Archive for 2010

Swing trading virtual portfolio – week of February 8th, 2010

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

The Meaning of “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

Amusing analogy, and while the finer details may be hard to appreciate, like the difference between dying from contaminated salmon mousse and an e-coli-laced burger, I believe Robert Waldmann’s argument is correct — food poisoning kills.  And slicing, dicing and spreading contaminated beef through the hamburger supply, kills most efficiently. What we have here is not one bad can of salmon. - Ilene  

The Meaning of "Monty Python and the Meaning of Life"

Courtesy of Robert Waldmann at Angry Bear

Barry Ritholtz argues that the problem with mortgages was underwriting standards and not securitization. He appeals to the very great authority of Monty Python. Click the link.

Ritholtz seems not to be familiar with this new idea in economic theory called "Nash equilibrium". Over -rated yes. Totally irrelevant not so much. One can not assume that underwriting standards are exogenous. If there had been no MBS, no firm would have underwritten those mortgages. It was exactly because it was possible to blend them, and then sell them to people who didn’t spin the mortgage tapes before buying, that the mortgages existed in the first place. 

Raw hamburger texture

Let me work with his analogy. First, while I have great respect for the Monty Python team, few people have been killed by canned Salmon. Even blended into mousse, it kills fairly quickly and can be tracked back to the canner. The way bacteria work is that if you mix some contaminated stuff with other stuff you have trouble for sure. It doesn’t work that things seem fine until people notice.

At a way lower cultural level than Ritholtz I appeal to road runner cartoons. Wile E. Coyote runs along in mid air until he notices. Then he falls. As noted by everyone, this is the way financial markets really work. The non Monty Python quality humor is based on the fact that gravity doesn’t really work that way. Neither do bacteria. Analogies between rotten mortgages and rotten Salmon fail for this reason.

Notably, the ingredients in the Salmon mousse are few enough that the dead diners immediately know what went wrong when death points at the mousse. That’s not the way MBS work let alone CDOs of MBSs or CDOS of tranches of CDOS.

A better analogy would be making hamburger. Bits from hundreds of steers end up in the…
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Bottled Water Syndrome

The Drinking Water Profiteers

Bottled Water Syndrome

Courtesy of JOSEPH NEVINS writing at CounterPunch

Portrait of a young woman showing a water bottle

In mid-January, I received a mass email asking me to donate $10 for bottled water and other supplies for participants in an important immigrant rights march in Phoenix. Given the ever-repressive and cruel political climate in Arizona for immigrants (especially unauthorized ones), I was unequivocally in support of the mobilization. Nonetheless I was taken aback by a request to contribute even nominally to an effort to buy bottles of water for what turned out to be, according to some estimates, more than 20,000 people.

Certainly there are other ways—ecologically sustainable and less expensive ones—to provide water for such a multitude. How, why, and to what effects bottled water became the preferred way to do so for myriad people and places far beyond a single event in Phoenix is the focus of Elizabeth Royte’s powerful and compelling book, Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs and the Battle Over America’s Drinking Water.

I’ve never been a fan of bottled water, considering it ecologically damaging—in the United States alone 30-40 million single-serve bottles per day end up as litter or in landfills—and economically foolhardy, another capitalistic trick to con us into purchasing  something from profiteers that we don’t shouldn’t have to. But as Royte powerfully illustrates, the increasing commodification of drinking water is far more complex, and dangerous, than at least I appreciated.

Until recently, the sale of single-serve bottles of water was rare. While the United States had regional bottled water companies as early as the nineteenth century, such entities mainly supplied homes and offices with large containers of the life-sustaining liquid (for water coolers, for instance). This situation began to change in the 1980s with the entry of Perrier into the U.S. market and its successful television advertising which stressed that a little luxury—a bottle of the French water—was available to everyone.

Other companies, like Evian and Vittel, followed, employing the likes of Madonna and fashion models, to help equate bottled water with personal health, fitness, and glamour. That, combined with the invention of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic—which made water easily portable—helped the U.S. bottled-water industry boom: between 1990 and 1997 its annual sales increased from $115 million to $4 billion. (By 2006, the figure was $10.8 billion; globally bottled water’s income was $60 billion.)

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"If the money used to bail out AIG and the banks had been used to bail out the states instead, the states would not be facing insolvency today."


