Author Archive for ilene

Invest with a Telescope…Not a Microscope

 

Invest with a Telescope…Not a Microscope

Courtesy of Wade of Investing Caffeine

Telescope-Microscope

 

It was another bloody week in the stock market (S&P 500 index dropped -3.1%), and any half-glass full data was interpreted as half-empty. The week was epitomized by a Citigroup report entitled “World Economy Trapped in a Death Spiral.” A sluggish monthly jobs report on Friday, which registered a less than anticipated addition of 151,000 jobs, painted a weakening employment picture. Professional social media site LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) added fuel to the fire with a soft profit forecast, which resulted in the stock getting almost chopped in half (-44%)…in a single day (ouch). [This analysis does not even include today's sharp selloff.]

It’s funny how quickly the headlines can change – just one week ago, the Dow Jones Industrial index catapulted higher by almost +400 points in a single day and we were reading about soaring stocks.

Coherently digesting the avalanche of diverging and schizophrenic headlines is like attempting to analyze a windstorm through a microscope. A microscope is perfect for looking at a single static item up close, but a telescope is much better suited for analyzing a broader set of data. With a telescope, you are better equipped to look farther out on the horizon, to anticipate what trends are coming next. The same principle applies to investing. Short-term traders and speculators are great at using a short-term microscope to evaluate one shiny, attention-grabbing sample every day. The investment conclusion, however, changes the following day, when a different attention-grabbing headline is analyzed to a different conclusion. As Mark Twain noted, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

Short-termism is an insidious disease that will slowly erode short-run performance and if not controlled will destroy long-run results as well. This is not a heretic concept. Some very successful investors have preached this idea in many ways. Here are a few of them:

‘‘We will continue to ignore political and economic forecasts which are an expensive distraction for many investors and businessmen.” –Warren Buffett (Annual Newsletter 1994)

‘‘If you spend more than 14 minutes a year


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A Gift From God

The stock market decline doesn't feel like a gift right now but it may turn into one if you have a long-term investment plan. And ironically, the downside risk is less now than it was in May of last year. Which shows how fear and risk are not necessarily coupled in the stock market.  

A Gift From God

Courtesy of Michael Batnick, The Irrelevant Investor

The S&P 500 closed at a 52-week low on January 20th for the first time since 2011. Last week I took a look at how stocks did in the year they made a 52-week low. Maybe not surprisingly, they performed significantly worse in the years when a 52-week closing low occurred, returning -10% on average, versus 18% for all years that didn’t experience this. Today, I’m going a step further to examine how stocks performed in the one and three years following a 52-week closing low.

When looking out only one year, it’s almost always impossible to say anything conclusive. and this exercise is no exception. With that said, here are a few observations.

  • Stocks have historically not been any more likely to be positive one year after they’ve made a 52-week closing low. However, when stocks were positive one year later, the average change was 24%, significantly higher than all periods.
  • Following the previous statement, after closing at a 52-week low, stocks were more likely to have an outsized move a year later. For all one-year periods, stocks closed either +/- double-digits 65% of the time. One year after a 52-week closing low, stocks had a double-digit change 75% of the time. Grab your popcorn.

Contrary to what our stomach would have us believe, stocks actually get less risky as they decline. For long-term investors that are working and buying stocks every two weeks, these declines should be thought of as “a gift from god” (H/T Nick Murray).

I usually stay pretty far away from predictions, but here’s something I feel 86% certain about; stocks will be higher three years from now. That’s what has happened historically following a 52-week closing low, so I’m going to go with that. I’m also 74% certain that the S&P 500 won’t be more than 10% lower than the…
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The Increasingly Fragile Upper-Middle Class

Courtesy of Charles Hugh-Smith, Of Two Minds

Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses.

Since the top 10% takes home 50% of all household income, it follows that this top slice has most of the discretionary cash, i.e. net income left after taxes, servicing debt and paying for essentials such as food, utilities and housing.

It also follows that the discretionary spending of the top 10% is supporting much of the economy that is dependent on discretionary spending: tourism, eating out, personal trainers, etc.

