Posts Tagged ‘equity markets’

Squeezing the lemon – risk appetite being sucked higher

Squeezing the lemon – risk appetite being sucked higher

Courtesy of Rohan at Data Diary

Risk appetite has been ticking higher this past week. The price action in isolation looks pretty positive. The question that is troubling the synapses is whether equity markets are poised to thrust higher once more – egged on by the monetary cattleprod of the US and a seeming stabilisation in China’s growth dynamics.

Risk appetite index 500x291 RISK APPETITE BEING SUCKED HIGHER

Certainly the penultimate rejection of the S&P500 off 1040 set the scene for a short squeeze of material proportions. Given the ramp up in volumes that accompanied the selloff from the April highs, it’d be reasonable to expect that there’d be a block of nervous ‘shorts’ at levels not too far from here. It’ll be interesting to see what the tea-leaves say about who sold/bought in the Flow of Funds data next week, but the 1130 level is looking like a pretty tasty target.

US equities price and volume 500x303 RISK APPETITE BEING SUCKED HIGHER

For the moment, it’s probably wise to respect the price action. It’s a reasonable probability that we run through 1130 while under the influence of that big can of nitrous oxide. With declining participation, any buyers ‘on the break’ will be that much easier to suck in. Witness the ever vanishing activity in CBOE equity options.

Equity option volumes 500x293 RISK APPETITE BEING SUCKED HIGHER

Still my read of the bigger picture has this run-up as a position driven head fake.  Momentum has turned lower since the April high that marked the exhaustion point for global stimulus mark I. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that successive rounds of government intervention will be as wildly successful as the first. While the leading indicators are tracking lower, so will the market.

The other factor tugging at the market’s tail is that the logic for risk spreads to widen remains compelling. The Fed may be the fat kid sitting on the longer end of the Treasuries market, but ultimately the other end of the risk plank can’t join in as the economic malaise works its way through earnings forecasts and default probabilities. This rally should meet its maker over the next couple of weeks – just a matter of whether it can convince him that all those calories can’t be good for you.

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Pencil popping balloon

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Whitney Tilson of T2 Partners says the global economy is set to “muddle through” as the excesses of the last few decades are worked off. Tilson detailed his macro outlook in his most recent investor letter for August.  Tilson believes the worst of the credit crisis is behind us, however, the heavy lifting is not over yet. Tilson is very concerned about the macro risks, particularly the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and US housing.  Tilson says the US housing market has already started to double dip:

“We think we have gone through the most difficult economic period in the United States and the world since the Great Depression. We think the worldwide debt bubble — this was not just a US housing crisis or bubble, but a worldwide debt bubble — was unprecedented in the degree of depravity that took place, in the amount of leverage that built up in the system all over the world, and we’re very skeptical that we have somehow successfully managed our way through the aftermath of that bubble and that everything is rosy now.

We think the aftermath of this bubble will be with us for many years and that will continue to cause disruptions and turmoil in various markets. The sovereign debt crisis in Europe is a good example of that just in the past few months; we think the US housing market is already in a double dip right now, though because there is a lag in the data, most people haven’t yet realized it. We don’t think it’s going to be anything like the first dip, which really took world economy over a cliff, but there are 7 million people not paying their mortgages right now and we have not resolved that problem and that’s going to continue to be a headwind for our financial system. There are probably six or eight major risk factors, two of which are the sovereign debt issues and the US housing market. These make us very nervous and we don’t know how it’s going to play out (and we’re skeptical that anyone knows how it’s going to play out), so in light of these major problems, we think it’s wise to be prudent.”

Tilsons’s prudent macro outlook has him relatively risk averse when it comes to…
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High Frequency Chicanery

High Frequency Chicanery

Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch

Here’s something to munch on from Dennis K. Berman in last week’s Wall Street Journal:

"Today, small investors are fleeing the equities markets in droves, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, pulling out a net $34 billion from stock funds so far this year…..They say, "I still feel like someone is screwing me……trading feels different than it used to."

