Archive for 2009

European Banks Face Devastating Exposure to Emerging Markets

Grateful Dead on the international financial ruin.

Driving that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones you better watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind,
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

Trouble with you is the trouble with me,
Got two good eyes but you still dont see.
Come round the bend, you know its the end,
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams…

European Banks Face Devastating Exposure to Emerging Markets

LondonCourtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

This view from the City of London is interesting, given the devastation that permeates their own surrounding landscape. The Anglo-Americans seem to be throwing down the gauntlet. What now, Monsieur Trichet?

The European banking system is certainly a mess, and if there was a case to be made for pursuing the ‘Swedish option’ of nationalizing the banks in a crisis of their own making this is it.

One sentence in this was especially eye-catching.

"We are nearing the point where the IMF may have to print money for the world, using arcane powers to issue Special Drawing Rights."

Problem -> Reaction -> Solution.

There always seem to be some arcane powers ready to solve the unexpected crisis.

UK Telegraph
Failure to save East Europe will lead to worldwide meltdown
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

If mishandled by the world policy establishment, this debacle is big enough to shatter the fragile banking systems of Western Europe and set off round two of our financial Götterdämmerung.

Austria’s finance minister Josef Pröll made frantic efforts last week to put together a €150bn rescue for the ex-Soviet bloc. Well he might. His banks have lent €230bn to the region, equal to 70pc of Austria’s GDP.

"A failure rate of 10pc would lead to the collapse of the Austrian financial sector," reported Der Standard in Vienna. Unfortunately, that is about to happen.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) says bad debts will top 10pc and may reach 20pc. The Vienna press said Bank Austria and its Italian owner Unicredit face a "monetary

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America vs. the Oligarchs

Very interesting, an intriging expose questioning who’s in charge?  (The video‘s well worth watching too!)

America vs. the Oligarchs 

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Bill Moyers has an interview with former IMF Chief Economist and MIT professor Simon Johnson that puts forth the notion that there is a small group of financial oligarchs essentially holding the country hostage.

Simon Johnson’s premise is that the big Wall Street banks represent an oligarchy that is exerting undue influence and control on our government and the economy. They are turning this crisis to their advantage, and circumventing the democratic process.

What we are seeing looks to Simon Johnson like a financial coup d’etat.

Now is the time to break up the big money center banks. Now is the time to reinstate Glass-Steagall. We must demand the reforms for which we elected the Obama Administration.

Watch this interview. Think about it. Let other people know. Write your congressmen.

And be prepared to act on a larger scale in a peaceful way to get the point across that we value our liberty and we will stand for justice. We are not optimistic that the government will do the right thing without more prodding and significant support from the public.

"I think I’m signaling something a little bit shocking to Americans, and to myself, actually. Which is the situation we find ourselves in at this moment, this week, is very strongly reminiscent of the situations we’ve seen many times in other places.

But they’re places we don’t like to think of ourselves as being similar to. They’re emerging markets. It’s Russia or Indonesia or a Thailand type situation, or Korea. That’s not comfortable. America is different. America is special. America is rich. And, yet, we’ve somehow find ourselves in the grip of the same sort of crisis and the same sort of oligarchs…

But, exactly what you said, it’s a small group with a lot of power. A lot of wealth. They don’t necessarily – they’re not necessarily always the names, the household names that spring to mind, in this kind of context. But they are the people who could pull the strings. Who have the influence. Who call the shots…

…the signs that I see this week, the body language, the

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Weak Weekly Wrap-Up

Another disappointing week!

Once again it was only what we expected so no big deal as we went into last weekend ready for the bear if the stimulus plan failed to give us a boost.  Even so, finishing back near the November lows is downright depressing.  On Friday, the 6th I said the energy sector could be a drag on the markets and the dollar bouncing back could exert additional downward pressure and you can see from these charts, we got our dollar bounce AND the energy sector was a serious underperformer and, unfortunately, acting like a weight around the neck of the broader indexes.  We've been discussing this for weeks – The XLE alone is now 14% of the S&P.  Coupled with the OIH group makes over 20% of the market then energy sector, which dropped a combined 7% last week, accounting for over 1.5% of the total market drop

