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Archive for 2012

Dollar, Gold and Gasoline: Much Ado About Nothing

Courtesy of www.econmatters.com.

By EconMatters

U.S. regular gasoline price has spiked almost 4% in one week to $3.688 a gallon as of Feb. 26, the highest level since last September, with residents in three states--Alaska, Hawaii, California-- are already seeing above $4 at the pump, based on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

The current price level is roughly 11% above a year ago.  Analysts estimate that every 1-cent increase in the price of gasoline costs the economy $1.4 billion.  Consumers are starting to feel the pinch, and a new Associated Press-GfK poll says 7 in 10 Americans find the issue “deeply important”.

Crude oil is one of the oldest and most complex commodities in the world heavily underpinned by geopolitics, and market speculation throughout its history.  Now, with Iran, Israel, U.S. and Europe exchanging sanctions, threats in daily new headlines, it is hard to imagine anyone in the business world would miss the connection between surging oil, gasoline prices, and escalating tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

To our surprise, Forbes published an op-ed by Louis Woodhill dated Feb. 22 titled “Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling” blaming the surging gasoline prices on the dollar depreciation, and that

“Assuming that gold prices remained at today’s $1,759.30/oz, WTI prices would have to rise by about 22%, to $128.86/bbl, in order to reach their long-term average in terms of gold…..At this point, we can be certain that, unless gold prices come down, gasoline prices are going to go up—by a lot. And, because the dollar is currently a floating, undefined, fiat currency, there is no inherent limit to how far the price of gold in dollars can rise, and therefore no ultimate ceiling on gasoline prices.”

While we don’t disagree that there are many moving parts that could drive oil and gasoline prices higher, but  the U.S. dollar and gold are not among the deciding factors as the article asserts.  

First of all, crude oil and related processing accounts for over 80% of what we pay at the gas pump (see chart below).  So the short answer to the recent gasoline price spike is the surging crude oil prices, and more specifically, Brent oil marker on the ICE exchange. U.S. gasoline prices have been trending more closely with Brent…
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Guest Post: Extend And Pretend Coming To An End

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform,

 

The real world revolves around cash flow. Families across the land understand this basic concept. Cash flows in from wages, investments and these days from the government. Cash flows out for food, gasoline, utilities, cable, cell phones, real estate taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes, clothing, mortgage payments, car payments, insurance payments, medical bills, auto repairs, home repairs, appliances, electronic gadgets, education, alcohol (necessary in this economy) and a countless other everyday expenses. If the outflow exceeds the inflow a family may be able to fund the deficit with credit cards for awhile, but ultimately running a cash flow deficit will result in debt default and loss of your home and assets. Ask the millions of Americans that have experienced this exact outcome since 2008 if you believe this is only a theoretical exercise. The Federal government, Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks, regulatory agencies and commercial real estate debtors have colluded since 2008 to pretend cash flow doesn’t matter. Their plan has been to “extend and pretend”, praying for an economic recovery that would save them from their greedy and foolish risk taking during the 2003 – 2007 Caligula-like debauchery.

I wrote an article called Extend and Pretend is Wall Street’s Friend about one year ago where I detailed what I saw as the moneyed interest’s master plan to pretend that hundreds of billions in debt would be repaid, despite the fact that declining developer cash flow and plunging real estate prices would make that impossible. Here are a couple pertinent snippets from that article:

“A systematic plan to create the illusion of stability and provide no-risk profits to the mega-Wall Street banks was implemented in early 2009 and continues today. The plan was developed by Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and the CEOs of the criminal Wall Street banking syndicate. The plan has been enabled by the FASB, SEC, IRS, FDIC and corrupt politicians in Washington D.C. This master plan has funneled hundreds of billions from taxpayers to the banks that created the greatest financial collapse in world history.

