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Archive for 2009

Guest Post: Robbed Blind By A Lipstick Wearing Pig

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Davos

Robbed Blind By A Lipstick Wearing Pig

“No one in this world, so far as I know – and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me – has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”
~ H.L. Mencken

Each and everyday I’m amazed by the sad amount of truth held within this statement.

I’ve totally shunned TV, I have no cable, no dish, I’ve deleted every mainstream news source from my iGoogle RSS reader and I am now weeding out what I once considered to be the best 25 economic blogs.

Let’s visit the many ways that we are being robbed by the pig wearing lipstick.

Confusion and sexing up the ugly

Today, on a blog I used to hold in high esteem was an article entitled “Who’s Afraid Of a Falling Dollar?”

Me.

That’s who.

And it should scare you also!

First we need to take the lipstick off the falling dollar pig and understand what it means. If you have $100,000.00 in your account and the dollar falls in value that $100,000.00 might buy you only $25,000.00 worth of assets.

Would you put your money in a bank that offered you a falling balance? Open an account today with your life savings of $100,000.00 and tomorrow your balance will be $25,000.00.

The incredible part about the article is that it was written by a senior fellow at an institute that is trying to save Social Security.

Sorry Grandma, your $500.00 Social Security check that used to buy you a month’s tuna caught by Japanese fishermen had a really bad fall and now you’ll have to eat saltines all month long.

No more tuna for you.

“A lower dollar is good news for US exporters and foreign importers and bad news for foreign exporters and US importers.”

Really?

Well bad news here. We import 2/3rds of our oil.

Sorry, when you fill up your SUV with your falling dollar you are now on the cusp of bankruptcy because that dollar had a bad fall and only buys 1/4 the amount of gas it used to. When you go to the store and purchase food that has been shipped a minimum of 1,500 miles and farmed in…
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China – The Sleeping Lion Awakened

Courtesy of asiablues

By Economic Forecasts & Opinions

U.S. President Barack Obama has begun a nine-day tour of Asia at a time when the U.S. economy is struggling to emerge from a deep recession. But nothing looms bigger than China, the largest holder of U.S. debt (around $797.1 billion, up 10% this year), has emerged from the global economic downturn in an ever stronger position. When Obama sets foot in China for the first time, he will confront a dramatically altered balance of power between the two nations.

Two Decades of Explosive Growth

This seismic shift is driven by China’s astonishing economic growth over the past two decades and has accelerated during the global financial crisis. Its 9% to 10% annualized GDP growth rate in the past two and a half decades is unprecedented in world history.

In 1992, Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) was less than 7% of America’s GDP. By 2000, the figure topped 12%. When Obama won the election in 2008, the Chinese economy had grown to equal more than 30% of U.S. output. New data show that China is on track to grow more than 8% in 2009, driven by high industrial output and retail sales.

Impressive Stimulus Package…and Working

During this global recession, China’s astonishing growth did slow down, but unlike most developed economies, China never entered a recession.

The Chinese have launched the world’s biggest investment program (about $585 Billion) after the start of the financial crisis last year. Beijing’s stimulus program is estimated to amount to about 13% of Chinese gross domestic product, making it almost twice as large as the U.S. program and close to five times the size of its German equivalent.

The government’s massive economic stimulus program has transformed the country into an enormous construction site. As a result, China’s industrial production rose 16.1% year-over-year in October, the most since March 2008 and a slide in exports eased to 13.8% the slowest pace this year. However, behind the impressive economic data, troubles might be lurking.

China Bubble Forming

China’s purchases of dollars to prevent appreciation gave it foreign-exchange reserves totaling $2.3 trillion in the third quarter, the world’s largest. Meanwhile, its sale of Yuan to keep it fixed to the dollar contributed to a 29% jump in its money supply, and the peg helped spur more than $150 billion in speculative funds…
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“War ALWAYS Causes Recession”

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog.

PhD economist Marc Faber predicts that the U.S. will launch a war to distract people from the bad economy.

