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Syriza Trounces New Democracy; Greeks Stop Paying Taxes; Run on Greek Banks Escalates; Get Out!

Courtesy of Mish.

As late as yesterday I read numerous mainstream media reports that Syriza would win by three to five percent and would need to form an unstable coalition to rule.

In contrast, here was my January 19 prediction (and rationale): Expect a Blowout Win by Syriza in Greece.

Syriza Trounces New Democracy

The final votes are not counted, but exit polls show a blowout, with incumbent party New Democracy going down in flames.

The Wall Street Journal reports Greece’s Radical Leftist Syriza Party Poised to Win Election, Exit Polls Say.

Syriza appeared set to win between 35.5% and 39.5% of the vote, trouncing the incumbent New Democracy party, which managed to secure just 23% to 27% of the vote, according to the exit polls whose results were issued immediately after voting booths closed.

If Syriza is able to secure more than 150 seats on its own—which the exit polls show is possible—it won’t need coalition partners and will have a freer hand in implementing its platform—something that could lead to ruptures with Greece’s creditors.

The polls also showed that voters backed a handful of smaller parties—ranging from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party to the centrist To Potami party—making it unclear whether Syriza would win an absolute majority in Greece’s 300-seat legislature. According to the polls, Syriza was projected to secure between 146 to 158 seats, depending on the final outcome.

Greece Exit Polls

Note the double-digit (or near double-digit) trouncing of New Democracy leader and current prime minister Antonis Samaras.

Here’s an interesting quote from the Journal.



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Education Moment: The Man with 26 Million Students

Courtesy of Mish.

Zach Sims, a college dropout founded Codecademy, a website which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free. Codecademy is three-years-old now and Sims has 26 million students.

Sims was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos to talk about online education. He was Codecademy’s first student, creating Codecademy to teach himself.

Please consider The Man with 26 Million Students.

One unlikely WEF attendee – a 24-year-old from New York who dropped out of Columbia University before completing his degree – is grabbing the attention of crusty executives gathered in this mountain resort.

Introduced by global leaders as the “man who has 26 million students”, Zach Sims runs a three-year-old website called Codecademy, which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free.

Zach is hardly the Davos type – he apologises when using buzzwords such as “intersection” and uses sarcastic air quotes when talking about the WEF’s “new digital context” slogan – but he is a vivid example of a “skills gap” victim, albeit a first-world one.

“When I was looking for internships in my junior year, at companies like Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, I realised that nobody I was going to college with had any skills that would be relevant in that context,” he says

“We figured if students at Columbia – a top five school in the country, can’t find jobs when they graduate, there was probably a problem.”

So Zach started to teach himself to code. “We built the first version of Codecademy for me,” he explains, and with the help of a friend, Ryan Bubinski, he expanded the site.

Mr Bubinski became co-founder and together they launched Codecademy, in August 2011.

In the first weekend more than 200,000 people used the product – “it gave the ability to send emails to all those people who said the market size was limited,” Zach quips, unable to suppress a smile.

The site now reaches almost 26 million students in more than 100 countries, and is helping people from all economic backgrounds to “up-skill”, including residents of African refugee camps and single mothers in the US….



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US Special Forces in Mariupol?

Courtesy of Mish.

The rebel attack on Mariupol, Ukraine is underway as noted earlier today in Attack on Mariupol Begins; 7,000-8,000 Ukrainian Forces Nearly Encircled in Northern Cauldron; US Sends Army Trainers.

Disinformation regarding the attack is running rampant, even bordering on the outright ridiculous.

For example, a reader sent me a link to Ukraine@War, a UK website that made these claims regarding Mariupol:

  1. “This is done by RUSSIAN rocket launchers, with RUSSIAN rockets, by soldiers speaking RUSSIAN, running RUSSIAN flags on their vehicles and with RUSSIAN emblems on their sleeves…”
  2. Russian Major-General Vyaznikov is relocating his HQ to Soledar, Ukraine.

The reader who sent the link asserted “You wanted photos, satellite images, twitter feed posts, etc….so here you go”.

The entire website was nothing but allegations. The site has maps with claims like “this is where Russians launched their attack”.

It’s preposterous.

I prefer actual evidence of things. For example, please consider this image of a Ukrainian reporter in Mariupol asking a soldier a question.

Mariupol Soldier

Who is this man? Where is he from?

