Archive for January, 2011

Current Market Snapshot

Courtesy of Doug Short

The S&P 500 closed the day up 0.77%. The S&P 500 is 90.1% above the March 9 2009 closing low, which puts it 17.8% below the nominal all-time high of October 2007.

For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here’s a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.

For a bit of international flavor, here’s a chart series that includes an overlay of the S&P 500, the Dow Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the so-called L-shaped “recovery” of the Nikkei 225. I update these weekly.

These charts are not intended as a forecast but rather as a way to study the current market in relation to historic market cycles.





Davos: Two Worlds, Ready Or Not

Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario

On the fringes of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, there was plenty of substantive discussion – including about the dangers posed by our “too big to fail”/”too big to save” banks, the consequences of widening inequality (reinforced by persistent unemployment in some countries), and why the jobs picture in the U.S. looks so bad.

But in the core keynote events and more generally around any kind of CEO-related interaction, such themes completely failed to resonate.  There is, of course, variation in views across CEOs and the people work intellectual agendas on their behalf, but still the mood among this group was uniformly positive – it was hard to detect any note of serious concern.

Many of the people who control the world’s largest corporations are quite comfortable with the status quo post-financial crisis.  This makes sense for them – and poses a major problem for the rest of us.The thinking here is fairly obvious.  The CEOs who provide the bedrock of financial support for Davos have mostly done well in the past few years.  For the nonfinancial sector, there was a major scare in 2008-09; the disruption of credit was a big shock and dire consequences were feared.  And for leaders of the financial sector this was more than an awkward moment – they stood accused, including by fellow CEOs at Davos in previous years, of incompetence, greed, and excessively capturing the state.

But all of this, from a CEO perspective, is now behind them.  Profits are good – this is the best bounce back on average in the post-war period; given that so many small companies are struggling, it is reasonable to infer that the big companies have done disproportionately well (perhaps because their smaller would-be competitors are still having more trouble accessing credit).  Executive compensation at the largest firms will no doubt reflect this in the months and years ahead.

In terms of public policy, the big players in the financial sector have prevailed – no responsible European, for example, can imagine a major bank being allowed to fail (in the sense of defaulting on any debt).  And this government support for banks has translated into easier credit conditions for the major global corporations represented at Davos. 

The public policy issue of the day, from the point of view of such CEOs, is simple.  There…
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Canadian Pensions Surge Ahead?

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

Ten days ago, CNW reported, RBC Dexia survey: Canadian Pensions Surge Ahead of Pre-Crisis Levels (HT: Bruce):

Strength in Canadian equities have helped Canadian pension plans surge ahead of their pre-financial crisis levels of 2008, according to a survey just released by RBC Dexia Investor Services, which maintains the industry’s most comprehensive universe of Canadian pension plans and money managers.

 

Within the $340 billion RBC Dexia universe, pension assets earned 4.3 per cent in the quarter ending December 2010, improving the full year performance to 10.4 per cent, making this a second consecutive year of double digit returns.

 

Despite the volatility in the global markets during the past ten years, Canadian pension plans have achieved an average annualized return of 5.4 per cent. “What the last decade has taught us is that diversification and disciplined investing is key over the long run,” noted Fay Coroneos, Global Head of Risk & Investment Analytics for RBC Dexia.

 

Canadian equity markets flourished as nine out of ten TSX sectors experienced double digit annual gains. Even though Canadian Pension plans underperformed the index by 0.4, “it was encouraging to see strong returns not only in energy and materials but also in industrials and the consumer discretionary sectors” added Coroneos.

 

Foreign equities increased 6.3 per cent over one year. “Returns were muted by the soaring loonie, which gained significantly against the US dollar and was one of the best performers among major world currencies,” reported Coroneos. The MSCI World index in local currency increased 10.0 per cent for the year, but was reduced to 5.9 per cent when translated into Canadian dollars.

 

For the year, domestic bond holdings within Canadian pension plans advanced 7.8 per cent, surpassing the DEX Universe index by 1.1 per cent. “Long-term bonds, with maturity of over ten years, continue to dominate short-term and mid-term bonds in 2010,” said Coroneos.

