Archive for 2009

Ukraine Flu Death Toll Hits 400

Flu News

Ukraine Flu Death Toll Hits 400

ukraine swine flu yuliaCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

The flu outbreak in the Ukraine, which is possibly the result of some virulent H1N1 mutation, continues to grow more alarming.

The Guardian: A flu pandemic in Ukraine that has triggered a nationwide panic is worsening this weekend with up to 400 deaths already reported.

The arrival of the virus, suspected by the World Health Organisation to be swine flu but possibly a combination of the H1N1 strain and a respiratory illness, has paralysed the country’s fragile health system and could even lead to the postponement of the general election which is scheduled for 17 January.

Seven people died and 35,000 new cases were reported on Friday, said the health minister, bringing the total number of people infected to 1.6 million out of a population of 46 million.

Meanwhile, the issue of H1N1 mutations is not just confined to The Ukraine. A new cluster of Tamiflu-resistant cases showed up at the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.

Also another virulent strain is showing up in Norway.

*****

Source: additional excerpt, with my yellow highlighting – Ilene  

Panic over hundreds of flu deaths exploited by Ukraine’s politicians
The Guardian

The onslaught of the virus has seen all the major political figures eagerly exploiting the outbreak. Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced the arrival of an epidemic on 30 October, when only one case had been reported, and has closed all schools and banned public gatherings – including campaigning political rallies – for the past three weeks…

"This is very dangerous,’ said Igor Shkrobanets, chief of the health ministry in the western district of Chernivtsi. "One or another politician will gain from this situation, but the doctors and their patients certainly will not."

He said the level of fear was such that people were calling out ambulances when they felt the first touch of a fever and hospitals were "overloaded".

In such uneasy times, bloggers and conspiracy theorists have whipped up fears by suggesting that bubonic plague, or a new, more lethal strain of the flu, was sweeping Ukraine and that there was a massive cover-up of the numbers of deaths.

"We are seeing reports of bodies lying in the streets," said one. Others claim


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Swing trading virtual portfolio – Week of November 23rd 2009

This post is for live trades and daily comments. 

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

- Optrader





Coal, Copper and Ore: More Than Just Mines

Courtesy of asiablues

By Economic Forecasts & Opinions

Broad capital spending cuts, and curtailed production have landed machinery companies in the pits but mining equipment makers will likely be among the first to emerge from under the recessionary rubble. The reason is that commodity prices are up substantially from their recent lows, at a time when the world is running out of all those precious natural resources.

Highly Coveted Resources

The main commodities driving original equipment and aftermarket parts demand include coal, copper, and iron ore. Developing nations are heavy users of natural resources including copper, coal and iron ore. The developing world is estimated to use roughly three to five times more commodities for every one percentage point of GDP growth than the developed countries.

Coal – Rush to Power

While coal production in the U.S. has slowed in part because of environmental concerns, such concerns haven’t slowed developing nations coal rush to fuel industry and generate electricity.

According to BP Statistical Review of World Energy released in June 2009, global coal consumption rose by a “below-average” 3.1% in 2008, yet coal remained the fastest-growing fuel in the world for a sixth consecutive year. China is the world’s largest coal consumer with a 43% share in 2008.

The main driver of demand for coal (and natural gas) is the inexorable growth in energy needs for power generation. Coal remains the backbone fuel of the power gen sector. In its World Energy Outlook published on Nov. 10, 2009, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects coal to see by far the biggest increase in demand globally over the projection period of 2007 to 2030. The IEA further expects coal’s share of the global generation mix rising 3% to 44% by 2030. (Fig. 1) China will account for the lion’s share of power gen capacity growth.

The US EIA also projects world coal consumption increases by 49% from 2006 to 2030 (Fig. 2), and that China’s coal consumption to grow at an average annual rate of 2.7% through the year 2030. Because China has limited reserves of oil and natural gas, coal remains the leading source of energy in its industrial sector. As China boasts 13% of the world’s coal reserves, the country is expected to continue to meet a majority of domestic demand with coal-fired power through


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Mortgage Backed Securities – What Happens When The Training Wheels Come Off?

Mortgage Backed Securities – What Happens When The Training Wheels Come Off?

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What

training wheels

Calculated Risk points to an interesting but short article at Bloomberg by Meredith Whitney in which she postulates that once the Fed withdraws its support for the mortgage backed securities market, mortgage rates will move up and the banks will be faced with more writedowns.

CR plots the historical spread of of the 30 year mortgage versus the ten year Treasury and comes to the conclusion that the Fed’s intervention has amounted to somewhere around a 50 BP subsidy so far. He then postulates that we could expect to see rates increase by this amount once the Fed exits the market.