Business As Usual in New Bond Street After Jewellery Heist

Courtesy of Ellen Brown at Web of Debt 

Rumor has it that Timothy Geithner is on his way out as Treasury Secretary, due to his involvement in the AIG scandal that is now unraveling in hearings before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Bob Chapman writes in The International Forecaster:

Each day brings more revelations of efforts of the NY Fed and Goldman Sachs to hide the details of the criminal conspiracy of the AIG bailout. . . . This is a real crisis on the scale of Watergate. Corruption at its finest.

But unlike the perpetrators of the Watergate scandal, who wound up looking at jail time, Geithner evidently has a golden parachute waiting at Goldman Sachs, not coincidentally the largest recipient of the AIG bailout. At least that is the rumor sparked by an article by Caroline Baum on Bloomberg News, titled “Goldman Parachute Awaits Geithner to Ease Fall.” Hank Paulson, Geithner’s predecessor, was CEO of Goldman Sachs before coming to the Treasury. Geithner, who has come up through the ranks of government, could be walking through the revolving door in the other direction.  

Student Using Microscope in Lab

Geithner has been under the House microscope for the decision of the New York Fed, made while he headed it, to buy out about $30 billion in credit default swaps (over-the-counter derivative insurance contracts) that AIG sold on toxic debt securities. The chief recipients of this payout were Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Deutsche Bank. Goldman got $13 billion, roughly equivalent to its bonus pool for the first 9 months of 2009. Critics are calling the New York Fed’s decision a back-door bailout for the banks, which received 100 cents on the dollar for contracts that would have been worth far less had AIG been put through bankruptcy proceedings in the ordinary way. In a Bloomberg article provocatively titled “Secret Banking Cabal Emerges from AIG Shadows,” David Reilly writes:

[T]he New York Fed is a quasi-governmental institution that isn’t subject to citizen intrusions such as freedom

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Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Here’s PSW member Tuscadog’s detailed analysis of the company Amedisys (AMED). Tuscadog feels this is one of the few solid opportunities in the stock market, and he suggests a massive short squeeze may be coming due to AMED’s 53% short interest. – Ilene

Amedisys, Inc. provides home health and hospice services to the chronic, co-morbid, and aging American population. Its home health services include skilled nursing and home health aide services; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and medically oriented social work to eligible individuals who require ongoing care. The company also offers clinically focused programs for chronic conditions and various diseases,… (Yahoo financial, more here.>>)

Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Courtesy of Tuscadog, member at PSW

Doctor standing outdoors with elderly patient

Feb 23rd may be ‘Judgment Day’ for the AMED short interest.

This is a long posting based on a lot of research and high level interviews I’ve conducted. I’m a private (long term) investor in Amed and I don’t appreciate the way Amed has been ‘jerked around’ by the hedge funds with false rumors and shorting, hence my willingness to share my analysis with small investors. These are my opinions based on my own extensive research, so invest at your own risk. For background on Amed pay particular attention to the 7 articles by Daryl Davis in the ‘Financial Blogs’ section of the Yahoo Finance page for Amed.


Amed will likely release 2009 EPS on Feb 23rd of around $4.90 to $5 and, more importantly, it will give guidance for 2010 based on the status quo on Medicare billing rates for 2010 (i.e. as already issued for 2010 by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS). Based on the company’s growth rates and CMS’s announced approved rate increase for 2010 (which translates into a 1.8% net increase for 2010 after two flat pricing years) Amed will likely provide 2010 guidance in the $5.60 to $5.70 range.  I believe actual results outcome will likely be higher, in the $5.70 to $5.90 range.

The 15 analysts who cover AMED are likely waiting for Amed’s guidance update and to see if there are any Health-Bill developments. The Suntrust  upgrade Monday to a $70 target is using a pessimistic assumption of a revision to a retroactive 2.5% Medicare billing rate reduction for 2010. Currently, analysts eps forecasts for 2010 include varying degrees of…
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Weekly Charts + The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

Courtesy of Market Tamer

Weekly Charts

Dow Jones

S&P 500



The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

- The inverse of a Cup & Handle Chart Pattern.


-The stock bounces off of a support level and moves higher on unremarkable volume.


