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Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans

Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans

Courtesy of Robert Reich

I was in Seattle, Washington, recently, to congratulate union and community organizers who helped Seattle enact the first $15 per hour minimum wage in the country.

Other cities and states should follow Seattle’s example.

Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the hike won’t cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.

Conservatives believe the economy functions better if the rich have more money and everyone else has less. But they’re wrong. It’s just the opposite. 

The real job creators are not CEOs or corporations or wealthy investors. The job creators are members of America’s vast middle class and the poor, whose purchases cause businesses to expand and invest. 

America’s wealthy are richer than they’ve ever been. Big corporations are sitting on more cash they know what to do with. Corporate profits are at record levels. CEO pay continues to soar.

But the wealthy aren’t investing in new companies. Between 1980 and 2014, the rate of new business formation in the United States dropped by half, according to a Brookings study released in May.

Corporations aren’t expanding production or investing in research and development. Instead, they’re using their money to buy back their shares of stock.

There’s no reason for them to expand or invest if customers aren’t buying.

Consumer spending has grown more slowly in this recovery than in any previous one because consumers don’t have enough money to buy. 

All the economic gains have been going to the top.

The Commerce Department reported last Friday that the economy grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter of the year.

So what? The median household’s income continues to drop.

Median household income is now 8 percent below what it was in 2007, adjusted for inflation. It’s 11 percent below its level in 2000.

It used to be that economic expansions improved the incomes of the bottom 90 percent more than the top 10 percent.

But starting


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Congressman Rangel Calls for War Tax, Draft; Why Not Bomb the Entire Muslim World? Draft Worse Than Slavery

Today's WTF? Can you New Yorker's vote Mr. Rangel out of office and ship him to Iraq?

Courtesy of Mish.

In a Time Magazine Op-Ed, Congressman Charles Rangel (Democrat from New York), a combat veteran says It’s Time for a War Tax and a Reinstated Draft.

While I am optimistic about our Commander-in-Chief’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, I voted against the Continuing Appropriations Resolution 2015 that would grant the President the authority to provide funds to train and arm Syrian rebels against the enemy. I opposed the amendment because I strongly believe amassing additional debt to go to war should involve all of America debating the matter. That is why I have called for levying a war tax in addition to bringing back the military draft.

Both the war surcharge and conscription will give everyone in America a real stake in any decision on going to war, and compel the public to think twice before they make a commitment to send their loved ones into harm’s way.

For a decade I have been calling for the reinstatement of the draft because our military personnel and their families bear a tremendous cost each time we send them to fight.

Draft Worse Than Slavery

Slavery is involuntary servitude. Is a draft anything less than slavery?

Actually, it's worse. You take a guy's freedom away, ship him overseas, give him a rifle, and force him to kill other people against whom he has no direct grievance, when the best such a person can ever hope for is to come back in one piece, years later, possibly with huge psychological stress after needless killing.

Rangel points out the "tremendous cost each time we send them [US troops] to fight" then proposes the stupidest solution possible, to force everyone to have the same opportunity.

I propose there can be no debate on a draft just as there can be no debate on whether we should revive slave trade from Africa.

Financing Wars

Rather than admit the stupidity of wasting $6 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan and vowing to never do it again, Rangel proposes a War Tax.

The United States has borrowed almost $2


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Another Shoe Drops

Another Shoe Drops

Courtesy of 

mdy

The MidCap 400 index dropped below its 200-day moving average for the first time since November of 2012, almost two full years ago. It only stayed below for two trading sessions at that time and quickly rebounded. But the point is, this is a large swathe of the market joining the Russell 2000 into a downtrend. I’m harping on the separation between the S&P 500 (or, should I say, the S&P 100?) because I think this is important.

I just don’t know how important, or for how long. Resolution can occur in either direction.

Read Also:

Yeah I said it. (TRB)





On Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg Was Right

This is why Ruth Ginsburg is also right that she can't retire yet…

Possible solution: Congress adds to the ACA a provision that states there are no exemptions, as with taxes--we cannot get out of taxes based on religious beliefs. 

On Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg Was Right

By 

The great Oliver Wendell Holmes once observed that important Supreme Court decisions “exercise a kind of hydraulic effect.” Even if the authors of such decisions assert that their rulings will have limited impact, these cases invariably have a profound influence. So it has been with Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which is less than six months old.

