The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
When we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
Here’s The Latest On Israel’s Ongoing Gaza Flotilla CrisisThe crisis over Israel’s attack on an alleged aid boat bound for blockaded Gaza continues to worsen today, as pressure mounts on the Israeli government to take action.
This morning, Israel intercepted a flotilla bound for Gaza from Turkey that was, according to the Israeli military, carrying a cache of weapons. Those on the flotilla, who included members of parliaments from the region, claimed they were carrying only aid items for the Palestinians.
At least 10 people were killed in Israel’s assault on the flotilla. Israel claims 10 of its soldiers were also injured in the attack.
The flotilla was meant to break the blockade on Gaza, a portion of Palestine ruled by Hamas, a political party but also a terrorist organization.
Those on the boat, and those who support their cause, claim that all they were carrying was personnel, many of whom were teachers and doctors, and items to support their aid mission. Supporting video, from Al-Jazeera:
Israel claims the boat was housing a weapons cache and that individuals on the boat attacked their troops with weapons when they stormed it. Supporting video, from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF):
Protests against the actions of the Israeli government have broken out in London, Cairo, and Istanbul.
Governments in Europe have spoken out against the attacks, with President Sarkozy of France and Foreign Minister Hague of the UK calling Israel’s actions "out of line."
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled his trip to the U.S. as a result of the attack, choosing to remain in Israel to deal with the problem.
This is likely a massive political misstep for Israel, as tensions with the U.S. government were just beginning to dissolve, and now are likely to remain high.
Although one would doubt that the US would ‘go it alone,’ one has to question whether or not they would act in support of a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Although this news piece assumes Iran is the target, other easterly destinations come to mind in the vicinity of Afghanistan.
The implications of such a strike on the world financial and commodity markets is obvious, and bears careful watching. I would doubt the US would circumvent a discussion at the United Nations. Even George W had to at least pay lip service to international support prior to his attack on Iraq.
Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.
Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.
Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971. The agreement led to 2,000 native islanders being forcibly evicted to the Seychelles and Mauritius.
The Sunday Herald reported in 2007 that stealth bomber hangers on the island were being equipped to take bunker-buster bombs.
Although the story was not confirmed at the time, the new evidence suggests that it was accurate…
Crucially, the cargo includes 195 smart, guided, Blu-110 bombs and 192 massive 2000lb Blu-117 bombs.
“They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” said Dan Plesch, director
The idea for this post was my initial and apparently incorrect reading of the Jeremy Grantham letter. On first read I thought he was saying expressly the market is very complicated these days and while he may have have been implying as much, I did not find the comment as I remembered it on the second read through. Whether he implied it or not, I will say it; the markets right now are especially complicated and appear to be facing fundamental things that it has either never faced or not faced in modern times.
We as investors need to assess it all and try to navigate through.
The list of risk factors is too long to come up with all of them off the top but things on my mind this week (many of which have been newsworthy this week) have included many countries facing ratings downgrades and having to answer questions about whether they are candidates for default, just about every US state has serious deficit problems, it is possible the GDP growth seen thus far might be all from stimulus, pension funds are looking back at a decade where US stocks dropped a couple of percent per year but they need growth of 7-8% per year, there are conflicting messages coming from Washington (not unique), US budget deficits will be starting for with the letter T for years, creating enough jobs to get the U-6 number down to something decent seems like a mathematical impossibility, it seems like a mathematical certainty that home foreclosures must rise a lot, and there are more.
The point of the above the paragraph is not to lay out a bearish argument for why stocks should go down because most of these issues have been around since before the rally started last March. The above paragraph does point out the complexities that we face today. When the market goes up they build the wall of worry for the market to climb and when the market goes down they become fundamental causes for a "big" decline.
That the same factors can be both the wall of worry and a reason to go down is not new but the current events are collectively a little more complicated than I think we are used to.
