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Posts Tagged ‘James Howard Kunstler’

The Tombstone Blues

The Tombstone Blues

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

Vintage image of cemetery

       The latest version of Pretend – going on a couple of weeks now – is the nation whistling past the graveyard of mortgage documentation fraud while skeletons dance around everything connected with the money system. Halloween came early this year. The USA is getting to look like one big Masque of the Red Death, so I suppose it’s convenient that our pop culture has been saturated with vampires, zombies, and werewolves for a decade, coincident with the self-cannibalizing of our economy. Something in the zeitgeist told us to get with the program of a twilight existence. We’re well-schooled now in the ways of the undead, operating under cover of darkness, going for the neck at every opportunity, even eating our young – if you consider the debt orgy, both private and public, as a way to party like it’s 1999 by consuming your children’s’ future. 

      The big banks leading the charge of the anthropophagi are making like it’s no big deal that notes representing money lent have become mysteriously dissociated from the mortgages that secure them. In the good old days, these things traveled in pairs, like boy-and-girl, Laurel and Hardy, a horse and carriage. It made for straight-forward property transfers, where Person A could be confident he was buying something free and clear from Person B.  What a quaint concept, free and clear! 

     Nowadays, these documents can hardly be located at all – not such a surprise, really, since they were ground out like e-coli infested bratwursts in strip-mall boiler rooms run by former used car salesmen, and pawned off wholesale (literally) on banks who served them up sliced-and-diced, sloppy Joe style, on CDO buns to credulous pension funds, cretinous insurance company yobs, double-digit IQ college endowment managers, and other such nitwits bethinking themselves the reincarnation of Bernard Baruch, not to mention foreign sovereign nations who bought this smallpox-blanket-grade investment paper by the container-ship-load and, finally, the innovative geniuses at the very banks who engineered the stuff and got stuck with tons of it themselves when, as they say, the music stopped.

     The Big Picture looks even worse when you figure in the mischief of so-called synthetic CDOs that represent the multiple securitizations of single underlying mortgages – God knows how many times each – which mean,…
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Full Bore to the Vanishing Point

Full Bore to the Vanishing Point

By James Howard Kunstler 

Highway through desert in New Mexico

      Last evening at twilight I was driving my rent-a-car up Interstate Five north of Seattle with a vivid testicular fear of being trapped in the very metaphor of a failing society racing into a dark future. All around me loomed the monuments of an out-of-control financial credit Moloch – the tilt-up chain store boxes with their giant logos glowing against the distant craggy peaks of the Cascades (many of them active volcanoes which, like Mt. Saint Helens, might blow their tops any day). At every compass point sprawled the McHousing pods of American dream mortgage time-bombs silently blowing families to financial smithereens, and banks with them, including, incidentally last Friday, the state of Washington’s own Shoreline Bank just off I-5 north of Seattle, seized by the FDIC. My way was lighted, as darkness finally stole in, by the endlessly replicated dispensaries of fast food-dom (pizza-burgers-chicken-fries-and-shakes) provoking this nation of overfed clowns to ever-greater feats of gluttony, medical catastrophe, and bankruptcy. And, of course, these were my fellow-travelers in the perpetual stream of cars plying this great thoroughfare of the tragic western littoral, burning up gasoline that had traveled all the way from the sands of Abqaiq or from some sweltering platform off the Niger Delta, where dangerous, angry, armed men in Zodiac boats plot mayhem nearby among the mangrove thickets. Not to mention the row-upon-row of idle cars parked in the lagoons surrounding the countless malls and strip-malls and auto dealerships that flanked I-5 for fifty miles north of Seattle. Cars, cars, cars, as far as the eye could see where the sodium-vapor lamps cut through the crepuscular murk. Sasquatch was a no-show. But Sasquatch don’t drive.

      This was the week when the US housing fiasco got even more extra-special interesting as the Bank of America suspended mortgage foreclosures in twenty-three states, and the Connecticut Attorney General (Richard Blumenthal, who is running for Chris Dodd’s senate seat) declared a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures (a political ploy do ya think?). Also of interest, Ally Financial suspended foreclosures in twenty-three states – and note, by the way, that Ally is the mutant offspring of the bailed-out General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), which also spawned the infamous DiTech Mortgage finance company (remember those non-stop TV commercials a few years back) which specialized in jumbo…
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Skidding Toward Fall

Skidding Toward Fall

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     This economy has a destination for sure, but it’s not in the direction where all eyes are trained in moist hopefulness: that glimmering horizon of longed-for growth. You will not get that kind of growth — the kind that increases the overall wealth of the organism in question. A few people will make more money than they did before, but overall we are in an epic contraction. More people and organizations will go broke than will thrive. It will seem very unfair.

