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Posts Tagged ‘MRK’

Options Trade Portends Recovery In Oracle Shares

www.interactivebrokers.com

Today’s tickers: ORCL, MRK & WCG

ORCL - Oracle Corp. – Shares in software company, Oracle Corp., are getting crushed today, down as much as 9.5% to a seven-month low of $30.06, after the company reported fourth-quarter sales that missed estimates for a second consecutive quarter. The sharp move in the price of the underlying on this options expiration Friday sparked heavy trading traffic in ORCL calls and puts today, with volume rising above 108,500 contracts by 11:25 a.m. ET versus the stock’s average daily volume of around 43,000 contracts. Activity in the January 2014 expiry options during the first 20 minutes of the session suggests one strategist is positioning for shares in the largest maker of database software to rebound during the second half of the year. It looks like the trader picked up roughly 5,000 calls at the Jan ‘14 $31 strike for an average premium of $2.13 per contract. The upside calls make money at expiration next year as long as shares in Oracle Corp. rally more than 10% over today’s low of $30.06 to top the average breakeven point at $33.13.

MRK - Merck & Co., Inc. – Shares in drug maker, Merck, are bucking the trend today, up as much as 2.8% in the early going to $47.60 amid a second consecutive session of selling across U.S. equities. Merck’s shares are currently off their highest level of the session to stand higher by 1.0% on the day at $46.77 just before midday in New York. Options traders anticipating continued gains in Merck’s shares in the near term appear to be buying the Jun 28 ’13 expiry weekly calls on the stock today. A burst of activity in the Jun 28 ’13 $48 and $48.5 strike calls just after 9:37 a.m. ET this morning appears to be the work of one trader snapping up more than 500 contracts at each strike at average premiums of $0.32 and $0.19 apiece, respectively. The bullish stance on MRK may pay off should shares in the name rally another…
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Finally Friday – Maybe Tomorrow the Markets Won’t Fall

Falling, falling, falling

That's all the markets have been doing lately.  As you can see from our Big Chart – it's been a pretty orderly sell-off according to our 5% rule with roughly a 4-5% drop during October with some consolidation, followed by a much steeper 4-5% drop after the election.

We're back to the point where we expect resistance at an 8% total drop as well as some bounce action where once again we'll be measuring for strong or weak bounces to determine whether or not we can get a turn again (our indicators kept us bearish last time).  Regarding the current action, I said to our Members yesterday in Chat:  

I think there is a lot of selling as people take capital gains while they can.  I think that it's very possible that it's going to be very difficult to get a proper rally into the end of the year because there are plenty of people waiting for a rally to take their gains, whether through timing or position.  The problem with this state of not knowing is it becomes prudent for people to hedge for the worst and, if someone had a 20% gain for the year and now it's 15% and they can take it off now and keep 12.75% (after 15% tax) vs possibly hitting another 5% drop and running down to 8.5% this year or possibly 7% (at 30%) if they wait until next year and there's no recovery (and the more the cliff looms the less likely recovery seems) then it almost doesn't make sense not to take the 12.75% and run.  So that's very possibly the selling pressure we see and it may continue to be relentless into the end of the year unless there is some sort of resolution or delay to the cliff. 

While we don't think the Fiscal Cliff will end up being a big deal – that doesn't stop others from panicking.  This week we've been scooping up positions they have been running away from but, if we're going to have another leg down – we'll be needing those disaster hedges (see Wednesday's post) to keep us out of trouble.  It doesn't take much to profit from a downturn, fortunately, when we use good hedges.  On Wednesday I suggested the TZA April $17/24 bull call spread for $1.40, selling the $14…
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O’Reilly Automotive Q2 Guidance Drives Pickup In Options Activity

www.interactivebrokers.com

 