The curious thing about that soldier, hiding is face, is that he responded to a Ukrainian reporter’s question, in English with: “Out of my face! Out of my face please!” right at the 2:34 mark in the following video….



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More and War: The Tao of Washington

More and War: The Tao of Washington 

Courtesy of Tom Engelhardt, originally published at TomDispatch.com

When it comes to the national security state, our capital has become a thought-free zone. The airlessness of the place, the unwillingness of leading players in the corridors of power to explore new ways of approaching crucial problems is right there in plain sight, yet remarkably unnoticed.  Consider this the Tao of Washington.

Last week, based on a heavily redacted 231-page document released by the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Charlie Savage, a superb reporter for the New York Times, revealed that the FBI has become a “significant player” in the world of warrantless surveillance, previously the bailiwick of the National Security Agency.  The headline on his piece was: “FBI is broadening surveillance role, report shows.”

Here’s my question: In the last 13 years, can you remember a single headline related to the national security state that went “FBI [or fill in your agency of choice] is narrowing surveillance role [or fill in your role of choice], report shows”?  Of course not, because when any crisis, problem, snafu or set of uncomfortable feelings, fears, or acts arises, including those by tiny groups of disturbed people or what are now called “lone wolf” terrorists, there is only one imaginable response: more money, more infrastructure, more private contractors, more surveillance, more weaponry, and more war.  On a range of subjects, our post-9/11 experience should have taught us that this -- whatever it is we’re doing — is no solution to anything, but no such luck.

More tax dollars consumed, more intrusions in our lives, the further militarization of the country, the dispatching of some part of the U.S. military to yet another country, the enshrining of war or war-like actions as the option of choice — this, by now, is a way of life. These days, the only headlines out of Washington that should surprise us would have “narrowing” or “less,” not “broadening” or “more,” in them.

Thinking outside the box may seldom have been a prominent characteristic of Washington, but when it comes to innovative responses to problems, our political system seems particularly airless right now.  Isn’t it strange, for instance, that being secretary of state these days…
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The Cult of Central Banking

Outside the Box: The Cult of Central Banking

By John Mauldin

In today’s Outside the Box, good friend Ben Hunt informs us that we have entered the cult phase of the Golden Age of the Central Banker:

We pray for extraordinary monetary policy accommodation as a sign of our Central Bankers’ love, not because we think the policy will do much of anything to solve our real-world economic problems, but because their favor gives us confidence to stay in the market. I mean, does anyone really think that the problem with the Italian economy is that interest rates aren’t low enough? Gosh, if only ECB intervention could get the Italian 10-yr bond down to 1.75% from the current 1.85%, why then we’d be off to the races! Really? But God forbid that Mario Draghi doesn’t (finally) put his money where his mouth is and announce a trillion euro sovereign debt purchase plan. That would be a disaster, says Mr. Market. Why? Not because the absence of a debt purchase plan would be terrible for the real economy. That’s not a big deal one way or another. It would be a disaster because it would mean that the Central Bank gods are no longer responding to our prayers.

But, he points out, the cult phase of any human society is a stable phase in the sense that, while change may happen, it will not happen from within:

There is such an unwavering faith in Central Bank control over market outcomes, such a universal assumption of god-like omnipotence within this realm, that any internal market shock is going to be willed away.

However, there is a minor catch: external market risk factors are all screaming red.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I can’t remember a time when there was such a gulf between the environmental or exogenous risks to the market and the internal or behavioral dynamics of the market. The market today is Wile E. Coyote wearing his latest purchase from the Acme Company – a miraculous bat-wing costume that prevents the usual plunge into the canyon below by sheer dint of will.



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Why Wages Won’t Rise

Why Wages Won’t Rise

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

Jobs are coming back, but pay isn’t. The median wage is still below where it was before the Great Recession. Last month, average pay actually fell

What’s going on? It used to be that as unemployment dropped, employers had to pay more to attract or keep the workers they needed. That’s what happened when I was labor secretary in the late 1990s.

It still could happen – but the unemployment rate would have to sink far lower than it is today, probably below 4 percent.

Yet there’s reason to believe the link between falling unemployment and rising wages has been severed.

For one thing, it’s easier than ever for American employers to get the workers they need at low cost by outsourcing jobs abroad rather than hiking wages at home. Outsourcing can now be done at the click of a computer keyboard.

Besides, many workers in developing nations now have access to both the education and the advanced technologies to be as productive as American workers. So CEOs ask, why pay more?

