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No Easy Way Out

Courtesy of ilene

Here’s the latest Stock World Weekly: No Easy Way Out. Enjoy!

Archives here >

Excerpt: 

Inflation continues to be a major problem around the globe. Food price inflation has been one of the primary triggers for the protests and riots across the Middle East and North Africa. China has been struggling with rampant inflation for months now. And price inflation has been cited as one of the primary complaints among participants in this week’s massive protests in Spain. 

Inflation is also causing problems closer to home. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) released a report on May 19 showing that seniors have lost almost one-third of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs. “In most years, seniors receive a small increase in their Social Security checks, intended to help them keep up with the costs of inflation. But since 2000, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) has increased just 31 percent, while typical senior expenses have jumped 73 percent, more than twice as fast.” (Seniors Have Lost 32 Percent of Their Buying Power Since 2000)

Lee Adler discussed last week’s market action and the impending end of QE2: “The markets responded as expected to this week’s light Treasury supply, which included a hefty paydown on Thursday along with the usual dose of POMO. Stocks sold off Monday under the pressure of settling $72 billion in new notes and bonds, but then they recovered as POMO and $10 billion in Treasury paydowns put cash back in the pockets of the market’s movers and shakers. As usual, they deployed some of it into stocks.

“However, there was a fly in the ointment of this week’s light Treasury schedule. The evidence suggests that the foreign central banks ran away from the auctions. If this is the reversal of their short term buying cycle, it should depress the performance of the markets in the weeks ahead…

“The supply bogeyman will return at the end of the month, with $61 billion of new notes and TIPS settling on May 31. That will be an interesting challenge for the market. Once again, how that is handled should give us a preview of things to come when the Fed’s POMO pause begins in July. I have a hunch it won’t be pretty. (Lee Adler at Wall Street Examiner,
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“There is Something Very Wrong with This Picture”

Courtesy of Mark Thoma, Economist’s View

I’ve been meaning to highlight this paper by Levy and Kochan, and still hope to do a bit more with it, but for now here’s Dani Rodrik:

There is something very wrong with this picture, by Dani Rodrik: This graph is from a new paper by Frank Levy and Tom Kochan, showing trends in labor productivity and compensation since 1980:

Labor productivity increased by 78 percent between 1980 and 2009, but the median compensation (including fringe benefits) of 35-44 year-old males with high school (and no college) education declined by 10 percent in real terms.

Women have done in general better, but two-thirds of women still have seen their pay lag behind productivity.

Levy and Kochan call for a Social Compact to reverse these trends, and outline some of the steps necessary to get there. The paper is very well worth reading.

Policymakers need to focus on job creation much more than they are, but as this graph shows creating more jobs is only part of the solution to the problems that middle and lower class households have been experiencing. We also need to ensure that income is equitably shared, and the paper outlines the steps needed to move in this direction:

The broken link between productivity and wage growth reflects changes in markets, policies, and their enforcement, institutions, and organizational norms and practices that have been evolving for a long time (circa 1980). Given this history, it is clear that the solutions will also need to be multiple and systemic and sustained for a long time. They also will need to match the features of the contemporary economy. The prior Social Compact was well-suited to a production-based economy in which wage increases in manufacturing set the norm for other parts of the economy.

Today, manufacturing can no longer play this catalytic role. Instead, norms and institutions need to support an innovation-knowledge based economy. We outline below a potential combination of actions suited to this task. If the list seems formidable, recall that we are now facing a situation where the economy has stopped working for something between one-half and two-thirds of all American workers.

Many of us have been calling for a New New Deal. I’ve done so many times over the last several years and I’m far from alone. Unfortunately, there’s very little evidence that this is anywhere near…
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It’s Official: Ruling Spanish Socialist Party Is Getting Trounced In Regional Elections

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal of the Business Insider

Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero

A said day for Zapatero

Continuing the gigantic, anti-incumbency wave that’s sweeping the globe, Spain’s ruling socialist party is getting trounced across the country in municipal elections.

Early results show the conservative People’s Party garnering 35% of votes vs. 28% for the socialists.

The election comes amid economic woe, and a shocking rise of youth protests in Madrid that have turned it into the new Tahrir Square.

Rising political anger — combined with the fact that new elections will probably reveal untolds more in debt than had previously been reported -- have sent Spanish bond yields soaring again, just as Greece looks like it’s about to crack up the eurozone all over again.