Today’s tickers: ORLY, MRK & PCS

ORLY - O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. – Shares in auto parts retailer, O’Reilly Automotive, are facing double-digit declines today after the company cut its second-quarter same-store sales projection and said earnings for the quarter are likely to come in at the low end of their previously estimated $1.13 to $1.17 a share range. The stock is off the lows of the session, down 15.0% at $81.97 just before midday in New York after earlier sliding as much as 21.5% to an intraday and six-month low of $75.61. The sharp pullback in O’Reilly shares today appears to have attracted contrarian players to the front month calls. Traders positioning for the price of the underlying to rebound in the near term snapped up at least a few hundred calls at the July $80 strike for an average premium of $1.93 apiece this morning. The intraday improvement in the share price during the first half of the session now sees these calls changing hands at $4.30 apiece. Similar bullish positioning is building in the July $85 strike calls, as well. It looks like traders purchased roughly 600 of the $85 calls for an average premium of $0.65 apiece in the first few hours of the trading day, contracts that now tout an asking price of $1.65 each. Call buyers may walk away with big profits at expiration should O’Reilly Automotive’s shares continue to recover during the next few weeks. The front month calls expire the week prior to ORLY’s second-quarter earnings report on July 25th.

MRK - Merck & Co., Inc. – Call options on Merck & Co. are active today as shares in the drug maker tack on 1.7% to trade at a near multi-year high of $40.73. The stock has climbed roughly 10.0% since the first of the month. Substantial volume is building in the Aug. $42 strike call where approximately 20,000 lots changed hands by…
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XLF Options Active After Buffett’s Thumbs-Up On BofA

www.interactivebrokers.com

Today’s tickers: XLF, LIZ, MRK & PSS

XLF - Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF – The financials ETF popped Thursday morning on news Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought $5 billion worth of cumulative perpetual preferred stock in beleaguered U.S. lender, Bank of America Corp. The XLF’s morning rally gave way to losses in early-afternoon trade as heavy selling in Germany and soaring yields on Euro-area sovereign debt reminded markets that the crisis overseas may worsen. Shares in the XLF stand 0.50% lower on the session at $12.64, erasing earlier gains of as much as 4.95% to $13.33. Nearly 430,000 option contracts have changed hands on the Financial SPDR, with traders favoring puts over calls roughly 1.8 times to 1. Much of the heavy options volume resides in contracts expiring in the next few months, but longer-dated contracts attracted sizable interest, as well. Fresh positioning in the March 2012 $13 strike call and put options suggests some strategists expect shares in the fund to stagnate. Traders appear to have sold roughly 20,000 of the March 2012 $13 strike straddle to pocket average gross premium of $2.98 per contract. Straddle-sellers may be taking advantage of inflated levels of options implied volatility on the fund, which currently stands well above historical, as well as the time-rich premium built into the price of both the calls and the puts. Investors selling the straddle benefit from the roughly .07 of a penny daily decline in the value of the position, according to the roughly -.0035 reading of Theta on both the calls and the puts. Additionally, subsiding levels of implied volatility may lower the cost of buying back the straddle at some point ahead of expiration. In seven months time, when March expiration rolls around, traders walk away with the full amount of premium received on the straddle as long as shares in the XLF settle at $13.00.…
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F’ing Thursday – Give Us a Break!

Holy cow – when will it end?  

As I mentioned yesterday, we were expecting a whipsaw after the morning sell-off and we played that perfectly with bullish trades on the DIA and OIH and, as we move up, we took bearish plays on GLL, TZA and QQQ.  All good so far but then we did a little bottom fishing before wising up and shorting USO into the close – just in case.  The futures were up 2% this morning at 5am and I had to warn our Members:  

Overall, this is too weak to get us over the hump and we are going to have to lean a little more bearish unless we can follow Europe up 2.5% or more.  Our charts will turn from "spiking low on volume" to "consolidating for a move below 20%" very quickly if we don’t gets something bullish going by tomorrow.  

