Archive for May, 2011

EU: Politics Financialized, Economies Privatized

Courtesy of ilene

Courtesy of Michael Hudson

Breakup of the euro?

Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland?

This article is an excerpt from Prof. Hudson’s upcoming book, “Debts that Can’t be Paid, Won’t Be,” to be published later this year.

Last month Iceland voted against submitting to British and Dutch demands that it compensate their national bank insurance agencies for bailing out their own domestic Icesave depositors. This was the second vote against settlement (by a ratio of 3:2), and Icelandic support for membership in the Eurozone has fallen to just 30 percent. The feeling is that European politics are being run for the benefit of bankers, not the social democracy that Iceland imagined was the guiding philosophy – as indeed it was when the European Economic Community (Common Market) was formed in 1957.

By permitting Britain and the Netherlands to blackball Iceland to pay for the mistakes of Gordon Brown and his Dutch counterparts, Europe has made Icelandic membership conditional upon imposing financial austerity and poverty on the population – all to pay money that legally it does not owe. The problem is to find an honest court willing to enforce Europe’s own banking laws placing responsibility where it legally lies.

The reason why the EU has fought so hard to make Iceland’s government take responsibility for Icesave debts is what creditors call “contagion.” Ireland and Greece are faced with much larger debts. Europe’s creditor “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and the IMF – view debt write-downs and progressive taxation to protect their domestic economies as a communicable disease.

Like Greece, Ireland asked for debt relief so that its government would not be forced to slash spending in the face of deepening recession. “The Irish press reported that EU officials ‘hit the roof’ when Irish negotiators talked of broader burden-sharing. The European Central Bank is afraid that any such move would cause instant contagion through the debt markets of southern Europe,” wrote one journalist, warning that the cost of taking reckless public debt onto the national balance sheet threatened to bankrupt the economy.[1]Europe – in effect, German and Dutch banks – refused to let the government scale back the debts it had taken on (except to smaller and less politically influential depositors). “The comments came just as the EU authorities were…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman’s VPN Firewall

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO "transgression" (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous: 

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, "discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building." Not only was this notebook…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman's VPN Firewall?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO “transgression” (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous:

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, “discarded in a…
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[Belated] Memorial Day: Enter Hitler, Release 2.0

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     As the sage Robert Crumb once remarked about our homeland: "You can’t make this shit up." 

    Sarah Palin entered the race for president this week (without stating it in so many words) with a national bus tour, itself kicked off with a motorcycle parade through Washington.

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press – Sun May 29, 5:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Sarah Palin rumbled through Washington on the back of a Harley as she and her family began an East Coast tour Sunday, renewing speculation that the former Alaska governor would join the still unsettled Republican presidential contest.

     Wearing a black leather jacket and surrounded by a throng of cheering fans, Palin and family members jumped on bikes and joined thousands of other motorcyclists on the Memorial Day weekend ride from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial…. 

     "How do you wear all this leather and stay cool?" she asked one woman. Palin asked others to show off their tattoos as she took off her own leather jacket and worked her way through a crush of fans, photographers and reporters. 

 
Palin 2.jpg

     Adolf Hitler liked leather and crypto-military costumes, too, and the build-up to the Third Reich was all about colorful pageantry. Make no mistake – to borrow a favored presidential locution, if I may – Sarah Palin’s campaign is all about shame, about being a nation of losers and feeling bad about it. Adolf Hitler’s career was all about him feeling like a loser at a peculiar moment in history when his whole country felt like a loser nation. His feelings resonated with the crowd’s. Germany had just lost the First World War. The victors (England, France, The USA) had imposed a harsh peace, including massive cash reparations. Germany was broke, demoralized, and humiliated. Hitler had fled to Germany from his own loser homeland, the fading empire of Austria, after a shiftless decade in Vienna of living in rented rooms and homeless men’s shelters, having failed twice to get into the national arts college.

 
Palin - Hitler - Leather.jpg

     Hitler loved the First World War. It energized him. The German army was the first club he was comfortable being in. When the war was over, he stayed on the army’s payroll as long as possible, even as he became active in Munich’s post-war


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Weekly Gasoline Update: A Second Week of Price Declines

Courtesy of Doug Short

Here is my weekly gasoline chart update from Department of Energy data with an overlay of West Texas Crude (WTIC). Gasoline at the pump declined for the second consecutive week: regular and premium are both down 1.4%. Year-to-date, the average price for regular has risen 74 cents, down 17 cents from the interim high three weeks ago. Meanwhile, WTIC is 9.6% off its interim high of 113.94 on April 29th.

