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Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

Shocking Images Of China’s Dire Pollution Problem

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

China has some stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, but, as boredpanda.com explains, they may not count for much when, in other parts of the country, pollution runs totally unchecked. China is very close in size to the USA.  Yet, as The Burning Platform notes, their population is the size of the entire Western Hemisphere, plus Japan, Germany, and France. The land can not support this mass of humanity without very dire consequences, and these shocking photos show what severe pollution people have to deal with in some parts of China…

==============================================

Boy Swims In Algae-Filled Water, Qingdao, Shandong

 

Journalist takes a sample of red polluted water in the Jianhe River in Luoyang

 

Heavily Polluted River

 

Pollution from a factory in Yutian, 100km east of Beijing

 

Fishermen row a boat in the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province

 

Fishermen clean up oil at an oil spill site near Dalian Port, Liaoning province

 

Smog In Beijing

 

Fisherman Covered In Algae, Chaohu Lake

 

Heavily Polluted River

 

Smog In Beijing

 

Child Swims In A Polluted Reservoir, Pingba

 

Worker cleans away dead fish at a lake in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province

 

Workers clean up floating garbage on the Yangtze Rive

 

Heavily Polluted River In Jiaxing, Zhejiang

 

child is reflected in a drainage ditch as he jumps over trash at a village which will soon be demolished

 

Buildings In Beijing Surrounded By Smog

 

Factory Polluting The Air

 

Fisherman fills his cupped palms with water from the algae-filled Chaohu Lake

 

Fishermen Collecting Fish In A Polluted Canal, Beijing

 

A woman collects plastic bottles near a river where water is polluted with a reddish dye in Dongxiang

 

Workers collect dead fish at a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province,

 

Child drinks water near a stream in Fuyuan county, Yunnan province

 

Flies Gather On Railings Because Of Polluted Water, East Lake, Wuhan

 

Girl collects water from a puddle at a dried-up reservoir as her father stands beside her in Baofeng county

 

Boy tries to avoid scattered rubbish floating on a flooded street in Shantou, Guangdong province

 

*  *  *

Source: BoredPanda.com and The Burning Platform blog





Ireland Proposes Debt Restructuring Conference for Spain, Greece, Ireland; A Turnip is a Turnip

Courtesy of Mish.

Contagion? Well don’t worry about that! German Chancellor Angela Merkel assures us that will not happen. However, a difference of opinion is forming in Greece, Spain, and Ireland.

Via translation from El Confidencial, SYRIZA Extends the Debate, “Ireland Stands Out: Seeks Conference to Restructure Debt, Including Spain.”

The Greek elections this Sunday still shaking European foreign ministries. …

The restructuring of the debt (about 319 billion euros in the case of Greece) scares the markets for contagion effect.

Christine Lagarde was quick to respond in the pages of the Irish Times during a visit to Dublin last Monday. “In principle, collective efforts are welcome, but at the same time a debt is a debt” she said.

Why Ireland Should Support Greek Plan

The above article was based on an Irish Times column Why Ireland Should Support Greek Plan to Write Down Eurozone Public Debt.

Contrary to many reports, Syriza is not threatening a unilateral default but wants Greece’s debt burden to be considered within a broader restructuring of sovereign debt in the euro zone. Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, has called for a “European Debt Conference”, based on the 1953 London Conference that wrote off half of post-war Germany’s debt and extended the repayment period for the rest over a number of decades. As Hans-Werner Sinn, one of Germany’s leading economists and president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, acknowledged recently, the 1953 conference was, along with the Marshall Plan, a key factor in enabling Germany’s post-war economic miracle.

The conference met from February 28th to August 28th, 1952, with the final agreement signed the following year and involved representatives from 20 creditor nations (including Greece, Portugal and Ireland) as well as Germany and the Bank for International Settlements. The United States, Britain and France took the lead, making clear from the outset that one of the aims of the conference was to strengthen the German economy.

