Archive for 2010

Swing trading virtual portfolio – week of August 2nd, 2010

This post is for live trades 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



Financial Reform Bill as Mere Inconvenience

Financial Reform Bill as Mere Inconvenience

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker  

This cartoon caught my eye last week.  If you stare at the driver real hard, you can probably picture your favorite banker friend or Wall Street lawyer friend.

Whatevs, we knew that no matter how much outrage there was, the world would pretty much revert back to the natural order of things eventually.  The Financial Reform Bill is a speeding ticket, the reckless driver is still pushing a luxury sexwagon.


Cartoons of the Week (TIME)

Tags: ,

Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

Here’s an interesting article in the NY Times that has been making the internet rounds.  David Stockman writes about how the Republican party destroyed the American economy. – Ilene 

Barry Ritholtz made this comment in summarizing the article: 

In short, the party became more focused on Politics than Policy.

I bring this up as an intro to David Stockman’s brutal critique of Republican fiscal policy. Stockman was the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. His NYT OpEd — subhed: How the GOP Destroyed the US economy — perfectly summarizes the most legitimate critiques of decades of GOP economic policy.

I can sum it up thusly: Whereas the Democrats have no economic policy, the Republicans have a very bad one.

Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

money printing By DAVID STOCKMAN, NY Times 


This approach has not simply made a mockery of traditional party ideals. It has also led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy. More specifically, the new policy doctrines have caused four great deformations of the national economy, and modern Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one.

The first of these started when the Nixon administration defaulted on American obligations under the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world. Now, since we have lived beyond our means as a nation for nearly 40 years, our cumulative current-account deficit — the combined shortfall on our trade in goods, services and income — has reached nearly $8 trillion. That’s borrowed prosperity on an epic scale.


The second unhappy change in the American economy has been the extraordinary growth of our public debt. 


The third ominous change in the American economy has been the vast, unproductive expansion of our financial sector. Here, Republicans have been oblivious to the grave danger of flooding financial markets with freely printed money and, at the same time, removing traditional restrictions on leverage and speculation. As a result, the combined assets of conventional banks and the so-called shadow banking system (including investment banks and finance companies) grew from a mere $500 billion in 1970 to $30 trillion by September 2008.

But the trillion-dollar conglomerates that inhabit this new financial world are not free enterprises. They are rather wards of the state, extracting billions from the economy with a lot of pointless speculation in stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives. They could
continue reading

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Swing trading virtual portfolio – Updated P&L as of July 31st 2010

The last 2 months have been very good for our virtual portfolio! In June and July we were up 60.61% for a 3% risk per trade, and 40.41% for a 2% risk.

Year-to-date, the virtual portfolio is now up 130% for 3% risk, and 86% for 2% risk! More if you compound results. Last month we had 20 profitable trades, and 10 losers. And we managed to keep all our losers within control, while we let a couple winners run for a while.

We kept all losers below a 2R loss.

On the other side, we had 6 winners at more than 2R, with the AKAM trade at more than 5R profit! 

Some of those trades (AKAM for example) were even bigger if you were trading options, but we also had a couple ones (like IMAX) where trading the stock was much better. We will try to focus on the most liquid instruments in the future.

And we still have not booked our ARNA trade, which is turning to just be the biggest winner of the year!

Thank you everyone for all the great comments, and let’s keep it rolling in August.

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



Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses

Five More Failed Banks Cost US Government an Additional $334 Million in Losses


The losses from the mortgage securities frauds and the subsequent bubble collapse continue to debilitate the US financial system, particularly the regional banks, in a slow bleed costing the US government additional millions each week. The public relations campaign promoting the idea that the bank bailouts are done and successful, and that the US made money on this egregious abuse of public monies is patently false, and probably can be described as corporatist propaganda.

The banks continue to mount a campaign to resist reform and regulation. They are taking advantage of the weakness of the Obama administration in failing to reform the banking system through liquidations and managed bankruptcies, including indictments and investigations as was seen in the Savings and Loan scandal.

It is difficult to continue to assume good intentions in this administration, or even mere incompetence. The objections put up by Geithner and Summers to the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new consumer protection agency shows how reactionary they continue to be, and resistant to fundamental reforms.

American Banker
Failures on Two Coasts Stretch Toll for Year to 108

By Joe Adler
Friday, July 30, 2010

Five bank closures in four states Friday cost the federal government an additional $334 million in losses.

Regulators shuttered the $373 million-asset Coastal Community Bank in Panama City Beach, Fla., the $66 million-asset Bayside Savings Bank in Port Saint Joe, Fla., the $168 million-asset NorthWest Bank and Trust in Acworth, Ga., the $529 million-asset The Cowlitz Bank in Longview, Wash., and the $768-asset LibertyBank in Eugene, Ore. The failures brought the year’s total to 108.

