Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

The Troubling Decline Of Financial Independence In America

Courtesy of Charles Hugh-Smith, Of Two Minds 

By financial independence, I don't mean an inherited trust fund. I mean earning an independent living as a self-employed person. Sure, it's nice if you chose the right parents and inherited a fortune. But even without the inherited fortune, financial independence via self-employment has always been an integral part of the American Dream.

Indeed, it could be argued that financial independence is the American Dream because it gives us the freedom to say Take This Job And Shove It (Johnny Paycheck).

This chart shows the self-employed as a percentage of those with jobs (all nonfarm employees). According to the FRED data base, there are 142 million employed and 9.4 million self-employed. (This does not include the incorporated self-employed, typically physicians, attorneys, engineers, architects etc. who are employees of their own corporations.)

This chart depicts self-employment from 1929 to 2015. Self-employment plummeted after World War II as Big Government and Big Business (Corporate America) expanded and the small family farmer sold to agri-business or went to the city for an easier living as an employee of the government or Big Business.

Self-employment picked up as the bulk of 65 million Baby Boomers entered the work force in the 1970s. Not entirely coincidentally, a 30-year boom began in the 1980s, driven by financialization, technology and the explosion of new households as Baby Boomers got jobs, bought homes, etc. These conditions gave a leg up to self-employment.

Self-employment topped at around 10.5 million in the 1990s, and declined sharply from about 2007 to the present. But the expansion of self-employment from 1970 to 1999 is somewhat deceptive; while self-employment rose 45%, full-time employment almost doubled, from 67 million in 1970 to 121 million in 1999.

Financial independence means making enough income to not just scrape by but carve out a modestly middle-class life. If we set $50,000 as a reasonable minimum for that standard (keeping in mind that households with children recently estimated they needed $200,000 in annual income to get by in San Francisco), we find that according to IRS…
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Steve Keen on Economic Forecasts, Ponzi Schemes, GDP, China; One Way Streets and Poison

Courtesy of Mish.

Economic Forecasts

Economist Steve Keen pinged me in response to my post Regional Manufacturing Expectations From Mars.

In that post, I compared Richmond Fed manufacturing survey expectations (six month look ahead projections made in February for August), to what actually happened in August.

In response, Steve Keen Tweeted

@MishGEA gets it wrong! Says “Regional Manufacturing Expectations From Mars” when they’re really from Uranus.

I duly stand corrected. I am now planetarily aligned with Keen on the distinction between Mars and Uranus.

China Implosion

On a more serious note, please consider the Financial Times article Why China’s stock market implosion might not be very meaningful, by Izabella Kaminska.

Kaminska quotes Steve Keen as follows …

One key peculiarity about China’s economy—and there are many—is that much of its growth has come from the expansion of industries established by local governments (“State Owned Enterprises” or SOEs). Those factories have been funded partly by local governments selling property to developers (who then on-sold it to property speculators for a profit while house prices were rising), and partly by SOE borrowing. The income from those factories in turn underwrote the capacity of those speculators to finance their “investments”, and it contributed to China’s recent illusory 7% real growth rate.

With property price appreciation now over, those over-levered property developers aren’t buying local government land any more, and one of the two sources of finance for SOEs is now gone. Borrowing is still there of course, and the Central Government will probably require local councils to continue borrowing to try to keep the growth figures up. But the SOEs are already losing money, and this will just add to the Ponzi scheme. The collapse of China’s asset bubbles will therefore hit Chinese GDP growth much more directly than the crashes in the more fully capitalist nations of Japan and the USA.

Heart of the Matter

Keen indeed gets to the heart of the matter about SOEs, borrowing, and illusory growth rates….



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News You Can Use From Phil’s Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Charting the Markets: Stocks Rally to Erase the Week's Losses (Bloomberg)

The turmoil in financial markets to start the week is fast becoming a blip in the rear-view mirror, with developed market equities posting robust gains on Thursday as volatility subsided and the commodity complex largely advanced.

Dow sets a 2-day record, finishes up 369 points (CNN)

The U.S. stock market bounced back on Thursday and made history.

