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Posts Tagged ‘Glass-Steagall’

WHAT DID WE EXPECT WITH LEADERS LIKE THIS?

Brief review of why it’s about time Summers says goodbye. – Ilene 

WHAT DID WE EXPECT WITH LEADERS LIKE THIS?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

It’s no secret that the economic recovery in the United States has been meager at best (and that’s assuming you believe this is not just one ongoing recession). While there is plenty of blame to go around for our current plight the buck ultimately stops with the most influential people in this economy – the leaders that help frame the regulations and policies that help to keep the U.S. economy running smoothly. I don’t think these men and women (mostly men) have been held accountable over the years. I personally believe many of these men have flawed models (Alan Greenspan has admitted as much and Ben Bernanke has essentially rehashed his flawed model) and continue to help promote and implement economic policy in the U.S. that is counterproductive, ineffective and at times downright destructive.

I’ve been highly critical of Obama’s economic team over the years because many of them were key players in helping cause the financial crisis. Tim Geithner was the head of the NY Fed when the banks were busy turning themselves into casinos. Ben Bernanke (who Obama should have never reconfirmed) failed to even acknowledge the potential existence of problems in the U.S. economy leading up to the financial crisis and then implemented his great monetarist gaffe which has now been proven to be what I called it from the very beginning – a bailout of Wall Street and a slap in the face for Main Street. He receives endless praise for helping to avoid a supposed second Great Depression. This is like the man who sees a fire in his front yard, ignores it, then when it’s finally becoming a widespread danger decides to save his own house from burning (the banks), lets all of the surroundings houses burn to the ground (Main Street) and then receives endless praise for his courage under fire.

But there have been few people in power over the last 25 years that have been more misguided and downright destructive than Larry Summers. This is a man who believes that women are intellectually inferior (I’ll tell you one thing – this economy wouldn’t be such a mess if it wasn’t run primarily by arrogant, narcissistic males) and has done more to help


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Chris Whalen Calls for Reforms, But Gives Crony Capitalism and the Neo-Liberals a Rewrite

"ALL THE GREAT THINGS ARE SIMPLE, AND MANY CAN BE EXPRESSED IN A SINGLE WORD: FREEDOM, JUSTICE, HONOR, DUTY, MERCY, HOPE."  WINSTON CHURCHILL

Chris Whalen Calls for Reforms, But Gives Crony Capitalism and the Neo-Liberals a Rewrite

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

I enjoy Chris Whalen of the Institutional Risk Analyst. His outlook and perspective are generally well-informed and well to the point, fresh and practical.

In his most recent essay titled Building a New American Political Economy, excerpted below, he spends quite a few words in taking Paul Krugman and the stimulus crowd to task, or more accurately, out to the woodshed for what we used to call a ‘proper thrashing.’

I like his conclusion, which strikes a similar chord to the tag line which I have been promoting since 2002.

"The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained recovery."

There must be a fundamental restructuring of the US economy, a reconsideration of globalization and its scope and impact on domestic policy, and a significant reform of the role of the financial system before there can be any sustained recovery.

The housing bubble was not only noticeable well in advance of its collapse, but it was predictable in my view, because of what Greenspan’s policies had been coupled with the fiscal irresponsibility of the government.

What I do not like, at all, is the revisionism that imputes the problems facing the US today to ‘the Keynesians,’ seemingly alone.

Deficits Don’t Matter, Until They Do

Who was it who proved, according to Dick Cheney, that ‘deficits don’t matter?’ Not some wild eyed liberal, but Ronald Reagan. And if Reagan was a Keynesian, then Tim Geithner is Leonardo da Vinci.

The greatest deficit growth in the US came from a belief that cutting taxes for the wealthy, without cutting spending, and even increasing spending by enormous amounts on military projects, even in peacetime, in the pursuit of empire and the New American Century, was viable because this would stimulate growth from the top down, trickle down as it were, and negate the deficits.

It was from the anti-government Republicans and faux Democrat elites like Bill Clinton and his economic advisor Robert Rubin, and the billionaire boys club’s think tanks, that the ‘efficient markets hypothesis’…
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FINREG Dead?

FINREG Dead?

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 10:  U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) attends the ACLU of Southern California annual Bill of Rights Dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel December 10, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

Senator Feingold says:

"As I have indicated for some time now, my test for the financial regulatory reform bill is whether it will prevent another crisis.  The conference committee’s proposal fails that test and for that reason I will not vote to advance it.  During debate on the bill, I supported several efforts to break up ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street banks and restore the proven safeguards established after the Great Depression separating Main Street banks from big Wall Street firms, among other issues.  Unfortunately, these crucial reforms were rejected.  While there are some positive provisions in the final measure, the lack of strong reforms is clear confirmation that Wall Street lobbyists and their allies in Washington continue to wield significant influence on the process.”

