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Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics and our Changing Culture

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-May, were published today. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I’ve added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.8% below the all-time high set in August 2005, a new interim low.

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The next chart includes an overlay of real monthly retail gasoline prices, all grades and formulations, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (the red line). I’ve shortened the timeline to start with EIA price series, which dates from August 1990. The retail prices are updated weekly, so the price series is the more current of the two.

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As we would expect, the rapid rise in gasoline prices in 2008 was accompanied by a significant drop in sales volume. With the official end of the recession in June 2009, sales reversed direction … slightly. The 12-month MA hit an interim high in November 2010, and then resumed contraction. The moving average for the latest month is about 8.5% below the pre-recession level and 5.4% off the November 2010 interim high. For some historical context, the latest data point is a level first achieved in April 1998.

Some of the shrinkage in sales can be attributed to more fuel-efficient cars. But that presumably would be relatively small over shorter time frames and would be offset to some extent by population growth. For some specifics on fuel efficiency, see the Eco-Driving Index for new vehicles developed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. However, if we look at Edmunds.com for data on the top 10 best-selling vehicles, energy efficiency doesn’t seem to be the key decision factor,…
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S&P 500 Snapshot: A Record Close Precedes Jackson Hole

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The big economic event of the week, the Federal Reserve Symposium in Jackson Hole gets underway shortly. As a prelude to the event, the S&P 500 has enjoyed a four-day rally that took it to new intraday and closing record highs. The featured topic for this year’s symposium is “Re-Evaluating Labor Market Dynamics.” And speaking of the labor market, this morning’s new jobless claims came in at 298K and its 4-week moving average is hovering around a level that was last sustained in first half of 2006. The S&P 500 opened fractionally high and drifted higher to 0.42% intraday record high. Some selling in the final hour trimmed the gain to 0.29%.

Treasuries rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.42%, down 3 bps from yesterday’s close.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions.

Volume for the four-day pre-Jackson Hole rally has been light.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

The chart below incorporates a percent-off-high calculation to illustrate the drawdowns greater than 5% since the trough in 2009.

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For a longer-term perspective, here is a pair of charts based on daily closes starting with the all-time high prior to the Great Recession.

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Daily Market Commentary: S&P Breakout

Courtesy of Declan.

It was the only index with something to play for today, and that play was bullish. The S&P nicked a close above 1,992, which leaves it vulnerable to a ‘bull trap’ tomorrow. Other aspects, like technicals, are bullish, which keeps the long side favored in this market.


The earlier Nasdaq breakout is holding, although buying volume has been declining since the push above 4,485.

The Russell 2000 closed with a ‘hammer’, although given the Russell 2000 is not oversold the importance of the traditionally bullish hammer is reduced. However, the low of the ‘hammer’ successfully defended the 200-day MA. The Russell 2000 remains nicely set to post further gains.

The semiconductor index also continued its healthy run. A correction here would offer itself as a ‘buying’ opportunity.

Friday’s watch will be for the breakouts in the S&P, Nasdaq 100 and Nasdaq to hold. ‘Bull Traps’ are a possibility, although these indices have yet to show bearish tendencies.

Accepting KIVA gift certificates to help support the work on this blog. All certificates gifted are converted into loans for those who need the help more.





3 Things Worth Thinking About (Volume 5)

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.


Nothing To Fear From Fed Rate Increase

There is an overwhelming consensus of opinion that the markets, and the majority of mainstream commentators, that when the Fed begins raising rates that it is a “good thing.”

The primary premise behind that consensus is that the economy is now growing steady enough to absorb the impact of higher interest rates. This opinion was espoused yesterday by Kansas City Fed President Esther George who stated:

“I don’t want us to be behind the curve in beginning to normalize interest rates. When you see the economy getting as close as we are to full employment, to stable inflation, it would suggest to me that the time has come to do that.”

There are a couple of things worth considering at this point:

1) As I addressed previously, the economy is very closely tied to the cost of capital. When you consider that a large chunk of corporate profitability as of late has been created through the use of cheap loans to buy back shares, rising borrowing costs make this option much less lucrative. Rising borrowing costs also directly impact the consumer spending through variable rate credit, auto sales as loan payments rise, and housing through increase mortgage payments. (The referenced article has further points on this issue)

2) With regards to the statement, on full employment there is really only one type of employment that ultimately matters which is full-time. Part-time and temporary employment do not foster household formation, higher levels of consumer spending or increased tax revenues. The issue is that even though the unemployment rate is approaching levels of “full-employment,” it has been primarily a function of the shrinking of the labor force. As shown in the chart below, full-time employment is basically at the same level as it has been since the financial crisis as “real employment” has primarily been a function of population growth and little else.