As I write this, GasBuddy.com shows 6 states (and DC) with the average price of regular above $4. That’s the same number as last week.

The price increases in crude oil and gasoline were reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index data for February and more recently in Personal Consumption Expenditures. For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the Consumer Price Index, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).







Stock Market Bulls and Bears Face Off This Week

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Read more from Wall Street Sector Selector here

 

Disclosure: Wall Street Sector Selector actively trades a wide range of ETFs and positions can change at any time.

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Stock Markets Rally On Bad Economic News

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Réal Desrochers to Head CalPERS Private Equity

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

Marc Lifsher of the LA Times reports, CalPERS names new private equity investment executive:

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest public pension fund, has named an investment executive to run its $49-billion private equity investment portfolio.

 

Real Desrochers, who spent a decade doing a similar job for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, replaces Leon Shahinian, who resigned in August after being caught in a spreading CalPERS corruption scandal.

 

Private equity generated annual returns of more than 17% for the teachers’ fund under Desrochers’ leadership in the decade before 2009, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear said.

 

Earlier in his career, Desrochers worked for Canada’s largest pension fund, Caisse de Depot of Quebec. After leaving CalSTRS, he advised a number of investors, including Blackstone Capital, J.H. Whitney, Texas Pacific Group, Permira and China Renaissance Industries. He also was chief investment officer for the Saudi Arabian Investment Co.

 

Desrochers joins CalPERS as the country’s largest public pension fund, with $236 billion in assets, is clawing its way back from losing $100 billion between late 2007 and early 2009. The fund reached an all-time high of $260 billion in October 2007 before the Great Recession hit.

 

CalPERS currently faces more than financial difficulties. The 2,300-person agency, which serves 1.6 million state and local workers, their families and retirees, also is facing a morale crisis as it seeks to deal with a so-called pay-to-play scandal that has touched three former board members, a former chief executive and a number of outside investment consultants and managers.

 

Shahinian was mentioned in a 2010 state attorney general’s lawsuit for taking gifts of luxury travel to New York City to attend a charitable dinner honoring the chairman of Apollo Global Management, Leon Black.

 

Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member turned middleman dealmaker, picked up most of Shahinian’s tab on behalf of his client, Apollo. The gifts to Shahinian were not reported as required by state law.

 

Shahinian later recommended that CalPERS purchase a 9% stake in Apollo.

Neither Shahinian nor Black have been charged with any wrongdoing.

Let me take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Réal. I had the immense pleasure of meeting him in 2005 when I
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MERS ACTION ALERT!!! | Oregon Fraudclosure “Fix” Postponed but Effort Appears in Jeopardy

Courtesy of 4closureFraud

 

Okay all. You need to get on the phones and send emails on this one ASAP.

This can not be passed. This can not be the framework for things to come.

Spread the word! Email it, facebook it, digg it, stumble it, tweet it, repost it, etc.

If you live in Oregon, get over to the hearing and make some noise.

This is absolutely unacceptable!

MERS foreclosure fix postponed but effort appears in jeopardy, legislator says

A bid by major financial institutions to retroactively waive Oregon recording requirements blocking foreclosure sales appears in jeopardy but will get at least one more day, a legislative leader says.

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee today postponed until Wednesday a hearing on Senate Bill 519 which largely deals with publicly subsidized housing in foreclosure. But an amendment to that bill introduced last week would relieve lenders of ensuring a property’s ownership history is properly recorded in public records before foreclosing outside a courtroom.

Committee co-chair Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, said after today’s hearing that the committee supports the bill, which protects affordable housing financing in units under foreclosure. A "dash-six" amendment to the bill, allowing public agencies to buy subsidized housing in foreclosure, also garners support, he said.

But Barker said he did not find support to pass a "dash-seven" amendment put forth Thursday at the financial industry’s request. That would rid the recording requirement that has hung up foreclosures across the nation involving the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS. Federal judges in Oregon have blocked such foreclosures, saying MERS failed to record them properly.

"From the people I’ve talked to, there’s consensus to move the dash six amendments but not the dash sevens," Barker said.

Co-chair Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thursday’s amendment has drawn opposition from the National Association of Independent Title Agents and 90 percent of more than 900 readers voting over the weekend on an OregonLive.com poll.

Representatives of the Oregon Financial Services Association, the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Oregon Land Title Association support the bill, saying the fix is needed to remove a cloud on many foreclosure sales and lift the housing market. The American Land Title…
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Measuring the Performance of the Ivy Portfolio

Courtesy of Doug Short

I’ve been posting a monthly moving average update for the five ETFs in featured in Mebane Faber and Eric Richardson’s Ivy Portfolio since the spring of 2009, when I featured my review of the book.