The Dollar was at 74.64 at the time and it’s only 75.04 now (7:50) but the futures have gone from up 2% to down 1% in less than 3 hours – that is insane!  How are retail investors supposed to play this market?  The average person does not have the stomach for watching their virtual portfolio’s value go up and down 5% a day – at some point they are all going to pull the plug and walk away.  Of course, as I was saying yesterday – that’s just what the Banksters want you to do, assuming they know QE3 is right around the corner, accompanied by a 20%+ market rally into the year’s end.  

Anyway, hope is NOT a strategy for the prudent investor so I published another set of Disaster Hedges this morning as it’s time to add a layer to our longer hedges (which are now deeply in the money).  I hate to chase these plays but one thing we learned in 2008 is that there may never be a bottom (not in the short run) no matter how oversold you think things may be.  Was the market wrong in 2008 to go below S&P 1,000?  Well 3 years of subsequent trading seem to indicate that it was – but that did not stop us from dropping 33% lower, to 666 (the mark of the Blankfein!).   

Our entire goal in a sell-off like this is to simply preserve our cash.  The lower we…
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Impending Q3 Earnings Report Spurs Demand for Viacom Options

www.interactivebrokers.com

Today’s tickers: VIA B, BJ, MRK, EEM, PETM & C

VIA B - Viacom, Inc. Class B – Options on the global entertainment content company are active ahead of the release of the firm’s third-quarter earnings report before the opening bell tomorrow. Investors are establishing both bullish and bearish positions on Viacom using near-term put and call options. Viacom’s shares are currently up 0.15% at $38.09 with just fewer than thirty minutes remaining in the trading session. Traders fearing the price of the underlying stock could fall following earnings initiated bear put spreads. Put players picked up approximately 3,000 in-the-money puts at the November $38 strike for an average premium of $0.77 each, and sold about the same number of puts at the lower November $36 strike for an average premium of $0.14 a-pop. Average net premium required to purchase the spread amounts to $0.63 per contract. Thus, investors are prepared to profit, or realize downside protection, in the event that shares in Viacom fall 1.9% from the current price of $38.09 to breach the average breakeven point at $37.37 by expiration day. Maximum potential profits of $1.37 per contract are available if VIA’s shares plunge 5.5% lower to trade below $36.00 by November expiration. Meanwhile, investors taking bullish stances ahead of earnings looked to the November $39 strike to purchase approximately 1,600 calls for an average premium of $0.32 per contract. Call buyers profit if Viacom’s shares rally 3.2% to surpass the average breakeven price of $39.32 by expiration day.

BJ - BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. – Reports that the warehouse club operator is considering hiring an advisor to review options including a potential sale to a leveraged-buyout firm in a deal that could net as much as $3 billion sent shares flying higher today and drew speculators to the…
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Defending Your Virtual Portfolio With Dividends – Q4 (Members Only)

In uncertain markets, dividends can give you a critical investing edge.

As you can see from the chart on the left, just mindlessly investing in dividend-paying stocks can give you more than a 2:1 annual advantage in your investments

Of course, here at PSW, we teach the art of selling options premiums – something that turns virtually any stock into a "dividend" payer.  For example, MSFT is only a small, 2% dividend-payer but a fairly solid cash-machine of a stock that we don’t feel is likely to go bankrupt overnight so it makes for a nice safe staple in a long-term virtual portfolio.  But MSFT is also a very poorly-run company that hasn’t grown in 20 years but we can make it a much more interesting stock by simply selling covered calls.

For example, in our August edition of Dividend Payers,  we looked at MSFT for $24.23 and we sell the Sept $24 calls for .77.  This lowered our effective basis to $23.46 and selling the call putus in no special danger – we simply agreed to sell MSFT for $24 on expiration day in September (the 17th).

The stock was called away from us, and we made a .54 profit or 2.3% of our net $23.46 cash investment in less than 30 days.  That works out to a 26% annualized ROI and we had an opportunity (as we had expected) to buy the stock again and again at $24 on Oct 4th and 5th and sell the November $24 calls for .90 for a net $23.10 re-entry and ANOTHER 3.8% GAIN if we are called away at $24 or greater on Nov 19th.  Doesn’t that beat waiting a whole quarter for your 1% dividend checks?  

