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Moving Averages: Month-End Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Valid until the market close on November 28, 2014

The S&P 500 closed September with a monthly gain of 2.32%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling “Invested”.

The Ivy Portfolio

The table below shows the current 10-month simple moving average (SMA) signal for each of the five ETFs featured in The Ivy Portfolio. I’ve also included a table of 12-month SMAs for the same ETFs for this popular alternative strategy.

For a facinating analysis of the Ivy Portfolio strategy, see this article by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo:

Backtesting Moving Averages

Monthly Close Signals Over the past few years I’ve used Excel to track the performance of various moving-average timing strategies. But now I use the backtesting tools available on the ETFReplay.com website. Anyone who is interested in market timing with ETFs should have a look at this website. Here are the two tools I most frequently use:

Background on Moving Averages

Buying and selling based on a moving average of monthly closes can be an effective strategy for managing the risk of severe loss from major bear markets. In essence, when the monthly close of the index is above the moving average value, you hold the index. When the index closes below, you move to cash. The disadvantage is that it never gets you out at the top or back in at the bottom. Also, it can produce the occasional whipsaw (short-term buy or sell signal), such as we’ve occasionally experienced over the past year.

Nevertheless, a chart of the S&P 500 monthly closes since 1995 shows that a 10- or 12-month simple moving average (SMA) strategy would have insured participation in most of the upside price movement while dramatically reducing losses.

The 10-month exponential moving average (EMA) is a slight variant on the simple moving average. This version mathematically increases the weighting of newer data in the 10-month sequence. Since 1995 it has produced fewer whipsaws than the equivalent simple moving average, although it was a month slower to signal a sell after these two market tops.

A look back at…
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S&P 500 Snapshot: Spooky October Ends with a Record Close

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 closed out the historically volatile month of October at an all-time high, up 1.17% for the day, 2.72% for the week and 2.32% for the month. This October had a 8.35% spread between its closing low on the 15th and today’s record close.

The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.35%, up 3 bps from yesterday’s close but down 17 bps from the September close.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions.

Here is a monthly chart of the index. The price volatility was accompanied by a surge in volume, 29% above its 10-month moving average.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

How close were we to an “official” correction, generally defined as a 10% drawdown from a high (based on daily closes)? The chart below incorporates a percent-off-high calculation to illustrate the drawdowns greater than 5% since the trough in 2009.

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For a longer-term perspective, here is a pair of charts based on daily closes starting with the all-time high prior to the Great Recession.

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Two Measures of Inflation and Fed Policy

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: I’ve updated the accompanying charts with the latest Personal Consumption Expenditures price index from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The annualized rate of change is calculated to two decimal places for more precision in the side-by-side comparison with the Consumer Price Index.


The BEA’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Chain-type Price Index for September shows core inflation below the Federal Reserve’s 2% long-term target at 1.48%, but for the past six months this indicator has hovered above its narrow range of the previous 12 months. The latest Core Consumer Price Index release, also data through September, is higher at 1.73%. The Fed is on record as using PCE as its primary inflation gauge.

The inflation rate over the longer run is primarily determined by monetary policy, and hence the Committee has the ability to specify a longer-run goal for inflation. The Committee judges that inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s statutory mandate. Communicating this inflation goal clearly to the public helps keep longer-term inflation expectations firmly anchored, thereby fostering price stability and moderate long-term interest rates and enhancing the Committee’s ability to promote maximum employment in the face of significant economic disturbances. [Source]  Note: Bolding added by me.

Elsewhere the Fed stresses the importance of longer-term inflation patterns, the likelihood of persistence and the importance of “core” inflation (less food and energy). Why the emphasis on core? Here is an excerpt from one of the Fed FAQs.

Finally, policymakers examine a variety of


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The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income ex Transfer Payments

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: This commentary has been updated with this morning’s release of September Real Personal Income excluding Transfer Payments.


Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are:

  • Industrial Production
  • Real Personal Income (excluding Transfer Payments)
  • Nonfarm Employment
  • Real Retail Sales
  • The Latest Indicator Data

    September Real Personal Income less Transfer Payments increased by 0.05%, the smallest gain since the -0.3% contraction in December 2013.

    A more accurate version of this indicator is a per-capita version using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Civilian Population Age 16 and Over illustrated below since the turn of the century. The September per-capita version came in at -0.04% month-over-month and is up only 1.4% year-over-year. The latest data point is 0.8% below the March 2008 peak (disregarding the 2012 year-end forward earnings for tax management).

