Author Archive for Pharmboy

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

File 20170512 32578 1hmhoo8

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR. The Conversation

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene editing technology will someday do.

CRISPR was Science magazine’s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year; it’s been featured prominently in the New Yorker more than once; and The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Jennifer Lopez will be the executive producer on an upcoming CRISPR-themed NBC bio-crime drama. Not bad for a molecular biology laboratory technique.

Two of the CRISPR co-inventors, Emmanuelle Charpentier (middle-left) and Jennifer Doudna (middle-right), rubbing elbows with celebs after receiving the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Breakthrough Prize Foundation, CC BY-ND

CRISPR is not the first molecular tool designed to edit DNA, but it gained its fame because it solves some longstanding problems in the field. First, it is highly specific. When properly set up, the molecular scissors that make up the CRISPR system will snip target DNA only where you want them to. It is also incredibly cheap. Unlike previous gene editing systems which could cost thousands of dollars, a relative novice can purchase a CRISPR toolkit for less than US$50.

Research labs around the world are in the process of turning the hype surrounding the CRISPR technique into real results. Addgene, a nonprofit supplier of scientific reagents, has shipped tens of thousands of CRISPR toolkits to researchers in more than 80 countries, and the scientific literature is now packed with thousands of CRISPR-related publications.

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CAR-T & CRISPR – the Future is Now

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

PSW Members….it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T – stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar, an Israeli immunologist at the Weizmann Institue of Science.  The basic steps are noted below in picture.  The insertion of different 'components' and the way the replication of the protein happens (Step 2; Step 2 subitem 4) yields the clinical variations that are competing in this area by the companies.    

KITE, JUNO and Novartis all have CD19 directed CAR-T technologies.  CD19 was attractive as a CAR-based target therapy because most B-cell leukemias and lymphomas express it, but normal tissue other than the B cell lineage do not.   The companies therefore have focused on CD19 first, and there are subtle difference in the way the T-cells are made.

Any modification of the immune system comes with risk, and CAR-T was no exception.  Even thought the CAR-T was hailed as a wonder treatment due to is successes in blood born cancer, it also caused some complications.  Last year, JUNO hit the wall with their lead, as it caused severe cerebral edema – cytokine storm??  This caused all the CAR-Ts to be evaluated, but in the end, only JUNO's lead was halted. Companies are continually making progress on the CAR-T front, and BLCM seems to be on the cusp of one way to get around a side effect.  

BLCM also has a CD19 directed CAR-T program, with a twist that…
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The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

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

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene




Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from

Chart below from

Epizyme – A Waiting Game

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

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is understanding the regulation of these genes that brings the term 'epigenetics.'  In other words, epigenetics does not have to be a nucleotide change in the DNA itself, but rather a functional regulation of the gene's expression.

Genes expression are controlled by many mechanisms, but Epizyme is focused on DNA methylation. DNA methylation is important for the regulation of gene expression, and functions normally to silence genes in genomic imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, repressing repetative elements, aging, and cancer.  Two specific enzymes, DOT1L & EZH2 are the focus of the Company, and are DNA methylation enzymes (ie, Epizyme!!).  By inhibiting these two enzymes, cancer repressor genes will be turned on, and in conjunction with other chemotherapy agents, cancers may be repressed.

Early on, the Company raised $54M, and then GSK and Eisai signed up and pumped in $26M,  In May 2013, the Company went public for about $15 (5.9M shares at the time were sold), and shot out of the gate with a 50% premium the first day of trading to ~ $23.  The company was a darling.  While the company had two drugs in clinic, the compounds were very early on in clinical trials, but things were looking promising.   In Phase 1 data for their EZH2 inhibitor, tazemetostat, in genetically defined solid tumors of NHL, the overall response rate (ORR) was ~ 56% ((May 2015) which is very good!).  The phase 2 data…
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This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again



After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.


The group was up by even more before taking some hits over the past two weeks on negative earnings news from several industry players. But fund managers tell IBD the rebound is here. 