     The true destination of the US economy is to get smaller and for two reasons mainly: 1.) Capital ("money") is vanishing out of our system steadily and rapidly due to a massive collective failure to repay money owed on loans, mortgages, debts, and assorted obligations. 2.) Access to the primary resource we depend on for powering the economy (oil) is increasingly beyond our control — even worse, under the control of people who would like us to eat sh*t and die.

     We really have a choice between two ways of dealing with this. We can downsize and re-scale consciously and coherently, or we can continue to chase after the phantom of growth and allow the nation to fall into a shambles of desperation. So far into this long emergency of an economic fiasco, we seem to have chosen the pursuit of a phantom. That’s what President Obama was doing last week in Detroit, shilling for a new electric automobile which, he said, will make us "energy independent." If  Mr. Obama believes this, then it isn’t a very good advertisement for an Ivy League education.

     I’d like to know how many Americans believe that electric cars run on virtually free energy (but I don’t have pollsters on my payroll). I’d bet a lot of them do, including President Obama. Sorry to rain on this uplifting parade. At best, such a car fleet would run on coal — that is coal-fired electric power plants — but even that is a ridiculous fantasy when you actually pencil-out the details. Not to mention that a nation full of people with dwindling or vanishing incomes won’t be in a position to fork over forty-grand for one of those new pseudo "green" vehicles. Also not to mention — wait for it — that due to rapidly…
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What Is It?

What Is It?

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler

Actor Mel Gibson poses during a photocall for the film Edge of Darkness by director Martin Campbell in Paris, in this February 4, 2010 file photo. Gibson, who caused a media storm four years ago over an anti-semitic statement, is again making headlines for using an apparent racial slur in an argument with his ex-girlfriend, according to excerpts published by celebrity news website Radaronline.com, on July 1, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Files (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT)

     The New York Times ran a story of curious import this morning: "MEL GIBSON LOSES SUPPORT ABROAD." Well, gosh, that’s disappointing.  And just when we needed him, too. Concern over this pressing matter probably reflects the general mood of the nation these dog days of summer – and these soggy days, indeed, are like living in a dog’s mouth – so no wonder the USA has lost its mind, as evidenced by the fact that so many people who ought to know better, in the immortal words of Jim Cramer, don’t know anything.

     Case in point: I visited the Slate Political Gabfestpodcast yesterday. These otherwise excellent, entertaining, highly educated folk (David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and Daniel Gross, in for vacationing John Dickerson) were discussing the ramifications of the economic situation on the upcoming elections. They were quite clear about not being able to articulate the nature of this economic situation, "…this recession, or whatever you want to call it…" in Ms. Bazelon’s words.  What’s the point of sending these people to Ivy League colleges if they can’t make sense of their world.

     Let’s call this whatever-you-want-to-call-it a compressive deflationary contraction, because that’s exactly what it is, an accelerating systemic collapse of activity due to over-investments in hyper-complexity (thank you John Tainter). A number of things are going on in our society that can be described with precision. We’ve generated too many future claims on wealth that does not exist and has poor prospects of ever being generated. That’s what unpayable debt is. We have such a mighty mountain of it that the Federal Reserve can "create" new digital dollars until the cows come home (and learn how to play chamber music), but they will never create enough new money to outpace the disappearance of existing notional money in the form of welshed-on loans. Hence, money will continue to disappear out of the economic system indefinitely, citizens will grow poorer steadily, companies will go out of business, and governments at all levels will not have money to do what they have been organized to do.

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 14:  Clouds of smoke rise after the eight-story, 166-room tower of the Bourbon Street Hotel & Casino was imploded early February 14, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. purchased the property last year for future development but has not decided what will be done with the site.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

     This compressive deflationary collapse is not the kind of cyclical "downturn" that we are familiar with during the two-hundred-year-long adventure with industrial expansion – that is, the kind of cyclical downturn caused by the usual…
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What If He’s Right?

What If He’s Right?

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

       Just when America was celebrating the provisional end of BP’s Macondo oil blowout, and getting back to important issues like Kim Kardashian’s body-suit collection, along comes Matthew Simmons with a rather strange and alarming outcry on doings in the Gulf of Mexico that contradicts the mood of renewed festivity, as well as just about every shred of reportage from any media outlet, mainstream or otherwise.

