 percent say it’s going to get worse. Together, these answers make for the most downbeat assessment since at least the early 1980s, and underscore that the next president will be inheriting a set of domestic problems as serious as any the country has faced in a long time.

John McCain’s economic vision
, as he has laid it out during the campaign, amounts to a slightly altered version of Republican orthodoxy, with tax cuts at the core. Obama, on the other hand, has more-detailed proposals but a less obvious ideology.

Well before this point on the presidential calendar, it’s usually clear where a candidate fits within the political spectrum of his party. With Obama, there is vast disagreement about just how liberal he is, especially on the economy. My favorite example came in mid-June, shortly after Obama named Jason Furman, a protégé of Robert Rubin, the centrist former Treasury secretary, as his lead economic adviser. Labor leaders recoiled, and John Sweeney, the head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., worried aloud about “corporate influence on the Democratic Party.” Then, the following week, Kimberley Strassel, a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, wrote a column titled, “

Farewell, New Democrats,” concluding that Obama’s economic policies amounted to the end of Clintonian centrism and a reversion to old liberal ways.

Some of the confusion stems from Obama’s own strategy of presenting himself as a postpartisan figure. A few weeks ago, I joined him on a flight from Orlando to Chicago and began our conversation by asking about his economic approach. He started to answer, but then interrupted himself. “My core economic


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Merck’s Gardasil

Fascinating topic:  pharmaceutical companies, financial interests, and politics.  Might also be interesting to those of us with daughters, who may be thinking about whether to get them vaccinated for HPV.  Courtesy of Deborah at  Wall Street Weather.   

Additional reading:  NY Times article, Drug Makers’ Push Leads to Cancer Vaccines’ Rise.

Merck’s Gardasil: A Risky and Unneeded Vaccine

“Merck lobbied every opinion leader, women’s group, medical society, politicians, and went directly to the people – it created a sense of panic that says you have to have this vaccine now.” - Dr. Diane Harper, professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and a principal investigator on the clinical trial of Gardasil, to The New York Times.

An editorial accompanying a study published online yesterday by The New England Journal of Medicine (“Human Papillomavirus Vaccination – Reasons for Caution”) by Charlotte J. Haug, M.D., Ph.D, questioned the “lack of sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer.” An article on the marketing of Merck’s (MRK) Gardasil vaccine in The New York Times describes how the company managed to get “an obscure killer confined mostly to poor nations to the West’s disease of the moment.” Merck is forecasting sales could top $2 billion this year.

According to the government’s Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “11,892 women in the U.S. were told that they had cervical cancer in 2004, and 3,850 women died from the disease. It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent on the treatment of cervical cancer per year in the U.S.” Scrolling further down the CDC’s web page shows statistical trends that “suggest that cervical cancer incidence and mortality continue to decrease significantly overall." These statistics are from 2004 – two years before the FDA approved Merck’s Gardasil vaccine.

Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. As Merck’s Gardasil Patient Information sheet states: “There are more than 100 HPV types; Gardasil helps protect against 4 types (6, 11, 16, and 18). These 4 types have been selected for Gardasil because they cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.”

Most of the population has contracted the HPV virus but their immune system has been able to combat it on its


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Weekly Wrap-Up

Was that the bottom?

After many disappointments this week actually ended about flat.  We continue to have an inverse relationship between the markets and oil that we discussed last weekend and I gave a play by play instruction book Wednesday on how to manipulate the markets to make Billions using just $50M on the NYMEX that it looks like someone took to heart on Thursday and Friday as oil went up and down 5%, yanking the markets up and down 2% in the process.

Monday was manic as usual, with very nice pre-market gains quickly turning sour.  We fell from 11,665 on Monday morning all the way back to 11,300 on Wednesday and finished the week at 11,628 – not exactly inspiring overall but we held our Aug 4th lows, which were better than our July 28th lows, which were better than our July 15th lows so it’s kind of like progress only without the higher highs that indicate a proper recovery.  So it looks as though we may still be consolidating, and that means perhaps another trip to 11,800 and the next time back down we’ll be hoping to hold 11,450 as a firm bottom to call it progress.

It’s all going to depend on the first two days of this week, if we can race up to 11,800, we have a good chance of breaking up, if we can’t get there until Wednesday, we can expect it to be "hump day" and back down we go.  From a data perspective we have July Existing Home Sales, probably not exciting, on Monday, followed by Consumer Confidence, July New Home Sales (blah) and the FOMC minutes on Tuesday.  Nothing there that sounds like we’ll be making new highs is there?

