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Posts Tagged ‘homeowners’

Housing Market Double Dip Surprises Economists – Just as Original Crash Did

Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

The same economists shocked by the original housing crash (prices can’t go up forever?), now appear to be in the fetal position as the much too obvious second leg of the downturn has arrived.  While I do have an economist degree, living in the locale experiencing a 1 state Depression [Jan 27, 2011: Metro Detroit Home Prices Back to 1994 Levels...Before Accounting for Inflation]  had me much more negative than those who live in the ivory towers of Manhattan or D.C..  I wrote a few years ago about a few articles that also opened my eyes to what was going on out there in the rest of the country. [May 30, 2005 - Fortune: Riding the Boom] [Sep 11, 2006: Option ARMs - Nightmare Mortgages]  Hence in late 07, I showed with simple math why we were in for a doozy of a drop in the housing market.  [Dec 6, 2007: What Should Median Housing Prices be Today?]

As you can see from the mid/late 1970s to 2001/2002 the ratio was consistent in a tight range between 2.6x to 3.0x. Essentially this means the median home price in this country was 2.6x – 3.0x median household income. And it’s been right around 2.8x for most of that time. That’s 30 years….

Then in 2002+, we had innovation…. great innovation… and 1% interest rates. Easy money. No mortgage regulation. Happy times. And crazy housing prices that detached from reality. In 2006 at the height of ‘innovation’ (where were these politicians 1 year ago? seriously), the ratio went "off" the chart, it appears 4.0x. After the ‘correction’ we’ve had, that ratio has fallen all the way to…. 3.8x.

In July 2006 at the height of insanity the median price of a home was $230,200

It has already fallen in less than a year (October 2006) to $207,800

Pain over, correction done – time to party. Right? Wrong.

What are median incomes nowadays? As of 2006 the median household income was $48,201.

$48,201 x 2.8 ratio


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Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 3: What’s the Worst and Slightly Better Case Scenario?

Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 3: What’s the Worst and Slightly Better Case Scenario?

By Mike Konczal, courtesy of New Deal 2.0foreclosures

The foreclosure crisis is heating up. Will it all come crashing down, or can we find a way out of the mess? **This is Part 3 in a series giving a basic explanation of the current foreclosure fraud crisis. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Right now the foreclosure system has shut down as a result of the banks’ own voluntary actions. There is currently a debate over whether or not the current foreclosure fraud crisis could explode into a systemic risk problem that imperils the larger financial sector and economy, and if so what that would look like.

No matter what happens, the uncertainty about notes and what is currently going on with the foreclosure crisis is terrible for the economy. Getting to the heart of this problem so that negotiations can be worked out is important for getting the economy going again. There is little reason to trust whatever the servicers and the banks conclude at the end of the month, and the market will know that. Only the government can credibly clear the air as to what the legal situation is with the notes and the securitizations.

But I want to get some unlikely but dangerous scenarios on the table in which this blows up. Bangs, not whimpers.  The kind where Congress is pressured to act over a weekend.  I had a discussion with Adam Levitin about how this could explode into a systemic problem.

Title Insurance Market Breaks Down

The first scenario involves title insurance, specifically a situation wherein title insurers decide to take a month off from writing title insurance even on performing and current loans to investigate what is going on with note transfers.

If that happened, there would be no mortgage sales (except for those involving cash) in the country. The system would simply stop. Everyone with an interest, from realtors to Wall Street to construction to huge sections of the economy, would face a major crisis from this short-term pinch. There would be a call for Congress to step in immediately.

You can tell that the title insurance market, which is largely concentrated and also holding very little capital to deal with a nationwide crisis,…
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Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 2: What’s a Note, Who’s a Servicer, and Why They Matter

Foreclosure Fraud For Dummies, Part 2: What’s a Note, Who’s a Servicer, and Why They Matter

Mike Konczal defines the key players in the foreclosure fraud mess. **This is Part 2 in a series giving a basic explanation of the current foreclosure fraud crisis. You can find Part 1 here.

By Mike Konczal, courtesy of New Deal 2.

What is the note?

The SEIU has a campaign: Where’s the Note? Demand to see your mortgage note. It’s worth checking out. But first, what is this note? And why would its existence be important to struggling homeowners, homeowners in foreclosure, and investors in mortgage backed securities?

There’s going to be a campaign to convince you that having the note correctly filed and produced isn’t that important (see, to start, this WSJ editorial from the weekend). It will argue that this is some sort of useless cover sheet for a TPS form that someone forgot to fill out. That is profoundly incorrect.