     Matt Simmons Houston-based company has been the leading investment bank to the US oil industry for a long time, financing exploration and drilling in places like the Gulf of Mexico. Simmons, 68, recently retired from day-to-day management of the company. For much of the decade he has been what may be described as a peak oil activist. His 2005 book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, warned the public that Saudi Arabia’s oil production had reached its limits and, more generally, that an oil-dependent world was entering a zone of serious trouble over its primary resource. He took this aggressive stance despite risking the ire of the people he did business with. 

        Matt Simmons is a sober individual and a very nice man (I’ve met him twice over the years), a button-downed corporate executive who’s been around the oil business for forty years. His knowledge is deep and comprehensive.  From the beginning of the BP Macondo blowout incident in April, he’s taken the far out position that the well-bore is fatally compromised and that BP has been consistently lying about their operations to stop the flow of oil. Perhaps most radically, Simmons claims that an oil "gusher" is pouring into the Gulf some distance from the drilling site itself.

       Last week, Simmons came on Dylan Ratigan’s MSNBC financial show, but he did a longer interview over at the King World News website. (click here for ERIC KING’S INTERVIEW WITH SIMMONS). Simmons’s current warning about the situation focuses on the gigantic "lake" of crude oil that is pooling under great pressure 4000 to 5000 feet down in the "basement" of the Gulf’s waters.  More particularly, he is concerned that a tropical storm will bring this oil up – as tropical storms and hurricanes usually do with deeper cold water – and with it clouds of methane gas that…
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Say What?

Say What?

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     I think America missed something. It must be the time of year, what with inhaling all those fumes from the charcoal starter… and fueling up the Jet-skis so as to turn a perfectly good mountain lake into something like a Cuisinart on the guacamole setting… and the rousing evenings in the Nascar parking lots hitting palmetto bugs with your wiffle bat… and all that anxious waiting for a 10W-40 hard rain to fall on the Gulf Coast states – but President Obama made a very interesting remark when the financial regulation package passed in the senate the other day. He said the bill would make sure that "Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street’s mistakes."

     Whoosh….

     That was the sound of something going over America’s head. Something about the size of Rodan the Flying Reptile. And frankly I don’t think the president even meant to be coy or deceptive. It just means he doesn’t get it either. Never again….

     Never again?

     What the f*ck?

     Why even this time?  Why isn’t there an army of federal attorneys out there, their teeth bristling with subpoenas, beating the bushes in every lane and skyscraper floor of lower Manhattan (and Fairfield County, Connecticut, not to mention a thousand office parks around the USA) to roust out the grifters and swindlers who took Main Street to the cleanersthis time. 

     The audacity of cluelessness! And the hilarity of "next time."

     Earth to President Obama: there isn’t going to be a next time. This time was enough to git ‘er done. Wall Street – in particular the biggest "banks" – packaged up and sold enough swindles to unwind 2500 years of western civilization. You simply cannot imagine the amount of bad financial paper out there right now in every vault and portfolio on the planet. Enough, really, to sink any company even pretending to trade in things more abstract than a mud brick or an hour of labor. What’s more, the cross-collateralized obligations between them are so vast and intricate that all the standing timber in North America could not be fashioned into enough pick-up sticks to represent the hideous death-dealing tangle of frauds waiting for the wing-beat of a single black swan to come crashing down.

     Go out and get a…
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Where’s Rico?

Where’s Rico?

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler

goldman sachs     It’s interesting and instructive to read The New York Times’ lead story this morning, TOP GOLDMAN LEADERS SAID TO HAVE OVERSEEN MORTGAGE UNIT. While it pretends to report all the particulars of the huge scandal growing out of Friday’s SEC action against Goldman Sachs, the story really comes off as an attempt to create an alibi for the so-called "bank." It pretends that some kind of an intellectual struggle was going on among GS executives as to whether the housing market was doing just fine or poised to tank — therefore muddling the company’s intent in setting up investment deals based on sketchy mortgages designed to blow up so that a favored big customer, John Paulson, could collect on the deal insurance known as credit default swaps.

     The truth is that anyone with half a brain could see the securitized mortgage fiasco coming from ten-thousand miles away. I said as much in Chapter Six ("Running on Fumes: the Hallucinated Economy") of my book The Long Emergency [The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century ], which was published in 2005 but written well before that in 2002-4. And I had had no work experience whatsoever in banking generally or Wall Street investment banking in particular.

     One week before the SEC action against GS, the Pro Publica website published a story about virtually the same kind of mischief being run out of the Chicago-based hedge fund Magnetar led by a clever young fellow named Alec Litowitz. Like Goldman Sachs, Magnetar deliberately constructed investments (bundles of bundled mortgage-backed securities called collateralized debt obligations) that were certain to fail so that Magnetar could collect on credit default swaps that amounted to a bet against products they themselves had participated in creating. There was no question that Litowitz and his employees did this absolutely on purpose. Nor is there any question that they aggressively sold positions in these CDOs to credulous investors like Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and others.