Now let me say that I bow to no one in my admiration for CR. When stretched for time, it’s the only blog I read and it’s always the first blog I turn to. The author gets the data and then reaches well thought out conclusions and doesn’t seem to let personal bias intrude on his analysis. Having said that, I think he may be underestimating the potential effect on rates that may occur when there is no more Fed support.

If you read me often you will have seen this quote before. From George Will, “History tends to repeat itself until it doesn’t.” That is the problem that I have with CRs chart on this one. It presupposes that the world hasn’t changed and that the historical relationship between Treasuries and mortgage rates will persist.

Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. It might not because the world has changed. We’ve not seen before the unprecedented political interference in the market for mortgage securities that we have witnessed over the past 18 months. Contract law has been stretched to the point of breaking and what was normally considered standard procedure for resolving mortgage defaults has been turned on its head.

I have no idea as to whether or how much investors have been harmed by government actions and I suppose that no one at this point in time can generate any verifiable numbers. I’m not sure that, in fact, that makes much difference.

When the Fed does withdraw, the risk premium that investors demand is once again going to be subject to market discipline. Now it might not


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What the Heck is Going on During Mondays Lately? Always Up

What the Heck is Going on During Mondays Lately? Always Up

Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

I’ve noticed Mondays have been very strong lately; the past few weeks government officials worldwide reiterated stimulus, money printing, and more stimulus – first in the G20 (2 weekends ago) and then in Asia (last weekend).  But then I thought back and it seemed like every Monday we seem to walk in to things that hammer the US dollar, and the market soars.  So I thought I’d look a bit closer.

$SPX

Whatever (or whomever) is doing this, seems to love marking the markets up on Monday.  Just by chance?  Or am I data mining?  If the pattern holds you should be buying hand over fist for "Monday Mark Up"… or at least covering any index short exposure.  Considering we are sitting just over the 20 day moving average and we’ll be drunk in some announcement over the weekend that will cause the US dollar to sink…. odds are for another one lovely Monday?

I’ve cut back my index short upon noticing this trend plus the near term support level ….

 


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We still don’t know what we don’t know

We still don’t know what we don’t know

Courtesy of Vinny Catalano

So, here we are. More than two years into what started out as a credit crisis, one plus year after the Lehman collapse and a question that pertains to the one of the central workings of the equities market cannot be answered.

At last evening’s Market Technicians Association Educational Foundation seminar, the question your trusty moderator (that’s me) posed to the esteemed panel with its decades of experience was in regards to volume. Specifically, the equity markets’ volume as recorded each day for every stock traded. That is, the volume that accompanies the price action that results in the market capitalization of the stock market that results in the market value of every investor’s portfolio.

Many market analysts have noted the low volume that has accompanied this bull rally. Some have used this fact as a reason to be more cautious, even bearish. Others have cited that low volume bull rallies have occurred in the past and this one is no different. However, in the past, the volume recorded for equity trades completed were quite accurate and reliable, being recorded on exchanges and reported accordingly. Today, the picture is not quite so clear.

With so much trading occurring in the off the exchanges hidden recesses of dark pools and structured products, I asked my very knowledgeable panel, can any investor rely on the volume figures being generated in this current market to measure the strength of the price action of a stock? The answer received was, "We don’t know". Well, if this well connected, highly informed group of individuals doesn’t know, you can easily assume that just about no one knows. Do you?

The importance of understanding this issue goes beyond its impact on basic market analysis tools (such as technical analysis) and cuts to the heart of a financial system that is still shrouded in opaqueness.

Transparency remains elusive. Yet, transparency (knowing what investors need to know) is vital to the restoration of a sustained confidence in a system that can be measured. When trades occur in the dark corners of dark pools and other off-exchange structured products, clarity as to what exactly is transpiring becomes the victim and investors seeking to measure the market become the equivalent of a bystander to a drive-by financial shooting.

Investment Strategy Implications

Nothing…
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Weaker Data and the “Nascent Recovery”

A "mirage" of recovery, dependent on government stimulus programs, is not exactly a recovery in the normal sense of the word.  And publicizing incorrect numbers, only to revise them down later, appears to be good for public mood and the stock market. - Ilene  

Weaker Data and the "Nascent Recovery"

recoveryCourtesy of Mish

After spending $trillions one would have hoped to see something more than an expected GDP revision of 2.8%. Looking ahead MarketWatch is asking Do weaker data show recovery is stalling?

Last week, a "reality check" rippled through the markets following weak data on housing starts and industrial production, said Nigel Gault and Brian Bethune, U.S. economists for IHS Global Insight. They expect further "mixed and somewhat ambiguous" reports in the coming week, but, on whole, they say "the evidence is still positive and continues to point to a nascent recovery" that will need "strong policy support" for some time.