The financials are still 10.23% of the S&P as of Friday but they started the week at 11.25% and knocked a full point off the markets in just 5 days as they fell 10% for the week.  Healthcare (XLV, 16%), which we've been playing for a few weeks now, actually outperformed the indexes last week as has technology (XLK, 21%), which we play through the Qs and has quietly crept up to become the new leaser of the S&P by a pretty good gap.  THIS, people, is the rotation we have been playing for.  I did not sugar-coat it – I said it would be painful but it is what we wanted – the end of the endless moving about of shiny bits of metal and worthless pieces of paper that siphoned money away from the many to the very, very few and left us with nothing but a bubble economy, sucking jobs and capital out of real industries that we are supposed to build an economy on.

This is not the end of capitalism – this IS capitalism.  Survival of the fittest, of the companies that actually provide goods and services people want, triumphing over the middlemen who seek to tack on commissions and fees to every possible step in the transactions which they add nothing to.  Of course a fee is deserved…
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Cumulative Bank Failures Over Time

Amidst a growing number of bank failures, Mish predicts there will be hundreds more.

Cumulative Bank Failures Over Time

Courtesy of Mish 

The FDIC has a report called the Failed Bank List. Here is a partial listing that shows the most recent 20 bank failures.

click on chart for sharper image

"Fish Gone Bad" sent me the following chart showing cumulative bank failures over time.

While a logarithmic chart might be better, and perhaps will be necessary in a short period of time, the chart does depict what is happening.

Looking at the period of no bank failures in the above chart reminded me of something.

$VIX: The Calm Before The Storm

click on chart for sharper image

While not calling for the $VIX to do anything in particular other than not head back below 10 for years, it is a near certainty that bank failures are going to soar. There are easily hundreds banks that are insolvent right now. The only question is how long the FDIC continues to hide that fact.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


Sunday Morning Coffee

What is the fair value of the market, and perhaps more importantly, does it matter? Random Roger shares his thoughts on Barry Ritholtz’s fair value argument.

Sunday Morning Coffee

Courtesy of Roger at Random Roger’s Big Picture

Barry Ritholtz has a post up spelling out a simple argument for fair value for the S&P 500 being at 440. There has been a little bit of chatter about this in one or two other places as well.

Fair value is not a simple concept. The math is simple; whatever number you want to use for earnings and then whatever multiple you think is correct.

Where it gets a little more complicated is that fair value doesn’t usually end coinciding with any sort of stopping point in either direction nor is their any sort of indication of how long stocks might stay above or below fair value.

If Barry is right there is nothing to say that stocks go anywhere near that low or conversely that a massive decline would somehow stop at 440. Maybe I have this wrong but I can’t recall a time where a fair value number has been a primary factor for the market. There is utility in knowing whether the market is relatively expensive or inexpensive. Generically speaking if the market is expensive the risk of a decline might be a little higher.

The current state of the market however is not generic. The market has had a massive decline and has been stumbling along the bottom for several months now. Based on the market action thus far the days of massive declines could be behind us until the next cycle. Now factor in the fundamentals and the never ending bad news and uncertainty and going down a lot more is certainly possible.

I continue to believe the low is in, give or take a few percent, that there will be more ups and downs but no violation to the downside and I also think we still have a massive bear market rally in here soon as well. I’ve been whistling this tune for a while as some may know. But since I first piped up on this idea the news has continued to get worse yet the market is churning around the same range as opposed to following the news lower. This

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Wall Street Can’t Count

And neither can I, sorry.  H/T to Barry Ritholtz for finding. – Ilene

Wall Street Can’t Count

By Robert X Cringely, at I, Cringely

This post first ran on January 29th on my mortgage blog.  It got some traction there and a few mentions in the press so, lazy bastard that I am, I’m reproducing it here in a slightly improved form that corrects my own math error.

Take a look at this chart that someone sent to me a couple days ago.  I’m making it big so you can see as much detail as possible.  Have a look and then come back, okay?

Pretty scary, eh?  It’s a chart showing the deterioration of major bank market caps since 2007.  Prepared by someone at JP Morgan based on data from Bloomberg, this chart flashed across Wall Street and the financial world a few days ago, filling thousands of e-mail in boxes.  Putting a face on the current banking crisis it really brought home to many people on Wall Street the critical position the financial industry finds itself in.