 

“The growing focus on asset-liability matching has resulted in pension plans shifting into the longer end of the yield spectrum, increasing demand for long-term bonds. In light of this, we believe a governance structure which includes the use of a liability-based benchmark will be of great interest for pension plans in 2011.”

The growing focus on asset-liability matching has increased pensions’…
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Canadian Pensions Surge Ahead

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

Ten days ago, CNW reported, RBC Dexia survey: Canadian Pensions Surge Ahead of Pre-Crisis Levels (HT: Bruce):

Strength in Canadian equities have helped Canadian pension plans surge ahead of their pre-financial crisis levels of 2008, according to a survey just released by RBC Dexia Investor Services, which maintains the industry’s most comprehensive universe of Canadian pension plans and money managers.

 

Within the $340 billion RBC Dexia universe, pension assets earned 4.3 per cent in the quarter ending December 2010, improving the full year performance to 10.4 per cent, making this a second consecutive year of double digit returns.

 

Despite the volatility in the global markets during the past ten years, Canadian pension plans have achieved an average annualized return of 5.4 per cent. “What the last decade has taught us is that diversification and disciplined investing is key over the long run,” noted Fay Coroneos, Global Head of Risk & Investment Analytics for RBC Dexia.

 

Canadian equity markets flourished as nine out of ten TSX sectors experienced double digit annual gains. Even though Canadian Pension plans underperformed the index by 0.4, “it was encouraging to see strong returns not only in energy and materials but also in industrials and the consumer discretionary sectors” added Coroneos.

 

Foreign equities increased 6.3 per cent over one year. “Returns were muted by the soaring loonie, which gained significantly against the US dollar and was one of the best performers among major world currencies,” reported Coroneos. The MSCI World index in local currency increased 10.0 per cent for the year, but was reduced to 5.9 per cent when translated into Canadian dollars.

 

For the year, domestic bond holdings within Canadian pension plans advanced 7.8 per cent, surpassing the DEX Universe index by 1.1 per cent. “Long-term bonds, with maturity of over ten years, continue to dominate short-term and mid-term bonds in 2010,” said Coroneos.

 

“The growing focus on asset-liability matching has resulted in pension plans shifting into the longer end of the yield spectrum, increasing demand for long-term bonds. In light of this, we believe a governance structure which includes the use of a liability-based benchmark will be of great interest for pension plans in 2011.”

The growing focus on asset-liability matching has increased pensions’…
continue reading





What the Market Wants: Fear Factor Up . . . So is the Market Despite Mid-East Turmoil

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

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient

The market shrugged off the serious instability in the Middle East today, after tanking on those fears on Friday. The Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 were all up, with the S&P 500 up the most, +0.77%.

But the fear is still there, as well it should be. VIX – the indicator that monitors the level of investor fears — jumped 24% on Friday, but fell back a bit today. The VXX – the forward-looking fear indicator which tracks the  iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures — rose almost 10% on Friday and is holding at that level.

This reflects the turmoil in Egypt and the fear of a “rolling awakening” in the Middle East with other counties attempting to overthrow their leaders. Add to that the twin nuclear threats of Iran and Korea and the continuing instability of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and you have just cause for alarm.

The fear, of course, is not just of rioting in the streets, but of serious economic consequences, namely unstable oil and other commodity prices. Today, Energy and Basic Industries — fueled by rising energy and materials prices — drove the market.  This increases the fear that the Fed will dip into its inflation-fighting arsenal and raise interest rates.

Of course, rising interest rates, while normally not good for the market, may drive money from the bond market into equities, as bonds are much more adversely affected by rising interest rates.   Keep in mind, too, the extreme liquidity within the current corporate market. I believe it to be the most liquid corporate environment we’ve had in recent memory.

Earnings & Economic Reports.  Domestically, there was turbulence in the earnings reports released last week, as some major companies met expectations — Netflix (NFLX), Dupont (DD) and Caterpillar (CAT) — while others disappointed — Amazon.com (AMZN), Ford (F) and American Express (AXP). This disparity demonstrates the economic uncertainties that face companies even in the same industry.