The preamble to the agreement said it should help to “remove obstacles to normal economic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries and thereby to make a contribution to the development of a prosperous community of nations”.

Demanding that Germany pay all its debts was seen as incompatible


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What to Look for in the Week Ahead

Courtesy of Marc To Market

Reasonable people can debate some of the details, but there was little doubt that last week's big event, the ECB's asset purchases, were widely anticipated.  Nevertheless, what is striking is the repeated surprises by officials over the past several months. 

Perhaps it began at the end of last October with the Bank of Japan's 5-4 vote to double down on what was already an unprecedented pace of expanding its balance sheet.  The in November was OPEC's decision, not to reduce production to make room for increased US production and other non-OPEC producers.  Also in November, the People's Bank of China unexpected cut its 1-year deposit rate, spurring an advance of nearly 40% in the Shanghai Composite in the following six weeks.   

A few hours before the Swiss National Banks stunning decision to lift its cap on the franc, the Bank of India announced a rate cut in between policy meetings, catching the market off-guard. There have been other surprises by emerging market central banks in recent weeks, and all in the direction of easing policy.   

There are no fewer than eight central bank meeting in the emerging markets in the week ahead (Thailand, Israel, Russia, Hungary, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, and Malaysia).  While the risk is the greatest that Thailand cuts rates, there is scope for surprise rate cuts. We suspect it is a question of time before Russia, South Africa, Malaysia, and Colombia cut rates.  

The Bank of Canada had its own surprise for investors last week when it unexpected cuts its overnight cash rate to 75 bp from 1.0%.  It was the first change in rates since the mini-tightening cycle in 2010. 

These stand in stark contrast to the Federal Reserve.  The Fed gave investors months to prepare for tapering of its asset purchases, and even waited a bit longer than many had expected.  It then proceeded to taper.   It did not let an unexpected contraction in Q1 14 GDP distract it.  It did not let an acceleration of the pace of job growth distract it.  Nor were some bouts of market volatility sufficient. It said what it was going to do.  It then did it.    This is…
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Syriza Trounces New Democracy; Greeks Stop Paying Taxes; Run on Greek Banks Escalates; Get Out!

Courtesy of Mish.

As late as yesterday I read numerous mainstream media reports that Syriza would win by three to five percent and would need to form an unstable coalition to rule.

In contrast, here was my January 19 prediction (and rationale): Expect a Blowout Win by Syriza in Greece.

Syriza Trounces New Democracy

The final votes are not counted, but exit polls show a blowout, with incumbent party New Democracy going down in flames.

The Wall Street Journal reports Greece’s Radical Leftist Syriza Party Poised to Win Election, Exit Polls Say.

Syriza appeared set to win between 35.5% and 39.5% of the vote, trouncing the incumbent New Democracy party, which managed to secure just 23% to 27% of the vote, according to the exit polls whose results were issued immediately after voting booths closed.

If Syriza is able to secure more than 150 seats on its own—which the exit polls show is possible—it won’t need coalition partners and will have a freer hand in implementing its platform—something that could lead to ruptures with Greece’s creditors.

The polls also showed that voters backed a handful of smaller parties—ranging from the extreme-right Golden Dawn party to the centrist To Potami party—making it unclear whether Syriza would win an absolute majority in Greece’s 300-seat legislature. According to the polls, Syriza was projected to secure between 146 to 158 seats, depending on the final outcome.

Greece Exit Polls

Note the double-digit (or near double-digit) trouncing of New Democracy leader and current prime minister Antonis Samaras.

Here’s an interesting quote from the Journal.



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Axel Merk: Why Asset Prices Must Return To Lower Levels

Courtesy of Adam Taggart via Peak Prosperity

Saying it's been a busy week and half on the central bank front is perhaps a sizeable understatement. 

