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Posts Tagged ‘AMED’

Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission: Investigate Troubling Issues at Amedisys Missed by Wall Street Journal

Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission: Investigate Troubling Issues at Amedisys Missed by Wall Street Journal

Courtesy of Sam Antar of White Collar Crime 

To Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Mary Schapiro:

On June 30, 2010, Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED) announced that it "received notice of a formal investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pertaining to the company, and received a subpoena for documents relating to the matters under review by the Senate Finance Committee." The SEC investigation follows an April 2010 Wall Street Journal report questioning Amedisys’s Medicare reimbursement patterns and raising serious questions about possible abuse by the company of Medicare’s reimbursement system. In mid-June 2010, several class action lawsuits were filed against Amedisys alleging securities fraud, based on the Wall Street Journal report.

In my analysis below, I will provide additional troubling data and issues missed in the Wall Street Journal report and not cited in the various class action lawsuits for the SEC to consider in its investigation.

Background

The analysis is based entirely on information derived from Amedisys’s public disclosures in various reports filed with the SEC. Those reports provide certain statistical information about Medicare episodic, non-Medicare episodic, and non-Medicare/non-episodic home health care visits, admissions, and recertifications for each reporting period.

Amedisys further categorizes that data by base/start-up entities and acquired entities for each reporting report. Amedisys defines Base/Start-up agencies as agencies that were originally opened by the company and acquired entities owned by the company for at least a year.

Therefore, the analysis below is based almost entirelry on Amedisys’s statistical data for base/start-up agencies to provide a consistent apple-to apples comparison of the data.

Note: Download entire work sheet here (formatted for legal sized paper).

What explains the sudden increase in the growth of in base/startup Medicare episodic visits per admission?

Prior to Q2 2007, Amedisys reported fairly typical (i.e., moderate) growth in visits per Medicare episode. For example, during 2006, the number of visits per Medicare admission for base/start-up agencies increased to 29.4 visits per admission from 28 visits per admission in 2005, or a 2.2% increase over the previous comparable period. See the chart below:

Similarly, in Q1 2007, base/start-up Medicare episodic visits per admission declined to 29.1 visits per admission compared to 29.4 visits per admission in Q1 2006 or a 1.2 decrease from the previous year comparable period. See the chart below:

Starting in Q2…
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Class Action Complaint against Amedisys uses Sarbanes-Oxley Act Corporate Governance Provisions to Battle Alleged Corporate Malfeasance

Interesting to note that these actions are not being brought because Amedisys may have gamed the Medicare System but rather on the basis that if it did in fact game it, AMED had an ethical obligation to disclose its tactics. - Ilene 

Class Action Complaint against Amedisys uses Sarbanes-Oxley Act Corporate Governance Provisions to Battle Alleged Corporate Malfeasance

Courtesy of Sam Antar, White Collar Fraud 

Last week, Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross LLP filed a class action lawsuit against Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED) charging the company, its CEO William F. Borne and its CFO Dale E. Redman with securities fraud.  In the next few days, Bernstein Liebhard LLP and Finkelstein Thompson LLP filed similar class action lawsuits against the company. The lawsuits allege that Amedisys abused Medicare’s reimbursement system for at-home therapy care based on a compelling analysis of company revenues in an April 27 Wall Street Journal article.

In addition, the lawsuits innovatively utilize a provision under Section 406 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002 which provides a back-door way for investors to force ethical corporate governance and sue public companies for malfeasance. That provision requires Senior Financial Officers, such as the CEO and CFO of public companies, to abide by a strict code of ethics which broadly defines corporate malfeasance and effectively makes it easier for defrauded investors to prove misconduct by certain senior executives. Suing public companies for code of ethic violations can be a potent tool to insure good corporate governance and conduct.