Part two of the master cover-up plan has been the extending of commercial real estate loans and pretending that they will eventually be repaid. In late 2009 it was clear to the Federal Reserve
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Leaked Email Shows Stratfor CEO George Friedman Resigned Two Hours Ago Over Latest Breach

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

It is only somewhat appropriate that the announcement of the resignation of Stratfor’s CEO would come in the form of a leaked email that once again was intercepted by Anonymous.

Via Anonymous:

From: george.friedman@stratfor.com
 
To: fred.burton@stratfor.com
 
Subject: Draft
 
Date: 2012-02-26 19:02:07
 
It is with great personal disappointment I have to inform you that I will resign from my position as CEO for Stratfor to immediate effect.
 
Please rest assured that this decision was not an easy. But in the light of the recent events, especially the release of our company emails by WikiLeaks, I have decided that stepping down is in the best interest of Stratfor and its customer base.
 
I want to emphasize that this will have no effect on Stratfor’s business or its members and we will continue to provide state-of-the-art intelligence services.
 
Regarding the latest breach, Stratfor is fully in control of the situation However, while I cannot take any personal responsibility for this incident, I still have to admit that mistakes have been made on our side. To be clear: We certainly do not condone any criminal activities by groups like Anonymous or other hackers. This is theft and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice. But we must acknowledge that this incident would not have been possible if Stratfor had implemented stronger data protection mechanisms – which will be the case from now on. Indeed we will immediately move to implement the latest, and most comprehensive, data security measures.
 
While I played no role in our technical operations, as the company’s CEO I do accept full responsibility thus will resign from my position effective immediately.
 
Again, my sincerest apologies for this whole unfortunate incident.
 
Sincerely,
George Friedman





Stratfor Email Leak Reveals Insider Views On Obama, Emanuel & Romney

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Earlier today, Wikileaks made its latest startling release on Twitter, telling the media world to standby for a ‘major announcement’. Alas, in keeping with the recent tradition from Wikileaks, the “release” was a dud and is merely the collected dump of all the emails previously hacked from Stratfor by Anonymous, as was noted here previously. Alas a quick perusal through the emails so far reveals absolutely nothing exciting, except for the communiques of a paid intelligence provider, which may at times have had a few delusions of grandure and a mistaken and rather overblown sense of self-importance (hardly unique). Yet one exchange that is rather interesting is the following email thread from 2009 which goes from discussing how the billionaires behind ACORN have lost all respect for Obama and Biden (“The billionaire (who also funds ACORN) is greatly disappointed over Obama’s “weakness and wimpyness” towards China… She believes Biden is weasel and Obama is a pussy… The liberal factions in DC think Obama is being a pussy.“), views on Rahm Emanuel (“I don’t disagree that Biden is a weasel. I think Emanuel is emasculating Obama by selling him on clever Clintonesque tactics”), views on how Obama may get back into the thick of things: (“Obama needs to get in a fight and do something really mean and unfair to the right.”), on Obama and the banks: (“he could also tell the banks to go screw themselves.”) and from there going to analyzing the GOP field: (“The GOP folks I talk to are pushing Jeb Bush. I think that is a mistake. Who else is out there?”) and culminating with the GOP frontrunning Mitt Romney – “Romney can’t make it. Mormons are viewed as Voo Doo.” Much more in the full email thread inside.

From Wikileaks

Re: Insight – China/Tibet/Obama
Email-ID     391555
Date     2009-11-06 23:08:21
From     Anya.Alfano@stratfor.com
To     burton@stratfor.com, mongoven@stratfor.com
Maybe, but he’s choked on the national stage a few times now. I can’t get past his smile…makes him look sleazy.

burton@stratfor.com wrote:

Bobby Jindel? He’s some sort of Indian.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

———————————————————————-

From: Anya Alfano
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2009 16:58:58 -0500
To:
Cc: Bartholomew Mongoven
Subject: Re: Insight – China/Tibet/Obama
Tim Pawlenty is about as close as the GOP gets to…
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”Sleepwalking Toward a Precipice”: Our Observations and Outlook, Part I

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Foreword from dshort: Jason Leach, the Director of Research/Portfolio Management at Craven Brothers Wealth Advisors, sent me a PDF of his latest research — Sleepwalking Toward a Precipice: Our Observations and Outlook, Part I.

