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Panic in Ukraine Over Food, Empty Stores and Protests; Strategic Food Reserve Empty

Courtesy of Mish.

Here’s a brief update from “Ellen” who lives in Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine.

Hello Mish

We have quite a panic over the collapse of currency. People buy any food product that can be stored. Everyone wants to rid of Hryvnia. We haven’t seen anything like this since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Stores are empty.

It is hard to say what exchange rate this days, somewhere between 34 and 42

There were riots in downtown today. A group of protesters was beaten up by police. They marched through downtown and gave a last warning to government officials. Next time they said they will shoot some officials.

Ukraine is on a brink, but the West is not in a hurry to give us money. Perhaps they want something.  Maybe they know the money will end up with corrupt officials who will steal it.

Either way, the few billion dollars they promised in March won’t save our economy, not after this panic started.

Best wishes
Ellen

Strategic Food Reserve Empty

A curious thing happened today. To quiet protests over food, president Petro Poroshenko ordered the minister of the food reserve to fill the shelves of stores with flour, sugar, canned meat, and buckwheat from the reserve.

Well guess what? There was no food in the reserve. It has either been looted (like the vanishing gold), or it was fed to the army.

Here is a nice translation from Russian by J. Hawk: Ukraine’s Strategic Food Reserve…Runs Out Of Food.

Ukrainian food prices are rising at a rate faster than in the ‘90s. But the Yatsenyuk government is still blaming the situation on the ignorance of the population and speculation by supermarket chains….



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In “Paranormal” Europe, Banks Will Pay You To Borrow, And Charge You To Save

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

A month ago, we wrote about a bizarre situation involving Denmark’s now totally broken monetary system, where as a result of an unprecedented scramble to weaken the currency in order to preserve the peg to the Euro the central bank unleashed a historic rate-cutting scramble, where in 4 consecutive rate cuts its pushed the interest rate to an unheard of -0.75% (while at the same time being the first modern central bank to unveil what we dubbed “Bizarro Backdoor QE“). The culmination of this series of events was the surreal realization by some debtors that the bank would now pay them the interest on their new or existing mortgage.

The insanity was only compounded when one considers that in the vast majority of European countries, depositors are already (or will soon) pay for the “privilege” of providing banks with unsecured funds (in the US, JPM recently also started charging some customers - mostly corporate and hedge funds- for holding their deposits).

In short, this is what Europe has become: savers - those who diligently put away the fruits of their labor – are now forced to pay, using banks as an intermediary, and subsidize the the debtor: spenders, who live beyond their means, and who in increasingly more frequent situations are now paid to take out even more debt! Call it monetary socialism.

Which is probably why with a one month delay, none other than the NYT decided to cover precisely this topic with “In Europe, Bond Yields and Interest Rates Go Through the Looking Glass

Here is the story in a nutshell, shown with pictures so even central bank idiots and other economist PhDs will get it:

A Denmark bank will pay Eva Christiansen, left, $1 a month for taking out a loan. Ida Mottelson’s bank will charge her to hold her money:

The key highlights from the NYT story:

At first, Eva Christiansen barely noticed the number. Her bank called to say that Ms. Christiansen, a 36-year-old entrepreneur here, had been approved for a small business loan. She whooped. She danced. A friend took pictures.

“I think I was so happy I got the loan, I didn’t hear everything he said,” she recalled.

And then she was told again about her interest rate. It was


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The Forgotten War – Understanding The Incredible Debacle Left Behind By NATO In Libya

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths and other human rights abuses have increased severalfold. Rather than helping the United States combat terrorism, as Qaddafi did during his last decade in power, Libya now serves as a safe haven for militias affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The Libya intervention has harmed other U.S. interests as well: undermining nuclear nonproliferation, chilling Russian cooperation at the UN, and fueling Syria’s civil war.?

As bad as Libya’s human rights situation was under Qaddafi, it has gotten worse since NATO ousted him. Immediately after taking power, the rebels perpetrated scores of reprisal killings, in addition to torturing, beating, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of suspected Qaddafi supporters. The rebels also expelled 30,000 mostly black residents from the town of Tawergha and burned or looted their homes and shops, on the grounds that some of them supposedly had been mercenaries. Six months after the war, Human Rights Watch declared that the abuses “appear to be so widespread and systematic that they may amount to crimes against humanity.”?

As a consequence of such pervasive violence, the UN estimates that roughly 400,000 Libyans have fled their homes, a quarter of whom have left the country altogether. ?