[Earnings+cycle.bmp]Our best chance for a big rally is Wednesday’s GDP, which may be even higher than the 2.7% projected (thanks to the stimulus checks).  It’s very, very, very hard to sell a recession story when the economy is growing at 3%.  If we can couple a better than 2.8% GDP with less than 400,000 jobless claims on Thursday morning AND we’re holding 11,800 from Tuesday THEN we may get back over 12,000, that’s the best-case scenario for the week.

We get earnings from TMA on Monday evening and Tuesday we see AEO, BIG, CHS, SFD, TUES, BGP and JCG, which will give us a good look at consumer spending patterns.  Wednesday it’s…
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Lost Control of the Game

Mish’s update on Lehman… Courtesy of Mish. 

Lehman, Treasury, Fed Have Lost Control Of The Game

Analyst Richard Bove has stated Lehman CEO Richard Fuld has "lost control of the game." That is something I completely agree with as it should be obvious to all. Bove went on to say "If he doesn’t do something this weekend, as of next week, the game is on." That makes absolutely no sense. Nor does Bove’s price target of $20 per share.

Yes, Lehman has been shopping around for buyers, but buyers have been balking. I talked about Lehman talks collapsing and how poorly Lehman’s preferreds trade in

Ten Financial Entities On The Brink.

Lehman’s Crown Jewel For Sale

Five days ago in a will he, won’t he debate Financial News reported

Lehman Brothers to keep Neuberger Berman unit.

Lehman Brothers is not looking to sell Neuberger Berman, an asset management business, according to analysts who met with Herbert McDade, the bank’s new president and chief operating officer.

So much for that idea.

CNBC is reporting

Lehman May Have Trouble Selling Neuberger Stake.

 

The same way sovereign funds balked over Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld’s terms to sell them a chunk of the firm, some private equity firms are balking over Fuld’s terms to sell them a part of Lehman’s investment management business, which includes the firm’s crown jewel, the Neuberger & Berman asset management unit, sources have told CNBC.

As first reported by CNBC, Fuld, Lehman’s long-time chief executive, is looking to sell a 70 percent stake in the investment management division and have an option to buy it back at a later date. As a carrot to the potential buyer is a warrant to purchase a 20 percent stake in Lehman that could be cashed in when the credit crisis abates and the firm’s stock price recovers.

But potential buyers—which include nearly every major private equity firm—are starting to balk at Lehman’s initial offer, according to Wall Street executives familiar with the matter.

Their problem is the price. Lehman is pricing the investment management division at around $10 billion, meaning a 70 percent stake would cost $7 billion. But the real cost will be much more than that, because asset management firms are only worth something if employees remain with them following such a


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Money Flowing Out

Here’s an excerpt from Brett Steenbarger‘s article at TraderFeed discussing Money Flow.    

Money Flowing Out of Stocks

 

"Recall that dollar volume flow (aka money flow) represents the dollars flowing into or out of a particular stock or market. We look at each transaction in each stock and multiply the transacted price times the volume of that transaction. If the transaction occurred on an uptick, we add it to a cumulative total; if the transaction occurred on a downtick, we subtract it from the cumulative total. That cumulative total at the end of the day is the money that has been flowing into (if the sum is positive) or out of (if the sum is negative) the stock…."

Full article here.





Fannie and Freddie, Collateral Damage

Here’s a couple Bloomberg articles on 1) China’s exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and 2) the exposure (preferred shares) of U.S. banks to Fannie and Freddie.  

Freddie, Fannie Failure Could Be World `Catastrophe,’ Yu Says 

By Kevin Hamlin

Excerpt:   "A failure of U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system, said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China’s central bank.

“If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. “If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.”

Freddie and Fannie shares touched 20-year lows yesterday on speculation that a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won approval from the U.S. Congress last month to pump unlimited amounts of capital into the companies in an emergency.

China’s $376 billion of long-term U.S. agency debt is mostly in Fannie and Freddie assets, according to James McCormack, head of Asian sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings Ltd. in Hong Kong. The Chinese government probably holds the bulk of that amount, according to McCormack.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China yesterday reported a $2.7 billion holding. Bank of China Ltd. may have $20 billion, according to CLSA Ltd., the Hong Kong-based investment banking arm of France’s Credit Agricole SA. CLSA puts the exposure of the six biggest Chinese banks at $30 billion.. .."

More here.