Economically, the recent reports were a mish-mash of positive and negative. Fourth quarter GDP accelerated to +3.2% (just a tiny bit less than expected) and new home sales jumped +18% in December with pending home sales rising a…
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Federal Judge in Florida Voids Entire Healthcare Law; Obama’s Concern “Bragging Rights”

Courtesy of Mish

In a case destined to go to the Supreme Court, the Insurance Journal reports Federal Judge in Florida Rules Federal Healthcare Law Must Be Voided

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, ruled that the reform law’s so-called “individual mandate” went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson wrote.

He was referring to a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and sided with governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans, in declaring it unconstitutional. The issue will likely end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other federal judges have rejected challenges to the individual mandate.

But a federal district judge in Richmond, Virginia, last month struck down that central provision of the law in a case in that state, saying it invited an “unbridled exercise of federal police powers.”

The provision is key to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured. Officials argue it is only by requiring healthy people to purchase policies that they can help pay for reforms, including a mandate that individuals with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be refused coverage.

Unbridled Exercise of Federal Police Powers

Please consider the Wall Street Journal article Court Strikes at Health Law

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said the law’s requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."

The 42-page ruling doesn’t mean states or the federal government must stop implementing the law. But it is expected to give ammunition to a broad Republican assault against the overhaul, which includes efforts in Congress to chip away at it.

Requiring Americans to buy insurance "would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers," wrote Judge Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee in the Eastern District of Virginia. "At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate."

Administration officials portrayed the ruling as an attack on one of the law’s most popular provisions, the


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Guest Post: The Road to Madness Is Paved With $100 Bills

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Graham Summers of Phoenix Capital Research

The Road to Madness is Paved with $100 Bills

 

…just as I am affected by the maniac, so I am affected by most modern thinkers. That unmistakable mood or note that I hear from Hanwell [an insane asylum], I hear also from half the chairs of science and seats of learning to-day; and most of the mad doctors are mad doctors in more senses than one. They all have exactly that combination we have noted: the combination of an expansive and exhaustive reason with a contracted common sense. They are universal only in the sense that they take one thin explanation and carry it very far. But a pattern can stretch for ever and still be a small pattern. They see a chess-board white on black, and if the universe is paved with it, it is still white on black. Like the lunatic, they cannot alter their standpoint; they cannot make a mental effort and suddenly see it black on white.
           
                            ~C.K. Chesterton

Ben Bernanke is insane.

I mean neither insane in a flippant sense, nor in the ordinary sense (as in plain nuts), but an even more insidious form of insanity, namely the insanity of one who cannot see the world as a place outside his own thoughts and beliefs.

I am speaking of the insanity of one who believes that all things can be reduced to a simple issue or pattern, the insanity of which Chesterton spoke in his essay The Maniac.

Indeed, all of Bernanke’s monetary policies and actions can be traced to his one core belief: that the US Federal Reserve didn’t do enough to stave off the Great Depression. Never mind that this belief is completely inaccurate (as the data clearly shows), it is the foundation of Bernanke’s entire academic and now monetary career. It is the lone road on his mental map of the world.

It doesn’t matter that the road is leading us all to disaster, for Bernanke there is simply no other course of action to take. In his mind, the Fed failed to act in the ‘30s and so he MUST act regardless of facts, data, or consequence.

Indeed, were any of us to point out to Bernanke…
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Fun With Global Turmoil: Here Comes Rice!

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

rice, rice pricesI’ve been warning on this site that 2008′s short-lived Food Riots would be just a prelude to what was to come if agricultural commodities were to run unchecked:

"The flash food riots that rippled around the globe briefly in early 2008 were likely a mere preamble to something much bigger, but how do we set ourselves up for it?"
from Ag Plays: The Beans or the Business, September 12th 2010 (TRB)

I was more prescient than I really wanted to be.  The long-simmering Egyptian revolt had plenty of underlying causes – but the proximate one was food shortages, just like in Tunisia.

And now, for your viewing displeasure, I give you the nascent Rice Rally.  Here we go…

From Bloomberg:

U.S. farmers are planting the fewest acres with rice since 1989 just as global demand surpasses production for the first time in four years, driving prices as much as 12 percent higher by December.

