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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ValueWalk

Alpha Or Beta In The Eye Of The Beholder: What Drives Hedge Fund Flows

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Alpha Or Beta In The Eye Of The Beholder: What Drives Hedge Fund Flows

Vikas Agarwal
Georgia State University; University of Cologne - Centre for Financial Research (CFR)

Clifton Green

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Honglin Ren

...

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Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: July 29

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

  • Fed expected to push ahead with rate hike plan (Reuters)
  • Upbeat earnings lift European stocks ahead of Fed (Reuters)
  • Chevron to Cut 1,500 Jobs (Rigzone)
  • Can Windows 10 Revive PC Sales? (WSJ)
  • U.S. Junk-Bond Buyers Left in Dark as Private Deals Become Norm (...


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Phil's Favorites

Sentiment Measures vs. Retail Spending: Clueless Clues and Random Noise

Courtesy of Mish.

Economists Shocked

Economists were shocked by the plunge in the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index this morning, well below the any economist's guess in Bloomberg's Econoday Forecast.
The consensus estimate was 99.6. The consensus range was 97.0 to 102.0. And the actual result ... 90.9.

Consumer confidence has weakened substantially this month, to 90.9 which is more than 6 points below Econoday's low estimate. Weakness is centered in the expectations component which is down nearly 13 points to 79.9 and reflects sudden pessimism in the jobs outlook where an unusually large percentage, at 20 percent even, see fewer jobs opening up six months from now.

A striking negative in the report is a drop in buying plans for autos which conf...



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Chart School

Relief Rally?

Courtesy of Declan.

Big gains and a strong reversal in the Russell 2000 puts a potential bottom in play.  The Russell 2000 started the day below the 200-day MA, but then rallied to claim a spike low and a close above this key moving average. Small Caps are a key driver in trend cycles. The 'bull trap' from June is still dominant. and a push above 1,280 looks a tall order. but reversing the breakdown of the rising trendline at 1,240 is a different proposition. If it fails at this, then a swift return below the 200-day MA, and then some, opens up. And the long awaited intermediate term decline begins.


The S&P gained over 1% with a second bounce off the 200-d...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Dollar gains against yen, but weakens vs. pound (Market Watch)

The dollar advanced against the yen on Tuesday as worries about China’s stock selloff abated somewhat, but the buck fell against the pound after the latest reading on U.K. economic growth matched expectations.

Some stabilization by Asian stocks prompted nervous investors to loosen their grip on the perceived safety of the Japanese currency.

The dollar USDJPY, -0.01%  was up at ¥123.73, compared with ¥123.24 late Monday in New York. ...



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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Travel indicator being put to critical tests

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The American Economy is driven a good deal by the consumer.

The table below reflects that nearly 70% of GDP is based consumption.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The 4-pack below looks at consumption with a focus on the travel and leisure sector, by looking at Avis (CAR), Hertz (HTZ), Expedia (EXPE) and Priceline (PCLN).

CLICK ON CHART ABOVE TO ENLARGE

While many seem to be occupied by the news abou...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Lackluster earnings reports put eager bulls back into waiting mode

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.

Corporate earnings reports have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bul...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio

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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Digital Currencies

Gold Spikes Back Above $1100, Bitcoin Jumps

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Gold is jumping after the overnight double flash-crash...testing back towards $1100...

Bitcoin is back up to pre-"Greece is Fixed" levels...

Charts: Bloomberg and Bitcoinwisdom

...

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Pharmboy

Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...



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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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Promotions

Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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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