Jason kindly granted me permission to share with the Advisor Perspectives audience. The illustrations in the PDF are priceless, so be sure to download and view the PDF format. Below is a snapshot of one of the PDF pages followed by a reprint of the full text without illustrations.



 

Click to View
Click for a larger image

 

What We Will Cover…

  • It’s Structural: The credit crisis and Great Recession revealed structural problems in the United States, Europe and China which may hinder their future growth prospects.
  • Political Dysfunction: Political leadership has been unwilling or unable to address these structural issues effectively, resulting in temporary, expedient solutions that often make problems worse.
  • Fourth Branch Solutions: With the failure of political leadership, “central planning” has been ceded to central banks to “reflate” markets and reliquify insolvent banking systems and insolvent sovereign nations.
  • The Unknowns: Given the fragile nature of global economies coming out of crisis, a variety of uncertainties could also negatively impact growth.
  • Market Matters: Over the next decade, we see “double-wide” possibilities for economic growth translating into “double-wide” possibilities for U.S. and global markets.
  • What follows is Part I of our outlook on economies and markets. It educates and influences our investment approach which we discuss in the final of three outlook installments. We hope you enjoy.

2011 Market Recap: “Much Ado Then Nothing”

  • Headline Drivers: 2011 was an uncertain time across the world with headlines driving markets up and down in “risk on” and “risk off” trends that lasted hours, days, or weeks, but inevitably turned from “on” to “off” and back again.
  • Home on the Range to Unchanged: During the first half of the year, the S&P 500 index traded up (1260-1360 range). Sentiment turned negative in the second half with the index trading down violently (1120-1260 range). Remarkably, given a 20% swing from April highs to October lows, the S&P 500


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Grant Williams On The Simplicity Of Owning Gold

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As we enter a week in which the expectations are high for yet another large expansion of central bank balance sheets, and ever more extreme monetary policy (thanks to the LTRO 2), we thought it appropos to listen to Grant Williams, of the famous “Things That Make You Go Hhhhm” newsletter, explain in its simplest terms, why it is still a good time to own gold. In two excellent and succinct presentations, Williams discusses the ‘simplicity’ of investing through the last four decades but ends by focusing specifically on the rotation to Gold at the start of the last decade (2000) and why the reason for rotating out of the precious metal has not occurred yet. Seeing the world of Gold as a battle between Too Much and Not Enough (and drawing on global supply, demand, and holdings flow) Williams lays out the reasons for owning gold, and how to know when to cover – as he narrows the five reasons to reconsider Buffett-and-Roubini’s Barbarous Relic down to one simple rule – Central Bank Monetary Policy Changes.

Simplicity 1 - An introduction to investing by Simplicitly over the past forty years and making one big decision through each decade – ending with a focus on the current position in Gold and Central bank largesse writ large…

 

Simplicity 2Williams expands specifically on Gold – with key insights on owndership, supply, demand shifts, demographics, and central bank behavior with a succinct summation of reasons to own and reasons to exit that should help many deal with the ebbs and flows.





Key Events In The Week Ahead – US Growth Focus And Oil Price Trends

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Last week saw dramatic dispersion among the major FX pairs as global and local influences caused significant moves in most of the key crosses. Goldman takes a look back at the key drivers of that volatility and then focuses on the week ahead as the EU Summit at the latter end is the main event risk while ongoing macro developments will be focused on the incessant rise in Crude oil prices and whether we start seeing knock-on impacts in the real economy.

 

 

Goldman Sachs: What Matters in FX This Week : FX Week Ahead: Focus On US Growth Data And Oil Price Trends

It has been a big week for FX; a number of global and local influences have caused significant moves in key crosses and mostly in G10 space. First, the EUR rallied on a trade weighted basis; stretched short EUR positions unwound as progress was made on the Greece PSI and as the market took relief in the avoidance of a more disorderly outcome in the Euro-area. Interestingly the EUR rally happened even despite rangebound performance for risky assets and lack of strong directionality in other dollar crosses (such as $/LATAM or $/NJA). The key event to watch in the week ahead in terms of Euro-area tensions will be the EU summit on Thursday and Friday where the final details of the next Greece assistance package will be discussed.

