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Phil's Newsletter

Monday Markets – Counting Down Greece’s Final Moves

The countdown continues.

Here's a nice rundown of the Greek endgame, which is moving towards it's final stages as the ECB refused to consider a "plan B," even as a meeting of the block's 19 finance ministers fell apart over the weekend. 

Greece doesn't just need money to service their Bonds and IMF loans, which are what the US press has been fixating on (because we are one of the parties that is owed that money).  Greece also needs moneys to pay their own country's pension obligations and, of course Government salaries so perhaps you can understand the "FU" attitude the Government is beginning to have towards the ECB as the ministers insist on more and more cutbacks.

Greece has about two weeks to convince the EU to release another $7Bn to them under SOME kind of terms that will enable them to pay $3.7Bn in bonds $800M due to the IMF on the 12th otherwise that default will quickly cascade things out of control.  Over the next month, that $7Bn will be used up on other debt obligations all ahead of a $4Bn payment they already owe to the ECB on July 20th.  Per Goldman Sachs:


We believe negotiations could drag on likely through May and possibly into June. A ‘hard’ deadline could be July 20, when Greece faces a payment of €3.6 bn to the ECB, for which, we think, the country will not have sufficient cash.  Peripheral spread volatility is likely to increase as time goes by, as investors will associate a higher probability of default to a higher probability of Grexit, although this association will depend on what conditions have led to the credit event.

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Top Trade Review – April

Take this review with a grain of salt as we went back to cash on most.

Still, it's good to take a look at what worked and what didn't – especially since those that didn't are often some of our best new opportunities!  It's been a crazy market environment but we try to find at least one Top Trade each week for our Alert subscribers (and, of course, our Premium Members).  I don't force them – I either like a trade enough to feature it or I don't.  

Top Trade Alerts are sent out once or twice a week via EMail and Text Message from our Basic and Premium Live Member's Chat Room.  These trades are just a very small portion of what we discuss during chat each day, but hopefully a good representative sample of the dozens of trade ideas we share with our Members each week in our Live Member Chat Room as well as our Weekly Live Webinars (Tuesday's replay can be seen here).

Keep in mind these are just snapshots of trades as of today – it's up to you to take good trades off the table and cut the losses (or make adjustments) on ones that go bad.  We're always discussing adjustments in our Live Member Chat Room – join us there for follow-ups.  

2/20 – GOGO was our pick around lunchtime as we liked the story on the provider of WiFi services for airplanes.  GOGO was a part of our Income Portfolio before we cashed that out and it was just starting to rally back from the low end of the range and we didn't want to miss the breakout.  I wrote quite a dissertation about why I liked them and our new trade idea was:

So, for the LTP, let's sell 10 2017 $15 puts for $4.40

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Friday Failure – Kaisa Bond Default Underlines China Housing Crash

What is Kaisa?

Kaisa Holdings is #1638 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is currently trading at 50% of it's 2014 price at $1.50 per share.  That may make it seem unimportant but, in the Wacky World of Chinese Stocks – it's an $1Bn+ company.  Kaisa specializes in large-scale real estate projects and has borrowed $10.5Bn for various projects but, unfortunately, just went into default for lack of $52M as it also delayed the release of 2014 financials

Already the company's $800M worth of 8.875% 2018 bonds have dropped to 55 cents on the Dollar and 2020 notes are no fetching just 29.9% of face value and that's going to look generous as this situation rapidly spirals out of control.  It is estimated that, in a full default, Kaisa's bond-holders can expect about 2 cents on the Dollar because the company has generated no real value for them after spending $10.5Bn of other people's money.  

Kaisa last month postponed its results announcement for 2014, saying that auditors needed more time to verify its accounts. There may be a “significant adjustment” to the figures, the company said on March 31 without saying when the results would be released.

The earnings and profitability of some Chinese property developers may deteriorate further in 2015 and more defaults can’t be ruled out, S&P said in a report Friday. It said developers’ annual results for 2014 indicate many are in “significantly worse” shape than the previous year.

