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Looking for a Good Education at a Low Price, Perhaps Free? Head to Europe

Courtesy of Mish.

On June 7, 2014 I wrote Looking to Drastically Reduce College Costs? Study Abroad!

Yesterday, a writer for the Washington Post expressed the same opinion.

Please consider 7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free).

Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they’ve done the opposite.

The country’s universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last state to scrap the fees. Tuition rates were always low in Germany, but now the German government fully funds the education of its citizens — and even of foreigners.

What might interest potential university students in the United States is that Germany offers some programs in English — and it’s not the only country. Let’s take a look at the surprising — and very cheap — alternatives to pricey American college degrees.

Germany

Americans can earn a German undergraduate or graduate degree without speaking a word of German and without having to pay a single dollar of tuition fees: About 900 undergraduate or graduate degrees are offered exclusively in English, with courses ranging from engineering to social sciences.

Finland

This northern European country charges no tuition fees, and it offers a large number of university programs in English. However, the Finnish government amiably reminds interested foreigners that they “are expected to independently cover all everyday living expenses.” In other words: Finland will finance your education, but not your afternoon coffee break.

France

There are at least 76 English-language undergraduate programs in France, but many are offered by private universities and are expensive. Many more graduate-level courses, however, are designed for English-speaking students, and one out of every three French doctoral degrees is awarded to a foreign student. “It is no longer needed to be fluent in French to study in France,” according to the government agency Campus France.



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Why Mitochondria Matter

Patrick starts by reviewing what a "broken record" is. (Sadly, I know and you probably do too.) He notes that biotechnology has undergone more enormous changes than the music delivery industry, and that most people do not have a proper appreciation of how big this "biotech transformation" is. Then, he reviews what mitochondria are, how they work and why they are so important to us.

Within all the cells of our bodies, microchondria produce energy - the energy supply needed to run the cells' activities. Without the ability to take nutrients and convert them to energy, via these little cellular machines, we are dead. And that, in brief, is why mitochondria are important. 

Illustration of a Mitochondrion by Kelvinsong, modified by Sowlos, posted on Wikipedia.

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TransTech Digest: Why Mitochondria Matter

By Patrick Cox

I may sound like a broken record saying this again, but it’s critical that we realize that scientific understanding of the biological world is increasing at an exponential rate. For younger readers, I should explain that the term “broken record” is a reference to a common failure of the old pressed-vinyl audio recording technology. Occasionally, the spiraled groove on a record imprinted with physical representations of sound would be scratched or otherwise damaged. As a result, the needle that transferred analog information to the amplifier would be knocked outward from the groove to play the same section of the recording over and over again.

For those of you who already knew this, it’s useful to realize that the technology of audio recording that was once universal is not just obsolete, most younger people don’t even know what a skipping record is today. The reason that this is such a useful realization is that biotechnology has undergone even bigger changes than the transformation of recorded music from bumps in vinyl grooves to streamed electrons. Most people, however, have no real appreciation of how big the ongoing biotech transformation really is.

New tools let us see deep into the atomically precise world of molecular biology. Just as important is a growing base of biological knowledge that is available to anybody. Though Google Scholar is only 10 years old, I find it hard to imagine a…
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3 Things Worth Thinking About

Courtesy of Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management,

QE Is Dead, But Likely Not Gone

As I wrote on Monday, the end of quantitative easing (QE) has come. While it was announced during Janet Yellen's post FOMC meeting press conference on Wednesday, the last official permanent open market operation (POMO) was this past Monday.

The question that remains to be answered is whether the economy and the financial markets are strong enough to stand on their own this time? The last two times that QE has ended the economy slid towards negative growth and the markets suffered rather severe corrections as shown in the chart below.

 QE-GDP-SP500-103014-2

Asset prices have a coincident effect with the starting and ending of QE programs. As liquidity is extracted from the markets, the propulsion of asset prices has faded. The economy, not surprisingly, lags changes in monetary interventions as the decline in asset prices eroded consumer confidence that weighed on growth.

As I discussed recently, the Fed's ongoing QE programs have had little effect on the real economy. While the liquidity push drove asset prices higher, only the small percentage of the economy with assets to invest received a benefit.

"While the ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve have certainly boosted asset prices higher, the only real accomplishment has been a widening of the wealth gap between the top 10% of individuals that have dollars invested in the financial markets and everyone else. What monetary interventions have failed to accomplish is an increase in production to foster higher levels of economic activity.