Allegations that Amedisys intentionally increased patient visits to trigger higher Medicare reimbursements

According to the Pomerantz press release:

Specifically, the Complaint alleges that defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose: (1) that the Company’s reported sales and earnings growth were materially impacted by a scheme whereby the Company intentionally increased the number of in-home therapy visits to patients for the purpose of triggering higher reimbursement rates under the Medicare home health prospective payment system, as those excess visits were not always medically necessary; (2) that the Company’s reported sales and earnings were inflated by said scheme and subject to recoupment by Medicare; (3) that the Company was in material violation of its Code of Ethical Business Conduct and compliance due to the scheme to inflate Medicare revenues; and (4) based on the foregoing, defendants lacked a basis for their positive


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AMED positioning to become the 800lb gorilla of Home Healthcare

Courtesy of Philstockworld.com contributor tuscasdog. – Ilene 

AMED positioning to become the 800lb gorilla of Home Healthcare 

Zoo Keepers Offer Gorillas A Cooling Treat To Help Cope In Hot Conditions

Insights from my interviews with AMED management & updated eps forecasts:

It’s baffling why analysts are surprised that the HC bill will reduce Medicare billing rates.  It’s clearly documented in the Senate bill.  AMED has explained in several recent presentations how it is prepared for these changes and will react by aggressively accelerating the acquisition program and industry roll up to maybe 20 players from 12,000 currently.  CEO Bourne has stressed that AMED has got a robust acquisition pipeline.  AMED was previously restricting acquisition negotiations to companies with less than $100 million sales until there was clarity on the Healthcare bill package, which impacts seller pricing expectations – this is now resolved. 

Acquisitions have been highly accretive to AMED and the payback has always been less than 3 years.

AMED employs the ‘bank roll up model’ which exploits tremendous systems efficiency and cost reduction through application of accelerating scaled operating leverage.  AMED is well financed to execute the plan with $260 million of operating cash flow  and ample lines of credit.

Most of AMED’s customers are in their 80’s and are covered by Medicare, so the extended coverage of the Senate bill has only a limited impact on potential AMED volumes.  The newly insured (under 65) will be mainly seeking doctors, treatments, drugs, surgery and hospital care.  Yes, some of the 35 million will gain home healthcare (hhc) following accidents, diabetes, heart attacks, cancer, surgery etc.  I have not built any incremental volume impact into my financial projections, but I would argue that this additional covered population underpins the belief that AMED can sustain strong volume growth.

Pricing is a complex and political dynamic with many moving parts.  Not every analyst understands the complex formulae details: considerations include market basket impact on inflation adjustment, productivity adjustments, case creep (and expiry in 2011), outlier premiums and caps, rebasing, CMS holdbacks etc.

Most of the analysts have about a 2% net price reduction assumption for 2011.  But they have been slow to recognize that the 2010 pricing has a ‘one time’ bonus of 2.5% released by CMS out of the 5% funding holdback reserve and this went into the base rate for 2010.  But, this 2.5% will be taken out of the base rate in 2011.  So, the analysts are understating pricing…
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Weekly Wrap-Up – Buffett’s Daring Derivative Deal Does Well

I was going to talk about Buffett's annual letter to investors.

Fortunately, I procrastinated and other people did some detailed reporting like Ravi Nagarajan, Andy Fry, Scott Patterson and Joe Del Bruno – who does a great job of pointing out that Berkshire's 4th quarter results were propped up by Buffett's $1.05Bn gains in derivatives betting (something Buffett himself once called "weapons of mass financial destruction" but, as we well know – if you can't beat them…), which accounted for 1/3 of Berkshire's $3.06Bn profits

Buffett's biggest bet was selling a put against the S&P 500 back in March – a move I said at the time was BRILLIANT and Buffett himself now says about his own options trading:  "We are delighted that we hold the derivatives contracts that we do.  To date, we have significantly profited from the float they provide. We expect also to earn further investment income over the life of our contracts."  

What did Buffett do?  Exactly what we teach you to do here at PSW - he took advantage of an irrational move in the markets and SOLD INTO THE EXCITEMENT, getting a fat premium from some sucker that bet the S&P would not hold 666 5 years from now.  Buffett effectively sold $5Bn worth of puts that expires worthless at S&P 700 between 2019 and 2027, putting $5Bn in his pocket and holding aside $1Bn in margin, which is how much he's already ahead on the bet.  Like a good options trader, he has a plan and he's trading his plan, making sure his investment is on track and patiently letting time do it's work as it eats away at the put-holder's premium. 

