Lighten the Darkness

 

Lighten the Darkness

How dark money is subverting democracy in the UK.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 17th May 2017 (Dark money is pushing democracy in the UK over the edge)

How is this acceptable? A multimillionaire City asset manager has pledged to spend up to £700,000 on ousting Labour MPs who campaigned against Brexit. Jeremy Hosking will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results?

Allowed? That’s too soft a word. It is enabled by our pathetic, antiquated and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants to secure “the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy”. But there is no greater threat to sovereignty, independence or democracy than the power money wields over our politics.

There are three categories of concern here. The first is transparent political funding, such as Hosking’s. Then there is opaque funding, that the Electoral Commission has so far failed to prevent: a shocking example has been uncovered by Peter Geoghegan and Adam Ramsay of openDemocracy.

We already know that a vast payment was made by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party (DUP) for a newspaper advertisement urging people to vote for Brexit. Remarkably, this ad was not circulated in Northern Ireland, but only in England and Scotland.

This might suggest that someone was making use of Northern Ireland’s secrecy regime. Political donations there remain hidden from view. Funders wishing to disguise their identities can use Northern Ireland as a back channel into UK politics. After sustained pressure, the DUP revealed that the money came from a donation of £425,622, passed through an organisation called the Constitutional Research Council.

But the original source remains a mystery. Though electoral law in Great Britain states that “a donation of more than £500 cannot be accepted … if the donation is from a source that cannot be identified”, the DUP claims that it doesn’t need to know who provided this money. All we know about the Constitutional Research Council is that it’s run by a man called Richard Cook, who lives in a small house outside Glasgow. He…
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  • Phil - I know I am small change compared to most others members, but I just wanted to let you know that during the last two weeks with the shorts you and others suggested I have 6 winners and 5 losers. My losers were small because I tried to follow your guidelines as best I could. On the other hand my winners on average were around 50%. Consequently, I am up $2000 in 14 days. Thank you for your patience and help. I think I am making progress getting rid of some of my poor trading habits of the past!

    DCalrk41

  • Thanks Phil for helping make this a much, much better year this year than last. Your tutelage has been so very helpful. Don't think I can say Thanks enough. And I thanks all the members here who were work hard in helping us all to become better traders, and I would say better people as well. The support many of you offered when we evacuated during the fire this past year helped me immeasurably. Happy New Years to you all!

    JBur

  • Phil has some great insight into the market. He's given me a different perspective on the market and I know I'm a better trader/investor because of it. I've been trading options since the late 80's and Phil is right. Unless you know what is going to happen (how can you, unless you have insider information), then do what the smart money does - be the house. Remember guys, we're allowed to sell options. If you're afraid to be short, then do a spread to limit your liability. When I think about the money I've made and lost on options, a good approximation is that I win 30% of the time when I do a straight buy; I win about 70% of the time when I do a spread; I win nearly 90% of the time when I sell naked.

    Autolander

  • It was a nice day thanks to your help! Made over $1100 shorting TF every time it came up near 1260 and even more by going long oil before inventory under $46 and then waited patiently for the spike up into the close where I shorted it at 47.70 or so. Phil you gave me a road map and I simply followed the signs along the way.

    Craigsa620

  • Phil, thank you for the thorough response(s). I joined this group last week to take my education to the next level. the school i am involved with very good at calling out levels but very little live trading and little help in managing a position going against you. I like the combo of knowing where the major levels are coupled with your approach to getting in. learned a lot this week. thank you!

    DawnR

  • Phil, I just wanted to say thanks for being there. The world needs more of you. Your site continues to positively change my life daily.

    Chasw

  • Every time I read Mr. Davis' market analyses and reports about his super profitable trades I feel admiration mixed with envy for the overall brilliance of this man, intellectual and verbal, his extraordinary savvy in the exotic art of options and, last not least, his moral passion with which he writes, even if in passing, about the darker aspects of capitalism.

    RussianBear

  • Thanks Phil, for banging the table on getting short and getting to cash. Usually when this happens in the market I am freaking out but I actually made money this week thanks to you. That HOV trade was a great way to re-deploy some of my cash.

