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Archive for the ‘Chart School’ Category

New Jobless Claims Come in a Bit Higher Than Forecast

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending November 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 291,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 3,000 from 290,000 to 293,000. The 4-week moving average was 287,500, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 285,000 to 285,750.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. [See full report]

Today’s seasonally adjusted number at 291K was above the forecast of 286K and was looking for 285K. The four-week moving average at 287.5K is now 8.5K above its 14-year interim low set two weeks ago.

Here is a close look at the data over the past few years (with a callout for the past year), which gives a clearer sense of the overall trend in relation to the last recession and the volatility in recent months.

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As we can see, there’s a good bit of volatility in this indicator, which is why the 4-week moving average (the highlighted number) is a more useful number than the weekly data. Here is the complete data series.

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Occasionally I see articles critical of seasonal adjustment, especially when the non-adjusted number better suits the author’s bias. But a comparison of these two charts clearly shows extreme volatility of the non-adjusted data, and the 4-week MA gives an indication of the recurring pattern of seasonal change in the second chart (note, for example, those regular January spikes).

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Because of the extreme volatility of the non-adjusted weekly data, a 52-week moving average gives a better sense of the secular trends. I’ve added a linear regression through the data. We can see that this metric continued to fall below the long-term trend stretching back to 1968.

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Headline Consumer Price Index Remained Unchanged in October

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the October CPI data this morning. Year-over-year unadjusted Headline CPI came in at 1.66% (rounded to 1.7%), unchanged from the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 1.81% (rounded to 1.8%), slightly higher than the previous month’s 1.73% (rounded to 1.7%). The non-seasonally adjusted month-over-month Headline number was down 0.25% (-0.25%), and the Core number was up 0.24%. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the all items index was unchanged.

Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted data monthly data:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Gasoline and other energy indexes declined, offsetting increases in shelter and an array of other indexes to leave the seasonally adjusted all items index unchanged. The gasoline index fell for the fourth month in a row, declining 3.0 percent, and the indexes for natural gas and fuel oil also decreased. The food index rose slightly in October, with major grocery store food groups mixed.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in October. Besides the shelter index, airline fares, household furnishings and operations, medical care, recreation, personal care, tobacco, and new vehicles were among the indexes that increased. The indexes for used cars and trucks and for apparel declined in October.

The all items index increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as for the 12 months ending September. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.8 percent over the span, and the food index rose 3.1 percent. In contrast, the energy index declined 1.6 percent over the last 12 months.   [More…] was looking for no change inHeadline CPI and a 0.2% increase for Core CPI. Year-over-year forecasts were 1.7% for both Headline and 1.8% for Core.

The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century. I’ve highlighted 2 to 2.5 percent range, which the Federal Reserve currently targets for the CPI’s…
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Understanding Investor Anxiety: A Perspective on Diversification

Courtesy of Doug Short.

In recent days major US stock indexes have been repeatedly hitting new highs. The S&P 500, for example, closed out October at a record level and since broken the record on eight of the past 12 sessions so far in November. Despite the market success, investor participation has been scarcely exuberant. Volume in the SPY ETF has been running well below its 50-day moving average all month, as this snapshot illustrates.

The steady advance in equities has also been accompanied by a frequent theme in the popular financial press: Anxiety about a major market selloff. The resiliency of the current market anxiety is, I think, largely attributable to memories of the uniform behavior of virtually all asset classes during the Financial Crisis.

Diversification is a cornerstone of Modern Portfolio Theory and risk management. We spread our investments across a range of asset classes, rebalancing periodically, to ensure participation in the upside and reduce exposure to the downside. This is a time-honored strategy that works … most of the time. But during the epic market downturn of the Financial Crisis, equity asset classes essentially marched in step to the same dismal drumbeat.

A few years ago at conference of the Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA) I made a presentation that included some charts on diversification. My theme was Diversification Works! … Until It Doesn’t.

I’ve now created some updated versions. The first uses ten Vanguard mutual funds to illustrate the cumulative percent change in a wide range of asset classes from the turn of the century to the market peak in 2007.

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Here are the same funds over the 17-month timeframe from October 9, 2007 to March 9 2009. Aside from the Total Bond Market fund, diversification didn’t fare very well. The performance for the other nine asset classes sold off in relative unison, untimely losing between 54.9%% and 69.3%.

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After March 2009, the performance spread has returned to something resembling what we saw before the Financial Crisis.

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Diversification and rebalancing remains a cornerstone of portfolio management. But for many market participants, the memory of the uniform plunge in equity classes during the Financial Crises to some extent acts as a restraint to irrational exuberance.

