Posts Tagged ‘food’

Wildlife Wednesday – The Portu-Goose!

 

"Portugal will not request financial aid for the simple reason that it's not necessary" – Socrates

Of course, that was Jose Socrates, Portugal's Prime Minister, not Σωκρτης the great Philospoher, who was more famous for saying "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil" as well as "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing."  More apropos for this morning is the more famous Scocrates' more famous observation that "True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us." 

The investors jacking up the markets at 6am this morning understand very little about the relevance of Portugal's sale of $1.62Bn in bonds.  While the auction was a "success" with longer bonds going off at 6.7% that's WITH intervention by China and Japan on an auction amount that either one of them could have tipped the cab driver on the ride over from the airport and not missed it.  This is like going to your rich uncle for a used car loan because the bank wants 12% and your uncle says "sure I will help you out but you will owe me big time and I will make my brother's life miserable because I have to give his kid money and I'll never let him forget it" and then he hands you a contract to pay him back at 11.5%.  

Actually, Portugal didn't even get that much of a "family discount,"  The last bond auction of 2010 went off at 6.8% and the fear was that the rates would go over 7% but let's not do cartwheels over 6.7%.  Oh, sorry, too late, the markets are already doing cartwheels with a 0.5% gain in the futures and just look how excited the Hang Seng was after lunch, gaining 200 points in a virtual straight line and almost doubling the day's optimistic opening.  The Shanghai was just as exciting, falling from 2,828 down almost 1.5% to 2,788 but then flying back to 2,821 to book a 0.6% gain on the day and giving Mainland China's Main Market this exciting profile:

So it's no surprise Uncle China doesn't want Portugal falling apart but…
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THE PATH TO DEFLATION: JAPAN VS THE USA

The Pragmatic Capitalist looks at THE PATH TO DEFLATION: JAPAN VS THE USA

Here’s a longer perspective of the chart I’ve often referenced in the past showing how similar our current inflation trend is to Japan’s in the 90′s.  As the housing double dip takes hold in the coming months, it’s likely that inflation will remain very low and concerns about deflation will reemerge (via the NY Times):

“The latest figures, released this week, showed that overall inflation in consumer prices was 1.2 percent in the 12 months through October, while the core inflation rate — excluding food and energy — rose just 0.6 percent. The previous low for that index, of 0.7 percent, came in the 12 months through February 1961, when the economy was in recession.

Japan, deflation

As the accompanying chart indicates, the core inflation figures are charting a path roughly similar to one shown in Japan 15 years earlier. That has been true despite a much stronger reaction by the American central bank, which was determined not to make the same mistakes the Japanese made.

Deflation is feared for several reasons. If consumers come to expect it, as happened in Japan, there is a strong incentive to delay purchases while waiting for a lower price. That can restrain economic activity and increase unemployment. In addition, deflation places downward pressure on asset prices, worsening the situation of those who are indebted.”

Source: NY Times 


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Just in case you were planning to eat next week…

Just in case you were planning to eat next week…

food pricesCourtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

The next chapter in the quantitative easing drama takes place in the ag commodity neighborhood.

Over in Britain, the Guardian posted a full-scale freakout piece tying in Bernanke’s policies to a sharp spike in food costs…

UK food prices were 9.8% higher last month than a year ago, the biggest annual increase since October 2008, according to the Office for National Statistics. Imported food prices climbed 4.5% on the year, the fastest rate since October 2009, pushing up the price of bread and margarine. Prices are likely to be pushed higher in coming months, with refined sugar reaching a record of $783.90 a tonne today.

Greg White over at Clusterstock has a very worthwhile slideshow (can’t believe I just wrote that phrase) illustrating the food cost spike by commodity.  Corn, for example, is just completely absurd and very scary if you are in the business of feeding large quantities of animals (or addicted to Crackerjacks) :

The agflation beat goes on.