Berman traces the problem to its source, the "inscrutable interplay between myriad exchanges and high-frequency traders, whose volume now accounts for an estimated two-thirds of all trading"…"a market that many perceive as tainted and prone to gaming by a cadre of insiders."

That sounds like a long-winded way of saying the market is rigged.

High-frequency trading (HFT) is algorithmic-computer trading that finds "statistical patterns and pricing anomalies" by scanning the various stock exchanges. It’s high-speed robo-trading that oftentimes executes orders without human intervention. HFT allows one group of investors to see the data on other people’s orders ahead of time and use their supercomputers to buy in front of them. It’s called frontloading, and it goes on every day right under the SEC’s nose.

In an interview on CNBC, market analyst Joe Saluzzi was asked if the big HFT players were able to see other investors orders (and execute trades) before them. Saluzzi said, "Yes. The answer is absolutely yes. The exchanges supply you with the data, giving you the flash order, and if your fixed connection goes into their lines first, you are disadvantaging the retail and institutional investor."

Frontloading is cheating pure and simple, but rather than go after the "big fish" who run these enormous computerized skimming operations; regulators have been rolling up rogue traders who abscond with the trading code.

Here’s a blurp from

"Monday’s arrest of Samarth Agrawal, 26, came nine months after a Goldman Sachs programmer was arrested on similar charges that he, too, stole his employers source code for software, his employer used to make sophisticated, high-speed, high-volume stock and commodities trades.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the use of these programs that many believe give their users an unfair advantage over other traders. Nevertheless, stealing the code to these suspect programs remains illegal. ("Second banker accused of stealing high frequency trading code",

Right; so stealing from stock cheats who are gaming the system is…
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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

The deterioration in the economy has been clear in recent months, but the equity markets have confounded many investors.  Stocks are just 10.6% off their highs and have shown some remarkable resilience, particularly in the last few weeks. There’s a great tug-of-war going on underneath what appears like a potentially frightening macro picture.

A closer look shows that what we’ve primarily seen is deterioration in the macro outlook and not so much in specific corporate outlooks. Despite the persistently weak economy, earnings aren’t falling out of bed.  Without a sharp decline in earnings there is unlikely to be a sharp decline in the equity markets (outside of some exogenous event such as a sovereign default).

The most distinct characteristic I can recall from the the 2007/2008 market downturn was the persistent deterioration in earnings.  Like dominoes we saw the various industries go down one by one: housing, then banks, then consumer discretionary and on down the line.  While the macro picture has deteriorated recently we haven’t seen the same sort of deterioration in earnings that we saw in 2007 and 2008.

In a recent strategy note JP Morgan elaborated on the divergence between the macro outlook and the earnings outlook:

“What matters for equities is earnings and not GDP growth. US GDP growth projections are being cut, but earnings projections have been little affected so far. Investors and analysts are hoping that, to the extent the soft patch in US GDP growth lasts for only a few quarters and does not spillover to the rest of the world, US companies will be able to protect their revenues and profits. Indeed, this is what happened during 2Q, when US companies were able to deliver strong top line and EPS growth even as US GDP grew at only a 1% pace.

It is a prolonged soft patch that poses the greater threat for corporate earnings and equity markets as it raises the specter of deflation and profit margin contraction. Why is deflation bad for corporate profitability? When nominal interest rates are bounded at zero, a fall in expected inflation causes a rise in real interest rates and the cost of capital, hurting corporate profitability. In addition, nominal wage rigidities mean that deflation reduces output prices by more than input prices putting pressure on corporate profitability. Indeed, the

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

a statue of a man levering a rock with a stick

Over the course of the last 18 months I’ve been adhering to a macro view that can best be summed up as follows:

1) The explosion in private sector debt (excessive housing borrowing, excessive corporate debt, etc) levels would reveal the private sector as unable to sustain positive economic growth, de-leveraging and deflation would ensue.

2) Government intervention would help moderately boost aggregate demand, improve bank balance sheets, improve sentiment, boost asset prices but fail to result in sustained economic recovery as private sector balance sheet recession persists.