If you are an investor in Chinese notes or Chinese stocks, consider this a warning.  I will remind you that these are slow-rolling crises that take quite a long time (in the timeframe of the average investor) to unwind.  Well, maybe not so slow as this morning Glorious Property Holdings, who just had their debt cut to Ca (junky junk) is struggling to come up with $19.5M of the $300M it must provide on 13% notes due Oct 25th.  Since the end of last year,…
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Bad News is Still Good News in China as Poor PMI Boosts Market

The Chinese economy is collapsing.  

That, of course (in this insane QE World) is being taken as good news by equity traders who anticipate another wave of free money to come gushing out of Beijing ON TOP OF the $194Bn that was announced on Monday.  That's right, China's economy is so big that they need $194Bn PER WEEK to keep it afloat.  How long do you really think they are going to be able to keep that up?

We're short on China with some FXI puts, but not too many yet as we don't know WHEN this madness will end – only that it will end and that it will end very badly when it does.  China's PMI is once again contracting at an accelerating rate DESPITE all the stimulus but last year Chinese market rallied while the economy was clearly contracting as well – popping FXI from 32 in March to 42 in September (up 35%) before collapsing back to 36 in October.  

The Sept/Oct drop happened when Manufacturing numbers were improving, which indicates that the Chinese market, like Japan's and, to some extent, the US and Europe, have nothing to do with how well the economy is doing and everything to do with how much free money the Central Banksters will be able to transfer to their Top 1% buddies.  

The reason the markets don't seem to make sense to you is because you are not in the top 0.01%, where all the free money is going.  From their perspective, they don't give a crap about the economy or the companies they own and invest in, they only care about how much money they can funnel out of the Government, through the banks, that can end up in their pockets.  

4-22-2015 6-01-20 PM cATERPILLAR 2How else do you explain the madness of CAT, who haven't had good sales numbers since the beginning of 2013 (another indication of the World-wide slump) yet have kept their stock net flat over that time period?  The stock even surged to $108 (up 30%) last year before coming back to the $80s but even
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Whipsaw Wednesday – Market Manipulation Takes Center Stage

SPY  5  MINUTEWhat a crazy-assed market!  

With virtually NO volume at all, the S&P (along with the other indexes) gapped up 10 points at the open (0.5%) but then proceeded to sell off all day as the Fund Managers that manipulate the Futures trading sold their stocks to all the suckers who ran in to buy into the "rally" that the Media Puppets were applauding all morning.  

I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory when I tell you the markets are manipulated but, just yesterday, they accused a 36 year-old guy (31 at the time) with a very small trading firm ($5M) of crashing the Global Markets in the "Flash Crash" (May 6th, 2010).

Aside from the sad fact that it took them 5 years to find the culprit, it should scare the crap out of people that a single person, with no special equipment and a fairly ordinary margin broker account could knock $1Tn in value off of global equities in less than an hour.  If that's how easy it is to manipulate the entire market – how can you NOT believe that there are people manipulating individual stocks every day?

“Things like this don’t build a lot of confidence,” said Timothy Ghriskey, the chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management LLC in New York.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s the government at its best — inept,” Rick Fier, director of equity trading at Conifer Securities LLC in New York, said in a phone interview. “It really is just another one of many things to deal with, it’s extremely frustrating. We’ve seen flash crashes and we’ll see them again and it’s definitely disconcerting.”

According to the government, Sarao had trading software altered to let him send and modify orders to sell stock futures thousands of times a day with virtually no risk they’d be filled. That was his goal: to make it seem like orders for futures were piling up so they’d fall and he could buy them on the cheap, the complaints say.  Oddly enough – I just pointed out that same activity going on in the Oil Futures during yesterday's Live Webinar.…
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Triple Top Tuesday – Can Low Volumes Drive Us to New Highs?