The top 10% includes the thin slice of Financial Oligarchy (top .01%) and the top 1%. This skews the income and wealth of the top 10%. But if we set aside the top 1%, the next 10% still earns the lion's share of household income.

The top .1% can prop up Maserati sales and buy $5 million vacation homes, but there simply aren't enough super-wealthy to support the U.S. economy. As for the top 1%, they can prop up the local Porsche dealership and pay dock fees at the yacht club, but there aren't enough of them to support the entire economy, either: around 1.5 million qualify as top 1%.

So that leaves the upper-middle class, the roughly 12 million households that earn a disproportionate share of household income, with the task of spending enough discretionary cash to prop up an economy that depends heavily on consumer spending.

Many of these upper-middle class households are far more financially fragile than their substantial incomes suggest. The vast majority of these high-income households depend on two earners, each making substantial salaries, bonuses and benefits such as 401K retirement contributions.

Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses. $250,000 a year may look like a lot until you throw in a couple of kids attending private prep schools or college, healthcare costs that aren't covered by insurance, an enormous mortgage and sky-high property taxes.

The upper-middle class includes many people with wealth, but it also includes many people who have saved very little, and what they do have is in IRAs and 401Ks trapped in the stock market. Their slide to insolvency can be…
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Global stocks have already lost over $6 trillion in 2016

Six trillion dollar question: How much worse is this going to get?

Global stocks have already lost over $6 trillion in 2016

By Bob Bryan at Business Insider

Excerpt:

It's ugly in global markets right now. Really ugly.

In the US, stocks had their worst start to a year ever. In Europe things haven't been much better with bad news coming out of Berlin, London, and Athens. And a crash in Chinese stocks to start the year sort of got this all going on the wrong foot….

2 8 16 Markets COTD

Source: Deutsche Bank





Notes from the Locked Ward

Courtesy of Howard Kunstler

The remaining Americans sound-of-mind must view the primary election spectacle with mounting sensations of wonder, nausea, and panic. It’s one thing for the financial system to crack up, and another thing for social norms to disintegrate, and still another for the political system to become a locked ward of obvious psychopathology. Even the neurosurgeon on duty went narcoleptic the other night when his name was called to take the stage.

Last week’s candidate “debates” (or boasting contests) only underscored the human frailty on display. Marco Rubio was unmasked as an android with a broken flash drive. For a few moments I thought I was seeing an clip from the old movie Alien. In fact, the Republican melodrama more and more echoes the tone and plot of that story: a hapless, bumbling crew lost in space. One of these nights, something unspeakable is going to shoot out of Donald Trump’s mouth and there will be blood all over the podiums.

The Democratic boasting contest was not more reassuring. Bernie blew his biggest chance yet to harpoon the white whale known as Hillary when he cast some glancing aspersions on Mz It’s-My-Turn’s special side-job as errand girl of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks. Together, Bill and Hillary racked up $7.7 million on 39 speaking gigs to that gang, with Hillary clocking $1.8 million of the total for eight blabs. When Bernie alluded to this raft of grift, MzIMT retorted, “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly.”

There was a lot Bernie could have said, but didn’t. Such as: what did you tell them that was worth over $200,000 a pop? Whatever it was, it must have made them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Did it occur to you that this might look bad sometime in the near future? Is there any way that this might not be construed as bribery? And how is some formerly middle-class out-of-work average voter supposed to feel about you getting paid more for 45 minutes of flapping your gums than he or she has earned in the past five years?

Bernie could have found a gentlemanly way to say that directly, but perhaps he experienced a sickening precognitive vision of his jibes being used against the party establishment’s candidate in the fall…
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As Markets Gyrate Wildly, Senator Shelby’s Banking Committee Will Look at Market Structure

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Senator Richard (Dick) Shelby

Senator Richard (Dick) Shelby

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), the Chair of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, has announced a hearing on March 3 at 10:00 a.m. to examine “Regulatory Reforms to Improve Equity Market Structure.” To appropriately conduct that hearing, all the lights should be turned out in the hearing room and the senators and witnesses should have to fumble and stumble their way to their seats in the dark, since that’s what American investors have been forced to do since the 2008 crash – a tortuously long seven years of make-believe financial reform.

