Author Archive for ilene

Warm waters melting Antarctic ice shelves may have appeared for the first time in over 7,000 years

 

Warm waters melting Antarctic ice shelves may have appeared for the first time in over 7,000 years

Courtesy of Sev KenderUniversity of Exeter

File 20171018 32375 b0ry26.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Eastern ice. Shutterstock/Hall

The vast expanse of the Antarctic is a region of the world particularly vulnerable to climate change, where ice loss has the potential to significantly increase sea levels.

Now, for possibly the first time in 7,000 years, a phenomenon known as “upwelling” (the upward flow of warmer ocean water to the surface), is thought to have caused recent ice shelf collapse around the continent – and the glacial thinning associated with it.

Ice shelves floating on water are the oceanic extension of land glaciers and ice sheets, and the primary region for ice loss. As these shelves break apart, the flow of continental ice held up behind them accelerates.

The ocean surrounding Antarctica is extremely cold, but water over 300m deep, Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), is about 3?C above the melting point of ice. Normally, the very cold water above keeps this away from ice shelves. But in some areas, CDW is spilling onto the shallow Antarctic continental shelf, causing the ice to thin.

Ice shelf thinning has accelerated in recent decades, but the picture is not the same everywhere. While the east of the Antarctic has shown modest gains in ice thickness, the west has outstripped this with significant ice loss – up to 18% in vulnerable areas like the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas.

The pattern of ice loss and other observations indicate that warmer water upwelling beneath these ice shelves is driving it. But what has caused this upwelling? Is it related to human activity? And how concerned should we be?

Two teams led by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey, both of which I have been working with, set out to tackle these precise questions by focusing on two vulnerable areas. One site is in Pine Island Bay, in the Amundsen Sea, and the other is in Marguerite Bay, in the Bellingshausen Sea.

The aims of the studies are similar – to monitor the extent of upwelling warm water onto the continental shelf over the past…
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What Trump’s latest move means for the Iran nuclear deal

 

What Trump's latest move means for the Iran nuclear deal

Courtesy of Moritz Pieper, University of Salford

Donald Trump hasn’t definitively killed the Iran nuclear agreement but he has lit the fuse that might blow it up eventually. Standing in the diplomatic room of the White House on October 13, he said that he could no longer certify Iranian compliance with the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran, he said, is not living up to the spirit of the agreement.

Trump is unhappy that while Iran will be subject to a special monitoring and inspection regime until 2025, after that time, it will be treated like any other non-nuclear weapon state. He has also attacked what he calls “weak” inspections and the “near total silence on Iran’s missile programme”.

On the face of it, the president isn’t withdrawing from the deal. The requirement for the president to certify to Congress every 90 days whether or not Iran is in compliance with the deal’s terms is a matter of US domestic law. Even if Congress does not find an agreement on what to do with the deal, Trump announced, the deal will be terminated anyway. Congress has now 60 days to decide on whether it will re-impose sanctions.

This is a move that isolates the US and demonstrates a yawning gap between it and Europe. “The deal does not belong to any one country,” the EU’s high representative for foreign and security affairs, Federica Mogherini said. Kicking the issue over to Congress signals that Trump lacks the political commitment to maintain an agreement that is working to block off all pathways to a nuclear bomb.

Accusing Iran of not living up to the spirit of the agreement is a first step towards the US itself violating the deal. Re-imposing sanctions without clear evidence that Iran is not complying with its obligations would be a material breach of the agreement.

And since the deal has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, such a course could contravene international law. This will ratchet up regional tensions and make military confrontation more likely again. It might give Iran grounds to cease meeting its own commitments,…
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30 years ago today…

 

30 years ago today…

Courtesy of 

So here’s my take on Black Monday, which happened today in 1987…

Markets crash. It’s a feature. It shouldn’t happen often, but it will happen once in a very long while. It’s not predictable in advance and there are only some types of crashes you can prepare for with an investment strategy. Other types of crashes will catch you by surprise and impact your portfolio no matter what you do.

