Author Archive for ilene

Fed’s Janet Yellen: Stock Market Bubble Not Seen as Major Risk Factor

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen Holds Her Last Press Conference on December 13, 2017

Outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen Holds Her Last Press Conference on December 13, 2017

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 14, 2017

The outgoing Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, held her last press conference yesterday following the Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to hike the Feds Fund rate by one-quarter percentage point, bringing its target range to 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 percent.

Given the growing reports from market watchers that the stock market has entered the bubble stage and could pose a serious threat to the health of the economy should the bubble burst, CNBC’s Steve Liesman asked Yellen during the press conference if there are “concerns at the Fed about current market valuations.”

Yellen gave a response which may doom her from a respected place in history. She stated:

“So let me start Steve with the stock market generally. Of course the stock market has gone up a great deal this year and we have in recent months characterized the general level of asset valuations as elevated. What that reflects is simply the assessment that looking at price-earnings ratios and comparable metrics for other assets other than equities we see ratios that are in the high end of historical ranges. And so that’s worth pointing out.

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Lessons From the General


Lessons From the General

Courtesy of 

Failure is a far better teacher than success because it’s much easier to duplicate failure than it is to replicate success. If we can study somebody’s shortcomings, we can take away tangible lessons and also realize that mistakes are just a part of the process. Some can be avoided, some we must learn for ourselves.

Ulysses S. Grant was an enormously successful General in the Civil War and he spent eight long years as President of a healing United States. But despite this heroic body of work, his financial life had plenty of room for improvement.

After a failed attempt at becoming a third-term President, the General settled into civilian life. He and his wife moved from St. Louis to New York City where, with the help of money raised for them, they bought a four-story brownstone for $98,000 ($2.1M in today’s dollars).

One of Grant’s sons, Buck, got into business with a young hotshot financier, Ferdinand Ward. Ward was referred to as the “Young Napoleon of finance” and some suggested he would one day become Secretary of the Treasury. The General had such confidence in Buck and his partner that he decided to kick in $50,000, most of the money he had, to help get the brokerage firm Grant & Ward up and running. This arrangement worked well for a few years. Grant & Ward paid him a monthly stipend and even kicked in some extra money from time to time.

Grant & Ward was did so well for its clients that there was a line of people waiting to throw money into the operation. In the epic biography Grant, Ron Chernow wrote, “One friend invested $50,000, disappeared for six months on a European vacation, then came home to a whopping $250,000 check. As others reaped 15 percent to 20 percent profits per month, a mania to invest with Grant & Ward overtook Wall Street.”

Today we recognize Grant & Ward as a classic ponzi scheme, but at the time, Grant was hopelessly naive. He said, “I think we have made more money during the past year than any other house in Wall Street.” He had no business…
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3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net


3 myths about the poor that Republicans are using to support slashing US safety net

Courtesy of Michele GilmanUniversity of Baltimore

File 20171212 9451 1baw0sz.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Sen. Chuck Grassley recently seemed to suggest some poor people spend all their money on “booze or women or movies.” AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Republicans continue to use long-debunked myths about the poor as they defend lower taxes for the rich and deep cuts to the social safety net to pay for them. In so doing, they are essentially expressing scorn for working class and low-income Americans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, for example, recently justified reducing the number of wealthy families exposed to the estate tax as a way to recognize “the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Similarly, Sen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement programs. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said.

These statements, the likes of which I expect we’ll all hear more of in coming months, reinforce three harmful narratives about low-income Americans: People who receive benefits don’t work, they don’t deserve help and the money spent on the social safety net is a waste of money.

Based on my research and 20 years of experience as a clinical law professor representing low-income clients, I know that these statements are false and only serve to reinforce misconceptions about working class and poor Americans.

Food participants get an average of $125 a month, hardly enough to feed a family without earning money as well. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Most welfare recipients are makers not takers

The first myth, that people who receive public benefits are “takers” rather than “makers,” is flatly untrue for the vast majority of working-age recipients.

Consider Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps, which currently serve…
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How Republican missteps turned Alabama blue


How Republican missteps turned Alabama blue

Courtesy of David HughesAuburn University at Montgomery

File 20171213 27568 1gucpki.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Doug Jones supporters celebrate his stunning victory. AP Photo/John Bazemore

If there was one Republican in Alabama the Democratic Doug Jones could beat, Roy Moore was that Republican.

And in a Tuesday night nail-biter, Jones did just that, edging Moore by a mere 1.5 percentage points in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992.

So while the Democrats are celebrating a victory in the special election, perhaps it makes sense to ask: How did Republicans manage to lose this seat?

How we got here

Let’s take a moment simply to marvel at the bizarre and cumulatively improbable series of events that ever led us to a “Senator Jones.”