After several volatile days with huge swings in both directions, the Dow finished Thursday up 369 points. Combined with Wednesday's 619-point rally, it's the best two-day point gain for the Dow in its history, surpassing the previous record set in 2008.

U.S. dollar flipped a time-tested investing trend on its head this week (Market Watch)

An unusual trend in the relationship between the dollar and U.S. stocks emerged during this week’s global stock-market selloff.

Though both U.S. stocks and the dollar have both been appreciating over the past year, they typically trade inversely because a strengthening dollar hurts corporate earnings.

Boeing 747 ChinaBoeing: Don't worry about China's economy — they're going to buy nearly $1 trillion worth of planes (Business Insider)

The Chinese aviation industry is growing at an incredible pace. 

And Boeing has taken notice. 

According to the latest projections from the airplane maker, Chinese airlines will play a big role in the company's financial success.

Forget Oil Glut and War. Water is Real Threat for Mideast (Bloomberg)

Thirst.

It's not talked about nearly as much as oil or Islamic State, yet lack of water is driving conflict and strife in the Middle East and North Africa.

A fuel pump is seen in a car at a gas station in Toronto April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch Oil markets catch breath after biggest gains in six years (Business Insider)

Crude oil futures were largely steady on Friday after


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The Dow Roundtrips

 

The Dow Roundtrips

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

round trip

 

Five trading days in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a roundtrip between here and the close last Friday.

God forbid you had gone a few days doing something other than obsessing over the market. You’d take a look at the current level and conclude that not much has gone on.

The hard part is that we don’t always get a V-shaped bounce. And sometimes, the bounce isn’t permanent – just a temporary development to suck more buyers in. But you can’t know in advance, nor can anyone else, so its probably not a great idea to go leaping off a diving board headfirst into the most hysterically bearish or bullish narrative you can find.

Managing the mental ups and downs is more important than trying to manage the market’s ups and downs for most investors. For short-term traders, however, this is paradise.

Have at it, guys.





Computers are the new Dumb Money

 

Computers are the new Dumb Money

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker

You want the box score on this latest weekly battle in the stock market?

No problem: Humans 1, Machines 0

Because if you think it was human beings executing sales of Starbucks (SBUX) down 22% on Monday’s open, you’re dreaming. And if you believe that it was thinking, sentient people blowing out of Vanguard’s Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) at a one-day loss of 26% at 9:30 am, you’ve got another thing coming.

By and large, people did the right thing this week. They recognized that JPMorgan and Facebook and Netflix should not have printed at prices down 15 to 20% within the first few minutes of trading and they reacted with buy orders, not sales. They processed the news about the 1200+ individual issue circuit-breakers and they let the system clear itself.

Rational, experienced people understood that an ETF with holdings that were down an average of 5% should not have a share price down 30%.

Conversely, machines can only do what they’ve been programmed to do. There’s no art, there’s no philosophy and there’s no common sense involved. And volatility-shy trading programs have been programmed to de-risk when prices get wild and wooly, period. Their programmers can’t afford to have an algo blow-up so the algos are set up to pull their own plug, regardless of any qualitative assessment during a special situation that is obvious to the rest of the marketplace.

Warren Buffett once explained that “Paradoxically, when ‘dumb’ money acknowledges its limitations, it ceases to be dumb.” Ordinary investors, in the aggregate, have learned their limitations the hard way over the last few decades. This is why 25% of all invested assets are in passive investment vehicles and Vanguard is now the largest fund family on the planet. Retail players gave up on the fever dream of Mad Money long ago; Mom and Pop are now investing in the missionary position from here on out.

Software, on the other hand, has not learned this lesson. The problem with computers is that they can’t be…
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Yet Another Dispute Over GDP; What’s Really on the Fed’s Mind?

Courtesy of Mish.

Disputes over GDP go on and on and on. MarketWatch reports By another measure, the U.S. economy was ho-hum in second quarter.

There are two ways to compute how well the economy is doing.

One is to tally all the goods and services produced during a given time period — that’s called gross domestic product.

Another is to measure all the incomes earned in the production of those goods and services — that’s called gross domestic income.