The incredible failure of incumbent governments has been on display everywhere from Democrats in 2010, to Finnish rulers this year, and even a shockingly weak result for the ruling party in Singapore just recently.





Things That Make You Go Hmmm…. Such As The CFTC’s “Endless” Investigation Of Silver Manipulation

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

From Grant Williams’ “Things That Make You Go Hmmm

…The CFTC proposals stipulate the following: “Spot-month position limit levels set at 25% of deliverable supply for a given commodity, with a conditional spot month limit of five times that amount for entities with positions exclusively in cash-settled contracts What this essentially means is that anybody that has no intention of taking physical delivery of a commodity will NOT be allowed to build a position that is greater then 125% of the total deliverable supply while anybody looking to buy physical metal can only buy 25% of that same supply. They also threw in this little grenade: “Exemptions for bona fide hedging transactions (based on the Dodd-Frank Act’s new requirements for such transactions) and for positions that are established in good faith prior to the effective date of specific limits adopted pursuant to the proposed regulations.” In other words, the existing short positions allegedly held by JPMorgan and HSBC amongst others about which the complaints were made, are unaffected by the new rules as they were already established. The WHAT?? Far from being the dog that didn’t bark, the CFTC have become the dog that held the door open for the burglars while they ransacked the house. Elsewhere though, there is another type of barking to be heard as the physical stocks of silver on the COMEX continue to dwindle – from 87,000,000 ounces in 2009 to a little over 32,000,000 ounces a mere 2 years later and sooner or later, if the volatility in silver continues, the answer to the CFTC’s investigation will be discovered not behind closed doors, but in the full glare of the spotlight as the amount of silver available to settle futures expiry gets dangerously close to a shortfall. The  more demand we see for physical silver from the likes of China, the more dangerous it gets to allow huge structural shorts to persist. Perhaps that’s why Commissioner Bart Chilton spoke this week in urgent tones about the need to address the issue of position limits? Silver now seems to have stabilized and, with first day notice for the July contract rapidly approaching, it looks as though the battle will once again be joined as silver continues to build a base between $33 and $35. One thing is for certain, the current trend


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Goldman Aligns Itself Against US, UK, And Europe, Alongside China In Choice For Next IMF Head

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Christine Lagarde’s chances of heading the IMF just took a another step back. Why? Because the firm whose alumni are about to be or already are in key posts at the Fed, the ECB and the BOC, has said (through its moutpiece Jim O’Neill who “can’t see how the EUR should be above 1.40” even as Thomas Stolper et al see it going to 1.55 in a year) that it is not too crazy about having a European replacement for DSK, and that “it might be better if some leadership and authority came from outside of Europe with a fresh set of independent eyes” (supposedly the fact that Lagarde has had no formaly economic academic brainwashing is not a factor). In other words, Goldman has aligned itself with China, which has made it clear that it may be wise if the next IMF leadership “reflected the New World Order.” As such, the largely symbolic IMF conclave just became very interesting: while the IMF is largely a figurehead with the real backstop organization always being the Federal Reserve, Goldman appears to have just voted alongside China… and thus against Europe and the US.

From Goldman’s Jim O’Neill:

IMF LEADERSHIP.

Two weeks ago at a conference in Singapore, when asked to make some bold predictions about the future, I joked that the next head of the IMF would be Sir Alex Ferguson. Little did I know that within a week of that joke, the Fund would need a new leader.

I have been discussing the possible candidates for the new Head with many people this week, as have many others. The new leader should satisfy two broad criteria. One, he or she must be well versed in the many economic and policy issues that the IMF must handle and lead. Two, he or she must have a personality that can engage successfully with the many different members to orchestrate change as well as a better and more balanced world economy.  What the leader mustn’t be is simply a figurehead of a pure European and US “deal” to sustain the historic arrangement that the IMF always has a European leader and the World Bank has an American leader. If the IMF ends up with European leader, that person will have to face the additional burden of being regarded as such a product, adding…
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America’s Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates

by Stephen Lendman

An earlier article discussed Permanent Debt Bondage from America’s Student Loan Racket:

It explained government/corporate complicity to rip off students for profit, a racket continuing under Obama. His July 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act perpetuated the scam. It enriches providers, entrapping millions of students permanently in debt, because rising tuition and fee amounts plus interest, service charges, and late payment or collection agency penalties are too onerous to repay.

It’s part of the grand scheme, of course, to transfer maximum public wealth to America’s super-rich already with too much. Ongoing for over three decades, it accelerated under Obama, a corrupted Wall Street/war profiteer tool, destroying America for power and profit.