 

With the average American still living well beyond their means, the reality is that economic growth will remain mired at lower levels as savings continue to be diverted from productive investment into debt service. The issue, of course, is not just a central theme to the U.S. but to the global economy as well. After five years of excessive monetary interventions, global debt levels have yet to be resolved."

Alan Greenspan recently reiterated this point in a WSJ Report:

“'Effective demand is dead in the water' and the effort to boost it via bond buying 'has not worked. Boosting asset prices, however, has been


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Earnings Cheating Season: Is Your Favorite Company Cooking the Books?

Courtesy of Mish.

In his latest Global Strategy Report, Albert Edwards at Societe Generale discusses "earnings season" which he calls "cheating season".

We have always found that swings in analyst earnings expectations mirror the economic cycle quite well, but because of the weekly frequency, swings in analyst earnings optimism often act as a timely leading indicator for the economic cycle. If that is still the case, the recent data for the US should be worrying. Despite the soothing Q3 headline earnings reports as US companies ‘game’ the system, all is not well once you look into the ‘MUC’ (Manipulated Underperforms Conservative).

Remember the so-called Fed model? We were told that the extraordinarily high PEs were justified by low bond yields. The key plank of the Ice Age theory was that this positive correlation would break down and that equities would de-rate in absolute and relative terms compared to government bonds thereby inverting the close positive correlation between bond and equity yields.

What this also means is that in an Ice Age world, the equity cycle will more closely correlate with economic and profits cycles. Most correlation analysis finds virtually no post-war relationship between economic growth and the stock market.

But, this does not hold true during the Ice Age. Indeed, we knew from Japan that the equity market would start to track the economic and earnings cycle closely.

In the Ice Age, equity investors need to pay close attention to economic and earnings cycles and not be comforted by lower bond yields. If that is the case equity investors should be getting nervous NOW as earnings optimism starts to fall away sharply.

Earnings Upgrades vs. Downgrades as Percentage of Changes

We have long believed that the US reporting season should in fact be called the US cheating season as companies game the market to ramp earnings down ahead of company announcements only to beat analysts estimates by 1¢ on the day!

Apparently companies believe the feel-good news headlines of a earnings beat will offset the negative impact of downward guidance ahead of the report. In fact the evidence suggests otherwise: my colleague Andrew Lapthorne has shown that those companies that engage in earnings manipulation underperform those that do not.


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Tim Cook: “I’m Proud to be Gay”

 

Tim Cook discusses being gay on BusinessWeek. Recent bullying statistics show that gay teens are from 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than others, and almost 30% of completed suicides are related to problems dealing with sexual identity. Perhaps Tim Cook's story will help people accept their differences, whatever they are, and move on to achieve their goals. 

Excerpt:

Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

Full article: Tim Cook: "I'm Proud to be Gay" – Businessweek.

Zero Hedge commented on Cook's admission here and shared…
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Ebola “Turning Point” and Perspective

Courtesy of Mish.

Last Week the Huffington Post reported Ebola.com Sells For More Than $200,000 — Including 19,000 Shares Of Cannabis Sativa Stock.

Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs attempting to sell the rights to Ebola.com succeeded in selling to the highest bidder — literally.

Chris Hood and Jon Schultz paid $13,500 for the rights to Ebola.com back in 2008 and have just sold it to a company called Weed Growth Fund.

The terms of sale call for Hood and Schultz to get $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., a company run by former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson that hopes to market legal cannabis products throughout the world.

The stock is currently trading under the CBDS ticker symbol at $8.55 share, which means the value of the shares sold to Hood and Schultz is $164,091.

Add it up and they received $214,091. That's quite a profit, but the sellers made even more on LasVegasRealEstate.com and PayDayLoans.Com.

There is certainly a lot of attention on the disease. But what are the real risks?

The following chart of number of ebola cases and the country of origin from The Guardian will add a much needed perspective.

Ebola Cases

Turning Point

Admittedly the disease is very scary. About 70% of the people who contract the disease die from it. But according to  Dr Jeremy Farrar of Wellcome Trust and as reported by The Guardian in Ebola ‘May Have Reached Turning Point’

The Ebola epidemic in west Africa may have reached a turning point, according to the director of the Wellcome Trust, which is funding an unprecedented series of fast-tracked trials of vaccines and drugs against the disease.