Housing

Even four years after the peak, the state of the housing market remains central to the medium-term outlook.

Construction, sales and prices picked up over recent months after hitting generational lows, boosted in part by federal policies and in part by improvement in some of the fundamentals. But the weakening in the October data ahead of the anticipated expiration of the federal home-buying subsidy has put the strength of those fundamentals to the test.

The home-buyer tax credit, of course, has now been extended and even expanded. But buyers and builders didn’t know that in October.

Last week, we found out that builders cut back on permits and starts on single-family homes in October, in anticipation that the tax credit would expire on Nov. 30.

GDP revisions

The other big story for the week could be the revision to third-quarter growth figures. Last month, the Commerce Department said real gross domestic product grew at a 3.5% annualized rate, the first gain in a year. On Tuesday, that figure is likely to be revised to about 2.8%.

The largest source of revisions will come from nonresidential construction spending and net exports. Spending on nonresidential structures was weaker than first thought, while imports were stronger than believed, suggesting that more of the gains from increased sales in the third quarter accrued to foreign producers, rather than domestic companies. Inventories will be revised lower.

"Despite the likely downward revision, we still believe that the third


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I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs

I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs (pdf)

apologyCourtesy of Janet Tavakoli at TSF
(see also Apology)

According to SIGTARP1, both the Federal Reserve and Treasury agreed that an AIG failure posed unacceptable risk to the global financial system and the U.S. economy.  On March 24, 2009, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee [P.9]:

[C]onceivably, its failure could have resulted in a 1930’s-style global financial and economic meltdown, with catastrophic implication[s].

From July 2007, AIG’s financial situation deteriorated while so-called “AAA” collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) dropped in value. AIG sold credit default swaps (CDSs) on these CDOs and had to post more collateral, as the prices plummeted. 

Goldman Sachs was AIGFP’s (UK-based AIG Financial Products) largest CDS counterparty with around $22.1 billion, or about one-third of the problematic trades.  Goldman underwrote some of the CDOs underlying its own CDSs, and also underwrote a large portion of the CDOs against which French banks SocGen, Calyon, Bank of Montreal, and Wachovia bought CDS protection.  Goldman provided pricing on these CDOs to SocGen and Calyon. Goldman was a key contributor to AIG’s liquidity strain and the resulting systemic risk.  (See “Goldman’s Undisclosed Role in AIG’s Distress”)

Apocalypse AIG

By mid September 2008, AIG’s long-term credit rating was downgraded, its stock price plummeted, and AIG couldn’t meet its borrowing needs in the short-term credit markets.  According to SIGTARP, “without outside intervention, the company faced bankruptcy, as it simply did not have the cash that was required to provide to AIGFP’s counterparties as collateral.” [P.9] The Federal Reserve Board with Treasury’s encouragement authorized a bailout. 2

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended an $85 billion revolving credit facility, so AIG could make its collateral payments to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers.  AIG also met other obligations, such as payments under its securities lending programs owed to Goldman and some of its CDO buyers.  (See also: “AIG Discloses Counterparties to CDS, GIA, and Securities Lending Transactions.”) 

Goldman “Would Have Realized a Loss”

Fed Chairman Bernanke said AIG’s crisis put the world at risk for a global financial meltdown.  Goldman purchased little credit default protection3 against an AIG collapse.  Even if Goldman escaped a collateral clawback of the billions it held from AIG4, the


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Deflation Returns To Japan; Black Hole Madness In U.S.

Deflation Returns To Japan; Black Hole Madness In U.S.

Courtesy of Mish 

Japan has been hopping in and out of deflation for decades. Japan is back in deflation once again. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Deflation’s Return Weighs on Japan

The Bank of Japan faces mounting pressure to loosen its policy as deflation tightens its grip on the nation’s economy, even as some other central banks begin to roll back stimulus steps amid signs of economic recovery.

The Japanese central bank on Friday kept rates unchanged and upgraded its assessment of the economy, citing rising exports and industrial output. The bank, which has stuck with super-easy monetary policy for more than a decade, has hoped to follow other central banks in looking at ways to tighten policy. Instead, Japan’s government and economists are urging it to adopt new easing steps, such as purchasing long-term government bonds.

The calls grew louder Friday after the government declared that the nation’s economy was in deflation — a decline in the general level of prices for goods and services — for the first time since 2006. That year, policy makers concluded the nation had finally shaken off the deflation that had hindered its economy since the late 1990s. The heightened pressure for easing also follows a spate of recent data showing accelerating price declines in broad parts of the economy.

"Deflation is getting very severe," said financial services minister Shizuka Kamei. "We are closely watching what the BOJ can do in this environment."

