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Stock World Weekly

Here’s the latest Stock World Weekly Newsletter, New Year’s Edition.

Feedback welcome — please leave comments, we value your input. - Ilene

BEN DEVIL

Picture credit: William Banzai7


For Stock World Weekly archives, click here.   


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DEEP THOUGHTS FROM DAVID ROSENBERG

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Via WealthTrack:

“On this week’s Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, a Financial Thought Leader who called the credit and housing bubbles way ahead of the pack. Gluskin Sheff’s prescient Chief Economist, David Rosenberg shares his economic and market outlook, plus advice on how to invest in it.” 


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Beware the Black Turkey

Beware the Black Turkey: ETF Outlook for Wednesday October 20, 2010

Courtesy of John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector

a turkey perched on a rock

Get a Special Free Report from Wall Street Sector Selector 

Instratrader Indicators: 

Red Flag: We Expect Lower Prices Ahead 

Daily Technical Sentiment Indicators: Neutral

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…
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PAUL VOLCKER: THE MARKET IS “BROKEN”

PAUL VOLCKER: THE MARKET IS “BROKEN”

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

This is a superb summary of Paul Volcker’s must read comments at the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago from today. Highly recommended reading (via the WSJ):

1) Macroprudential regulation — “somehow those words grate on my ears.”

2) Banking — Investment banks became “trading machines instead of investment banks [leading to] encroachment on the territory of commercial banks, and commercial banks encroached on the territory of others in a way that couldn’t easily be managed by the old supervisory system.”

3) Financial system — “The financial system is broken. We can use that term in late 2008, and I think it’s fair to still use the term unfortunately. We know that parts of it are absolutely broken, like the mortgage market which only happens to be the most important part of our capital markets [and has] become a subsidiary of the U.S. government.”

4) Business schools — “We had all our best business schools in the United States pouring out financial engineers, every smart young mathematician and physicist said ‘I don’t want to be a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer. I’m a smart guy, I want to go to Wall Street.’ And then you know all the risks were going to be sliced and diced and [people thought] the market would be resilient and not face any crises. We took care of all that stuff, and I think that was the general philosophy that markets are efficient and self correcting and we don’t have to worry about them too much.

5) Central banks and the Fed — “Central banks became…maybe a little too infatuated with their own skills and authority because they found secrets to price stability…I think its fair to say there was a certain neglect of supervisory responsibilities, certainly not confined to the Federal Reserve, but including the Federal Reserve, I only say that because the Federal Reserve is the most important in my view.”

6) The recession — “It’s so difficult to get out of this recession because of the basic disequilibrium in the real economy.”

7) Council of regulators — “Potentially cumbersome.”

8 ) On judgment — “Let me suggest to you that relying on judgment all the time makes for a very heavy burden whether you are regulating an individual institution or whether you are regulating the whole market or whether you are deciding what might be disturbing or what might not be disturbing.


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Hedge Funds On The Defensive As Hugh Hendry Sees 80% Reduction In Size Of Industry

Hedge Funds On The Defensive As Hugh Hendry Sees 80% Reduction In Size Of Industry

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

It is no longer fun being a hedge fund manager – first, up until the recent POMO-based rally in stocks, HFs were down for the year, and what is far worse, they were underperforming the broader market – a death sentence for pretty much every hedge fund, as this is proof a fund can not extract alpha and thus has no reason to collect 2 and 20. While the recent ramp in the market is welcome by all bulls, the question remains just how leveraged into the latest beta rally hedge funds have been. If after the nearly 10% rise in the past 2 weeks any individual HFs are still underperforming the market, it is a near certain "lights out."

To everyone else: congratulations – you just bought yourself another three months of breathing room. Better hope the Fed makes good on its QE promises one day soon. In the meantime, Bloomberg Matthew Lynn and Ecclectica’s Hugh Hendry both confirm that in these days of instantaneous liquidity demands, and cheap strategy replicators in the form of ETFs which provide the same beta capture as hedge funds, at a fraction of the price, it is only going to get worse and worse for the once high flying community. In fact, Hugh Hendry goes as far as suggesting that 10 years from now 80% of all hedge funds will be gone. Our personal view is that the target will be reached in a far shorter time frame.

On one hand, Matthew Lynn shows the uphill climb that defenders of the hedge fund industry have to pass in recent days. "An industry that doesn’t know how to defend itself, and has forgotten how to justify its existence, is in crisis. Hedge funds are now in that position." Hilariously, Lynn shows that hedge funds uses that good old staple used by HFTs to defend their own piracy ways and means: providing liquidity.

On both sides of the Atlantic, hedge funds have been busy trying to hold their own against the tide of fresh regulations sweeping through capital markets.