Why? For one, they say, the spate of bad news has already been factored into stock prices. But more than that, they see a climate favoring rejuvenated M&A, hot drugs in the new-product pipeline and pricing power for innovate products.

Bottom line: The positive factors that drove the runup never went away, they say. They just got drowned out by the noise.

“A very key point is that this group is a very high-beta group — particularly the small- to midcap stocks. Since they don’t have sales, they don’t have earnings,” said Tom Vandeventer, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management.

“The history of this group is that elevated macro uncertainty definitely hits (it),” Vandeventer said. “My own opinion is this group trades more on sentiment than on fundamentals during those time periods.”

Full article here >

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares (ENDP) Collapses Taking Hedge Fund Returns With It

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares (ENDP) shares are crashing and when I say crashing I do not mean one percent or two percent or five percent or ten percent but at the time of this writing 38 percent. The biotech company is having a Valeant style crash and like Valeant ENDP is a big hedge fund hotel stock and it is likely killing returns for many, unless there is a big rebound soon.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

As ZeroHedge notes (parenthesis ours):

The pain, however, is especially acute for a lot of hedge funds, because as Goldman reminds us after the spectacular blow ups of Valeant and Allergan, and recently, the plunge in uber hedge fund hotel AAPL, Endo itself is one of the stocks that has the highest hedge fund concentration in the S&P.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

Who are these hedge funds? Most of the usual suspects including Visium (which is also having other issues), Viking Global (more pain), Paulson (shocker), Brahman, MSD and of course countless bank prop desks as listed below.

Endo International plc - Ordinary Shares

So if we report next week that the "smart money outflows" have continued for a record 15th week, we will know who the weekly scapegoat is for the latest redemption deluge as panicking hedge funds are forced to liquidate other assets to cover for their massive P&L blow ups in ENDP this morning.

Endo International plc – Ordinary Shares

The sell…
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Cantor Says Relypsa’s Veltassa Metrics Look Favorable

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

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Positive Data Points For Veltassa Launch

Veltassa metrics look favorable so far, including a low payer rejection rate of ~20 percent, conversion from starter pack to prescriptions between 50 and 60 percent and in-line gross-to-net discount of approximately 25 percent.

Veltassa sales, albeit modest, were ahead of expectations. Veltassa sales came in at $0.6 million, compared to the 1Q16 estimate of $0.25 million. Relypsa had previously reported 1,155 outpatient prescriptions and 374 hospital/institution units sold in the quarter.

“Excluding gross-to-net discounts, sales would have been $0.8 million. Our expectation for 1H:16 has been modest, as we expect 2H:16, and in particular 4Q:16 to create visibility on Veltassa's sales potential,” analyst Mara Goldstein wrote.

Relypsa’s shares have come under pressure because investors may be viewing the debt financing as a major obstacle to a potential takeout of the company, Goldstein commented, while adding, “We continue to like the shares because of our view of the potential of Veltassa and hyperkalemia market overall.” She expects 3Q16 to be an inflection point for Veltassa, and could result in a realignment of valuation.

Latest Ratings for RLYP

Date Firm Action From To
May 2016 BTIG Research Maintains   Buy
May 2016 Cantor Fitzgerald Maintains   Buy
May 2016 Mizuho Securities Downgrades Neutral Underperform

View More Analyst Ratings for RLYP

View the Latest Analyst Ratings

BTIG Cuts Veltassa Estimates, Relypsa's Price Target To $35
Mizuho Downgrades Relypsa, Says Near-Term Takeout 'Unlikely'
Relypsa's (RLYP) CEO John Orwin on Q1 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha)

Posted-In: Cantor Fitzgerald Mara GoldsteinAnalyst Color Long Ideas Price Target Reiteration Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas

PRGO, VRX and the Papa of “Strong Shareholder Orientation”

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

By Ilene 

Remember this? It was Monday. PRGO is down from around $130 to under $100 since I started following it LAST WEEK. That's down almost 25% in a week, and almost 50% in the last year. I commented: 

"Perrigo CEO Joseph Papa leaves Perrigo (PRGO) to lead Valeant (VRX) while PRGO issues a warning about missing earnings expectations. Not surprisingly, PRGO stock plummeted today. 