Producer Price Index: A Small Bounce, But Inflation Remains Tame

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Today’s release of the October Producer Price Index (PPI) for Final Demand came in at 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted. That’s a bounce from the previous month’s -0.1% decline, which was first monthly decline since August of last year. Core Final Demand (less food and energy) was up 0.4% from last month.

The year-over-year change in Final Demand is up 1.5%, a slight decline from last month’s YoY of 1.6%.

Here is the essence of the news release on Finished Goods:

The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.2 percent in October, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This increase followed a 0.1-percent decline in September and no change in August. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand advanced 1.5 percent for the 12 months ended in October, the smallest 12-month increase since a 1.2-percent rise in February 2014….

In October, the 0.2-percent rise in final demand prices can be traced to the index for final demand services, which advanced 0.5 percent. In contrast, prices for final demand goods moved down 0.4 percent. More…

Finished Goods: Headline and Core

The BLS shifted its focus to its new “Final Demand” series earlier this year. I fully support this shift. However, the data for these series are only constructed back to November 2009 for Headline and April 2010 for Core. Since my focus is on longer term trends, I continue to track the legacy Producer Price Index for Finished Goods, which the BLS also includes in their monthly updates.

The Headline Finished Goods for October dropped 0.30% MoM and is up 1.67% YoY, down from last month’s 2.21% YoY. Core Finished Goods rose 0.05% MoM (which the BLS rounds to 0.1%) and is up 2.10% YoY.

Now let’s visualize the numbers with an overlay of the Headline and Core (ex food and energy) PPI for finished goods since 2000, seasonally adjusted. As we can see, the YoY trend in Core PPI (the blue line) declined significantly during 2009 and stabilized in 2010, increased in 2011 and then eased during 2012 and most of 2013, falling as low as 1.15% last August. It shot up in the early winter near the 2% benchmark and has hovered below that level for the past six months.

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Empire State Manufacturing: Expansion Continues

Courtesy of Doug Short.

This morning we got the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The diffusion index for General Business Conditions continued expanding at a stronger pace from the previous month. The headline number rose 4 points to 10.2, up from 6.2.

The forecast was for a reading of 11.1.

The Empire State Manufacturing Index rates the relative level of general business conditions in New York state. A level above 0.0 indicates improving conditions, below indicates worsening conditions. The reading is compiled from a survey of about 200 manufacturers in New York state.

Here is the opening paragraph from the report.

The November 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity continued to expand for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index climbed four points to 10.2, indicating a pace of growth somewhat faster than last month’s. The new orders index rose eleven points to 9.1, and the shipments index advanced eleven points to 11.8. The index for number of employees edged down to 8.5 but remained positive, indicating that employment levels grew; the average workweek index, by contrast, was negative, pointing to a decline in hours worked. After falling sharply last month, the prices paid index was little changed at 10.6—a sign that input prices had increased only modestly. The prices received index fell to zero, indicating that selling prices were flat. Indexes for the six-month outlook were generally higher this month and conveyed a strong degree of optimism about future business conditions.

Here is a chart illustrating both the General Business Conditions and Future General Business Conditions (the outlook six months ahead):

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Click this link to access a PDF set of charts of the individual components over the past 12 months.

Since this survey only goes back to July of 2001, we only have one complete business cycle with which to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator for the broader economy. Following the Great Recession, the index has slipped into contraction multiple times, as the general trend slowed. It had remained in a relatively narrow range over the past year. We saw a strong increase sustained since May of this year. But the…
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World Markets Weekend Update: Japan’s Nikkei Continues to Soar

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The world markets rally accelerated last week with seven of the eight indexes on my watch list post gains. Japan’s Nikkei continued its upward trajectory with a 3.62% advance, its fourth week as the top performer and up 20.4% over that timeframe. China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng both gained over two percent. Germany’s DAX was the negative outlier with a small loss at -0.42%.

China’s Shanghai Composite remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory — the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. The index is down 28.59% from its August 2009 peak. See the table inset (lower right) in the chart below.

Here is a look at 2014 so far.

Here is a table highlighting the year-to-date index performance, sorted from high to low, along with the 2014 interim highs for the eight indexes. At this point, five of the eight are positive YTD, unchanged from last week, with the three European indexes in the red.

India’s SENSEX and the US’s S&P 500 both ended the week with record highs, and the Japan’s Nikkei is at an interim high off its 2009 low.

A Closer Look at the Last Four Weeks

The tables below provide a concise overview of performance comparisons over the past four weeks for these eight major indexes. I’ve also included the average for each week so that we can evaluate the performance of a specific index relative to the overall mean and better understand weekly volatility. The colors for each index name help us visualize the comparative performance over time.