You could say it began in 2014. That’s when Dianne Bentley, wife of 50 years to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a 71-year-old Baptist deacon, began to suspect her husband was having an affair with a member of his staff decades his junior. Dianne planted a recording device in the governor’s office and captured some intimate phone dialogue. The governor attempted to use state resources to cover up his affair. Dianne leaked her tape to the press and the controversy exploded.

Meanwhile, another scandal was brewing. Alabama Chief Justice and conservative firebrand, Roy Moore, was suspended from active service as a result of an ethics investigation stemming from orders he gave to the state’s 67 probate judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage. This was, incredibly, the second time in his career that he had been removed from the bench for defying a federal court order.

Back in gubernatorial purgatory, pressure had mounted upon Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to investigate Bentley. Strange, though, was in no hurry to do this. You see, while the Bentley scandal was unfolding, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. Trump selected Alabama’s junior U.S. senator, Jeff Sessions, to become his attorney general, thereby creating a vacancy in the Senate.

In this vacancy, Gov. Bentley…
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Roy Moore’s Loss in Alabama: A Victory for the Young Girls of America

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Republican Candidate, Roy Moore, Accused of Child Molestation, Rides His Horse to Vote in the Special Election for U.S. Senate on December 12, 2017

Republican Candidate, Roy Moore, Accused of Child Molestation, Rides His Horse to Vote in the Special Election for U.S. Senate on December 12, 2017

As mainstream media sees it, Roy Moore’s stunning special election loss yesterday in red-state Alabama to Democrat Doug Jones is all about narrowing Republican control in the U.S. Senate; or it’s about Trump’s inability to boost a fellow Republican; or it’s an early warning for Republicans as to how they will fare in the 2018 midterm elections.

But if the media could pull itself out of the 24/7 political swamp for a moment and broaden our nation’s horizon past 2018, we might consider the impact that last night’s events will have on the lives of the women who had the courage to come forward and accuse Roy Moore of sexually molesting them when they were young girls and its impact on the next generation of American girls who desperately need and deserve less hostile work environments in our so-called “democracy” when it’s their time to join the workforce.

From television news to Hollywood to Congress to the Oval Office, women have boldly said this year that enough is enough. They have risked their careers and backlash and lawsuits and revealed their sexual attackers, even after they had signed those barbaric gag orders as part of a settlement to shield their attackers from public disclosure. They have brought one of America’s darkest secrets of how women are routinely sexually demeaned in the workplace and “kept in their place” into the disinfecting sunshine of public scrutiny. That courage has inspired a long-overdue national debate on what America really stands for and if it is genuinely a beacon of hope to the world.

Putting a man like Donald Trump in the White House after he was caught on an Access Hollywood video admitting to grabbing women in their genital area and bragging that he could get away with it because he was a celebrity has only added more fuel to the burning question of just how bright America’s beacon actually shines to the rest of the world.

If you are a young girl working as a waitress or in a store in a Mall…
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Our survey reveals that even Republicans want a fairer tax deal for America


Our survey reveals that even Republicans want a fairer tax deal for America

Courtesy of Sven Steinmo, University of Colorado and John W. D'Attoma, University of Exeter

The American Republican party is about to pass a massive tax bill that almost no one – including their own voters – really wants. While many people like the idea of paying lower taxes, remarkably few favour the kind of tax bill proposed.

We do not yet know the exact shape of the final bill, but three things are certain. Corporations and wealthy individuals will get a big tax cut. Middle-class Americans will get a small tax cut. And the government will borrow approximately US$1,500,000,000,000 (yes, that’s what 1.5 trillion looks like) to pay for those cuts.

Few Americans like any of these outcomes. According to one study earlier this year, 52% believe that taxes on large corporations should be increased, not cut. The same survey found that only 24% are in favour of cutting taxes on high income earners, while 48% believe people earning over US$250,000 should pay more tax, not less. Very few believe it is a good idea for the government to borrow even more money than it does already.

Good arguments can of course be made for public borrowing during economic downturns in order to stimulate spending. Similarly, some would argue that borrowing to spend on education or infrastructure can be positive investments in the future.

But neither of these arguments apply to this tax cut. This is simply a massive giveaway to the very people and institutions that need the money the least. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, annual post-tax corporate profits (US$1,738 billion) are higher now than they ever have been in US history. America’s richest individuals now have more of the nation’s wealth than any time since the 1920s.

Still, Congress is decorating a Christmas tree with tax goodies for companies and the rich, and leaving future generations to pay for them.

