Posts Tagged ‘consumer spending’

Why The (Obvious) Discomfort Ben?

Why The (Obvious) Discomfort Ben?

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Heh heh heh….

Snippets this time, since I’m on vacation….

The economic expansion that began in the middle of last year is proceeding at a moderate pace, supported by stimulative monetary and fiscal policies. Although fiscal policy and inventory restocking will likely be providing less impetus to the recovery than they have in recent quarters, rising demand from households and businesses should help sustain growth. In particular, real consumer spending appears to have expanded at about a 2-1/2 percent annual rate in the first half of this year, with purchases of durable goods increasing especially rapidly. However, the housing market remains weak, with the overhang of vacant or foreclosed houses weighing on home prices and construction.

Uh huh.  Note the word appears.  In political circles this is known as a "weasel word", and gives the speaker an out if the claim turns out to be pure nonsense down the road (and it will.)

The most-important part of this paragraph, however, is the fact that it recognizes that the government has stepped in and replaced 11% of final demand with borrowed money.

Inflation has remained low. The price index for personal consumption expenditures appears to have risen at an annual rate of less than 1 percent in the first half of the year. Although overall inflation has fluctuated, partly reflecting changes in energy prices, by a number of measures underlying inflation has trended down over the past two years. The slack in labor and product markets has damped wage and price pressures, and rapid increases in productivity have further reduced producers’ unit labor costs.

Note the direct contradiction with the above paragraph (does Ben really think we’re dumb enough not to notice?)

Specifically, slack labor markets and increased output demands per unit of compensated labor means consumer income, that which should be driving spending, is trending downward.…
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Bernanke Says Economic Outlook is “Unusually Uncertain”, Fed Prepared for “Actions as Needed”

Bernanke Says Economic Outlook is "Unusually Uncertain", Fed Prepared for "Actions as Needed"

ben bernanke Courtesy of Mish

Be prepared for Quantitative Easing Round 2 (QE2) and/or other misguided Fed policy decisions because Bernanke Says Fed Ready to Take Action.

Treasuries rose, pushing two-year yields to the fourth record low in five days, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the economic outlook is “unusually uncertain” and policy makers are prepared “to take further policy actions as needed.”

Ten-year note yields touched a three-week low as Bernanke said central bankers are ready to act to aid growth even as they prepare to eventually raise interest rates from almost zero and shrink a record balance sheet.

“An unusual outlook may call for unusual measures, and that means the Fed may take more action as needed, which would lead to lower rates,” said Suvrat Prakash, an interest-rate strategist in New York at BNP Paribas, one of the 18 primary dealers that trade with the central bank.

The Fed chief didn’t elaborate on steps the Fed might take as he affirmed the Fed’s policy of keeping rates low for an “extended period.” Economic data over the past month that were weaker than analysts projected have prompted investor speculation the Fed may increase monetary stimulus in a bid to keep the economy growing and reduce a jobless rate from close to a 26-year high.

“Bernanke acknowledged that things weren’t very strong economically and left action on the table without going into details, and that’s sending investors from stocks into bonds,” said James Combias, New York-based head of Treasury trading at primary dealer Mizuho Financial Group Inc.

Monetary Policy Report to the Congress July 2010

Inquiring minds are slogging through the 56 page Monetary Policy Report to the Congress July 2010. Here are a few key snips.

Summary of Economic Projections

Participants generally made modest downward revisions to their projections for real GDP growth for the years 2010 to 2012, as well as modest upward revisions to their projections for the unemployment rate for the same period.

Participants also revised down a little their projections for inflation over the forecast period. Several participants noted that these revisions were largely the result of the incoming economic data and the anticipated effects of developments abroad on U.S. financial markets and the economy. Overall, participants continued to expect the pace of the economic recovery to


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Bernanke Reiterates the Fed’s “Whatever It Takes” Pledge for the Thousandth Time

To summarize and save you time, Jr. Deputy Accountant writes

Bernanke Reiterates the Fed’s "Whatever It Takes" Pledge for the Thousandth Time

I won’t call Bernanke a one trick pony since he’s got more tricks than a Hollywood madam but I will say this: the man is nothing if not consistent.