What about the risk?  Well I can't speak for Buffett's stop-loss technique but we're talking about a company that has (had) $40Bn in cash using their excess margin to make a $5Bn bet that the S&P would not stay below 700 for 10 years.  Buffett and I both tell people – NEVER buy a stock (or sell a put against one) that you are not willing to own for 10 years.  The S&P was 5% below at the time and would have had to drop, perhaps, 20% more to cost him $1Bn so let's call the stop 550 on the S&P where Buffett risked 2.5% of his cash against a posible 400% gain on his $1Bn risk allocation over 10+ years.  While it is true that if the
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Prior Weekly Wrap-Up – February Expiration Day Special!

I didn’t get to do a wrap-up last week so we have a lot of trades to go over and, with expiration looming and the Fed tightening, I thought it would be good to just get the list out on Friday so we can adjust our rolls to March where neccessary (in bold under appropriate positions).

In our Feb 7th Wrap-Up, I was gung-ho bullish saying "It’s Only a 55-Point Drop You Wimps!" and we had  been BUYBUYBUYing at the bottom all week, especially Wed-Fri as the market spiked through our projected support at Dow 10,000 but not enough to change our minds as we bottom-fished on AAPL (2 trades), ABX, ACOR, AKAM, AMED, BRK/B (2), C, CCJ (3), CSCO, DELL, FXI, GE,  GOOG, IBM, LLY, LOW, NLY, TBT (5 times!), TM (3), TNA, USO (yep, we wen long oil) and UYG.  To say we were weigting bullish by that Monday was an understatement as we has finished the weekend in a bullish stance and were relying on our disaster hedges to protect us

Those disaster hedges are an interesting set to look at, especially now that we’ve recovered 400 points:

  • DXD July $27/33 bull call spread at $2.50, now $2 – down 20%
    • We can roll the $27 calls to the $25 calls for $5 to widen the spread and drop our b/e from $29.50 to $28.50
  • EDZ July $3/8 bull call spread at $2.10, now $1.60 - down 23%
  • EDZ Apr $10 calls sold for .70, now .15 – up 78% (pair trade)
  • SDS 2011 $36/40 bull call spread at $1.30, now $1 – down 18%
    • We can roll the $36 calls to the $33 calls for $1.10
  • TBT Jan $35/45 bull call spread at $6.30, now $7.40 - up 17%
  • TBT March $50s sold for .65, now $1.22 – down 87% (pair trade)

This is what is great about disaster hedges.  The potential upside on these spreads, if the market headed south was up about 100% on the 4 trades so a commitment of 5% of your virtual portfolio to each one (20%) would give you back 40% of your virtual portfolio in cash if the markets tanked.  Already, after 2 weeks, we have the markets heading in the opposite direction and what is the cost?  Not even 20% of the 20% you may have allocated, a 4% insurance premium while the 80% of the virtual portfolio that is bullish caught a…
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Wintery Wednesday – Are We Now Corrected?

Was that it?

A 10% correction (David Fry chart on right) and we’re done?  If so, this is still a fairly bullish market, and it should be, as our sell-off last year was, beyond a doubt, way overdone.  Often people forget the fundamentals of investing and the biggest fundamental of them all is: "Where else are you going to put your money?"  There many fine companies out there with P/E ratios that are below 15.  That means if you give them a dollar, they will return 6.6% in earnings.  IBM has a PE of 12, which is an 8.3% return on my money and, according to projections, that will improve to 11 next year, generating 9 cents for each dollar I give them

Call me an optimist but I think IBM is a fairly safe place to keep my money.  Perhaps as safe as 4% TBills, or 7% Greek bonds or 3% Yen Notes or, Heaven forbid, a bank!  In fact, not many banks are paying 1.8% on your deposits but IBM does through dividends.  IBM was my example trade in the Weeekend Wrap-Up so I won’t get into strategies here but that is what our whole Buy List is about – picking up great long-term values and hedging them to even more effective entries.  