After Iran had broken off the negotiations over its nuclear program and refused to ship some of its uranium supply to France, and other western countries, talk about the imminent attack have, once again, started to make the rounds. In his recent interview with the British Daily Telegraph , French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, expressed his deep concern ( as if ) over Israel. As you might know, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited his Russian colleague Vladimir " I can kill you with my bare hands, and I will if you don’t STFU and do as I say " Putin to discuss the potential backing of Israeli war efforts against Iran. The Jerusalem Post reported that the conversation between the two tsars …. uh, i mean, prime minister was focused on the potential Russian arms backing of Iranian military. This is the short excerpt from the article in The Jerusalem Post:
Israel Radio reported that Netanyahu leased a private jet since he knew using an Israel Air Force jet would raise the suspicions of the Israeli media. For the purpose, his office used a plane of the company Merhav, a company owned by Israeli mogul Yossi Miman, one of the shareholders of Channel 10 and EMG, an Egyptian company supplying gas to the Israel Electric Company. Miman was not directly involved in leasing the jet, as this was done through a company he owns. The PMO and Merhav refused to divulge the cost of the flight. Israel Radio further reported that the plane took off from a terminal in Ben Gurion International Airport which is mostly out of use.
Israeli media outlets speculated on the secretive nature of Netanyahu’s Russian visit. One reasoning was that Netanyahu tried to persuade Putin about not backing the Iranian military efforts with shipments of Russian weaponry to Iranian military. Some journalist even reported that Netanyahu had promised Putin, that the dispute over a defense shield in Eastern Europe will be resolved shortly, if Putin stays clear from providing any help to Iranian government. After the talks were over, president Barack Obama publicly announced that the project of an Eastern European defense shield will soon come to an end.
There was some speculation brewing over the potential pan-Arabist unification if Israel attacks Iran, and that the potential Arab block could easily halt any global
“Nobody in Europe will be abandoned. Nobody in Europe will be excluded. Europe only succeeds if we work together.”
– Angela Merkel, December 15, 2010
“Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. Believe me, it will be enough.”
– Mario Draghi, July 25, 2012
“We have to safeguard the spirit behind Schengen,” Mr Juncker told the European Parliament on Wednesday. “Yes, the Schengen system is partly comatose. But . . . a single currency does not exist if Schengen fails. It is one of the pillars of the construction of Europe.”
The IMF will add the yuan to its basket of reserve currencies, an international stamp of approval of the progress China has made integrating into a global economic system dominated for decades by the U.S., Europe and Japan.
It’s an unfortunate truth that, when people are worried about the future, they often put their faith in politicians to somehow make everything better.
Politicians, of course, are famous for promising panaceas for whatever is troubling voters, and they even invent new troubles to worry about, presenting themselves as the only ones who can solve these woes.
Not surprising then, that, over time, any nation may slowly deteriorate into a population of nebbishes who turn to their government to do their thinking for them and take responsibility for their futures.
Today offered a heavier than expected volume day post-holiday. The majority of this action was to the downside, but the Semiconductor Index bucked the trend. The latter index was able to push above its 200-day MA as it posted a relative advantage against the Nasdaq 100. While the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 suffered losses today, both will be helped by strength in the Semiconductor Index. All technicals for the Semiconductor Index are in the green, with a return of the MACD to a 'buy' trigger (above the bullish zero line - a bullish development).
The Nasdaq suffered a minor loss. It wasn't able to challenge the recent high, but it's close enough ...
Crude Oil is quite simply the most important commodity on the planet. But volatility with Crude Oil prices emerges every time there is conflict in oil producing nations or an economic slowdown.
And this has led to some pretty big swings in Crude Oil prices over the past several years.
But the latest swing lower is nearing a moment of truth. In fact, this decline may be the most important swing lower of the 2000’s.
Why? Because oil prices are currently testing a key price support level comprised of the 2004 breakout level (above the 1990 highs) and the 2009 price lows – see red circles and line. In fact, this price support area also marks the 23.6 Fibonacci support level (from the 1999 lows to 2008 highs). AND crude oil is as oversold as it was back at the 1999 price lows!
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As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).
This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.
Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...
1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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