Of course, you can optimize all this with timing and we favor stocks that are on sale – this is just a very simple example of how our most basic options strategy can drastically boost your annual returns on any stock in your virtual portfolio.

Let’s say you don’t want to mess around with MSFT every month.  You could have simply sold the 2012 $22.50s for $4.40 (also suggested in the August post), that dropped your net entry from $24.23 to $19.83 and getting called away at $22.50 would be a profit of 13.5% over 17 months PLUS you would be getting your…
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Defending Your Virtual Portfolio With Dividends (Members Only)

In uncertain markets, dividends can give you a critical investing edge.

As you can see from the chart on the left, just mindlessly investing in dividend-paying stocks can give you more than a 2:1 annual advantage in your investments

Of course, here at PSW, we teach the art of selling options premiums – something that turns virtually any stock into a "dividend" payer.  For example, MSFT is only a small, 2% dividend-payer but a fairly solid cash-machine of a stock that we don’t feel is likely to go bankrupt overnight so it makes for a nice safe staple in a long-term virtual portfolio.  But MSFT is also a very poorly-run company that hasn’t grown in 20 years but we can make it a much more interesting stock by simply selling covered calls.

For example, we buy MSFT for $24.23 and we sell the Sept $24 calls for .77.  This lowers our effective basis to $23.46 and selling the call puts us in no special danger – we are simply agreeing to sell MSFT for $24 on expiration day in September (the 17th).  Should the stock be called away from us, we make a .54 profit or 2.3% of our net $23.46 cash investment in less than 30 days.  That works out to a 26% annualized ROI and, even if we get called away, we can simply buy the stock again and again and sell calls every month.  Of course, you can optimize all this with timing and we favor stocks that are on sale – this is just a very simple example of how our most basic options strategy can drastically boost your annual returns on any stock in your virtual portfolio.

Let’s say you don’t want to mess around with MSFT every month.  You can simply sell the 2012 $22.50s for $4.40, that drops your net entry from $24.23 to $19.83 and getting called away at $22.50 would be a profit of 13.5% over 17 months PLUS you would be getting your .52 annual dividend so let’s call it .75 more for a total profit (if MSFT holds $22.50) of $3.42 or 17.25% – 1% a month certainly beats what the banks are offering these days!  Not as sexy as the 26% ROI you make by working the trade every month but you do get a built-in cushion that drops your break-even price to $19.83, which is a full 18% below…
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Q2 Buy List – Rounding Out The Top 20 (Members Only)

Finally a chance to buy again! 

The problem with hitting the dead bottom with our June 7th Buy List is there haven’t been any good entry opportunities since for new Members.  Now we are back down to about the bottom of the "flash crash" (S&P 1,065) and it does look like we may be forming another bottom. right about where we were when I wrote on June 6th "The Worst-Case Scenario:  Getting Real With Global GDP!" where I pointed out:  Things are just simply not bad enough to sit on our hands with a big pile of cash

I am still not advocating going over a 25% commitment to long-term positions so PLEASE - keep that in mind at all times - our buying premise is that we have cash (with a target of staying at least 75% cash right now) and we will need more disaster hedges if we can’t hold this week’s lows.  If we have a 2% hedge in place now that pays 10% on a market drop of no more than 20% below where we are now, then we can expect to have 10% of our money from that hedge to pay for any stocks that are put to us and, if we are only allocating 20-25% of our cash to buy round 1 here, then logically, that extra 2% we’re putting up as insurance will pay for half of an unexpected drop.  If we get less confident in holding our levels, then we can up our hedges.

That means, if we spent $25,000 to buy round 1 of stocks and $5,000 of insurance that pays 500% if we hit our assignment area (down 20%) and we are assigned a basked to stocks, which force us to double down, then the $25,000 we need to double down with will come from our insurance hedge and that means we’ll be in 2x the stock for $30,000 with $75,000 more cash on the side (assuming it was a $100K Virtual Portfolio). 

