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Posts Tagged ‘food stamps’

20 Shocking New Economic Records That Were Set In 2010

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

2010 was quite a year, wasn’t it?  2010 will be remembered for a lot of things, but for those living in the United States, one of the main things that last year will be remembered for is economic decline.  The number of foreclosure filings set a new record, the number of home repossessions set a new record, the number of bankruptcies went up again, the number of Americans that became so discouraged that they simply quit looking for work reached a new all-time high and the number of Americans on food stamps kept setting a brand new record every single month.  Meanwhile, U.S. government debt reached record highs, state government debt reached record highs and local government debt reached record highs.  What a mess!  In fact, even many of the "good" economic records that were set during 2010 were indications of underlying economic weakness.  For example, the price of gold set an all-time record during 2010, but one of the primary reasons for the increase in the price of gold was that the U.S. dollar was rapidly losing value.  Most Americans had been hoping that 2010 would be the beginning of better times, but unfortunately economic conditions just kept getting worse.

So will things improve in 2011?  That would be nice, but at this point there are not a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about the economy.  The truth is that we are trapped in a period of long-term economic decline and we are now paying the price for decades of horrible decisions.

Amazingly, many of our politicians and many in the mainstream media have declared that "the recession is over" and that the U.S. economy is steadily improving now.

Well, if anyone tries to tell you that the economy got better in 2010, just show them the statistics below.  That should shut them up for a while.

The following are 20 new economic records that were set during 2010….

#1 An all-time record of 2.87 million U.S. households received a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#2 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#3 The price of gold moved above $1400 an ounce for the first time ever during 2010.

#4 According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, approximately 1.53 million consumer bankruptcy petitions were filed in 2010, which was up 9 percent…
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Food Stamp Friday – Newt Shows America His True Colors

I try to keep politics out of the weekly posts but screw that!  

That disgusting, vile, son-of-a-bitch (just my opinion, we report – you decide!) Newt Gingrich is on a 12-city pre-election tour where he is advising Republican candidates to frame the choice for voters between Democrats as "the party of food stamps" while selling the GOP as "the party of paychecks."

With a truly shocking 42M Americans in such dire straits that they need food stamps to make ends meet (and our study of the shopping habits of the poor last week clearly illustrated that this aid is the only way they can eat as they shop the same day the checks come every month), Gingrich this week distributed a memo to Republican hopefuls saying they should use the final month to stress tax and spending cuts as a way to spur job growth while attacking Democratic policies as detrimental that effort.

"It’s perfectly fair to say they are earning the title of the party of food stamps," he said. "By contrast, we have historically since Ronald Reagan of 1980 been the party of job creation."

The party of job creation???  Ha!  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha – ha!  Ha, ha, ha.  Ha!  OK, I think I’m done now.  Ha!  OK, now I can go on (but I’m still giggling).  I will sum up the very cogent point I made to Members early this morning by simply saying: Is this out of touch elitist wealth-sucking windbag totally insane or just a big, fat liar?  Let’s look at a chart:  

What?  Don’t like this one?   Do you think it’s unfair to keep picking on poor W?  I hear this all the time, Obama’s been in office 21 months, he needs to OWN this recession now and we need to stop looking at the idiot who caused it and pretend it was all Obama’s fault since he took office in the month that job losses maxed out at 850,000.  

As logical as that line of reasoning may be, I do like to try to keep a historical perspective on things.  We republished a full set of charts that illustrate my points from Member Chat over at Seeking Alpha, so you can view them here, but let me share just two that I find relevant.  For the first chart, let’s take a look…
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New Job Opportunity – Spitting at the Moon

New Job Opportunity – Spitting at the Moon

Courtesy of Mish 

moon

In multiple posts Paul Krugman is saying "I told you so". For example, please consider Nobody Could Have Predicted

Pictures support the view that stimulus worked as long as it lasted, boosting the economy — which is the same conclusion Adam Posen drew from Japan’s experience in the 1990s: Fiscal policy works when it is tried.