- A “Rounded Top” forms and then subsequently moves lower on increasing volume producing “The Cup”.


- The pattern is completed when a Bear Flag forms producing the handle.


- The breakdown occurs when the stock breaks the low of the handle on increasing volume.


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You Had Better Cage The Monster CONgress

You Had Better Cage The Monster CONgress (AIG/GS/CDS)

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Vinyl Ready Art - Holidays

I’ve been writing about this now over a year in regard to the mess that became of AIG, their "financial products" unit, and what I believe is culpability not only of certain financial parties but more importantly our regulators of these firms.

Now The NY Times has published a new article that makes clear that my clarion call for major changes in these areas of the market were not only spot-on, but are even more necessary today than they were back then.

A.I.G. had long insured complex mortgage securities owned by Goldman and other firms against possible defaults. With the housing crisis deepening, A.I.G., once the world’s biggest insurer, had already paid Goldman $2 billion to cover losses the bank said it might suffer.

A.I.G. executives wanted some of its money back, insisting that Goldman — like a homeowner overestimating the damages in a storm to get a bigger insurance payment — had inflated the potential losses. Goldman countered that it was owed even more, while also resisting consulting with third parties to help estimate a value for the securities.

Read that carefully.  The NY Times is making this sound like AIG had insured losses against securities Goldman was holding.  That’s what insurance is, right?

Here’s the problem: Goldman didn’t own the securities.

In addition to offering to cancel its own contracts, Goldman offered to buy all of the insurance A.I.G. had written for several other banks at severely distressed prices, according to three people briefed on the discussions.

Negotiating with Goldman to void the A.I.G. insurance was especially difficult, Federal Reserve Board documents show, because the firm did not own the underlying bonds. As a result, Goldman had little incentive to compromise.

Now do you see the outrage in these so-called "protection devices"?

They aren’t.  They were raw bets.  Very highly-leveraged gambling instruments that had a very low cost at origination – a cost all out of proportion to their eventual potential return.

We do not let "just anyone" buy insurance.  You must have an insurable interest.  That is, I can’t buy fire insurance on your house.  If I could, I might – and so might 20 of…
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The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street 

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

Sure, American politicians have been bought and paid for by the Wall Street giants. See this, this and this.

And everyone knows that the White House and Congress – while talking about cracking down on Wall Street with strict regulation – have actually watered down some of the most important protections that were in place.

For example, Senator Cantwell says that the new derivatives legislation is weaker than the old regulation. And leading credit default swap expert Satyajit Das says that the new credit default swap regulations not only won’t help stabilize the economy, they might actually help to destabilize it.

But the U.S. is not being sold out in a vacuum.

On March 1, 1999, countries accounting for more than 90 per cent of the global financial services market signed onto the World Trade Organization’s Financial Services Agreement (FSA). By signing the FSA, they committed to deregulate their financial markets.

For example, by signing the FSA, the U.S. agreed not to break up too big to fails. The U.S. also promised to repeal Glass-Steagall, and did so 8 months after signing the FSA.

Indeed, in signing the FSA and other WTO agreements, the U.S. has legally bound itself as follows

• No new regulation: The United States agreed to a “standstill provision” that requires that we not create new regulations (or reverse liberalization) for the list of financial services bound to comply with WTO rules. Given that the United States has made broad WTO financial services commitments – and thus is forbidden by this provision from imposing new regulations in these many areas – this provision seriously limits the policy [options] available to address the current crisis.

• Removal of regulation: The United States even agreed to try to even eliminate domestic financial service regulatory policies that meet GATS [i.e. General Agreement on Trade in Services] rules, but that may still “adversely affect the ability of financial service suppliers of any other (WTO) Member to operate, compete, or enter” the market.

• No bans on new financial service “products”: The United States is also bound to ensure that foreign financial

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Duck Tales inflation lesson

Duck Tales inflation lesson

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Daily Bail

Even though this is a cartoon, it provides a pretty good explanation of what goes on in a pure fiat money system where trust is placed in the central bank and the government to not abuse the power that they and only they have to create money.

Spotted over at The Daily Bail where there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of interesting things to watch on YouTube.


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A review of 2009 Super Bowl commercials

A review of 2009 Super Bowl commercials

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

Get ready for a whole new batch of memorable Super Bowl commercials in a few hours – at least, that’s the hope. Here’s a compilation of the best from last year’s game.

