Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

Rebuilding the Caribbean will be pricey, but some are vying to finance its recovery

 

Rebuilding the Caribbean will be pricey, but some are vying to finance its recovery

Courtesy of Masao AshtineUniversity of the West Indies, Mona Campus

File 20171121 6072 at6kae.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

If Caribbean governments can’t afford to rebuild their islands, maybe big tech firms can?

November 20 marked the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, but for the Caribbean, it’s only the beginning of a painful recovery process.

In early September, Hurricane Irma largely destroyed Barbuda and several neighboring Lesser Antilles islands. Two weeks later, Maria took a final fatal stab at Barbuda and entirely knocked out Puerto Rico.

According to The Economist, damage from Irma alone tallies up to US$13 billion. Totals for the entire 2017 hurricane season remain unclear, but Puerto Rico Gov. Roberto Rosello’s recent request for $94.4 billion in aid gives some sense of Maria’s toll.

No matter the final price tag, recovery is sure to be unpayable in a region where 30 percent of people live in poverty and the per capita gross domestic product averages under $9,000 a year, versus $57,000 in the United States.

And while France, Holland and the United Kingdom have come to the assistance of their territories in the region, independent Caribbean nations like Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Cuba have no such obvious sponsors. Their economies shattered by storms – and, in some cases, shackled by debt – some Caribbean nations fear they may never recover.

But behind the scenes, numerous international players are actually racing to rebuild the Caribbean, from tech companies and wealthy individuals to far-flung countries.

‘Send Tesla’

Big corporations see an opportunity in the Caribbean’s recovery. Tesla, in particular, seems to have a vision for how the region could rebuild in a more renewable and resilient way.

As an energy and environment researcher, I’m certain that renewables would make Caribbean islands better able to withstand future storm impacts. Whether Tesla can achieve that is another question.

The California-based electric-car company has committed to sending to the island hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems, which could be paired with solar panels to get the electric grid…
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Why the FCC’s proposed internet rules may spell trouble ahead

 

Why the FCC's proposed internet rules may spell trouble ahead

Courtesy of David ChoffnesNortheastern University

File 20170914 24296 1yz229k.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

How fast is that video really coming in? hvostik/Shutterstock.com

As the Federal Communications Commission takes up a formal proposal to reverse the Obama-era Open Internet Order, a key question consumers and policymakers alike are asking is: What difference do these rules make?

My research team has been studying one key element of the regulations – called “throttling,” the practice of limiting download speeds – for several years, spanning a period both before the 2015 Open Internet Order was issued and after it took effect. Our findings reveal not only the state of internet openness before the Obama initiative but also the measurable results of the policy’s effect.

The methods we used and the tools we developed investigate how internet service providers manage your traffic and demonstrate how open the internet really is – or isn’t – as a result of evolving internet service plans, as well as political and regulatory changes. Regular people can explore their own services with our mobile app for Android, which is out now; an iOS version is coming soon. We’re working with the French equivalent of the FCC to promote our measurement tools in France to help audit whether French ISPs are compliant with local net neutrality protections. Other countries, including the U.S., could follow the French lead, using our tools to evaluate their internet service quality.

Rules take effect

Before the Open Internet Order took effect in 2015, companies running cellular networks were allowed to use throttling to manage how much data their networks needed to handle at any given time. To do this, some companies capped users’ download speeds, which could cause video to stream at lower quality, with less-sharp images that were blurry during action sequences.

But there were limited rules governing how the mobile companies enforced those caps: We found some providers slowing down YouTube videos but not Netflix or other video services. This is an example of a major concern net neutrality supporters have: that internet providers might give preference to traffic from…
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If Trump wants nuclear war, virtually no one can stop him

 

If Trump wants nuclear war, virtually no one can stop him

Courtesy of Dennis JettPennsylvania State University

File 20171122 6027 1vm9pt.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

An anti-war protester wears a mask showing US President Donald Trump in Berlin, Germany. AP Photo/Michael Sohn

The general in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, John Hyten, recently said he would resist carrying out an illegal order from the president to use those weapons.