Plantings in the U.S., the third-biggest shipper, may drop 25 percent this year because growers can earn more from corn and soybeans, according to the median in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts and farmers. Rice, the staple food for half the world, declined 4 percent last year, extending a 2.9 percent drop in 2009. The other crops jumped 34 percent or more.

A Texas farm marketing guy tells us that "the Acreage War has begun".  He’s expecting a rally for rice futures on the CBOT to three-year-highs of $18/100 pounds.  Acreage War indeed as the prices for other soft commodities are also racing higher.

Source:

Rice Rebounds from Two-Year Drop as US Crop Shrinks (Bloomberg)





Presenting The Treasury’s Options To Continue Pretending The US Is Solvent

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Long-time readers will excuse us as this post is almost identical to one we put up in December 2009 when the debt ceiling was last about to be breached. And future readers will likewise have to excuse us as this post will be put up again some time in November 2011, when the next deadline for raising the debt ceiling approaches. But for now, for those who still are confused by the extend and pretend options available to the US treasury, here is Goldman’s now-annual (soon semi-annual, then quarterly, etc) analysis of what Tim Jeethner’s can do to avoid bankrupting the United States of America, if only for the time being.

From Alex Phillips and Ed McKelvey of Goldman

The Treasury’s Options as the Debt Ceiling Approaches

  • The US Treasury is approaching the $14.294 trillion (trn) statutory ceiling on its outstanding debt.  In fact, last week the agency invoked the first of several options—running down the Supplemental Financing Program (SFP)—to buy several weeks of additional time against what otherwise would likely be an exhaustion of net borrowing authority by early spring.
  •  Although a new limit will surely be approved eventually, the process of reaching agreement is apt to be contentious.  Market participants should therefore expect a period of uncertainty lasting several weeks—perhaps even a few months—before this situation is resolved.
  •  As this situation unfolds, Treasury has numerous options to create more headroom, which we estimate could yield almost $420bn in one-off relief, including $195bn from the SFP rundown, plus about $10bn per month—far more than the $299bn the Treasury expects to borrow during the April-June quarter.  Some of these options involve accounting maneuvers that rearrange internal accounts within the government, while others affect the Treasury’s external liabilities.

The US Treasury is approaching the $14.294 trillion (trn) statutory ceiling on its outstanding debt.  As of Friday, the debt subject to this limit, which covers almost all Treasury obligations—including those owed to other government agencies—was $14.004trn, or $290bn below the limit.  Absent maneuvers to create more headroom under this limit, the Treasury would likely reach it by about the end of the first quarter.
 
A new limit will eventually be approved, as few if any members of Congress will want to risk the Treasury’s defaulting on debt obligations.  However, the process of reaching agreement is apt to be contentious given the divided…
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Pseudonymous/Anonymous Publishing: Good, Bad or Ugly?

Courtesy of Stone Street Advisors

  • The good/best blogges/tweeters share some information about their background so readers can judge whether they’re credible.
  • Even without biographic information, the only measure is the quality of the content and the strength of the arguments contained therein.  It DOES NOT MATTER WHOSE NAME IS ATTACHED TO THEM.  Our country was founded by Men (and women) who understood this!
  • Bloggers/tweeters – contrary to the complaints of some – DO, in fact, have reputations to build/foster/protect.  The blogosphere/twitterverse observes fairly Darwinian dynamics: the high(er)-quality blogs/tweets tend to float to the top and get noticed by other authors of high-quality material.  The crap tends to sink to the bottom.  There are exceptions to this rule, but it generally holds true.
  • Professional writers/tweeters/bloggers/whatever are by definition public persons.  Dealing with criticism comes with the territory.  If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the fire.  Trolls have been criticizing Public Persons since the beginning of time (if not earlier!) and it doesn’t matter from whom the criticism comes.  If its an ad hominem attack, ignore it (I’m the subject of many ad hominem attacks, too,  and it bothers me just as much when I’m the subject of such an attack whether its under my pseudonym or real persona).  If its a valid argument, debate it on its merits.  It’s really as simple as that (short of outright and blatant harassment, of course)
  • Everyone gets criticized in their job (especially if they’re doing it well!).  I’ve had colleagues/bosses/etc SCREAM at me, call me all sorts of names, tell me I’m an idiot, tell me I just totally f*cked up an project in front of dozens of people.  It sucks, especially when the criticism is not just about the quality of your work but attacks you personally.  I do feel for Public Persons because there’s alot of hate out there, but you’re the one who chose your path, if you don’t like it, find another career.  Otherwise, It happens.  Learn how to shrug it off and get back to work.  That’s the only way to deal with it.
  • The whole point of this blogging/tweeting thing is to share information and engage in healthy debate.  Surely, we’re all human and every single one of us will resort to ad hominem attacks eventually, but we need to make a conscious effort to not only avoid doing it