    Julian

  • Why were the analysts wrong? If I were a Japanese investor who purchased US stocks prior to November at Y80 yen to the dollar, with the US market up an average of 15% or more and upon selling the asset I covert dollars to Yen, also realizing an additional 25% gain (one dollar now converts to 100+ Yen rather than the 80 I used at time of purchase), I think I would be unloading US assets also. But analysts never do the math in their articles nor very rarely bring up or discuss the ramifications of currency fluctuations. I don't include Phil in this group as this is a valuable lesson I am learning from him.

    Denlundy

  • Thanks to your teaching and guidance, I was able to make a killing on my /TF shorts. I averaged into 12 shorts at 1252 and got out of 6 at 1242 and 6 more at 1235. Last week I did the same with /CL, though I got out too early and left $2 on the table. Thank you!

    Japarikh

  • Phil - I just referred 10 people. Last week was a 50% gainer for me. There are companies that want to sell mentoring service for thousands of dollars. This is far better of a deal with very good advice.

    Steve

  • thanks for the DNDN recommendation last week phil. that was moneeeee….

    Kwan

  • HOTT / Got great trades with it: Enter 6.75 at open, out at 7.18 (avg) at 10:13 Reentered at 7.00 and out all 7.11 few minutes ago- Was a small play but I collected enoght for next month PSW subscription.

    Spider

  • Phil/ et al- Thanks for the answers to my spread questions last night, as I really needed that little piece of knowledge to crystallize my understanding of spreads. Your help is much appreciated and I have been doing really well for the last couple of months with fewer and fewer missteps as I embrace the PSW ways and watching my portfolios grow.

    Craigsa620

  • Peter D: great write-up for Short Strangles, Part 1, looking forward to Part 2, particularly the adjustment part.

    RMM

  • I have been a member of Phil's site for three years and counting, and my advice is that all investing takes time. There are o shortcuts, no secret way to riches. Same with Phil's site- you need time and patience to start benefitting fully from his advice. But it is often spot on and also very useful, especially to me as I try to keep a level head in this turbulent stock market environment.

    Jordan

  • BTW Phil, I wanted to relate a conversation I had with my business partner yesterday. I told him that I have been much more relaxed about my investments ever since I joined your site. It's funny how a 15-20% cushion does to your nerves. My returns have increased dramatically and my risk diminished. Many thanks for the guidance and patience. Good thing I am doing better financially as you might have increased my life expectancy as well!

    StJeanluc

  • It is hard to learn the process that Phil teaches, but it is worth the effort. I think it is finally sinking in & so I say Thanks teacher for your patience & expertise! I've had a very good week so far & I know it is because of persisting in this learning process that you teach.

    Pirateinvestor

  • Phil- I want to let you know that you really helped me make some money this morning when I probably would have lost on my own. I was stuck in doctors waiting rooms most of the morning starting at 8AM. By following the game plan you laid out and using my smartphone, I went short on oil whenever we got to 61.50 and long at 61 waiting for the spikes ahead of inventory. When 10:30 rolled around I was out after selling longs at 61.60 a few minutes earlier. I went short at 61.75-61.80 and voila, rode it down to 60.60 or so. Thank you.

    craigsa620

  • Thanks super helpful re: UGN example…..other inflation/market-correction-defensive-related play you threw out that has jammed UP in less than a month is TITN 6/14 $15 puts, up 40%. Excuse my enthusiasm but haven't had those types of gains in multiple plays in years let alone days doing it on my own…….maybe I should host the PSW infomercial!!!!

    stevegeb200

  • What a quarter! (AAPL, etc.) "People react; PSW'ers anticipate." Thanks everyone for a vibrant board.

    Silentstorm

  • Thanks for all the work you put into this site. I have looked at a few other option advisory or "mentoring" services this year, but no one offers even a fraction of the content or the level of services you provide at PSW!