Robert Ingram, Chairman of the [Valeant] Board, stated, "The Board has conducted a thorough search process and believes that Joe is the ideal leader for Valeant at this time. He has a strong shareholder orientation, a background in science, and an unmatched track record of accomplishments, highlighted by his ability to lead companies through times of transition and drive excellence across commercial, manufacturing and R&D platforms. In addition, fostering an ethical culture and creating opportunities for professional development have always been high priorities for Joe, and we look forward to Joe's arrival at Valeant" (Valeant names Papa CEO after he resigns from Perrigo).

"Reuters reports that Mr. Shareholder Orientation became 'well-known on Wall Street last year when Dublin-based Perrigo rebuffed a $26 billion takeover by Mylan NV, the largest-ever hostile bid decided by a shareholder vote.' Perrigo's market cap has now dropped to around $14.2 billion [now $13.9 billion] — down over 18% today alone -- making Papa look foolish for rejecting that buyout offer."

So after successfully (but not intelligently) fighting a $26 billion hostile takeover bid from Mylan, Perrigo reports disappointing quarterly results and it "slashes its outlook" (Perrigo shares tumble as CEO leaves for Valeant, guidance cut again). The stock has been in free fall and Papa is described as having a "strong shareholder orientation" and an "ethical culture."

While many were congratulating VRX for recruiting Papa to be its CEO, Jim Cramer wrote,

Perrigo's (PRGO) heartbreaking. How could Joe Papa, the man who was so intertwined with Perrigo for so long, the man who came on Mad Money and argued there was so much more value to the company than the price Mylan put on it — some 80 points higher than where it went out —

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Sarepta Plunges 50% After FDA Rejects Key Drug

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

Sarepta Plunges 50% After FDA Rejects Key Drug

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

2016 has been a tempestuous year for Serepta shareholders. From over $40 to just $10 and then the miracle ramp from february back to $25 before the writing on the wall ahead of last night's FDA decision and now – following yesterday's monstrous short-squeeze (36% surge), a 50% collapse to $8 – a 4 year low for yet another Biotech darling of old. This morning's collapse comes after the FDA voted that SRPT's muscular dystrophy drug was not effective

As Bloomberg reports,

An FDA advisory panel voted 7-3 with 3 abstentions that Sarepta’s single historically controlled study doesn’t provide substantial evidence that eteplirsen is effective for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Some panel members raised questions about study design, said more data are needed.

Not a great morning for Stevie Cohen who just upped his stake (seems he did not get the nod this time)…

Any questions, refer to Christopher Marai or Chad Messer (PhD!)…

Perrigo Company plc (PRGO) Tanks As CEO Leaves For Valeant (VRX)

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

Perrigo Company plc (PRGO) Tanks As CEO Leaves For Valeant (VRX)

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Perrigo Company plc (PRGO) Tanks As CEO Leaves For Valeant (VRX) – it was a decent day to be a VRX shareholder and a bad day to be a PRGO and if your initials are JP it was a really bad day … being shareholders of both companies. As JPMorgan notes: This morning, Perrigo announced the appointment of John Hendrickson (former President) as CEO, replacing Joe Papa who is set to become the CEO of Valeant. The company also provided disappointing preliminary 1Q results and significantly lowered full year 2016 EPS to $8.20-$8.60 (vs. prior range of $9.50-$9.80) due to Rx pricing pressure, continued underperformance of the Branded Consumer business, and lower expectations for new product launches.

