I discovered PSW while reading up on the US economy and how it applies to all the poor folk of the world and to myself as a humble UK desk slave.
This year I put time into learning options trading. I upgraded (with great administrative difficulty!) my stock dealing account to deal options. Now I am an avid reader of PSW and subscribed for voyeur membership. Initially feeling out of my depth struggling to keep up with the peculiar language of options traders, I unsubscribed feeling a little under confident and uncertain if the small stake I have to invest in options could generate enough to justify my PSW subscription. Nevertheless, I've benefited considerably from the member's material. From a small number of initial trades, I've exceeded profit targets enough to consider re-subscribing in some capacity. Thanks for the knowledge and more than anything I appreciate the human angle, the humour and the ecologically sympathetic approach rarely seen in other financial media. Best wishes all - Jon
Phil - Thanks for the welcoming gift of the POT at a buck
Just paid for this month and my membership is not even 24 hours old!
looking forward to many more - bk
You called all the trends and market movements with perfection this week. I enjoyed it! Thanks for keeping us sane!
Peter D: great write-up for Short Strangles, Part 1, looking forward to Part 2, particularly the adjustment part.
As a retired stockbroker from a major Canadian brokerage firm, I can tell you I would never had access to these type of trade ideas, especially the hedges.
Just closed out a July TZA 40/45 call spread today for a 271% gain in less than a month. I would have normally let that run but yesterday Phil commented to another member something to the effect that "you put down a $1 for a $5 upside, now that you are up 250% you have $2.5 in and you are hoping for a double."
Just closed out a USO July $38 put that Phil suggested yesterday for a 49% one day gain.
I have learned more about options in the past 2 weeks as a full PSW member that the previous 5 yrs of making more bad than good option plays. The educational material alone is worth several times the price of admission. I have had an expensive education on what not to do- what is past is past- I am looking forward to profitable/fun future.
Started my membership in mid-Oct and have since then learned so much about options by reading the site's articles and postings, members' chats and suggested trades – as a bonus, the articles are entertaining as well! Phil's long-term investing strategy makes really good sense as I've seen its effect on my GLW positions.
Phil – thanks for sharing your knowledge of the market! I've worked as risk analyst for the investment dept of a $19B insurance company, and the scope and depth of your daily commentaries blows away what I have seen and heard from the PMs and even the chief investment officer! Most of all, I will continue to be a member because you have your priorities right (from my POV) – it's not all about money and power.
Thanks, Phil!!! I just crushed today with it with silver (SLV) calls today, thanks to your persistent reminders of how ridiculously cheap it has become, and watching my TSLA this week $240 puts dissolve into chump change added an extra note of amusement.
I am not a user of phil's site now, but was for a couple years. His advice and information is excellent. Perhaps even better, you get access to real-time trades of additional traders on his site (OptTrader, etc) and the other members who post what they are buying and selling. Overall, its a very valuable information tool. Expensive, but paid for itself many times over. I did not renew my membership because I switched jobs and did not have time to trade nearly as much.
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!
Phil - I got your earlier trade a month or so ago on MSFT 2015 32/37 BCS, selling 2015 30 puts. Nice up 75% now!
Phil – I think I finally figured out your "crystal ball" time frame. You're about 5-14 days AHEAD of what the market is going to do. It's taken me a long time to realize this, but boy it's been profitable. I go in when you recommend something at about 25% allocation, and then add to it each day it "goes the wrong way" Then BOOM, one day it's all good…. The long put list was literally exact in it's timing.
I have followed along with your commentary and alerts and have been flabbergasted at your quick analytical skills and your journalistic skills to explain it clearly. In a little over three weeks I have cleared almost 1000.00 dollars and got an intensive education at the same time. I would like to immediately upgrade my membership.
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.
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.
Phil - DIA 107 Calls. As suggested I am taking the money and running to home depot for some shelter supplies! This is the grand finale of several successful trades from you through this roller-coster and as you have further suggested it is time for me to sit back and relax in cash. May even be able to talk my wife into the premium membership after these intelligent trades in a stupid market.
