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  1. phil

    Regulators form working group for Crypto – Mnuchin

    • Speaking the The Economic Club in D.C., Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Financial Stability Oversight Council has formed a working group to look into cryptocurrencies.
    • "We are very focused on cryptocurrencies … We want to make sure that bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things." Oh, the irony.
    • Cryptos, meanwhile, are nearly universally in the green today. About the most modest rally is in Bitcoin, whose overwhelmingly dominant position in cryptos continues to erode. It's higher by less than 2%, while Ethereum – for instance – is up more than 8%.
    • Xunlei Limited (NASDAQ:XNET) — a video/advertising firm before its "Wanke coin mining" project put it into the blockchain/crypto space — is off 27% following a Chinese industry group warning over the burgeoning area.
    • On WeChat, China's National Internet Finance Association posted a statement syaing its members shouldn't be conducting illegal activities and shouldn't engage in any ICO-related or cryptocurrency trading.
    • The group thinks Xunlei's LinkToken, made for financing by nature, is an example of an ICO in "disguise." (h/t Bloomberg)
    • Still, at $16.73 currently, the stock is nearly quadruple its October price pre-pivot.
    • "This isn't necessarily a condemnation of the economic impact of the tax law,” PNC Financial (PNC -0.4%) CEO William Demchak tells the WSJ, "but will it necessarily cause more borrowing?"
    • In other words, with less money needed to pay taxes, companies may not have to borrow as much.
    • For PNC's part, average total loans in Q4 were up 5% Y/Y, thanks to commercial lending. Consumer lending actually fell from a year ago. The bank boosted loan loss provisions to $125M from $67M a year ago, with the consumer side being the culprit.
    • PNC this morning topped both top- and bottom-line estimates, but the bulls are taking a breather after the stock's big run. Shares are down 0.3% today.
    • Previously: PNC Financial beats by $0.09, beats on revenue (Jan. 12)

    Another rough session for REITs

    • The major averages are on track to set new records at the close, but the REITs (IYR -0.7%) are underperforming by a mile again on interest rate concerns.
    • Late yesterday, FRBNY President Bill Dudley was sounding very hawkish, and this morning's core CPI report came in faster than expected. The two-year Treasury yield subsequently jumped above 2% for the first time since 2008.
    • Short-term rate markets have only been expecting two rate hikes this year, and have now just begun pricing in a third. Judging from Dudley's talk yesterday, they may want to consider a fourth.
    • Welltower (HCN -1.6%), Ventas (VTR -2.3%), Healthcare Trust (HTA -1.3%), National Retail (NNN -1.1%), Essex Property (ESS -1.9%), Weingarten Realty (WRI -0.8%), Kite Realty (KRG-0.9%), Public Storage (PSA -1.1%), Gramercy Property (GPT -1.6%)
    • "Recent media stories regarding Aflac (NYSE:AFL) contain false allegations made by a very small group of independent contractors," says the company. The claims, says Aflac – insider trading, fraudulent sales and financial manipulation, among them – have been internally investigated and found without merit.
    • Shares are a bit off their lows, but still down 7.7% on the day.
    • Source: Press Release
    • The pullback is overdone, says Evercore, calling The Intercept's news report "filled with hyperbole."
    • Previously: Aflac down more than 3% on fraud allegations (Jan. 12)

    Trump extends Iran sanctions relief; oil trades near session highs

    • Pres. Trump has extended sanctions relief for Iran, as expected, keeping the Obama administration's nuclear deal intact for at least another 90 days.
    • The Trump administration says this will be the final time sanctions are waived.
    • At the same time, the administration issues new sanctions targeting 14 Iranian officials over Iran’s ballistic missile programs and a crackdown on government protesters.
    • U.S. crude +0.5% at $64.14/bbl; Brent crude +0.5% at $69.60/bbl.
    • The total U.S. rig count rose by 15 to 939 following last week's decline of 5, according to the latest weekly survey from Baker Hughes; it is the largest increase since May.
    • The oil rig count jumped by 10 to 752 while gas rigs gained 5 to 187.
    • A year ago, the total rig count was just 659, with oil rigs at 522 and gas rigs at 136 (plus one miscellaneous).
    • U.S. meat production is forecast to increase 3.8% this year to mark the biggest jump in more than 20 years.
    • Growing flocks and herds in the U.S. have helped to boost profit for meat producers such as Tyson Foods (TSN -0.1%), Sanderson Farms (SAFM) and Pilgrim's Pride (PPC +0.5%) as supply keeps up with demand. Cheap grain has also been a bottom line driver.