You need to spend more of your time steeling yourself for this possibility than you spend on a Grail Quest for a magical strategy that will completely protect you. Because that doesn’t exist. The more protection you add to a strategy, the less potential upside you will be able to gain. There are tradeoffs, always. In the case of 1987, it was the method of protection itself that blew everyone up.

Anyway, I’ll send you over to the only article you need to read today, from Professor Bob Shiller, whose life’s work is studying investor behavior and market extremes. He even won a Nobel Prize…

A Stock Market Panic Like 1987 Could Happen Again (New York Times)





Japan’s new digital age brings together the old and the new

 

Japan's new digital age brings together the old and the new

Courtesy of Esperanza Miyake, Manchester Metropolitan University

Popular fascination with Japan often begins with a vision of a country existing between two realms. On the one hand, we have the traditional “old world” of temples, tea ceremonies and calligraphic cherry blossoms. On the other hand, there shines a futuristic “new” world of bullet trains, AI dogs and funky gaming consoles.

Mixing this together into one addictive, fun-house concoction for the West has been Japanese pop culture in the shape of manga/anime, games like Pokemon Go!, film and even snack foods (maccha KitKat, anyone?).

Whether it is futuristic mecha-bots stomping on the ancient slopes of Mount Fuji or J-Pop stars shimmering like plastic dolls in silk kimonos, we indulge in the guilty (or not-so-guilty) consumption of Japan like electronic sushi: something traditional repackaged within the innovative, creating that perfect old/new bite.

But what do we really know about Japan today beyond kawaii (cuteness), ninjas and that mysterious savoury taste sensation umami?

Inhabiting 2D and 3D worlds

In the true Japanese style that loves being “in-between” (old/new, East/West, salty/sweet), 2.5 Dimensional Theatre is a digital-technological art form that exists between the worlds of 2D and 3D. Initially, a fan-based phenomenon, it has become an established industry and institution in its own right within the last decade. 2.5 Dimension productions bring to life the 2D world of manga, anime and video-games on a 3D stage using the latest digital technologies and communications platforms.

The use of social networking sites, smartphones and other technologies such as subtitle glasses (spectacles that project subtitles for the individual user) enrich the audience experience by increasing participation and interaction that goes beyond the stage. Emerging from a country with a longstanding history of artistic stage productions – from noh and bunraku to kabuki – 2.5 Dimensional Theatre is a perfect example of various Japanese creative industries, old and new, coming together through the digital to create entirely new experiences.

Such digital phenomena point towards society’s increasing need to inhabit an augmented reality. Products and services encourage users to constantly seek…
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Why the European Union’s hands are tied over Catalonia

 

Why the European Union's hands are tied over Catalonia

Courtesy of Garret MartinAmerican University School of International Service

File 20171018 32358 1nv09n0.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

A young girl wearing the Spanish flag (right) walks with another young girl wearing an ‘estelada,’ or independence flag. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

In recent weeks, the dispute over Catalonia’s quest for independence from Spain has captivated the attention of many parts of the world.

There is concern about further outbreaks of violence if the government in Madrid and the Catalonian independence movement cannot resolve their differences. This has led commentators to call for the European Union to step in and mediate. But such hopes are not well founded.

The EU has neither the tools nor the will to tackle the separatist crisis in Spain.

Here’s why.

Bad timing

First, the conflict over Catalonia’s status comes at a less than ideal time for the EU. Officials in Brussels are consumed with thorny negotiations over the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, the continuing flow of migrants to Europe, and challenges to the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, to name just a few issues. There is crisis fatigue in the EU and limited enthusiasm for trying to put out another fire.

A member state club

Second, the EU is not equipped, for legal and political reasons, to tackle separatist disputes like the one in Catalonia. As journalist Natalie Nougayrède points out, the EU cannot dictate how member states organize themselves or interact with their regions. Article 4.2 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, which revised the key constitutional treaties of the EU, states that the EU will not interfere with key state functions such as “territorial integrity” or “maintaining law and order.”