The chart below illustrates the comparative performance of World Markets since March 9, 2009. The start date is arbitrary: The S&P 500, CAC 40 and BSE SENSEX hit their lows on March 9th, the Nikkei 225 on March 10th, the DAX on March 6th, the FTSE on March 3rd, the Shanghai Composite on November 4, 2008, and the Hang Seng even earlier on October 27, 2008. However, by aligning on the same day and measuring the percent change, we get a better sense of the relative performance than if we align the lows.

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A Longer Look Back

Here is the same…
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S&P 500 Snapshot: A Fractional Gain for Another Record Close

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 traded the day in a miniature zigzag reminiscent of yesterday’s pattern. The pre-market announcement of an October bounce in Retail Sales had little impact on the early trade, and the strong preliminary Consumer Sentiment report for November, the highest since July 2007, was only good for a 15 minute three-point rally that quickly evaporated. The index hit its -0.20% intraday low around 2 PM and then slowly rose to its 0.02% closing gain … enough for another record high, the seventh record close in eleven sessions.

The yield on the 10-year Note ended the day at 2.32% down 3 bps from yesterday’s close and unchanged from last Friday.

Here is a 15-minute chart of the week.

Here is a weekly chart of the SPY ETF, which gives a better sense of investor participation, which has declined as the market has risen following the October mini-selloff.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

How close was the October dip 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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Census Bureau Revisions to Retail Sales

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Earlier today I posted my monthly update on Retail Sales. Those of us who routinely track this series know that the Advance Estimate will be followed by a second estimate next month and a third estimate the month after. How big are those revisions? Are they big enough to warrant skepticism about the Advance Estimate?

See for yourself. Here is a visualization of the cumulative change from the first to third estimates from January 2007 through August 2014, the most recent month for which we have all three data points.

As we see, revisions abound, and they move in either direction, although mostly downward during the last recession. For a better sense of the magnitude of the revisions, the next chart shows the percent change from the first (advance estimate) to third (second revision).

During this timeframe there were 43 upward revisions and 49 downward revisions. The absolute mean (average) revision was 0.35%, which comprises a 0.28% average for the upward adjustments and -0.41% for the downward adjustments.

The Census Bureau’s latest Advance Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services reported a 0.0% month-over-month change. The CB adds a parenthetical (±0.5%)* for that MoM advance estimate. The asterisk points to the following explanation:

* The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different than zero. [PDF source]

A few months ago Bob Bronson of Bronson Capital Markets Research has shared some interesting observations:

Note that when revisions are as much as +0.5%, as they were in the June data, they have always been revised lower the next month, and four of the last seven times those follow-on revisions were negative, eliminating (on average) the previous upward revision. The Census Bureau’s ARIMA X-13 seasonal adjustment formula has the most difficulty with highly seasonal data like retail sales.

The Ultimate Direction of Revisions

Actually there’s much more to the Census Bureau’s revisions than the change from the advance to second estimates. We get annual revisions of the series as well. The longer term pattern of revision is quite volatile, but if we study the percent change from the advance estimate to latest revision, it is consistently downward.

The message is clear: Don’t take the advance estimate of retail sales, or the initial revisions, too seriously.

Michigan Consumer Sentiment Hits Another Post-Recession High

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment for November came in at 89.4, up from the October Final of 86.9. This is another post-recession high and the highest level since July 2007, over seven years ago. Today’s number came in above the forecast of 87.5.

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.

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To put today’s report into the larger historical context since its beginning in 1978, consumer sentiment is now 5 percent above the average reading (arithmetic mean) and 6 percent above the geometric mean. The current index level is at the 54th percentile of the 443 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 20.1 points above the average recession mindset and 2.0 points above 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 close to the average with its 2.9 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).

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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 another post-recession high.

October Retail Sales: A Welcome Bounce from the September Dip

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that sales in October came in at 0.3% (0.34% at two decimals) month-over-month, up from -0.3% in September. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) were at 0.3%, up from -0.02% (at two decimals) in September.

Today’s numbers came in above the forecast of 0.2% for both Headline and Core Sales.

The two charts below are log-scale snapshots of retail sales since the early 1990s. Both include an inset to show the trend over the past 12 months. The one on the left illustrates the “Headline” number. On the right is the “Core” version, which excludes motor vehicles and parts (commonly referred to as “ex autos”). Click on either thumbnail for a larger version.

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The year-over-year percent change provides a better idea of trends. Here is the headline series.

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Here is the year-over-year version of Core Retail Sales.

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Retail Sales: “Control” Purchases

The next chart illustrates retail sales “Control” purchases, which is an even more “Core” view of retail sales. This series excludes Motor Vehicles & Parts, Gasoline, Building Materials as well as Food Services & Drinking Places. I’ve highlighted the values at the start of the two recessions since the inception of this series in the early 1990s.

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For a better sense of the reduced volatility of the “Control” series, here is a YoY overlay with the headline retail sales.