His comments echoed the ones made a few days earlier by one of his predecessors, retired Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Nov. 14, Kehler asserted that nuclear operations officers would refuse to implement an unlawful order.

While the generals are no doubt military men of integrity, my four decades of experience as a diplomat and scholar of American foreign policy suggest there is no law that would make a presidential order to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea illegal.

Here’s why.

No applicable law

Congress has the constitutional responsibility for declaring war, but it has not done so since World War II. That has not prevented every president since then from engaging in military conflicts large and small. Even American participation in the Korean War was not authorized by Congress. So, the absence of a formal declaration of war against North Korea is no barrier to a nuclear strike.

The War Powers Resolution attempted to rein in the president’s prerogatives when it comes to armed conflict. It requires the president to explain to Congress why he is using military force within 60 days of his doing so. But that 1973 law has often been ignored, kicks in only months after military action has been initiated and is considered by some to be unconstitutional.

In recent years, Congress has often acted to allow the president to use military force without a declaration of war. After 9/11, it passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force to permit the president to go after those involved in the terrorist attacks that day. President Bush used that authorization in his rationale for invading Iraq, even though there was no connection to the attack. President…
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Zimbabwe beware: the military is looking after its own interests, not democracy

 

Zimbabwe beware: the military is looking after its own interests, not democracy

Courtesy of Enock C. MudzamiriUniversity of South Africa

File 20171121 6031 14lazje.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Zimbabwe National Army commander Constantino Chiwenga, second from left, addressing the media. EPA-EFE/Aaron Ufumeli

November 2017 will go down in the history of Zimbabwe as the beginning of the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37 year tyranny. A tumultuous week finally culminated in his resignation on November 21st. One cannot understate the widespread jubilation at the demise of Mugabe and his desire to create a dynasty for himself through his wife Grace.

But the optimism is misplaced because it doesn’t deal directly with the dearth of democracy in Zimbabwe.

First, contrary to popular sentiment that the coup was meant to usher in a new era of political liberalisation and democracy, the takeover is actually meant to deal with a succession crisis in Zanu-PF. The military made this clear when it said that it was dealing with criminals around Mugabe. And the party’s secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa indicated that removing Mugabe from the party’s Central Committee was an internal party matter.

Secondly, I would argue that the military resorted to a “smart coup” only after its preferred candidate to succeed Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was fired from the party and government.

The way in which the military has gone about executing its plan upends any conventional understanding of what constitutes a coup d'etat. It’s a “smart coup” in the sense that the military combined the frustrations of a restive population, internal party structures and international sympathy to remove a sitting president. It thereby gained legitimacy for an otherwise partisan and unconstitutional political act – toppling an elected government.

This begs the question: Is the military now intervening for the collective good or for its own interests?

Why the military intervened

It is baffling to imagine how the military has suddenly become the champion of democracy and regime change in Zimbabwe.

It’s clear that what motivated the military commanders was a fear of losing their jobs and influence after their preferred successor…
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I got a story to tell

 

I got a story to tell

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker 

2011.

I’m in a brownstone converted into an office somewhere in Manhattan. There’s a random dog walking around. Everyone who works there is under thirty except for the woman who founded the “wealth management” firm. She is over 60, having spent her career as a financial advisor. I met her filming something at the Nasdaq for WSJ. “Come by my office, let’s talk shop,” she tells me. So I come, and the dog sniffs me.

“What’s your strategy?” I ask her. I’m truly curious. This is the period between establishing my own practice and launching our own firm. I am open to new ideas from everywhere.

She goes into this whole story about how she gets involved with charities in Connecticut or Westchester and shows up with the hors d’oeuvres, which she makes herself. And I’m like What the hell are you talking about? Then I realize as she answers me. She’s talking about her marketing strategy, not her investment strategy. She doesn’t have an investment strategy, yet there are hundreds of millions invested with her. Because she’s great at showing up at charity events with pigs in a blanket and talking her nonsense.