In Hobby Lobby, a narrow five-to-four majority of the Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 gave the proprietors of a chain of retail craft stores the right to exempt themselves from certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the A.C.A. requires firms with more than fifty employees to provide insurance that includes birth-control coverage, or else pay a fine. There was an exemption already for religious institutions. Hobby Lobby, a closely held corporation, is a secular, for-profit business, but the Court held that because the owners of Hobby Lobby held a sincere religious belief that certain forms of birth control caused abortions, they could deny employer-paid insurance coverage for them. Justice Samuel Alito insisted, in his opinion for the Court, that his decision would be very limited in its effect. Responding to the dissenting opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who called it “a decision of startling breadth,” Alito wrote, “Our holding is very specific. We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can ‘opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.’ ” Ginsburg, though, wondered where the guidance was for the lower courts when faced with similar claims from employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others).

Keep reading: On Hobby Lobby, Ginsburg Was Right – The New Yorker.

CREDIT: PHOTOGRAPH BY MARK WILSON/GETTY

 





The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

Better than a Bitcoin? The Mexican Libertad is a real coin made out of silver or gold whose value is based on the price of silver or gold. It's tangible, like our coins and paper money, but the value is pegged to its weight in previous metal. 

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

By Jeff Thomas of The International Man

The Libertad is a Mexican coin that was first issued in 1981 in .999 fine gold and then in silver in 1982. Beginning in 1991, the Libertades became the only coins in the world that were issued in the convenient sizes of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce—again, in both gold and silver. This made them very practical if they were to be used as currency.

But of course, gold and silver coinage has traditionally had a bit of a problem when either inflation or deflation is the norm in the world: a denominated face value. A century ago, a one-ounce US Liberty gold coin had a face value of twenty dollars. Today, its scrap value alone is nearly 65 times that amount. So, as the value of precious metals changes from day to day, the face value of the coin becomes meaningless.

The Perfect Coin

However, the Libertad, unlike most gold and silver coinage in the world, does not show a face value; it shows only a weight. It can therefore change in value daily, assuming that the Mexican government were to also create a standard by which the Libertad prices could be calculated each day as the prices of gold and silver fluctuate.

In 2003, the Mexican government became worried that their central bank, the Banco de México, held reserves of some 50 billion US dollars. President Fox stated, “We really don’t know what to do with them, they are so large.” Today, the reserves are more than twice as high. And it would be safe to say that, much like the rest of the world, Mexico worries about the level of US debt and the likelihood of a dollar crash that could wipe out the value of Mexico’s dollar holdings.

So, Mexico eventually began to increase the issuance of silver coins. The coins are put…
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Four Other Lawyer Whistleblowers are Essential at the Carmen Segarra Senate Witness Table

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Carmen Segarra Photo from Public Radio's "This American Life"

 

Carmen Segarra Photo from Public Radio’s “This American Life”

Wall Street’s crime spree has been coming at the public for the past six years like a geyser spewing from a broken water main. It’s been tough for the public to keep tract of the twists and turns, and equally so for Congress.

What has been lost in all the media frenzy over the tapes released by Carmen Segarra, an attorney and bank examiner at the New York Fed who was fired for wanting to hold Goldman Sachs accountable, according to her lawsuit, is that four other regulatory lawyers have stepped forward from 2006 to earlier this year to report that their Wall Street regulator has been captured. In the case of those four, the captured regulator is the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When you have five Wall Street insiders with law degrees telling you that Wall Street regulators are not upholding the laws they are mandated to enforce while the nation is still struggling to recover from an epic financial crash this corrupt cronyism produced just six years ago, it’s time to allow the public to hear directly from all of these voices at one Senate witness table.

James A. Kidney, Former SEC Trial Attorney

 

James A. Kidney, Former SEC Trial Attorney

 

On March 27 of this year, a 28-year legal veteran at the SEC, James Kidney, used the occasion of his retirement party to deliver a blistering assessment of the regulatory capture at this key Wall Street watchdog. Kidney castigated upper management at the SEC for policing “the broken windows on the street level” while ignoring the “penthouse floors.” Kidney further noted that “On the rare occasions when Enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement – risky enforcement – is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”

Continue here

 





Everything You Need to Know About the S&P Until Christmas

Everything You Need to Know About the S&P Until Christmas

By Andrey Dashkov

When I need to clear my mind, I put on my beat-up Saucony sneakers and drive to nearby Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, British Columbia. After a couple of miles, though, as my body gets into a rhythm, my mind wanders back to the thought that occupies it for hours each day: where will this market go next?