    Click to View
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    The Generic Big Four

    The chart and table below illustrate the performance of the generic Big Four with an overlay of a simple average of the four since the end of the Great Recession. The data points show the cumulative percent change from a zero starting point for June 2009. We now have all four indicator updates for the 63rd month following the last recession. The Big Four Average is (gray line below).

    Current Assessment and Outlook

    The overall picture of the US economy had been one of slow recovery from the Great Recession with a clearly documented contraction during the winter, as reflected in Q1 GDP. Data for Q2 and Q3 supported the consensus view that severe winter weather was responsible for the Q1 contraction — that it was not the beginnings of a business cycle decline. However, the average of these indicators in recent months suggests that, despite the Q2 rebound in GDP, the economy remains near stall…
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    ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

    The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.7, down from the previous week’s 131.8. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is at -1.2, down from -0.1 the previous week.

    ECRI has been at the center of a prolonged controversy since publicizing its recession call on September 30, 2011. The company had made the announcement to its private clients on September 21st. ECRI’s cofounder and spokesman, Lakshman Achuthan, subsequently forecast that the recession would begin in Q1 2012, or Q2 at the latest. He later identified mid-2012 as the start of the recession. Over the past two years he has been a frequent guest on the likes of CNBC and Bloomberg TV. In recent months he has adjusted the company’s position, identifying the recession’s “epicenter” as the half-year spanning Q4 2012 and Q1 2013.

    Markets Pricing in More Fed Rate Hike Delay

    ECRI’s latest topical focus is on the markets’ Fed expectations. Here is the intro to their tease for non-subscribers:

    While financial markets have settled down following the turbulence of last week, market expectations of inflation and the timing of the Fed rate hike have shifted dramatically. Indeed, since July, inflation expectations for one year and five years from now have dropped sharply, with both falling below the Fed’s 2% target – consistent with the structural “lowflation” that is a natural consequence of the “yo-yo years.” [source]

    The ECRI Indicator Year-over-Year

    Below is a chart of ECRI’s data that illustrates why the company’s published proprietary indicator has lost credibility as a recession indicator. It’s the smoothed year-over-year percent change since 2000 of their weekly leading index. I’ve highlighted the 2011 date of ECRI’s original recession call and the hypothetical July 2012 business cycle peak, which the company previously claimed was the start of a recession. I’ve update the chart to include the “epicenter” (Achuthan’s terminology) of the hypothetical recession.

    Click to View
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    As for the disconnect between the stock market and the mid-2012 recession start date, Achuthan has repeatedly pointed out that the market can rise during recessions. See for example the 2:05 minute point in the November 4th video. The next chart gives…
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    Michigan Consumer Sentiment at a Seven-Year High

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

    The Final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for October came in at 86.9, a small rise from the September Final of 86.4. This is the highest level since July 2007, over seven years ago. Today’s number came in slightly above the Investing.com forecast of 86.4.

    See the chart below for a long-term perspective on this widely watched indicator. I’ve highlighted recessions and included real GDP to help evaluate the correlation between the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and the broader economy.

    Click to View
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    To put today’s report into the larger historical context since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is now 2 percent above the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 3 percent above the geometric mean. The current index level is at the 47th percentile of the 442 monthly data points in this series.

    The Michigan average since its inception is 85.1. During non-recessionary years the average is 87.4. The average during the five recessions is 69.3. So the latest sentiment number puts us 17.6 points above the average recession mindset and 0.5 points below the non-recession average.

    Note that this indicator is somewhat volatile with a 3.1 point absolute average monthly change. The latest month is a somewhat smaller 2.3 point change. For a visual sense of the volatility, here is a chart with the monthly data and a three-month moving average.

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    For the sake of comparison, here is a chart of the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index (monthly update here). The Conference Board Index is the more volatile of the two, but the broad pattern and general trends have been remarkably similar to the Michigan Index.

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    And finally, the prevailing mood of the Michigan survey is also similar to the mood of small business owners, as captured by the NFIB Business Optimism Index (monthly update here).

    Click to View
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    The general trend in the Michigan Sentiment Index since the Financial Crisis lows has been one of slow improvement. But we are now at a post-recession high.





    The Latest on Real Disposable Income Per Capita

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

    With this morning’s release of the September Personal Incomes and Outlays we can now take a closer look at “Real” Disposable Personal Income Per Capita.

    The first chart shows both the nominal per capita disposable income and the real (inflation-adjusted) equivalent since 2000. This indicator was significantly disrupted by the bizarre but predictable oscillation caused by 2012 year-end tax strategies in expectation of tax hikes in 2013.