Pro-independence supporters hold a European Union flag during a rally in Barcelona, Spain. AP Photo/Francisco Seco

This means member states still largely dictate the policies of the EU and the member states have shown no willingness to back the Catalan separatists. This stems, in part, from a feeling of solidarity with the state…
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They’re All Going to Leave

 

They’re All Going to Leave

Courtesy of 

Stocks have been near all-time highs for a while now. The S&P 500 has gone 322 days without experiencing a 5% drawdown, colloquially known as a “pullback.”

Stocks haven’t just been hanging out near all-time highs, they’ve been printing new ones daily. In 2017, 47 out of 201 sessions have closed at an all-time high. It’s been a remarkably smooth ride. Not day-to-day, of course it never is, but in reality the S&P 500 has gained 19% since last July without giving anything back. This is a rare moment in stock market history. Be thankful.

One more chart and I’ll arrive at the point. The average daily drawdown over the last three years is just -2.27%. Meaning, over the last three years on average, the S&P 500 has been within 2.27% of its all-time high. It’s remarkable to think back on all the top calls and angst that we’ve all experienced over the last 756 trading days. And look at that flat red line not worrying about a damn thing.

Okay, here’s the point. A lot of people have this idea that when this ends, badly or otherwise, and one day it will, that all the money that’s gone from active to passive will exit just as fast as it entered. I don’t necessarily buy this, but for arguments sake let’s just say that money flees at the first sign of trouble. Is the counter that they would behave better during a bear market if there money was in an actively managed fund?

Consider a piece of data from Jack Bogle’s Common Sense on Mutual Funds:

Following the -48 percent market decline in 1973-1974, investors made withdrawals from their holdings of equity mutual funds during 24 consecutive quarters, from the second quarter of 1975 through the first quarter in 1981.

If stocks fall 48% again, investors are exiting. They’re exiting because stocks are falling and stocks are falling because they’re exiting. But in a garden variety bear market, say 25% or something thereabouts, I think people with balanced portfolios, generally speaking, will do okay. But anything deeper than that and we’ll…
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Why Richard Thaler won the 2017 economics Nobel Prize

 

Why Richard Thaler won the 2017 economics Nobel Prize

Courtesy of Sergey V. Popov, Cardiff University

The 49th Sveriges Riksbank prize in economic sciences – commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize for economics – has been awarded to Richard H Thaler for his contributions to behavioural economics. He was a key proponent of the idea that humans do not act entirely rationally. By applying insights from psychological research, he helped the world better understand people’s economic decision-making in particular.

Thaler published extensively in the field of finance. He pinpointed the difference between the predictions in financial literature, which assume that people act perfectly rationally to maximise their expected profits (the idea of the homo economicus), and what actually happens on the markets.

Thaler was on many people’s list of Nobel favourites. But since the award already went to Daniel Kahneman in 2002 for behavioural economics and then jointly to Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller in 2013 for financial markets, his chances seemed relatively slim. But the Great Recession – caused by financial markets seeming to behave “irrationally” – brought a lot of attention to research that extensively cites Thaler’s 40-year long academic career. He even made a guest appearance in the film The Big Short to explain why banks kept buying and selling bad debt to their detriment.

People are not perfect computers, and Thaler’s research on limited rationality demonstrates this. For instance, people tend to be loss averse: they’d rather expect a smaller payoff with the same risk, but cap their losses. This obviously has implications for financial markets: financial products based on the binary options of profit or loss, for instance, rely heavily on advertising that any potential losses are limited.

Mental accounting

Another contribution of Thaler was the concept of mental accounting: people don’t, it turns out, think about their total lifetime welfare when making financial decisions. Instead they focus on the performance of individual decisions and are less concerned with making savings if they are a small percentage of what’s being spent. This idea led to the development of the field of behavioural finance, which addresses the implications of limited rationality.