Interesting. Note that:

Senator Feingold was one of eight senators to oppose the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999. Senator Feingold also opposed the Wall Street bail-out in 2008.

Oh my the balls are still there!

There are times when one Senator with a pair of church-ringers can make a difference.  This is one of them.

I have long said that Glass-Steagall, which was all of 37 pages, is more than sufficient to stuff the genie back in the bottle. Indeed, all of Mr. Feingold’s complaints would be addressed by simply reinstating it.

Yes, I know the banks would howl, and claim that "they’d all move to Britain."

Fine. Let ‘em.

If you know someone is playing around with the materials to blow up your economy, do you want them to do so in your country or somewhere else?  Clearly, we’d prefer to have that happen "somewhere else", right?

Banking should be a utility function.  Those institutions that want to play in the capital markets are free to do so, but they should NOT have access toany sort of support whatsoever – not from The Fed, not from Treasury, not from anyone but themselves. If they fail then they go under and everyone holding their paper takes a haircut (or worse.)

All this arm-waving and 2200 pages of legislation is another attempt…
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More On Yesterday’s Plunge

More On Yesterday’s Plunge

Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker 

If you had any doubt about what I have been talking about during this entire ramp job off 666 – that the so-called "bull market" was in fact not much more than a handful of institutions buying shares with free Fed money and passing them between one another hoping to distribute them to you - you should be thoroughly disabused of your skepticism after yesterday.

"Revenge of the algorithms" writ large, basically.

We keep talking about how financial innovation has "helped consumers", "helped businesses" and "made markets more efficient."

Let me put this in nice, large letters for you:

That claim is one big fat LIE.

If you need anything more after yesterday to understand that all these "algos" have done is create systemic risk and permit a handful of very large institutions to siphon off more and more of your money into their pockets like an insane hoover vacuum cleaner on steroids, you need a lobotomy.

The crooners are of course out in force this morning, among them Jeff Immelt:

“This is a point in time when the world needs the U.S. to be a beacon of stability, a beacon of reliability,” Immelt said during an interview at the 92nd Street Y in New York with Norman Pearlstine, chairman of Bloomberg Businessweek. “The world doesn’t need the U.S. in a food fight right now, with everything that’s going on in Europe. We should be the safe harbor.”

But what’s his definition of this?  Why, to make sure GE can continue to siphon off more and more money from the productive economy via GE Capital!

“Financial services is a very important industry in this country,” Immelt said. “Goldman Sachs has been a partner to GE for a long time. We trust them, they’ve done great work for us.”

Yep – hinky derivatives deals are great for Goldman, and might be great for GE as well.  For the rest of the world that actually produces something?  Not so much.

“This point about damning Wall Street isn’t good for the American economy,” Immelt said.

“Some theoreticians that convinced themselves that you can have a great, productive country


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Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Partisan GOP hacks say the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, and government interference in the markets.

But Glass-Steagall was repealed, derivatives were left unregulated, and the regulators were watching porn instead of preventing fraud. Giant banks, hedge funds and other fat cat private players knowingly gamed the market and committed fraud in more ways than can be listed in a single post.

And remember, even the "father of economics" – Adam Smith – didn’t believe in completely unfettered free markets.

On the other hand, partisan Democratic party hacks say that bad corporations caused the crisis, and that if more power is given to Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other governmental honchos, they’ll fix everything.

But Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other meatheads largely caused the crisis through their actions. And as Simon Johnson points out, the government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition.

As I pointed out in February 2009, government fraud is pervasive:

In case you believe that there are only "a couple of bad apples" in the United States, here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of corruption by leading pillars of American society:

  • Senior military officials stole approximately $125 billion dollars out of Iraq reconstruction funds, dwarfing Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme (in turn, the looting which is now occurring under the bailout/stimulus programs will far surpass $150 billion)
  • The government-endorsed ratings agencies which were supposed to accurately rate the credit-worthiness of companies and nations committed massive fraud

There are hundreds of similar stories of corruption which have come out recently.

But surely government employees would have done something to stop such corruption if had known about it, right?

Well, actually:


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Break Up The Banks

Break Up The Banks

banksCourtesy of Robert Reich  

A fight is brewing in Washington – or, at the least, it ought to be brewing – over whether to put limits on the size of financial entities in order that none becomes “too big to fail” in a future financial crisis.

Some background: The big banks that got federal bailouts, as well as their supporters in the Administration and on the Hill, repeatedly say much of the cost of the giant taxpayer-funded bailout has already been repaid to the federal government by the banks that were bailed out. Hence, the actual cost of the bailout, they argue, is a small fraction of the $700 billion Congress appropriated.