3)  Extremely depressed estimates and corporate cost cutting would improve margins and generate a moderate earnings rebound, but would come under pressure in 2010 as margin expansion failed to continue at the 2009 rate.

4)  The end of government intervention in H2 2010 will reveal severe strains in housing and will reveal the private sector as still very weak and unable to sustain economic growth on its own.

The rebound in assets was surprisingly strong and the ability of corporations to sustain bottom line growth has been truly impressive – far better than I expected.  However, I am growing increasingly concerned that the market has priced in overly optimistic earnings sustainability – in other words, estimates and expectations have overshot to the upside.

What we’ve seen over the last few years is not terribly complex in my opinion.  The housing boom created what was in essence a massively leveraged household sector.  The problems were compounded by the leveraging in the financial sector, however, this was merely a symptom of the real underlying problem and not the cause of the financial crisis (despite what Mr. Bernanke continues to say and do to fix the economy).

As the consumer balance sheet imploded the economy imploded with it.  This shocked aggregate demand like we haven’t seen in nearly a century. This resulted in collapsing corporate revenues.  The decrease in corporate revenues, due to this decline in aggregate demand, resulted in massive cost cutting and defensive posturing by corporations.  This exacerbated the problems as job losses further weakened the consumer balance sheet position.  Consumers, like, corporations, got defensive and began cutting expenses and paying down liabilities.  Sentiment collapsed and we all know what unfolded in 2008.

The government responded by largely targeting the banking sector based on the belief that fixing the banks would fix Main…
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David Rosenberg Vindicated

David Rosenberg Vindicated

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

From today’s Breakfast with Rosie


Well, it took some patience but it looks like the economic environment I was depicting this time last year just shortly after I joined GS+A is starting to play out. Deflation risks are prevailing and a growing acknowledgment over the lack of sustainability regarding the nascent economic recovery. Extreme fragility and volatility is what one should expect in a post-bubble credit collapse and asset inflation that we endured back in 2008 and part of 2009.

History is replete with enough examples of this — balance sheet recessions are different animals than traditional inventory recessions, and the transition to the next sustainable economic expansion, and bull market (the operative word being sustainability) in these types of cycles take between 5 to 10 years and are fraught with periodic setbacks. I know this sounds a bit dire, but little has changed from where we were a year ago. To be sure, we had a tremendous short-covering and a government induced equity market rally on our hands and it’s really nothing more than a commentary on human nature that so many people rely on what the stock market is doing at any moment in time to base their conclusions on what the economic landscape is going to look like.

So, we had a huge bounce off the lows, but we had a similar bounce off the lows in 1930. The equity market was up something like 50% in the opening months of 1930, and while I am sure there was euphoria at the time that the worst of the recession and the contraction in credit was over, it’s interesting to see today that nobody talks about the great runup of 1930 even though it must have hurt not to have participated in that wonderful rally. Instead, when we talk about 1930 today, the images that are conjured up are hardly very joyous.

I’m not saying that we are into something that is entirely like the 1930s. But at the same time, we’re not in Kansas any more; if Kansas is the type of economic recoveries and market performances we came to understand in the context of a post-World War II era where we had a secular credit expansion, youthful boomers heading into their formative working and spending years and all the economic activity that…
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Pragcap praises the analyst’s analyst Teun Draaisma who’s now saying the rally days are numbered.  - Ilene 


Flock Of Sheep

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

When it comes to equity analysts Teun Draaisma is a must-read.  The European equity analyst famously called for investors to sell stocks in June 2007 when the markets were flashing a “full house sell” signal.  He then flipped bullish in November of 2008 as the markets were pricing in a much more severe situation than Draaisma saw unfolding.  He’s one of the few investors who actually got the downturn and the upturn correct and was able to connect the dots between cause and effect.  In his latest strategy note Draaisma is saying the rally has gotten ahead of itself and that we’re due to for a correction as good news becomes bad news.  In addition to being bearish about 2010 (see here), Draaisma says the better than expected growth in the near-term is putting more pressure on the Fed to raise rates and will lead to tightening measures sooner than most investors suspect:

“The rally since 5-February is nearing its end, we believe. Our thesis is that good growth will lead to tightening measures and struggling equity markets this year, just like in 1994 and 2004. The recent rally was larger than we expected, and in our eyes was due to:

1) there have been no positive payrolls or Fed language change yet (we even saw some loosening rather than tightening

measures last week, with the Greek bailout, the

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Excellent article by Pragcap – I highly recommend reading. – Ilene 


Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Hand in Rubber Glove

There has been a lot of chatter over the last year about the government’s involvement in the equity markets. Yesterday’s market action was certainly odd.  Several large institutions were active buyers of enormous blocks of the S&P on no news.  The volume shot through the roof from out of nowhere.  It was not an unusual occurrence.  We have seen it repeatedly over the course of the last 12 months (see here for more).  Of course, this whole discussion has a very conspiratorial aspect to it, but I think it’s less nefarious than many presume (depending on your definition of nefarious when it come to pseudo-government intervention in markets).

The usual argument with regards to government intervention in the equity markets is pretty simple.  The government, or the “President’s Working Group” (aka, the Plunge Protection Team) purchases securities in big blocks and jams prices higher.  Jamming, gunning, carpet bombing (whatever you want to call it) is quite simple.  In any market there are down times in terms of volume.  If you have the firepower (the capital) and the desire you can knock out just about every asking price on the board.  Have a look at just about any Russell 2,000 stock at around noon as the volume slows to a drizzle and ask yourself what you could do with $10,000,000?  Of course, the same goes for the downside.  You can hit the bids and literally knock them off the board in an illiquid market (exactly what we saw in Fall of 2008 with fund redemptions).

Anyone who has ever traded in size has seen this in action.  It’s like taking a machine gun to a medieval battle or sending the U.S. Army to Baghdad (not that anyone would ever do such a thing).  The point is, you can slice through prices like a hot knife through butter, create a certain sentiment in the market that actually generates attention (liquidity) and then get out on the other side of the trade by selling (or covering) to the crowd you’ve attracted.  Of course, if you’re someone who has a longer time horizon than a few minutes…
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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Railway Crossing Sign

Marc Faber, who nailed both the economic downturn and the recovery, is telling investors to be cautious about buying stocks at current levels.  As he mentioned in his 2010 outlook (see here) Faber says stocks are unlikely to reach new highs in 2010 and are more likely to correct further.  He predicts the equity markets will end lower in 2010, but are unlikely to decline substantially due to government intervention:

“I would look at the market to close probably a bit lower than it started the year in 2010.” Equally, I don’t think we have a huge downside risk. If the Dow and the S&P dropped, say 15-20 percent, in other words the S&P towards 900, I think there would be more stimulus and more quantitative easing.”

Faber predicts that we are nowhere near the end of economic weakness and that the government will continue to pour money into the economy due to continuing deleveraging in the private sector.  He believes we are likely to see more stimulus packages in the US and an ever expanding Federal Reserve balance sheet.

In terms of the global economy, Faber also expects slowing growth.  He says China is likely a bubble and that there is a 99% chance the economy will slow with a 30% chance of a full blown crash. He says the Chinese slow-down will have extremely negative impacts on the global recovery.

Faber says the Chinese and US governments have only prolonged our problems with their stimulus packages.  He says we are now staring at the next great crisis as opposed to letting the system cleanse itself as it should have.  Due to this, government debts have exploded and Faber says higher rates are guaranteed over the next decade. 

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Non-Farm Payrolls Report Preview for January 2010

Non-Farm Payrolls Report Preview for January 2010 

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

The markets breathlessly await the latest Non-Farm Payrolls Report for the US, which will be released tomorrow morning. January is the month in this report that contains the largest seasonal adjustments by far.

Here is a projection of what tomorrow’s numbers may look like, and their historical context. The raw number unadjusted for seasonality may be a loss of around 4,000,000 jobs.