But the stimulus wasn’t nearly big enough to restore full employment — as I warned from the beginning. And it was set up to fade out in the second half of 2010.

So what was supposed to happen? The invisible cavalry were supposed to ride to the rescue.

I never understood why the Obama administration thought this would happen so soon; history tells us that the effects of a financial crisis on private spending are normally protracted. And sure enough, the cavalry has not arrived.

Stimulus and Full Employment

The idea we can stimulate the economy to full employment is about as silly as silly gets. Krugman wanted double the stimulus we got. Well, we got zero benefit unemployment-wise from the stimulus and in my book infinity times zero is still zero.

Yes, unemployment fell from 10.1% to 9.5% but all of that decrease, if not more than all of that decrease, was a result of a falling participation rate. The bottom line is neither the Fed increasing its balance sheet by $trillions nor a $1.4 trillion deficit did a thing to lower unemployment.

Of course the Keynesian clowns will holler things would have been worse in the absence of stimulus. Really?! Would banks be lending more? Would small businesses be hiring?

Full Employment Made Easy

Krugman wants full employment. I suppose the government could easily employ everyone who does not have a job. Then again, didn’t we effectively do just that?

Here is a snip from "Contained Depression" that suggests we did.

We are certainly in a depression. However, 40 million people on food stamps as of August 2010, masks that depression. The cost of the food stamp program is on schedule to exceed $60 billion in fiscal 2010. For comparison purposes, there was just over 11 million on food stamps in 2005.

Please note there are 14.6 million unemployed, but of them 4.5 million of them are receiving regular unemployment


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Rosenberg On The Visible Hand Of Central Planning

Rosenberg On The Visible Hand Of Central Planning

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

 

 I’m this many, how many are you?

So you thought communist states go down without a fight? Wrong: here is Rosenberg who explains why both China and the US are now actively involved in the business of propping up anything and everything. And totally off topic, Rosie confirms that the liquidity trends in the mutual fund industry continue to deteriorate: "As for liquidity ratios, equity funds portfolio manages have theirs at an all-time low of 3.4%, down from 3.8% in June. Tack on the fact that there are really not very many shorts to be covered – since the market peaked in April, short interest is 4.3% of the S&P 500 market cap (in August 2008 it was 6%) and there’s not a whole lot of underlying fund-flow support for the stock market here." In other words, throw in a few more market down days, a few more weeks of redemptions (and at 16 weeks in a row, there is no reason why this should change), and the liquidation theme will promptly be added to the new normal.

 

THE VISIBLE HAND

The two largest economies in the world are being sustained by the long arm of the law. At least in China it’s to be expected that a communist country would be fuelled by command central, but in this miracle story, below the surface it is becoming abundantly clear that Beijing is becoming increasingly involved. The front page article of the Monday NYT uncovered how the economy is delivering its red-hot growth rates: “New data from the World Bank show that the proportion of industrial production by companies controlled by the Chinese state edged up last year … investment by state-controlled companies skyrocketed, driven by hundreds of billions of government spending and state bank lending.” No wonder the Chinese economy and stock market have diverged.

Is it really much different in the U.S.A. today with every 1 in 6 Americans now receiving some form of government assistance? More than 50 million Americans, from food stamps, to Medicaid, to extended jobless benefits, are on one or more taxpayer-supported programs. This likely explains why this depression does not have that 1930s feel of despair to it. But a depression it is.

In a depression, radical


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“Contained Depression”

"Contained Depression"

Courtesy of Mish 

Deflated globe

Kevin Feltes, an economist for the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, solicited my opinion on a couple of their recent articles.

Levy comes down on the side of deflation, as do I. However, the devil is in the details, as always. I will go through one of their articles in a point-by-point fashion, stating where I agree and disagree with their analysis.

This is a long post. Please give it some time.

Please consider Widespread Fear of the Wrong Kind of Price Instability.

Levy:

It is not inflation but more disinflation and ultimately deflation that lie ahead in the 2010s.