Today the federal government owes over US$20 trillion – more than the total value of goods and services produced in the US last year. That’s US$62,000 for every man, woman and child living in the country. Even…
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A glass of whisky could help you get your head around deep time


A glass of whisky could help you get your head around deep time

Courtesy of Carina J. FearnleyUCLLourdes López-MerinoBrunel University London; Niamh DowningFalmouth University, and Richard IrvineThe Open University

File 20171128 28856 kfry3c.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1


The Scottish geologist James Hutton made a proposal in 1788 that, at the time, was extraordinarily controversial. He described Earth as a “beautiful machine”, constantly subjected to long-term decay and regeneration, that could only be understood over many millions of years. This may not sound that contentious, but the challenge this posed to humanity’s sense of time was substantial. Popular contemporary estimates of Earth’s age, such as Bishop Ussher’s calculation that it was created in 4,004 BC, were dwarfed by the magnitude of what Hutton described.

Today, we are more familiar with the enormity of the Earth’s age in contrast with our diminutive timespans. In 1981, John McPhee coined the term “deep time”, highlighting the apparent insignificance of the span of human existence in the face of geological processes. Yet such scale is inherently difficult to conceive of. And so as societies face changing environments, with challenges of energy and food security, the short-term perspective is often politically and economically dominant.

But this way of thinking is high risk. If we are to adequately respond and adapt to landscape change, we need think about time differently, take a more holistic view. As such, over the last year we have been exploring different ways in which we might understand how humans think about deep time, and how it shapes our behaviours.

Geological time spiral. United States Geological Survey

We started by zoning in on the everyday. Deep time, for all its vastness, becomes intimate when we trace it in things that are familiar to us. In a recent article in The Atlantic, David Farrier explains that deep time is “not an abstract, distant prospect, but a spectral presence in the everyday.” It is also in the everyday that we increasingly see our human role in shaping deep time. The Anthropocene era is characterised by the marks that we leave in the geological record.

Deep time is therefore visible…
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Trump’s manipulation of mass consciousness


Trump's manipulation of mass consciousness

Courtesy of Dr. Mike SostericAthabasca University

File 20171206 31104 19tqxxg.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Human memories are malleable. U.S. President Donald Trump seems aware of this truism as he effectively moulds and shapes American minds with deceptions and exaggerations. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

We like to think of our memories as sepia celluloid snippets of our life upon this Earth.

We think they “reflect us” and remind us of the person we like to be. True, memories can be iffy sometimes. We don’t always remember all the details, but mostly our memories are real.

For a long time, scientists backed us up. Early memory researchers thought that most memories retained some connection with reality. To be sure, memories were elaborately constructed in a bubbling and boiling cauldron of expectation, emotion, motivation, personal opinion, prejudice and self-delusion — what we scientists call, in our typically obtuse way, self-induced, systematic distortations. But there would usually be some element of reality.

As it turns out, we are wrong. When it comes to memory, reality need not apply.

Psychologists have demonstrated that a skilled manipulator can create memories out of the fantastical thin air. Psychologist Julia Shaw does this in experiments with students. Using basic psychology, she can convince 70 per cent of her subjects that they committed a crime, when in fact they never did. It is “alarmingly easy” to do, she says.

How does she achieve this remarkable fabrication?

First, she makes people trust her. Second, she establishes her authority. Third, she constructs their new memory by invoking, through image, visualization and narrative, the subject’s imagination.

Like a potter at her wheel, she moulds and shapes the memory, layering in detail and reinforcing through repetition. Finally, she fires the new memory in the kiln of social pressure and group membership. Voila, the student is a convicted criminal!

Human survival requires group coherence

It’s shocking, but understandable, from an evolutionary perspective. Neurological mechanisms that create malleable memory do not make us sheeple, but they do go a long way towards creating group identification and coherence, an absolute requisite for human survival before advanced civilization.

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What’s Going On Inside Your Wall Street Brokerage Firm?

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Wall Street Street SignThe Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Wall Street’s self-regulator with a long history of conflicts of interest, has released a summary of its findings from the examinations it conducts at the nation’s brokerage firms. As is typical of FINRA, the document released to the public is extremely light on details. (Almost half of FINRA’s Board comes from inside the industry, with current representation from JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Citadel and Fidelity, to name just a few of the insiders.)