SPY  5  MINUTE181 shares traded down on Friday, 81M traded up on Monday.

Is this what a rally looks like?  I cannot emphasize enough that we are in CASH!!! and don't really give a crap what the market does, so I say this with all possible detatched objectiveness when I ask you – WTF are you playing with?  

This market makes no sense, it moves for unsensible reasons.  It goes up on no volume and the Corporate Media acts like that's the way things are supposed to be because THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID TO TELL YOU.  Are you paying them?  No, you are not.  They are paid to sell you cars and toothpaste and timeshare vacations and, worst of all, Retirement Planning because their form of retirement planning only plans to detach you from your money so the sponsors can retire rich – NOT YOU!  

That clip was from 1976, about 40 years ago and not much has changed since, so why should we worry.  At the time, the country was in the 4th year of a recession having just ended a pointless war that ran up the National Debt and left us with huge budget deficits.  At the time, we had a lot of inflation at the same time because we didn't have a Fed pouring money into the economy and oil shot up from $50 (inflation-adjusted) to $100 per barrel over the next few years during the Iranian Revolution.  

After the Iranian Revolution, things calmed down and oil collapsed all the way to the $20s where, except for the Gulf war, it pretty stayed until 2000 when the Commodity Futures Modernization Act deregulated the trading of energy contracts and led to the modern age of oil prices manipulation that has nothing to do with the Fundamental laws of supply and demand.  

That's why the price of oil has gone from $45 to $57.50 (up 27%) in just over a month with no change in supply or demand and that's how the price of gasoline has gone from $1.23 a gallon on January 13th to $1.92 a gallon this morning (up 56%).  Keep in mind, there
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Manchurian Monday – $194,000,000,000 More Stimulus from China!


Is what I would have said if I had more room in the headline.  More monetary stimulus is not the answer to every Economic ill – especially in China where even infrastructure spending is failing them.  Why?  Because they tried to rush their economy from the early 19th (farming) to 21st (tech) Century without stopping to build a middle class that may demand the products they hope to build their economy on.  

China had their industrial revolution about 20 years ago – ours lasted from 1900 to 1960 and then we busted in the 70s and converted our economy in the 80s and 90s to a tech-driven one.  There was an economic hiccup in the 1930s, of course, but that happened because too much easy money given to Corporations and the Investing Class led to massive wealth disparity while the previous farming economy crumbled leading once-comfortable people into abject poverty while the top 1% popped champagne on their yachts – until the bubble burst and they all drowned together.  

Oct business cycle: support for stocksWell, thank goodness we've learned that lesson, right?  NO – not right at all!  We are idiots and we are making the same exact mistakes that led to the Great Depression and applying the same fixes that led to the Great Depression.  This is INSANE!!!  

These are normal business cycles and you can't wish them away and you can't paper over them.  All these so-called "stimulus" programs do is enrich the Top 1% on the backs of the Bottom 99% and push off the pain (eventual austerity or debt default) to a time AFTER the Top 1% have had a chance to pull out and move on to greener pastures.  

Take oil, for example, after getting a black eye on last week's sudden surge, we have recovered very nicely by sticking to our fundamental guns and shorting oil at the $58 line with a bit of conviction.  That's given our Members two excellent wins in the last two days of $1,000 per contract on Friday and another $1,500 today.  My comment to our Members on Friday morning in our
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PSW April Portfolio Review – Market Pullback Boosts our Gains!


That's how much our bearish Short-Term Portfolio is now up as of Friday's close.  In just three weeks of trading since our last Portfolio Review on March, 30th, where we very wisely cashed out the majority of our long positions ahead of the coming correction, we've added $19,055 in virtual gains.  

Even better, in our Long-Term Portfolio, we left our "losing" positions in the materials space in the energy and material space and, without any changes since other than adding a couple of new positions (we had a lot of cash, so why not), our larger Long-Term Portfolio has jumped $43,237 (6.1%) during the same period.  We could not have picked a more perfect combination of long and short positions to ride out the last 3 weeks of the market!  