Inflation worries remain a major part of the market backdrop, and the past year has brought new price stability concerns to investors. During that time, we have written about inflation fears, deflation risks, and the relationships between price trends and monetary policy, fiscal policy, Treasury debt levels, foreign debt holdings, and various other issues. We have argued that rising inflation will not be a threat in the coming years and that disinflation and some deflation are the real worries. Our position remains unchanged.

1. Why It Will Be Very Difficult for Inflation to Accelerate in the Next Few Years

The dominant influence on price trends in the near future and for years to come will be the deflationary influence of chronically high unemployment. The economy not only has gone through a deep recession but also has entered a contained depression, a long period of substandard economic performance, chronic financial problems, and generally high unemployment. The contained depression is likely to last about a decade; it will end in the latter half of the 2010s at the earliest and could stretch into the 2020s

In the years ahead, chronic high unemployment will weigh heavily on labor costs; chronic economic weakness will tend to keep profit margins under pressure and firms focused on cost control; and global instability and large areas of depression (contained or otherwise) will reduce upward pressures on prices of imported commodities and are likely to cause these prices to fall much of the time.

Even if imported commodity prices, most notably oil prices, rise sharply at times, they will not have a large, lasting effect on inflation as long as labor costs are decelerating or actually falling.

Labor costs are the dominant inflation influence not only because


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Deceptive Economic Statistics

Deceptive Economic Statistics

Courtesy of PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, writing at CounterPunch

On August 17, Bloomberg reported a US government release that industrial production rose twice as much as forecast, climbing 1 percent. Bloomberg interpreted this to mean that “increased business investment is propelling the gains in manufacturing, which accounts for 11 percent of the world’s largest economy.”

The stock market rose.

Let’s look at this through the lens of statistician John Williams of shadowstats.com.

Williams reports that “the primary driver of a 1.0% monthly gain in seasonally-adjusted July industrial production” was “warped seasonal factors” caused by “the irregular patterns in U.S. auto production in the last two years.” Industrial production “shrank by 1.0% before seasonal adjustments.”

If the government and Bloomberg had announced that industrial production fell by 1.0% in July, would the stock market have risen 104 points on August 17?

Notice that Bloomberg reports that manufacturing accounts for 11 percent of the US economy. I remember when manufacturing accounted for 18% of the US economy. The decline of 39% is due to jobs offshoring.

Think about that. Wall Street and shareholders and executives of transnational corporations have made billions by moving 39% of US manufacturing offshore to boost the GDP and employment of foreign countries, such as China, while impoverishing their former American work force. Congress and the economics profession have cheered this on as “the New Economy.”

Bought-and-paid-for-economists told us that “the new economy” would make us all rich, and so did the financial press. We were well rid, they claimed, of the “old” industries and manufactures, the departure of which destroyed the tax base of so many American cities and states and the livelihood of millions of Americans.

The bought-and-paid-for-economists got all the media forums for a decade. While they lied, the US economy died.

Now, back to statistical deception. On August 17 the census Bureau reported a small gain in July 2010 residential construction housing starts. More hope orchestrated. In fact, the “gain,” as John Williams reports, was due to a large downward revision” in June’s reporting. The reported July “gain” would “have been a contraction” without the downward revision in June’s “gain.”

So, the overestimate of June housing not only made June look good, but also the downward correction of the June number makes July look good, because starts rose above the corrected June number. The same manipulation is likely to…
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Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake

Courtesy of PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS at CounterPunch 

RHINEBECK, NY - JULY 30: A congratulations sign on display on July 30, 2010 in Rhinebeck, New York. Chelsea Clinton plans to get married in Rhinebeck on July 31, 2010. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

It is not unusual for members of the diminishing upper middle class to drop $20,000 or $30,000 on a big wedding. But for celebrities this large sum wouldn’t cover the wedding dress or the flowers.

When country music star Keith Urban married actress Nicole Kidman in 2006, their wedding cost $250,000. This large sum hardly counts as a celebrity wedding. When mega-millionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump married model Melania Knauss, the wedding bill was $1,000,000.

The marriages of Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones pushed up the cost of celebrity marriages to $1.5 million.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes upped the ante to $2,000,000.