Meanwhile here at home, a whole new generation of smart technologies is taking over jobs that used to be done only by people.  Rather than pay higher wages, it’s cheaper for employers to install more robots.

Not even professional work is safe. The combination of advanced sensors, voice recognition, artificial intelligence, big data, text-mining, and pattern-recognition algorithms is even generating smart robots capable of quickly learning human actions.

In addition, millions of Americans who dropped out of the labor market in the Great Recession are still jobless. They’re not even counted as unemployment because they’ve stopped looking for work.

But they haven’t disappeared entirely. Employers know they can fill whatever job openings emerge with this “reserve army” of the hidden unemployed – again, without raising wages.

Add to this that today’s workers are less economically secure than workers have been since World War II. Nearly one out of every five is in a part-time job.

Insecure workers don’t demand higher wages when unemployment drops. They’re grateful simply to have a job.

To make things worse, a majority of Americans have no savings to


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Attack on Mariupol Begins; 7,000-8,000 Ukrainian Forces Nearly Circled in Northern Cauldron; US Sends Army Trainers

Courtesy of Mish.

Yesterday, DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) president Alexander Zakharchenko issued this statement on a ceasefire:

There will no longer be any attempts to speak about a ceasefire from our side. We will now see how Kiev reacts. Kiev doesn’t currently understand that we can advance in three directions simultaneously“.

Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who reads Russian and speaks Ukrainian provides a DNR perspective that he has seen.

Jacob writes …

Background for Zakharchenko’s “no more ceasefires” statement stems from rebel disappointment back in August when Moscow forced the rebels to the negotiating table in Minsk, Belarus. The rebels gave up some territory around Mariupol at a time when Ukraine army was retreating, and in complete disarray.

This could have been a great opportunity for “Kiev to come to its senses and accept a political solution.

However, the Ukraine side openly an repeated stated that the so-called ceasefire was just a tactical move prior to building up the forces and going back on the offensive. Then Kiev announced a 4th wave build-up of 5000-100,000 troops.

In that context, Zakharchenko is telling the world that the Ukrainians blew their second chance, and there will be no more opportunities because all Kiev has done is move to strengthen its forces. Zakharchenko’s patience has run out especially considering nonstop bombardment of rebel-held cities.

Enough is enough.

Attack on Mariupol Begins

Today Zakharchenko announced the battle for Mariupol is underway. Also, to the North the Debaltsevo cauldron is closing and 7,000 to 8,000 Ukrainian forces will be trapped (circled).

Here are some images and text regarding the attack on Mariupol from Colonel Cassad.



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Attack on Mariupol Begins; 7,000-8,000 Ukrainian Forces Nearly Encircled in Northern Cauldron; US Sends Army Trainers

Courtesy of Mish.

Yesterday, DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) president Alexander Zakharchenko issued this statement on a ceasefire:

There will no longer be any attempts to speak about a ceasefire from our side. We will now see how Kiev reacts. Kiev doesn’t currently understand that we can advance in three directions simultaneously“.

Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian provides a DNR perspective that he has seen.

Jacob writes …

Background for Zakharchenko’s “no more ceasefires” statement stems from rebel disappointment back in August when Moscow forced the rebels to the negotiating table in Minsk, Belarus. The rebels gave up some territory around Mariupol at a time when Ukraine army was retreating, and in complete disarray.

This could have been a great opportunity for Kiev to come to its senses and accept a political solution.

However, the Ukraine side openly and repeated stated that the so-called ceasefire was just a tactical move prior to building up the forces and going back on the offensive. Then Kiev announced a 4th wave build-up of 50,000-100,000 troops.

In that context, Zakharchenko is telling the world that the Ukrainians blew their second chance, and there will be no more opportunities because all Kiev has done is move to strengthen its forces. Zakharchenko’s patience has run out especially considering nonstop bombardment of rebel-held cities.

Enough is enough.

Attack on Mariupol Begins

Today Zakharchenko announced the battle for Mariupol is underway. Also, to the North the Debaltsevo cauldron is closing and 7,000 to 8,000 Ukrainian forces will be trapped (encircled).

Here are some images and text regarding the attack on Mariupol from Colonel Cassad.



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Friday Humor: Hitler Realizes He Was Short Swiss Francs

Silly story of the Swiss National Bank's betrayal and the fall in the Eur/Chf, as told by Hitler, who was long the Euro and short the Swiss franc.  