USA Today:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Wednesday the economic outlook remains "unusually uncertain," and the central bank is ready to take new steps to keep the recovery alive if the economy worsens.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke also said record low interest rates are still needed to bolster the U.S. economy. He repeated a pledge to keep them there for an "extended period."

Whatever it takes!

Full text of Bernanke’s semi-annual monetary policy check-in with Congress may be found via the Board of Governors


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Services ISM Growth Slows – Jobs, Imports, Export Orders Contract; Manufacturing vs. Services ISM – Which is More Important and Why?

Services ISM Growth Slows – Jobs, Imports, Export Orders Contract; Manufacturing vs. Services ISM – Which is More Important and Why?

Courtesy of Mish 

In yet another sign the economy is cooling substantially, three components of the June Services ISM are now in contraction, with the overall index declining much faster than economists expected.

From the June 2010 ISM Report On Business®:

In June, the NMI registered 53.8 percent, indicating continued growth in the nonmanufacturing sector for the sixth consecutive month, but at a slightly slower rate than in May. A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting.

Employment activity in the nonmanufacturing sector contracted in June after one month of growth. ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Employment Index for June registered 49.7 percent.

Orders and requests for services and other non-manufacturing activities to be provided outside of the United States by domestically based personnel contracted in June after three consecutive months of growth.

ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Imports Index contracted in June after three consecutive months of growth.

The above link also contains the Manufacturing ISM.

Recovery Withers on the Vine

There is really not much to like in either of the ISM reports.

Inquiring minds also note Factory Orders Fall More Than Expected; Recovery Withers on the Vine

You should not have to be a genius to figure out the rebound in manufacturing was a result of four factors now withering on the vine.

  • Inventory replenishment
  • Unsustainable stimulus
  • Housing incentives pushing demand forward on appliances
  • Rebound in auto sales from extremely depressed levels

Is Europe going to lead the world recovery? China? US Consumers?

The answers are No, No, and No

Manufacturing was the one bright spot but its best days are now long gone. Moreover China Manufacturing Slows for Second Month; US ISM Weaker than Expected; Weekly Unemployment Claims Stubbornly High; Existing Home Sales Plunge

Budgetary Murder

This depression (and we are in one, masked only by safety nets galore), is The Price We Pay For Budgetary Murder.

Unfortunately, the budgetary murder continues unabated, and that will prolong this depression.

Japan is in its mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus, we are in this mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus, and the UK is in its mess because of Keynesian and Monetarist stimulus. Yet the


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What the Revised 1st Quarter GDP Numbers Really Mean

What the Revised 1st Quarter GDP Numbers Really Mean

Courtesy of Rick Davis at  Consumer Metrics Institute

On June 25th the BEA quietly revised its measurement of GDP growth for the first quarter of 2010 down for the second time, this time to 2.7%. The newly revised growth estimate nearly matches the Consumer Metrics Institute’s original projection for the first quarter, which was 2.62%. The big difference is that the Consumer Metrics Institute’s projection (based on our Daily Growth Index) was available on November 30, 2009 — seven months ago.

Because the Consumer Metrics Institute’s Daily Growth Index only lags the real-time consumer economy by several days and has a day-by-day time resolution, the Daily Growth Index can also tell us something totally missing in the BEA report: that the newly revised GDP ‘freeze frame’ picture captures a moment in time when consumer demand was dropping at a rate of about .08% per day. This means that the difference between the revised GDP and our original projection represents only a single day of economic change. But more importantly, our Daily Growth Index shows the dynamics of the economy at the point in time when the BEA ‘still picture’ was taken.

One other important note should be made about the June 25th BEA release: in it the BEA also increased the inventory component within the 2.7% number from 1.65% to 1.88%. That means that the net-after-inventory-adjustments number was less than 0.9%, and over two-thirds of the reported aggregate growth was from relatively unpredictable inventory swings.

If factories were unwittingly growing inventories during the first quarter in the face of what was really slackening consumer demand, the official GDP numbers for both the second quarter and the third quarter (to be released 4 days before the U.S. mid-term elections) could be interesting, since factories could very well over-correct again — but in the opposite direction.