Over time, they should be exactly the same. But measurement isn’t easy, and so the Commerce Department not only reports both figures, but also for the first time on Thursday averaged the two together.

The result wasn’t great: It’s showed a 2.1% average for the second quarter, since GDP growth was a sterling 3.7% and GDI was a meager 0.6%.

According to Josh Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR, that’s the largest gap between the two measures of the economy since the third quarter of 2007.

Some research has shown the GDI figures to be a more accurate representation of economic activity, but the evidence is mixed and the debate continues. Nonetheless, the disparity reported in Q2 does lend credence to the notion that the GDP growth reported in the quarter likely overstates the underlying vitality of the economy in the span,” he said in a note to clients.

Two Measures

That may look significant, but let’s investigate further.

DGI vs. GDP Percent Change from Year Ago



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The Best Explanation If Exposed As An Ashley Madison Member…

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

… comes from Dan Loeb of Third Point, who as Gawker points out admits to being a member of the hacked cheating website: due diligence:

“As my family, friends and business colleagues know, I am a prolific web surfer. Did I visit this site to see what it was all about? Absolutely – years ago, at the time I was invested in Yahoo and IAC and was endlessly curious about apps and websites. Did I ever engage or meet with anyone through this site? Never. That was never my intention — as evidenced by the fact that I never provided a credit card to set up an account.”

Indeed, as the author points out, this is an "entirely plausible excuse for being on Ashley Madison" especially for someone who was financially affiliated with comparable websites. In fact, for anyone on Wall Street caught on Ashley Madison and having to explain to their significant other why they were on (a website where some 95% of the members were many to begin with) the explanation is all too simple: to test out the platform and its profitability ahead of their imminent (and now permanently scrapped) IPO. Period, end of story.

Unless the story doesn't end there, like in this case: "it doesn’t explain why someone who had no intention of engaging with other adulterers described himself as looking for “discreet fun with 9 or 10,” as indicated in his profile data.

I asked Loeb why he’d entered his desire for “discreet fun” into a website he had no intention of using. He replied: “That field was part of going on the site and I gave a brief line that sounded plausible.”

Loeb’s statement also doesn’t explain why he checked his private messages on an account he never used to “engage” with anyone. The profile data shows that the last time he did so was on December 9, 2013—eight months after he joined Ashley Madison.

Here is what a better explanation may have sounded like: "I am a billionaire: does it look like I need to secretly hook up on an anonymous website when I can go out and have any woman I want?"

[Picture of Dan Loeb from Reuters, here.]





“Computer Glitch” Plaguing ETFs Is “Unrelated” To Monday’s Flash Crash, BNY Swears

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On Wednesday, we asked if Monday’s catastrophic ETF collapse which saw over 200 funds fall by at least 10% was just a warmup for a meltdown of even greater proportions. 

The problem, you’ll recall, was that in the midst of Monday’s flash-crashing mayhem, a number of ETFs traded at a remarkable discount to fair value. Essentially, market makers looked to have simply walked away (there’s your HFT "liquidity provision" in action) or else put in absurdly low bids in order to avoid getting steamrolled when the constituent stocks came off halt. The wide divergences weren’t arbed for whatever reason and the result was an epic breakdown of the ETF pricing mechanism. 

 

 

As we wrote on Wednesday, this was proof positive that contrary to popular belief (which, incidentally, is itself contrary to common sense in this case), an ETF cannot be more liquid than the assets it references and when liquidity dries up in the underlying as it did on Monday, the market structure is clearly inadequate to cope. 

But don’t worry, because the problem has been identified.

It’s simply a "computer glitch" at Bank of New York Mellon. Here’s WSJ:

A computer glitch is preventing hundreds of mutual and exchange-traded funds from providing investors with the values of their holdings, complicating trading in some of the most widely held investments.

The problem, stemming from a breakdown early this week at Bank of New York MellonCorp., the largest fund custodian in the world by assets, prompted emergency meetings Wednesday across the industry, people familiar with the situation said. Directors and executives at some fund sponsors scrambled to manually sort out pricing data and address any legal ramifications of material mispricings, those in which stated asset values differed from the actual figures by 1% or more.