 

 

Fannie, Freddie Preferreds Batter Sovereign, Midwest 

By Mark Pittman and Shannon D. Harrington

Excerpts:  "Midwest Bank Holdings Inc. Chief Investment Officer Don Wiest is wagering U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will rescue him from a failing $67 million stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Melrose Park, Illinois-based Midwest and banks from Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bancorp to Frontier Financial Corp. in Everett, Washington, own preferred shares in the beleaguered mortgage-finance companies that have lost more than half their $35 billion value since June 30. Concern that Paulson may step in with a rescue plan that would wipe them out along with common stock investors has sent the securities tumbling.

“I…
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Peaks

Cassandra on Peak Credit and our economic future.  She worries, "some will think that these ruminations border on the insane" but I don’t think so, all appears perfectly sane to me. Cassandra  Courtesy of Cassandra does Tokyo. 

Peak Oil!! Peak Inflation ?!? Peak Credit?? 

Does Peak Credit inevitably follow piqued credit? Well if you’re my age, and you thought so and positioned accordingly, you’d have been bankrupted a very long time ago – possibly as early as the late 1980s. And if you were a glutton for punishment, you’d have been toasted again in 1994, another time in 1998, yet again in 2002, and rubbing one’s nose in it, perhaps every year after that until midsummer two-thousand-and-seven. Dog days indeed for those bearish on the ability of the financial system to manufacture, distribute, and service debt, whether in real or nominal terms, or in relation to any measure of the economy or change in the growth thereof.

Yet as pessimistic on its sustainability (and wrong!!) as one would have been in the past, one should now be as optimistic one’s assessment that this is The Big One, that we’ve smacked head-first into the boundary of the maximum amount of debt that can be assumed by households, corporates and governments in our economy and be reasonably sustained with the fruits of our labour, and investment. Actually, I would posit that we long-ago pierced any reasonably sustainable threshold, and only through sheer inertia and the fortuitiousness of pulling of rabbits-out-of-hats have we lasted this long. But it is the anchoring of popular belief in faith and absent solvency from days long passed combined with the extrapolation a series of non-extrapolatable macro income streams which could cause any sensible human being believe or have believed that the boundary lay somewhere in front of us and not far behind us.

Culpability is not singular. Stern-Stewart, investor short-termism and systemic mono-focus, along with greedy managers replete with agent/principal dilemmas must assume blame on the corporate side. Selfish American Voters repeatedly demanding representatives requite incongruous financial goals with cynically lame and unsustainable fiscal policies, along with a near complete detachment from reality in regards to present consumptive desires in relation to both incomes and longer-term savings requirements are just as at fault as the monetary wrecktitude resulting from an


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Phil's Favorites

Alexis Tsipras "Open Letter" to German Citizens Regarding Extend-and-Pretend Unserviceable Debt

Courtesy of Mish.

Here's a story from January 13 that just came my way today thanks to a reader wootendw who posted a link as a comment to one of my articles.

The background to this story is SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' "Open Letter" to German Citizens, published on Jan.13 in Handelsblatt, a leading German language business newspaper.

Alexis Tsipras, now prime minister of Greece, sent this letter to Handelsblatt:
Most of you, dear Handesblatt readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds b...



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Zero Hedge

Is The Swiss Franc Tumbling Due To Month-End SNB Window-Dressing?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Facing what is likely the largest loss in its history, it would seem The Swiss National Bank has undertaken what every good asset manager does nowadays - Month-End window-dressing. The Swiss Franc has collapsed in the last week or so (against the Dollar and Euro) as a mysteriously active seller of Swissy has managed levels up to smooth out the collapse in value of the SNB's balance sheet...

If only you had a little morer margin to hang on to that Swiss Fra...



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Chart School

Accentuate the Positive: The Psychological Inflation of Quarterly GDP

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Pop Quiz! You just received your quarterly statement from the company that manages your 401(k). Which result would you prefer?

     A) Your portfolio is up 1.22% for the quarter.
     B) Your portfolio is up 4.97%* for the quarter.

Well, that's certainly a no-brainer question. You'd definitely choose option B.

However, buried in the fine print of the document for option B is the footnote for that little asterisk:

     *Compounded Annual Percent Change

So this was a trick quiz question! The two answers are identical. To two decimal places, the quarter-over-quarter gain of 1.22% becomes 4.97% if we state it as the compounded annual percent change....



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Market Shadows

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

Courtesy of Paul Price

Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.

Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?

It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.

You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...



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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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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 2015

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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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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.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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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!




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

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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