The Washington-based Managed Funds Association, the U.S. hedge-fund industry’s biggest trade group, has been campaigning against proposed curbs on high-frequency trading. That would, it says, reduce liquidity


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The Long Road to Recovery

The Long Road to Recovery

By David Galland, Managing Editor, The Casey Report

Last week the government released the latest unemployment data. Bloomberg, always ready to roll up the sleeves to help its friends in government (get reelected), was running a headline that “Companies in U.S. Added 67,000 Jobs in August.”

While I haven’t had time to go through the minutiae of the report, I find myself scratching my head at Mr. Market’s rather positive reaction to the report, given the bullet points:

  • Manufacturing payrolls declined by 27,000.
  • Employment at service-providers fell by 54,000.
  • Retailers cut 4,900 workers.
  • State and local governments gave walking papers to 10,000 people.
  • The federal government cut 111,000 jobs (mostly temporary census workers).
  • The number of “underemployed” – people who want full-time work, but have given up and are now working part-time, increased again, from 16.5% to 16.7%.

The fine folks at Chart of the Day just published their take on the numbers. You may see something cheerful in this snapshot, but if so, it eludes me…

 

Interestingly, a week ago ADP, a company that does real-time payroll processing for about one in every six U.S. workers, and whose data – because it is based on hard data and not surveying – has tended to be accurate, released its report for August employment. Based on ADP’s data, they had forecasted that the construction industry had actually cut 33,000 jobs in August.

Their data pointed to an overall decline in the work force of 105,000 jobs, worse than the government’s numbers that showed overall unemployment rose by 54,000 – moving the unemployment rate from 9.5% back up to 9.6%.

At all times, but especially ahead of an election as important as November’s, you can count me skeptical in the extreme when it comes to government data. Especially when it flies in the face of the clear trends in motion. Even with the government’s stimulus funds still coursing through the economy, in the second quarter U.S. gross domestic product fell by more than half, to an annualized rate of just 1.6%. Without the government’s supercharged spending, it’s been calculated that actual GDP would have been halved again.

So, where are all these new private-sector jobs coming from?

The construction industry was reported to have hired 19,000 people – a good number of whom, I suspect, are working on government-subsidized projects. At least in this neighborhood –…
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Media: Expanded Thoughts on Potential Currency Trading Bubble

Media: Expanded Thoughts on Potential Currency Trading Bubble

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Oil being poured into water, studio shot

I gave an interview to My Private Banker the other day. They wanted to take my discussion of the potential bubble in currency trading a step further. 

Enjoy:

Investing in currencies is all the rage in wealth management. Currency ETFs, ETNs and currency structructured products are springing up like mushrooms. Inspired by the Euro crisis many private investors in the EU have started investing in currency products. Wealth managers and bankers play also a big role as more and more products are pushed on to their clients. But does currency investing make any sense? We talked about this topic to Josh Brown, who is one of the best known global finance bloggers providing daily comments on The Reformed Broker. Josh Brown has been recently a vocal critic of the boom in currency investing.

MyPrivateBanking: Why do you see a bubble in currency trading – comparable to bubbles in stocks or house prices?

Josh Brown: With currencies, we are still at the stage where we’re talking "prospective bubble", but all the ingredients are there. This isn’t going to be a Price Bubble, it will be an Activity Bubble should the mania take over.

MyPrivateBanking:  What differentiates this bubble from “normal” investment bubbles?

Josh Brown: Normal investment bubbles require a certain backdrop of speculative fervor along with some exogenous encouragement to fan the flames (think innovative mortgages or freely available margin leverage). This one is more akin to the Texas Hold ‘Em craze of the mid-2000′s where all of a sudden all your friends and neighbors were poker sharks out of nowhere.

MyPrivateBanking:  Why do wealth managers increasingly recommend currency products to their clients?

Josh Brown: I think wealth managers are introducing ETFs that are currency-related because of what’s known as "reverse inquiry". The financial media has done a really terrific job of painting the currency markets as unstable and exciting, this has led to product introductions and marketing which has in turn led to inquiries from the public to their advisors – "How can we get in on this". The reality is that it’s foolish to "invest" in a currency from an asset management standpoint, unless we’re talking about swinging for the fences with the Iraqi Dinar or something. Currency is not an investment, it…
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‘I Love the Delusion of the Markets at this Point in the Cycle’

‘I Love the Delusion of the Markets at this Point in the Cycle’

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon 

Since I started publishing Financial Armageddon in late-2006, I’ve often railed against the incompetence and tomfoolery of highly-paid Wall Street "strategists" (note the double quotes). Many of these so-called experts are clueless data-regurgitators or ivory tower economists with above average communications skills. Indeed, it seems to me that most of the "stars" of the forecasting game are simply being rewarded for having the gift of gab, rather than their ability to look past the trees and size up the layout of the forest.