First, the Swiss National Bank stunned the world (and its brethren central banks) by removing its peg to the Euro. This was quickly followed by Mario Draghi finally making good on his longtime threat of firing QE bazooka, announcing that the ECB will pursue a 60 billion Euro per month easing program for the next 16 months. And amidst all the smoke, the Canadian central bank snuck in a surprise rate cut to its interest rate.

To make sense of both the "Why?" behind these extreme moves, as well as the "What?" in terms of their implications, Axel Merk, founder and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Funds joins us this week.

In his opinion, recent events are exactly the kind the symptoms he's been expecting as the prime strategy pursued by central banks since 2008 — to force capital into speculative assets — approaches its natural and inevitable denouement. Indeed, he projects the surprises in store for us and the systemic instability we're beginning to see are just getting started:

Ultimately, central banks are just sipping from a straw in the ocean. I did not invent that term. Our senior economic advisor, Bill Poole, who is the former president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve taught us this: that central banks are effective as long as there is credibility.

What central banks have done is to try to make risky assets appear less risky, so that investors are encouraged or coerced into taking more risks. Because you get no interest or you are penalized for holding cash, you've got to go out and buy risky assets. You've got to go out and buy junk bonds. You have to go out and go out and buy equities.

The equity market, volatility until not long ago, has been very low. When volatility is low, investors are encouraged to buy something that is historically risky because it is no longer risky, right?

But as the Swiss National Bank has shown, risk can come back with a vengeance. The same thing can happen of course, in any other market. If the Federal Reserve wants to pursue an "exit" to its


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Is This The Day Europe Gets Its Future Back?

Courtesy of The Automatic Earth


Theodor Horydczak U.S. Supreme Court interiors, Washington DC 1931

With The Greek election in full motion, and first results perhaps 12 hours away, It would seem useful, no matter how the Greeks vote, to lay to rest a few misconceptions, and to expose a few ‘conceptions’ that have – largely – remained buried to date.

The first misconception is that the Greeks borrowed like crazy and therefore deserve to be thrown into a pit of suffering and misery. It is simply nonsense, a mere political narrative. Besides, most of what was borrowed went to the utterly corrupt ‘oligarch system’, not to the people in the street. Something the EU was certainly aware of when it accepted Greece as a member. But corrupt regimes can be of great use.

A few days back, in Bunch Of Criminals!, I made the point that the EU, and its members, have no right to do to a fellow member country what they did to Greece – and want to continue doing -.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said this week that he will not negotiate with the Troika, but directly with EU officials. And there is a very solid reason for that. In today’s Observer, Helena Smith interviews Greek sociologist Constantine Tsoukalas, who understands what has been happening to his country, and – rightfully – frames it in terms of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.

What has happened to Greece is what Klein describes was done to South America and – later – Eastern Europe. Disaster capitalism. Bringing entire countries to their knees by enforcing predatory economic policies, and then using the ensuing chaos and smouldering ruins to take full control over their political, economic and social systems. Helena Smith:

Is Greece About To Call Time On Five Punishing Years Of Austerity?

For Professor Constantine Tsoukalas, Greece’s pre-eminent sociologist, there is no question that, come Monday, Europe will have reached a watershed. I first met Tsoukalas in January 2009, in his lofty, book-lined apartment in Kolonaki. For several weeks Athens had been shaken by riots triggered by the police shooting of a teenage boy. The violence was tumultuous and prolonged.

Looking back,


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Education Moment: The Man with 26 Million Students

Courtesy of Mish.

Zach Sims, a college dropout founded Codecademy, a website which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free. Codecademy is three-years-old now and Sims has 26 million students.

Sims was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos to talk about online education. He was Codecademy’s first student, creating Codecademy to teach himself.

Please consider The Man with 26 Million Students.

One unlikely WEF attendee – a 24-year-old from New York who dropped out of Columbia University before completing his degree – is grabbing the attention of crusty executives gathered in this mountain resort.

Introduced by global leaders as the “man who has 26 million students”, Zach Sims runs a three-year-old website called Codecademy, which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free.

