Archive for 2010

Few Surprises As Greece’s Economic Contraction Accelerates

Few Surprises As Greece’s Economic Contraction Accelerates

Courtesy of Edward Hugh at Credit Writedowns 

Greece Travel

Edward Hugh here.

Well, I may say there were no surprises, but in fact the Greek economy contracted more than many observers expected in the fourth quarter, while downward revisions to the rest of 2009 converted the present recession into the country’s worst since 1987. Evidently the latest numbers offer the first warning that all may not be as simple as it looks on paper for the Greek government’s plan to set their finances straight. As far as I am concerned the latest numbers simply confirm what should already have been abundantly evident – correcting the fiscal deficit without straightening out the rest of the economic distortions is going to make economic growth something which is very hard to come by.

Accelerating Contraction

According to the Greek National Statistics Office gross domestic product contracted by 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, significantly more than the 0.5 percent drop forecast in a Reuters survey of economists. The data clearly reveal that Greece’s downturn actually picked up speed from a revised 0.5 percent in the third quarter, casting doubt over government estimates of a return to growth in the second part of this year, and raising yet more issues about the evolution of the debt to GDP ratio. [Click on charts to enlarge.]

On a year-on-year basis, the economy shrank 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter following a revised fall of 2.5 percent in the third. The sweeping data revision showed Greek GDP contracted by 2 percent in 2009 as a whole, considerably more than the government’s earlier 1.2 percent estimate, making for the worst annual performance in nearly 30 years.

The latest batch of data changes only serve to further undermine the government’s already badly dented statistical credibility, even if the Greeks are far from being alone in carrying out this type of revision. But it is the scale of the revisions which is so striking in the Greek case – GDP shrank, for example, by a quarter-on-quarter 1 percent in the first quarter of last year: twice the earlier estimate, and the sharpest quarterly contraction since 2005. In the second quarter, GDP fell 0.3 percent, compared with an earlier estimate of a 0.1 percent, while third-quarter GDP shrank 0.5 percent revised from the earlier estimate of 0.4 percent. Rather than leaving the impression that…
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Web Video FIVE Years After YouTube…Meh!

Web Video FIVE Years After YouTube…Meh!

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon 

The hottest thing in web video in the 5 years since Youtube was launched is a site I am too scared to log into…

I am not sure if that is good or bad.

It seems longer, but YouTube is now 5 years old .

The Russian YOOT who started today’s hottest site – ChatRoulette – is only 17 years of age. Fred has some more stats and links about the kid and his site .

You may have your opinions about web video, but two numbers matter to me…5 (age of YouTube) and 17 (age of chatroulette founder). If you think we are anywhere but inning two, you just can’t handle the truth.

This industry is so young and moving so fast that my own Wallstrip seems like 50 years ago. In fact, our very first show was only 3.5 years ago (makes sense that $AAPL was our first show in a show about stocks and trends):

 

With an industry this hot and this early, it seems surprising that there have been so few hits and so little on innovation (pre-rolls for christ sakes still).

Ashkan has a great series of posts on who, what, when, where, who and finally why so few are making money in the web video space .

I believe a lot of what Ashkan says is true and I also believe that Google’s $GOOG massive pay up for YouTube just threw off the whole industry.

I also believe enough time has passed that the next stage in web video is upon us. There will be more winners. The iPad won’t hurt things either.


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TECHNICAL OUTLOOK: MORE DOWNSIDE TO COME

TECHNICAL OUTLOOK: MORE DOWNSIDE TO COME

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

From Decision Point:

I think the big question for most market participants is whether or not the market is putting in a medium-term bottom. The evidence is truly mixed, and I can make a case for either side of the argument; however, we have sell signals on both the daily and weekly charts, so, for now I think I will focus on the evidence supporting a further decline.

On the chart below you can see that last week there was a sharp two-day decline that found support on the 200-EMA, and formed an inverted flag pole. This week, prices trended upward in a narrow range, forming a flag at the end of the flag pole. A flag formation pointing upward is bullish. Pointing downward (inverted), it is bearish. In this case the implications are only short-term, with a possible downside to the area of 1020.