True, but the apologists for the bailout leave out one gargantuan cost — the damage to the economy, which we’re still living with (witness the latest unemployment figures). Leave it to the Brits to calculate this. Andrew Haldane, Bank of England’s Financial Stability Director, figures the financial crisis brought on by irresponsible bankers and regulators has cost the world economy about $4 trillion so far.

So while the bailout itself is gradually being repaid (don’t hold your breath until AIG and GM repay, by the way), the cost of the failures that made the bailout necessary totals vast multiples of that.

Needless to say, the danger of an even bigger cost in coming years continues to grow because we still don’t have a new law to prevent what happened from happening again. In fact, now that they know for sure they’ll be bailed out, Wall Street banks – and those who lend to them or invest in them – have every incentive to take even bigger risks. In effect, taxpayers are implicitly subsidizing them to do so. (Haldane figures the value of that implicit subsidy to be about $60 billion a year for each big bank.)

Congress and the White House tell us not to worry because financial reform legislation will contain what’s called a “resolution” mechanism allowing regulators to wind down any big bank that gets into trouble. (Think bankruptcy with more safeguards against runs by bank by creditors wanting to get their money out right away.) By virtue of this resolution authority, they say, future bank creditors will have to price in the possibility of the bank being allowed to fail. Hence, the implicit subsidy for…
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Reich Levels Broadside at Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers, and Phony Financial Reform

I posted this article earlier, but now Jesse writes a great intro. – Ilene

Reich Levels Broadside at Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers, and Phony Financial Reform

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Robert Reich is exactly correct. Back in 1999 I started questioning what Robert Rubin might have said to Alan Greenspan in a private meeting in 1997 to reverse his policy bias after his famous "irrational exuberance" speech and embrace the monetary easing that led to the tech bubble, and to join the fight against regulation, resulting in the repeal of Glass-Steagall in which the Fed was absolutely instrumental.

PBS Frontline – The Warning: The Roots of the Financial Crisis

This was no accident, in my opinion. This was no misplaced belief in ‘the efficient market hypothesis.’ This was not the culmination of the neo-liberal fascination with a mythology of human nature that would make Rousseau blush in its unthinking naiveté. And for Greenspan to say now, I am sorry, I guess I was mistaken, is more prevarication from the master dissembler.

There were plenty of enablers to this financial fraud. There always are many more people who do not act out of principle, or inside involvement and knowledge, but out of their own selfish bias and greed or craven fear that compels them to ‘go with the flow.’

And there is little better example of this than the many people who are even now turning a willful eye away from the blatant government manipulation of the stock and commodity markets, in particular the silver market. They do not wish to believe it, so they ignore it, and even ridicule it depending on how deeply it affects their personal interests. But the overall body of evidence is compelling enough to provoke further investigation, and the refusal to allow audits and independent investigation starts to become an overwhelming sign of a coverup. I am not saying that it is correct, or that I know something, but I am saying to not investigate it thoroughly and to air all the details, is highly suspicious and not in the interests of the truth. I did not know, for example, that Madoff was conducting a Ponzi scheme, but the indications were all there and a simple investigation and disclosure would have revealed the truth, one way or the other.

"Fiat justitia ruat caelum." Let justice be done though the heaven’s fall. This is the principle…
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The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street 

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

Sure, American politicians have been bought and paid for by the Wall Street giants. See this, this and this.

And everyone knows that the White House and Congress – while talking about cracking down on Wall Street with strict regulation – have actually watered down some of the most important protections that were in place.

For example, Senator Cantwell says that the new derivatives legislation is weaker than the old regulation. And leading credit default swap expert Satyajit Das says that the new credit default swap regulations not only won’t help stabilize the economy, they might actually help to destabilize it.

But the U.S. is not being sold out in a vacuum.

On March 1, 1999, countries accounting for more than 90 per cent of the global financial services market signed onto the World Trade Organization’s Financial Services Agreement (FSA). By signing the FSA, they committed to deregulate their financial markets.

For example, by signing the FSA, the U.S. agreed not to break up too big to fails. The U.S. also promised to repeal Glass-Steagall, and did so 8 months after signing the FSA.

Indeed, in signing the FSA and other WTO agreements, the U.S. has legally bound itself as follows

• No new regulation: The United States agreed to a “standstill provision” that requires that we not create new regulations (or reverse liberalization) for the list of financial services bound to comply with WTO rules. Given that the United States has made broad WTO financial services commitments – and thus is forbidden by this provision from imposing new regulations in these many areas – this provision seriously limits the policy [options] available to address the current crisis.

• Removal of regulation: The United States even agreed to try to even eliminate domestic financial service regulatory policies that meet GATS [i.e. General Agreement on Trade in Services] rules, but that may still “adversely affect the ability of financial service suppliers of any other (WTO) Member to operate, compete, or enter” the market.