Following the 1929 crash, whose economic impact was also swift and devastating, the Senate Banking Committee spent the years of 1932 through 1934 holding comprehensive hearings and investigations on the structure of the stock market. The hearings unraveled, day by day, the frauds that the Wall Street titans of that era were inflicting on a gullible public. The initiating Senate resolution to undertake the hearings was worded thusly:

“A resolution to thoroughly investigate practices of stock exchanges with respect to the buying and selling and the borrowing and lending of listed securities, the value of such securities and the effects of such practices.”

As each devious fraud was revealed, the details landed on the front pages of newspapers in bold headlines. That provided the strong public momentum for the Banking Act of 1933, known as the Glass-Steagall Act, to separate the fraud-prone Wall Street bankers from the banks taking deposits from savers.

No such scenario played out after the 2008 crash.

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2007 All Over Again, Part 3: Banks Starting To Implode

Courtesy of John Rubino

So far, each financial crisis in the series that began with the junk bond bubble of 1989 has been noticeably different from its predecessors. New instruments, new malefactors, new monetary policy experiments in response.

But the one that’s now emerging feels strikingly similar to what just happened a few years ago: Banks overexposed to assets they thought were safe but turn out to be highly risky see their balance sheets deteriorate, their liquidity dry up and their stocks plunge.

This time it’s starting in Europe, where bank stocks are down by over 20% year-to-date and credit spreads are exploding. For a general look at this process see Is Another European Bank Crisis Starting?

Not surprisingly, the scariest stories are emanating from Italy which, despite inventing the mega-bank concept during the reign of the Medici, seems unable to grasp how money actually works. Check out the following Wall Street Journal chart of non-performing loans. When 16% of an entire country’s borrowers have stopped making their payments, that country is pretty much over.

Italy non performing loans

All eyes are therefore on Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi, which has a non-performing loan ratio of 33% and, as a result, a plunging share price. When the Italian economy finally blows up, this will probably be where it starts.

But here the story takes an even more disturbing turn. It seems that the other lender now spooking the markets is none other than Deutsche Bank, pillar of the world’s best-performing economy. Shockingly-bad recent numbers have combined with questions about its mountain of derivatives and exotic debt to put DB in a very uncomfortable spotlight. Excerpts from analysis of the aforementioned debt:

What Deutsche Bank’s Plunging CoCo Bonds Just Said about the Bank’s Future

(Wolf Street) – Shares of scandal-plagued, litigation-hammered, loss-ridden Deutsche Bank, one of the largest and least capitalized megabanks in the world, closed at €16.32 today in Frankfurt, down 50% from April last year. Investors are fidgeting in their seats, cursor on the sell-button.

In October, it had announced that it would shed divisions, clients, and employees, and hopefully some risks, and that it would scrap its dividends.

January 20, the bank reported “earnings” – in


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Now we separate the Pros from the Pretenders

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker

Today’s MLP of the Day – Energy Transfer Partners LP, ticker symbol ETE. In a tersely-worded 8K, the company announced the replacement of their CFO. I don’t know anything about the company, but the investors in the name are clearly shooting first here and getting the hell out of dodge. Shareholders in this and many other MLPS are now learning an abject lesson in portfolio construction and the true nature of risk-reward tradeoffs in fixed income.

ete

For a 4.5% income stream in ETE during the salad days of MLPs, investors endured almost complete wipeout of their principal.

We’re seeing portfolios come in to us lately loaded with securities that carried high yields at the time of purchase, but that also carried extreme risk – a foreign concept during the QE years when anything could be financed and refinanced at will.

The pros knew not to construct income portfolios laden with “bond alternatives” or, at a minimum, to keep these holdings small and compartmentalized. The pretenders replaced the Treasury slots of their fixed income holdings with garbage so they could promise clients (and prospective clients) a current income higher than what the guy down the street was offering.

And now we separate the pros from the pretenders, as the potential risks become actual risks, and, in many cases, permanent losses.

If you’re an advisor who won business over the last few years by out-delivering on current yield in your proposals, your time of reckoning has come. Because all fixed income must be looked at from a total return perspective, not merely quoted in terms of the trailing 12-month’s dividend yield.