    The September nominal 0.05% month-over-month change drops to 0.02% when we adjust for inflation. The year-over-year metrics are 3.22% nominal and 1.76% real.

    Click to View
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    The BEA uses the average dollar value in 2009 for inflation adjustment. But the 2009 peg is arbitrary and unintuitive. For a more natural comparison, let’s compare the nominal and real growth in per capita disposable income since 2000. Do you recall what you were doing on New Year’s Eve at the turn of the millennium? Nominal disposable income is up 60.9% since then. But the real purchasing power of those dollars is up only 21.2%.

    Click to View
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    Here is a closer look at the real series since 2007.

    Year-Over-Year DPI Per Capita

    Let’s take one more look at real DPI per capita, this time focusing on the year-over-year percent change since the beginning of this monthly series in 1959. I’ve highlighted the value for the months when recessions start to help us evaluate the recession risk for the current level.

    Click to View
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    Of the eight recessions since 1959, five started with a YoY number higher than the current reading. However, the volatility of Real DPI militates against putting very much emphasis on this metric. I’ve highlighted a number of conspicuous tax planning blips as well as Microsoft’s big dividend payout in 2004.

    As I’ve repeatedly remarked, we need this indicator to show continuing improvement in the months ahead.

    The Consumption versus Savings Conflict

    The US is a consumer-driven economy, as is evident from the percent share of GDP held by Personal Consumption Expenditures.


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    PCE Price Index: Headline and Core Virtually Unchanged, Remain Below Target

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

    The Personal Income and Outlays report for September was published this morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    The latest Headline PCE price index year-over-year (YoY) rate of 1.43%, virtually unchanged from the previous month’s 1.45%. The Core PCE index of 1.48% is likewise virtually unchanged from the previous month’s 1.46% YoY.

    As I’ve routinely observed, the general disinflationary trend in core PCE (the blue line in the charts below) must be perplexing to the Fed. After years of ZIRP and waves of QE, this closely watched indicator consistently moved in the wrong direction. Since April of last year Core PCE had hovered in a narrow YoY range of 1.23% to 1.35%. The five most recent months have lifted the range slightly to 1.44% to 1.65%, but at this point we don’t yet see evidence of an upward trend.

    The adjacent thumbnail gives us a close-up of the trend in YoY Core PCE since January 2012. I’ve highlighted the 12 months when Core PCE hovered in a narrow range around its interim low.

    The first chart below shows the monthly year-over-year change in the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index since 2000. I’ve also included an overlay of the Core PCE (less Food and Energy) price index, which is Fed’s preferred indicator for gauging inflation. I’ve highlighted 2 to 2.5 percent range. Two percent had generally been understood to be the Fed’s target for core inflation. However, the December 2012 FOMC meeting raised the inflation ceiling to 2.5% for the next year or two while their accommodative measures (low FFR and quantitative easing) are in place.

    Click to View
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    I’ve calculated the index data to two decimal points to highlight the change more accurately. It may seem trivial to focus such detail on numbers that will be revised again next month (the three previous months are subject to revision and the annual revision reaches back three years). But core PCE is such a key measure of inflation for the Federal Reserve that precision seems warranted.

    For a long-term perspective, here are the same two metrics spanning five decades.

    Click to View
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    Note: I use the data from Table 9 in the full release and tables available here.





    Moving Averages: Month-End Preview

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

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

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


    Month-End Preview Note: My inclusion of the S&P 500 index updates is intended to illustrate a popular moving moving-average timing strategy. The index signals also give a general sense of how US equities are behaving. However, for followers of a moving average strategy, the general practice is to make buy/sell decisions on the signals for each specific investment, not based on a broad index. Even if you’re investing in a fund that tracks the S&P 500 (e.g., Vanguard’s VFINX or the SPY ETF) the moving average signals for the funds will occasionally differ from the underlying index because of dividend reinvestment, which is not factored into the index closes.

    The Ivy Portfolio

    The second of the three adjacent tables previews the 10-month SMA timing signals for the five asset classes highlighted in The Ivy Portfolio.

    I’ve also included (third table) the 12-month SMA timing signals for the Ivy ETFs in response to the many requests I’ve received to include this slightly longer timeframe.


    After the end-of-month market close, I’ll update the monthly moving average feature with charts to illustrate.