The rhinoceros is quite funny, but, if you ask me, those baby ETRADE spots are just creepy.





Pre-crime returns to America with new Airbnb law

By Sovereign Man. Originally published at ValueWalk.

On Friday afternoon, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making it illegal to advertise your home for short-term rent on websites like Airbnb.

The law specifically targets New York City homeowners in apartment buildings who advertise their properties, or even just a spare room in their homes, to rent for less than 30 days at a time.

It’s important to note that New York already passed a law a few years ago making it illegal to rent your home out to short-term tenants.

This new law makes it illegal to ADVERTISE… which is basically pre-crime.

Now you don’t eve...

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Zero Hedge

Russia Is Quietly Winning The Middle East (And Nobody Is Talking About It)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by James Holbrooks via,

As fighting resumes in Aleppo following a brief ceasefire - and as Russia’s largest naval fleet to sail since the Cold War steams down the English Channel on its way to the western coast of Syria ...

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Chart School

Tech Hold Breakout,.but S&P Wedge Bound

Courtesy of Declan.

It was a mixed day for indices. Large Caps remain bound by wedge support/resistance, but Tech broke upside yesterday from similar wedges and held those breakout today.

There was little change for the S&P over the last couple of days. The one technical change was the MACD trigger 'buy' as other technicals stayed on the bearish side.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq cleared wedge resistance yesterday, and was able to hang on to the breakout despite today's loss. It too enjoyed a MACD trigger 'buy', but had an On-Bal...

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Phil's Favorites

Kansas Ends Bad Economic News by Not Reporting It

In evaluating the results of real-life economic policy experiments it is important to measure them. Avoiding this step in the experimental process detracts from what could be a valuable learning experience, which could, potentially, put some incorrect theories to rest. For instance, consider Kansas. 


“What’s measured, improves.”

So said management legend and author Peter F. Drucker about the value of using metrics to define specific objectives within an organization.

Drucker is no longer with us; if he were, he might want ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

U.S. Dollar Rally: A tale of two chart patterns

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

This article was originally written for See It Market.

The U.S. Dollar Index has been trading in a wide consolidation pattern over the last 18 months or so.  But after the recent U.S. Dollar rally, that consolidation has formed two distinct chart patterns.

And as you may have guessed… one is bullish while the other is bearish.



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Oil Rises as OPEC Chief Barkindo Seeks to Resolve Output Plan (Bloomberg)

Crude advanced as OPEC’s secretary-general was due to visit Baghdad on Tuesday for talks aimed at resolving a deal on output after Iraq said it should be exempt from planned cuts.

Iron Ore Hoisted on Coat-Tails of Coal’s Record Rally in China (Bloomberg)

Iron ore is surging thanks to its bulk-commodity compatriot, coal. Iron ore futures in Singapore ad...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 24th,2016

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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Members' Corner

World Series 2016

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

The good news... Waiting since 1945, after 71 years, the Chicago Cubs have a chance to win their first WS since 1908.  The bad news... The Cubs face an Indian's team that has been waiting since 1948 to win a WS and last appeared in 1997.

CLE swept BOS, and took out TOR who had swept TEX, and has only lost ONE post season game.  That being Game 4 ALCS at TO, yet, during that series, no Indians starting pitcher made it through more than six innings. 

In fact, Trevor Bauer, only lasted two outs during his one start, leaving Merritt and the pen to bear the burden of over eight innings of baseball.  Mid range reliever Merritt notched a victory in that game with ERA 1.80; WHIP 0.60 with 5 IP. 

What does all that tell you? Oddly enough, without Carr...

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Mapping The Market

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

Via Jean-Luc

Good article on investing success:

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

By Morgan Housel

There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.

Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...

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Digital Currencies

Gold, Silver and Blockchain - Fintech Solutions To Negative Rates, Bail-ins, Currency Debasement and Cashless

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Jan Skoyles

I was so pleased yesterday by the announcement that I have joined the Research team at GoldCore as it meant that I could finally start talking about it and was back in a role that lets me indulge in my passion by researching and geeking out on all things gold, silver and money.


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Epizyme - A Waiting Game

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

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...

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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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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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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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