Because Friday’s BEA release mirrors our Daily Growth Index from November 30th, the index’s subsequent course provides some insight into where the economy has been heading since then. Roughly half a quarter later (on January 15th, 2010) the index fell into net year-over-year contraction. During the nearly two quarters since then the index has been showing mild but continued contraction. When that contraction is charted along with similar contraction ‘events’ from 2006 and 2008 it can be seen that 2010 is shaping up as…
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Getting a Grip on Reality – Reflation Dead in the Water

Getting a Grip on Reality – Reflation Dead in the Water

Courtesy of Mish

Economist Dave Rosenberg warns investors to Get a Grip on Reality.

Double-dip risks in the U.S. have risen substantially in the past two months. While the “back end” of the economy is still performing well, as we saw in the May industrial production report, this lags the cycle. The “front end” leads the cycle and by that we mean the key guts of final sales — the consumer and housing.

We have already endured two soft retail sales reports in a row and now the weekly chain-store data for June are pointing to sub-par activity. The housing sector is going back into the tank – there is no question about it. Bank credit is back in freefall. The recovery in consumer sentiment leaves it at levels that in the past were consistent with outright recessions. Last year’s improvement in initial jobless claims not only stalled out completely, but at over 470k is consistent with stagnant to negative jobs growth. And exports, which had been a lynchpin in the past year, will feel the double-whammy from the strength in the U.S. dollar and the spreading problems overseas.

Spanish banks cannot get funding and another Chinese bank regulator has warned in the past 24 hours of the growing risks from the country’s credit excesses. A disorderly unwinding of China’s credit and property bubble may well be the principal global macro risk for the remainder of the year. Indeed, perhaps the equity market finally realized yesterday that allowing China more control to defuse an internal property and credit bubble may well be a classic case of “be careful of what you wish for.”

The Bond Cycle and Deflation

I was at an event recently where I was able to see two legends among others – Louise Yamada and Gary Shilling. Louise made the point that while secular phases in the stock market generally last between 12 and 16 years, interest rate cycles tend to be much longer – anywhere from 22 to 37 years; and she has a chart back to 1790 to prove the point! So while all we ever hear is that this secular bull market in bonds is getting long in the tooth, having started in late 1981, it may not yet be over. After all, the deleveraging part of this cycle


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No green shoots here

Consumer Metrics Institute Personal Finance Index Continues to Deteriorate

Courtesy of Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics Institute

Below is an addendum to the update sent out on Tuesday, addressing new data reflecting changes in consumer behavior concerning their debt:

The Consumer Metrics Institute’s Personal Finance Index continued its decline for the sixth consecutive week, with it now showing a year-over-year decline in consumer confidence in excess of 40%.

This contrasted sharply with the situation as recently as the end of January 2010, when the same measure of confidence was showing a year-over-year gain in excess of 7%. The Consumer Metrics Institute’s Personal Finance Index is composed of a number of data series, some of which collect transactions that are precursors to the initiation of default and/or foreclosure activities. The levels of these negative activities are inverted before being included in the ‘Personal Finance Index’, so that a rapid rise in Consumer transactions with default and foreclosure counseling services, for example, will drive that particular index down. 

[http://www.consumerindexes.com/weekly_personal_finance.png]

The Personal Finance Index is not alone in reflecting continued weakness. In fact, our ‘Weighted Composite Index’ (which is by far our best daily aggregate measure of the consumer ‘demand’ side of the economy) has shown a relatively steady deterioration since peaking in August 2009, with the trailing month now recording contraction in excess of 2%.

[http://www.consumerindexes.com/monthly_weighted_composite.png]

The sliding ‘trailing quarter’ as reflected in our ‘Daily Growth Index’ has also reached a level consistent with a year-over-year contraction rate of about 2%, after initially dropping into net contraction on January 15th. When compared to previous contraction events in 2006 an 2008 this particular episode of contraction in consumer demand is following a unique profile: at it’s worst it is still milder than the mild 2006 event but it has gone on longer than even the 2008 event without forming a clear bottom.

[http://www.consumerindexes.com/commentary_2010_contraction_watch.png]

If the housing market is expected to recover soon, a significant increase in demand for residential real estate loans will need to be occurring in the near future. Although there has been a recent minor upturn in consumer interest in refinancing on a year-over-year basis, it may only be a sign that consumers are beginning to expect that the historically low mortgage rates are nearing an end.