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Real Retail Sales: A Preliminary Estimate

After the Consumer Price Index for October is released next week, we’ll have a more detailed look at retail sales adjusted both for inflation and population growth. A preliminary estimate of real sales, based on an extrapolation for the seasonally adjusted CPI, is a month-over-month rise of 0.2%, which would put the YoY growth in the vicinity of 2.4%.

Bottom Line: The Advance Retail Sales for October, both headline and core, were above most economists’ expectations, bouncing back from the September dip. However, the Advance numbers are subject to substantial revisions, as I’ve illustrated here.


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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Zero Hedge

NATO Jets Surrounding Russia: Before And After

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Based on the following "before" and "after" the Ukraine crisis pictures of NATO warplanes located just off the Russian border...



... one can almost understand why Victoria Nuland was so eager to tell the EU to "fuck off" in her successful attemp to foment Ukraine unrest leading to the overthrow of ex-president Yanukovich, and destabilize the region, giving NATO a pretext for a major arms build up on the other side of the R...

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Chart School

World Markets Weekend Update: The Rally Continues

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The world market rally continued last week with six of the eight indexes on my watch list posting gains. Europe led the pack, with Germany's DAX up 5.18%, France's CAC 40 up 3.44% and the UK up 1.45%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was the big loser with its -2.70% loss. The other negative performer was Japan's Nikkei 225. It's fractional -0.76% decline snapped not only a four-week string of gains, but also four weeks as the top performer.

China's Shanghai Composite remains the only index on the watch list in bear territory -- the traditional designation for a 20% decline from an interim high. The index is down 28.36% from its August 2009 peak. See the table inset (lower right) in the chart below.


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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 Happy Thanksgiving Edition of Stock World Weekly!

Click on this link and sign in with your PSW user name and password. 

Picture via Pixabay.


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Phil's Favorites

"Eagle Cam": Aerial View of London via Video Camera Attached to an Eagle

Courtesy of Mish.

An eagle got an impressive birds-eye-view of London this week, flying over the city's most iconic landmarks using a Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Cam attached to its back.

Link if video does not play: Action Cam Footage Shows Eagle Flying Over City of London

The BBC reports Eagle With Camera Flies Over London
An eagle with a camera attached has flown across London and offered a new perspective on some of the capital's best-known landmarks.

The footage was recorded over a week by an Imperial Eagle called Darchan.

The animal has been brought to London from the French Alps by The Freedom Project to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Union for Conservation of ...

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Market Shadows

Official Moves in the Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio

By Ilene 

I officially bought 250 shares of EZCH at $18.76 and sold 300 shares of IGT at $17.09 in Market Shadows' Virtual Portfolio yesterday (Fri. 11-21).

Click here for Thursday's post where I was thinking about buying EZCH. After further reading, I decided to add it to the virtual portfolio and to sell IGT and several other stocks, which we'll be saying goodbye to next week.


1. th...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 17th, 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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Sector Detector: Investors make up new rules for their new market paradigm

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Investors in U.S. equities seem to have embraced a new market paradigm in which upside spikes come more swiftly than the downside selloffs. Remember when it used to be the other way around? When fear was stronger than greed? The market is consolidating its gains off the early-October V-bottom reversal, and no one seems to be in any hurry to unload shares this time around, with the holidays rapidly approaching and all. After all, there are bright blue skies directly overhead giving hope and respite from the early freeze blanketing the country.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer...

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Digital Currencies

Ukraine Central Bank Bans Bitcoin "To Protect Citizens" From Financing Terrorism

If you would have supposed that Ukraine had enough problems to make banning bitcoins a backburner issue, you'd have been wrong. The rationale, "to protect consumers' rights" makes little to no sense... The other one, "to keep money in the country" makes more sense. 

Ukraine Central Bank Bans Bitcoin "To Protect Citizens" From Financing Terrorism

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The Hryvnia has collapsed to new record lows near 15/USD this morning. The Central Bank and bankers "agreed to keep UAH at 15-16/USD" but are &qu...

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Option Review

Yamana Gold call options sink

Yamana Gold call options sink

By Andrew Wilkinson at Interactive Brokers

A four-year low for the spot price of gold has had a devastating impact on Yamana Gold (Ticker: AUY), with shares in the name down at the lowest price in six years. Some option traders were especially keen to sell premium and appear to see few signs of a lasting rebound within the next five months. The price of gold suffered again Wednesday as the dollar strengthened and stock prices advanced. The post price of gold fell to $1145 adding further pain to share prices of gold miners. Shares in Yamana Gold tumbled to $3.62 and the lowest price since 2008 as call option sellers used the April expiration contract to write premium at the $5.00 strike. That strike is now 38% above the price of the stock. Premium writers took in around 16-cents per contract o...

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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 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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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...

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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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