I realize she is just faking it. All of it. Meeting people, sizing them up and telling them what they want to hear.

A young man pops into the conference room and says “Market closes in 5 minutes, what do you want to do with this TZA?” He is asking about an ETF that trades at a 3X inverse to the Russell 2000 index intraday. It’s 2011, so it’s not so strange that I know what this is. Everyone still thinks the market is headed to zero and trades accordingly. Still, it seems like a ludicrous position for an alleged wealth manager.

“Hold onto it overnight,” she tells the kid. I don’t quite remember but I think his name was Glen.

She didn’t look at a TZA quote or a news report or anything. This is clearly a 100% feelthing. She is managing money by making it up as she goes along. The goddamn dog is roaming around under…
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Rogue State

 

Rogue State

How the guardians of nationhood conspire in its destruction.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 18th November 2017 (Brexiters, beware: if the ties that bind us unravel, tyranny may soon follow)

What is this country we are asked to love? This might once have been an easy question to answer. National identity was built around a range of institutions, considered to represent the national interest. Rebellion against them was characterised as treason. But one by one, these institutions have been subverted from within. Look to the top to see treachery at work.

The most obvious – and most trivial – example is the way in which the Crown has used investment vehicles based in offshore secrecy regimes to enhance its wealth. The Paradise Papers show that both the Queen’s investors (the Duchy of Lancaster) and Prince Charles’s private estate (the Duchy of Cornwall) have been conducting their affairs beyond the view of government. If the Crown mocks its own agencies in this way, why should anyone else respect them? But this, by comparison to other recent revelations, is froth.

Priti Patel’s engagements in Israel, which culminated in her professed intention to divert British aid money to the Israeli army in the occupied Golan Heights, raised the question of whose national interests she was representing, the United Kingdom’s, or Israel’s? It’s a question that could be directed at several British ministers and their departments. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States frequently appear to benefit from British decisions that seem more attuned to their interests than to ours. Brexit is likely to exacerbate this tendency.

We were promised that in leaving the European Union we would regain our sovereignty. But in abandoning an association based on equal standing, we expose ourselves to coercion by other nations. Our relationship with the United States, especially under the stewardship of the trade secretary Liam Fox, is likely to look like that of servant and master.

Fox, preposterously, is now the only official member of the UK’s board of trade. The new trade bill grants him Henry VIII powers: enabling him to create laws without parliamentary approval. It was published 24 hours after the consultation on the bill ended, which suggests…
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COP 23: three ways cities are leading the fight against climate change

 

COP 23: three ways cities are leading the fight against climate change

Courtesy of Barbara NormanUniversity of Warwick

File 20171117 19305 13hp9hg.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Mettus / Shutterstock.com

The global population is predicted to rise to 10 billion by 2050, and the majority of those people will live in cities. Given that cities already account for 75% of the world’s energy use and 76% of carbon dioxide emissions, there’s a growing focus on how urban planning and design can reduce emissions and help humanity to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Representatives of the world’s global powers have gathered in Bonn to attend the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change – more pithily known as COP 23.

Working together to affect large-scale change has been the key message of the conference. There has been a groundswell of urban innovation on show, largely driven by the mayors and governors of cities and regions, as well as industry leaders and universities interested in promoting opportunities for greener growth.

These bodies have formed alliances and networks to develop ideas and strategies around smart mobility, renewable energy, living infrastructure and sustainable urban design. This has been the good news story of COP 23. The conference has given nation states a unique opportunity to work more closely with cities, to plan for climate change.

So, in my role as an urban and regional planner (in practice and academia) I spent some time in Bonn finding out about the exciting ways that cities are leading the fight against climate change.

1. Low-carbon precincts

One aim is for current and future cities to be powered by 100% renewable electricity. This can be achieved with a combination of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or hydro, with battery storage and microgrids integrating with national grids as needed.