Read this if you haven’t yet:

The MLP Myth Blown to Smithereens (TRB)





Utilities Winning By Not Losing

Courtesy of Dana Lyons

While the broad stock market has been getting hammered, the utility sector hit a 52-week high this week – and achieved a significant relative breakout.

Our firm’s philosophy when it comes to investment selection, i.e., where to invest, is to concentrate in the strongest performing areas of the market. We refer to this as relative strength. Typically, this means the sectors that are rising more than the rest, especially on a risk-adjusted basis. Occasionally, though – in a market correction or bear market – it can mean the sectors that just aren’t losing ground, or are losing the least.

This is the case currently with the utility sector. For, while most areas of the market are off to a historically weak start, utilities are up 8% for 2016, as measured by the Dow Jones Utility Average (DJU). Furthermore, while the DJU is up a mere 1.7% over the past 52 weeks, it is nevertheless at a 52-week high.

image

Additionally, as the chart indicates, the utility sector has broken out of a well defined downtrend on a relative basis versus the S&P 500. While there is no guarantee, this does suggest that, over the longer-term, the utility sector could be in the early staged of out-performance versus the market. And based on past occurrences when we have witnessed relative breakouts of some variation (e.g., 2000, 2007), this is not necessarily a positive development for stocks overall.

It remains to be seen whether similarly challenging times will materialize for the broader market versus utilities over the longer-term, but that trend certainly is in effect at the moment.

*  *  *

More from Dana Lyons, JLFMI and My401kPro.





JPMorgan Unveils The “Bogey” For NIRP In The US

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Ever since early 2015, we have repeated that with the world caught in a negative rate "race to the bottom", which even S&P now admits, it is inevitable that the US will join the rest of the DM central banks, especially after the flawed and much delayed attempt to hike rates into what is at least a quasi recession.

Now, with sellside chatter that it is only a matter of time before the Fed will likewise join the fray despite stern warnings by the likes of Deutsche Bank that more easing will only exacerbate conditions for global financial firms, JPM's Michael Feroli has set the "bogey" or the catalyst for what will be needed for the Fed to finally admit defeat and go not only back to zero but below it:

While we earlier mentioned that negative nominal rates should affect the economy no differently than ordinary policy easing, there is some evidence that the exchange rate channel is particularly pronounced in the case of NIRP. The leadership role of the Federal Reserve in the global monetary system may lead to some hesitancy to engage in what may be uncomfortably close to a skirmish in the currency wars. Lastly, there is the political issue. To be sure, political concerns about NIRP are not unique to the Fed; presumably one reason central bankers abroad sought to limit the pass-through to retail depositors was to avoid pushback from the political establishment. Even so, it seems reasonable to judge that the Fed’s current political situation is more parlous than is the case among its overseas counterparts. For all of the above reasons, we believe the hurdle for NIRP in the US is quite high, and we would need to see recession-like conditions before the Fed seriously considered this option.

So the "hurdle is quite high", but all that will be needed for Yellen and co. to surpass this hurdle is for "recession-like" conditions to emerge.

Which means be on the lookout for "recession-like" conditions because a few more days of stocks crashing and wiping out years of the Fed's carefully planned out "wealth effect" and the Fed wil have no choice but to beg the Department of Commerce to come up with quadruple seasonal adjustments that make every data…
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Zero Hedge

They Broke the Silver Fix

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Monetary Metals.

Last Thursday, January 28, there was a flash crash on the price chart for silver. Here is a graph of the price action.


   The Price of Silver, Jan 28 (All times GMT)

If you read more about it, you will see that there was an irregularity around the silver fix. At the time, the spot price was around $14.40. The fix was set at $13.58. This is a major deviation.

Many silver bugs are up in arms about how unfair the new silver fix is. That’s nothing new. They were up in arms about the old one. The old one was supposedly manipulated

One thing is for sure, tactical manipulations can occur. A gold trader in London was ...