100212 cspot 1 TECHNICAL OUTLOOK: MORE DOWNSIDE TO COME

The On-Balance Volume (OBV) suite of charts below gives both side of the argument, but first let’s concentrate on the CVI (Climatic Volume Oscillator). It has become fairly overbought, and it topped on Friday. Combined with the inverted flag, it presents a negative short-term picture.

The VTO (Volume Trend Oscillator) is a medium-term indicator, and it has formed a double bottom in oversold territory. This is fairly strong evidence that a medium-term bottom is near, and quite a few of our other medium-term indicators are in agreement.

100212 cspot 2 TECHNICAL OUTLOOK: MORE DOWNSIDE TO COME

As I said, the evidence is mixed, and it is one of those times that we need to rely on the Thrust/Trend Model (T/TM) to keep a level head. Currently in a neutral posture, to generate a buy signal it will need for the PMO (Price Momentum Oscillator) and the PBI (Percent Buy Index) to cross up through their EMAs.

100212 cspot 4 TECHNICAL OUTLOOK: MORE DOWNSIDE TO COME

Bottom Line: Prices are in a down trend, the T/TM is in neutral, and an inverted flag combined with overbought short-term indicators suggest more downside yet to come. If the S&P 500 suddenly breaks UP from the inverted flag, I would change my short-term outlook from bearish to neutral, and await a new buy signal from the T/TM.





Offshore Oil The Warren Buffett Way

Courtesy of asiablues

By Economic Forecasts & Opinions

Commodities, particularly crude, were trending down last week after China’s Central Bank raised bank reserve requirements boosting the US dollar against other major currencies. That marks the second time China has raised its bank reserve requirement in a month.

Ongoing worries about the economy stemming from European debt problems, specifically the lack of a firm Greek bailout plan from European leaders also prompted investors moving out of risky assets. Crude oil fell for the first day in five to below $75 a barrel also partly due to government data showing U.S. inventories rose more than forecast.

Meanwhile U.S. natural gas registered the largest one-day gain last Friday to $5.48 per mmbtu since the beginning of the month on a drop in jobless claims, signaling industrial demand is likely improving, and cold temperatures across the US are boosting residential demand. Industrial Demand accounts for 29% of U.S. consumption.

Oil Services Sector Bottoming Out

While the markets are in a finicky mood from the China and Greek factors, the return of relative stability in oil and natural gas prices has spurred producers to increase their capital budget and restart projects they slowed down or completely deferred a year ago. (Fig. 1)

Absorbing the impact of lower rig counts, weak global demand for fossil fuel and volatile energy prices, the majority of the oil services companies are reporting sharply lower earnings in Q1. However, the rising rig count and producers’ capital budget suggest that oil service markets are probably in the process of bottoming this year, which suggests a good entry point for long-term investors. (Fig. 2)

 
Oil Majors Go Deepwater & Subsea

Roughly from 2004 to 2008, the onshore, North America in particular, had outshined the offshore in terms of activity growth. But the Great Recession has shifted the tide towards offshore and international. Offshore is one of the few remaining places where the state as well as western oil majors can increase production, while emerging Asian demand is expected to outpace the U.S. and the OECD in coming years.

FBR estimates an increase in deepwater spending of almost triple expected growth in onshore spending will drive offshore spending overall at…
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Hugh Hendry: Here Are Four Reasons China Will Start Sucking Wind

For an enjoyable, hour long video version of Hugh’s thoughts (among those of others), click here.

Hugh Hendry: Here Are Four Reasons China Will Start Sucking Wind

By Courtney Comstock, courtesy of Clusterstock 

hugh-hendry-on-newsnight

hugh-hendry-on-newsnight

Source: screen shot from you tube

People are way too psyched about China, says Hugh Hendry.

In a piece he wrote for the Telegraph, the hedge fund manager admits that China has been growing like crazy.