Location, location, location. Marcin Wichary/Flickr, CC BY

Cities will have integrated transport systems with electric-powered light rail and personal vehicles, while promoting active travel such as walking and cycling. Designing for integrated green precincts will bring…
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Germany enters political no-man’s land as Angela Merkel wrestles with election fallout

 

Germany enters political no-man's land as Angela Merkel wrestles with election fallout

Courtesy of Daniel HoughUniversity of Sussex

File 20171120 18533 imjg66.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

immodium/Shutterstock

Angela Merkel is in trouble. Serious trouble. Negotiations to form the next German government have collapsed dramatically. Quite where the chancellor, and indeed Germany, go from here is anything but certain.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. Although the Christian Democrats (CDU) performed poorly in the federal election of September 24 (gaining just 32.9% of the vote), the post-election expectations were nonetheless clear. Merkel would get representatives from the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria (CSU) and two smaller parties (the liberal FDP and the Greens) around a table and, over time and at their own pace, they would knuckle down and form Germany’s first “Jamaica Coalition” – so-named as the parties’ colours are the same as those on the Caribbean island’s flag.

Those expectations have now gone up in smoke. The FDP walked out. Christian Lindner, the FDP’s leader, claimed that there simply wasn’t enough common ground for the parties to draw up a coalition agreement that everyone could sign up to. “Better not to govern at all than to govern badly,” as he dramatically put it.

Tough choices

Where to now? Essentially, German politicians have three options.

First, there is another plausible majority in the German parliament. Merkel’s Christian Democrats could look to govern with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD). The parties have a majority in parliament and they have experience of working together. Indeed, they did that in the four year period from 2013-2017.

However, the SPD has made it (crystal) clear that it’s not up for that. The Social Democrats were humbled at the last election, polling 20.5%; a historic low. Governing alongside Merkel has done the party little political good and a period of internal rejuvenation is badly needed. As recently as this weekend Martin Schulz, the SPD leader, reemphasised that.

Given that, Merkel could try to govern without a majority in the Bundestag. Minority governments are not uncommon across mainland Europe, and the Nordic countries have often shown that these administrations can…
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Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

 

Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

Courtesy of Michael FoleyBaylor University

File 20171117 19305 17d3usa.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Pious drinking. Walter Dendy Sadler via Wikimedia Commons

Each year the holidays bring with them an increase in both the consumption of alcohol and concern about drinking’s harmful effects.

Alcohol abuse is no laughing matter, but is it sinful to drink and make merry, moderately and responsibly, during a holy season or at any other time?

As a historical theologian, I researched the role that pious Christians played in developing and producing alcohol. What I discovered was an astonishing history.

Religious orders and wine-making

Wine was invented 6,000 years before the birth of Christ, but it was monks who largely preserved viniculture in Europe. Religious orders such as the Benedictines and Jesuits became expert winemakers. They stopped only because their lands were confiscated in the 18th and 19th centuries by anti-Catholic governments such as the French Revolution’s Constituent Assembly and Germany’s Second Reich.

In order to celebrate the Eucharist, which requires the use of bread and wine, Catholic missionaries brought their knowledge of vine-growing with them to the New World. Wine grapes were first introduced to Alta California in 1779 by Saint Junipero Serra and his Franciscan brethren, laying the foundation for the California wine industry. A similar pattern emerged in Argentina, Chile and Australia.

Monks in a cellar. Joseph Haier 1816-1891, via Wikimedia Commons

Godly men not only preserved and promulgated oenology, or the study of wines; they also advanced it. One of the pioneers in the “méthode champenoise,” or the “traditional method” of making sparkling wine, was a Benedictine monk whose name now adorns one of the world’s finest champagnes: Dom Pérignon. According to a later legend, when he sampled his first batch in 1715, Pérignon cried out to his fellow monks:

“Brothers, come quickly. I am drinking stars!”

Monks and priests also found new uses…
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Saying Goodbye to Richard Cordray at CFPB Is Hard to Do

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Richard Cordray Officially  Took the Helm at the CFPB on July 17, 2013

Richard Cordray Officially Took the Helm at the CFPB on July 17, 2013

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Last Wednesday, Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), announced he would be stepping down from his post at the end of this month. Cordray is the former Attorney General of Ohio and there are rumors he may make a run for Governor there.