China’s largest media outlets – Sohu.com – wrote in October 2008 that the Rand corporation, a leading U.S. military advisor, lobbied the Pentagon for a war to be started with a major foreign power in an attempt to stimulate the American economy:

According to French media, well-known U.S. think tank RAND Corporation … has submitted [to the Pentagon] an evaluation report assessing the wage a war to shift the feasibility of the current economic crisis…

Continued deepening of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis and economic downturn, developed to a certain extent, is likely to trigger a war in order to achieve the purpose of the crisis passed.

(Google’s translation services are crude approximations, but Yihan Dai confirmed the translation of the original).

Is Faber right? Is the Sohu.com report accurate?

I don’t know.

However, “military Keynesianism” – using military spending to stimulate the economy – has been U.S. policy for half a century. And the economist who coined that term said that such a policy always and “inexorably” leads to “an actual war” in order to justify all of the military spending.

Therefore, any studies which disprove the efficacy of war as an economic stimulus -see this and this – are important for balance.

In addition, contrary to popular belief, some writers say that the reason that WWII actually stimulated the U.S. economy was not because of America fighting the war. Specifically, they argue that America’s ramped-up production of armaments for the British before the U.S. entered the war was the thing which stimulated our economy.

To try to sort some of this out, I spoke with a PhD professor of economics with a background in international conflict in July 2008 to find out whether war is really good for the economy.

I asked if conventional wisdom that war is good for the economy is true, especially given that all of the spending on the war in Iraq seems to have weakened America’s economy (or at least, greatly increased its debt).

The economist explained the seeming paradox:


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Political Payoffs Run Wild

Tom’s right - this is completely outrageous! Our federal gov’t officials who participate in this sort of gifting should be thrown out, and the Constitution restored….. See an earlier post too, Our Chatty Cathy Congress. - Ilene

Political Payoffs Run Wild

dollars

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What

Gretchen Morgenson’s Times article today is enough to make you retch.

Buried in the law extending unemployment benefits and reauthorizing the tax credit for homebuyers was a “little” gift to any company that happened to lose money in the past five years. Here’s how she describes the largesse:

But tucked inside the law was another prize: a tax break that lets big companies offset losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against profits booked as far back as 2004. The tax cuts will generate corporate refunds or relief worth about $33 billion, according to an administration estimate.

Before the bill became law, the so-called look-back on losses was limited to small businesses and could be used to counterbalance just two years of profits. Now the profit offset goes back five years, and the law allows big companies to take advantage of it, too. The only companies that can’t participate are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and any institution that took money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Among the biggest beneficiaries are home builders, analysts say. Once again, at the front of the government assistance line, stand some of the very companies that contributed mightily to the credit crisis by building and financing too many homes.

Morgenson takes this travesty to task by focusing on the homebuilders. Fair enough. There are too many of them, they are financially in fine shape and based on recent history they appear to be managed by fools. Why they should receive such a gift is beyond comprehension.

There’s to my mind a bigger issue here, however. Why in an era in which the federal deficit is soaring beyond any comprehensible level and the absolute certainty that…
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Rosenberg: U.S. GDP is overstated

Rosenberg: U.S. GDP is overstated

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Abandoned lemonade stand

This morning, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff had another wonderful piece. I am only going to take on one part of it here. I have linked to the full article below so that you can read his analysis in it’s entirety (registration free but required).

The part I want to focus in on has to do with GDP revisions. Basically, the GDP numbers the U.S. government releases are always revised when more complete data come in. Often the data come in years later via tax returns and other slower-to-report channels, so we can get huge disparities in what was reported at the time and what ends up being the final data series. Rosenberg thinks Q3 is going to see major, major downward revisions because of small businesses.

He says the following (highlighting added):

We noticed an interesting piece of research on U.S. GDP from Goldman Sachs’ Economics team that’s worth highlighting. The team questions whether the official government GDP statistics capture how poorly small businesses (ie, sole proprietorships) are doing. The weakness in small business sentiment is seemingly at odds with the recent 3.5% Q3 GDP reading but may explain why the unemployment rate has continued to steadily increase. Part of the reason for small business weakness is that most don’t have the same access to credit as larger firms and larger firms’ output tends to be better captured in the GDP data. While sole proprietorships tend to be small they collectively account for a nontrivial 17% of the U.S. economy.