A swath of big money managers and funds was affected, ranging from U.S. money-market mutual funds run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., exchange-traded funds offered by Guggenheim Partners LLC and mutual funds sold by Federated Investors. Fund-research firm Morningstar Inc. said 796 funds were missing their net asset values on Wednesday. 

Ok, got it. So basically, if you want to know…
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A Bottom, But Not THE Bottom

Courtesy of Lance Roberts via STA Wealth Management

Earlier this week I posted two articles. The first discussed the possibility that this is just a correction within an ongoing bull market. The second delved into the possibility that a new cyclical bear market has begun. Only time will tell which is truly the case.

The bounce over the last couple of days has been met with "party hats" by the mainstream media as a sign that the bottom is in and the worst is now behind us. Historically such has not been the case as witnessed by looking at the 1987, 1998, 2010 and 2011 corrections that occurred within an ongoing bull market. In every case, the markets bounced off correction lows only to retest those lows several weeks later. As I stated then:

"The sharp 'reflexive' rally that will occur this week is likely the opportunity to review portfolio holdings and make adjustments before the next decline. History clearly suggests that reflexive rallies are prone to failing, and a retest of lows is common. Again, I am not talking about making wholesale liquidations in accounts. However, I am suggesting taking prudent portfolio management actions to raise some cash and reduce overall portfolio risk."

The esteemed technician Walter Murphy recently had some interesting commentary in this regard.

"Our sense is that the volatility of recent days is a sign that the S&P 500 is attempting to put a short-term bottom in place.

Nonetheless, the weekly and monthly Coppock Curves are down, with the weekly oscillator positioned to remain weak for at least another 5-6 weeks. In addition, there are no meaningful divergences. For example, the daily Coppock and RSI(8) indicators are at their lowest levels since August 2011.

Another indicator that may prove to be guideline is the S&P’s Bullish Percent Index, which is also at its lowest reading (22.4%) since 2011. During the 2011correction, the BPI initially fell to 20.4% in August, experienced a relief rally to 54.4% in September, and then fell to 21.8% in October. The October low was a bullish divergence because it was higher than the August reading even though the “500” recorded a lower low. This divergence was followed by the just-completed four-year


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GDP by Other Measures; Will the “Real” GDP Please Stand Up?

Courtesy of Mish.

In the wake of a stronger than expected GDP report (see Second Quarter GDP Revised Up, as Expected, Led by Autos, Housing), some are questioning the stated growth.

For example, the Consumer Metrics Institute says "On the surface this report shows solid economic growth for the US economy during the second quarter of 2015. Unfortunately, all of the usual caveats merit restatement".

Consumer Metrics Caveats

  1. A significant portion of the "solid growth" in this headline number could be the result of understated BEA inflation data. Using deflators from the BLS results in a more modest 2.33% growth rate. And using deflators from the Billion Prices Project puts the growth rate even lower, at 1.28%.
  2. Per capita real GDP (the number we generally use to evaluate other economies) comes in at about 1.6% using BLS deflators and about 0.6% using the BPP deflators. Keep in mind that population growth alone (not brilliant central bank maneuvers) contributes a 0.72% positive bias to the headline number.
  3. Once again we wonder how much we should trust numbers that bounce all over the place from revision to revision. One might expect better from a huge (and expensive) bureaucracy operating in the 21st century.
  4. All that said, we have — on the official record — solid economic growth and 5.3% unemployment. What more could Ms. Yellen want?

Revisions

I certainly agree with point number three. Significant GDP revisions are the norm, even years after the fact. The numbers are of subjective use at best because GDP is an inherently flawed statistic in the first place.

As I have commented before, government spending, no matter how useless or wasteful, adds to GDP by definition.

Moreover, inflation statistics are questionable to say the least, as are hedonic price measurements and imputations.

Imputations

Imputations are a measure of assumed activity that does not really exist. For example, the BEA "imputes" the value of "free checking accounts" and ads that number to GDP.