Perrigo Company plc CEO leaves for VRX analysts react


There will be several who focus on recent challenges and the need for someone from the outside to come in and help turn PRGO around. But on the other hand, John Hendrickson has been with PRGO since 1989 and led key operations including VP of Manufacturing to EVP and General Manager of Consumer Health to its current President among others and this should minimize any disruption at a time where operational focus is critical. He also understands the Consumer Health business well which is the highest value part of PRGO’s business. PRGO also mentioned that Omega head Marc Coucke’s Board nomination has been withdrawn by the nominating and governance committee.

Morgan Stanley

New CEO has strong experience at Perrigo Company plc. Mr. John Hendrickson has served as President of PRGO since October 2015, following his prior roles as EVP, Global Operations & Supply Chain (2006 -2015) and the head of US Consumer Healthcare (2003-2006). A 27-year veteran at Perrigo, he joined the company in 1989. With the resignation of current Chairman and CEO Joseph Papa, the role of Chairman will now be separated from the CEO role. The board has elected Independent Director Laurie Brlas as PRGO new Chairman.

Goldman Sachs

PRGO announced the resignation of former CEO Joe Papa and promotion of former President John Hendrickson as new CEO. Mr. Hendrickson has been at PRGO since 1989 in various roles including leading the US Consumer…
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Zero Hedge

One Professional Investor's Take On Bitcoin

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist blog,

We all know Dirty Harry’s viewpoint about opinions, but I wonder what Detective Callahan would think about today’s bitcoin mania. It seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry feels obliged to weigh in about the manic action of the their favourite virtual currency, yet I am curious how many of these crack pundits have ever even transacted in bitcoin.


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Phil's Favorites

Market Moving News


Financial Markets and Economy

European Stocks Steady; Italian Banks Fall After Renzi Comments (Bloomberg)

European stocks were steady while shares in Italy’s banks dropped along with the country’s bonds after comments from former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi sparked concerns that an early election is possible.

Hong Kong Throngs of Thousands Defy Bid to Cool Home Market...

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Joel Greenblatt - Individual Investors Can Beat Large Institutions And Passive Strategies

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

One of our favorite Joel Greenblatt interviews is one he did with Steve Forbes at Intelligent Investing.

In this interview, Greenblatt explains how small investors can still beat large institutions. Greenblatt also discusses why investing in indexes like The Russell 1000 and the S&P 500 are seriously flawed even though they beat most active managers.

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

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

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He highlights why value investors can benefit greatly from toda...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap May 28, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Another winning week for the bulls, in a year full of them!  Things kicked off with a bang with a gap up Monday as the after shocks of the Comey removal – the one thing that seemed to shake this market for 24 hours – passed in the night.   Wednesday, minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed broad agreement on plans to begin shrinking the central bank’s balance sheet and also pointed to a likely rate increase next month, as widely expected.   Another gap up to start the day Thursday and serenity was found for the week.  Every day was up for the S&P 500 to book a weekly finished of +1.4% while the NASDAQ raced ahead +2.1%.

The minutes of the early May meeting showed that members were ...

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Digital Currencies

Visualizing The Expanding Universe Of Cryptocurrencies

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, and its meteoric rise has made it a mainstay of conversation for investors, media, and technologists alike.

In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins details, the innovation of the blockchain is changing entire markets, while causing ripples with central banks and the financial industry. At time of publication, the bitcoin price now hovers near US$2,200, a massive increase from this time last year.

But the true impact of Bitcoin is actually far more reaching than this – it’s a...

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Market News

Market Moving News


Financial Markets and Economy

Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Singer: If Trump Agenda Fails, a Recession Could Follow (Fortune)

Market watchers who thought the stock market would drop if Donald Trump were elected were burned following his win: markets rose to new highs instead.

U.S. inflation path since 2012 is worrisome, policymaker says (Reuters)

The current level of U.S. prices is noticeably lower than what it would be if the Federal Reserve had delivered on its 2-percent inflation target, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said, calling the trend "worrisome."


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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

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

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017


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

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Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 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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Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...

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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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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:


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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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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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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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