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6 Marijuana Bills In Congress Fail To Solve The 'Single Most Important' Problem

Courtesy of Benzinga.

6 Marijuana Bills In Congress Fail To Solve The 'Single Most Important' Problem

Analysts at Chardan Capital Markets recently took a look at the six bills related to marijuana that are working their way through Congress.

Chardan released a report with a breakdown of the current marijuana bills and a summary of the issue that they believe is the most pressing legal matter legislators have yet to address when it comes to marijuana.

Current Bills

1. HR 262 would exempt medical-marijuana related conduct from real property civil forfeiture under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

2. HR 667 would authorize healthcare providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend state marijuana programs to veterans.

3. HR 1013 would remove marijuana from the CSA all together and give the FDA the same authority over marijuana that it currently has over alcohol. It would also move marijuana jurisdiction from the DEA to the ATFE.

4. HR 1014 would impose a two-year 10 percent recreational marijuana tax that would increase up to 25 percent after five years.

5. HR 1538, which has not been yet been made available, is intended to "extend the principle of federalism to state drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana."

6. S 683 would move marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA to Schedule II and allow banks to accept deposits from growers and retailers.

Related Link: Study Shows Regulating Marijuana Sales May Be More Complciated Than Previously Thought

Glaring Omission

According to the report, the obvious omission from all these bills is any reform on Provision 280 of the tax code.

Typically, a business is allowed to deduct business expenses such as advertising costs, rent, utilities and employee salaries from earned income prior to paying federal tax. However, under the current code, marijuana-based businesses are not afforded this luxury.

Outlook

Analysts believe the legal U.S. marijuana industry is "in its early growth stage." Chardan predicts that the American marijuana market could eventually reach the size of its alcohol market, a $200 billion annual business.

Image credit: Public Domain

Posted-In: Analyst Color News Health Care Commodities Politics Topics Legal Top Stories Best of Benzinga





Deutsche Bank Is Talking Troubled Retailers And REIT Risk

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Deutsche Bank Is Talking Troubled Retailers And REIT Risk
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On March 24, Deutsche Bank published a quarterly update of the retail sector, including a watch-list of retail tenants viewed as posing higher risks for bankruptcy and store closures for REIT landlords.

Spoiler Alert: Top Malls – No Worries

One key investor takeaway from the report, was that troubled mall anchors Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: SHLD) and J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP), do not pose a major risk to the top mall REITs.

In fact, General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE: GGP) and Taubman Centers, Inc. (NYSE: TCO) have zero exposure, while Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE: SPG) and Macerich Co (NYSE: MAC)'s base rent risk is just 0.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Additionally, these mall landlords have zero exposure to the five other watch-list retailers detailed below.

Related Link: Capital One Upgraded American Realty Capital To Overweight; Here's Why

Retail Environment – Big Picture

  • DB expects U.S. retailers to benefit from lower unemployment and energy prices, but the strong dollar remains a headwind for tourist generated sales.
  • DB noted positive trends continuing in Q4 2014, "…with rent spreads remaining solidly positive in the mid-to-upper teens range for Malls and near 10% for the Shopping Center REITs under coverage."
  • Overall strong occupancy with the Malls at 96.5% and Shopping Centers at ~95% range.
  • "The DB Shopping Center universe remains well-diversified from a tenant perspective, with the top 10 tenants accounting


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Rosenblatt Securities Says Twitter To See Revenue Growth Upside, Initiates At Buy

Courtesy of Benzinga.

In a report published Thursday, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Martin Pyykkonen initiated coverage of Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) with a Buy rating and $60 price target as the company is now well positioned for a revenue growth and EBITDA margin expansion breakout.

Pyykkonen noted six key points to support his bullish outlook:

  • Advertising monetization growth has exceeded user and usage growth.
  • Global sales force is reaching “critical mass” with direct sales in 73 countries.
  • Video clips ads should be in demand from large advertisers.
  • The frequency of technology innovation and new product rollout is increasing.
  • Efforts to reduce complexity for new and low frequency users are effective.
  • Twitter is reducing the complexity in reporting metrics for financial measurement.

“We think Twitter has an attractive fundamental long-term opportunity to further develop advertising monetization, primarily through targeted advertising and as well this year and beyond with brand advertisers,” Pyykkonen wrote. “Targeted performance-based and direct response ads are well proven in the marketplace and have been the main driver in Twitter’s advertising revenue growth so far.”

Posted-In: Martin Pyykkonen Rosenblatt Securities Twitter VideoAnalyst Color Initiation Analyst Ratings





Oppenheimer Held A Cybersecurity Party; Here's What Happened Next

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Oppenheimer Held A Cybersecurity Party; Here's What Happened Next

Related CHKP
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Oppenheimer hosted a Cyber Security Day last Tuesday. The event featured cybersecurity expert Shawn Carpenter and Chief Technology Officer Paul Garrett, both of the Ashcroft Group, a Washington, D.C.-based law and consulting firm that specializes in all areas of Homeland Security, including cyber security.