Simply the best blogger with the greatest group of members a person could surround himself with on trading day. I've been trading for quite some time now and the insights & suggestions offered by Phil and the members keep me on a continuous learning cycle.
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.
I am an investor, not a trader. The information at Phil's World is top-notch and always relevant. It is great to see your website thriving.
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.
Phil - FAS - I dont know whether to be happier I averaged down and sold calls or that I got myself out of FAZ the other day…thanks for that help
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.
Hey Phil - writing to thank you!
First of all, and I know you have heard this a few times form some others - the portfolio updates you have done - with entries and targets and even margin reqs are invaluable!
I find myself understanding what is done here IN THEORY most of the time..however, there is a much bigger difference in placing and setting up the hedges properly than just understanding…This has been eye opening for me and Ifeel like I just took a major step in trading during the last week.
I have definitely learned to take smaller wins early and be happy with that. Lately, I've aimed for $250 profit per day. Doing that daily/weekly x 48 weeks (assuming I take some time off) works out to 60k per year. That's a lot of money!! $250 moves happen all the time if you just wait for them.
I have been here a year, and made most of my money back from the 14K fall. The people here are more than willing to help whe Phil cannot get to it. FWIW - This site is my brokerage firm, I was with Wells Fargo Portfolio and it was costing a fortune to trade, the costs here are more than offset with the data, trade ideas and profits you should make.. and I get a chuckle out of Cap and Phil's rantings on healtcare, guns, oh, yeah, and government….
Happy holidays to all members of PSW. Just completed my 6th year and still my favorite site to read. Thank you all for your contributions and support especially you, Phil!
Phil fantastic call on the markets… I owe you BIG…thanks and have a great weekend!
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.
Phil: UNH, hedged stock position, doing great, up over 50 %,
I don't post much, but I guess this morning has brought me out. This site has made me tens of thousands, every year since I have become a member. It took me nearly two years devoting 3 hours per day to get on the ball, and actually understand portion sizing, and which trades fit my personal trading style. Before that I spent at least two years working on Buffet style fundamental investing. (Intellegent Investor, Security Analysis, ect.). This site really will teach you amazing things if you just pay attention. Literally it has changed my day to day life, has allowed my family and I to move back to the U.S. from overseas with confidence even with a paycut at my day job, and literally put me in a different league financially. Seriously my life and my children's is better because of this site.
“We now have an economy in which five banks control over 50 percent of the entire banking industry, four or five corporations own most of the mainstream media, and the top one percent of families hold a greater share of the nation’s wealth than any time since 1930. This sort of concentration of wealth and power is a classic setup for the failure of a democratic republic and the stifling of organic economic growth.” - Jesse –http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/
Source: Barry Ritholtz
“All of the old-timers knew that subprime mortgages were what we called neutron loans — they killed the people and left the houses.” - Louis S. Barnes, 58, a partner at Boulder West, a mortgage banking firm in Lafayette, Colo
Borrow-short lend-long strategies have caused more pain and grief than nearly any play in the book. They are virtually guaranteed to blow up given enough time if the duration mismatch and leverage is too great.
For those who do not know what I am describing, a couple examples below will help explain. The first example is a look at "cost of funds" and guaranteed profits that banks can make. It is not a borrow-short lend-long strategy but will morph into such a scheme as I vary the parameters.
Inquiring minds investigating Citigroup’s cost of funds note that Citigroup 5 year CDs yield a mere 1.5%. For this example, Citigroup’s cost of funds is 1.5%, the rate it pays depositors. Here are a few snips from Citi’s website.
Who said there are no guarantees in life?
Some things in life are a sure thing. Like a Citibank CD, which offers a guaranteed—and highly competitive—interest rate. You also get a wide range of terms, from 3 months to 5 years.
Citigroup has the gall to brag about "guarantees in life" when the "guarantee" in question is a complete ripoff. It’s a ripoff because 5-year US treasuries currently yield 2.35%.
Anyone buying CDs at less than the treasury yield rate is a fool.
Rates at Bank of America, Northern Trust, JPMorgan Chase
I will tie this together shortly, but first make note that the Northern Trust, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase offer even lower 5-Year CD rates.