In addition to the monthly updates, I’ve also made a couple of generic studies of momentum investing with moving averages.

Investing strategies are not the primary focus of my website, and I don’t personally track the performance of the Ivy Portfolio other than to highlight the monthly signals. For ETF performance tracking and backtesting, I use ETFReplay.com, an excellent website for analyzing the performance of individual ETFs and ETF portfolios based on customized moving-average strategies. There are many free tools on ETFReplay.com. However performance backtesting of portfolios does require a paid subscription.

The image below illustrates my research on the Ivy Portfolio since 2007. If you click the image, you’ll open a HUGE version that also shows the monthly performance over the complete range as compared to SPY (SPDR S&P 500 Index). For cash, I’ve used SHY (Barclays Low Duration Treasury (2-yr).

Now, the portfolio in this illustration doesn’t *exactly* match the Ivy five. I picked 2007 as my starting point to show the performance from before the market peak in the Fall of that year. Thus I was forced to make one substitution for the Ivy ETFs — EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund) in place of VEU (Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF), which was launched in early 2007 and didn’t produce a 10-month signal until December of that year. But the substitution presumably understates the all-Vanguard IVY portfolio: I make this assumption because VEU has outperformed EFA since the March 2009 market low (122.2% versus 103.7% as of May 31).

For anyone interested in researching momentum investing with ETFs, the ETFReplay.com website is an outstanding resource, one that I’m pleased to include in my dshort.com Favorites.





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

Why we need to improve cloud computing's security

 

Why we need to improve cloud computing's security

Courtesy of Robert DengSingapore Management University

Cloud computing has become every-day tool, but its security is questionable. New methods are developed to prevent data breaches. Mark Warner/Flickr, CC BY-ND

Do you often use Facebook? How about Snapchat, Gmail, Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, Spotify or Minecraft? Perhaps all of them? Bottom line, if you use an online social network, e-mail program, data storage service or a music platform, you are...



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Zero Hedge

Rex Tillerson Makes "Secret" Visit To Afghanistan

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One day after Rex Tillerson's visit to Saudi Arabia, which came as part of the US Secretary of State's concerted efforts to curb Iran's rapidly expanding influence in the region, including boosting the clout of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia in Shiite-majority Iraq, and urging Iranian militias to leave Iraq as the "fighting against ISIS comes to an end", Tillerson made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan's capital Kabul, where he is in d...



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Insider Scoop

Deutsche Bank Brightens Its View On Illumina

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ILMN Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For October 23, 2017 Illumina Now A Buy Following Q2 Beat, Improved Sale...

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

ValueWalk

Moody's Says Hartford Could Default As Early As November

By Gary St. Fleur. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The historic headquarters of insurance giants like Aetna, and Cigna, Hartford Connecticut now faces a potential financial catastrophe.

On Thursday, October 19, it was announce that the likelihood of Hartford Connecticut, to meet its obligations for the month grows continually bleak. Moody’s has produced a press release stating their position that Hartford Connecticut is likely to default by month’s end.

]]> Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues

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Digital Currencies

An Evening in Wonderland

 

An Evening in Wonderland

Courtesy of 

 

 

You walk halfway across Rivington Street and in the middle of the block there’s an alley leading north, and then, inexplicably, it curves northwest. It’s remarkable in that on the Isle of Manhattan there aren’t any alleys. And this one is whimsical. Lights are strung overhead and artwork decorates the sides of the buildings as you make your way through. And then, at the end of Freemans Alley, you come to a tucked away restaurant in the back corner. It’s called Freemans (what else?).

If the setting for last night&rs...



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Chart School

Gold Cycle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Why has gold not fallen below $1000 (well so far), what is the golden canary telling us?

Previous Posts:
SP500 Kitchin Cycle says trouble brewing - Update
SP500 How much higher ?

In short, the old heads out there know there is a ying for a yang! Currently the SP500 screaming higher, massive debt, low very !VIX. But as well all know this wont last forever, and the flip side could be very scary. Hence the hedge into metals, and building of the 4.5 year gold base, and as a ...

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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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Biotech

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

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

 

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

Courtesy of Sally Ferguson, CQUniversity Australia

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing the molecular cogs and wheels inside our biological clock.

In the 18th century an astronomer by the name of Jean Jacques d'Ortuous de Ma...



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Members' Corner

Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

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.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

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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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