Second, the JPY continued to depreciate sharply, extending the move that began with the BOJ’s latest balance sheet expansion operation and the shift to an inflation target. As Fiona Lake recently argued, although the shift in JPY fits fundamentally with a convergence towards fair value, the timing of the move is tricky and we have been reluctant to follow the shift particularly in the absence of an analogous move in US front end rates.

That said, the main macro development last week, the ongoing rise in Brent crude oil prices to the highest USD denominated level since last spring (and the highest EUR denominated level ever), was conducive to a shift higher in both in EUR/$ as well as in $/JPY. Our commodity strategy team has been highlighting that the run up in Brent prices over the past month has been driven primarily by a recovery in global growth expectations and…
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Weekly Market Commentary: Bullish

Courtesy of Declan Fallon

Indices were able to finish the week at or near the highs. The index which is most likely to benefit next week is the Russell 2000.  Whereas Tech has already broken to new highs and Large Caps are on the verge of doing so, it’s the Russell 2000 which is set up for a breakout and offers room to next resistance.  The challenge remains 830, but a close above this level will leave another 35 points of room until resistance is encountered.

The Nasdaq has no overhead supply, but the gradual weakening of market breadth limited last week’s gain to under one percent.

The Nasdaq Summation Index was the breadth indicator to give up the most (albeit a small loss).

The S&P is just 5 points away from 2011 highs. From there it will go on to challenge the 2007 high, but it might be slow going given Small Caps and Tech will tempt buyers from positions of new multi-year highs.

Next week looks set for a further expansion in breadth weakness which may result in a more substantial pullback in the S&P and Nasdaq than we have seen in recent weeks.  The broader trend remains bullish any any selling will likely fit with profit taking rather than an absence of interest from buyers (low volume selloffs carry that distinction).

——

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Dr. Declan Fallon is the Senior Market Technician and Community Director for Zignals.com. I offer a range of stock trading strategies for global markets which can be Previewed for Free with delayed trade signals. You can also view the top-10 best trading strategies for the US, UK, Europe and Rest-of-the-World in the Trading Strategy Marketplace Leaderboard. The Leaderboard also supports advanced search capability so you can tailor your strategies


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Nuclear Contamination As Seen By Japanese Humor

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by testosteronepit.

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com

After an endless stream of horrid reports on the tragedy of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, and the hotspots that are cropping up in odd places, and food scares, and even contaminated grasshoppers, we’re ready for something … lighter. This has been circulating in the Japanese internet community for months, has garnered countless comments, and a lot of nodding, agreement, and knowing smiles. Though it’s not based on science or statistics, and certainly not on any polls, it represents, in the eyes of many Japanese, a larger tongue-in-cheek truth.

Note: the areas seen as contaminated are marked in red.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there other dangers in Japan as well. A couple in Nagasaki made sashimi out of a fugu he'd caught in a nearby bay. An hour after eating it, her lips and limbs got numb. He also developed symptoms. Ah yes, the neurotoxin in the otherwise comical fish. Read…. Don't Try This At Home.





What Happens in Vegas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tim Knight from Slope of Hope.

From the Slope of Hope: I’m not a very good hedonist, I guess.

Here I am in Las Vegas, and to my way of thinking, everything I hate about the human race is conveniently compressed into one tidy package.

And I ask myself: what’s my problem? Why do I let places like this get to me so much? I mean, after all, why should I care what other people do with their time and their lives? What business is it of mine?

Well, it’s none of my business, of course. The whole human race could wallow around in whatever it wants, and as long as it doesn’t adversely affect me or the people about whom I care, it really shouldn’t matter. And, on the whole, this is the state of affairs, because I have designed my life in a tidy little bubble and need not trouble myself with such thoughts.