[http://www.consumerindexes.com/weekly_refinance.png]

A more telling development would be for a similar upturn in consumer interest in new loans, which we…
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MasterCard Study Says Consumer Spending Has Taken A Break

MasterCard Study Says Consumer Spending Has Taken A Break

Courtesy of Mish

Shoppers checkout at a Target store in Virginia

Michael McNamara, Vice President, Research and Analysis for SpendingPulse, observes Consumer Takes a Respite as Spending in Many Sectors Declines.

The momentum in consumer spending that was building through the first quarter, seems to be taking a breather in the second quarter of 2010, at least so far. Financial volatility in the capital markets and ongoing macroeconomic issues could account for this shadow cast over the recovery in consumer spending. Some sectors seem to be responding to specific disruptive events, such as the expiration of the Federal housing tax credits, where previously we’d noticed a beneficial "echo" effect on housing related categories such as Furniture and Furnishings.

In addition, Memorial Day occurring a week later than it did last year, could have pushed some spending into June, 2010. Nevertheless, we continue to see strength in pricing, and in most categories, we are registering solid increases in the SpendingPulse Price Index, indicating that inventories continue to be aligned to demand, and retailers have not had to return to steep discounting.

Price Wars

In response to Michael McNamara’s statement "retailers have not had to return to steep discounting" I counter with Foreclosure Life Raft; Price Wars at Walmart; Electrical Demand Drops Two Straight Years, First Since 1949.

Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, others are clearly in the midst of price wars hoping to capture market share.

YouTube Commentary From McNamara

Here’s a short YouTube video with additional commentary from Michael McNamara.

Factors in Spending Respite

McNamara discusses several factors in the spending respite.

  • Some Memorial Day sales falling into June instead of May. This may benefit June sales.
  • Financial market volatility impacts big ticket items and durable goods.
  • The end of $8,000 housing tax credits pushed forward big ticket spending items like furniture and appliance.

Spending Trends

Interestingly, apparel sales and footwear showed a significant decline although online apparel sales were up 20-30% depending on category.

Furniture sales were down 9% compared to a year ago. This was in spite of a mini-rush to buy housing ahead of the expiring tax credit. Perhaps we see a bump in furniture and appliance sales in June or July after some of those home purchases close, but that will be the last hurrah in my opinion.

Luxury retail spending showed an increase of 9.7%…
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Consumer Metrics Institute Previews 3rd Quarter GDP

Consumer Metrics Institute Previews 3rd Quarter GDP

Courtesy of Rick at Consumer Metrics Institute

On May 27th the BEA released its first revision to its 1st Quarter 2010 GDP growth rate measurement, lowering the number from a 3.2% annualized growth rate to 3.0% annualized growth. One day later the Consumer Metrics Institute’s ‘Daily Growth Index’ was signalling what we should expect the BEA’s measurement of the 3rd Quarter 2010 GDP growth rate to be: contracting at about a 2.0% rate.

The prior BEA estimate of 1st Quarter 2010 GDP growth trailed our ‘Daily Growth Index’ by 127 days, and because of the rapid rate that the economy was cooling when the measurements were being made, the newly adjusted estimate is now trailing our ‘Daily Growth Index’ by 125 days. The 3rd Quarter of 2010 ends 125 days after May 28th, when our ‘Daily Growth Index’ was recording a ‘growth’ rate of -1.99%. If the BEA estimates continue to trail our ‘Daily Growth Index’ in a consistent manner we should expect that the 3rd Quarter’s GDP ‘growth’ rate will be in the -2.0% neighborhood.

CMI1 CONSUMER METRICS: THE ECONOMY IS SPUTTERING

Several things were interesting about the BEA announcement, which seems to have been largely ignored by the equity markets on a day when the Dow Industrials were up over 280 points. Not only was the total growth rate revised downward by .2%, but the impact of inventory building was adjusted upward from 1.57% to 1.64%, meaning that the end growth rate of consumer demand (net of inventory build-ups) was dropped from about 1.63% to something closer to 1.36% — a 17% reduction that was hardly worthy of a 280 point rally in the markets. Perhaps the U.S. equity markets should obsess less about Greece and Spain and pay more attention to what is happening with consumers in their own domestic economy.