That has driven the Primary Trading Strategy that we teach our Members at PSW (of keeping a Long-Term Bullish Portfolio with a Short-Term Bearish Portfolio) to a new record of $968,512, up $368,512 (61.4%) from our $600,000 start right after Thanksgiving in 2013 (17 months).  We have these gains, at the moment, because our timing was PERFECT.  But, our timing wasn't perfect by accident – it's the design of the Long/Short strategy that we are able to hold onto our positions when our timing is NOT perfect UNTIL it is.  It makes us look a lot smarter than we actually are!  

We were off track into the end of the year because we flipped bearish a bit too early but being off track wasn't so painful in the Short-Term Portfolio because we still had our long positions in the very bullish and much bigger Long-Term Portfolio.  More importantly, because we had a goal of making 20% a year, when the Long-Term Portfolio hit the 40% mark on March 30th, we decided it was ahead of schedule and cashed out our winners, letting the losers we still had faith in ride.

That left us very bullish on cyclical stocks while we dumped all the high-performing positions – even our beloved AAPL, as it had gotten too big, too fast for our liking.   There was also a bit
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Fickle Market Friday – Free Money Headlines Aren’t Enough?

[image]Oh no

They are pulling out all the guns this morning and firing blanks.  As you can see from the front page of the WSJ, our friendbuddypal Jon Hilsenrath (aka "The Fed Whisperer") has poked his head out like a groundhog and, scared of the economic shadows he sees – has proclaimed 6 more weeks of FREE MONEY for all!  

That gave us a nice little pop early this morning BUT, over in Europe, they are FLEEING into bonds, sending Germany's 10-year notes down to 0.07% – a new all-time low.  This is coming on the heels of Greece's Finance Minister accusing Europe's creditor powers of trying to force his country to its knees by "liquidity asphyxiation".

"Toying with Grexit, or amputating Greece, is profoundly anti-European. Anybody who says they know what will happen if Greece is pushed out of the euro is deluded," he said.  The warnings were echoed by Eric Rosengren, head of the Boston Federal Reserve, who said Europe risks sitting off uncontrollable contagion if it mishandles the Greek crisis, even though Greece may look too small to matter.

"I would say to some European analysts who assume that a Greek exit would not be a problem, people thought that Lehman wouldn't be a problem. If you measured the size of Lehman relative to the size of the US economy it was quite small," he told a group at Chatham House.

Greek bonds, of course, went flying higher.  Up to about 13% this morning.  Watch that 15% line, which is where Europe begin to melt down back in 2011.  The 4-year bonds already jumped 4.5% this morning and are now hovering around 27% and the 2:1 inverted yield curve indicates investors are once again seeing a very high possibility of default.

Even worse, the last time Greek yields were flying there were two rounds of bailouts to help stem the tide.  This time, the ECB and the IMF are demanding PAYMENT instead of offering a hand.  Greece simply cannot afford to pay out money and be forced to borrow more short-term money at 27% – even an economoron understands that much, don't they?

Overall the
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Thursday Flip Flop – Earnings Send Us Off Again

SPY  5  MINUTEI was going to say something nice about yesterday's gains – but they are GONE already

That's right, the Futures have reversed all of yesterday's BS low-volume gains so fast, I didn't even have a chance to say that I don't trust the gains because they were based on low-volume BS BUT the long-term technicals were starting to shape up.  But they're now gone.

Have I mentioned how happy we are to be in CASH!!! lately?  

Still, I hear a lot of you silly people are still playing this ridiculous game so let's pretend it's not all just manipulated BS aimed at tricking you out of your money and talk about earnings and the economy as if they matter – OK?  