One area of the report did stand out, however. FINRA has expressed concerns about the fairness of the price you’re getting on the stock or bond trade you’re placing with your broker. In Wall Street parlance, this is known as “Best Execution.” The report explains:

“Best execution is a significant investor protection requirement that essentially obligates a broker dealer to exercise reasonable care to execute a customer’s order in a way to obtain the most advantageous terms for the customer…If a broker-dealer receives an order routing inducement, such as payment for order flow, or trades as principal with customer orders, it must not let those factors interfere with its duty of best execution nor take them into account in analyzing market quality…

“FINRA had concerns regarding the duty of best execution at firms of all sizes that receive, handle, route or execute customer orders in equities, options and fixed income securities. FINRA found that some firms failed to implement and conduct an adequate regular and rigorous review of the quality of the executions of their customers’ orders…

“As a result of such deficiencies, these firms failed to assure that order flow was directed to markets providing the most beneficial terms for their customers’ orders. FINRA notes that conducting a regular and rigorous review of customer execution quality is critical to the supervision of best execution practices, particularly if a firm routes customer orders to an alternative trading system in which the firm has a financial interest or market centers that provide order routing inducements, such as payment for order flow arrangements and order routing rebates.”

In the paragraph above, FINRA highlights firms that route “customer orders to an alternative trading system in which the firm has a financial interest.” An alternative…
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How burnout is plaguing doctors and harming patients


How burnout is plaguing doctors and harming patients

Courtesy of Jay DesaiUniversity of Southern California

File 20171027 13340 16ejemk.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Exhaustion and burnout among physicians are growing problems. wavebreakmedia/

The presidential symposium at this year’s Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society of America in early October in Kansas City raised many eyebrows. The first presentation of this symposium focused on burnout rates among neurologists around the country.

Many of my colleagues felt that this was an inappropriate choice, especially with so many trainees and young child neurologists in the audience. Typically, the presidential symposium at a conference of such eminence addresses an issue of scientific importance. But some other colleagues felt that this discussion was essential and that the elephant in the room cannot be ignored anymore.

As I sat through it, I felt that the presentation was outright depressing, with speakers belting out dismal data about the state of mind of neurologists around the country. The most striking statistic was that about 60 percent of neurologists in the U.S. were experiencing burnout symptoms, including emotional exhaustion or lack of a sense of accomplishment. They also showed signs of depersonalization, which is an impaired perception of self and others that can lead to lack of empathy, including for patients.

I have been taking care of patients for more than two decades since graduating from medical school in 1994. I had not even heard of physician burnout until about four years ago when a lot of data started getting published. However, it is now a subject of discussion among physicians on wards, in clinic and at conferences, as we all realize that it is a menace.

The core that provides care

Unsurprisingly, the rot extends beyond the field of neurology. Several reports recently have highlighted that physician burnout rates across many major specialties in the U.S. have reached epidemic proportions. For example, a survey earlier this year suggested that the physician burnout rate exceeded 50 percent for the fields of emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine, internal medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, pediatrics, neurology, urology, cardiology, rheumatology and infectious disease.

This is bad for doctors, and it’s bad for patients. Physician burnout…
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Phil's Favorites

What Doug Jones's win means for Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon and the Democrats


What Doug Jones's win means for Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon and the Democrats

Courtesy of David C. BarkerAmerican University

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls for Roy Moore to step aside. He later said “let the voters decide.” AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Here’s the thing about selling your soul: The devil had better deliver. It’s one thing to be damned; it’s another to be a damned loser.

This is the difficult lesson that the Republican National Committee and much of the GOP are learning right now, in the wake of Ro...

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Zero Hedge

Alibaba Launches Giant Car Vending Machines In China

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Shares of Alibaba fell on Thursday morning, despite an exciting news story involving the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, which is rushing to shake up the way people buy cars in China. Alibaba seems to be taking a page from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, with the continued push into physical retail. The plan outlined by Alibaba, is to open two giant car vending machines in early 2018, shaped like a futuristic tubular building with a giant cat’s head on top.

Having monopolized the online world, Alibaba continues to push offline with investments in Chinese bricks and mortar retailers.

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said back in November, “physical store...

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Chart School

Tape Reading - Dow Jones Price Waves

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

This is a continuation of price wave analysis.

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RTT Volume wave analysis like this helps the retail investor find price action that is true. The reference to 'tape reading' is by the definition of Richard Wyckoff (section 5M of the Wyckoff Course), you can learn more about RTT Volume Wave here.

NOTE: does allow users to load objects and text on charts, however some annotations are by a free third party image tool named ...

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Insider Scoop

Attention Contrarians: This Analyst Says Set Up Could Be In Your Favor

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related JD Want Some Exposure To China's Growth? Stifel Says Buy JD Or Alibaba Q3 13F Roundup: How Buffett... more from Insider


Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

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


Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy. Invitation image created by Kstudio, CC BY

If you’ve ever bought a new iPhone, you’ve experienced good packaging.

The way the lid slowly separates from the box. The pull...

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Digital Currencies

Not A Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Meet The Crypto Company - up almost 20,000% since inception in September...

To a market cap of over $12.6 billion...

Grant's Interest Rate Observer drew the world's attention to this 'company' yesterday.....

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Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of via

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...

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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...

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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!


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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites

About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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