 


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How the home of Robin Hood is trying to free itself of modern slavery

 

How the home of Robin Hood is trying to free itself of modern slavery

Courtesy of Alison GardnerUniversity of Nottingham

File 20171018 32367 139g405.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Nottingham: no more human trafficking. kaysgeog/flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND

A year after the police chief in Nottinghamshire committed to making the county and the city of Nottingham free from slavery, a group of the region’s businesses, churches and charities have pledged to help make this a reality.

There are estimated to be between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of modern slavery and human trafficking across the UK. We don’t yet fully understand how those cases are distributed around the country, but it is clear that official figures for arrests and referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the government’s support framework for victims, currently only scrape the surface. In Nottinghamshire, police data shows there were 33 referrals to the NRM in 2016-17, more than double the referrals in 2015-16.

Hiding in plain sight

While people may be trafficked from anywhere in the world, modern slavery is also a very local issue. The recent case of Nottinghamshire farmer Jon Hammond is one example. During a casual conversation at an office Christmas party, one of his employees confided to another that he had been trafficked to the UK and was being exploited by his landlord. In June 2017, the landlord was jailed for eight years after admitting to charges of human trafficking and forced labour.

Slavery can be hidden in plain sight within our workplaces or neighbourhoods, a phenomenon described as “the slave next door” by modern slavery experts Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter.

Patterns of exploitation are sometimes only revealed by unusual or anti-social behaviour in communities, or disclosed through established relationships built on trust. When cases emerge, it is frequently local employers, frontline staff in public services, or voluntary sector organisations that first need to recognise the problem, and signpost victims to appropriate specialised services.

While the government announced £8.5m in 2016 to help enforce its national level Modern Slavery Strategy, there has been…
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Why is there so little research on guns in the US? 5 questions answered

 

Why is there so little research on guns in the US? 5 questions answered

Courtesy of Lacey WallacePennsylvania State University

File 20171017 30394 1qzmcxi.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

With no money to research guns, there’s no evidence to base policy on. Håkan Dahlström, CC BY

When Stephen Pollock opened fire Oct. 1 on concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing 59, the city became the unfortunate host of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Investigators are still trying to piece together the events that took place that evening, and why.

Like other recent mass shootings, the events in Las Vegas were quickly followed by demands for change to gun control policy.

But which policy do we choose? Following the Las Vegas shooting, debate has focused on bump stocks, accessories that allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire more rapidly. Will restrictions on them help prevent another mass shooting? Is there a better policy option?

Unfortunately, the research we need to answer these questions doesn’t exist – and part of the problem is that the federal government largely doesn’t support it.

Congresspeople call for action on gun safety legislation on Oct. 4. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Why do we need research about guns?

Gun violence is a public health issue. It’s a leading cause of premature death in the United States, killing more people each year than diseases like HIV, hypertension and viral hepatitis.

While violent crime has generally been on the decline since the mid-1990s, the latest reports from the FBI suggest crime rates may be starting to increase. Gun crime has been a persistent problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 33,594 individuals were killed by firearms in 2014 alone. That’s only about 200 less than the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. In 2015, roughly 85,000 people were injured by firearms, including nearly 10,000 children.

In order to prevent gun injuries and deaths, we need accurate information about how they occur and why. While police reports and FBI data can provide some detail, they…
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China’s green planning for the world starts with infrastructure

 

China's green planning for the world starts with infrastructure

Courtesy of Asit K. Biswas, National University of Singapore and Kris Hartley, Cornell University

The United States is retreating from the global community under a president who rejected the Paris Climate Accords and denigrates NAFTA and NATO. This provides an opportunity for China to play a greater role in global affairs.

This provides the backdrop for the 19th Party Congress, as China seeks to balance external influence with domestic economic stability. One area in which China can exert greater influence is infrastructure, an urgent issue for development. According to the OECD, supporting development worldwide requires yearly infrastructure investment of US$6.3 trillion until 2030. With knowledge of development honed through decades of rapid domestic economic growth, China is well placed to shape global development in ways that may define the rest of the 21st century.