    Jelutuck

  • Oil – thanks Phil, got in late at 0.53 on the 38p today, set a sell for 0.75 and took the dog for a walk – 70% gain and more than enough $$ to buy dog food. TZA Aug 35/40 BCS – closed out for a 100% gain in under a month – thanks again for introducing me to these trades.

    CanuckBob

  • PSW – Price/Value; The value of PSW on a regular basis exceeds by far the price of the annual subscription. The edition of February 26 'Which Way Wednesday – Popping or Topping?', – priceless for the serious investor.

    Winston

  • Phil/ Thanks to your obsessive bearish anxiety over the last few weeks, I made money on the long side this month, phased gradually to bearish, came in net short today and managed to make money both long and short all week, ending today [and each day this week] in the green. I don't know how you do it, but thank you.

    Zeroxzero

  • Well I want to thank P. Davis for his style and for the fact that he affirmed my thoughts for a correction. He was right and his confirmation of my bias saved me thousands. Mr. Davis is amoral when it comes to money. He realizes the poor are screwed but we must fight to win. A measure of sarcasm and dark humour and it is great reading. 100% right on the correction.

    Chaffey

  • This is my first month here. Today was a money train with futures. I gained 7500 USD with KC, RB, CL, NG. I took RB almost every direction up and down. And I only used 1 contract or maximum 2. Thank you. I think it was a good investment to subscribe…

    Kgabor

  • Phil Thank you very much, I appreciate your help and wisdom.

    CdsdpDean

  • Phil, 26% on the week for the 20% I day-trade, and since drinking the kool-aid last fall, the whole portfolio has doubled. Have a great weekend !!

    JRW III

  • Joined last year and and started profitably trading options thanks to everything I have learned here. THANK YOU!!

    OnWisconsin

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth

 

Ben Carlson on Market Breadth (Video)

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Ben had a hit on Bloomberg TV last night talking about his recent piece on market breadth and why it’s perfectly normal to see the market being led higher by some very big winning stocks. His research shows that this is always the case during bull markets and that broader measures of the internals are healthy, not sick.

Check this out:

…and you can read his expanded thoughts on the topic here:

A Few Big Stocks Don’t Tell the Whole Market Story (Bloomberg View) 





TGIF – Gold Flies Higher as Kushner Goes “Under Scrutiny” in Russia Probe

Image result for trump russia tiesThis is gettting interesting, isn't it?  

Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, is now a "person of interest" in the FBI investigation into the Trump Administration's Russia ties.  That doesn't mean he's guilty but it does mean the investigation has moved closer to the President – to the guy married to his daughter, in fact.   The records of records of both Manafort and Flynn have been demanded by grand jury subpoenas, NBC News has reported.  

Kushner has already admited to meeting with Sergey Gorkov, who is the Chairman of VneshEconomBank, a Russian government-owned institution that has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014.  Gorkov studied at the training school for the FSB, one of Russia's intelligence services.  To be fair to Kushner, you can't be part of Trump's Team and NOT have met with Russians – they are EVERYWHERE!  

Meanwhile, why are you here?  It's the Friday before a 3-day weekend, we didn't become investors so we could work every day, did we?  Go have some fun – I'm already on vacation, writing from my hotel room like a sensible fellow.  

Yesterday's big story was the collapse of oil after the OPEC meeting.  Despite extending the existing production cuts for 9 more month, the cartel failed to increase them and, since the current cuts have barely been effective and since the US production is already filling the gap and putting us back in a glut – a lot of oil longs finally gave up hope and bailed out, leading to a whopping 5% Rule™ correction on the day.

We're long here ($48.50) on the Oil Futures (/CL) as well as the Oil ETF (USO) at $10 as we are only just starting summer driving season and the July 4th holiday gives us another opportunity to see some gains in the coming month.  We may fall another $1 first, to $47.50 because Brent Crude (/BZ) is still at $51 and $50 is better support for them and $47.50 is better support for us but I would hate to miss the rally, so I'd rather get started now.  Gasoline (/RB) is also a good buy at $1.60.

In


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PPT and the “God of the Gaps”

Joshua does not believe in the PPT God.  

PPT and the “God of the Gaps”

Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God’s handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout.