The CFPB, a Federal agency, was created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010. The legislation resulted from the greatest fraudulent wealth transfer from the middle class to the 1 percent since the Wall Street frauds of the late 1920s. Both periods ended in an epic financial crash that left the U.S. economy on life support. Since the financial crash of 2008, the U.S. economy has grown at an anemic 2 percent or less per year despite massive fiscal stimulus and unprecedented bond purchases (quantitative easing) by the Federal Reserve.

Despite the desperate need for the CFPB, Republicans fought against its creation and then refused to confirm Cordray for his post as Director for two years. Cordray was finally sworn in on July 17, 2013 after having served in the post for 18 months under a recess appointment by President Obama. Republicans have continued to battle Cordray and attempt to derail his work in protecting vulnerable consumers from credit card, student loan and mortgage frauds.

Big banks on Wall Street are particularly hostile to the fact that the CFPB allows consumers who have been victimized by financial firms, even where small amounts of money are involved, to file a complaint and receive a timely response. Wall Street also hates the fact that these complaints go into a permanent database, which can be mined by class-action attorneys and prosecutors looking for patterns of fraud. That database is likely to be one of the first things to go under a Trump appointee.

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Phil's Favorites

Rebuilding the Caribbean will be pricey, but some are vying to finance its recovery

 

Rebuilding the Caribbean will be pricey, but some are vying to finance its recovery

Courtesy of Masao AshtineUniversity of the West Indies, Mona Campus

If Caribbean governments can’t afford to rebuild their islands, maybe big tech firms can?

November 20 marked the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, but for the Caribbean, it’s only the beginning of a painful recovery process.

In early September, Hurricane Irma largely destroyed Barbuda and several neighboring Lesser Antilles islands. Two weeks later, Maria took a final fatal...



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Zero Hedge

Bahamas Prime Minister Blasts US Cable News

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Over the weekend, Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis addressed the Third Annual Press Club Awards Banquet, where he blamed the collapse of journalism standards on 24-hour cable news shows in the United States. He said, the declining of standards “would not have been allowed in previous times” and urged local journalist not to be  “champions of any political party, business, group or interest in a country”.

...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin: An Unknowable Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"Whatever [Bitcoin] is, I missed it... It looks and smells like all the bubbles I have seen throughout history." - billionaire investor Jim Rogers

Authored by Constantin Gurdgiev via True Economics blog,

There is a much-discussed in the crypto-sphere chart making rounds these days, plotting Bitcoin price dynamics against the historical bubbles of the past:

...



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Insider Scoop

8 Stocks To Watch For November 22, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related CRM 9 Stock's Moving In Tuesday's After Hours Session Salesforce Falls Despite Q3 Beat The Vetr co...

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Chart School

Russell 2000 and Semiconductor New Highs / S&P Breaks

Courtesy of Declan.

The S&P broke higher to confirm a 'bear trap' and also closed at a new all-time high. Volume climbed to register an accumulation day but there were further losses in relative performance and continued losses in the MACD.


The Nasdaq posted a gap-driven 1% gain to bring it ever closer to channel resistance. It hasn't yet tagged resistance but it looks well placed to do so by the end of the week. Technical are all bullish.

...

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Biotech

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Courtesy of Todd GoldeUniversity of Florida

Family members often become primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. tonkid/Shutterstock.com

Thirty years ago, scientists began to unlock the mysteries regarding the cause of Alzheimer’...



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ValueWalk

Robert Mugabe Under House Arrest, Military Takes Control Of Zimbabwe

By Andjela Radmilac. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Zimbabwe’s head of state, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, has been placed under house arrest after what seems to be a military coup took place in the nation’s capital.

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRobert Mugabe is safe

Following numerous reports on social media late Thursday night about the increased military presence in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the country’s military took...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites



About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

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

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