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Here’s Why the Fed’s $4.45 Trillion Balance Sheet Is Not Going to Shrink

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Federal Reserve's FOMC Meeting in March 2014

Federal Reserve’s FOMC Meeting in March 2014

Back on June 25 of this year, Wall Street On Parade ran the following headline: “BOE’s Carney: Inflated Central Bank Balance Sheet the New Normal; Expect to Hear the Same Conclusion from the U.S. Fed.”

The day before our headline, Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, had just explained to Parliament why their central bank’s balance sheet, bloated through quantitative easing, was not going to be shrinking anytime soon.

Carney: “…I would define – picking up on what my colleagues have said – pre-crisis position as a position that’s consistent with the normal course of liquidity requirements of the banking system…What has changed, to the good, in terms of the banking system here is that through regulation and supervision we have put much more responsibility on the banks themselves to hold liquidity to manage liquidity shocks. And, as a consequence of that, their demand for reserves can be expected to be higher. The further consequence of that is that the balance sheet of the Bank of England will be larger…”

Translation: We have no idea how to unwind this mess any better than the Americans do.

We commented in the article that: “There is a very real suspicion that Carney was simply laying the groundwork for Fed Chair Janet Yellen to begin to slip the same hints into her forthcoming speeches.”



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GDP- Surprise, Surprise, Surprise…Not

Courtesy of Lee Adler of the Wall Street Examiner

The advance number for third quarter GDP came in at 3.5%, surprising the Wall Street conomists, whose consensus guesspectation was 3%.

It should not have been a “surprise.”

The US Treasury reports tax collection data virtually in real time, every day. I publish a chart of the withholding tax data and report the implications of that data for the markets every week in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition Money/Liquidity service reports. It showed that the average inflation adjusted growth rate in Q3 was 3.55%. That data is available to the whole world in real time. Remind me again what Wall Street’s excuse is  for not understanding exactly how the economy is doing. And what about the Fed, whose economic growth perceptions are NEVER on the mark. What is its excuse?

Here’s the latest data through October 28.

Federal Withholding Taxes Growth- Click to enlarget

Federal Withholding Taxes Growth- Click to enlarge

This data has also proven to be a good indicator of whether non-farm payrolls will beat or miss conomic guesspectations.Unfortunately the BLS data is manipulated, and the seasonally adjusted headline number is absolute fiction, that gets massively revised in subsequent months and years. The tax data is real, hard data, that is never subject to major revision. If you want to know what the economy is doing, follow the money, in this case, the taxes.  Follow it in real time every week in the Wall Street Examiner Professional Edition.

Get regular updates on the machinations of the Fed, Treasury, Primary Dealers and foreign central banks in the US market, in the Fed Report in the Professional Edition, Money Liquidity, and Real Estate Package. Click this link to try WSE's Professional Edition risk free for 30 days!

Copyright © 2014 The Wall Street Examiner. All Rights Reserved.





Outside the Box: The Colder War

Outside the Box: The Colder War

By John Mauldin

The story of energy is the story of human expansion. From the days when we roamed the African savanna, we tamed first fire and then other forms of energy, using them as tools to control our environment and improve our lives. The control of energy has always been at the heart of the human story.

This week our Outside the Box essay is from my friend Marin Katusa, who has written a fascinating book about a part of that story, a subplot of intrigue and conspiracy. Under Putin, Russia has aspired to dominate the energy markets. Called The Colder War, Marin’s book is a well-written tale of the rise of Putin and his desire to change the way the world’s energy markets are controlled.

I sat down a few months ago with an advance copy, not sure what to expect. Marin is personally very colorful and entertaining, but would that charisma translate to words on a page? I started on a Sunday afternoon and finished before I laid my head on the pillow that night. The Colder War was an entertaining and gripping story of the rise of Putin and the shifting sands of the world of oil. It was also an insightful overview of the last century. I highly recommend it.

At the end of the day, I disagree with Marin as to Putin’s ability to achieve his vision. While Putin wants to displace the petro-dollar as the global medium of energy exchange, he will fail. But maybe that’s the hometown boy in me thinking my team will win.

But that is the last 10% of the book. The first 90% is an easy must-read. Warning: it is not written from a US perspective. Marin’s view of the events of the last century sound more like those I hear when I travel outside the US.