Here are some rates courtesy of Bankrate.Com as of 2011-02-15.
According to Bankrate, national average for 5 year CDs is 1.61% and the rock bottom low is .95%. The site average is 1.98% and the top yielding 5-year CD yields 2.75%. Thus Citigroup’s claim of competitive rates is absurd.
Although Bank of America makes no such claims, its CD rate is priced so preposterously low, that Bank of America must not even want to deal with them. Alternatively, B of A has an incredibly large pool of moronic depositors begging to be ripped off.
Guaranteed Free Money
Anyone buying 5-year CDs from Citigroup, Bank of America, Northern Trust, or JPMorgan Chase is giving those banks a shot at guaranteed free money.
All those banks have to do is take that money and invest in 5-year US treasuries to have a guaranteed profit. Here are the reasons…
Let’s be clear here: A year ago, Assange said he had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive. More recently, he’s said that WikiLeaks is preparing to disclose evidence of an “ecosystem of corruption” at a big US bank. He expects the disclosures to cause resignations. There’s a widespread expectations that Bank of America is the target, even though Assange has been coy about that.
But one thing that’s highly unlikely is that Assange is making this up.
It’s possible everyone is wrong in connecting the dots here. Maybe the new megaleak has nothing to do with Bank of America. It’s also possible that Assange is over-confident in the importance of his information.
Bill Black, who will soon, together with Neil Barofsky, be a guaranteed shoe-in for the POTUS/VP position (both as independents, of course), was on the Ratigan show today, following on his op-ed from last week (here and here) calling for the long-overdue nationalization of Bank of America, and discussing the rampant fraud at the heart of mortgage gate. And contrary to ongoing lowball estimates from the like of JPM and Goldman, Black provides numbers about the bank liability that are simply stunning: "Credit Suisse says that by 2006 49% of all mortgage originations were liars loans. When independent folks study fraud, it is in the 80-90% fraud range. That means there were millions of acts of fraud. Those loan frauds occurred because the banks created incentive structure for the loan brokers to bring them the absolute worst of the worst loans, and to lie on the application forms… These frauds came from the banks, and they propagated through the system through a series of echo epidemics…This fraud spread through the system and that’s why we have a crisis in foreclosures. This stems from the underlying fraud by the lenders in mortgage loans to the tune of well over a million cases a year by 2005."
Furthermore, Black points out the glaringly obvious, that the Fed should not be in charge of any investigation into mortgage fraud, due to its "massive" conflict of interest, to the tune of $1.5 trillion in MBS/agencies held on the Fed’s books, which would be immediately null and voided if rampant MBS fraud is indeed uncovered. Which is precisely why the entitlement of the Fed as supreme regulator (as inspired by the financial generosity of the Wall Street lobby) as part of Frank-Dodd was the one single most destructive decision ever made, and equivalent in many ways with electing America’s very own tyrannical despot, whose only interest is making the multi billionaires, into trillionaires, and leaving everyone else in the cold through the eliminating of the savings class and the destruction of the reserve currency.
And it goes much further… to the very top of the US ruling oligarchy in fact. Which is why, as we have claimed from day one, nothing less than a complete reset of the entire kleptocratic system…
The current market rally is not based on a self-sustained typical economic recovery, but on blind faith that the Fed can pull out a magic wand and cure everything with another round of quantitative easing (QE2). As we pointed out last week, this a desperate attempt by the Fed to try non-conventional means to get the economy going again after a massive dose of conventional measures resulted in failure. The members of the FOMC know this, but with further fiscal measures off the table, they are aware that they are the only game in town. The Fed’s acknowledgement that the economy is in trouble is again highlighted by the latest Beige Book released yesterday. The following are some excerpts from the report:
“National economic activity continued to rise, albeit at a modest pace..consumer spending was steady to up slightly, but consumers remained price-sensitive, and purchases were mostly limited to necessities and non-discretionary items..Housing markets remained weak..Most reports suggested overall home sales were sluggish or declining..Home inventories were elevated or rising..Conditions in the commercial real estate market were subdued, and construction was expected to remain weak.Reports suggested that rental rates continued to decline for most commercial property types..industry contacts appeared to believe that the commercial real estate and construction sectors would remain weak for some time..Hiring remained limited, with many firms reluctant to add to permanent payrolls, given economic softness..Future capital spending plans appeared to be limited”
So there you have an outline of the anemic economic picture in the Fed’s own words. To be sure, they indicated some strong points as well. But the weakness in consumer spending, housing, capital expenditures, commercial real estate and employment pretty much accounts for some 85% of the overall economy.