Too bad the chart is wrong.

It’s a simple error, really.  The bubbles are two-dimensional so they imply that the way to see change is by comparing AREAS of the bubbles.  But if you look at the numbers themselves you can see that’s not the case…

And who was that someone? Me!  A nobody.  Or at least someone unimportant enough not to be asking for a Federal bailout….

No wonder we’re in a global financial crisis.

Full article here.


Here’s a more accurate chart (but no promises) posted by Rene Korda in Barry’s comments section.  Click on chart for a larger image. 



GM Go Boom?

Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker discusses the UAW halting negotiations with GM,.. what are they thinking? 

GM Go Boom?

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Big Numbers

Here’s a report from Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon on our federal government’s obligations exceeding the world GDP. Jerome Corsi asks, paraphrasing, are you terrified yet? 

Big Numbers

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon

There’s no question that we’re talking big numbers — with plenty of zeros — when it comes to efforts to "rescue" the U.S. economy. But it didn’t take the latest wave of profligacy to prove that Washington has a serious spending problem. That fact was obvious to anyone who was familiar with the all-in cost of the government’s retirement safety net. In "Federal Obligations Exceed World GDP," WorldNetDaily’s Jerome R. Corsi covers the issue in frightening detail.

Does $65.5 trillion terrify anyone yet?

As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.

The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligation embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account.

The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The difference between the $455 billion "official" budget deficit numbers and the $5.1 trillion budget deficit cited by "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.

But the numbers in the 2008 report are calculated on a GAAP basis ("Generally Accepted Accounting Practices") that include year-for-year changes in the net present value of unfunded liabilities in social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Under cash accounting, the government makes no provision for future Social Security and Medicare benefits in the year in which those benefits

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Asia’s Export Economies In Free Fall

Mish to Obama and Geithner – be careful what you ask for.

Asia’s Export Economies In Free Fall; Protectionism On The Rise

Courtesy of Mish 

Inquiring minds are looking into details of Asia’s Export Economies.

Staggering falls in exports across Asia have shocked economic analysts and ended all claims that the global slump may be nearing its bottom. The IMF’s growth forecast for Asia this year is just 2.7 percent—less than a third of the 9 percent growth rate of 2007. The prediction is a full percentage point less than during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

IMA Asia analyst Richard Martin commented in the Australian: "It’s a bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion. North Asia is suffering the biggest collapse in demand since World War II." Westpac bank’s Richard Franulovich said that the "speed of the decline embedded in the latest Asia data is on par with the collapse in the US during the 1930s Depression."

Asia Export Economy Details

  • Japanese exports fell 35 percent in December from a year earlier. Industrial production plunged a record 9.6 percent, month on month, in December. 
  • Chinese exports declined for the third consecutive month in January, falling 17.5 percent from a year earlier, after a 2.8 percent decline in December. Imports plunged even further—43.1 percent, twice as much as December’s 21.3 percent year-on-year drop.
  • More than 20 million Chinese migrant workers have lost their jobs so far, with some analysts warning of 50 million more job losses if the economy deteriorates further. 
  • India exports fell 24 percent in January. According to official data, one million Indian workers in the export sector have lost their jobs since September. Another half a million workers are expected to lose their jobs by March.
  • New Delhi’s public debt stands at 75 percent of its GDP, compared to just 18.5 percent in China, leaving less room for large stimulus packages. 
  • South Korea’s exports, the main driving force of the economy, plunged 32.8 percent in January. Finance minister Yoon Jeung-hyun warned on Tuesday that the fourth largest economy in Asia would shrink by about 2 percent this year. Credit Suisse has projected as much as a 7 percent contraction. 
  • Taiwan, the sixth largest Asian economy, saw its exports fall

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Why Fair Value For The S&P 500 Is Not 440

Chad Brand takes issue with Barry Ritholtz’s valuation of the S&P 500. Both viewpoints appear to incorporate assumptions about the future which influence their present case argument.

Why Fair Value For The S&P 500 Is Not 440 

Courtesy of Chad Brand at The Peridot Capitalist

Barry Ritholtz, market veteran and blogger over at The Big Picture postulated today that fair value for the S&P 500 might be 440. He got there by taking trailing 12 month GAAP earnings of $28.75 and applying a 15 P/E ratio to them.