Not every stock is as rock solid as IBM but (going back to the Wrap-Up) who did we buy when the chips were down last week?  C, CCJ, TBT, GOOG, XLF, AAPL, AMED, CSCO, TM, LOW, AKAM, LLY, NLY, GE, TNA, USO, ABX, DELL, FXI, UYG, BRK/B.  Not exactly a radical collection of picks is it?  Yesterday, with the market up 2.5% from our shopping spree – we bought NOTHING.  Part of the "buy low – sell high" philosophy is waiting for the market to be either high or low.  Two weeks ago, on Jan 29th, I charted 10,058 on the Dow as a critical support line and, from our Buy List Update this weekend, I put up the following chart for Members:

And where did we finish yesterday on the Dow?  10,058.  See, this charting thing is easy – that’s why I don’t usually bother, it’s dullsville!  Let’s now turn our attention to our other major levels of 10,165 and 10,300 which, keep in mind, is nothing more than our predicted "weak bounce" off the drop from 10,700.  As I said in the above chart, we can expect
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Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Here’s PSW member Tuscadog’s detailed analysis of the company Amedisys (AMED). Tuscadog feels this is one of the few solid opportunities in the stock market, and he suggests a massive short squeeze may be coming due to AMED’s 53% short interest. – Ilene

Amedisys, Inc. provides home health and hospice services to the chronic, co-morbid, and aging American population. Its home health services include skilled nursing and home health aide services; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and medically oriented social work to eligible individuals who require ongoing care. The company also offers clinically focused programs for chronic conditions and various diseases,… (Yahoo financial, more here.>>)

Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Courtesy of Tuscadog, member at PSW

Doctor standing outdoors with elderly patient

Feb 23rd may be ‘Judgment Day’ for the AMED short interest.

This is a long posting based on a lot of research and high level interviews I’ve conducted. I’m a private (long term) investor in Amed and I don’t appreciate the way Amed has been ‘jerked around’ by the hedge funds with false rumors and shorting, hence my willingness to share my analysis with small investors. These are my opinions based on my own extensive research, so invest at your own risk. For background on Amed pay particular attention to the 7 articles by Daryl Davis in the ‘Financial Blogs’ section of the Yahoo Finance page for Amed.

UPDATED GUIDANCE WILL BE A NIGHTMARE FOR SHORTS:

Amed will likely release 2009 EPS on Feb 23rd of around $4.90 to $5 and, more importantly, it will give guidance for 2010 based on the status quo on Medicare billing rates for 2010 (i.e. as already issued for 2010 by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS). Based on the company’s growth rates and CMS’s announced approved rate increase for 2010 (which translates into a 1.8% net increase for 2010 after two flat pricing years) Amed will likely provide 2010 guidance in the $5.60 to $5.70 range.  I believe actual results outcome will likely be higher, in the $5.70 to $5.90 range.

The 15 analysts who cover AMED are likely waiting for Amed’s guidance update and to see if there are any Health-Bill developments. The Suntrust  upgrade Monday to a $70 target is using a pessimistic assumption of a revision to a retroactive 2.5% Medicare billing rate reduction for 2010. Currently, analysts eps forecasts for 2010 include varying degrees of…
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Weekly Wrap-Up, it’s Only a 55-Point Drop You Wimps!

That’s right, I said WIMPS! 

I have never heard so much whining and crying and complaining about a market drop as I have the past few weeks.  Last week, I pointed out that we had only fallen 105 points from the prior week (10,172 to 10,067) and this week we fell ALL THE WAY to 10,012 to finish the week and you would think the world was ending (again) from the way the MSM has been acting.