The Goldman team uses a couple of different statistical approaches to test their thesis. They use timely data from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) confidence survey, which shows that despite a recent improvement, confidence remains exceptionally weak (in fact two standard deviations below long-run trends). The first model suggests that the NFIB survey is consistent with overall GDP growth of 2.5% to 3.0% — not the 3.5% reported. As well, they find that current NFIB readings are more in line with below-50 readings on the ISM manufacturing index versus the actual reading of 55.7.

The second approach has to do with revisions to the GDP data and their relationship to the NFIB. U.S. GDP goes through many revisions as more, and


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Junk In, Investment Grade Out: FAQs About Credit Rating Agencies

Courtesy of Benjamin N. Dover III

The credit rating industry is facing sweeping regulatory changes in the wake of the scandals that have beset Wall Street during the past year.”    

                                                                      — The Guardian

Most of you are probably asking yourselves, “What in the world does that statement have to do with current events?”  Well, actually, it doesn’t.  It was made six years ago, in 2003, after the Enron and WorldCom frauds prompted the last episode of “Never Again” outrage at Wall Street.  At that time, the powers that be decided that instead of “sweeping regulatory changes” to the credit rating industry, the more fair and balanced approach was “no regulatory changes.”   And thank Goldman they did.  Who knows what kind of financial cesspool we avoided by not implementing any real reforms back then.  

Now, as if there were something inherently wrong with a government-endorsed oligopoly that admits to numerous conflicts of interest, the powers that be are contemplating sweeping regulatory changes again.  Except this time, fortunately, it’s only the language they’re using to describe the changes that’s sweeping.  The Senate Banking Committee, led by Senator Chris Dudd, is proposing a bill that would establish a new Office of Credit Rating Agencies at the SEC to implement new internal controls for credit ratings agencies (CRAs) to follow, improve transparency of the rating process, and impose penalties on agencies for poor performance and regulatory violations.  Sounds like they mean business this time, but don’t worry — as the Atlantic points out, the proposed reforms probably only mean business as usual. 

The last time the SEC was put in charge of administering regulatory changes that were force-fed to the CRA industry — under the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006 — Chairman Christopher “Never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do my job” Cox, had the good sense not to go overboard.  Or even onboard.  Under his direction, the SEC required CRAs to disclose which of 9 possible categories of conflicts of interest were applicable to their businesses.  Moody’s and
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And The Other Side Of The Rodgin Cohen Story

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

After the New York Times came out with a very ingenuous piece of “objective” fluffery, we have littel to add except to bring readers’ attention to our initial thoughts on Mr. Cohen and his place in the Wall Street parthenon.

H. Rodgin Cohen’s (Failed?) Quest To Backstop Every Bank… Ever (And Usurp Geithner’s Throne)

 





GETTING TECHNICAL: SELL INTO THE RALLY

GETTING TECHNICAL: SELL INTO THE RALLY

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

From Decision Point:

After the S&P 500 broke down from the rising wedge pattern I expected that prices would continue to head lower into a 20-Week Cycle low at the end of this month. But no. Instead prices rallied back above the rising trend line which formed the bottom of the wedge. Prices even rallied to a marginal intraday new high, so the rising trend that began at the March lows remains intact. In spite of that, it looks as if prices are forming a double top.

On the chart I have drawn a new rising wedge pattern that conforms to the gradual rolling over that prices appear to be doing. As usual, we should expect prices to break down out of the wedge, and, perhaps, that will lead to the correction we have been awaiting.

DP1

Below, our OBV (On-Balance Volume) suite of charts shows the short-term CVI and STVO coming off overbought levels and allowing for further decline in the short-term. The medium-term VTO shows that an internal correction is in progress that appears to be spreading to price behavior.

DP2

In his comments today, John Murphy (StockCharts.com) pointed out that large-cap indexes are beginning to out-perform small cap indexes. This should be of special interest to our subscribers because we track both cap-weighted and equal-weighted versions of the major market and sector indexes. (Equal-weighted indexes the smaller-cap stocks in the index to exert more influence on the price of the index.) In the example below, we have a chart of the S&P 500 displayed with the Price Relative to the Rydex S&P Equal Weight ETF (RSP). You can see that the S&P 500 relative strength line trended downward since March, but recently it began to trend upward. The message being that it is probably time to shift money out of the equal-weighted vehicles and into the cap-weighted vehicles. (See signal table below to see how well equal-weighted stocks have performed.)