According to a report rolled out Thursday, Oppenheimer's analysts believe "the toxic threat landscape coupled with increased spending should bode well for security software names under coverage." Namely:

  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP)
  • Cyberark Software Ltd (NASDAQ: CYBR)
  • FireEye Inc (NASDAQ: FEYE)
  • Fortinet Inc (NASDAQ: FTNT)
  • Imperva Inc (NYSE: IMPV)
  • Palo Alto Networks Inc (NYSE: PANW)
  • Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT)
  • Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC)
  • Splunk Inc (NASDAQ: SPLK)

Related Link: New York Fed Creates Cybersecurity Team

Below are the main takeaways from the Cyber Security Day:

Takeaways

Security: Critical

As breaches intensify and get worse, security remains critical. As a result, Oppenheimer sees planned security spending increasing by 15 percent to 30 percent within the next six to nine months.

Big Data

Big data is becoming increasingly important.

Endpoint

"Endpoint = Wild West: Endpoint protection is challenging because in today's complex digital age, it must provide sophisticated capabilities to thwart advanced threats while not degrading the endpoint's performance and functionality.

"Endpoints are also much more diverse to include mobile devices and devices tied to IoT. The primary weakness tied to endpoint security is that endpoints are not generally able to defend themselves."

Automation

Security automation is becoming unavoidable.

Oppenheimer also rated all the above-mentioned companies as Outperform cases, except for FireEye, which carries a Perform rating.

Latest Ratings for CHKP

Date Firm Action From To
Jan 2015 Jefferies Maintains Buy
Jan 2015 Citigroup Maintains Buy
Jan 2015 Macquarie Downgrades Outperform Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for CHKP
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Ashcroft Group Cyber Security Day Cybersecurity OppenheimerAnalyst Color Events Analyst Ratings Tech Best of Benzinga





Buy Crude Now That It's Back Above $50?

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Crude oil is again trading above $50 on back of the recent airstrikes by Saudi Arabia on Yemen. So, should investors be buying this breakout?

Darren Wolfberg from BNP Paribas was on CNBC Thursday to answer that question.

Have We Created A Floor?

"I think we are in the process of creating that floor," Wolfberg said. "We are in this range right now, $44 – $54. I think if we get through $54 to the upside, I think $60 is going to be the next level on the cards, but we are almost through refinery maintenance."

Related Link: Dennis Gartman: Crude Oil Has Bottomed, But Has The Dollar Topped?

He continued, "Once that's behind us, we are going to start to see these inventories go down. You have seen the rig count come down significantly.

"So, right now I am tempted to say that we have seen the bottom, but you could see one more flush. But either way, I don't think we are going to new lows."

Levels To Watch

Wolfberg was asked what are the levels that he is keenly watching on crude. He replied, "We are looking at the recent uptrend over the last few days, kind of that $48 – $50 levels, is an important level for us. We break through there, that would probably open up the bottom of the range, the $44 level. That said, again if we get through $52 and we get through $54, I think $60 is the next point.

"So, really we are watching those levels closely. Depending on how we trade, we are going to be adding positions or changing positions accordingly," Wolfberg concluded.

Shares of United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) (NYSE: USO) traded recently at $18.17, up 4.6 percent.

Posted-In: BNP Paribas Crude OilAnalyst Color CNBC Commodities Markets Analyst Ratings Media





Stifel, Bank Of America Are Talking About Apollo Education

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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On Thursday, Stifel issued a report on Apollo Education Group Inc (NASDAQ: APOL) as the stock's volume has not recovered. Stifel lowered its target price from $35 to $25, but still rates Apollo Education as a Buy.

"Our Buy thesis which was based on the stock being cheap and the expectation that we were getting closer to a turn in core business has not played out as expected," analysts wrote. "The disappointment will likely cause dislocation in the shareholder base and likely an "oversold" condition near term.

"However…the stock is too cheap even on reduced expectations."

Related Link: Apollo Education Group Shares Tumble On Weak Revenue Forecast

Stifel believes that Apollo's participation in digital education and training could make it an attractive candidate for a strategic buyer. Analysts consider the educational company's cash flow to be attractive, especially for a financial buyer.

Bank Of America Talks Too

Bank of America also commented on Apollo this Thursday. The firm holds a Neutral rating on the stock with a $24 price target.

"We are reducing estimates on lower student start & retention assumptions," their analysts wrote.

"While the trajectory of starts remains uncertain, we do expect improvements with the lap of the LMS rollout (mid 4Q15) and continued progress at Apollo Global (11% of FY14 revenue)."