– From Alan Kuperman’s excellent Foreign Affairs article: Obama’s Libya Debacle

Regular readers will be somewhat familiar with the total chaos NATO left behind in the wake of its so-called “humanitarian” intervention in Libya, but I doubt many of you are aware of just how enormous the disaster actually has become.

Alan J. Kuperman, an Associate Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote an incredible article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, which is an absolute must read. If the American public and politicians actually wanted to learn from their mistakes and avoid making them in the future, this piece could serve as a comprehensive warning about what not to do.

That said, after reading this article the unfortunate truth becomes apparent; that there are only two logical conclusions that can be reached about…
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Spot The Odd Vol Out

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Despite the well-managed collapse of Equity, FX, and Rates volatility in February, the Oil complex is exhibiting Lehman-Depression-like levels of implied vol still as central planners seem unable (or unwilling) to manipulate the energy complex (rock of inflation and hard place of ‘consumer tax cut’?). As WSJ reports, this volatility is roiling market makers, luring fast-money traders (and algos) and discouraging long-term investors from hedging/positioning. As one asset manager noted, “we like volatile two-way markets… but this is too high for us.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, given the potential difficulty/disagreement of central banks agreeing on how best to manipulate oil prices (and thus lower vol), it is the only (along with The Baltic Dry Index) indicator of the imbalance between excess mal-investment-driven supply and Greenspan’s “Depression-like global demand.”





Shovelin’ Schmitt Against the Tide

Outside the Box: Shovelin’ Schmitt Against the Tide

By John Mauldin

There is an obsession in the marketplace over the date when the Fed will once again begin to raise rates. As if another 25 basis points is going to change the economics on tens of trillions of dollars of investments. But as we reflect on the issue more deeply, it becomes obvious that a minor bump in the fed funds rate will indeed change a great deal of economics all over the world.

No, it won’t do much to the cap rate on your latest real estate purchase, but it is likely to greatly affect the pricing of the currency and commodity markets. And those markets will affect corporate profits, which will affect the stock market. It’s all connected.

And what if the Fed has lost control? What if they are in a no-win situation where raising rates will cause reactions they don’t want, but not raising rates will result in equally unpleasant reactions?

A big part of the problem lies in what we analysts call divergent and convergent monetary policies. With Japan mounting an unprecedented quantitative easing attack on currencies everywhere and Europe getting ready to join in, with smaller nations all over the world lowering their interest rates, if the US were to raise rates, that move would strengthen the dollar even more. But that would mean even more deflation imported into the US.

Today we find that the headline CPI was -0.7% for January, coming on the heels of two previous months at -0.3%. The year-over-year rate slipped into negative numbers for the first time since October 2009, when we were still reeling from a deep recession.

The Fed typically raises rates when it wants to lean into inflation, not when inflation is falling. Yes, I know that Yellen in her testimony and in recent Fed releases has said the Fed is confident that inflation will once again rise to 2%. And that, even if you take out food and energy, inflation has still risen at 1.6% over the last 12 months.

I want to thank Joan McCullough for allowing me to use the essay she wrote yesterday morning, which is the single best description of the dilemma…
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WTF Chart Of The Day – Fantasy February Edition

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Presented with little comment but to say “Thank you Jim…”

His comments, as we noted previously, changed the narrative back to “bad news is good news” and so it goes.

Charts: Bloomberg





“Monetary Policy Is Bankrupt” Dr. Lacy Hunt Warns “Bonds, Not Stocks, Are A Good Economic Indicator”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Erico Matias Tavares via Sinclair & Co.,

In Search of Solutions – An Interview with Dr. Lacy H. Hunt

We had the great pleasure of speaking with Dr. Lacy H. Hunt on the current state of the economy, the limitations of monetary policy and potential solutions to the overindebtedness problem in the main global economies.

Erico Tavares: Dr. Hunt, thank you for being with us today. Your firm manages over $6 billion in treasuries. With the S&P500 at record highs, do you share equity investors’ enthusiasm with the economic prospects of America?

Lacy Hunt: I think the S&P is disconnected from the fundamentals in the US economy. Growth last year was a quarter slower than it was in 2013. We’re on the cusp of either zero inflation or deflation. Corporate profits using the Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers, compiled using data from the Internal Revenue Service, showed year over declines in all the first three quarters of last year (4Q is not yet available). In the third quarter, the after-tax profits adjusted for inventory gains/losses and over/under depreciation were 7% below a year ago.

The standard of living declined again in 2014. And a lot of the growth we had in 2014 really was a massive building of inventories, which is often the case when stock prices are high and top line is decelerating.