Sources:

US Accused of Forcing Up World Food Prices (Guardian)

Here’s the Massive Commodities Surge etc.  (Clusterstock)

Read Also:

Food Price Inflation No Longer Theoretical (TRB)

Pic credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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The Kellogg’s Crispix Indicator Of Inflation (UUP)

The Kellogg’s Crispix Indicator Of Inflation (UUP)

Courtesy of Sellputs at Hedge Accordingly

My favorite cereal is Kellogg’s Crispix. The cereal is very simple not to sugary not to bland. Lately my box’s of Crispix seem to be getting smaller while theprice is ever increasing? I thought i was a bit crazy and obsessive though i realized i am not, the price of Crispix seems to be going up nearly 50c every 6 months. Perhaps this is the grocery store marking up products… Doubt it. What really happening is the most basic form of inflation, via the price of commodities including but not limited to grains/corn/oil rising.

A normal size box of cereal advertised as a "low price" (above picture) is priced at $4.50 a box, some cereals were over $5.00 a box. Seriously, $5 dollars a box?

cereal pricesMilk is only 2.50 a gallon, which usually outlaststhe cereal in most households with kids. maybe…

Moral of the story, if QEII is implemented we could be seeing $6.00 box’s of Crispix and im gonna be fairly pissed off… but seriously teach this to your kids, tell them to make a game of it marking the prices of their favorite cereals on a graph.


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Burning the Food Supply

Burning the Food Supply

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Farmer Brown here…if no one else is going to tell this story, then I might as well.

We do some stupid stuff here in America – playing ultimate frisbee on skis, deep-frying Oreos, calling in to vote for televised dance show contestants…I could go on and on.

But of all the stupid things we do, one of the most dangerous is this ethanol nonsense, in which we gleefully burn up our corn supplies.  For very little in the way of environmental impact I might add.

First, look at the December 2010 corn contract, then I’ll give you some insane stats on the demands of ethanol:

You wouldn’t believe it, but according to the most recent estimate from the USDA, corn use for ethanol for the 2010-2011 corn crop will be 37 percent of the projected total harvest.  More than a third of our corn supply will be refined for energy use.  We’re talking about 4.7 billion bushels of the corn that would normally go to animals as fodder and to our own diets.

And while yields and production are up, corn races to ever higher prices.  There’s a good reason for that – industry experts say that we now need to produce 13 billion bushels each year just to keep prices restrained.

The stats above are mind-blowing and to me they represent the bull case for agriculture stocks and commodities in general.

They also represent a society that has become oblivious to the danger right in front of its face.  I believe that resource competition between the developed and emerging nations is a given for the coming decade.  While many believe this competition will center around oil, I’d be more concerned about the global demand for more and better food.

One of the most important determinants of animal protein prices is the corn fodder that supports production.  And we’re mixing this critical element of the food supply into our gas tanks.

One might ask "but if it comes down to it, we can adjust in time, right?"

And the retort might be "if we’ve learned anything from the economic earthquakes of the recent past, it’s that we almost never adjust until it’s too late."

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

h/t David D 


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Food and Finance

High fructose corn syrup, enriched bleached flour, and "natural flavor" is to bread like CDOS, subprime loans and reverse convertibles are to finance. – Ilene 

Food and Finance

NEW YORK - AUGUST 06: Bread is displayed for sale at a Manhattan grocery store on August 6, 2010 in New York City. As a result of drought and an outbreak of wildfires that have decimated Russia's wheat crop, U.S. wheat prices have been steadily rising, igniting fears of a global rise of food prices. Russia announced a ban on grain and flour exports yesterday, which will take effect from August 15 to the end of the year. While prices fell slightly in trading today, U.S. wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose over 20 percent earlier in the week, having nearly doubled since early July to $8.41 a bushel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Courtesy of James Kwak at Baseline Scenario

I just read Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, and what struck me was the parallels between the evolution of food and the evolution of finance since the 1970s. This will only confirm my critics’ belief that I see the same thing everywhere, but bear with me for a minute.

Pollan’s account, grossly simplified, goes something like this. The dominant ideology of food in the United States is nutritionism: the idea that food should be thought of in terms of its component nutrients. Food science is devoted to identifying the nutrients in food that make us healthy or unhealthy, and encouraging us to consume more of the former and less of the latter. This is good for nutritional “science,” since you can write papers about omega-3 fatty acids, while it’s very hard to write papers about broccoli.