And I’ve thought a lot about what went on this summer. Since June 1:

•S&P 500 is up 2.7%, having set a new record high in September;

•MSCI World index is down 0.5%;

•10-year Treasury yield is down from 2.54% to 2.50%;

•Brent Crude 0il is down 12.8%; and?•Gold is down 2.2%.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the US economy expanded by 4.6% year on year in the second quarter, up sharply from the first quarter’s disappointing 2.1% annual decline. Consensus estimates for annual GDP growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year are about 3%.

The stage seems to be set for the fifth straight year of positive economic growth in the US; however, we’re always cautious about government-supplied information, especially during an election cycle.

At the moment, macro developments seem closely intertwined with stock market performance. Instead of slumping, the market was rather vibrant this summer. The S&P 500 showed resilience, reaching higher highs after a dip in late July and early August that coincided with increased uncertainty surrounding the Ukrainian crisis.

Geopolitics aside, the market was supported by GDP growth, which in turn was underpinned by strong corporate profits and margins. In fact, in the second quarter, the S&P 500 set a new record for profit margins: 9.1%. So much for “sell in May and go away.”

Expanding earnings and margins are great news on the fundamental front. Of the trends we observed this summer, at least two will benefit S&P 500 companies’ profitability. Cheaper oil may keep energy costs down, while consumers are more than willing to swipe their debit and credit cards. In August, consumer confidence jumped to its highest level since October 2007, having increased for four months…
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Ackman, Berkowitz Slammed After Fannie Mae Plunges 60% On Court Ruling

My problem with Ackman and his tactics (for instant the "insider trading" of Allergan shares) is that he uses his wealth (or other people's wealth entrusted to him) to unlevel the playing field. Whether or not he technically violated the letter of the law with his accumulation of Allergan shares, I'm not arguing, but he did violate the spirit of the insider trading laws. And he used his great access to money and lawyers to do it. ~ Ilene 

Ackman, Berkowitz Slammed After Fannie Mae Plunges 60% On Court Ruling

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

It is not a good morning for Bill Ackman's Pershing Square or Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital, or the US government for that matter, of course, which happen to be the three largest investors in Fannie Mae:

 

The reason: FNM stock, which at last check, was crashing by nearly 60%.

 

So why is FNM plunging? Perhaps a better question is why they soared as much as they did in the first place. 

For the answer we go to Bill Ackman and his jolly copycat groupies. As Bloomberg reminds us, Ackman, speaking at the 19th annual Sohn Investment Conference in New York, said Fannie Mae could be worth $23 to $47 a share over time, where he referred to a 110-slide presentation on the mortgage companies. 

More:

Pershing Square has about 11 percent economic exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares based on common stock outstanding, a stake first disclosed last year. While lawmakers are weighing methods to wind down the companies, Ackman said mortgage rates would jump without the government-sponsored enterprises.

There is no viable alternative,” to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Ackman said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Stephanie Ruhle after the Sohn presentation. “Preserving the 30-year prepayable fixed-rate mortgage — it’s like the bedrock of the housing system — is critical.

We think the only way to do it is by preserving Fannie and Freddie.”

$23 to $47… or zero. Because while there may be no viable alternative, Ackman forgot one key thing: his adversary is the US government, a…
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Here’s The Best Explanation We’ve Seen Yet For Why Oil Crashed

Here's The Best Explanation We've Seen Yet For Why Oil Crashed

Courtesy of 

Oil crashed today, with crude oil prices dropping from around $95 to $91 in a matter of minutes.

There were various theories for why, but the most compelling one is that there seems to be a lot more production than estimated.

Morgan Stanley sent out a note this evening from analyst Adam Longson that contains this table of production numbers/estimates for key producers. The key thing is that production is on the rise almost everywhere. Check out Libya, where output for the month surged to its highest level of the year. Everyone was freaking out about Libya earlier in the year, and now it's surging.

Screen Shot 2014 09 30 at 9.21.18 PM

FinViz

So in addition to a strengthening dollar and weakening China (and possibly weakening Russia and Europe) you have some serious production numbers now. It all adds up to a crash.

 





Top Performing Industries For October 1, 2014

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related HL
Top 4 Stocks In The Silver Industry With The Highest Revenue
Events for the Week of Sept. 2-5th

Related RSO
MLV & Co. Sees Muddy Waters, New Headwinds Delay Projected Sustainability Date For Resource Capital
Resource Capital Closes New $44M Loan

At 10:25 am, the Dow tumbled 0.80% to 16,906.75, the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index moved down 0.64% to 1,959.74 and the NASDAQ composite index fell 0.89% to 4,453.60.