But a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when staring into the ocean of their own ignorance… (The Perimeter of Ignorance)

Earlier this week, CNBC Fast Money hosted a former trader who came on to discuss the Plunge Protection Team urban legend as a bonafide explanation for why the market has been acting the way it has.

Leaving aside the fact that, three years ago, I had already explained this phenomenon of short and sharp corrections followed by new highs as a function of the business model shift within the wealth management industry, the former trader was very short on specifics or data or logic of any kind.

The video is below, but you can watch it later, it’s just a rehash of the old story about how a “Working Committee on Markets” had been established under President Reagan to prevent the stock market from going down ever again, and the “team” is made up of various people at the SEC, the NYSE etc.

 

Now obviously, the existence of a Plunge Protection Team (or PPT), is demonstrably ridiculous. Especially when you consider the fact that we’ve seen the market cut in half twice during the last 17 years, with dozens of instances of 10 and 15 percent corrections all along the way over the last 29 years since the end of Reagan’s term. The idea that there could be some clandestine, bipartisan shadow organization, with enough money…
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International Inflation Cycles Sync Up

 

International Inflation Cycles Sync Up

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Mauldin Economics

My friend Lakshman Achuthan, Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), has done some really interesting work on international inflation cycles, and in today’s Outside the Box he shares it with us. This is a special treat – ECRI does not normally make its material available outside of its client base. I am truly grateful that he allows me to share this. Lakshman will be joining us at SIC this week in Orlando, to the great benefit of the attendees.

It turns out that inflation volatility has been greatly dampened in the 11 OECD (advanced) economies in the 21st century, as compared to the late 20th century: It’s now only about a quarter of what it was then. Additionally, the domestic inflation cycles of these countries have increasingly come into sync. These two trends have made it possible for ECRI to devise a leading index of global inflation cycles that offers earlier and more accurate forecasts of cyclical turning points in international inflation.

In concluding this short but groundbreaking piece, Lakshman adds,

The synchronization of international inflation cycles highlights the importance of global factors in assessing domestic inflation prospects. Our analysis underscores the 21st-century reality that the timing of inflation cycles may be beyond the control of any individual central bank. Yet this very development makes it possible for ECRI to provide even earlier signals of peaks and troughs in the inflation cycle.

Lakshman’s piece runs with an argument that my friend John Vogel wrote about this morning, highlighting another piece of research. I’ve been arguing for years that the world is basically in a long-term deflationary trend, despite all the monetary intervention and money printing. It’s a bit difficult to measure, but the cost of producing goods is dropping. Which means that the cost of living will continue to fall – at least as far as purchasing goods is concerned (as opposed to buying services like healthcare and education). As John writes (somewhat controversially):

What I think is more interesting is the productivity created by CHEAP oil and natural gas. We don’t measure this, no fault of men like Prof. Gordon who think in


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Beyond the CBO score: How Trump Budget and the AHCA are dismantling America’s safety net

 

Beyond the CBO score: How Trump Budget and the AHCA are dismantling America's safety net

Courtesy of Simon HaederWest Virginia University

File 20170525 23224 nbrwvx

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, to his left, celebrating the House passage of the AHCA on May 4. Evan Vucci/AP

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on May 24 released its long-awaited analysis of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the House of Representatives three weeks ago. The Conversation

While the score was not dramatically different from an earlier one, it nonetheless drew a significant amount of news coverage. Countless articles talk about the AHCA’s dramatic effects on insurance coverage and premiums.

However, this focus is decidedly too narrow and missed the larger endeavor by President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan to initiate a dramatic disinvestment from the nation’s disadvantaged, particularly in terms of health care.

Working in one of the nation’s poorest states, West Virginia, I encounter the challenges of poverty firsthand. It complements my academic work on the historic development of the American safety net and the historic role of public hospitals. The combination of the AHCA and the Trump administration’s budget would hollow out America’s safety net that has evolved since the New Deal and the Great Society.