     The question that now begs to be answered is: why is this activity not being investigated and prosecuted under the federal RICO statutes against racketeering? The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was designed to punish exactly this kind of behavior, whether the defendant’s name ended in a vowel or not.…
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False Spring

False Spring

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     In a place like upstate New York, north of Albany, where April is more generally known as "mud season," and the wait for "ice-out" on the big lakes takes forever, and on frigid nights the windigos steal through the tops of the tall pines — it would seem foolish to complain about perfectly beautiful weather.

Cherry Blossom Festival Celebrates Washington's Symbol Of Spring

     We just had a week in the 70s, with more to come. The grass went from ochre to bright green in about thirty-six hours. The buds are popping like mad. This is usually what the first week of May is like around here, and that fact alone may explain New York state’s relentless population drain over the past forty years.

     I was out on my bicycle, naturally, taking it all in — like, why sit inside and sulk because the weather is strange in a pleasant way? — and I ventured into the outlands east of town, where an impressive number of gigantic new houses had landed like alien mother-ships in the former cow pastures and wood lots. Of course, the aesthetics were an issue apart from the socio-economics of it, but nonetheless interesting. 

     Each new, gigantic house seemed the result of a losing struggle to reinvent basic design principles that did not require re-invention. I doubt the spirit of joyous "creativity" among the star-architects has seeped down to the level of the provincial house-builders, who, after all, are just assemblers of modular materials like dimensional lumber and eight-foot sheet-rock. It’s their inability to assemble these parts coherently that’s really striking, so what you get is an endless variety of mistakes along with a complete absence of anything done really well — which may be the essence of what the "diversity" craze has really meant to us, the ethos of current times.

     The abiding quality of all these houses was grandiosity (by which I do not mean grand-ness). That, too, is a signature of these times in America — the nation too big to fail and tragically destined to do just that on account of its too big to fail-ness. And, of course, one could not fail to wonder, cruising by these hideously ponderous houses, whether as a matter of fact they were failing in terms of the owners’ ability…
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Where Have We Been; Where Are We Going?

Where Have We Been; Where Are We Going?

clevelandCourtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     Driving down the broad avenues of Cleveland, Ohio, was like flipping through the pages of a picture book about the rise and fall of our industrial empire. Where demolitions had not removed things — a lot was gone — stood the residue of a society so different from ours that you felt momentarily transported to another planet where a different race of beings had gone about their business. 

     Among the qualities most visible in the recent ruins of that lost society is the secure confidence expressed in its buildings. Even the most modest factory or business establishment built before the 20th century included decorations and motifs devised for no other reason but to be beautiful -- towers, swags, medallions, cartouches — as if to state we are joined proudly in a great enterprise to make good things happen in this world. This was true not just of Cleveland, of course, but the whole nation, for a while anyway. 

     Equally arresting are the changes visible in the collective demeanor from the mid-20th century, especially after the Second World War, when the adolescent panache of a rising economy had morphed into the grinding force of a place devoted to the production of anything. The memory of the Great Depression lingered like a metabolic disorder, and the spirit of the place was no longer caught up in the muscular exuberance of self-discovery but the sheer determination to stay powerful and alive. This phase didn’t last long.

     By the 1970s, signs of a new illness were clear. Production was moving someplace else, incomes and household security with it. An existential pall settled over the city as ominous symptoms of waning vitality showed up in the organs of production. Steel-making and car-making staggered. Even the Cuyahoga river caught on fire, as if fate was a practical joke. Major retail was moving elsewhere — to the suburban outlands — where so many of the people who worked in the downtown towers had already fled. The population that remained in the city center was made of recently uprooted agricultural quasi-serfs who had only just come up to the city a generation before to make better livings in the factories that were all of a sudden shutting down. It seemed like a kind of swindle and they were understandably angry about…
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Winter Mind Games

Winter Mind Games

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler

Woman posing with teapot

     Does anyone know exactly how the Winter Olympics got hijacked by the Canadian Hotel Housekeeping Employees Union?  Every time I turned the damn thing on, there were these ladies uniformed in manual labor casuals shoving teakettles across the floor while other ladies madly polished the forward path of said sliding kettles with Swiffer© sweepers. At least this was the first Olympiad to be dominated by Proctor & Gamble instead of some obnoxious Great Power nation with a political agenda. The NBC execs must have loved this weird new sport, because it was practically all they put on the air.