DP3

Bottom Line: Last week I thought that a medium-term correction had begun, but a rally to new highs killed that projection. The market now looks as if it is topping, and internals support the idea that there will be a decline into the end of the month. A further


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Weekly Market Commentary: Slow Rollover Continues

Weekly Market Commentary: Slow Rollover Continues

Courtesy of Fallond Stock Picks

Another week of point gains, but supporting technicals continue their downward descent. The S&P is very close to a MACD trigger ‘sell’ with Fibonacci retracements still in play; however, a break of 1,107 would favour a push perhaps as far as 1,222.

The Nasdaq is fighting resistance which marked support in early 2008. Its MACD ‘sell’ is already in play.  [Click on charts for larger images.]
 

Although the Nasdaq 100 gives hope with its move into ‘fresh air’ and a possible move into the 2000s. But it does have a MACD trigger ‘sell’ to contend with.


However, the positives in the Nasdaq 100 are undermined by the struggles in the Russell 2000 – and the Russell 2000 is more important from a leadership perspective. Small Caps lie well below resistance with MACD ‘sell’ and weakening long term stochastics (momentum) to consider.


Market breadth has long been sided with the bears. The Nasdaq Summation Index has been on a ‘sell’ since July 10th.


And the weakness in the Bullish Percents has generated a new ‘sell’ signal; the last of the key Nasdaq Breadth signals to turn bearish (the Percentage of Nasdaq Stocks above the 50-day MA generated a ‘sell’ on July 10th)


With all three key Nasdaq breadth indicators negative, and small caps (and semiconductors) struggling it would not be considered foolish to step aside and let the heat leave the market before long sided positions could be considered again.

 


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Exclusive: A Forensic Reconstruction Of Goldman’s 2008 Prop Trading

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Lately, Goldman has been extolling the virtues of its theological affiliations and humanistic aspirations to, well, high heaven. Curious to dig deeper through the firm’s purported philanthropic efforts, we decided to take a detailed look at the 2007 and 2008 tax records of the charitable Goldman Sachs Foundation. We will not comment on the performance of the actual Foundation: to the chagrin of many needy children who look up to the St. Goldman cathedral in anticipation of a generous holiday season, the Goldman Sachs Foundation has lost gobs of money in the past two years: the fund started off with $275 million in 2007, $269 million in 2008 and ended the year with $161 million. Of course, it is Goldman’s prerogative to trade with its money as it desires: while this loss is deplorable, its only outcome will be that fewer Cap ‘N’ Trade propaganda initiatives will get the due “charitable funding” courtesy of Goldman. Yet what the foundation’s tax record do provide, is a very unique and open glimpse in the myriad trading patterns of Goldman’s proprietary trading operations… And boy does the firm trade.

A quick tutorial into trade allocation.

Whenever a huge hedge fund such as Goldman’s prop trading desk prints, or executes, a transaction, the physical or electronic ticket will request a split of the capital allocation to the various entities, funds, or LPs that make up the firm’s “AUM” umbrella. Sometimes no capital is allocated to excluded strategies, but usually, and especially for product agnostic funds such as Goldman, each entity will be allowed its pro rata share based on the “fungible” capital that makes up the firm’s entire Assets Under Management. Therefore, the GS Foundation (“GSF”), with its $270 million of capital at the beginning of 2008, would likely get its pro rata allocation as a percentage of the total capital backing the Goldman hedge fund (which can come from such places as Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and Goldman Sachs & Co., which in turn gets it funding via such taxpayer conduits as the Fed’s repo operations and the Discount Window). So if Goldman for example had access to total capital of $50 billion last year (roughly), each trade, when allocated to GSF, would account for about half a percent (0.5%), absent special treatment, of the total capital invested or disposed.…
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Phil's Favorites

China Manufacturing Output and New Orders Contract Once Again

Courtesy of Mish.

Chinese manufacturing remains in contraction for 2014. Output and new orders were down for the 4th consecutive month, but at a slightly reduced pace according to the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI.