Independent of the fraud that was committed on our courts, the current crisis is important because the note is a crucial document for every party to a mortgage. But first, let’s define what a mortgage is. A mortgage consists of two documents, a note and a lien:

mortgage, foreclosures

The note is the IOU; it’s the borrower’s promise to pay. The mortgage, or the lien, is just the enforcement right to take the property if the note goes unpaid. The note is crucial.

Why does this matter? Three reasons, reasons that even the Wall Street Journal op-ed page needs to take into account. The first is that the note is the evidence of the debt. If it isn’t properly in the trust, then there isn’t clear evidence of the debt existing.

And it can’t be a matter of “let’s go find it now!” REMIC law, which governs the securitization, is really specific here.  The securitization can’t get new assets after 90 days without a tax penalty, and it can’t get defaulted assets at all without a major tax penalty. Most of these notes are way past 90 days and will be in a defaulted state.

This is because these parts of the mortgage-backed security were supposed to be passive entities. They are supposed to take in money through mortgage payments on one end and pay it out to bondholders on the other end — hence their exemption from lots…
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Where is the Bottom for Housing? We May Not Know for Years

Where is the Bottom for Housing? We May Not Know for Years

Courtesy of John Lounsbury writing at Credit Writedowns 

How far are we from a bottom in U.S. home prices?  There are many estimates that there could be another 10% or more for the national average and median prices to decline.  This author estimated that 2010 had a most probable decline around 11% from December 2009, with further declines possible in 2011.  Little decline has actually been seen as prices are quite near where they were nine months ago.  However, in the past couple of months predictions of further price declines have increased.  Two weeks ago I pointed out that the outlook for home prices may be degrading.

20% Price Decline to the Bottom?

Barry Ritholtz provides the following chart, originally from the New York Times, but updated for The Big Picture by Steve Barry.

For larger image, click on graph.

This decline is certainly within the possible limits I have discussed earlier in the year (see here and here) but the projection curve drawn by Steve Barry shows a much more gradual drop to the bottom than I have envisioned. I estimate that he is showing another 3.5 to 4 years to get 90% of the way there and 5-6 years to fully bottom out. My thinking has been that the drop to the final bottom will be much quicker, driven by the weight of foreclosures over the next one to two years.  However, current market conditions are causing me to reconsider.

Could Housing Go Below “Normal”?

What has not been considered by either Barry or me is the recurrence of another depression for housing, such as occurred from WW I to WW II. What sort of economic disaster would cause home prices to decline 55% to 60% from here? That is what would happen if the decline reproduced the 1920 bottom.

Or, asking a different question: What sort of economic disaster would result if home prices declined 55% to 60% from here? In such severe deflation, most mortgagors would default and every mortgage lender would be insolvent. There would be no future TARP or other shenanigan that could accommodate that eventuality.  This will be discussed further later in the article.

Under Water Mortgages

Calculated Risk has an excellent post about underwater mortgages. CR states that 4.1 million homeowners owe 50% or more than their house…
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OMG! Obama Scrambles To Keep the Homedebtor Scam Running

OMG! Obama Scrambles To Keep the Homedebtor Scam Running

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

h/t WCV

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t inflate the housing bubble back again…

Bloomberg:

The Obama administration plans to set up an emergency loan program for the unemployed and a government mortgage refinancing effort in the next few weeks to help homeowners after home sales dropped in July, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

“The July numbers were worse than we expected, worse than the general market expected, and we are concerned,” Donovan said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday. “That’s why we are taking additional steps to move forward.”

The administration will begin a Federal Housing Authority refinancing effort to help borrowers who are struggling to pay their mortgages, and will start an emergency homeowners’ loan program for unemployed borrowers so they can stay in their homes, Donovan said.

“We’re going to continue to make sure folks have access to home ownership,” he said.

These additional steps are really starting to hurt, when does it end? Oh duh, it ends when the rest of the world gets smart and realizes that we’re abusing our printing press. Obv. 


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Homeowners’ Rebellion

Homeowners’ Rebellion:

COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF? 

Courtesy of ELLEN BROWN, at Web of Debt 

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere “nominee”—an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff’s legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

California Precedent

The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:

Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no


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Bankers vs Realtors – Showdown on the West Side

Bankers vs Realtors – Showdown on the West Side

Businessmen standing back to back for duel

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

This is a bit like watching rival Mexican drug gangs fight it out for control over a border town – you hope they kill each other and it really doesn’t matter if neither of them "win".

From the New York Times:

On one side are the bankers, who say borrowers should be liable for what they owe. On the other side are real estate agents, who say those who lost their houses should not be so burdened by debt that they cannot move on.

The differences have real financial consequences: bankers want to collect on billions of dollars in outstanding loans; real estate agents want as many people as possible to return to the housing market.