  • China’s conomic growth has averaged 9% a year over the past 10 years, compared with 1.9% for the British economy.
  • Last year, despite the credit crunch, China posted a remarkable growth rate of 10.7% compared with a British contraction of 3.2%

But here’s why China is not that great, according to Hendry:

  • China, now the world’s biggest creditor, is also running persistent trade surpluses. That’s only happened twice before: with the US economy in the 1920s and with the Japanese economy in the 1980s.
  • Unlike in most countries, China’s share of consumption within its economy has fallen relentlessly, reaching 35% of GDP in 2008.
  • Foreign demand for its exports dropped. Now China relies on a massive surge in domestic bank lending to fuel its growth rate.
  • China’s state planners have favored investment over consumption. China’s investment spending has tripled since 2001. Domestic consumption never grows fast enough to absorb the supply, and Chinese profitability is already low.

Read Hugh Hendry’s full article in the Telegraph >

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Greece Paid Goldman $300 Million To Help It Hide Its Ballooning Debts

Greece Paid Goldman $300 Million To Help It Hide Its Ballooning Debts

Courtesy of Henry Blodget at Clusterstock/Business Insider 

Building Collapse

The news that Goldman and other banks got paid hundreds of millions of dollars to help Greece hide its huge debts from the EU overseers has now gone mainstream. 

Louise Story, Landon Thomas, and Nelson Schwartz at the NYT:

In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means…

Instruments developed by Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a wide range of other banks enabled politicians to mask additional borrowing in Greece, Italy and possibly elsewhere.

In dozens of deals across the Continent, banks provided cash upfront in return for government payments in the future, with those liabilities then left off the books. Greece, for example, traded away the rights to airport fees and lottery proceeds in years to come.

[Greece paid Goldman] about $300 million in fees for arranging the 2001 transaction, according to several bankers familiar with the deal.

In other words, Greece was just like many American homeowners, who hit their home-equity ATMs every year to remodel their kitchens and buy SUVs they couldn’t afford.  And Goldman, et al, were just like WaMu and Countrywide.

It was all perfectly legal, of course.

 

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Austerity or Money Printing?

Austerity or Money Printing?

Courtesy of Chris Martenson

New 1996 Currency Security Upgrade

I was asked to write a once-a-month Market Observation for Financial Sense.  Here’s the first one (posted today, Feb 10): 

From time to time, I think it’s a good idea to stop squinting at the short-term market wiggles and pull our heads back for a wide-angle view.  Now would be a good time, so that’s what we’re going to do. For the record, I also happen to believe that close-up market analysis loses some of its potency during times of immense official intervention.  As with any subsidy program, prices become distorted and often fail to tell the real story, which is absolutely true with respect to interest rates and, by extension, the risk premium for stocks.

Back to the story.  Where the current crisis has been described using millions of words in thousands of articles packed with arcane acronyms (such as TALF, CDO, and CMBS), perplexing regulatory lapses and with a degree of complexity that dwarfs the Apollo moon mission, I can explain why the whole thing happened using just three words.

Too.  Much.  Debt.

Total credit market debt in the US doubled between 2000 and 2008, while incomes stagnated and jobs were not created.

When your debts are skyrocketing, but your means of servicing those debts are not, you are on a path to a credit crisis.  And that’s exactly what we got.

That’s all there is to it, and we’d have a better shot of crafting an enduring recovery if we better understood the difference between causes and symptoms.  Too much debt was the cause; virtually everything else was either a symptom or a contributory factor.  The main contributory factor was Alan Greenspan’s monkeying around with interest rates between 2002 and 2004 to create ultra-cheap money to fight the effects of his prior monetary and regulatory mistakes.

Which entirely explains why I am so dismissive of world efforts to stoke an economic recovery by deploying even cheaper money and even more debt.  As earnest as these efforts are, they spring from the very same flawed thinking and practices that got us into the mess in the first place.  Plus, they’ve never worked before.

I’ve analyzed this situation nearly to death, and I arrive at this one very simple conclusion:  The US is insolvent (and so are many other governments around the world).