• No bans on new financial service “products”: The United States is also bound to ensure that foreign financial


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Did The President FINALLY Wake Up?

Did The President FINALLY Wake Up?

ObamaCourtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

Pragcap turns more bearish in the face of proposed rules for reforming Wall Street. My highlights. – Ilene

THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

pragmatic capitalist Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

  • President Obama isn’t taking the Scott Brown victory lightly.  He has just announced some stunning measures to curb bank risk taking.  The news is taking Wall Street (myself included) by surprise as stocks tank on the news.  The measures appear to be an early move back towards the Glass-Steagall Act.  Specifically, Obama said no banks will own hedge funds or private equity funds.  The details are few at this time, but that is stunning, must sell stock news.  We continue to believe the secular bear market is with us, and such policy action creates a sense of uncertainty that is simply staggering.   I would use strength in the coming days and weeks of earnings season to reduce risk until some of these clouds clear.  Stocks cannot and will not rise substantially when the government appears to be on the attack against Wall Street and that appears to be the only response from the White House after the Brown win.  While this is likely a very positive measure in the long-run, it has the potential to cause a great deal of near-term volatility.  The combination of uncertainty in the Eurozone, China’s liquidity restraints, and this new policy reform in the United States creates a three pronged reason to avoid owning stocks in the near-term.  While I hate to sell into downturns it’s best to take the meager gains since the beginning of the year and look for a better entry point.  Uncertainty is a markets worst friend and there is a growing abundance.
  • Earnings continue to come in quite robust.  Goldman Sachs crushed analysts estimates and Ebay reported a solid quarter last night.  Unlike previous quarters, investors are largely ignoring the earnings season as the above three macro themes dominate the headlines.  A continuing concern is a lack of strong revenue growth.  Corporations are still largely relying on cost cuts to generate their better than expected earnings growth.
  • This morning’s data is compounding matters.  Jobless claims spiked to 482K vs expectations of 440K and the Philly Fed surprised to the downside.  A Labor Department analyst


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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

Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Quick take: At the end of September the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 89% above its long-term trend, up from 85% above trend the previous month.

About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let's apply some simple regression analysis (see footnote below) to the question.

Below is a chart of the S&P Composite stretching back to 1871 based on the real (inflation-adjusted) monthly average of daily closes. I've using a semi-log scale to equalize vertical distances for the same percentage change regardless of the index price range.

The regression trendline drawn through the data clarifies the secular pattern of variance from the trend — those multi-year periods when the marke...



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Zero Hedge

Meanwhile In Hong Kong "Tonight Is Going To Get Messy"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While overnight the massive student protest crowd swelled to as much as 200,000 according to eyewitnesses as today's deadline for their demands that HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying resign arrives, the gathering was surprisingly peaceful. That may change at any moment.

BREAKING: Hong Kong police warn of serious consequences if protesters charge government buildings

— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2014

As ...



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Phil's Favorites

Federal Judge Smacks CalPERS on Sanctity of Pensions; CalPERS Liens Null and Void

Courtesy of Mish.

Exceptionally good news from California today: A federal judge ruled CALpers claim of "Sanctity of Pensions" is invalid. Today's ruling went even further than the bankrupt city of Stockton originally sought in court.

For details, please consider the New York Times article In Ruling on California Town’s Bankruptcy, Judge Challenges Sanctity of Pensions. A federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday upended the widely held belief that public workers’ pensions have a special status in California that makes them impossible to cut, further chipping away at the idea that pensions are sacrosanct in a municipal bankruptcy.

The ruling, which came du...



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Digital Currencies

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

Better than a Bitcoin? The Mexican Libertad is a real coin made out of silver or gold whose value is based on the price of silver or gold. It's tangible, like our coins and paper money, but the value is pegged to its weight in previous metal. 

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

By Jeff Thomas of The International Man

The Libertad is a Mexican coin that was first issued in 1981 in .999 fine gold and then in silver in 1982. Beginning in 1991, the Libertades became the only coins in the world that were issued in the convenient sizes of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce—again, in both gold and silver. This made them very practical if they were to be used as currency.

But of course, gold and silver coin...



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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

Mixed Economic Data, Ebola Scares Rattle Markets

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ALL The Allstate Corporation Is Now Historically Overbought And Nearing Resistance: Time For A Pullback? Marchex, Inc. Loses Third-Largest Customer, Cuts FY14 Outlook

U.S. stocks declined sharply as investors digest reports of a confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. In addition, economic data relea...



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Option Review

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Stocks fight off predictable weakness, but expect more downside

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 29th, 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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Market Shadows

Ebola vs. Us

Ebola vs. Us

By Ilene 

Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.

The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...



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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.

The latest issue of Stock World Weekly is now available. Please sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or simply take a free trial to try out our weekly newsletter. 

...

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Promotions

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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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