The economy enters 2015 in very weak shape. None of the big ticket sectors are doing well. Capital spending is declining, being paced by extreme weakness in oil & gas drilling, which has really been the driving force in manufacturing over the last four years. The best you can say about the housing sector is that it is flat. Not a very important sector.

Vehicle sales are below the best levels of last year and the trade sector is deteriorating. It is very difficult to move the US economy forward by selling things over the counter and through the shopping cart. The US economy is very fragile. And the fragility is highlighted by the fact that firms simply do not have pricing power.

ET: Historically the S&P used to lead the economic cycle by a few months, sometimes there was a lag. In a sense the signaling of equity markets has been muffled by the excitement about central bank
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Homeland Security Shutdown Imminent After House Fails To Pass Stop-Gap Funding Bill

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As we warned was entirely possible, with just hours to go until The Department of Homeland Security runs out of money at midnight:

  • *HOUSE FAILS TO PASS STOPGAP FUNDING FOR U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY

While more votes are expected tonight (and this weekend), as The Guardian reports, a handful of Republicans defied Boehner's leadership and joined with Democrats to defeat the bill.

  • *MCCARTHY SAYS HOUSE COULD HAVE MORE VOTES TODAY, THIS WEEKEND

As The Guardian reports,

John Boehner’s first attempt to keep the Department of Homeland Security from running out of money at midnight failed in the House of Representatives after dozens of Republicans baulked at his plan to fund it for just three more weeks.

The House speaker had been hoping to prevent a shutdown by buying time to negotiate with conservatives in his caucus over their demands that the bill include a measure to prevent Barack Obama from deferring deportation of undocumented immigrants.

But even this three-week stop gap was rejected by 30-odd Republican congressman who defied their party leadership and joined with Democrats to voted against the bill by 224 to 203 just after 5pm. The department runs out of funds at midnight.

Democrats resisted Boehner’s proposal in the hope of forcing House Republicans to follow their colleagues in the Senate and agree a one-year funding bill.

But the impasse now sets up a dangerous game of chicken between the parties as each tries to see who will blink first before current funding for the department expires at midnight.

*  *  *

What happens if we go into the weekend without a DHS deal?  In the event of a shutdown, the vast majority of DHS employees would stay on the job. DHS Secretary Johnson said earlier this week that about 30,000 of DHS's approximately 240,000 employees would be furloughed. The rest would be considered exempt and most would have to work without pay.

For everyone else, a brief shutdown won't have an impact. Should the shutdown drag on, this is how DHS official describe the "state-less" hell that would be unleashed:

FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

  • If a major snowstorm or earthquake or even terrorist attack hits a city or state, DHS won’t be able to send the state federal funds for recovery.
  • State and local authorities


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Senate Passes One-Week DHS-Funding Stop-Gap Bill, House Expected To Pass

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

UPDATE: In late night negotiations, the Senate has managed to buy themselves a week before this whole farce is played over again:

  • SENATE PASSES ONE-WEEK DHS STOPGAP SPENDING BILL

House GOP Aides Expect One-Week Measure To Pass With Democratic Support
 

*  *  *

As we warned was entirely possible, with just hours to go until The Department of Homeland Security runs out of money at midnight:

  • *HOUSE FAILS TO PASS STOPGAP FUNDING FOR U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY

While more votes are expected tonight (and this weekend), as The Guardian reports, a handful of Republicans defied Boehner's leadership and joined with Democrats to defeat the bill.

  • *MCCARTHY SAYS HOUSE COULD HAVE MORE VOTES TODAY, THIS WEEKEND

As The Guardian reports,

John Boehner’s first attempt to keep the Department of Homeland Security from running out of money at midnight failed in the House of Representatives after dozens of Republicans baulked at his plan to fund it for just three more weeks.

The House speaker had been hoping to prevent a shutdown by buying time to negotiate with conservatives in his caucus over their demands that the bill include a measure to prevent Barack Obama from deferring deportation of undocumented immigrants.

But even this three-week stop gap was rejected by 30-odd Republican congressman who defied their party leadership and joined with Democrats to voted against the bill by 224 to 203 just after 5pm. The department runs out of funds at midnight.

Democrats resisted Boehner’s proposal in the hope of forcing House Republicans to follow their colleagues in the Senate and agree a one-year funding bill.

But the impasse now sets up a dangerous game of chicken between the parties as each tries to see who will blink first before current funding for the department expires at midnight.

*  *  *

What happens if we go into the weekend without a DHS deal?  In the event of a shutdown, the vast majority of DHS employees would stay on the job. DHS Secretary Johnson said earlier this week that about 30,000 of DHS's approximately 240,000 employees would be furloughed. The rest would be considered exempt and most would have to work without pay.