In addition some of the major problems that worried the market earlier have not really gone away. The sovereign debt problems of the weaker EU nations have been papered over without being solved and are still lingering just beneath the surface. The looming currency wars that were shoved down the road by the recent G-20 meeting are also a major threat to the global economy.
Furthermore the Chinese housing bubble previously highlighted by bearish investor Jim Chanos and others has now appeared on the front page of the New York Times. A new district of the city of Ordos,…
Short Term Market Condition: Oversold (short term bullish)
Short Term Trend: Neutral
Just about everyone has heard about or read “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in which he describes how unexpected, highly improbable events can have massive impact.
I think that recent developments in U.S. financial markets could be a “black turkey,” larger, more destructive and uglier than any black swan ever could be.
In recent days, a “black swan” event, or even worse, a potential “black turkey” event has surfaced that is just beginning to impact financial markets and could have far reaching effects going forward.
I’m talking about “Foreclosuregate” or the “robo signing” scandal that has been rocking financial markets over the past several days and that this action could be just the beginning of a major unforeseen, black swan event.
Of course the details are still murky but the Attorneys General in all 50 states have launched an investigation to see if false documents and forged signatures were used in their foreclosure procedures.
All the big names could be involved, including Ally Financial, Bank of America and JP Morgan, among others, and the ramifications could be huge as this situation could throw the whole foreclosure process into question and uncertainty.
Today’s selloff appeared to be what could be the first salvo in a bloody war as PIMCO, Blackrock and the New York Federal Reserve went to Bank of America with a demand for $47 billion of mortgage repurchases. These entities are all huge players with similar interests and to have them square off against each other is certainly an unexpected event.
Bank of America will fight this, of course, but the “black turkey” here is that nobody knows how large the liability or how far reaching the claims might go if “robo signing” spreads.
JP Morgan estimates liabilities of as high as $120 Billion but if the $47 Billion at Bank of America is accurate, total industry liabilities could be much higher.
And here’s where the “black turkey” really could really get ugly. As we know, the market hates uncertainty…
The mortgage fraud cost estimates for banks are a bit like QB Ryan Leaf - all over the place and without any accuracy whatsoever.
We’re hearing estimates of anywhere from a few hundred million bucks to as much as $200 billion! And in the meantime, Bank of America ($BAC) is telling us that they’ve found nothing wrong in their foreclosure process and that after halting all activity in 50 states, they are now back in business in half the country.
There are currently 7 million foreclosures in the housing market that need to be worked through and any delay will be costly for large lenders like B of A.
Should the states or the courts decide that many of these securitized mortgage-backed bonds are structured fraudulently (no one knows which mortgage is owned by whom), there is a possibility that the banks may have to buy them back due to a clause on most of this paper called the Put-Back.
In the absence of anything even resembling a consensus on how big the costs of mortgage put-backs may be, the temptation is to simply say, Who Cares? Well, I’ll tell you who cares…
For starters, how about hedge fund manager John Paulson? With a stake in Bank of America of 167 million shares, Mr. Paulson has about 2 billion reasons to care about how big their put-back exposure is.
Mutual fund monster Bruce Berkowitz (Fairholme) has about 667 million reasons to give a damn (54 million shares held).
Hedgie David Tepper of Appaloosa Management, no slouch himself in the "reflation trade", has about 337 million reasons to care (27 million shares).
These three investors make up the Triumvirate of the Reflationista Trade. These are the ultimate Don’t-Fight-The-Fed-ers.