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Phil's Favorites

Invest with a Telescope...Not a Microscope

 

Invest with a Telescope…Not a Microscope

Courtesy of Wade of Investing Caffeine

 

It was another bloody week in the stock market (S&P 500 index dropped -3.1%), and any half-glass full data was interpreted as half-empty. The week was epitomized by a Citigroup report entitled “World Economy Trapped in a Death Spiral.” A sluggish monthly jobs report on Friday, which registered a less than anticipated addition of 151,000 jobs, painted a we...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Let’s Talk About the US Government’s Interest Burden (Pragcap)

Greg Ip had a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday discussing the debt burden in the USA and how low interest rates have “moved back” the “hands on the doomsday debt clock”.  The article touches on the important topic of entitlement spending and whether it’s sustainable, but does so in a manner that misleads readers about why this might be a problem.

For instance, Ip says that “higher federal borrowing puts upward pressure on interest rates”.  This is classic “crowding out”,...



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Chart School

Sellers Start Day, Buyers Finish It

Courtesy of Declan.

Tech averages had the weakest start, Powerful gap downs had set things off, but buyers were able to make a comeback into the close. However, morning gaps remain. Volume climbed to register as distribution, which for the Nasdaq was the second day of distribution in a row.


The Nasdaq 100 is on the fiftth day of selling in a row. The August swing low wasn't fully tested. Bulls will be looking for a bullish 'morning star' where today's candlestick 'hammer' is followed by an opening gap, then a rally for the rest of the day. Should this emerge, then a move to test 4,300 is next. If there is a weak open, then any chance for a bullish 'hammer' based on today's action is signifi...

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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Bugs and S&P 500 break 5-year channels at “Same Time!”

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

S&P 500 has created a series of higher lows and higher highs for the past 5-years! Some would define this as a bull market.

Gold Bugs Index (HUI) has created a series of lower highs and lower lows, for the past 5-years! Some would define this as a bear market.

Hey friends check this out; It appears the S&P is breaking 5-year support and the Gold Bugs index is breaking resistance, at the SAME TIME.

“Super Trends” coming to an end?  The Power of the Patterns sugge...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 8th, 2016

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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Insider Scoop

Buckingham Sees 36% Upside in Virgin America

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related VA Vetr Top Raters Downgrade Spirit Airlines And Virgin America, Still Like Stocks Airlines Could Fall 30% In A Recession Virgin America -5% as sentiment sours (Seeking Alpha)

Buckingham Research slashed its price target and fourth-quarter earnings outlook Virgin America Inc (NASDAQ: ...



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ValueWalk

Why Most Investors Fail in the Stock Market

 

Why Most Investors Fail in the Stock Market

Courtesy of ValueWalk, by  

Throughout the past 30 days of wild volatility, here’s what I didn’t do.

Panic. Worry. Sell.

In fact, the best I did was add to a couple of positions yesterday. The world was already in an uncertain state for the past 3+ years. It’s just that with the market rising, we pushed the issue to the back of our  mind and ignored it.

If you read Howard Marks latest memo, ...



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Digital Currencies

2016 Theme #3: The Rise Of Independent (Non-State) Crypto-Currencies

Courtesy of Charles Hugh-Smith at Of Two Minds

A number of systemic, structural forces are intersecting in 2016. One is the rise of non-state, non-central-bank-issued crypto-currencies.

We all know money is created and distributed by governments and central banks. The reason is simple: control the money and you control everything.

The invention of the blockchain and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have opened the door to non-state, non-central-bank currencies--money that is global and independent of any state or central bank, or indeed, any bank, as crypto-currencies are structurally peer-to-peer, meaning they don't require a bank to function: people can exchange crypto-currencies to pay for goods and services without a bank acting as a clearinghouse for all these transactions.

This doesn't just open t...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: New Year brings new hope after bulls lose traction to close 2015

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

Chart via Finviz

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last year, the S&P 500 large caps closed 2015 essentially flat on a total return basis, while the NASDAQ 100 showed a little better performance at +8.3% and the Russell 2000 small caps fell -5.9%. Overall, stocks disappointed even in the face of modest expectations, especially the small caps as market leadership was mostly limited to a handful of large and mega-cap darlings.

Notably, the full year chart for the S&P 500 looks very much like 2011. It got off to a good start, drifted sideways for...



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Promotions

PSW is more than just stock talk!

 

We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more!

PhilStockWorld.com features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...



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Pharmboy

Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...



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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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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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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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