Personally, I expect more from Barry given how strong much of his market and economic analysis has been over the years, but there are glaring flaws in this valuation methodology. First, I don’t know very many market strategists who believe fair value on the S&P 500 should be based on the earnings produced by the index’s components in the depths of a deep recession. Most people agree that fair value should be based on an estimate of normalized earnings, not trough (or near-trough) profit levels.

Imagine you owned a Burlington Coat Factory retail store. You are ready to retire and have a business person interested in buying your store. What would your reaction be if this person took your store’s profit for the month of June, multiplied it by 12, and based his offer price on that level of projected annual profits. Clearly that figure does not give an accurate representation of how much money your store earns in a year because June is probably one of your worst months of the year for selling coats!

The same flaw exists in valuing the stock market based on current earnings. Doing so implies that earnings today represent a typical economic climate, which is clearly not the case.

The second issue with Barry’s analysis is the use of “as-reported” GAAP earnings. The reason GAAP earnings have fallen so fast is that they include non-cash charges such as asset impairments. It is common these days for companies to report cash earnings of $1 billion but a GAAP loss of $5 billion due to a $6 billion asset impairment charge. In such a case GAAP earnings (which include the non-cash charge) are understated by a whopping $6 billion. Why should asset impairments be excluded? A stock’s value is based on the present value of future…
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Zero Hedge

Ask The Expert - Steve St. Angelo!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Sprott Money.

Ask The Expert - Steve St. Angelo

(Click for Original Post)

Steve St. Angelo is an Independent researcher who started to invest in precious metals in 2002. Later on in 2008, he began researching areas of the gold and silver market that, curiously, the majority of the precious metal analyst community have left unexplored. These areas include how energy and the falling EROI – Energy Returned On Invested – stand to impact the mining industry, precious metals, paper assets, and the overall econom...

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Phil's Favorites

Black and Blue Friday Coming Up

Courtesy of Mish.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Black and Blue Friday will follow, putting U.S. Consumers and Stores in Face Off Over Discounts.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey found more people planned to cut holiday spending than increase in every category surveyed: clothing, jewelry, electronics, food and toys, and that 46 percent felt they could wait longer in the season to buy because of faster shipping.

Appliances, entertainment items, infant products and hardware showed narrowing discounts, MarketTrak reported, while promotions for apparel, toys and electronics were getting bigger.

Kurt Jetta, head of retail industry researcher TABS Group, found the discounts underwhelming....

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Barclays bets on stock boom as world money growth soars (The Telegraph)

Barclays has advised clients to jump into world stock markets with both feet, citing the fastest growth in the global money supply in over thirty years and an accelerating recovery in China .

Ian Scott, the bank’s global equity strategist, said the sheer force of liquidity will overwhelm the first interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve, expected to kick off next month.

The reason Pfizer doesn't have to care what politicians say about its $160 billion merger&nbs...

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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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Chart School

2-0 Bulls

Courtesy of Declan.

A second day for bulls to shine despite modest end-of-day gains. Some indices did better than others. The Russell 2000 was the key performer. It finished with a MACD trigger 'buy' and looks ready to outperform the Nasdaq 100.  This is an important development for bulls looking for more from other indices. A move to challenge - then break - its 200-day MA, would convert August-November action into a healthy basing action.

The Nasdaq registered higher volume accumulation as a brief sojourn below the 20-day MA was reversed. It's nicely set up for a push to new swing highs.


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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500 – Dangerous for bull case, if prices turn weak here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


The S&P 500 remains inside of a rising channel that has been in place since 2010. The 5-year trend is up.

The 5-month trend is a different story, at this time.

Over the past 5-months, the S&P 500 has created a series of “falling weekly closing highs,” which is represented by line (1) above.

The S&P is testing this falling resistance line at (2) above.

If weakness takes place at (2) above, at falling resistance, it would be concerning price action for the bullish case!


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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 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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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's Computing Network is More Powerful than 525 Googles and 10,000 Banks!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.

You see, Bitcoin is not about coins, currency or price pops. It is a massive computing net...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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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. 


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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 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.

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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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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