For the first time, the debate is spilling into the realm of law making, with state legislators in California considering a bill that would redefine the obligations of many defaulting homeowners.

Obviously the bankers are "in the right" as far as wanting homeowners to meet their obligations.  Strategic default is cute, and in some cases it is economically the smart move, although these are adults that signed their name to a piece of paper so there should be a consequence.  That said, in many instances, these loans were grotesque characitures of fair contracts so it’s hard to empathize with the creditors.

The realtors on other hand will make the case that the silver lining of strategic default is that at least it keeps properties turning over and the real estate market moving.  They are jackals and a rapid turnover of homes with less consequence to the defaulter leads to buy and sell commissions, which is really all they’re after.

California Bankers versus Realtors to me is like if the Hells Angels and the Mongols fought for territorial control over a gas station bathroom.  Whatever.

Have at it, boys.

Source:

Battles in California Over Mortgages (NYT) 


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1 in 10 Americans Not Paying Their Mortgage

1 in 10 Americans Not Paying Their Mortgage

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

But hey, it doesn’t matter because everything is just fine, right?

Glad to see America took our advice…

Business Week:

The number of homeowners who missed at least one mortgage payment surged to a record in the first quarter of the year, a sign that the foreclosure crisis is far from over.

More than 10 percent of homeowners had missed at least one mortgage payment in the January-March period, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. That number was up from 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and 9.1 percent a year earlier.

Those figures are adjusted for seasonal factors. For example, heating bills and holiday expenses tend to push up mortgage delinquencies near the end of the year. Many of those borrowers become current on their loans again by spring.

Without adjusting for seasonal factors, the delinquency numbers dropped, as they normally do from the winter to spring.

More than 4.6 percent of homeowners were in foreclosure, also a record. But that number, which is not adjusted for seasonal factors, was up only slightly from the end of last year.

Bloodletting is not an overnight process and we’ve got plenty more infected garbage to drain. Keep it up, kids! 


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Internet Foreclosure “Myths”

Internet Foreclosure “Myths”

Foreclosure sign taped to a front door.

Courtesy of Patrick Pulatie, originally published at The Implode-O-Meter Blog

Just over two and one half years ago, I began to work with homeowners facing foreclosure. At that time, there were two or three websites that had any information on foreclosure prevention and any viable defenses to foreclosure. Since that time, starting in late 2008, and throughout 2009, there has been an explosion of websites featuring foreclosure information. This has been both good and bad for the homeowner facing foreclosure; good because homeowners have been able to learn much about their situation, and know that they were not alone, but bad because there is much “inaccurate” information about foreclosure defenses being presented. This article is intended to help the homeowner sort the good and the bad.

I write this knowing that I am going to receive significant negative feedback from many different sources. Some will be disputing what I write because they have heard of people with positive results. Some will argue because for them, the distribution of such information is part of their business model and the more people who know that what they “preach” is not effective, the less they will make. Others will disagree because I am at direct odds with certain people that they follow, ones who have high visibility, but have not stepped into court rooms in years. More will even argue that I side with the lenders.

There is a particular motivation for writing this. I receive phone calls daily and weekly from homeowners who have read these from sites, and are thinking that if they just do one thing or another, their problems will “magically” disappear. Others are Pro Se litigants, doing their own lawsuits instead of hiring attorneys. They want me to review their filings, advise them where they are wrong, or do Predatory Lending Examinations. I refuse to do this because I will not work with a person who does not have an attorney, and I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. The sad part is that in their filings, I can immediately spot so many errors that it is obvious that they should just start packing to move.

The criteria for being considered a "myth" includes the probability of a desired outcome, and/or…
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Obama’s Housing Shell Game; Short Sales and Relocation Assistance

Obama’s Housing Shell Game; Short Sales and Relocation Assistance

Courtesy of Mish 

Toy house and car on pile of invoices

We’ve now come full circle. Instead of trying to get people to stay in their homes, Obama is willing to pay them to leave. Please consider Program Will Pay Homeowners to Sell at a Loss.

In an effort to end the foreclosure crisis, the Obama administration has been trying to keep defaulting owners in their homes. Now it will take a new approach: paying some of them to leave.

This latest program, which will allow owners to sell for less than they owe and will give them a little cash to speed them on their way, is one of the administration’s most aggressive attempts to grapple with a problem that has defied solutions.

Under the new program, the servicing bank, as with all modifications, will get $1,000. Another $1,000 can go toward a second loan, if there is one. And for the first time the government would give money to the distressed homeowners themselves. They will get $1,500 in “relocation assistance.”