The industries that are still afloat in the market today are:

Silver: The industry gained 0.68% by 10:25 am. The top performer in this industry was Hecla Mining Co (NYSE: HL), which gained 3.4%. Hecla Mining agreed to acquire 3,095,238 units of Canamex Resources.

REIT – Residential: This industry moved up 0.51% by 10:25 am.The top performer in this industry was Resource Capital (NYSE: RSO), which gained 1%. Resource Capital’s trailing-twelve-month profit margin is 57.78%.

REIT – Office: This industry jumped 0.42% by 10:25 am. The top performer in this industry was DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE: DFT), which rose 1.3%. DuPont Fabros Technology is expected to release its Q3 operating results on October 30, 2014.

Gold: This industry rose 0.30% by 10:25 am ET. The top performer in this industry was Lake Shore Gold (NYSE: LSG), which gained 4.1%. Gold futures gained 0.35% to trade at $1,215.90 an ounce.

Posted-In: Top Performing IndustriesNews Intraday Update Markets Movers





 

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!

 
 

Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: October Opens with a Selloff

Courtesy of Doug Short.

When it comes to monthly market volatility in the S&P 500, October tops the list, ranging from its 16.3% surge in 1974 to its 21.8% plunge in 1987. How will October 2014 stack up on the volatility scale? Time will tell. But the month certainly opened on a weak note, dropping 1.32%, the sixth largest one-day decline so far this year. The index closed a bit off its -1.52% intraday low at the start of the final hour of trading. The intraday range was at the 96th percentile of the 189 market days of 2014.

The selloff in equities was matched by a rally in Treasuries. The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.42%, down 10 bps from yesterday's close.

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

As we see on the daily chart, today's selling came on increased volume.

...

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Zero Hedge

Deflation As A Precursor Of A Weimar-like Inflation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Sprout Money.

Most people consider deflation the biggest enemy of the gold price, as gold is generally seen as an excellent hedge against inflation. Whilst this is generally correct, it doesn’t mean that a (short) period of deflation is a prelude of a crashing gold price.

As the very low inflation rate (and as there’s even official deflation in Italy and Belgium at this point in time), the European Central Bank is taking additional measures to pump several hundreds of billions of euros into the financial system which should theoretically boost the consumption pattern of the Eurozone citizens. It’s no secret the ECB wants the inflation rate to be ‘close to but not exceeding’ 2%, which is deemed to be the most sustaina...



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Phil's Favorites

Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans

Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans

Courtesy of Robert Reich

I was in Seattle, Washington, recently, to congratulate union and community organizers who helped Seattle enact the first $15 per hour minimum wage in the country.

Other cities and states should follow Seattle’s example.

Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the hike won’t cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.

Conservatives believe the economy functions better if the rich have more money and everyone else has less. But they’re wrong. It’s just the opposite. 

The real job creators are not CEOs or corporations or wealthy investors. The jo...



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Digital Currencies

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

Better than a Bitcoin? The Mexican Libertad is a real coin made out of silver or gold whose value is based on the price of silver or gold. It's tangible, like our coins and paper money, but the value is pegged to its weight in previous metal. 

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

By Jeff Thomas of The International Man

The Libertad is a Mexican coin that was first issued in 1981 in .999 fine gold and then in silver in 1982. Beginning in 1991, the Libertades became the only coins in the world that were issued in the convenient sizes of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce—again, in both gold and silver. This made them very practical if they were to be used as currency.

But of course, gold and silver coin...



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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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Insider Scoop

UPDATE: JMP Securities Downgrades eBay Inc

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related EBAY Bank Innovation: PayPal Won't Be A Partner In Apple Inc. Pay Morning Market Losers EBay, PayPal Splitting Up: What Changed CEO Donahoe's Mind (Fox Business)

eBay Inc (NASDAQ: EBAY) was downgraded by JMP Securities on Wednesday from Market Outperform to Market Perform.

Analysts led by Ronald V. Josey felt the com...



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Option Review

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Stocks fight off predictable weakness, but expect more downside

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.

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



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 29th, 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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Market Shadows

Ebola vs. Us

Ebola vs. Us

By Ilene 

Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.

The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...



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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.

The latest issue of Stock World Weekly is now available. Please sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or simply take a free trial to try out our weekly newsletter. 

...

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Promotions

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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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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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