It still chews at me, though, why I get so irked by hoardes of people engaging in as many bacchanalian propensities as they can muster. Drinking. Drugs. Sex. Slack-jawed gaping of The Things That Are So Bright and The Things That Are So Big. It just isn’t my cup of tea.

My little girl, whose competition brings me here, expressed it wisely beyond her years when, unprompted, she said to me: “Dad, I notice that everything in this town is fake.” And that, I finally realized, was what had my panties in such a wad.

The blonde hair is fake. The big boobs are fake. The wretched, fawning smiles are fake. The attitudes are fake. The posturing, preening, and posing are all put-ons designed by the ho-bags and douche-wads stumbling up and down the streets to hopefully bed whatever quarry about which they fantasize.

0225-douche
So is it because I’m repelled out of some sense of moral repugnance? Nope. I think we’re pretty much responsible for our own souls. I don’t really care what these nitwits do.

How about disappointment? Well, I think we’re starting to get close. And it isn’t because I’m personally associated with these folks.  I don’t directly care about any of these people, but I guess since I identify myself as part of this group as a fellow human, it’s disheartening to see it race to the bottom by…
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Zero Hedge

The Annotated History of US Dollar Debauchery

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

With everyone and their pet rabbit convinced the US Dollar strength continues, we thought some longer-term context on the 'strength' of the dollar was useful...

Click image for large legible version

 

Here is Goldman Sachs' Noah Weisberger take on Lessons From History:

While the real-trade-weighted USD is now at its strongest level since 2009, having already appreciated about 7% since July, the move is still quite modest when put in the historic context of real USD moves in the post-Bretton Woods era, and, in p...



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Phil's Favorites

The Monetary Politbureau and the Markets - A Game of Chicken

The Monetary Politbureau and the Markets – A Game of Chicken

Courtesy of Pater Tenebrarum of Acting Man

December FOMC Decree

Prior to the announcement of the FOMC decision on Wednesday, it was widely expected that the verbiage in the statement would be changed so as to convey an increasingly hawkish stance. Specifically, it was expected that the following phrase, which has been a mainstay of FOMC statements for many moons, would finally be given the boot and no longer appear:

“…it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time”  

It is&nb...



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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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Chart School

Relief Bounce in Markets

Courtesy of Declan.

Those who took advantage of markets at Fib levels were rewarded.  However, this looked more a 'dead cat' style bounce than a genuine bottom forming low.  This can of course change, and one thing I will want to see is narrow action near today's high. Volume was a little light, but with Christmas fast approaching I would expect this trend to continue.

The S&P inched above 2,009, but I would like to see any subsequent weakness hold the 38.2% Fib level at 1,989.


The Nasdaq offered itself more as a support bounce, with a picture perfect play off its 38.2% Fib level. Unlike the S&P, volume did climb in confirmed accumulation. The next upside c...

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Digital Currencies

Chart o' the Day: Don't "Invest" in Stupid Sh*t

Joshua commented on the QZ article I posted a couple days ago and perfectly summarized the take-home message into an Investing Lesson. 

Chart o’ the Day: Don’t “Invest” in Stupid Sh*t

Courtesy of 

The chart above comes from Matt Phillips at Quartz and is a good reminder of why you shouldn’t invest in s...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of December 15th, 2014

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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Energy sector rains on bulls' parade, but skies may clear soon

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

Courtesy of Scott Martindale of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks have needed a reason to take a breather and pull back in this long-standing ultra-bullish climate, with strong economic data and seasonality providing impressive tailwinds -- and plummeting oil prices certainly have given it to them. But this minor pullback was fully expected and indeed desirable for market health. The future remains bright for the U.S. economy and corporate profits despite the collapse in oil, and now the overbought technical condition has been relieved. While most sectors are gathering fundamental support and our sector rotation model remains bullish, the Energy sector looks fundamentally weak and continues to ran...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.

Notes

1. th...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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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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