Millions of Students Permanently Entrapped in Debt

Many students, whether or not they graduate, have debt burdens approaching or exceeding $100,000. If repaid over 30 years, it’s a $500,000 obligation, and if default, much more because debts aren’t forgiven. As a result, once entrapped, escape is impossible. Bondage is permanent, and future lives and careers are impaired or ruined.

Continue here: America’s Student Loan Racket: Soaring Default Rates | Veterans Today.





Monday Market Movement – The Low Ranger

What a wild month this has been.  

As of Friday’s close, all of our US indices were off at least 2.5% from the end of April with a week to go in May.  We got the pattern we anticipated for the month but we’re only as good as our last call so now what?  

Well, to a large extent that will depend on how we handle those 2.5% lines but that is just going to be a measure of how well (if at all) we are staving off a major correction.  There is plenty of POMO power left in the Fed’s gun with Stock World Weekly reporting $28Bn in the first 4 days of the week to be showered on our Bankster buddies.  

Also on the schedule for next week are New Home Sales on Tuesday, Durable Goods and Home Prices on Wednesday, GDP (2nd Estimate) along with the usual Jobless Claims on Thursday and Friday, in case anyone hasn’t left early for the long weekend – it’s Personal Income and Spending along with PCE Prices AND Pending Home Sales.  

So Friday could be a REALLY depressing day on the data front, where we see Incomes dropping, prices inflating and home sales dropping off a cliff – all ahead of a holiday weekend that will make or break the retail season with gas still around $4 a gallon (35% more than last year). 

None of that matters though, as long as the Dollar behaves itself and refrains from showing any signs of life.   We tested 76 in early futures trading this evening (I am writing this post early as I won’t be around in the morning) but NO ONE wants to see the Dollar that strong – especially the guys who are in charge of it in America so it was quickly and firmly slapped back (so far). It’s really all about Europe but first, let’s take a closer look at the big picture on the S&P:  

Note how we are forming a similar pattern coming into a similar holiday weekend to the one we had for Martin Luther King weekend, 2010.  At the time, on January 19th, with the S&P at 1,150 – I asked the question "Have the Markets Become Comfortably Numb" where I summed up the apparent indifference to bad news by saying: "I have a
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Q&A With Jim Grant: Look For “QE 3 Through QE N”

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

By now it has been made very clear that Jim Grant is firmly in the (correct, at least according to us) camp that no matter what, the Fed will be forced to proceed with at least one more (and likely many) round of quantitative easing. In his latest must read interview, the author of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer further explains, in simple terms, not only why the Fed is boxed in when it comes to monetary policy (an assessment comparable to that by Marc Faber back in March: "We may drop 10 to 15 percent. Then QE 2 will come, (then) QE 4, QE 5, QE 6, QE 7—whatever you want. The money printer will continue to print, that I’m sure. Actually I made a mistake. I meant to say QE 18."),  but also refutes the fallacy of counterfactual statements that the world would end if the Fed had not intervened to prevent a systemic collapse in 2008, why a gold standard in our lifetimes is coming, on whether he is buying gold currently, on inflation, on corporate valuation, and where (and more importantly when) investors should be putting money to work.

From AP:

A graduate of Indiana University, Grant, 64, was a Navy gunner’s mate before starting his journalism career at the Baltimore Sun in 1972. He then joined the financial weekly Barron’s before starting Grant’s Interest Rate Observer in 1983. He’s also written seven books, mostly financial histories and profiles. His first book was on Bernard Baruch, the pre-WWI financier and advisor to presidents. His latest is a profile of Thomas Reed, an acerbic and witty Speaker of House over 100 years ago.

As stocks were falling last week, Grant visited The Associated Press in New York to talk about why it’s not just stock investors who should be worried. Below are excerpts, edited for clarity, from a wide-ranging conversation in which he lit into the Federal Reserve for our current troubles, warned of 10 percent inflation and waxed nostalgic for a time when Washington had the courage to let prices fall in crises rather than goose them up and prolong our agony.

Q: What’s your view of the stock market?