The hammered Southeast bore the brunt of the failure activity, as it has for so many Fridays since the financial crisis began. Twenty banks have been seized in Florida in 2010, while 11 have failed in Georgia so far this year.

The two Florida institutions that failed Friday went to one buyer: Centennial Bank in Conway, Ark. The acquirer agreed to take over Coastal Community’s $363 million in deposits, Bayside Savings’ $52 million in deposits and roughly all of the assets of both institutions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to share losses with Centennial on $303 million of Coastal Community’s assets, and $48

continue reading

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Post: HFT Bot-Versus-Bot

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Scott Olsen of

HFT Bot-versus-Bot

Zero Hedge has a great post on High Frequency Trading (HFT):

“It’s Not A Market, It’s An HFT ‘Crop Circle’ Crime Scene”

In the article he presents pretty compelling visual evidence of “quote stuffing” by HFT trading bots.  This quote stuffing can end up “pushing the bid/offer range up to 10% higher without even one trade ever having occurred.” It is illegal to indicate a quote without the intent to complete the quoted transaction.

But in my mind what is most significant is to whom this quote stuffing is directed.  It’s not directed at “head faking” analog Hedge Funds, or that rare bird “Real Money Investors,” it’s clearly directed at other HFT trading bots.  Yes, we’ve entered the era of Bot-versus-Bot in our stock market.  And to the new retiree that got pumped on that latest E-trade advert that’s in heavy rotation on CNBC and is ready to tiptoe in,  I can only give the best wishes that everybody gave to my grand-pappy: “Good luck, shooter….. Coming Out!”

HFT began with the observation that there is “structure” to the tick-by-tick movement of the markets, that as market participants – analog Hedge Funds, Real Money Investors, Brokerage Houses – made their trades,  there were patterns to the price movements that could be predicted, and therefore profited from.  From this position, it is a natural next step that as HFT trading bots become a large part of the transaction volume of the stock market (they are) that the algorithms that power these HFT trading bots should look to exploit the “structure” provided by other HFT trading bots.

A logical next step, no doubt, but we are really at what I call “the end of the rationale road” of this stock market thing.  My prior post about the topic:

High Frequency Trading, ECNs and the Green Light

We created this stock market thing so Montgomery Burns with capital, could get that capital to Transatlantic Zeppelin, which needed capital, in an efficient manner. Now, who knows why it exists.

And concomitant with the rise HFT trading bots is an increasing correlation between the individual components of indexes[continue reading

The Committee to Defraud the World

The Committee to Defraud the World


To say now that ‘No one knew’ or ‘I was mistaken’ or ‘I was just doing as I was told’ is another in a series of lies and deceptions that have supported one of the greatest frauds in the history of the world.

But this is not history. This episode of fraud is still playing itself out now. And to fail to understand the depth and breadth of this madness is to place oneself in peril, and in the power of those who are twisting the Western economic and political system even now to satisfy their lust for wealth and power. You are only successful if you can keep what you kill.

Glass-Steagall fell after a decade long campaign involving hundreds of millions in lobbyist money spread lavishly around the Congress, led by Sanford Weil of Citibank, supported by key banking and political figures in the Congress and at the Fed. It involved Senator Phil Gramm, who helped to put a stake in the heart of the financial regulatory process under the Reagan free markets banner, and who recently said the problem is that the middle class were a bunch of whiners. As did his wife Wendy, who as the chairperson of the CFTC had exempted Enron from regulatory oversight, and then left to take a position there on its board of directors.

Like the Mortgage Backed Securities scandal it involved surprisingly few principal players, like Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, who used their power and influence to silence and ostracize critics, and promote a climate of reckless disregard for the public trust under the meme of ‘efficient markets’ and deregulation. This might have been an innocent policy error if it did not involve premeditated theft on a massive scale, followed by cover ups, denials, and a control fraud that exists even today.

But it also involved literally thousands of collaborators and enablers, from mainstream media people, economists, analysts, and other thought leaders to politicians and regulators who saw that it was to their advantage to at least passively support this scheme which they knew very well was a fairy tale, a fraud, class warfare by a new name, but were able to hide their own guilty consciences behind self-serving rationalization and the shield of plausible deniability.

History, and hopefully the justice system, will sort this all out.…
continue reading

Guest Post: How to Find Low Risk SP500, Gold & Oil ETF Setups

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Chris Vermeulen of The Gold and Oil Guy

How to Find Low Risk SP500, Gold & Oil ETF Setups

As we all know there is an unlimited amount of ways to trade the financial markets. Each person sees the market in a different way, has different skill sets, trading experience and risk tolerance levels. While some individuals create and use complete systems to make money there are some very basic trading strategies which still work well and require nothing more than basic charting, patience and a little money management.

Let me explain:

SPY – SP500 Index Trading Fund

You can clearly see the longer term trend which is down (blue trendine). But from simply drawing a couple trendlines and looking at the MACD (momentum) indicator you can see there is a possible trend reversal taking place. So far the SPY has broken out of its down trendline with a 4 day pop, and it’s now pulled back down to test support. A close below the trend line or the 50MA would be the exit points if the market did start to go south.