But as with most generalizations, there are exceptions. Surprisingly — yes, I am cynical — a very small number of those who know what they are talking about, have something intelligent to say, and know how to translate their insights into clear and interesting prose have been recognized as such. I am referring in particular to Albert Edwards, the number-one ranked global strategist for I-don’t-know-how-many-years running, and his sidekick Dylan Grice, who placed second overall in the 2010 Thomson Reuters Extel Survey, both of whom are members of the strategy team at Societe Generale.

In his most recent Global Strategy Weekly, Mr. Edwards touches upon two topics near-and-dear to my heart: the real state of the economy and the utter cluelessness of most equity investors [italics mind]:

The current situation reminds me of mid 2007. Investors then were content to stick their heads into very deep sand and ignore the fact that The Great Unwind had clearly begun. But in August and September 2007, even though the wheels were clearly falling off the global economy, the S&P still managed to rally 15%! The recent reaction to data suggests the market is in a similar deluded state of mind. Yet again, equity investors refuse to accept they are now locked in a Vulcan death grip and are about to fall unconscious.

The notion that the equity market predicts anything has always struck me as ludicrous. In the


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A MONKEY ECONOMY AS IRRATIONAL AS OURS

A MONKEY ECONOMY AS IRRATIONAL AS OURS

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Smiling Chimp

As markets have evolved over time and financial theories have progressed humans have become increasingly confident in the systems we create and the world we live in.  Entire generations of investors have become convinced that markets are stable and efficient. We have come to believe that computer models can accurately predict markets.  On the contrary I believe most of the systems we create are highly complex, inefficient and chaotic.  The markets are one of the last refuges of natural selection (see here):

“The investment world is the civilized version of natural selection. It cuts to the core of every emotion imaginable.  When Joe Schmo goes to work for 25 years straight in an attempt to create a better life for his family and suddenly sees his life’s savings going down the tube because Lehman Bros went bankrupt you can’t possibly expect him to react rationally in such an environment.  This is no different than the man whose family is attacked in the middle of the night.  Do you expect that man to react rationally when everything he lives for is suddenly in harms way?  Do human beings make rational and efficient decisions in chaotic scenarios?  Even more important, will 1 million humans working in tandem make efficient decisions all within the same system?  No, the majority of them will make highly inefficient decisions.  “Mistakes” as we like to call them.   We all make them.

If we have learned anything over the course of the greatest mean reversion in stock market history over the last 24 months it is that markets are HIGHLY inefficient.  Why? Because the humans that write the algorithms are using flawed theories and the emotions upon which these trades are placed are not psychologically efficient.”

Despite our evolutionary leaps and bounds I believe we are not so far removed from our animal brethren when it comes to survival instincts. When confronted with complex decisions we make mistakes, we panic, we turn to our animal instincts which scream: SURVIVE AT ANY COST.  And nowhere is this more apparent than it is in the most complex facets of our lives.  Markets are highly complex systems and have become directly tied to important facets of our lives.  In many regards it is the last place most human beings should be residing. …
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The Horrific Derivatives Bubble That Could One Day Destroy The Entire World Financial System

The Horrific Derivatives Bubble That Could One Day Destroy The Entire World Financial System

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Today there is a horrific derivatives bubble that threatens to destroy not only the U.S. economy but the entire world financial system as well, but unfortunately the vast majority of people do not understand it.  When you say the word "derivatives" to most Americans, they have no idea what you are talking about.  In fact, even most members of the U.S. Congress don’t really seem to understand them.  But you don’t have to get into all the technicalities to understand the bigger picture.

Basically, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends upon or is derived from the price of something else.  A derivative has no underlying value of its own.  It is essentially a side bet.  Originally, derivatives were mostly used to hedge risk and to offset the possibility of taking losses.  But today it has gone way, way beyond that.  Today the world financial system has become a gigantic casino where insanely large bets are made on anything and everything that you can possibly imagine. 

The derivatives market is almost entirely unregulated and in recent years it has ballooned to such enormous proportions that it is almost hard to believe.  Today, the worldwide derivatives market is approximately 20 times the size of the entire global economy.

Because derivatives are so unregulated, nobody knows for certain exactly what the total value of all the derivatives worldwide is, but low estimates put it around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars. 

Do you know how large one quadrillion is?

Counting at one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one quadrillion.…
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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

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

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743"

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Chart School

The End of QE: Some Common Misunderstandings

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

I have discussed for some time that there are a couple of inherent misunderstandings about the Federal Reserve's ending of the current large-scale asset purchase program (LSAP), or more affectionately known as Quantitative Easing (QE). The first is "tapering is not tightening" and the second is "interest rates will rise." Let me explain.