Zach is hardly the Davos type – he apologises when using buzzwords such as “intersection” and uses sarcastic air quotes when talking about the WEF’s “new digital context” slogan – but he is a vivid example of a “skills gap” victim, albeit a first-world one.

“When I was looking for internships in my junior year, at companies like Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, I realised that nobody I was going to college with had any skills that would be relevant in that context,” he says

“We figured if students at Columbia – a top five school in the country, can’t find jobs when they graduate, there was probably a problem.”

So Zach started to teach himself to code. “We built the first version of Codecademy for me,” he explains, and with the help of a friend, Ryan Bubinski, he expanded the site.

Mr Bubinski became co-founder and together they launched Codecademy, in August 2011.

In the first weekend more than 200,000 people used the product – “it gave the ability to send emails to all those people who said the market size was limited,” Zach quips, unable to suppress a smile.

The site now reaches almost 26 million students in more than 100 countries, and is helping people from all economic backgrounds to “up-skill”, including residents of African refugee camps and single mothers in the US….



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US Special Forces in Mariupol?

Courtesy of Mish.

The rebel attack on Mariupol, Ukraine is underway as noted earlier today in Attack on Mariupol Begins; 7,000-8,000 Ukrainian Forces Nearly Encircled in Northern Cauldron; US Sends Army Trainers.

Disinformation regarding the attack is running rampant, even bordering on the outright ridiculous.

For example, a reader sent me a link to Ukraine@War, a UK website that made these claims regarding Mariupol:

  1. “This is done by RUSSIAN rocket launchers, with RUSSIAN rockets, by soldiers speaking RUSSIAN, running RUSSIAN flags on their vehicles and with RUSSIAN emblems on their sleeves…”
  2. Russian Major-General Vyaznikov is relocating his HQ to Soledar, Ukraine.

The reader who sent the link asserted “You wanted photos, satellite images, twitter feed posts, etc….so here you go”.

The entire website was nothing but allegations. The site has maps with claims like “this is where Russians launched their attack”.

It’s preposterous.

I prefer actual evidence of things. For example, please consider this image of a Ukrainian reporter in Mariupol asking a soldier a question.

Mariupol Soldier

Who is this man? Where is he from?

The curious thing about that soldier, hiding is face, is that he responded to a Ukrainian reporter’s question, in English with: “Out of my face! Out of my face please!” right at the 2:34 mark in the following video….



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More and War: The Tao of Washington

More and War: The Tao of Washington 

Courtesy of Tom Engelhardt, originally published at TomDispatch.com

When it comes to the national security state, our capital has become a thought-free zone. The airlessness of the place, the unwillingness of leading players in the corridors of power to explore new ways of approaching crucial problems is right there in plain sight, yet remarkably unnoticed.  Consider this the Tao of Washington.

Last week, based on a heavily redacted 231-page document released by the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Charlie Savage, a superb reporter for the New York Times, revealed that the FBI has become a “significant player” in the world of warrantless surveillance, previously the bailiwick of the National Security Agency.  The headline on his piece was: “FBI is broadening surveillance role, report shows.”

Here’s my question: In the last 13 years, can you remember a single headline related to the national security state that went “FBI [or fill in your agency of choice] is narrowing surveillance role [or fill in your role of choice], report shows”?  Of course not, because when any crisis, problem, snafu or set of uncomfortable feelings, fears, or acts arises, including those by tiny groups of disturbed people or what are now called “lone wolf” terrorists, there is only one imaginable response: more money, more infrastructure, more private contractors, more surveillance, more weaponry, and more war.  On a range of subjects, our post-9/11 experience should have taught us that this -- whatever it is we’re doing — is no solution to anything, but no such luck.

More tax dollars consumed, more intrusions in our lives, the further militarization of the country, the dispatching of some part of the U.S. military to yet another country, the enshrining of war or war-like actions as the option of choice — this, by now, is a way of life. These days, the only headlines out of Washington that should surprise us would have “narrowing” or “less,” not “broadening” or “more,” in them.