The Congressional Budget Office and the American Health Care Act

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is a nonpartisan congressional agency created in the early 1970s during the Nixon administration. It was envisioned as a counterweight to the dominance of the executive branch and the president in policymaking, particularly when it comes to budgeting. It was also supposed to infuse policy decisions with nonpartisan, analytical information. The assumption is that policymaking is better when it is informed by facts and when we are aware of the effects of the legislation before passing it.

By and large, the CBO has lived up to its expectations. While far from perfect in its projections, it is generally held in high regard by politicians and scholars alike. As such, it has held a dominant role in some of the nation’s major legislative…
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Phil's Favorites

Market Moving News

 

Financial Markets and Economy

China central bank denies reports it told banks to deposit dollars (Reuters)

China's central bank has not adopted any measures requiring commercial banks to deposit dollars with it, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said on Friday.

China Considers Changing Yuan Fixing Formula to Curb Swings (Bloomberg)

China is considering changes to the way it calculates the yuan’s daily reference rate against the dollar, a move that’s likely to reduce exchange-rate volatility while undermining efforts to increase the role of market forces in Asia’s larges...



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Zero Hedge

Spain is Holding Catalonia Hostage

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Via The Daily Bell

Imagine you are in a book club. For a few years, it was great, you liked the books and the discussion with members. But then, the club started reading steamy romance novels that you just weren’t into and would not entertain your opinions for other material. Finally, when you can’t relate to the discussion on t...



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ValueWalk

DCF Analysis and Capital Allocation

By Brad Cornell. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Much of this blog has focused on fundamental valuation as an investment tool that can be used to identify mispriced stocks and, hopefully, make superior returns. While important to individual investors, there is another aspect of fundamental valuation that is more important from a social perspective. Remember that in a market economy the social function of the financial market is capital allocation. There is no central planner to decide how much money should be allocated to social media, versus electricity transmission, versus automobile manufacturing as so on times thousands.

To see how DCF analysis is a central role in the allocation of capital imag...



more from ValueWalk

Digital Currencies

Visualizing The Expanding Universe Of Cryptocurrencies

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency, and its meteoric rise has made it a mainstay of conversation for investors, media, and technologists alike.

In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins details, the innovation of the blockchain is changing entire markets, while causing ripples with central banks and the financial industry. At time of publication, the bitcoin price now hovers near US$2,200, a massive increase from this time last year.

But the true impact of Bitcoin is actually far more reaching than this – it’s a...



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Market News

Market Moving News

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Singer: If Trump Agenda Fails, a Recession Could Follow (Fortune)

Market watchers who thought the stock market would drop if Donald Trump were elected were burned following his win: markets rose to new highs instead.

U.S. inflation path since 2012 is worrisome, policymaker says (Reuters)

The current level of U.S. prices is noticeably lower than what it would be if the Federal Reserve had delivered on its 2-percent inflation target, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said, calling the trend "worrisome."

...



more from Paul

Chart School

S&P Breakout on Higher Volume Accumulation

Courtesy of Declan.

While I expected the Dow Jones to be the breakout flyer, instead it was the S&P which led the charge on higher volume accumulation.  Technicals are all in the green with a return of the MACD trigger 'buy'.



The Dow did manage to break past 21,000 with a MACD trigger 'buy' but it's still contained by all-time high resistance at 21,200. The index is still well positioned for a larger breakout, but this is the sixth day of consecutive gains for the index so some pullback can be expe...

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Members' Corner

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Interesting discussion of what affects our behavior. 

Description: "How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors."

Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves

Filmed April 2017 at TED 2017

 

p.s. Roger (on Facebook) saw this talk and recommends the book ...



more from Our Members

OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of May 22nd, 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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Biotech

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

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

Beyond just promise, CRISPR is delivering in the lab today

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Precision editing DNA allows for some amazing applications. Ian Haydon, CC BY-ND

There’s a revolution happening in biology, and its name is CRISPR.

CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) is a powerful technique for editing DNA. It has received an enormous amount of attention in the scientific and popular press, largely based on the promise of what this powerful gene e...



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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...



more from Kimble C.S.

Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

...

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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...

Learn more About Phil >>


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About Ilene:

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

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