During the third quarter, the domestic demand deflator — a measure of changes in prices of goods and services except for exports and imports — fell 2.6%, its fastest pace since 1958.

"It’s very important for the BOJ to show the market it has the will to conquer deflation, both through action and through words," Mr. Shirakawa, of Credit Suisse, said. "Otherwise, expectations for deflation will only get worse."

cokePure Insanity

Japan has interest rates at 0% and cries scream for more easing. Japan has debt of 200% of GDP in a ridiculous fight against deflation and Mr. Shirakawa, of Credit Suisse wants Japan to "show the market it has the will to conquer deflation".

When does the insanity stop?

Meanwhile back in the US….

Costco drops Coke products in showdown over prices

Inquiring minds are noting Costco drops Coke products


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Naomi Klein And Joseph Stiglitz Discuss The Cause And Effect Of The Financial Crisis

Naomi Klein And Joseph Stiglitz Discuss The Cause And Effect Of The Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Alan Greenspan’s economic legacy is slowly but surely deterioration from that of one created by a "Maestro", to the deranged hungover flashbacks of the most inept monetarst dilettante and plutocrat puppet in the history of fiat capitalism. And with ever increasing honest and truthful observations as those shared by Naomi Klein and Joseph Stiglitz in the 1 hour + program attached, courtesy of Fora TV, only the remnants of the quickly evaporating close circle of Bernanke and Co., will have anything favorable left to say for the man who took the mundane task of building bubbles and converted it into rocket science so complex that only a few people at Goldman Sachs figured out how to benefit from it. We encourage all readers to spend some time watching the program before, just like Barney Frank and other bribed politicans, deciding that changing the status quo vis-a-vis the Fed is a step in the "wrong direction."

10 minute excerpt below:

Watch the full program or select from the following clips. We would like to draw your attention to clips 2, 7, 11 and 13

01.    Introduction
02.    Flawed Economic Model
03.    Economic Power and Ideology
04.    Collapse of Trust in Legal System
05.    Legal Means of Assistance
06.    Effects of Bailout
07.    How This Crisis Came About
08.    New Unregulated Markets
09.    Modern Capitalism Separates Ownership and Control
10.    Control
11.    Government Controlled by Banking Interest
12.    Property Information System
13.    Protection of Wealthy and Powerful
14.    Documentation of Who Owns What
15.    New Orleans Troubles
16.    Foreclosures are Economic Katrinas

*****

 greenspan with ayn rand

Art: Courtesy of Dangerous Minds

 


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Zero Hedge

Bitcoin 'Crashes' To 1-Week Lows - The Difference Between Fear And Concern

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Bitcoin dropped over $900 from its record high at $2760 on Thursday in the last 48 hours, but has bounced back to remain up 17% week-over-week.

A 30% drop from Thursday's highs...

But Bitcoin is still up around 140% year-to-date...

While the volatility is unprecedented, ...



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ValueWalk

Pakistan Is The Key To Better Iran And Saudi Arabia Relations

By Polina Tikhonova. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff is reportedly making an urgent trip to Iran as tensions are rising. After Iran fired five mortar shells into Pakistan last Sunday in response to Islamabad’s participation in a summit led by U.S. President Donald Trump and hosted by Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, cracks in their decades-long friendship deepened.

Photo by Uzairmaqbool (Pixabay)

Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa is ...



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Phil's Favorites

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth

 

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth (Video)

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Ben had a hit on Bloomberg TV last night talking about his recent piece on market breadth and why it’s perfectly normal to see the market being led higher by some very big winning stocks. His research shows that this is always the case during bull markets and that broader measures of the internals are healthy, not sick.

Check this out:

…and you can read his expanded thoughts on ...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Is Crashing (Again)

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

While Bitcoin is still up 13% on the week (its 8th weekly ruse of the last 9), the dollar price of the virtual currency is collapsing again in US trading (after a big rebound during the Asian session)...

Just as with yesterday, there is no immediate news catalyst for the flush.

Meanwhile, the huge arb with South Korea bitcoin pricing remains, and as of this moment is still nearly $1000.

Today's drop ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

U.S. stocks scale new peaks on retailer results; oil falls (Reuters)

Two top U.S. equity indexes scaled record peaks on Thursday after strong earnings reports from retailers, outpacing European shares which were little changed, while oil prices plunged after top crude producers extended output cuts for a shorter period than expected.

Hedge Funds Squeezed by World's Highest Rents Are Moving Out (Bloomberg)

Benjamin Fuchs raised eyebrows five years ago when he opened his hedge fund next to a place selling live chickens in Hong Kong’s hustling, bustl...



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Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 2017

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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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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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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