    Wow, this guy really earned his bonus!  Stifel sees huge benefit for Costco from Sam's Club closings

    • Stifel Nicolaus estimates that Costco (NASDAQ:COST) could add $1.8B in sales due to the closing of 69 Sam's Club stores .
    • Analyst Mark Astrachan estimates that 47% of the closed Sam's stores clubs are within 5 miles of a Costco and 87% are within 20 miles.
    • "We further believe it illustrates Costco’s outperformance relative to Sam’s in recent years, which we anticipate will continue," writes Astrachan about the development.
    • Shares of Costco are up 1% today to follow on yesterday's post-announcement pop.
    • Source: Bloomberg,
    • Previously: Costco spikes after reports of Sam's Club closings (Jan. 11)
    • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey raises its Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) price target from $1,270 to $1,400.
    • Analyst Youssef Squali cites Amazon’s “maniacal focus on the customer” and leveraging technology innovation to disrupt across multiple industries including commerce, entertainment, and IT. 
    • The differentiation and sustainable advantages “should continue to enable the company to grow disproportionately faster than peers, gain market share in several segments of the global economy and sustain above-peers valuation multiples for years to come.”   
    • Amazon shares are up 2.1%.    
    • Previously: Fox TV's Walden out of running for Amazon Studios chief (Jan. 11)

    'Battlefront' concerns spur MS to downgrade Electronic Arts

    • While some analysts think Electronic Arts (EA +1%) has been punished too hard for flak around tentpole game Star Wars: Battlefront II -- recently, Wedbush and BMO -- Morgan Stanley is downgrading on the issue.
    • Analyst Brian Nowak has lowered his rating to Equal Weight from Overweight, pointing to a poor start for Battlefront II, and lowered his sales forecast to 10M units from 13M.
    • It's unlikely the much-discussed microtransactions will make an appearance in the game until fiscal Q4, and when they do they'll be "heavily scrutinized" due to the existing backlash, no matter how conservative the company is, Nowak says.
    • He's lowered his fiscal 2018 EPS estimate to $0.13 from $0.16, and cut the stock's price target to $120 from $126, implying 6.1% upside from current pricing.
    • Previously: EA +1.3% as BMO sees opportunity in 'Star Wars' sell-off (Jan. 08 2018)
    • Previously: Wedbush: Sell-off is overdone, future is bright for EA (Jan. 02 2018)

    Barclays increases Microsoft's price target ahead of Q2 earnings

    • Barclays raises its Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) price target from $89 to $95 ahead of earnings later this month.
    • The raise came in a broader note about the U.S. Software market.
    • Barclay’s VAR survey results suggest a healthy spending environment for the market. The VAR survey included increased interest in Enterprise E5 for Office 365, which could drive ARPU expansion.   
    • Microsoft shares are up 1.5%.     
    • Previously: Microsoft brings end-to-end encryption to Skype (Jan. 11)

    Apple roundup: Cowen's iPhone build note, Mac sales +7%, AR glasses discussions

    • Cowen says Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone builds for Q4 CY17 held up well compared to expiations as evidenced by strong seasonal performance in the supply chain.
    • But the firm remains cautions for Q1 CY18 as fieldwork showed less of a tailwind mix from the new iPhones versus a month ago. 
    • Big Mac quarter:  IDC data shows that Mac shipments grew 7.3% on the year during the December quarter, which pushed the market share up to 8.2% from 7.7%. But those numbers still put Apple in fourth place overall. 
    • The PC market achieved its first positive holiday quarter in six years driven by HP (NYSE:HPQ) (share: 23.5%; Y/Y growth: 8.3%), Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGF) (share: 22.2%; Y/Y growth: flat), and Dell (NYSE:DVMT) (share: 15.7%; Y/Y growth: 0.7%).  
    • AR talks:  Bloomberg reports Apple was among the tech giants talking with suppliers of AR glasses parts during #CES18. 
    • Apple shares are up 0.8%.  
    • Previously: Apple faces questions from U.S. Senator, class-action lawsuits, and tax reveal (Jan. 10)

    UXVY/Lala – We tried it once, didn't like it.  All the VIX ever does is go down, the bets are no fun other than the SVXY we played last year that we might do again (after earnings).