For everyone else, a brief shutdown won't have an impact. Should the shutdown drag on, this is…
continue reading





5 Things To Ponder: Weekend Catch Up

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management,

With the "Great Greek Tragedy" now behind the markets, for the time being, all eyes have turned towards the Nasdaq's triumphant march back to 5000.  (The graphics department at CNBC have been working overtime on banners and bugs for when it happens….watch for them.)

However, as I penned earlier this week in "The Run For Nasdaq All-Time Highs":

"The chart below shows the Nasdaq Composite index in both nominal and inflation-adjusted terms using the CPI index as the proxy for the inflation adjustment."

Nasdaq-Comp-Real-Nominal-022415

"As shown, the nominal peak of the Nasdaq Composite occurred in early 2000 at 5132.52. As of yesterday's close of 4960.97, the Nasdaq sits within striking distance of that nominal high.

However, in order for the Nasdaq to enter into the 'real all-time high club' it would currently require an additional gain of 2149.52 points or an additional 43.3% gain from current levels. While that seems like a rather lofty goal, it would only require the top 20 stocks in the composite index to just a little more than double in value from current levels."

The near vertical push in the Nasdaq is eerily reminiscent of the run in the late 90's. While makeup and valuations may be different today, the "risk" remains that prices cannot remain elevated indefinitely.  More importantly, the greater the deviation in price from its long-term moving averages the great the eventual reversion will be. That is just an investment reality. But as I concluded:

"…at the moment, the perceived 'risk' by investors is 'missing the run' rather than the potential destruction of capital if something goes wrong. This is the opposite of what 'risk' management and effective 'risk' controls are about in portfolio management. While this is always the case in late stage bull-markets as exuberance overtakes logic, it is also why investors are damaged so badly during the ensuing mean reversion process.

It is always important to remember that for every bull market there will eventually be a bear. It is the nature of the markets and the reality of full-market cycles."

For now, it is all about the hopes of a cyclical upturn in the Eurozone economy supported by the ECB's QE program starting next month. Market participants have been…
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Zero Hedge

Warren Buffett Releases Monster 43-Page Half-Century Letter To Berkshire Faithful

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The day the Buffet "value-investing" fanatics have been looking forward to all year, almost as much as the annual pilgrimage to Omaha, has finally arrived - hours ago Warren Buffett released his historic, 50th annual letter to shareholders, which is extra special because as the Oracle notes in the foreword, "Fifty years ago, today’s management took charge at Berkshire. For this Golden Anniversary, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger each wrote his views of what has happened at Berkshire during the past 50 years and what each expects during the next 50."

The foreword continues: "Neither changed a word of his commentary after reading what the other had written. Warren’s t...



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Chart School

Moving Averages: Month-End Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Valid until the market close on March 31, 2015

The S&P 500 closed February with a monthly gain of 5.49%, the largest one-month gain in 40 months. All three S&P 500 MAs and four of the five the Ivy Portfolio ETF MAs are signaling "Invested". In the table below, monthly closes that are within 2% of a signal are highlighted in yellow.

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 a...



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Phil's Favorites

Panic in Ukraine Over Food, Empty Stores and Protests; Strategic Food Reserve Empty

Courtesy of Mish.

Here's a brief update from "Ellen" who lives in Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine.
Hello Mish

We have quite a panic over the collapse of currency. People buy any food product that can be stored. Everyone wants to rid of Hryvnia. We haven't seen anything like this since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Stores are empty.

It is hard to say what exchange rate this days, somewhere between 34 and 42

There were riots in downtown today. A group of protesters was beaten up by police. They marched through downtown and gave a last warning to government officials. Next time they said they will shoot some officials.

Ukraine is on a brink, but the West is not in a hurry to give us money. Perhaps they want something.  Maybe they know the money will end up with corrupt officials who will steal it.

Eith...



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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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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: Coal

Kimble Charts: Coal

By Ilene 

Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.

Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 23rd, 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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Sector rankings stay neutral with few bullish catalysts on horizon

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...



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Digital Currencies

MyCoin Exchange Disappears with Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim

Follow up from yesterday's Just the latest Bitcoin scam.

Hong Kong's MyCoin Disappears With Up To $387 Million, Reports Claim By  

Reports are emerging from Hong Kong that local bitcoin exchange MyCoin has shut its doors, taking with it possibly as much as HK$3bn ($386.9m) in investor funds.

If true, the supposed losses are a staggering amount, although this estimate is based on the company's own earlier claims that it served 3,000 clients who had invested HK$1m ($129,000) each.

...



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Pharmboy

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 boys...it 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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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 this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...



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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 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!




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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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