By Friday the panic was palpable as we gave up Monday and Tuesday’s bogus gains to test new lows for the year – testing, in fact, the lowest levels the market has hit since last November and I pointed out in Friday’s post that it reminded me of when BSC and LEH went under and everyone panicked and sold Financials off to the point where Warren Buffet was willing to give GS $5Bn AFTER they bounced 50% – THAT’s how undervalued the financials were in November of 2008. 

Fear and Greed are market driversWhat do we do while people are panicking?  We BUY!  We don’t BUYBUYBUY like Cramer’s Pavlovian Peons but we sure do BUY and take some nice entry positions with sensible hedges.  I was finally motivated to finish updating our Buy List on Friday and 18 of our 38 positions were highlighted (immediately actionable) on Friday.  Sure they may go lower, but we’re buying them with 20% buffers built into the positions and then we can double down if they drop 40% (back to Nov 2008 lows) and then we’ll have our entries down 10% from the lowest levels of the past decade or so that we can hold until the next decade – what’s there to panic over?

If I wanted to buy IBM in January but thought it was a little pricey at $134, why would I not be HAPPY to have the opportunity to make an enty at $122, back at where they were pre FABULOUS October earnings?  I can buy IBM for $122 and take advantage of the panic-induced VIX at 26 to sell July $125 calls for $6.60 and the July $120 puts for $6.65 for a net entry of $108.75 with a call away at $125 for a $16.25 profit (15%) in 5 months.  If IBM should fall below $120, we will have a second round of the stock put to us as $120 for an average entry of $114.38, another 6.2% lower than it is
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Merry Christmas Eve

First of all, what are you doing here?

Why it’s Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge – Most global markets are having a half day so, if you are waiting for a Santa Clause rally on a half-day’s trading, you are very likely to be disappointed.

Remember Marley, who cried: "Business!  Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Marley was a man who worked and worked until the day he died and regretted it every day after.  If you don’t believe in an afterlife and you don’t believe in leaving behind the World a better place than you found it, at least find some time for yourself so people don’t call you "a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!" 

Those covetous old sinners in Congress passed the Health Care Bill in the Senate today with a 60-39 vote (Republican Jim Bunning did not vote against the bill but was too chicken to actually vote for it) so we can pretty much count on it moving through the House and on to Obama’s desk in the very near future.  While it’s a total botch-job of a bill, at least America has taken the first civilized strep to recognizing that health care is a right and not a privilege – Tiny Tim would be very proud!

We were told by Fox that Health Care reform would destroy the universe but the market has taken the December passage of the bill very much in stride so maybe we should have just gone for it with Universal Health Care after all…  Oh well, maybe next year!  Meanwhile, we’ll be looking for good investing opportunities once we get a handle on the final bill but I still favor the device space (IHI, MDT, BSX, JNJ, GE, ISRG) as well as big pharma (MRK, PFE), who will be able to serve tens of millions of new customers.  Hospitals (UHS, THC) should also start filling up and we always like our CELG as well as AMGN, who should also benefit from adding a population the size of England to the health care rolls right here in the USA.  I’m waiting for the final bill but home health care providers (AMED,…
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Bullish Bedlam on UnitedHealth in Late-Day Trading

www.interactivebrokers.com

Today’s tickers: UNH, F, EZCH, FBP, XOP, F, BMY, KFT, UNT, TIVO, ADBE & AMED

UNH – UnitedHealth Group, Inc. – Bullish investors stampeded the health and well-being company in late afternoon trading with shares up 3% to a new 52-week high of $32.25. Frenzied call activity on the stock drove option implied volatility up sharply by 19.5% to 45.17% from an intraday low of 37.37%. One investor was ready for the rally today, and banked profits on a previously established call position. The trader likely purchased about 20,000 calls at the now deep in-the-money December 23 strike price for a maximum premium of 3.00 per contract back on October 8, 2009, when UNH shares were at $24.13. Today the trader sold the calls for an average premium of 8.95 each. It looks like the investor took in net profits on the sale of at least 5.95 per contract for a total of $11.9 million. Next, it appears the trader extended bullish sentiment on the stock by establishing a larger call position. A big chunk of 30,000 calls were picked up at the now in-the-money January 31 strike for an average premium of 2.20 each. Thus, the trader breaks even on the new position if shares surpass $33.20 by expiration next month. Other bullish traders initiated call spreads on the stock. One UNH-bull bought 5,000 calls at the in-the-money January 31 strike for about 2.12 apiece, and sold the same number of calls at the higher January 34 strike for 70 cents premium each. The net cost of the spread amounts to 1.42 per contract and yields maximum potential profits of 1.58 apiece if shares rally up to $34.00 by January’s expiration day.