     My own interest in tea kettle shoving waned over the days, and a good thing too, because along came President Obama’s Health Care Reform Summit Meeting on Thursday to engage the whole nation in a rousing Olympiad of mind games, including a round-robin version of The Spanish Prisoner, a mixed set of the Republican Pigeon Drop, and variations on the Nigerian Lottery scam, with touches of the Madoff Ponzi Gambit here and there. After a few hours of that, one longed for the simple mindless bliss of tea kettle shoving, if only to relieve the headache.

      I wish I could fetch up something like the glowing false authority of Paul Krugman to pronounce on the fantastic bundle of conundrums, riddles, and fathomless mysteries that is health care reform but I was left far more confused about it after the summit. All I can offer, really, are observations: for example, that Congressman John Boehner (R -Ohio) needs a set of steel ball bearings to roll around in his hand to perfect his otherwise dead-on impersonation of Captain Queeg, the paranoid villain of that 1950s movie The Caine Mutiny. I kept wishing that President Obama would reach under the table for a fungo bat every time the miserable Mr. Boehner opened his Midwestern pie-hole to drone out a new lie, and split his fucking head open like a Crenshaw melon — but perhaps my fantasies are excessively baroque.

      My feelings toward the rest of the Republicans ran along similar lines.  Even that ole Teddy bear Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) managed to put over a line of insolently mendacious  bullshit in the Republican effort to support the status quo at all costs. It brought to mind that…
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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!

 
 

Zero Hedge

How Good Decision Making can Save Your Ass

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Capitalist Exploits.

By: Chris Tell at http://capitalistexploits.at/

A little while ago I shared 6 ways to improve decision making. In response I received a number of comments, the most insightful of which I'd like to share with you today. My main point in the previous article was that information, together with a strong filtering process, form the basis for making sound decisions.

I love these emails. You write essentially about what it all comes down to which i...



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Chart School

The Q Ratio and Market Valuation: New Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Note from dshort: I've updated this series to include the data in yesterday's Federal Reserve release of the 2014 Z.1 Financial Accounts for Q2. Based on data extrapolations through the current close, the Q Ratio is 70% above its arithmetic mean and 83% above its geometric mean. The current valuation level is surpassed only by the turn-of-the-century Tech Bubble.

The Q Ratio is a popular method of estimating the fair value of the stock market developed by Nobel Laureate James Tobin. It's a fairly simple concept, but laborious to calculate. The Q Ratio is the total price of the market divided by the replacement cost of all its companies. Fortunately, the government does the work of accumulating the data for the calculation. The numbers are supplied in the Federal Reserve ...

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Phil's Favorites

The Next Crisis - Part one

Courtesy of Golem XIV

The present global financial ‘crisis’ began in 2007-8. It is not nearly over. And that simple fact is a problem. Not because of the life-choking misery it inflicts on the lives of millions who had no part in its creation, but because the chances of another crisis beginning before this one ends, is increasing. What ‘tools’ - those famous tools the central bankers are always telling us they have – will our dear leaders use to tackle a new crisis when all those tools are already being used to little or no positive effect on this one?

I think it is worth remembering how many ...



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Market Shadows

Selling PVD

Selling PVD

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

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

More details:

From: Interactive Brokers   dated July 18, 2014

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

As of the te...



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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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Promotions

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

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Insider Scoop

Nomura Cautious On Netflix, Inc. Estimates

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related NFLX Netflix, Inc. Technicals Suddenly Weakening UPDATE: Netflix Teams with Legendary Television for 'Love' Get Ready for a Hot September for Stocks (Fox Business)

Analysts at Nomura lowered their fiscal year 2015 and 2016 EPS estimates for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) due to greater-than-expected interna...



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Sabrient

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

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

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-r...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 15th, 2014

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

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

Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

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

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

 

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Option Review

Big Prints In VIX Calls

The CBOE Vix Index is in positive territory on Friday morning as shares in the S&P 500 Index move slightly lower. Currently the VIX is up roughly 2.75% on the session at 13.16 as of 11:35 am ET. Earlier in the session big prints in October expiry call options caught our attention as one large options market participants appears to have purchased roughly 106,000 of the Oct 22.0 strike calls for a premium of around $0.45 each. The VIX has not topped 22.0 since the end of 2012, but it would not take such a dramatic move in the spot index in order to lift premium on the contracts. The far out-of-the-money calls would likely increase in value in the event that S&P500 Index stocks slip in the near term. The VIX traded up to a 52-week high of 21.48 back in February. Next week’s release of the FOMC meeting minutes f...



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Digital Currencies

Making Sense of Bitcoin

Making Sense of Bitcoin

By James Black at International Man

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

Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."

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



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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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