It’s especially good for the food industry, because nutritionism justifies even more intensive processing of food. Instead of making bread out of flour, yeast, water, and salt, Sara Lee makes “Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread” out of “enriched bleached flour” (seven ingredients), water, “whole grains” (three ingredients), high fructose corn syrup, whey, wheat gluten, yeast, cellulose, honey, calcium sulfate, vegetable oil, salt, butter, dough conditioners (up to seven ingredients), guar gum, calcium propionate, distilled vinegar, yeast nutrients (three ingredients), corn starch, natural flavor [?], betacarotene, vitamin D3, soy lecithin, and soy flour (pp. 151-52). They add a modest amount of whole grains so they can call it “whole grain” bread, and then they add the sweeteners and the dough conditioners to make it taste more like Wonder Bread. Because processed foods sell at higher margins, we have an enormous food industry pushing highly processed food at us, very cheaply (because it’s mainly made out of highly-subsidized corn and soy), which despite its health claims (or perhaps because of them) is almost certainly bad for us, and bad for the environment as well. This has been abetted by the government, albeit perhaps reluctantly, which now allows labels like this on corn oil (pp. 155-56):

“Very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about one tablespoon (16


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Hugh Hendry Talks The Geopolitics Of Potash, Grains And Other Scarcities On BBC Newsnight

Hugh Hendry Talks The Geopolitics Of Potash, Grains And Other Scarcities On BBC Newsnight

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

With concerns about surging food prices recently inflamed courtesy of the series of fires in Russia and the halt of grains exports out of the country, several heavy hitters have come out recently to discuss their views. One among them is the man with the best YTD performing macro hedge fund according to Bloomberg, Hugh Hendry, who appeared on BBC’s ever-informative Newsnight to discuss potash, food prices, and other scarce resources.

On whether the world is facing a massive food shortage, Hugh’s conclusion is that as long as Asia does not have a recession, things are ok, otherwise "in due course there would be great pressure on the food supply." As for Potash, Hendry says that China and Canada "hate each other [in the space]. There has been a profound game of roulette – Chinese consumption of Potash is 35% less than used in Western agriculture. At these prices, the Chinese haven’t been consuming in the manner in that they should and they risk an absolute collapse in their yields… China does have a vulnerability in feeding itself which we don’t have because we embrace potash at productive levels."

As for geopolitics, the topic arises of what African quid pro quo demands for having the most arable land should be and sending products over to China. The observation is that Africa’s bargaining position is negligible (those Goldman offices in Ethiopia, protecting the interests of the locals, are oddly missing).

All this and more in the below clip: 


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What if You Ate Only What Was Advertised on TV?

Hint: perfect recipe for a coronary. 

What if You Ate Only What Was Advertised on TV? 

Courtesy of TIME, by Alice Park 

Ragnar Schmuck / Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that the typical American diet isn’t exactly brimming with healthy goodness — rather, it’s laden with fat, sugar and salt. And now new research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association points to a troubling reason: TV ads for food may be skewing our decisions on what we eat in powerful ways.

To figure out exactly how unhealthy a TV-guided diet would be, researchers studied food commercials that appeared during 84 hours of prime-time programming and 12 hours of Saturday-morning cartoons broadcast over the major U.S. networks during one month in 2004. When the research team calculated the nutritional content of a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet containing only foods that were advertised on television, they found that it exceeded the government’s recommended daily amount of fat by 20 times and had 25 times the recommended daily intake of sugar. "That’s almost a month’s worth of sugar in one day," notes study leader Michael Mink at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.

In addition, the TV-marketed diet provided less than half the recommended daily servings of fruit, vegetables and dairy.

In fact, the sources of nutrition in the TV-ad diet were almost the exact opposite of what the government’s food pyramid recommends. Instead of making up the smallest proportion of a day’s calories, as nutritionists advise, fats and sugars accounted for the largest portion of calories in a diet based on television advertising. Couple this nutritional inversion with the fact that marketing campaigns are notoriously effective in influencing people’s behavior and the result is what many nutrition experts call a toxic environment — one that dissuades Americans from making healthy food choices and encourages inactivity.