F – Ford Motor Co. – A late afternoon, large-volume put spread on the U.S. automaker is likely the work of an investor locking in gains enjoyed during Ford’s recent share price rally. Shares reached a new 52-week high of $9.64 during the trading session. The option trader looked to the March 2010 contract to purchase 18,000 puts at the March 9.0 strike for 62 cents apiece, spread against the sale of the same number of puts at the lower March 7.0 strike for 16 cents premium each. The net cost of the protective play amounts to 46 cents per contract. If the investor is indeed holding a long position in the underlying, the value of that…
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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!

 
 

Zero Hedge

"Who Do You Trust?"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Ben Hunt of Salient Partners' Epsilon Theory blog,


 

Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
? Immanuel Kant

Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
? Joseph Welch, counsel for the US Army, confronting Sen. Joseph McCarthy (1954)

Trust Cramer!
– CNBC ad campaign

We are all wrong so often that it amazes me that we can have any c...



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Chart School

S&P 500 Snapshot: Spooky October Ends with a Record Close

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The S&P 500 closed out the historically volatile month of October at an all-time high, up 1.17% for the day, 2.72% for the week and 2.32% for the month. This October had a 8.35% spread between its closing low on the 15th and today's record close.

The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.35%, up 3 bps from yesterday's close but down 17 bps from the September close.

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

Here is a monthly chart of the index. The price volatility was accompanied by a surge in volume, 29% above its 10-month moving average.

A Perspective on Drawdowns

How close were we to an "official" correction, generally defined as a 10% drawdown from a high (based on daily closes)? The chart below incorporates a percent-off...



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Phil's Favorites

Could Non-Citizens Determine the Outcome of the Midterm Elections?

Courtesy of Mish.

Here's the question of the day: Could Non-Citizens Determine the Outcome of the Midterm Elections?

Some elections, especially for Senate are so close, the unfortunate answer is "yes" as the following video insight from Insight from the Libre Institute explains.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com


More from Mish Here

 

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Market Shadows

When one door closes...

Predictions that the US equity market would collapse at the end of QE have so far been wrong (and in a very painful way if you shorted the market based on the Fed's actions alone). The end-of-the-world-QE bears failed to factor in another surprise move by the Bank of Japan. The BOJ announced its own QE program today -- it is donating $124Bn ($80 trillion yen) to the market-propping cause. It plans to triple the amount of Japanese ETFs and REITs it buys on the open market.

As  at Business Insider wrote on Oct. 26, If You Missed The Rally, Then You Just Made The Most Classic Mistake In Investing. Since then, the market continues higher...

...

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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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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bullish conviction returns, but market likely to consolidate its V-bottom

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Bulls showed renewed backbone last week and drew a line in the sand for the bears, buying with gusto into weakness as I suggested they would. After all, this was the buying opportunity they had been waiting for. As if on cue, the start of the World Series launched the rapid market reversal and recovery. However, there is little chance that the rally will go straight up. Volatility is back, and I would look for prices to consolidate at this level before making an attempt to go higher. I still question whether the S&P 500 will ultimately achieve a new high before year end.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then o...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of October 27th, 2014

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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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

(As usual, use your PSW user name and password to sign in. You may also take a free trial.) 

 

#455292918 / gettyimages.com

 

...

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Option Review

LUV Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...



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Digital Currencies

Goodbye War On Drugs, Hello Libertarian Utopia. Dominic Frisby's Bitcoin: The Future of Money?

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?

With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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