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3) There is little evidence that current levels of inflation are stable. As I wrote in “Will The Fed Move To Soon”, the decline in economic growth globally, along with increased deflationary pressures, is likely to be reflected in…
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Median Household Incomes after the Great Recession: Household Types and Educational Attainment

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Yesterday I posted my analysis of selected features in Sentier Research‘s new report on the general decline in median household incomes since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. My focus was on real income change by age groups and by racial/ethnic categories (more here). Today I’ll examine the real income changes by household type and educational attainment.

According to Sentier Research’s latest press release (available as a PDF), real (inflation-adjusted) median household annual income is down 3.1% since the economic recovery began in June 2009. It is 4.8% below its level at the December 2007 recession start.

For the larger context here is a look at nominal and real (inflation adjusted) median household income since the turn of the century based on Sentier Research’s monthly reports of the real, seasonally adjusted data.

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Additional charts and a discussion of this 21st century timeframe are available at this permanent link, which I update monthly.

The Distribution by Type of Household

Households are subdivided into two broad categories: Family and Nonfamily, which have a ratio of about two-to-one of all households. Family households are divided into three categories: Married, Female householder with children present, and Other family households.

Nonfamily Households are broken into two easily understood categories — “Women living alone” and “Men living alone” — and a third and much smaller “Other nonfamily” catch-all.

The table below shows the number of households per type and the real (inflation-adjusted) median annual income in June 2009 and the equivalent data for June 2014.

The column chart below gives us a visualization of the comparative growth in the number of households by category (married couples being the one exception that showed essentially no growth). I’ve circled “All Households” and its two broad subcategories.

Married couples constituted an even 50.0% of “All Households” in June 2009. Five years later it dropped to 47.8%. The 16.1% growth in “Other family households” is no doubt attributable in part to adult family members who moved back home in the wake of the post-recession financial stresses.

A snapshot of changes in income shows varying degrees of shrinkage across the board.

With the -2.8% decline as…
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Philly Fed Business Outlook: Highest Six-Month Outlook in 22 Years

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from Doug: Having lived for two wonderful years in Paoli, PA, a suburb west of Philadelphia just south of Valley Forge, I have a special interest in this regional indicator. But, more importantly, it gives a generally reliable clue as to direction of the broader Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index.


The Philly Fed’s Business Outlook Survey is a monthly report for the Third Federal Reserve District, covers eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. The latest gauge of General Activity came in at 28.0, an increase from last month’s 23.9. The 3-month moving average came in at 23.2, up from 19.0 last month. Since this is a diffusion index, negative readings indicate contraction, positive ones indicate expansion. Today’s stunner: The six-month outlook at 64.4 is a 22-year high — the highest since June of 1992.

Here is the introduction from the Business Outlook Survey released today:

Indicators for the August Business Outlook Survey suggest that the region’s manufacturing sector is continuing to grow. The survey’s indicator for general activity was higher this month, but indicators for new orders, shipments, and employment, while positive, fell from their readings in July. The survey’s broad indicators of future activity increased, suggesting that firms remain optimistic about continued growth over the next six months. (Full PDF Report)

Today’s 28.0 came in well above the 19.2 forecast at Investing.com.

The first chart below gives us a look at this diffusion index since 2000, which shows us how it has behaved in proximity to the two 21st century recessions. The red dots show the indicator itself, which is quite noisy, and the 3-month moving average, which is more useful as an indicator of coincident economic activity. We can see periods of contraction in 2011 and 2012 and a shallower contraction in 2013. The indicator is now off its post-contraction peak in September of last year.

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In the next chart we see the complete series, which dates from May 1960. The average absolute monthly change across this data series is 7.4, which shows that the 4.1 point change from last month is in line with the…
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Dollar Sentiment at Lofty Levels

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.


The U.S. Dollar has experienced a small rally over the past couple of months (up 3%), taking it back to falling resistance line (1) that has been in place for the past 11-years.

