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Archive for 2009

Iraq objects to Floating Tankers, May Cut Oil Output

Courtesy of Mish

Iraq objects to Floating Tankers, May Cut Oil Output

Floating takers are now the scourge of Iraq. I spoke of floating tankers on Friday in Wholesale Prices Post Largest 12-Month Decline Since 1950.

Here is the pertinent snip:

Crude Oil Daily Futures

Floating Storage

Because of the contango shown on the left, it may be cheaper to buy crude now, assuming one has storage, and storage costs are low enough.

Of course, whether it is wise to stock up now depends entirely on where prices head from here.

Regarding contango, a friend just pinged me with this comment:

"Nordic American estimates that up to 80 VLCC’s (Very Large Crude Carrier) are currently used as ‘floating storage’. I have heard from a shipping company in Hong Kong that they think it is even more, as China has apparently hired many of the old single hull ships to use as floating storage until it can build enough storage facilities on land. There’s a lot of oil ‘floating about’, literally."

 
All things considered, oil prices are due for a pullback and gasoline prices at the pump are likely to follow. Moreover, with the possible exception of food, consumer prices in general will remain under pressure, if not indeed negative on a year over year comparison basis for quite some time as well as falling producer prices pass up the chain.

Please see first link for more discussion of contango and oil prices.

Iraq Calls Floating Storage Unwise

Inquiring minds are now reading Iraq Says Storing Oil in Tankers ‘Unwise;’ OPEC May Cut Output.

Iraq, holder of the world’s third- largest oil reserves, said storing crude in floating tankers was “unwise” and OPEC nations may need to make further production cuts, assuming demand continues to drop this year.

“We don’t think it’s a wise economic decision” to produce oil from secure underground fields then pay to store it in floating tankers, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said yesterday in an interview at the Dead Sea in Jordan at the World Economic Forum. “Future generations can benefit from it better than we can, if we don’t need it.”

Speculation that oil demand may fall further than expected because of the recession were “bad news,” he said. “OPEC will have to reconsider its production levels again,” assuming consumption does continue to


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Obama Budget Chief Promises Free Lunch, Says “Economy Almost Bottomed Out”.

Courtesy of Mish

Obama Budget Chief Promises Free Lunch, Says "Economy Almost Bottomed Out".

The White House budget chief says US economy has almost bottomed out, predicts lower deficits.

The White House’s budget director says the economy has almost bottomed out and the sense of economic free-fall is over.

Peter Orszag (OR-zag) says that as the economy improves in the months ahead, the nation’s budget will run lower deficits. He also says that the Obama administration’s financial assumptions are going to be updated because of higher-than-expected unemployment rates.

The budget director says President Barack Obama is committed to changes in the health care system this year. Orszag says the president’s plan to provide health care to millions of uninsured Americans would not add to the federal deficit in the short term, and actually reduce it in coming years.

Upfront Costs Complicate Obama’s Health Care Plan

Let’s take another look at Cost of Health Care Plan Soars; Obama might Renege on Campaign Promises.

Costs are emerging as the biggest obstacle to President Barack Obama’s ambitious plan to provide health insurance for everybody.

The upfront tab could reach $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, while expected savings from wringing waste and inefficiency from the health care system may take longer to show.

Details of the health legislation have not been written, but the broad outlines of the overhaul are known. Economists and other experts say the $634 billion that Obama’s budget sets aside for health care will pay perhaps half the cost.

I responded with …

So Obama has a plan, and that plan is an estimated 50%, $634 billion in the hole at the outset (the estimated amount over 10 years). However, government programs are always much more expensive implemented than proposed. Therefore, a more resaonable estimate of costs might be 2-5 times greater than proposed. And even if by some miracle the costs come in as expected, the world’s most expensive healthcare system is about to get much more expensive.

This is not a plan, it’s a nightmare.

Can I see the math?

I would like to see how providing health care to millions of uninsured Americans will not add to the federal deficit.