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Zero Hedge

Paul Craig Roberts Warns "The World Is Going Down With Trump"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

On June 21 the editorial board of the Washington Post, long a propaganda instrument believed to be in cahoots with the CIA and the deep state, called for more sanctions and more pressure on Russia.

One second’s thought is sufficient to realize how bad this advice is. The orchestrated demonization of Russia and its president began in the late summer of 2013 when the British Parliament and Russian diplomacy blocked the neoconned Obama regime’s pla...



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ValueWalk

Magic Quadrant In Picking Stocks And Sports Betting

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Picking stocks is a tricky game and so is sports betting. With the NFL and NCAA football seasons only a few months away, we can analyze the professional sports-betting industry to better understand the complexities behind making money in the stock market. Anybody who has traveled to Las Vegas, and bet on a sporting event, understands that simply choosing a game winner is not enough for a casino to pay you winnings. You also need to forecast how many points you think a certain team will win or lose by (i.e., the so-called “spread”) – see also What Happens in Vegas, Stays on Wall Street. In the world of stocks, winning/losing is not measured by spreads but rather equities ...



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Phil's Favorites

Uber gets a backseat driver as Kalanick exits top job

 

Uber gets a backseat driver as Kalanick exits top job

Courtesy of John ColleyWarwick Business School, University of Warwick

TED Conference/Flickr, CC BY-NC ...



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Insider Scoop

Marveling At Multi-Factor ETFs

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related This Goldman ETF Keeps Growing Getting Smarter About Smart Beta Related ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Digital Currencies

Bitcoin In Perspective: Bill Gates Worth More, Gold 200 Times More

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock, MishTalk

An interesting article on HowMuch puts the Bitcoin phenomenon into proper perspective.

Google founder Larry Page’s net worth beats bitcoin’s entire market cap. Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s net worth is double Bitcoin.

Please consider The Bitcoin Economy, in Perspective.

Last year, Bitcoin became more stable than gold, and earlier this year, the price of a Bitcoin surpassed that of an ounce of gold for the first time. Currently, all the bitcoin in the world is ...



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Chart School

Russell 2000 at Rising Support

Courtesy of Declan.

There wasn't much to say about today, but the one index which caught my attention was the Russell 2000. The index caught a bounce in demand at the rising trendline and also did enough to recover the 20-day MA. Traders looking for pullback opportunity could take a look at the Russell 2000. Stops on a loss of 1,397.


The Nasdaq is primed for a move to challenge 6,350. Today's doji marks indecision just below 6,250 but if it can push above this price level it would likely trigger a spate of short covering. Technicals hav...

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Biotech

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

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

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues

Courtesy of Greg HallCase Western Reserve University

Digitized strand of DNA. Mathagraphics/From www.shutterstock.com

With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as “23andMe” and “Ancestry DNA,” more peo...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of June 19th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

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



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Mapping The Market

Frontier laid off state Senate president after broadband vote it didn't like

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Speaking of FTR – not nice people…

Frontier laid off state Senate president after broadband vote it didn’t like

By Arstechnica.com

Broadband provider Frontier Communications recently laid off the West Virginia state Senate president after a vote the company didn't like—and yes, you read that correctly.

West Virginia does not have a full-time legislature, and state lawmakers can supplement their part-time government salaries ($20,000 a year,&...



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Promotions

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We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

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

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

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



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Kimble Charting Solutions

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

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

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

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

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

If EWZ b...



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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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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...

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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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