A: The Federal Reserve has unilaterally taken it upon itself to levitate asset prices. It is suppressing interest rates. When you’re not getting anything on your savings, you are…
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Wall Street Accountability is Still Missing

It has always been a mystery to me why the American people’s reaction to this lack of accountability has been so consistently passive. Why is it that thousands will protest, for weeks, the efforts by the Republican governor of Wisconsin and his Republican allies in the state legislature to strip Wisconsin’s public employees of hard-won benefits and contractual rights, but there is barely a peep uttered — save from a handful of Code Pink activists — in the face of trillions of dollars of American treasure used to bail out the very banks and securities firms that caused the Great Recession in the first place? Nor is there a whisper of collective protest when the very banks we bailed out turn around and pay their thousands of employees nearly $150 billion in compensation and bonuses in 2010 — as if they were deserving — while the rest of us continue to suffer from stubbornly high unemployment, miniscule interest rates on our savings and fast-rising commodity prices (as on oil and food) that Wall Street speculators, in part, drive higher and higher.

Full article here: Wall Street Accountability is Still Missing – NYTimes.com.





 
 
 

All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Phil's Favorites

The End Is Near, Part 2: Corporations Are The Ultimate Dumb Money

Courtesy of John Rubino.

David Stockman just published a chart so compelling that he didn’t feel the need to add any commentary.

But there are a few things to be said about the tendency of public companies to repurchase their shares at the very top:

“Peak buyback” is a sign that executives are seeing fewer opportunities to generate positive returns by building new factories or hiring new people, and so choose to give their free cash back to investors. This is NOT a good thing for the future of the business.

Low interes...



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Zero Hedge

"Nor Any Drop To Drink," Citi Maps The Liquidity Paradox

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

For years (literally), we’ve been warning about the dangers of increasingly illiquid credit markets. In short, Fed purchases have sucked the Treasury market dry contributing to a shortage of high quality collateral in the process, a situation which, when coupled with hair-trigger HFTs, can lead to dramatic displays of volatility such as last October’s Treasury flash crash

Meanwhile, new, post-crisis regulations ostensibly designed to protect inv...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Margin debt hits all-time highs- Why we shouldn’t be so concerned!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Margin Debt of late hit all-time highs, surpassing levels reached in 2000 and 2007, should we be concerned? In the long-term, margin debt at these levels will most likely become an issue that will impact markets, possibly like it has in the past.

In the past, it wasn’t high levels that ended up being the signal to reduce exposure to stocks. So what was the signal? When should we be concerned that these levels could impact stocks?

Below looks at Margin debt on a 12-month rolling Average basis. The chart below reflects that when margin debt was expanding rapidly on a 12-month basis in 2000 and 2007; then it turned sharply lower, that is when investors sh...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 3rd, 2015

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Insider Scoop

Guggenheim Securities Initiates United Natural Foods At Buy

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related UNFI Are Consumers Being Deceived About Organic Foods? Benzinga's Top Downgrades United Natural Foods gets the nod from Guggenheim (Seeking Alpha)

Analysts at Guggenheim Securities initiated coverage on United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) with a Buy rating.

The target price for United Natural ...



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Chart School

Crestmont Market Valuation Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Quick take: Based on the April S&P 500 average of daily closes, the Crestmont P/E is 98% above its arithmetic mean and at the 98th percentile of this fourteen-plus-decade monthly metric.

The 2011 article P/E: Future On The Horizon by Advisor Perspectives contributor Ed Easterling provided an overview of Ed's method for determining where the market is headed. His analysis was quite compelling. Accordingly I include the Crestmont Research data to my monthly market valuation updates.

The first chart is the Crestmont equivalent of the Cyclical P/E10 ratio chart I've been sharing on a monthly basis for the past few years.

...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sector rotation model stays bullish, but neutral rankings and technical resistance flash caution

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week, stocks cycled bullish yet again. In fact, the S&P 500, NYSE Composite, and NASDAQ each closed at record highs as investors positioned for the heart of earnings season in the wake of strong reports from some of the Tech giants. Notably, Utilities stocks got some renewed traction as yield-starved investors returned to the sector. Although our trend-following sector rotation model remains bullish, strong overhead technical resistance and neutral rankings in our SectorCast quant model indicate that caution is in order, and this might not be the moment for a major upside breakout, particularly given the expected softne...



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Digital Currencies

Why Bitcoin's male domination will be its downfall

Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.

More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved. 

Why Bitcoin's male domination will be its downfall 

By Felix Salmon

Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...



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Promotions

Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble likes the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped (EWY), but only if it breaks out of a pennant pattern. This South Korean equities ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by 60% since 2011.

You're probably familiar with its largest holding, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and at least several other represented companies such as Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp.

...



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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

PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs!   The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down!  The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months.  What could go wrong?

Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.

Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies.  A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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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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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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