Now comes the politicians’s daughter as celebrity. According to news reports, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to investment banker Mark Mezvinsky on July 31 is costing papa Bill $3,000,000. According to the London Daily Mail, the total price tag will be about $5,000,000. The additional $2,000,000 apparently is being laid off on US Taxpayers as Secret Service costs for protecting former president Clinton and foreign heads of state, such as the presidents of France and Italy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who are among the 500 invited guests along with Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner, and Clinton friend and donor Denise Rich, wife of the Clinton-pardoned felon.

Before we attend to the poor political judgment of such an extravagant affair during times of economic distress, let us wonder aloud where a poor boy who became governor of Arkansas and president of the United States got such a fortune that he can blow $3,000,000 on a wedding.

The American people did not take up a collection to reward him for his service to them.
Where did the money come from? Who was he really serving during his eight years in office?

How did Tony Blair and his wife, Cherrie, end up with an annual income of ten million pounds (approximately $15 million dollars) as soon as he left office? Who was Blair really serving?

These are not polite questions, and they are infrequently asked.

While Chelsea’s wedding guests eat a $11,000 wedding cake and admire $250,000 floral displays, Lisa Roberts in Ohio is struggling to raise contributions for her food pantry in order to feed…
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Record 40 Million, 1 in 8 on Food Stamps

Record 40 Million, 1 in 8 on Food Stamps

food stampCourtesy of Mish

Hello recovery, where art thou? Month after month, the number of food stamp recipients hits news records.

Please consider Food-stamp tally nears 40 million, sets record.

Nearly 40 million Americans received food stamps — the latest in an ever-higher string of record enrollment that dates from December 2008 and the U.S. recession, according to a government update.

Enrollment has set a record each month since reaching 31.78 million in December 2008. USDA estimates enrollment will average 40.5 million people this fiscal year, which ends Sept 30, at a cost of up to $59 billion. For fiscal 2011, average enrollment is forecast for 43.3 million people.

Snap, Crackle, Pop

It’s no longer supposed to be called "food stamp" program but rather SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

No matter what you call it, another 260,000 are on it than last month. However, data is way lagging. A quick check of my calendar says it’s May. The SNAP data reported Friday, May 7 is from February.

Excuse me for asking, but how hard is it to count the number of people in a program getting free benefits? Is it really so difficult that it takes months to count?

Here is an interesting tidbit from the article, "Research suggests that one in three eligible people are not receiving benefits."

My quick math suggests approximately 53 million people could be receiving SNAPs but only 40 million are.

Note: 53 million was arrived at by taking 1/3 of 40 million and adding it ti 40 million. Another possible intrepretation, perhaps more likely, is 40 million is 2/3 of 60 million.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

 


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The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (I – III)

Full Report: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America (Parts I-III)

Courtesy of David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

This report was originally released as a six-part series. The first part was published on February 15, 2010. The last part was published on February 27, 2010.  

Support this work by ordering the full report in book format.
>  Download full report with graphics and links.
>  Download printer-friendly version.
 

“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist,
but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts
on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions
and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
– Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not

 

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America

 

It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a…
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Food Stamp Usage Hits Record 39 Million, 14th Consecutive Monthly Increase

Food Stamp Usage Hits Record 39 Million, 14th Consecutive Monthly Increase

Courtesy of Mish 

Food stamp usage is up again except the program is now called SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Inquiring minds are looking at a SNAP Participation Table that shows a record 39,430,724 receive SNAP benefits, a 22.4% increase from a year ago.

Biggest State Increases
food stamps Arizona – 32.9%
Colorado – 32.9%
Florida – 38.6%
Idaho – 45.7%
Nevada – 46.9%
Rhode Island – 42.4%
South Dakota – 32.6%
Utah – 37.3%
Wisconsin – 38.9%
Wyoming – 40.0%

Those numbers are as of January 2010

Households

Household SNAP participants increased from 12,728,981 in Fiscal Year 2008 to 15,232,105 in fiscal year 2009, a 16.4% increase. For comparison purposes, watch the growth in household participation.