In the year the study took place, the authors point out that foodmakers…
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Black Swans And The Collapse Of Empires Swimming In Debt

Elaine Supkis passionately takes on Dr. Niall Ferguson. Her words in Niall’s LA Times excerpt are red. – Ilene 

Black Swans And The Collapse Of Empires Swimming In Debt

Courtesy of Elaine Supkis at Culture of Life News 

It is rather curious how people refuse to see obvious things. This is why so many things are ‘unexpected’ or a ’surprise’. People who do see obvious things are called ‘cynics’.  Cynics are the exact opposite of banking gnomes and their ilk.  Cynics disparage wealth and power in order to see reality and truth.  Often, cynics go around telling people, ‘You are doomed’ which makes them party poopers.  But then, often, they are right.  

black swan

Cynic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Cynics (Greek: Κυνικο?, Latin: Cynici) were an influential group of philosophers from the ancient school of Cynicism. Their philosophy was that the purpose of life was to live a life of Virtue in agreement with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealthpowerhealth, and fame, and by living a life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which was natural for humans. They believed that the world belonged equally to everyone, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what was valuable and by the worthless customs and conventions which surrounded society. Many of these thoughts were later absorbed into Stoicism.

The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BCE. He was followed by Diogenes of Sinope, who lived in a tub on the streets of Athens. He took Cynicism to its logical extremes, and came to be seen as the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He was followed by Crates of Thebes who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of Cynic poverty in Athens. Cynicism spread with the rise of Imperial Rome in the 1st century, and Cynics could be found begging and preaching throughout the cities of the Empire. It finally disappeared in the late 5th century, although many


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US Cattle Herd Drops to 1958 Levels

US Cattle Herd Drops to 1958 Levels

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Ranchers are culling the herds as corn prices soar and wholesale prices for beef and milk drop.

My personal view is that this is a manifestation of economic distortions and malinvestment due to government interferience in a variety of feed markets over a number of years, as well as paper speculation driving prices in a way that is not connected with physical supply and demand.

Is there a significant change in American dietary habits and an oversupply of beef and milk? It does not seem as though the retail prices of milk and beef are dropping in concert with this, which may be dampening demand.

Let them eat iPads and CDO’s.

BusinessWeek
U.S. Cattle Herd Falls to 1958 Low as Losses Climb, Survey Says

By Whitney McFerron

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. cattle herd may have shrunk to the smallest size since 1958, as mounting losses during the recession spurred beef and dairy producers to cull animals, analysts said.

Wholesale choice-beef prices averaged $1.4071 a pound last year, the lowest level since at least 2004, as U.S. job losses climbed and meat demand waned. Corn, the main ingredient in livestock feed, jumped to a record $7.9925 a bushel in 2008 on the Chicago Board of Trade, and prices averaged about $3.79 last year, the third-highest annual average since at least 1959.

“There’s not much incentive to be building herds,” said John Nalivka, the president of Sterling Marketing Inc., a livestock-industry consulting company in Vale, Oregon. “Costs of production across the cow-calf sector and in dairy have gone up in the past two years, and prices have come down” for beef and milk, he said.

Futures prices for feeder cattle, the young animals that ranchers sell to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter, averaged 96.821 cents a pound last year on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the lowest level since 2003. Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.2 percent yesterday to 98.975 cents a pound on the CME.

Slaughter-ready cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.9 percent yesterday to 89.325 cents a pound.

Rancher Losses

Cattle ranchers in the southern Great Plains lost about $34 on every breeding cow they owned last year, following losses of about $18 a head in 2008, according to Jim Robb, the director of the Denver-based Livestock Marketing Information…
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Zero Hedge

Mexico Threatens To End NAFTA Talks If Trump Proposes Tariffs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

After months of tough talk from the Trump administration on NAFTA and border tariffs on goods imported from Mexico, among other issues, Mexico's top trade negotiator, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, is now ratcheting up his own threats from south of the border.  Speaking to Bloomberg over the weekend, Guajardo said that Mexico will walk away from NAFTA if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from Mexico.

...