    The bottom line, as I’ve pointed out earlier, is that these moving-average signals have a good track record for long-term gains while avoiding major losses. They’re not fool-proof, but they essentially dodged the 2007-2009 bear and have captured significant gains since the initial buy signals after the March 2009 low.





    Nasdaq 100 Ready to Break?

    Courtesy of Declan.

    All of the indices are threatening a break to new highs, but the first to do so may be the Nasdaq 100.  The last three days have shaped a small handle, defended by the breakout gap for support, and lurking very close to the breakout threshold at 4,118. Technicals are net bullish although it’s underperforming relative to the Russell 2000, which may delay money flow into the index.


    The caveat for the Nasdaq 100 is the action of resistance in the Semiconductor index. The former trendline turned resistance, in combination with the 50-day MA (and today’s modest sell off), suggests bears may not yet be done. I also don’t like the underperformance of this index relative to the Nasdaq 100 dating back to July; today’s selling delaying what had looked like a bullish relative shift in favour of semiconductors (which would ultimately feed back into Nasdaq 100 strength).

    The lead index (for bulls) is the Russell 2000. The brief stall at the 200-day MA looks to have passed, although a body of work is required before it can challenge summer highs. However, momentum is with bulls after posting an oversold extreme earlier this month.

    Also doing well is the Dow. It posted a big gain, and is working on the former ‘bull trap’ / ‘evening star’ from September. It even banked an accumulation day.

    For Friday, bulls have their choice of indices to work with: Russell 2000, Nasdaq 100 and Dow each have their merits.  If there is a weak start, then the Semiconductor Index is the index most likely to suffer most.

    Accepting KIVA gift certificates to help support the work on this blog. All certificates gifted are converted into loans for those who need the help more.





     

    Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

    "Hello PSW Members –

    This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

    Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

    http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

    Thank you for you time!

     
     

    Zero Hedge

    Meanwhile, The French Are Revolting...

    Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

    Submitted by Tyler Durden.

    Amid record unemployment, even recorder youth unemployment, and politicians willingly breaking EU treaties (with apparently no consequences), it appears - just as in the US - police brutality in France was the straw that broke 'Le Camel's back. As RT reports, another anti-police brutality protest turned violent in the French city of Rennes, with masked youths and police engaging in running street battles. The unrest follows the death of a young environmental activist earlier this week. Overnight Thursday, protesters in the northwestern city lobbed flairs at police and flipped over cars, some of which they set ablaze. Police respond...



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    Chart School

    Moving Averages: Month-End Update

    Courtesy of Doug Short.

    Valid until the market close on November 28, 2014

    The S&P 500 closed September with a monthly gain of 2.32%. All three S&P 500 MAs and three of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested".

    The Ivy Portfolio

    The table below shows the current 10-month simple moving average (SMA) signal for each of the five ETFs featured in The Ivy Portfolio. I've also included a table of 12-month SMAs for the same ETFs for this popular alternative strategy.

    For a facinating analysis of the Ivy Portfolio strategy, see this article by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick and Rodrigo Gordillo:

    • ...


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    Phil's Favorites

    Could Non-Citizens Determine the Outcome of the Midterm Elections?

    Courtesy of Mish.

    Here's the question of the day: Could Non-Citizens Determine the Outcome of the Midterm Elections?

    Some elections, especially for Senate are so close, the unfortunate answer is "yes" as the following video insight from Insight from the Libre Institute explains.

    Mike "Mish" Shedlock
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com


    More from Mish Here

     

    ...

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    Market Shadows

    When one door closes...

    Predictions that the US equity market would collapse at the end of QE have so far been wrong (and in a very painful way if you shorted the market based on the Fed's actions alone). The end-of-the-world-QE bears failed to factor in another surprise move by the Bank of Japan. The BOJ announced its own QE program today -- it is donating $124Bn ($80 trillion yen) to the market-propping cause. It plans to triple the amount of Japanese ETFs and REITs it buys on the open market.

    As  at Business Insider wrote on Oct. 26, If You Missed The Rally, Then You Just Made The Most Classic Mistake In Investing. Since then, the market continues higher...

    ...

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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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    Sabrient

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

    Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

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

    In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then o...



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    OpTrader

    Swing trading portfolio - week of October 27th, 2014

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

     

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

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

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

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



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    Stock World Weekly

    Stock World Weekly

    Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

    Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

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

     

    #455292918 / gettyimages.com

     

    ...

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    Option Review

    LUV Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

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



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    Digital Currencies

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

    Courtesy of John Rubino.

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

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



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    Pharmboy

    Biotechs & Bubbles

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

    Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

    First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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    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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    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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