More Free Lunch Keynesian Nonsense

Free lunch theories are coming out of the woodwork (or rather every corner of academia). Latest up to bat is Alan Blinder,


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The SP500 Really Has to Hold this Level

Courtesy of Corey at Afraid to Trade

The SP500 Really Has to Hold this Level

There’s an epic struggle (maybe not that intense) to hold the rising 20 day EMA on the S&P 500; the battle has already been lost on the NASDAQ.  Let’s take a very quick look at this level and what it might mean.

Just a quick, laser-focused intraday update to state that the 882.49 level ($88.41 in the SPY) MUST be held as support for the bulls for any hope of higher prices in the short term.  A failure here, particularly a close beneath this level should we get a push to new lows intraday, would be devastating and would set-up an almost certain test of the 50 day EMA just beneath 860.

One thing to note is that volume has been light on the retracement pullback which is slightly bullish, though volume has been steadily trailing off since it peaked in early March (a non-confirmation of bullish higher prices).

This is why intraday traders might have been confused as to why price seemed to hold a floor at the 882 level – it’s because the higher timeframe players are battling it out for supply/demand control of this level.  Intraday traders are best served by anticipating key levels like this on their intraday charts.

Watch this level very closely going into the weekend and beyond.

Corey Rosenbloom, CMT

 




Joseph Cassano: the man with the trillion-dollar price on his head

From The Sunday Times, Times Online – a fascinating look into the world of AIG and Joseph Cassano. 

Joseph Cassano: the man with the trillion-dollar price on his head

By Tim Rayment

Excerpt: This is Joseph Cassano. He is the multimillionaire trader accused of bringing down the insurance giant AIG — and with it the world’s economy. So is he a criminal, an incompetent or a scapegoat?

They were frightened for a long time, then suddenly they were angry. For millions of Americans, anxiety about a jobless, debt-laden future turned to disbelief when it emerged that AIG, the company at the centre of the world’s financial crisis, was handing out £300m in bonuses. It was the superpower’s Sir Fred moment. Just as Britain reacted with fury to the disclosure that Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension pot had been doubled as his bank neared collapse, so the US was shocked. The death threats came soon after. “I want them dead!” said one of a stream of messages that caused AIG staff to travel in pairs, park in well-lit areas, and dial 911 if followed. “I want their spouses dead! I want their children dead! I want their children’s children dead! I want the earth upon which they have walked salted so nothing will ever grow again!”…

Can one man in London really be to blame for the collapse of capitalism?

Until now, the economic crisis has been seen as a giant intellectual error, and AIG’s multimillionaire employees in England were simply the people who made the biggest mistakes. The first to own up to misjudgment was Gordon Brown’s friend Alan Greenspan — once so revered in his role as America’s central banker that to be photographed with him was as flattering as being seen now with President Obama. “I have found a flaw,” said Greenspan, referring to his free-market philosophy, after the banks started falling over. “I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Others have repeated this innocent-sounding explanation for the wrecking of so many lives…

There is, however, an alternative reading. This says that the furore over bonuses is a convenient distraction from the real causes of the crisis, which go to the heart of how the world is run. There is dishonesty


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Weekend Reading

Tyler Durden’s Weekend Reading

  • Egan-Jones takes dim view of Morgan Stanley’s health (Dealbook, hat tip Ubu)
  • Faith based economics (John Mauldin via Ritholtz)
  • So much for the Volkswagen- Porsche merger (Bloomberg) [next stop much wider CDS]
  • Another former NY Pension overseers in Cuomo’s probe (Bloomberg)
  • Joseph Cassano: the man with the trillion dollar bounty (Times Online)
  • Investor sentiment: Is more bulls a good thing? (Technical Take)
  • The long pain in Long Beach (WSJ)
  • The play (Finem Respice)
  • The ungovernable state (Economist)
  • Yet another amusing interview with Myron Scholes (NYT)
  • FHLB shortages papered over (OptionArmageddon)
  • Obama budget chief: signs economic free fall over… [You were expecting?] (Reuters)