The BEA also makes the assumption that people who own their houses would otherwise rent them. To make up for the alleged lost income, the BEA actually assumes people rent their own houses from themselves,


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Phil's Favorites

The new 1% regime

 

The new 1% regime

Courtesy of The Reformed Broker, Joshua Brown

Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, a global brokerage company based in New York, has this to say about the proliferation of “1%” days we’ve been experiencing in the stock market this year…

The surge in volatility over the past week enabled this year’s aggregate number of plus or minus 1% moves in the S&P 500 – currently 40 – to exceed last year’s total of 38. There were nineteen positive 1% or more days in 2014, and 19 ne...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

These activist investors absolutely crushed it on huge trades (Business Insider)

Activist investors are putting cash to work like never before, setting their sights on bigger targets and extracting enormous paydays from companies once thought untouchable. 

They’re awash with cash, as investors in search of returns in a low-interest rate environment pump cash in to the strategy.

Some of the boldface names of activist investing have made billions this year alone.

...



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Zero Hedge

Here's How Long Saudi Arabia's US Treasury Stash Will Last Under $30, $40, And $50 Crude

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

On Friday we explained why the most important chart in global finance may well be the combined FX reserves of Saudi Arabia and China plotted against the yield on the 10Y. 

Here’s the reason that graphic is so critical: Saudi Arabia and China are sitting on the first and third largest stores of reserves, respectively, and if these two countries continue to liquidate those reserves, it will amount to “reverse QE” or, "quantitativ...



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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Dangerous Place for a kiss of resistance, says Joe

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Anyone noticed its been a wild week? Has anything been proven with all the volatility the past 5-days?

What happens at (1) below, could tell us a good deal about what type of damage did or didn’t take place this week!

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The large decline on Monday cause the S&P 500 to break support of this rising channel.

The mid-week rally pushed the S&P higher and as of this morning it is kissing the underside of old support as resistance now, near the 50% retracement level of the large decline over the past few weeks.

Why could th...



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Chart School

Shorts Rally - But For How Long?

Courtesy of Declan.

A second day of gains keeps pressure on shorts in squeezing them out of their positions, but is also looking to sucker shorts into trying to second guess when this rally will end.

The S&P is heading fast towards 2,044. Given the speed at which it has enjoyed this advance it will be there by Tuesday! In reality, it will likely slow before it gets there. When markets do head lower it will be important they do so slowly to sow further doubt into shorts.


The Nasdaq will be testing resistance tomorrow, and is close to coming up against its 200-day MA.  Those who bought the low will be very happy.

...

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Finally, market capitulation gives bulls a real test of conviction, plus perhaps a buying opportunity

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

The dark veil around China is creating a little too much uncertainty for investors, with the usual fear mongers piling on and sending the vast buy-the-dip crowd running for the sidelines until the smoke clears. Furthermore, Sabrient’s fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings have been flashing near-term defensive signals. The end result is a long overdue capitulation event that has left no market segment unscathed in its mass carnage. The historically long technical consolidation finally came to the point of having to break one way or the other, and it decided to break hard to the downside, actually testing the lows from last ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of August 24th, 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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ValueWalk

Some Hedge Funds "Hedged" During Stock Market Sell Off, Others Not As Risk Focused

By Mark Melin. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the VIX index jumping 120 percent on a weekly basis, the most in its history, and with the index measuring volatility or "fear" up near 47 percent on the day, one might think professional investors might be concerned. While the sell off did surprise some, certain hedge fund managers have started to dip their toes in the water to buy stocks they have on their accumulation list, while other algorithmic strategies are actually prospering in this volatile but generally consistently trending market.

Stock market sell off surprises some while others were prepared and are hedged prospering

While so...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Battered After "Governance Coup"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Naysyers are warning that the recent plunge in Bitcoin prices - from almost $318 at its peak during the Greek crisis, to $221 yesterday - is due to growing power struggle over the future of the cryptocurrency that is dividing its lead developers. On Saturday, a rival version of the current software was released by two bitcoin big guns. As Reuters reports, Bitcoin XT would increase the block size to 8 megabytes enabling more transactions to be processed every second. Those who oppose Bitcoin XT say the bigger block size jeopardizes the vision of a decentralized payments system that bitcoin is built on with some believing ...



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Pharmboy

Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...



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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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Promotions

Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene

 

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

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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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