It is no accident that the BLS does the major adjustment to its Birth-Death Model in January. Keep in mind that the Birth-Death adjustment is applied BEFORE seasonal adjustment, that is, to the raw, unadjusted number.

Given that the expected raw number will probably be around 3.5 million jobs lost, and then adjusted to a headline number much closer to zero, adding even 380,000 or so job losses to that does not result in such an enormous adjustment in January.

In other words, the adjustment is largely adjusted away by the seasonality. Nonsense, hardly connected to the real world, but quite clever bureaucratic sleight of hand really.

Saying all this, it seems almost needless to stress that any projection of the headline number is a tough call in January, because the seasonality has such enormous latitude. More in the nature of a SWAG than a proper forecast.

Then there is also the matter of the revisions to the prior two months at least, and the possibility of a revision to the whole series going back two years, which sometimes occurs.

So, we’ll look for a ‘headline number’ closer to zero than not, with a shade to the negative, maybe a loss of 20,000 or so. But we are very prepared to be surprised to the upside to a positive number, and downside to a loss of around 80,000. That speaks less to our inability to forecast, we hope, and more so to the arbitrary nature of the government’s willingness and ability to fiddle with the numbers.

With pretty colors, it may look more like a sideways chop than a plunge, especially in light of a greater negative from December which will be adjusted but not higher.

And as for the reaction of US equity markets in anticipation today?

As I have stated before, the banks and their prop trading desks are always and everywhere screwing you, and frontrunning their…
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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Zambia Seeks to Restore Confidence With Budget Amid Power Crisis (Bloomberg)

Zambian Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda is seeking to restore confidence in the economy to help reverse the world’s worst currency, record borrowing costs and sliding growth. The two things that matter the most to the outlook are the copper price and power supply, which he has little control over. 

The World Bank is betting on mass migration driving the global economy (Business Insider)

The impact of&nb...

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Zero Hedge


Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.


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Phil's Favorites

According To Bernanke, This Was The "Biggest Impact Of QE"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Are you ready for this... are you sitting down... you better be sitting down. Here it comes


From "hope" to "nope"...

"Peak Self-Delusion" or just another Big Lie?

Charts: Bloomberg


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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500…Stuck in this zone, welcome to the “Chop House!”

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


What do S&P 500 bull and bears have in common? There opportunities are being limited by a tight range!

I started sharing with members several weeks ago that the patterns suggested the S&P would be in a “Chop House” environment for a while and that I doubted bulls nor bears would be that happy of campers.

In this type of an environment, unless you are really quick, nimble and accurate, its a time and place to take it easy and let this play out. For the majority of traders, the distance between the close on 8/25 at 186 and the close of 200 on 9/16...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Chart School

Yesterday's Losses Reversed

Courtesy of Declan.

Bulls can be happy with today's progress. What weakness emerged today was reversed by the close, a change on yesterday's action where sellers dumped in the last few minutes of trading. Volume climbed to register an accumulation day.

The S&P finished at the 50-day MA, but beyond that there is plenty of room beyond that to run to the next level of resistance at 2,045. Technicals are net bullish.

The Nasdaq pushed off its 20-day MA and has another 50 points of maneuver before it gets to its 50-day MA.  Technicals are not yet net bullish, but they are close.


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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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Sector Detector: Searching for solid support in the face of global headwinds

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Uncertainty about the health of the global economy led investors to flee U.S. equities during Q3, primarily driven by worries about China's growth prospects and the Federal Reserve’s decision to not raise rates. Sure, there are plenty of real and perceived headwinds, but on balance it seems that a recession here at home is not in the cards. And when you consider sentiment and the technical picture, it appears that a continuation of Friday’s bounce is in store. The question remains as to whether the seasonally strong Q4 will be able to propel the bulls through levels of resistance that have built up.

In this weekly update, I give my view o...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 5th, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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Baxter's Spinoff

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

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

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

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


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

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


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

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

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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at 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.

Thank you for you time!

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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

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