I took the liberty of checking his story with a good friend of mine, Jerry Fullenwider, a very successful Texas oil entrepreneur, who lived in Russia during Putin’s rise. He confirmed Marin’s tales and more. He has his history right. And what a history it is. Today’s OTB is the introduction to the book, and if…
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NYSE Margin Debt Drifts Higher Again in September

NYSE Margin Debt Drifts Higher Again in September

Courtesy of Doug ShortAdvisor Perspectives

Note from dshort: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through September. I've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.

The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let's examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.

The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the start of the Tech Bubble that shaped investor sentiment during the second half of the decade. The astonishing surge in leverage in late 1999 peaked in March 2000, the same month that the S&P 500 hit its all-time daily high, although the highest monthly close for that year was five months later in August. A similar surge began in 2006, peaking in July 2007, three months before the market peak.

Debt hit a trough in February 2009, a month before the March market bottom. It then began another major cycle of increase. Margin debt hit an all-time high in February of this year.

The latest Margin Data

Unfortunately, the NYSE margin debt data is about a month old when it is published. Following its February peak, real margin declined sharply for two months, -3.9% in March -3.2% in April and was flat in May. It then jumped 5.7% in June, its largest gain in 17 months. July saw a 0.9% decline, but number has drifted higher the two subsequent months, up 0.6% in August and 0.2% in September. It is now only is 0.4% below the February peak.

Click to View
Click for a larger image

The next chart shows the percentage growth of the two data series from the same 1995 starting date, again based on real (inflation-adjusted) data. I've added markers to show the precise monthly values and added callouts to…
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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!

 
 

Zero Hedge

Markets Explodes As Bank Of Japan Goes All-In-er; Increases QQE To JPY 80 Trillion

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

UPDATE: *NIKKEI 225 EXTENDS ADVANCE TO 5%

NKY is up 1000 points from FOMC

 

 

 

and what do u expect to happen to JGBs when Stocks rip 1000 points... yep they're rallying!

  • Yield on 10-yr govt bond declines 3.5 bps to 0.435%, while 20-yr yield also slides 3.5bps to 1.285%, both lowest since April 2013.
  • 5-yr yield f...


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Phil's Favorites

Looking for a Good Education at a Low Price, Perhaps Free? Head to Europe

Courtesy of Mish.

On June 7, 2014 I wrote Looking to Drastically Reduce College Costs? Study Abroad!

Yesterday, a writer for the Washington Post expressed the same opinion.

Please consider 7 countries where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free). Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, and tuition fees keep rising. In Germany, they've done the opposite.

The country's universities have been tuition-free since the beginning of October, when Lower Saxony became the last ...



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Chart School

Moving Averages: Month-End Preview

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here is a preview of the monthly moving averages I track after the close of the last business day of the month. All three S&P 500 strategies are now signaling "invested" -- unchanged from last month. Two of the five of the Ivy Portfolio ETFs, the PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC and the Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), are signal cash "cash" -- also unchanged from last month.

If a position is less than 2% from a signal, it is highlighted in yellow.


Note: My inclusion of the S&P 500 index updates is intended to illustrate a popular moving moving-average timing strategy. The index signals also give a general sense of how US equities are behaving. Howe...



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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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Insider Scoop

Jennings Capital Downgrades Ballard Power Systems

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related BLDP Lake View: Ballard Power Systems 'Making Progress' Morning Market Movers

Jennings Capital downgraded Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDP) in a report issued Thursday from Buy to Hold and lowered its price target from $5 to $3.

Analyst Dev Bhangui noted that the company "reported Q3/14 results that were below our and consensus estimates. EPS were ($0.02) versus JCI and consensus of ($0.01). Revenue and gross margin m...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bullish conviction returns, but market likely to consolidate its V-bottom

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end.

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 o...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of October 27th, 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.

Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

(As usual, use your PSW user name and password to sign in. You may also take a free trial.) 

 

#455292918 / gettyimages.com

 

...

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Market Shadows

Bill Ackman's Big Pharma Trade Is Making Wall Street A Super Awkward Place

 

#452525522 / gettyimages.com

Intro by Ilene

If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article. 

Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...



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Option Review

LUV Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...



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Digital Currencies

Goodbye War On Drugs, Hello Libertarian Utopia. Dominic Frisby's Bitcoin: The Future of Money?

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?

With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...



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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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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.

Market Shadows >>