The SP500 is still stuck under major resistance, its 200 day moving average. But is trading above key support levels (20MA, 50MA and Trendline). I can feel the tension in the market between traders and we are about to see a big move once a breakout to the upside or down side is established. At this time its best to be in cash or have a small position with a protective stop in place. Once a trend starts there should be some low risk entry points along the way. If we see a strong reversal to the upside On Monday or Tuesday I would expect big buyers would step in to catch this new trend up.

USO – Crude Oil Trading Fund

Oil has been trading in a large bearish pennant for the past 2 months and it is nearing the apex of this pattern. The longer term picture of oil is bearish but the most recent dotted trend line and the 20/50MA crossover is signaling some strength. Also the momentum for oil is positive and that helps support the price also. Again if this was to breakout to the upside I would wait for a low volume pullback to test the breakout level, then enter on a…
continue reading

Alan Greenspan: “The Financial System Is Broke”

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

For the definitive confirmation that the Fed is and has always been very open to, at least philosophically, pushing the market higher no matter what the cost (if not in practice – they would never do that, oh no, Liberty 33 would never stoop so low), is this quote from former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan who was on Meet The Press earlier, where he said the following stunner: “if the stock market continues higher it will do more to stimulate the economy than any other measure we have discussed here.” In other words, the Fed’s dual mandate of maximizing employment and promoting a stable inflation rate have been brushed aside, and the one and only prerogative for Chairman Ben currently, and for the short and long-term future, is to keep the Dow Jones (because nobody in the administration, even the Fed, has heard about the S&P yet), above 10,000. Yet Greenspan, who now apparently is off the reservation concludes with this stunner: “There is no doubt that the federal funds rate can be fixed at what the Fed wants it to be but which the government has no control over is long-term interest rates and long-term interest rates are what make the economy move. And if this budget problem eventually merges to the point where it begins to become very toxic, it will be reflected in rising long-term interest rates, rising mortgage rates, lower housing. At the moment there is no sign of that because the financial system is broke and you can not have inflation if the financial system is not working.” In other words, we will be in deflation until the broke financial system becomes unbroke… and then we will have hyperinflation.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, Q.E.D.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Zero Hedge

The Triumph Of Materialism: The Average American Will Spend 830 Dollars On Christmas In 2015

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Has there ever been a major holiday more focused on materialism than the modern American Christmas?  This year, Americans are planning to spend an average of 830 dollars on Christmas gifts, which represents a jump of 110 dollars over the average of 720 dollars last year.  But have our incomes gone up accordingly?  Of course not.

In fact, real median household income in the United States has been experiencing a steady long-term decl...

more from Tyler

Phil's Favorites

Kiss Christmas and Retail Stocks Goodbye


Connecting the Dots: Kiss Christmas and Retail Stocks Goodbye

By Tony Sagami

In my article from November 17, I touched on the growing number of retailers that report shrinking traffic and disappointing sales:

Our consumer-driven economy is not getting any help from suddenly sober shopaholics. In the most recent report, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose by a measly 0.1% in September. And it didn’t matter whether you wear Gucci loafers or Red Wing work boots.

Since then, the retail landscape has gotten even muddier.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased by a miserly +0.1% in October, be...

more from Ilene

Chart School

Status Quo Maintained - Happy Thanksgiving!

Courtesy of Declan.

Holiday trading kicked into gear, although volume for the S&P managed to push into a technical accumulation day. Things are likely to remain quiet through to next week and any sharp moves at this stage have a high risk of failure.

The top performing index on the day was the Russell 2000. It managed to add another decent gain o keep the string of higher closes running. It didn't quite close above 1,200, but it may do so Friday (with the aforementioned caveat of holiday trading). Overall action in this index has been positive, and relative performance to other indices continues to improve.

The Nasdaq is also ready to break higher. ...

more from Chart School

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...

more from David

Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Asia stocks mixed amid geopolitical tension, oil eases from highs (Business Insider)

Asian stocks were mixed in early trading on Wednesday as investors assessed the geopolitical risk surrounding Turkey's downing of a Russian fighter jet, while crude oil prices eased from two-week highs.

If China Killed Commodities Super Cycle, Fed Is About to Bury It (Bloomberg)

For commodities, it’s like the 21st century never happened.

The last time the Bloomberg Commodity Index of investor retu...

more from Paul

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!


more from Kimble C.S.


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 ...

more from Sabrient


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 ...

more from OpTrader

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...

more from Bitcoin


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, ...

more from Promotions


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...

more from ValueWalk


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 ...

more from Pharmboy

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. 


more from M.T.M.

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!

FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites

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...

Learn more About Phil >>

As Seen On:

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.

Market Shadows >>