SNAP Household Participation

FY 2005 – 11,197,377
FY 2006 – 11,734,491
FY 2007 – 11,789,594
FY 2008 – 12,728,981
FY 2009 – 15,232,105 

Cost of SNAP Program

FY 2005 – $31.07 Billion
FY 2006 – $32.91 Billion
FY 2007 – $33.19 Billion
FY 2008 – $37.66 Billion
FY 2009 – $53.63 Billion

Household and cost numbers are as of March 30, 2010.

Clearly the recession took its toll, and will continue to do so until there is a dramatic decrease in the unemployment rate.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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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

Weekly Market Summary

Courtesy of Doug Short.

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

SPX, DJIA and NDX all ended the week at new highs. For them, the trend remains higher.

What is most interesting is the small cap index, RUT. Not only did it lose 1.2% this week while the other indices gained, but it is now more than 5% off its peak. For the year, RUT is negative and SPX is up 9%.

Is this divergence between SPX and RUT bearish? It would seem it should be. When small caps underperform, it indicates weakness in breadth as investors concentrate their buying in a relatively small number of large companies.

The problem is these divergences have usually not been bearish in the past few years. The yellow highlights below are times when small caps underperformed large caps (lower panel). Ea...



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Zero Hedge

US F-22 Jets Intercept 6 Russian Warplanes 55 Miles Off The Alaskan Coast

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Yesterday it was the UK which scrambled a squadron of Typhoon jets when two Russian Tu-95 "Bear" Bombers had gotten too close to its shores, even if still located in international space. Then overnight, none other than the US did the same when two F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes just over 50 miles away from the western coast of Alaska, military officials said Friday, among which identified as two IL-78 refueling tankers, two Mig-31 fighter jets and the same two "Bear" long-range bombers...



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Phil's Favorites

Idiotic Proposals for Fed to Give Away Money

Courtesy of Mish.

A Fiscal Times, Yahoo Finance article by by John Grgurich claims that Instead of QE, Fed Could Have Given $56,000 to Every Household in America .

Grgurich formulated his article after reading "an intriguing piece just published in Foreign Affairs, Brown University political economist Mark Blyth and London-based hedge fund manager Eric Lonergan argue the Fed could have done better by pursuing a far different type of grand policy experiment."

The "intriguing piece" is Print Less but Transfer More, Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People.

Sheer Idiocy

  • Fir...



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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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Option Review

IV Implodes On 4-hour YHOO Options As BABA Commences Trading

Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.

...

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Market Shadows

Selling PVD

Selling PVD

Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Provida S.A. (PVD) shares will not be trading on the NY Stock Exchange after today. Tomorrow, shares will be harder to sell. Strangely, I wasn't able to find information on the internet, but Paul just sent me a copy of the email he received from Interactive Brokers.

We're selling PVD out of the Virtual Portfolio today at $87.18. 

More details:

From: Interactive Brokers   dated July 18, 2014

Holders of AFP Provida S.A. American Depository Receipts (ADR) are advised that the Company has elected to terminate the Deposit Agreement effective 2014-09-18.

As of the te...



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Promotions

Last Chance! See The 'Google-Like' Trading Algorithm 'Live' TODAY

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When you register for the webinar, you’ll also get instant access to following trading videos:

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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Bulls go down swinging, refusing to give up much ground

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Although the stock market displayed weakness last week as I suggested it would, bulls aren’t going down easily. In fact, they’re going down swinging, absorbing most of the blows delivered by hesitant bears. Despite holding up admirably when weakness was both expected and warranted, and although I still see higher highs ahead, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback. A number of signs point to more weakness ahead.

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, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-r...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 15th, 2014

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

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

Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

[Sign in with your PSW user name and password, or take a free trial here.]

Image courtesy of Business Insider, Jay Yarow's This Is The Best Description Of How Apple's Business Works Right Now.

 

...

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Digital Currencies

Making Sense of Bitcoin

Making Sense of Bitcoin

By James Black at International Man

Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.

Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."

The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...



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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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