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ValueWalk

15 Highlights of Warren Buffett on CNBC - February 27, 2017

By Dr. David Kass. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Buffett on CNBC: Airlines will get into trouble again if they substantially increase supply (more planes and seats)

[munnger]

Buffett on CNBC: Stocks are pieces of businesses and businesses will be worth more over time.

Photo by TEDizen

Buffett on CNBC: Index funds will outperform active managers after fees.

Buffett on CNBC: Berkshire will convert its Bank of America Preferred and warrants into its common stock when its dividends are increased

Buffett on CNBC: No one should buy a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond (3% coupon)

Buffett on CNBC: Sold shares in Wal-Mart because retailing is ...



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Phil's Favorites

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

The Bond Market Is Calling Yellen’s March Rate Hike Bluff (Bloomberg)

For weeks now, everyone from Janet Yellen to Fed newcomer Patrick Harker has been trying to jawbone investors into believing an interest-rate increase in March is on the table. That the meeting is “live.”

Global Markets Cautious Ahead Of Trump Speech (Associated Press)

World stock markets were...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Feb 26, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Before we begin please check out our sister site’s highly popular annual broker review!  This is an elegantly designed site with completely unbiased reviews of brokers – simply a must read.

To narrow down your choice of a broker best suited to you, you can start with the “Best in Class” category lists below where you can see recommended brokers based on aspects that matter most to you. Then read a full-length review and compare your favorites side by side, using the comparison tool to finalize your selection.

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of February 27th, 2017

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

The story of the week is Trump, Russia and the FBI. The rest is a distraction (The Guardian)

Narrative switching. That is what the Trump administration is desperately trying to do around Russia right now. The White House reportedly interfered with the FBI in the middle of an active investigation involving counter-intelligence. This was not only foolhardy but also suspicious, as it directly undermined their apparent objective: distracting us.

On 14 February, the New York Times reported that advisers and associates of Donald Trump may have been in direct and cont...



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Mapping The Market

Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

Courtesy of Jean Luc

Good article about facts and why we reject them:

WHY FACTS DON’T CHANGE OUR MINDS

New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

In “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us” (Oxford), Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, and his daughter, Sara Gorman, a public-health specialist, probe the gap between what science tells us and what we tell ourselves. Their concern is with those persistent beliefs which are not just demonstrably false but also potentially deadly, like the conviction that vaccines are hazardous. Of course, what’s hazardous is not being vaccinated; that’s why vaccines were created in the first place. “Immunization is one of the triumphs of modern medicine,” the Gormans no...



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Digital Currencies

As Bitcoin Surges To Record High, China Prepares Its Own Digital Currency

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock (Mish)

Bitcoin hit an all-time high over $1200 today.

Traders are happy because the SEC is expected to rule on a Bitcoin ETF by March 11.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports China Is Developing its Own Digital Currency.
 

After assembling a research team in 2014, the People’s Bank of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That’s taking it a step closer to becoming one of the first major central...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil; Energy stocks suggesting its about to fall, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below takes a look at the price action of Crude Oil, Energy ETF (XLE) and Oil & Gas Exploration ETF (XOP) over the past three years.

Could Energy stocks be suggesting the next big move in Crude Oil again? Which direction are they suggesting?

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

At this time the intermediate trend in Cru...



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Members' Corner

The Manchurian President

 

The Manchurian President

Courtesy of  at BillMoyers.com

As the Trump presidency unravels, unraveling the country along with it, there is no real political antecedent, no lessons from American history on which to draw and provide guidance. We are in entirely uncharted waters.

But there is an antecedent in our popular culture that provides a prism through which to view the contemporary calamity, especially the alleged collusion between Trump’s henchmen and Russian intelligence to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency. I am not the first observer who has ...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Las Vegas Conference!

Learn option strategies and how to be the house and not the gambler. That's especially apropos since we'll be in Vegas....

Join us for the Phil's Stock World's Conference in Las Vegas!

Date:  Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 and Monday Feb 13, 2017            

Beginning Time:  9:30 to 10:00 am Sunday morning

Location: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Notes

Caesars has offered us rooms for $189 on Saturday night and $129 for Sunday night but rooms are limited at that price.

So, if you are planning on being in Vegas (Highly Recommended!), please sign up as soon as possible by sending...



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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

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

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




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

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