China has invested in infrastructure projects around the world since the 1970s but a coherent policy for infrastructure investment first appeared in 2013. During a speech in Kazakhstan, Xi unveiled the Silk Road Economic Belt concept.

Shortly thereafter he proposed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Other institutions supporting China’s global infrastructure initiatives include the US$40 billion Silk Road Fund and the New Development Bank led by China, Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa.

The crown jewel, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is expected to attract US$1 trillion for trade, transport, and energy initiatives around the world.

Build at your own risk

Infrastructure is a development necessity, but its expense is a barrier and assistance from China is attractive. More than 60 countries have signed agreements for China to fund infrastructure projects.

However, loan recipients should not assume that infrastructure will automatically transform their economy. Projects can drain resources and often provide little benefit to greater society. Attracting a Belt and Road Initiative project may grab headlines but it is no panacea.

The economic benefits of infrastructure are often vastly overstated. Currently Sri Lanka is unable to service debts to Chinese lenders for expensive but largely unused ports, airports, and highways.

Designed for one million passengers per year, Mattala Rajapaksa…
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Zero Hedge

Xi's Roadmap To The Chinese Dream

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

China's Belt and Road Initiative - the New Silk Road - will spark the country's development and turn the dream into reality...

It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub.

Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified c...



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Phil's Favorites

Bearish Fund Traders Head For Early Hibernation

 

Bearish Fund Traders Head For Early Hibernation

Courtesy of Dana Lyons, with introduction by Zero Hedge 

'Speculators' have never been so confidently complacent that 'all is well'.

Speculative positioning in VIX futures and options remains at its most short in history as traders refuse to back away from 'what works' as realized volatility collapses to its lowest in over 60 years......



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Chart School

Gold Cycle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Why has gold not fallen below $1000 (well so far), what is the golden canary telling us?

Previous Posts:
SP500 Kitchin Cycle says trouble brewing - Update
SP500 How much higher ?

In short, the old heads out there know there is a ying for a yang! Currently the SP500 screaming higher, massive debt, low very !VIX. But as well all know this wont last forever, and the flip side could be very scary. Hence the hedge into metals, and building of the 4.5 year gold base, and as a ...

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ValueWalk

Full Transcript Of Donald Trump Interview With Maria Bartiromo [PREVIEW]

By VWArticles. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Please see below for the full transcript of FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. The interview with President Donald Trump today that will be airing across FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Mornings with Maria (6-9AM/ET) and FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Sunday Morning Futures 10AM/ET).

]]> Know more about Russia than your friends:

Get our free ebook on how the Soviet Union became Putin's Russia.

When:

Part 1 - Sunday, October 22nd  on FOX News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures (10-11AM/ET)

Part 2 - Monday, October 23rd on FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria (6-9AM/ET)

...



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Insider Scoop

There Could Be 109% Upside In uniQure As Company Advances Gene Therapy Into Clinical Trials

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related QURE 32 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session Wall Street's M&A Chatter From October 19: Uniqure, Ulta, Sally Beauty,...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

Digital Currencies

The World's Largest ICO Is Imploding After Just 3 Months

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Earlier this summer, Tezos smashed existing sales records in the white-hot IPO market after the company’s pitch to build a better blockchain for cryptocurrencies made it one of the buzziest ICOs in the world. As we noted at the time, the company capitalized on that buzz by courting VC firms and other institutional investors with a $50 million token pre-sale. After the company opened up selling to the broader public, demand soared as investors greedily bought up tokens in spite of glitches that threatened to derail the sale early on. By the end of its weeks-long token sale in July, Tezos had sold more than $230 million.

Now, Tezos is proving that authorities in the US and China were on to something when they decided to crack down on the ICO market, which has become a cesspool of...



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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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Biotech

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

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

 

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

Courtesy of Sally Ferguson, CQUniversity Australia

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing the molecular cogs and wheels inside our biological clock.

In the 18th century an astronomer by the name of Jean Jacques d'Ortuous de Ma...



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Members' Corner

Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

...

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OpTrader

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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Promotions

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!

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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.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

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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