Latest Ratings for APOL

Date Firm Action From To
Jan 2015 Deutsche Bank Maintains Hold
Oct 2014 Compass Point Maintains Neutral
Oct 2014 Bank of America Maintains Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for APOL
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Jason Anderson Jerry Herman StifelAnalyst Color Price Target Analyst Ratings





Morning Market Gainers

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Premarket Gainers / Losers as of 9:10 am (Seeking Alpha)

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Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNAT) shares jumped 39.93% to $8.06 on positive Phase 2 liver treatment results.

Magal Security Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: MAGS) gained 12.31% to $5.93. Magal Security reported Q4 adjusted earnings of $0.33 per share on sales of $27.3 million.

Dover Saddlery, Inc. (NASDAQ: DOVR) shares climbed 8.81% to $5.19. Dover Saddlery reported Q4 earnings of $0.23 per share on sales of $33.1 million.

Five Below, Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE) shares surged 8.75% to $35.04 after the company reported better-than-expected results for the fiscal fourth quarter.

TransGlobe Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: TGA) shares climbed 8.13% to $3.82 after the company reported the initiation of a normal course issuer bid for up to 6.2 million common shares.

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) shares gained 6.98% to $73.23 after the company reported stronger-than-expected results for the fourth quarter.

Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN) shares rose 4.42% to $92.11 after the company reported better-than-expected earnings for its fiscal second quarter and lifted its sales forecast for the full year.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) gained 2.35% to $62.39. Lululemon reported better-than-expected financial results for the fourth quarter. However, the company issued a weak forecast for the current quarter and full year.

Posted-In: Market GainersNews Intraday Update Markets Movers





Wedbush Securities Remains Positive On J2 Global Following Management Meetings

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related JCOM
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In a report published Thursday, Wedbush Securities analyst Shyam Patil reiterated an Outperform rating and $75.00 price target on J2 Global Inc. (NASDAQ: JCOM).

In the report, Wedbush Securities noted, “Recall that j2 is attempting to acquire Carbonite and has entered into a due diligence process with the company. Carbonite is still evaluating its options, which include selling or remaining independent. j2 currently owns slightly less than 10% of the stock. We did not receive any incremental color on the process, but it does sound like a decision could be made by the end of April. As we have stated before, we believe this transaction would be highly accretive for j2 and likely the best outcome for Carbonite. We would note that while j2′s cloud backup revenue is about half the size of Carbonite’s, its margins are 4x higher.”

J2 Global closed on Wednesday at $66.65.

Latest Ratings for JCOM

Date Firm Action From To
Feb 2015 Citigroup Maintains Neutral
Dec 2014 Citigroup Maintains Neutral
Aug 2014 Citigroup Initiates Coverage on Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for JCOM
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Shyam Patil Wedbush SecuritiesAnalyst Color Reiteration Analyst Ratings





4 Big Takeaways From Facebook's F8

Courtesy of Benzinga.

4 Big Takeaways From Facebook's F8
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In a report published Thursday, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Bob Peck detailed four "big" takeaways from Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)'s F8 event.

1. Messaging Is The New Portal

Peck stated that Facebook has shown that its desktop platform will eventually "morph" into a portal-like service where "everyone starts their day." However, the mobile strategy is different as Messaging is becoming the next generation of portals.

"Consumers start their day checking messages, they are also consuming more and more general news, pictures, and videos," Peck wrote. The analyst continued that the "next logical step" is e-commerce and payments, which Messenger Platform would enable.

The analyst suggested that the e-commerce and Payment opportunity alone could present a more than $2 billion opportunity.

Related Link: If Virtual Reality Isn't A 'Killer App For Social,' What Is Facebook Doing With Oculus Rift?

2. Parse Is Attempting To Be The ‘OS' OF The Internet Of Things

Facebook cited that there are more than five billion devices that are connected to the Internet, and this figure is expected to balloon to 25 billion in five years. With over 400,000 developers and 1.4 billion, Peck stated that the Parse technology that helps connect these devices has the potential to make Facebook the "OS" for them.

The Internet of Things touches all areas of the economy and the app entry point and "OS" could further expand Facebook's importance and eCommerce, advertising and payments opportunities.

3. Expanding Facebook's Reach

According to Peck, the functionality of Facebook Audience Network (FAN) combined with LiveRail (now video and display) expands the company's reach off of the platform (similar to Google's AdSense) and enables People Based Marketing. The analyst estimated that FAN represents an approximately $1 billion opportunity for Facebook.

The analyst said that developers he interacted with…
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SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Downgrades Quintiles Transnational To Neutral

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey downgraded Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. (NYSE: Q) from Buy to Neutral.

The price target for Quintiles Transnational is set to $75.

Quintiles Transnational shares have gained 32.46% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has surged 11.47% in the same period.