This small rally has created a shift in bullish sentiment towards the U.S. Dollar. The lower inset chart shows that bulls were hard to find a couple of months ago. Now it’s a little easier to find them.

Sentiment is nearing levels where the Dollar peaked over the past few years as it is nearing this key resistance line.

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Can King Dollar break this 11-year resistance line? Or will it be different this time?

Kimble Charting Solutions
For information, send an email to services@kimblechartingsolutions.com.





How Long to the Next Recession? iM’s Weekly Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.


The BCI at 175.6 is up from last week’s downward revised 174.8. However, the BCIg, the smoothed annualized growth of BCI, at 17.3 is down from last week’s 17.9. However, BCI does not indicate a possible recession in the near future.

Figure 1 plots BCIp, BCI, BCIg and the S&P500 together with the thresholds (red lines) that need to be crossed to be able to call a recession. Figure 2 plots the history of BCI, BCIg, and the LOG(S&P500) since July 1967, i.e. the last 44 years which include seven recessions, each which the BCI managed to indicate timely.


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The off-peak indicator BCIp is at 95.5 and at this level the BCIw graphic with the tracks to recession is not applicable.

The BCI, BCIp and BCIw are described in article 1, article 2 and article 3 respectively. Historic values of BCI, BCIg and BCIp can be downloaded from the author’s website.

Apart from the weekly Business Cycle Index, updates of a number of weekly and monthly financial macro models are also available on the website.


Anton Vrba and Georg Vrba
iM imarketsignals.com

Anton Vrba is an electrical engineer. He pursued a career in R&D, manufacturing and construction project management. He developed the iMarketSignals’ proprietary Business Cycle Index (BCI) and the authors’ website. His other interests are mathematics and physics. He is a lateral thinker and has many ideas that challenge the established and accepted explanations.

Georg Vrba is a professional engineer who has been a consulting engineer for many years. In his opinion, mathematical models provide better guidance to market direction than financial “experts.” He has developed financial models for the stock market, the bond market, yield curve, gold, silver and recession prediction, all published in Advisor Perspectives. The models are updated weekly at http://imarketsignals.com/.





New Jobless Claims at 298K, A Bit Better Than Expected

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending August 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 311,000 to 312,000. The 4-week moving average was 300,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 295,750 to 296,000.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. [See full report]

Today’s seasonally adjusted number at 298K was slightly below the Investing.com forecast of 300K. The 4-week moving average is 7,000 above its post-recession low set two weeks ago.

Here is a close look at the data over the past few years (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession and the volatility in recent months.

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As we can see, there’s a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

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Occasionally I see articles critical of seasonal adjustment, especially when the non-adjusted number better suits the author’s bias. But a comparison of these two charts clearly shows extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data, and the 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change in the second chart (note, for example, those regular January spikes).

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Because of the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted weekly data, a 52-week moving average gives a better sense of the secular trends. I’ve added a linear regression through the data. We can see that this metric continued to fall below the long-term trend stretching back to 1968.


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Daily Market Commentary: Semiconductor Gains Accelerate

Courtesy of Declan.

It was more of the same from the Semiconductor index: a solid gain which took the index ever closer to 652 resistance. All of which is helping the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 maintain their push to all-time highs. Technicals for the Semiconductor Index are net bullish.  Weakness will offer itself as a buying opportunity, particularly at the breakout line and/or 50-day MA. Risk can be measured from the 38.2% fib retracement at $616.25.


The Nasdaq took a small loss, but 4,485 should be strong support. Losses back to this level will also offer a buying opportunity. A decisive undercut of 4,485 would switch to a ‘bull trap’, but that is not today’s problem.

It’s the same story for the Nasdaq 100: buy back to 3,997, but watch for a ‘bull trap’ on losses below 3,997.

The Russell 2000 lost a little bit of ground, but remained close to the 50-day MA. Technicals are not net bullish.

The S&P is the index to watch tomorrow. It has reached an inflection point: either it breaks 1,990 or it bounces off it. A bounce off may be nothing more than a delay, particularly if the Nasdaq continues to push higher. Note, technicals for this index are net bullish.

Accepting KIVA gift certificates to help support the work on this blog. All certificates gifted are converted into loans for those who need the help more.





 

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!

 
 

Phil's Favorites

Time to Short the US Dollar? Go Long Commodities?

Courtesy of Mish.