Chasing The Shadow Of Money

Courtesy of Tyler at ZH

Chasing The Shadow Of Money

For readers who have the time and interest to follow up on the topic Zero Hedge commenced yesterday discussing money liquidity and the shadow banking system, the best place to start is with Friedrich Hayek’s seminal Prices and Production, published in the depression days of 1935. Curiously Hayek discerned the critical role of the shadow banking system long before the advent of securitization, derivatives and other products that today have caused the monetary supply problem to reach a screaming crescendo. A very salient sample is presented below:

"There can be no doubt that besides the regular types of the circulating medium, such as coin, notes and bank deposits, which are generally recognised to be money or currency, and the quantity of which is regulated by some central authority or can at least be imagined to be so regulated, there exist still other forms of media of exchange which occasionally or permanently do the service of money. Now while for certain practical purposes we are accustomed to distinguish these forms of media of exchange from money proper as being mere substitutes for money, it is clear that, other things equal, any increase or decrease of these money substitutes will have exactly the same effects as an increase or decrease of the quantity of money proper, and should therefore, for the purposes of theoretical analysis, be counted as money.

In particular, it is necessary to take account of certain forms of credit not connected with banks which help, as is commonly said, to economize money, or to do the work for which, if they did not exist, money in the narrower sense of the word would be required. The criterion by which we may distinguish these circulating credits from other forms of credit which do not act as substitutes for money is that they give to somebody the means of purchasing goods without at the same time diminishing the money-spending power of somebody else. This is most obviously the case when the creditor receives a bill of exchange which he may pass on in payment for other goods. It applies also to a number of other forms of commercial credit, as, for example, when book credit is simultaneously introduced in a number of successive stages


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Report: Portugese Authorities Investigating $50 Billion Scam On JP Morgan Chase

Courtesy of John Carney at ClusterStock

Report: Portugese Authorities Investigating $50 Billion Scam On JP Morgan Chase

A Portuguese website reports that authorities are investigating an attempted transfer of 50 billion dollars (36.6 billion euros) from JP Morgan Chase in what might where result would be the biggest fraud ever, rivaling the Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff.

According to the webste, Publico, the scam transfer was attempted by an unidentified woman, who presented a bank in Lisbon with an interbank contract for the transfer of 36.4 million euros.

Here (via a Google translation) is the report from Publico:
 
The Financial Information Unit of the Judicial Police (PJ) is also aware of the process.Official source of the prosecutor told the Lusa that "the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) is to collect information on the matter."

The Bank of Canada is also investigating the case, according to official sources, which indicated that the process followed for the department of supervision "of the institution led by Vitor Constâncio, confirming also that the way the case is similar to other attempts at fraud detected by the authorities in Portugal.

Contacted by Lusa, PJ’s official source said, however, "is not considered appropriate to comment on specific situations," goes to disclose data on situations of the kind found in recent years in Portugal.

As the amount involved, 50 billion dollars (36.6 billion), is far superior to any other similar case ever found in Portugal, confirmed to the Lusa the supervisor of banks. 

Even if there is a limit to transfers of money from abroad to Ireland and vice versa, the amount is so high that it would do for five lines of high-speed train in Portugal or ten airports in Lisbon. 

If the operation was carried out, would be transferred to Portugal twice the value of the 20 largest Portuguese stock exchange.  "An amount ever seen, is in the Portuguese market or in any place of reference of the world," said a banking source to Lusa.  Indeed, it is not every day that are transferred 50 billion dollars from one country to another and, as another source of market, "seems to play. The value is completely abnormal."