Friday Saturday Humor: Hitler Realizes He Was Short Swiss Francs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"…I wish to remain alone with the account manager, the risk manager, the fundamental analyst, and the technical analyst… we were using only 20x leverage and you tell me it's all gone!!"

"I will never trust a central banker again in my life"

Click image for link to YouTube clip (no embed)

 





Prince Michael of Liechtenstein Warns “QE a Sign of Helplessness, Will Not Reach Economy”; Prince Michael vs. Martin Wolf

Courtesy of Mish.

I received an interesting email today from Geopolitical Information Service (GIS) regarding statements made by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein on European QE by the ECB.

Let's compare and contrast what Prince Michael has to say with what economic writer Martin Wolf had to say, also from today.

QE a Sign of Helplessness, Will Not Reach Economy

Please consider European QE Funds Will Not Reach the Economy by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

The European Central Bank’s decision to introduce a programme of Quantitative Easing (QE) is not a win-win situation but rather an expression of helplessness … that politicians in European Union countries are not prepared to address the necessary reforms, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

Necessary basic reforms are crucial in Europe if it is to restore global competitiveness, increase productivity and get the unemployed back to work. This includes reducing the share of national and local government in the economy. This will reduce the overheads of the national economy and reduce the deficit. Deregulation of laws which are too stringent such as labour and competition law, would enhance activities and ease innovation and job creation.

The 2008-2009 banking crisis saw the US focus on re-establishing the equity basis of the banks to a level which allowed the banks to lend to business. Europe instead chose the path of stress tests. In a simplified way we can say that if a bank reduced its loan portfolio to business, instead of increasing its sound equity basis, it could also pass the stress test. It also means that banks are reluctant to lend more money to business. This prevents new money trickling into the economy.

Zero to negative interest rates are also destroying savings and reducing personal retirement provisions. Pensions have been hit hard. This situation has been exacerbated by the fact that government pension schemes are insufficiently financed.

The real problem with the QE programme of buying sovereign bonds is that it takes the pressure for reform off the politicians. The ECB has already helped several European governments buy time so they can carry out reforms. Most of them – and especially France – have failed to use this opportunity.

It seems unlikely that these irresponsible attitudes will change with QE.


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Zero Hedge

The Slick Lies Of Obama's "Robin Hood" Economy (In 2 Awkward Cartoons)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Take from the 'redefined rich' and give to the who again?

Source: Sunday Funnies

While they sum up the reality perfectly, Martin Armstrong delves a little deeper into the slick lies...

What everyone heard at Obama’s State of the Unio...



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Phil's Favorites

Syriza Trounces New Democracy; Greeks Stop Paying Taxes; Run on Greek Banks Escalates; Get Out!

Courtesy of Mish.

As late as yesterday I read numerous mainstream media reports that Syriza would win by three to five percent and would need to form an unstable coalition to rule.

In contrast, here was my January 19 prediction (and rationale): Expect a Blowout Win by Syriza in Greece.

Syriza Trounces New Democracy

The final votes are not counted, but exit polls show a blowout, with incumbent party New Democracy going down in flames.

The Wall Street Journal reports Greece’s Radical Leftist Syriza Party Poised to Win Election, Exit Polls Say.
Syriza appeared set to win be...



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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

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results.Date Found: Sunday, 11 January 2015, 12:52:21 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing. Comment: Paul Gambles, co-founder of MBMG Group, says there is a lot of risk in the stock market that could see equities correct 60 percent. He admits that this could be "some years away".

Date Found: Sunday, 11 January 2015, 01:05:55 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing. Comment: NZDUSD See the spring at 0.76, strength to 0.7786. Need to see it jump the creek over 0.785

Date Found: Sunday, 11 January 2015, 01:19:51 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if im...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: New Year kicks off with new fears to keep investors on edge

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

As widely expected, the New Year has begun with plenty of volatility on high trading volume, as investors fear more than just a mild correction to start out the year. Despite the strong fundamentals here in the U.S., there are plenty of dangers around the rest of the world, and many fear that our cozy comfort at home simply cannot remain insulated for much longer.

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 offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.

Market overview:

I...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 19th, 2015

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Market Shadows

Are You Trading or Gambling?

ARE YOU TRADING OR GAMBLING?

An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software

By Ilene

Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?

John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common.  In both ...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

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

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

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

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



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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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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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