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Zero Hedge

Contemplations On America And 4% GDP Growth


Contemplations On America And 4% GDP Growth

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Authored by Chris Hamilton via Economica blog,

Economic prognosticators (Jamie Dimon, among them) suggest that 4% GDP growth is likely and that economic good times have returned.  I haven't a clue what they are smoking.  I'll lay out how the US economy has grown ever more reliant on cheap debt to buy ever more intangible services creating a decelerating number of full time jobs among a population that is growing ever more slowly (the basis of a growing consumer base).  And that's ju...

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Phil's Favorites

Breaking Up Tech: Indexes doing what the economy won't


Breaking Up Tech: Indexes doing what the economy won’t

Courtesy of 

Nobody wants to say this but I will.

The technology sector has gotten so big, so pervasive and powerful, that the stock market index creators had to break it up. Because the monopolist powers of these corporations off of the stock market and in the real world have not been checked by natural competitive forces or government intervention.

The big names in tech get bigger and bigger every year, their influence extending into all facets of modern life, no industry left untouched by the effects of this.


more from Ilene


How Neuroscience Can Boost Your Creativity | David Eagleman

By joniferdingcong. Originally published at ValueWalk.

“All ideas have a genealogy,” says David Eagleman. A writer, neuroscientist, and adjunct professor at Stanford University, he’s definitely clued in to what makes ideas click. He posits that the brain craves something new so much that if you give someone the same thing over and over that after a certain amount of time you’ll begin to see diminished returns in excitement. But sometimes “new” isn’t necessarily new at all. He points out that although the iPhone is a revolutionary product it bears heavy similarity to an invention from IBM… from two decades ago. New ideas tend to be built upon similar ones, David Eagleman says, because “what we’re doing is building on the foundations of what has come before us.”

Read more at ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 14, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

After 3 days of mild “rest” – and the first down day of the year (!!) for the S&P 500, bulls came back with bells on Thursday and Friday, driving indexes to record highs yet again.  This is starting to get “parabolic”… some shades of the type of things we saw in 1999.  (See the S&P 500 and NASDAQ charts below)  The S&P 500 gained 1.6% and the NASDAQ 1.7% for the week.

“This reminds me of January 2000,” said Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist, at Capitol Securities Management, which manages $4 billion in assets, referring to the nearly unceasing climb to records for stocks and the unease it can inspire.  “It’s scary, the unrelenting advance,” he added.

“The move isn’t about fundamentals...

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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: U.S. Stock Futures Climb Ahead Of Wells Fargo Earnings

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade, ahead of earnings from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC). Data on retail sales for December and the Consumer Price Index for December will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Data on business inventories for November will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patr... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

Why unregulated cryptocurrencies could trigger another financial crisis


Why unregulated cryptocurrencies could trigger another financial crisis

Courtesy of Iwa SalamiUniversity of East London


The price of bitcoin hit $17,000 late last year and – although the cryptocurrency has plunged since then – there are signs that an absence of regulation can hurt investors and trigger the next fin...

more from Bitcoin


How Alzheimer's disease spreads throughout the brain - new study

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


How Alzheimer's disease spreads throughout the brain – new study

Courtesy of Thomas E CopeUniversity of Cambridge

Harmful tau protein spreads through networks. Author provided

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating brain illness that affects an estimated 47m people worldwide. It is the most common cause of dementia in the Western world. Despite this, there are currently no treatments that are effective in curing Alzheimer’s disease or preventing its relentless progressio...

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Mapping The Market

Trump Admin Bans CDC From Using Words Like 'Science-Based,' 'Diversity'

By Jean-Luc

These are the policies of a theocracy, not a modern democracy:

Trump Admin Bans CDC From Using Words Like ‘Science-Based,’ ‘Diversity’

The Trump administration has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using words like “science-based,” “diversity,” and “transgender” in their official documents for next year’s budget, according to the Washington Post.

Senior CDC budget leader Alison Kelly met with the agency’s policy analysts on Thursday to announce ...

more from M.T.M.

Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...

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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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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!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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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.


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...

more from David

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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