CMI2 CONSUMER METRICS: THE ECONOMY IS SPUTTERING

Since we first reported that our ‘trailing quarter’…
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US GDP growth rate is unsustainable; recovery will fade

US GDP growth rate is unsustainable; recovery will fade

Magnifying glass on line graph

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns 

The US turned in a fairly robust quarter in Q1 2010, with real GDP growth meeting expectations at 3.2% annualized. This comes on the back of a very robust annualized 5.6% growth in the previous quarter. This is the best growth two-quarter growth we have seen since 2003.

However, when one digs deeper, it is obvious this growth is unsustainable because it is predicated on a reduction in savings rates and a releveraging of the household sector. As a result, I expect weak GDP growth in the second half of 2010.

The problem with the BEA reported numbers is the composition of GDP growth. The BEA says in its data release:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010, (that is, from the fourth quarter to the first quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 5.6 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 3). The "second" estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 27, 2010.

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in state and local government spending and in residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected decelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, a downturn in residential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by an acceleration in PCE and a deceleration in imports.

So the gain in GDP was due to consumption, while GDP decelerated from Q4 2009 due to inventory, exports, residential investment, and state and local government spending. 

Young Couple Shopping at Shoe Store

Translation: These numbers are entirely dependent on an increase in consumer spending. Everything else is becoming a drag on…
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Zero Hedge

Xi's Roadmap To The Chinese Dream

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

China's Belt and Road Initiative - the New Silk Road - will spark the country's development and turn the dream into reality...

It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub.

Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified c...



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Phil's Favorites

Bearish Fund Traders Head For Early Hibernation

 

Bearish Fund Traders Head For Early Hibernation

Courtesy of Dana Lyons, with introduction by Zero Hedge 

'Speculators' have never been so confidently complacent that 'all is well'.

Speculative positioning in VIX futures and options remains at its most short in history as traders refuse to back away from 'what works' as realized volatility collapses to its lowest in over 60 years......



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Chart School

Gold Cycle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Why has gold not fallen below $1000 (well so far), what is the golden canary telling us?

Previous Posts:
SP500 Kitchin Cycle says trouble brewing - Update
SP500 How much higher ?

In short, the old heads out there know there is a ying for a yang! Currently the SP500 screaming higher, massive debt, low very !VIX. But as well all know this wont last forever, and the flip side could be very scary. Hence the hedge into metals, and building of the 4.5 year gold base, and as a ...

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ValueWalk

Full Transcript Of Donald Trump Interview With Maria Bartiromo [PREVIEW]

By VWArticles. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Please see below for the full transcript of FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. The interview with President Donald Trump today that will be airing across FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Mornings with Maria (6-9AM/ET) and FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Sunday Morning Futures 10AM/ET).

]]> Know more about Russia than your friends:

Get our free ebook on how the Soviet Union became Putin's Russia.

When:

Part 1 - Sunday, October 22nd  on FOX News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures (10-11AM/ET)

Part 2 - Monday, October 23rd on FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria (6-9AM/ET)

...



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Insider Scoop

There Could Be 109% Upside In uniQure As Company Advances Gene Therapy Into Clinical Trials

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related QURE 32 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session Wall Street's M&A Chatter From October 19: Uniqure, Ulta, Sally Beauty,...

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Digital Currencies

The World's Largest ICO Is Imploding After Just 3 Months

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Earlier this summer, Tezos smashed existing sales records in the white-hot IPO market after the company’s pitch to build a better blockchain for cryptocurrencies made it one of the buzziest ICOs in the world. As we noted at the time, the company capitalized on that buzz by courting VC firms and other institutional investors with a $50 million token pre-sale. After the company opened up selling to the broader public, demand soared as investors greedily bought up tokens in spite of glitches that threatened to derail the sale early on. By the end of its weeks-long token sale in July, Tezos had sold more than $230 million.

Now, Tezos is proving that authorities in the US and China were on to something when they decided to crack down on the ICO market, which has become a cesspool of...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

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

...

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Biotech

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

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

 

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

Courtesy of Sally Ferguson, CQUniversity Australia

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing the molecular cogs and wheels inside our biological clock.

In the 18th century an astronomer by the name of Jean Jacques d'Ortuous de Ma...



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Members' Corner

Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

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Kimble Charting Solutions

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

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

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

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

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

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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