We all know the…
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1968 and 1980: Republicans, Democrats and Debt

1968 and 1980: Republicans, Democrats and Debt  

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

Democrats in 1968 and Republicans in 1980 shared the same game plan: guns and butter, paid for by immense borrowing.

About the only benefit of being a political junkie is being able to recall events and contexts which have been lost to all but history majors. To bypass the tiresome partisan "debate" (is a dog chasing its tail a "debate"?) over "who’s to blame for everything going to heck, Obama or Bush," let’s place the last 9 years in context by glancing at a few charts.

Here is a chart of Federal spending starting with the Republican Era of "small government" in 1980. Though it may seem to the casual observer that the Republican reign was interrupted by 8 years of Clinton, this would be a grave misunderstanding. Yes, the political labels of "Democrat" and "Republican" were switched on the White House, but the underlying "move to the center" via championing smaller central government continued uninterrupted during the Clinton era.

Indeed, Clinton reduced the Federal head count and reformed Federal welfare programs far more successfully than any Republican.

But what this chart makes abundantly clear is what a travesty of a sham it is for either party to claim the crown of "small government:" Federal budgets have exploded in a 25-year long era of low inflation and declining interest rates.

If the Republicans were serious about "small government," there is scant evidence of it here, even when they controlled the White House and Congress.

Next up: the famous chart of total U.S. debt measured in GDP:

The left-hand spike is the Great Depression: debt did not skyrocket during the GD, GDP collapsed, driving the ratio of debt to GDP into a spike. Let’s look at a clearer snapshot of the same data:

Note the tiny blip created by massive Federal borrowing and spending to fund a global war--World War II. As GDP exploded upward with the stupendous war effort, the actual rise in debt vis a vis GDP was modest indeed.

This gives the lie to the Keynesian argument that borrowing trillions of dollars now is perfectly sustainable and right because it "worked" in 1942-45. Borrowing trillions (in today’s dollars) "worked" because GDP skyrocketed along with the debt. But now, we as…
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Put This Kiss On Your List

Put This Kiss On Your List

By David Grandey

All About Trends

For the week, the S&P 500 managed to eek out a gain of .9% but boy oh boy you sure wouldn’t have thought that. 3 out of the last 4 days, the S&P 500 has had 20 point mood swings with the Dow showing 150 point plus mood swings with the OTC being the stronger of the two but none the less net nowhere for 3 weeks.

Over the last few weeks you’ve heard us talk about how the OTC leads and sure enough one look at the charts below shows that of the OTC leading relative to the S&P 500 and Dow. 

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While the S&P 500 and the Dow are still locked in down channels the OTC has broke above it. So does that mean that the S&P 500 and Dow have to play catch up to it? Not necessarily because if the OTC breaks to the downside the S&P 500 and Dow are going along for the ride. One look at the OTC Comp. chart above also shows us tracing out the exact same pattern we have embedded in the chart above that we brought to your attention a few weeks ago and here we are just like clockwork.

Ok all that aside what else do we see going on in the chart above?

A classic 5 waves down of 1(A), then a 3 waves up (abc) of a potential Wave 2 (B). Right up to the 38.2% Fibonacci level too I might add. So we’ve got confluence here and the minimum requirements for an abc being completed. From here all you need to know is that Pink line, a break of it to the downside sets in motion one of three things.

1. A morph of the pattern
2. A retest of the lows if not more.
3. The start of the C wave down to the 200 day average.

Don’t understand Elliott Wave? Well that’s fine too. We’ll make it real simple for you in the charts below. All you need to know can be found in the Pink lines below. A downside break of them gets the ball rolling to the downside.

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Lastly here for…
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Sunday Funnies

Mish Sunday Funnies 2010-02-14 American Idle

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Cartoon written for Mish by Lambert-King
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Zero Hedge

Washington Post Apends "Russian Propaganda" Story, Admits It May Be Fake

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In the most rececnt example why the "mainstream media" is facing a historic crisis of confidence among its readership, facing unprecedented blowback following Craig Timberg November 24 Washington Post story "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", on Wednesday a lengthy editor's note appeared on...