Quintiles Transnational’s shares closed at $64.66 in pre-market trading.

Latest Ratings for Q

Date Firm Action From To
Mar 2015 SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Downgrades Buy Neutral
Feb 2015 Citigroup Maintains Buy
Feb 2015 Barclays Maintains Overweight

View More Analyst Ratings for Q
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: SunTrust Robinson HumphreyDowngrades Analyst Ratings





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

China Hard Landing: Blame The Smog

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Earlier this week, we got further evidence of just how quickly China’s economy is slowing down (hard landing anyone?) when the March manufacturing PMI printed in contraction territory, the employment sub index dove to Lehman levels, and rail freight fell 9%. While disconcerting, this isn’t all that surprising given that if one looks at what really matters (i.e electricity usage, rail freight volume, and credit growth), it’s pretty clear that China’s economy isn’t expanding at anywhere near the targeted 7% and hasn’t been for quite some time: 

...



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Phil's Favorites

3 Things: No Money, Wall Street's Big Scam, Bottom 80%

Courtesy of Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management

Much of the commentary from the more liberal leaning media has continued to tout that the rise in asset markets over the last few years are clear evidence of economic prosperity in this country. However, is that really the case?

In order for rising asset prices to be reflective of overall economic prosperity, the "wealth" generated by those rising asset prices should impact a broad swath of the American populous. Let's take a look to see if that is the case.

"Mo Money" Or No Money

...



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Promotions

Watch Phil on Money Talk on BNN Now!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show last night. As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. (And get this, Obama - the President - is following Phil on Twitter.) ~ Ilene

 

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

Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.   ...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Insider Scoop

Stifel, Bank Of America Are Talking About Apollo Education

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related APOL Stocks Hitting 52-Week Lows Morning Market Losers Apollo falls on sales, outlook (Investor's Business Daily)

On Thursday, Stifel issued a report on Apollo Education Group Inc (NASDAQ: APOL) as the stock's volume has not recovered. Stifel lowered its target price from $35 to $25, but still rates Apollo Education as a Buy.

"Our Buy thesis which ...



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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: Four-Day Selloff

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 dropped at the open, despite a good jobless claims report, and hit its -0.75% intraday low. A slow rally took the index to its 0.30% intraday high in the early afternoon. But subsequent selling pushed the index back into the red. It closed with a modest 0.24% decline, the forth consecutive daily loss.

The yield on the 10-year Note rose 8 bps to 2.01%.

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

Here is a daily chart of the index, where trading volume was right at its 50-day moving average.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

Here's a snapshot of selloffs since the 2009 trough.

...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls retake the wheel, with a little help from their friends at the Fed

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

Courtesy of Scott Martindale at Sabrient Systems

Well, it didn’t take long for the bulls to jump on their buying opportunity, with a little help from the bulls’ friend in the Fed. In fact, despite huge daily swings in the market averages driven by daily news regarding timing of interest rate hikes, the strength in the dollar, and oil prices, trading actually has been quite rational, honoring technical formations and support levels and dutifully selling overbought conditions and buying when oversold. Yes, the tried and true investing clichés continue to work -- “Don’t fight the Fed,” and “The trend is your friend.”

In this weekly update, I give my view of the cur...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March, 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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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin vs. Uber: Bitcoin Lovers Respond to Mish

Courtesy of Mish.

I recently commented that it would not surprise me if bitcoin plunged to $1.00. That was not a prediction, it was a comment.

Still, I still feel a collapse in bitcoin is likely.

For discussion, please see Cash Dinosaur: France Limits Cash Transactions to €1,000, Puts Restrictions on Gold; Bitcoin End Coming?

In response, reader Creighton writes ...

Hello Mish

While I'm not going to argue the point about the possibility that Bitcoin drops to $1, or less, (that could happen yet, but not for the reasons you propose) I felt it necessary to point out something you seem to have overlooked.

While it's likely that the US government watching Bitco...



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Market Shadows

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

Kimble Charts: South Korea's EWY

By Ilene 

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

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

...



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Option Review

Cypress Semi Draws Bullish Option Plays

Bullish trades abound in Cypress Semiconductor options today, most notably a massive bull call spread initiated in the July expiry contracts. One strategist appears to have purchased 30,000 of the Jul 16.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.89 each and sold the same number of Jul 19.0 strike calls at a premium of $0.22 apiece. Net premium paid to put on the spread amounts to $0.67 per contract, thus establishing a breakeven share price of $16.67 on the trade. Cypress shares reached a 52-week high of $16.25 back on Friday, March 13th, and would need to rally 4.6% over the current level to exceed the breakeven point of $16.25. The spread generates maximum potential profits of $2.33 per contract in the event that CY shares surge more than 20% in the next four months to reach $19.00 by July expiration. Shar...



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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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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...

Learn more About Phil >>


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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>