Commenting on the Flash China Manufacturing PMI survey, Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China & Co - Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC said:

“The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI stabilised at 48.3 in April, up from 48.0 in March. Domestic demand showed mild improvement and deflationary pressures eased, but downside risks to growth are still evident...



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Insider Scoop

Delhaize Group Announces Sale of Bosnian & Herzegovinian Stores

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DEG Why Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao (CBD) Has A Bright Short-Term Future? - Tale of the Tape The Fresh Market (TFM) in Focus: Stock Moves 6.7% Higher - Tale of the Tape

Delhaize Group (Euronext Brussels: DELB, NYSE: DEG), the Belgian international food retailer, announces that it has signed an agreement with Tropic Group B.V. on the sale of its Bosnian & Herzegovinian stores.

Delhaize Group has signed an agreement with Tropic Group B.V., to divest all of its 39 Bo...



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Zero Hedge

Eyeing Pipeline, Russia Forgives North Korean Debt

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Zachary Zeck via The Diplomat,

On Friday Russia’s parliament voted to write off roughly 90 percent of North Korea’s debt as Moscow seeks to build a gas pipeline through the Hermit Kingdom.

This weekend Reuters reported that Russia’s Duma voted to write off roughly $10 billion worth of the debt that North Korea owes Moscow from the days of the Soviet Union. The vote ratified an agreement made in September 2012, after a meeting between th...



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Chart School

STTG Market Recap April 22, 2014

Courtesy of Blain.

We continue in this "V shaped" move off last week's touch of the 200 day moving average on the NASDAQ.  The S&P 500 gained 0.41% and the NASDAQ 0.97%.  The indexes are nearing overbought near term so a day or two of rest would serve the bulls well to try to attempt a new leg higher.  In economic news existing home sales hit 4.59 million in March, versus a 4.55 million estimate.

In terms of the indexes the S&P 500 stalled at the trend line that connected the lows of summer 2013; some congestion lies ahead at year highs.

The NASDAQ has come back from deeply oversold conditions as this index is heavy with biotech and momentum stocks.  The dotted blue line is the previous high; since early March we have not seen the NASDAQ make...



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Market Shadows

Soy Numero Uno

Soy Numero Uno

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Bunge Limited (BG) is the world’s largest processor of soybeans. It is also a major producer of vegetable oils, fertilizer, sugar and bioenergy.

When commodities got hot in 2007-08, Bunge’s EPS shot up and the stock followed, rising 185% in 19 months.

The Great Recession took its toll on operations, dropping EPS to a low of $2.22 in 2009.  Since then profits have recovered.  They ranged from $4.62 - $5.90 in the latest three years. 2014 appears poised for a large increase. Consensus views from multiple sources see BG earning $7.04 - $7.10 this year and then $7.83 - $7.94 in 2015.

...



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Option Review

Casino Stocks LVS, WYNN On The Run Ahead of Earnings

Shares in Las Vegas Sands Corp. (Ticker: LVS) are up sharply today, gaining as much as 5.7% to touch $80.12 and the highest level since April 4th, mirroring gains in shares of resort casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Ticker: WYNN). The move in Wynn shares appears, at least in part, to follow a big increase in target price from analysts at CLSA who upped their target on the ‘buy’ rated stock to $350 from $250 a share. CLSA also has a ‘buy’ rating on Las Vegas Sands with a $100 price target according to a note from reporter, Janet Freund, on Bloomberg. Both companies are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday.

...

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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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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Market Poised to Head Higher: 3 Stocks to Consider

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

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yesterday, the market continued its winning ways for the fifth consecutive day.  The S&P 500 closed within 1% of its all-time high, and the DJI was even closer to its all-time high.  Healthcare, Energy and Technology led the sectors while Financials, Telecom, and Utilities finished slightly in the red.  All three sectors in the red are typically flight-to-safety stocks, so despite lower than average volume, the market appears poised to make new highs.

Mid-cap Growth led the style/caps last week, up 2.87%, and Small-cap Growth trailed, up 2.22%. This week will bring well over 100 S&P 500 stocks reporting their March quarter earn...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - Week of April 21st, 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. Click here and sign in with your PSW user name and password, or sign up for a free trial.

...

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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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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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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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