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Phil's Favorites

Australia's Alternate Universe: Lost in Space Roundup

Courtesy of Mish.

Australia suffered its worst GDP decline since the financial crisis in 2008. Economists expected a decline of 0.1% but Third Quarter GDP Declined 0.5%.

Trade data subtracted 0.2 percentage points and construction data released last week were much worse than expected. Business Investment was also weak.

Add to those concerns, a housing bubble that has been ready to pop for years, but has...



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ValueWalk

Fake News Didn't Influence The Election

By Mauldin Economics. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Since Election Day, Americans’ focus has shifted to something that’s considered a new phenomenon.

Some suspect that false news may have swayed the US presidential election. Some also claim this false news was planted by Russian intelligence under orders of President Vladimir Putin, who allegedly supported Trump’s election.

Photo by Maialisa (...

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Chart School

Reader's Question

Courtesy of Declan.

"...One thing though I would like you to shed light on: the price action we see nowadays: 1. Isn't it irrational exuberance 2. How does it compare to 2000 and 2007/08 and 3. In the wake of QEs to date and now promised fiscal stimulus, how large a bubble we will end up creating"

Hi Solomon,

Thanks for the feedback.

[1] The March 2009 low was a 'generational' low for me (i.e. a buying opportunity like this is unlikely to occur again in my lifetime). I have to admit, it came a year early for me - but I think it's a significant low which will stand the test of time.

[2] However, the broader market is in need of a significant pullback to mark a cyclical low; one much like in November 2011. The Russell 2000 was the only index to tag this in Februar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Bugs testing support cluster at this time!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold Mining stocks started off the year like a rocket ship. Over the past 20-weeks, the popular Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has declined nearly 35%. This is one of its larger 20-week declines in its history! Create an opportunity? We think so!

This decline has the Gold Bugs Index (HUI) at a rare price point in the chart below.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

...

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Market News

Breaking News And Best Of The Web

Courtesy of John Rubino

Renzi loses Italian vote, government begins bailing out banks. US stocks at record highs, gold rising. Signs of stress abound, including state and local pensions, auto sales, restaurant receipts. Incoming Treasury secretary hints at introducing 100-year Treasury bonds. India’s war on cash may turn into war on gold. Political class still searching for an explanation (see “Best of the Web”). Trump’s cabinet takes shape, with mostly old and a few new faces.  

Best Of The Web

Our “gaslight” financial system – Charles Hugh Smith

Cycles – ...



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Members' Corner

Trump, Meet The New Boss?

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

Over at Philstockworld... High Finance for Real People - Fun and Profits... 

StJL - "Once again, I think that the middle class voters who turned in great numbers for Trump will soon realize that they voted against their best economic interest. Trump will only be part of the equation – the GOP Congress can't wait to weaken the social safety nets that are so needed by the same people who are so happy today. But too late now I guess"
No surprises here as all along we maintained the memory of what happened in 2000. With that fresh in mind, rather than forgotten in the past, we knew that given the indoctrination of the electorate, anything was possible and history keeps repeating itself...

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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

 

Come join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017.            

Beginning Time:  8:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas

Notes

Caesar's has tentatively offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night. However, we have to sign the contract ASAP. We need at least 10 people to pay me via Paypal or we may lose the best rate for the rooms. (Once we are guaranteed ten attendees, I will put up instructions to call the hotel for individual rooms.)

The more people who sign up,...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of December 5th, 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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Digital Currencies

Largest US Bitcoin Exchange Is "Extremely Concerned" With IRS Crackdown Targeting Its Users

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Last Thursday we reported that in a startling development seeking to breach the privacy veil of users of America's largest bitcoin exchange, the IRS filed court papers seeking a judicial order to serve a so-called “John Doe” summons on the San Francisco-based Bitcoin platform Coinbase.

The government’s request is part of a bitcoin tax-evasion probe, and se...



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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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Biotech

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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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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