The Federal Reserve has been running extremely "accommodative" monetary policies since the end 2008. The two primary goals of the Federal Reserve have been to artificially suppress interest rates and boost asset prices in "hopes" that an organic economic recovery would take root. As I quoted in "How E...



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Zero Hedge

China Meat Scandal Spreads: McDonald's Japan Slashes Guidance

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

We warned last week that the scandal over Chinese meat supplier OSI was spreading (and Asians were increasingly shunning western fast-food restaurants) and now, as The FT reports, McDonald’s Japan has pulled its full-year profit guidance on the back of falling sales. It had previously forecast sales of $2.45bn for the year to December but warned it could not commit to new targets as it was too soon to estimate the...



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Phil's Favorites

Oh Yeah, About That Con Con Con

Oh Yeah, About That Con Con Con

Courtesy of Lee Adler 

As usual, the Conference Board and all the major media press release repeaters put a positive spin on the highest reading of Consumer Confidence (aka the Con Con Con) since October 2007. None of the media echo chamber reports pointed out that October 2007 was the beginning of the worst bear market in US stocks since 1973-74. So I thought it important that the issue be given a little perspective (as I did recently with the Thompson Rhoiders Michigan Con Index).

First things first, the Con Con Con is an amalgamation of the results of two survey questions presented to “consumers” (aka real people). One question asks...



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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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Insider Scoop

Report: IBM Rejects Offer For Chip Operations

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related IBM Blackberry Attempts To Rebound From IBM/Apple Deal The 10 Most-Respected Corporate Brands Can the iRally Endure? (Fox Business)

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) rejected an offer for part of its semiconductor manufacturing operations, according to unnamed sources cited by ...



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Option Review

Kellogg Call Options Active Ahead Of Earnings

Shares in packaged foods producer Kellogg Co. (Ticker: K) are in positive territory on Monday afternoon, trading up by roughly 0.20% at $65.48 as of 2:20 p.m. ET. Options volume on the stock is well above average levels today, with around 12,500 contracts traded on the name versus an average daily reading of around 1,700 contracts. Most of the volume is concentrated in September expiry calls, perhaps ahead of the company’s second-quarter earnings report set for release ahead of the opening bell on Thursday. Time and sales data suggests traders are snapping up calls at the Sep 67.5, 70.0 and 72.5 strikes. Volume is heaviest in the Sep 72.5 strike calls, with around 4,600 contracts traded against sizable open interest of approximately 11,800 contracts. It looks like traders paid an average premium of $0.37 per contrac...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bold bulls dare meek bears to take another crack

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Once again, stocks have shown some inkling of weakness. But every other time for almost three years running, the bears have failed to pile on and get a real correction in gear. Will this time be different? Bulls are almost daring them to try it, putting forth their best Dirty Harry impression: “Go ahead, make my day.” Despite weak or neutral charts and moderately bullish (at best) sector rankings, the trend is definitely on the side of the bulls, not to mention the bears’ neurotic skittishness about emerging into the sunlight.

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



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of July 28th, 2014

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

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

Our weekly newsletter Stock World Weekly is ready for your enjoyment.

Read about the week ahead, trade ideas from Phil, and more. Please click here and sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or take a free trial.

We appreciate your feedback--please let us know what you think in the comment section below.  

...

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Digital Currencies

BitLicense Part 1 - Can Poorly Thought Out Regulation Drive the US Economy Back into the Dark Ages?

Courtesy of Reggie Middleton.

An Op-Ed piece penned by Veritaseum Chief Contracts Officer, Matt Bogosian

This past weekend (despite American Airlines' best efforts), Reggie and I made it to the Second Annual North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago. While there were some very creative (and very ambitious) ideas on how to try to realize the disruptive Bitcoin protocol, one of the predominant topics of discussion was New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky's proposed Bitcoin regulations (the BitLicense proposal) - percieved by many participants at the event as an apparent ...



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Market Shadows

Danger: Falling Prices

Danger: Falling Prices

By Dr. Paul Price of Market Shadows

 

We tried holding up stock prices but couldn’t get the job done. Market Shadows’ Virtual Value Portfolio dipped by 2% during the week but still holds on to a market-beating 8.45% gain YTD. There was no escaping the downdraft after a major Portuguese bank failed. Of all the triggers for a large selloff, I’d guess the Portuguese bank failure was pretty far down most people's list of "things to worry about." 

All three major indices gave up some ground with the Nasdaq composite taking the hardest hi...



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

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

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



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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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