The contract ‘Swift’ [direct exchange between banks] provide for the transfer of that amount between the North…
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Small Town Chrysler… Memories Served…

Courtesy of Travis at Zero Hedge

Small Town Chrysler… Memories Served…

Chrysler, as you all know, cut 789 of its dealers this Thursday past, roughly a quarter of all its stores nationwide. For me, the news is bitter sweet. Actually- I feel pretty good about it. But more on that a little later.

The next day, General Motors too served walking papers to about 20% of its existing network of dealers.

The Economies of Sale

Not to get too technical or political about it, it’s better for these manufacturers and what remaining dealers are left that there will be fewer stores selling the goods. Why? Less competition. In a struggling business that’s competitive enough with namely Japanese brands like Toyota and Honda out there; no need for other mom and pop domestic shops to whittle down the prices so Joe Blow can get the best deal he can on an American car, with his Edmunds.com invoice printed in hand. It’s just not profitable, for any business, uncompetitive product or not.

Which leads me to the other facet of the car sales equation- factory support. Truth be known, a lot of dealers live and die (well, obviously!) by the factory, the manufacturer itself. Incentives, programs, marketing, floor-plans (how most new cars are loaned and supplied to the dealer’s lots), are all dictated by the manufacturer. Dealers, in most cases, supply the brick and mortar, the staffing, the used cars, the insurance, the local marketing and stuff like that; most new cars you see on the lots are loaned to them- by the factory, in an agreement that largely favors the manufacturer. Every day the car sits, doesn’t sell, is costing the dealer money like an accruing debt. It’s taken into account when they sell the car. Ever wonder why they want to show you a car in the back, covered in dust? It’s to cut a lingering loss.

The manufacturers set the bar every month for each region, each sales district. Dealers large and small strive to meet the demands of the floor-plan, so that they can get their unit spins- bonus money put on each car sold, which can amount to a significant “P” to the monthly P/L report, often times this money makes their month. It’s a bonus, and they’ll give away the store, sometimes even at a loss so


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Faith-Based Economics

Courtesy of John Mauldin

Faith-Based Economics

In this issue:
Can I Have Some More of that Data, Please?
The Fault, Dear Brutus, is Not in Our Stars
Faith-Based Economics
Is Unemployment a Lagging or a Leading Indicator?
An Unsustainable Trend in Debt
Some Thoughts on the Health Care Problem

Why does government data need to be revised so often? Is it conspiracy, as some claim, or is it methodology? And if it is methodology that leads to faulty data, then why not change the methodology? Is unemployment a lagging indicator, as conventional wisdom suggests? We look again at the underlying assumptions to suggest that things are not always the same. And finally, we look at unsustainable trends, fiscal deficits, and health care — there is a connection.

Can I Have Some More of that Data, Please?

One of my regular reads is the blog The Big Picture. They featured a short piece by Michael Panzner this week. He put together some rather interesting data and then asked a question, which gives me an opportunity for discussing government data. Let’s see what he had to say, and then I will make my comments.

"Many market-watchers claim that U.S. economic statistics are increasingly being revised downward in subsequent periods, suggesting that the figures initially being reported by Washington are "puffed up," so to speak, most likely for political purposes.

"Well, I went back and had a look at the differences between the reported and revised data for various series, including monthly retail sales, nonfarm payrolls, industrial production, and durable goods orders, to try and figure out if the cynics are right.

"Using data from Bloomberg, I calculated whether the revised data for each month was lower than the first-cut estimate. Then I tabulated 12-month running totals for each series to see if there has been some sort of systematic bias (in other words, whether the pattern of monthly downward revisions was trending higher instead of undulating up and down).

"To make the comparisons easier, I subtracted the 12-month tally as of May 2002 (an arbitrarily chosen date) from the monthly totals for all four economic series so that the starting point for each would be the same — zero.

"Based on a quick read of a graph of the data (see below), it does seem as though the…
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Herds and rational behavior

Angry Bear’s Rdan cites an interesting article by Brett Steenbarger, Herding Behavior and One-Sided Market Days.  For a close up of Brett’s chart, click here.Ilene

Herds and rational behavior

Courtesy of rdan at Angry Bear

Brett Steenbarger at Trader Feed has an interesting take on rules of the market for the current decade of market of stocks.