Thinking outside the box may seldom have been a prominent characteristic of Washington, but when it comes to innovative responses to problems, our political system seems particularly airless right now.  Isn’t it strange, for instance, that being secretary of state these days…
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The Cult of Central Banking

Outside the Box: The Cult of Central Banking

By John Mauldin

In today’s Outside the Box, good friend Ben Hunt informs us that we have entered the cult phase of the Golden Age of the Central Banker:

We pray for extraordinary monetary policy accommodation as a sign of our Central Bankers’ love, not because we think the policy will do much of anything to solve our real-world economic problems, but because their favor gives us confidence to stay in the market. I mean, does anyone really think that the problem with the Italian economy is that interest rates aren’t low enough? Gosh, if only ECB intervention could get the Italian 10-yr bond down to 1.75% from the current 1.85%, why then we’d be off to the races! Really? But God forbid that Mario Draghi doesn’t (finally) put his money where his mouth is and announce a trillion euro sovereign debt purchase plan. That would be a disaster, says Mr. Market. Why? Not because the absence of a debt purchase plan would be terrible for the real economy. That’s not a big deal one way or another. It would be a disaster because it would mean that the Central Bank gods are no longer responding to our prayers.

But, he points out, the cult phase of any human society is a stable phase in the sense that, while change may happen, it will not happen from within:

There is such an unwavering faith in Central Bank control over market outcomes, such a universal assumption of god-like omnipotence within this realm, that any internal market shock is going to be willed away.

However, there is a minor catch: external market risk factors are all screaming red.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I can’t remember a time when there was such a gulf between the environmental or exogenous risks to the market and the internal or behavioral dynamics of the market. The market today is Wile E. Coyote wearing his latest purchase from the Acme Company – a miraculous bat-wing costume that prevents the usual plunge into the canyon below by sheer dint of will.



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

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



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Zero Hedge

Israel's President Refuses To Meet With Obama

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While Obama is doing everything in his power to show that when it comes to commiserating with the Saudis, he is first in line, the US relationship with that "other" US ally in the region, Israel, is in a fast and furious state of "crash and burn."

Recall, that it was yesterday when it was revealed that President Obama will forgo a visit to the Taj Mahal during his visit to India in order to pay respects in Saudi Arabia after the death of King Abdullah, the White House announced early Saturday morning. Vice President Biden was initially scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation, but he will instea...



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Phil's Favorites

Shocking Images Of China's Dire Pollution Problem

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

China has some stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, but, as boredpanda.com explains, they may not count for much when, in other parts of the country, pollution runs totally unchecked. China is very close in size to the USA.  Yet, as The Burning Platform notes, their population is the size of the entire Western Hemisphere, plus Japan, Germany, and France. The land can not support this mass of humanity without very dire consequences, and these shocking photos show what severe pollutio...



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Chart School

Three Charts to Watch

Courtesy of Declan.

A bit of a hodgepodge of charts to review. I'll start with my favourite of the bunch: the relationship between oil and gold prices. Peaks in the relative price between these commodities have historically provided swing lows for commodities - oil in particular. Certainly, sufficient time has passed between peaks to mark a major low.


The relationship between Nasdaq Highs and Lows doesn't suggest we have reached any major inflection yet. Ideally, Nasdaq Lows should spike above 100 to mark a major low, with 200+ for 'back up the truck' style low.

...

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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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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 19th, 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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Market Shadows

Are You Trading or Gambling?

ARE YOU TRADING OR GAMBLING?

An interview with John Ehlers of Stock Spotter and Mesa Software

By Ilene

Ilene: John, in our last discussion about trading systems in general and yours in particular (Can trading be reduced to cycles, stresses and vibrations?) you mentioned Monte Carlo simulations and their use in measuring performance. Can you explain more about how you measure the performance of a trading system?

John: Let's start with comparing trading with gambling. The two have several things in common.  In both ...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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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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