Short sales are “tailor-made for fraud,” said Mr. Lawler, a former executive at the mortgage finance company Fannie Mae.

Under the new federal program, a lender will use real estate agents to determine the value of a home and thus the minimum to accept. This figure will not be shared with the owner, but if an offer comes in that is equal to or higher than this amount, the lender must take it.

Big Shell Game

Hand lifting up small pot to reveal red ball

Diana Olick describes the situation perfectly in Mortgage Principal Writedown Won’t Save Housing.

 

And so it begins. Big gun lawmakers are making the move toward principal writedowns as the last resort to save the housing market.

The problem is prices. Home prices have fallen so far in the hardest hit areas, the areas where the bulk of the troubled loans are, that banks would have to write down principal 30 to 50 percent to put borrowers back in the green. Accounting rules require that banks write down the value of those loans on their books, and experts tell me that if banks really accounted for all the losses in the home loan market, they’d all be insolvent.

That’s why the Obama Administration has created this kind of shell game in the first place.

I stole that shell game idea from


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Phil's Favorites

Hoisington Investment Management Quarterly Review and Outlook

Outside the Box: Hoisington Investment Management Quarterly Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2014

By John Mauldin

In today’s Outside the Box, Lacy Hunt and Van Hoisington of Hoisington Investment have the temerity to point out that since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has been consistently overoptimistic in its projections of US growth. They simply expected QE to be more stimulative than it has been, to the tune of about 6% over the past four years – a total of about $1 trillion that never materialized.

Given that dismal track record, our authors ask why we should believe the Fed’s prediction of 2.9% real GDP growth for 2014 and 3.4% for 2015 – particularly with QE being tapered into nonexistence. ...



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Zero Hedge

James Clapper Begins Propaganda Tour After Students Identify Edward Snowden As "Personal Hero"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Kevin Gosztola over at Firedoglake does some excellent work, and his latest story about the recent activities of perjuring Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., James Clapper, is no exception. To provide a little context, the Washington Post ...



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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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Chart School

Dead-Cat Bounce Over for the Housing Market?

Courtesy of Doug Short.

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

I have been saying this for a while: You can't have a housing recovery unless actual home buyers are involved.

We are very far away from seeing the housing market reach its 2005 highs ... and as time passes, it becomes clearer that this generation may never see them again.

How can I say that?

What we have seen in the housing market since then, but mostly since 2012, in my opinion, is nothing more than a dead-cat bounce scenario -- an increase in prices after a massive decline. The chart below shows how far off we are from the housing prices of 2005.


Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

One of the key indicators I follow in ...



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Market Shadows

Soy Numero Uno

Soy Numero Uno

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Bunge Limited (BG) is the world’s largest processor of soybeans. It is also a major producer of vegetable oils, fertilizer, sugar and bioenergy.

When commodities got hot in 2007-08, Bunge’s EPS shot up and the stock followed, rising 185% in 19 months.

The Great Recession took its toll on operations, dropping EPS to a low of $2.22 in 2009.  Since then profits have recovered.  They ranged from $4.62 - $5.90 in the latest three years. 2014 appears poised for a large increase. Consensus views from multiple sources see BG earning $7.04 - $7.10 this year and then $7.83 - $7.94 in 2015.

...



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Option Review

Casino Stocks LVS, WYNN On The Run Ahead of Earnings

Shares in Las Vegas Sands Corp. (Ticker: LVS) are up sharply today, gaining as much as 5.7% to touch $80.12 and the highest level since April 4th, mirroring gains in shares of resort casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Ticker: WYNN). The move in Wynn shares appears, at least in part, to follow a big increase in target price from analysts at CLSA who upped their target on the ‘buy’ rated stock to $350 from $250 a share. CLSA also has a ‘buy’ rating on Las Vegas Sands with a $100 price target according to a note from reporter, Janet Freund, on Bloomberg. Both companies are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday.

...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Market Poised to Head Higher: 3 Stocks to Consider

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

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yesterday, the market continued its winning ways for the fifth consecutive day.  The S&P 500 closed within 1% of its all-time high, and the DJI was even closer to its all-time high.  Healthcare, Energy and Technology led the sectors while Financials, Telecom, and Utilities finished slightly in the red.  All three sectors in the red are typically flight-to-safety stocks, so despite lower than average volume, the market appears poised to make new highs.

Mid-cap Growth led the style/caps last week, up 2.87%, and Small-cap Growth trailed, up 2.22%. This week will bring well over 100 S&P 500 stocks reporting their March quarter earn...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - Week of April 21st, 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 this week's Stock World Weekly. Click here and sign in with your PSW user name and password, or sign up for a free trial.

...

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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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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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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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