In the chart, I’m looking at a moving window of 60 days and counting the number of days within that window that either have 2/3 or more of stocks traded as advances or 2/3 or more as declines (NYSE issues only). So we’re looking at relatively one-sided days in which advances lead declines (or vice versa) by a ratio of roughly 2:1 or better.

In 2000 and 2001, such one-sided days were the exception; because stocks traded in quarter point increments, many issues remained unchanged. The ratio of unchanged stocks to advancers and decliners has steadily fallen over the years. Now, out of over 3000 issues traded, it’s unusual to have 100 unchanged stocks; in 2000, over 500 unchanged issues were the norm.

Interestingly, the ratio of unchanged issues to total issues traded has fallen significantly since July, 2007, so it’s not just decimalization that has led to the shift. Program trading and the inclusion of more stocks in baskets that are traded--not to mention the inclusion of more stocks in ETFs (including leveraged ETFs)--may well account for this phenomenon. Small cap issues are no longer a market backwater.

The average number of issues traded daily since 2000 has actually fallen. Nevertheless, there is far more money--and far more money managers--chasing the same returns. It does, indeed, appear that they are chasing returns in part by chasing each other. Incredibly, we’re getting close to the point where nearly half of all trading days are relatively one-sided…

Continue here: Herding Behavior and One-Sided Market Days

 





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Chicago's Fiscal Freefall: Moody's Cuts Chicago Credit Rating to Two Steps Above Junk; Snake Oil and Swaps; It's All Junk Now

Courtesy of Mish.

Last week I wrote an article for the Illinois Policy Institute on the hugely unfunded and deteriorating nature of numerous Illinois' pension systems.

I will post the article on Monday. 

My article was on on state pension systems, not Chicago's, and was written well ahead of downgrades of Chicago's debt by Moody's on Friday. I was not surprised to see the downgrade.

Let's take a look at some articles on the debt downgrade starting with Chicago Credit Rating Cut by Moody's to Two Steps Above Junk.
Chicago had its credit rating cut to within two steps of junk by Moody’s Investors Service because of mounting pension liabilities, underscoring the city’s fiscal stress as Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces an un...



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Chart School

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq Since Their 2000 Highs

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here is a update in response to a standing request from a couple of sources that I also share with regular visitors to my Advisor Perspectives pages.

The request is for real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq Composite. In response, I maintain two overlays — one with the nominal price, excluding dividends, and the other with the price adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (which is usually just refer to as the CPI). The charts below have been updated through the December 31, 2014 close.


...



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Zero Hedge

Debt-To-GDP Ratios Demand Debt Jubilee

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Sprott Money.

Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money

In the 1980’s, Canada was governed by (at that time) the most incompetent, fiscally irresponsible regime in the Western world: Brian Mulroney’s “Conservative” government. In a mere eight years; Canada’s national debt tripled, and its debt-to-GDP ratio soared to what was (at the time) an astronomical level above 70%.

Canada was considered to be in an official “debt crisis”. What is meant by the term debt-crisis? It’s all a function of simple arithmetic. It is where the total debt-load a...



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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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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: Coal

Kimble Charts: Coal

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.

Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 23rd, 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: Sector rankings stay neutral with few bullish catalysts on horizon

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.

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



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Digital Currencies

MyCoin Exchange Disappears with Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim

Follow up from yesterday's Just the latest Bitcoin scam.

Hong Kong's MyCoin Disappears With Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim By  

Reports are emerging from Hong Kong that local bitcoin exchange MyCoin has shut its doors, taking with it possibly as much as HK$3bn ($386.9m) in investor funds.

If true, the supposed losses are a staggering amount, although this estimate is based on the company's own earlier claims that it served 3,000 clients who had invested HK$1m ($129,000) each.

...



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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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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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