Is it time to short the dollar? Saxo bank chief economist Steen Jakobsen thinks so. Via email from Steen ... What is wrong with changing your mind because the facts changed? But you have to be able to say why you changed your mind and how the facts changed. Lee Iacocca

My biggest call all year has been for global lower rates,  and in particular lower core country (Germany, Denmark, and US) yields led by this magic trinity of factors:

1. China and Asia rebalancing growth away from nominal to quality growth
2. US current account deficit reduced by 50%  (see chart below)
3. A Europe where Germany will pay the price for the first two factors with a lag of six to nine months. 

The headline call was and remains that Germany will be close to recession by Q4-2014 or Q1-2015 setting up a desperate ECB and a E...



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Zero Hedge

The Secret Playbook of Internet Trolls

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by George Washington.

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
What’s confusing you
Is the nature of my game

- The Rolling Stones

The reason that Internet trolls are effective is that people still don’t understand their game.

There are 15 commonly-used trolling tactics to disrupt, misdirect and control internet discussions....



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Insider Scoop

Point72 Still Under A Cloud As President Plans To Step Down

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related SPY 3 Reasons To Follow The Big Dog In Natural Resources Fed Issues FOMC Minutes from Jul. 29-30th, 2014 Meeting Dow 17K: A Story of Recovery, Perseverance (Fox Business)

Hedge fund giant Point72 Asset Management said its president, Thomas Conheeney, will step down at the end of 2014 and be succeeded by Douglas Haynes, managing director for human capital at Point72.

Formerly known as SAC Capital Advisors,...



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Chart School

Gasoline Volume Sales, Demographics and our Changing Culture

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on volume sales is over two months old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-May, were published today. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

Because the sales data are highly volatile with some obvious seasonality, I've added a 12-month moving average (MA) to give a clearer indication of the long-term trends. The latest 12-month MA is 8.8% below the all-time high set in August 2005, a new interim low.

...



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Option Review

CME Group Put Options Active

Options volume on the provider of futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, metals and alternative investment products is well above average on Thursday morning, due in large part to a sizable put spread initiated in the 19Sep’14 expiry contracts. Shares in CME Group (Ticker: CME) are up slightly on the day, trading 0.25% higher at $74.34 as of the time of this writing.

The largest trade on CME today appears to be a bear put spread in which roughly 1,500 of the 19Sep’14 74.0 strike puts were purchased at a premium of $1.44 each against the sale of the same number of t...



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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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bullish investors jockey for position as if the correction is over

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

As many investors enjoy the final weeks of summer, some optimistic bulls seem to be positioning themselves well ahead of Labor Day in anticipation of a fall rally. Indeed, last week’s action was impressive. After only a mere 4% correction, investors continued to brush off the disturbing violence both at home and abroad, and they took the minor pullback as their next buying opportunity. But was that really all the pullback we’re going to get this year? I doubt it. But I also believe that nothing short of a major Black Swan event can send this market into a deep correction.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of August 18th, 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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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.

The Stock World Weekly Newsletter is ready to go! View it here: Stock World Weekly. Just put in your user name and password, or take a free trial. 

 

#120692880 / gettyimages.com ...

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Market Shadows

Helen Davis Chaitman Reviews In Bed with Wall Street.

Author Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator with a diverse trial practice in the areas of lender liability, bankruptcy, bank fraud, RICO, professional malpractice, trusts and estates, and white collar defense. In 1995, Ms. Chaitman was named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal for a jury verdict she obtained in an accountants' malpractice case. Ms. Chaitman is the author of The Law of Lender Liability (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1990)... Since early 2009, Ms. Chaitman has been an outspoken advocate for investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (more here).

Helen Davis Chaitman Reviews In Bed with Wall Street. 

By Helen Davis Chaitman   

I confess: Larry D...



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Digital Currencies

BitLicense Part 1 - Can Poorly Thought Out Regulation Drive the US Economy Back into the Dark Ages?

Courtesy of Reggie Middleton.

An Op-Ed piece penned by Veritaseum Chief Contracts Officer, Matt Bogosian

This past weekend (despite American Airlines' best efforts), Reggie and I made it to the Second Annual North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago. While there were some very creative (and very ambitious) ideas on how to try to realize the disruptive Bitcoin protocol, one of the predominant topics of discussion was New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky's proposed Bitcoin regulations (the BitLicense proposal) - percieved by many participants at the event as an apparent ...



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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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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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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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