That they are all in the same trade, BAC, is not a surprise – it is the quintessential call option on housing and employment. But they may not have bargained for the foreclosure mess that has hit the media with the gale-force wind of 2007′s sub-prime storm. Whether or not this particular storm blows over – or spills over – is very much of interest to Paulson, Berkowitz and Tepper, make no mistake.
The news had a significant impact on the market because of the parties involved in suing Bank of America. The loans were originated by CountryWide, which had been acquired by BofA. It is ironic that Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo just settled with the SEC admitting no wrongdoing and merely paid a fine which was a small percentage of his financial gains.
It is nothing new for bondholders and the common people to sue some of the big Wall Street Banks for fraud.
But when the plaintiffs include some of the most important financial institutions in the country the market has to sit up and take notice.
It’s nice to see some outrage being expressed, even if it is among the privileged few. Watching Bloomberg television was particularly difficult today as the apologetics and cheerleading for the financial sector among its guests and newspeople is almost shameless.
Pacific Investment Management Co., BlackRock Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are seeking to force Bank of America Corp. to repurchase soured mortgages packaged into $47 billion of bonds by its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit, people familiar with the matter said.
A group of bondholders wrote a letter to Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., the debt’s trustee, citing alleged failures by Countrywide to service loans properly, their lawyer said yesterday in a statement that didn’t name the firms. The New York Fed acquired mortgage debt through its 2008 rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc.
Investors are stepping up efforts to recoup losses on mortgage bonds, which plummeted in value amid the worst slump in home prices since the 1930s. Last month, BNY Mellon declined to investigate mortgage files in response to a demand from the bondholder group, which has since expanded. Countrywide’s servicing failures, including insufficient record keeping, may open the door for investors to seek repurchases by bypassing the trustee, said Kathy Patrick, their lawyer at Gibbs & Bruns LLP.
ZeroHedge obtained an internal memo from Wells Fargo detailing the banks new procedures to handle what may be a flood of repurchase requests, as end investors use fraud allegations and sloppy paperwork to demand refunds on the mortgages they bought from the bank.
Here’s the gist:
Wells Fargo receives a deficiency notice or demand from the investor. Typically, Wells Fargo has 60 days to resolve the issue.
Wells Fargo notifies the Seller and provides supporting documentation when available. At this time, the Seller is given twenty-one calendar days to provide an explanation, facts or documentation to demonstrate that the mortgage loan complies with the requirements. If the Seller does not respond within 14 days of the initial notice, Wells Fargo will follow up with the Seller.
Wells Fargo will begin internal research (concurrently with Step 2) to resolve the loan issues. During this process, Wells Fargo will determine if there is a missing document and if the document can be located.
For all other issues, Wells Fargo will perform research to
From 2001 to 2011, would you have rather owned the S&P 500 or Gold Miners (Gold Bugs Index/HUI)? If you answered the Gold Bugs index, you would be correct. The left chart below compares the performance of the Gold Bugs Index and the S&P 500. From 2001 to 2011, the Gold Bugs index out performed the S&P 500 by 1,400% (left chart below).
Since 2011, miners have been weaker than the S&P 500 by a large percent. Could the stage be for another period where the mining stocks are going to be stronger than the broad markets again?
For those who took advantage of the resistance test in the Semiconductor Index; there was a picture perfect test of the hashed blue line resistance and secondary break of former rising channel support. The Semiconductor Index finished bang on the 20-day MA so there may be a little (big?) bounce tomorrow. If buyers can't defend the 20-day MA then the 50-day MA is next.
The S&P did not experience the biggest loss, but it did undercut the recent swing low. In fact, the relative performance of the index against ...
Taking a "resp-shit" or "potty break" from "in the Toilet Thursday" or "Thursday's in the Loo"... One of our favorite scenes from the 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski, the ash can scene where Walter Subchak (John Goodman) eulogizes the departed Donnie (Steve Buscemi) with Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) looking on.
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
Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.
A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...
ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.
As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...
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.
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for
informational purposes only and is based upon information that is
considered to be reliable. However, neither PSW Investments, LLC d/b/a PhilStockWorld (PSW)
nor its affiliates
warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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