Oil shot up 5% yesterday, from $54 (/CLK5) to $56.70 on the nose which made the weak retrace line $56.16 and the strong retrace line $55.62 per our 5% Rule™, which works best when a market is being entirely traded by machines that are programmed to take your money.  I'll let you be the judge of whether or not that's happening:

While it's possible to have healthy consolidation at the strong retrace line ($55.62) a failure there can quickly lead to a 50% pullback ($55.35) but a failure at the 50% line means the whole move was BS and you can expect to see $54 tested again before you'll get another run-up.  We got off on the wrong side of oil on Tuesday, shorting into the NYMEX contract rollover next week, but those of us caught with open contracts scaled into a break-even at $55.50, so now we're just watching that line to see what happens.  

Those are the technicals but FUNDAMENTALLY, OPEC is reporting a huge surge in production, further feeding the glut with a predicted surplus of 1.5M barrels per day projected for 2015 despite optimistic projections of "steady" demand (or lack thereof).  The bullish case for oil rests entirely on the HOPE that US production will be cut back in the second half of 2015 (but it's only April 16th).  

Last November, when OPEC also announced…
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Kimble Charting Solutions

Apple weekly breakout in play, $150 remains upside target

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


Apple closed last week at an all-time weekly closing high at (1) in the chart above. Apple recently broke above its 4-year rising channel, came back to test old resistance and pushed higher, setting this new record high.

In November of last year, when Apple was trading below $110 per share, the Power of the Pattern shared that Apple’s upside target stood at $150. (See post here) 

Below is a long-term update on Apple


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Zero Hedge

Gold Flows East - China, India Import Massive Quantities of Gold from Switzerland

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by GoldCore.

Gold Flows East – China, India Import Massive Quantities of Gold from Switzerland

- Singapore, India and China continue to import staggering volumes of gold from the West
- U.K. exports of bullion to Switzerland increase 6 fold to a very large 97 tonnes
- Gold exports from Switzerland to both China and India doubled in March
- Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) becoming most important centre for physical gold trade
- LBMA says London gold...

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Chart School

Vehicle Miles Traveled: Our Evolving Behavior

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through February.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 2.8% (6.1 billion vehicle miles) for February 2015 as compared with February 2014." The less volatile 12-month moving average is up 0.20% month-over-month and 2.36% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is a smaller change, up 0.13% month-over-month and up only 1.23% year-over-year.

Here is a chart that illustrates this data series from its inception in 1971. It illustrates the "Moving 12-Month Total on ALL Roads," as the DOT terms it. The ...

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Phil's Favorites

Reader Question: Is the Minimum Wage Really a Maximum Wage?

Courtesy of Mish.

A reader asked me if I ever hired someone for the minimum wage. He also believes the minimum wage is really a maximum wage.

From Drew ...
Mish, I’m curious if you have ever had to actually pay someone minimum wage to work for you week in, week out, year after year?

I’ve signed plenty of paychecks myself, and honestly, I could never employ someone and pay the minimum wage knowing it was not enough for that person to live on, regardless of whether or not the “market” says I could hire them for that price. I have willingly paid more, and they always very much appreciated it, and I also felt like I got more effort since they knew I was paying them more. But I know that’s not how large corporations work.

I believe you would argue whether or not the minimum is enough on which to live is irrelevant a...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of April 27th, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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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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Digital Currencies

Why Bitcoin's male domination will be its downfall

Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.

More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved. 

Why Bitcoin's male domination will be its downfall 

By Felix Salmon

Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...

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Sector Detector: Earnings and GDP temporarily take investor spotlight off the Fed

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...

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Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene


The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble likes the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped (EWY), but only if it breaks out of a pennant pattern. This South Korean equities ETF has underperformed the S&P 500 by 60% since 2011.

You're probably familiar with its largest holding, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and at least several other represented companies such as Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp.


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Mapping The Market

S&P 500 Leverage and Hedges Options - Part 2

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard.

In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...

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2015 - Biotech Fever

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

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

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

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

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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 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.

Thank you for you time!

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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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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