Let’s keep this example dead simple and say we buy the SPY for $106.82 and let’s say we buy 300 shares for $32,000.  Now we cover that with the sale of the March $103 calls for $12 and the $95 puts for $6 and that nets out to $88.82 ($26,346) and our upside at $103 is $14.18 ($4,254 or 13%).  We are committed to owning 600 shares of SPY at the $88.82 we paid for 300 plus another 300 at $95 for an
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The Worst-Case Scenario: Getting Real With Global GDP!

$10,500.

That is the per capita average GDP for the 6Bn ape-like creatures on this planet who have pockets and purses.  Of the still hairy and pocketless apes, there are only about 1M left and they are mainly prisoners so we won’t be worrying about them but it would be nice to consider the plight of our ancestors once in a while…  Anyway, so 6Bn of us fill in those last 3 images in the planetary labor pool with the vast majority of us STILL FARMING and, of course, a select group of us are still hunting and gathering and contributing very little to the GDP

None of our problems are new – as noted in this 2005 cartoon:

The United States of America with it’s highly evolved population of shopoholics has a per capita GDP of $46,381 – VERY IMPRESSIVE but we rank 6th!  Brunei does a little better than we do and Singapore is up at $50,523 (so let’s hear it for corporal punishment) and Norway (one of my top choices of countries to flee to when it all hits the fan) is at $52,561 but Luxembourgh ($78,395 – banking) and Qatar ($83,841 – oil) simply trounce us in earnings power per person.  For those of you who like to think Capitalism is all about keeping score – they must be better than you because they make more money, right?

Below the US, per capita GDP drops off fairly quickly.  Rounding out the top 10 are Switzerland ($43,007 – watches and more bankers), Hong Kong ($42,748 – don’t tell China!), Netherlands ($39,938 – legal drugs!), Ireland ($39,468 – free beer when on wellfare!) and Australia ($38,911 – beer comes in oil cans plus gigantic bouncing rats).  20th on the list is Germany at $34,212, Greece is 25th at $29,882 (but not for long), 30th is South Korea at $27,978, 40th is Slovakia at $21,245.  Lithuania comes in at 50 with $16,542 (1 ahead of Russia) and it steadies out there with emerging market star Brazil in 75th place with $10,514 and, keep in mind – that is where you FINALLY get to the average leverl of economic activity for the world. 

Another BRIC in the global wall is mighty China, with a per capita GDP of $6,567 for each of their 1.2Bn persons and India’s Billion people average out at less than half of that, at $2,941, ranking 128th and still ahead of 53…
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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!

 
 

Phil's Favorites

Europe: The ONE Economic Comparison That Must Not Be Named... Was Just Named

Europe: The ONE Economic Comparison That Must Not Be Named... Was Just Named

The Continent is now teetering on the edge of a "Japan-style" deflation. Here's our take on it.

By Elliott Wave International

It's happened. The one economic comparison Europe has dreaded more than any other; the name that's akin to Lord Voldemort for investors has been uttered: "deflation."

And it's not just "deflation." You can still spin that term in a positive light if you get creative enough. Say, for example,

"Fa...



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Zero Hedge

CDC Confirms First Ebola Case Diagnosed In The US

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As experts (as opposed to President Obama) had warned, the probability of Ebola coming to the US is around 20% by year-end. So it shoould not be a total surprise that:

  • *CDC CONFIRMS FIRST EBOLA CASE DIAGNOSED IN THE UNITED STATES
  • *EBOLA PATIENT IS IN DALLAS HOSPITAL, NEWS 8 REPORTS

CDC will hold a press conference at 530ET. This perhaps explains why CDC was "taking pre...



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Chart School

"Deflationary" Ball Game?

Courtesy of Doug Short.

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

Well October is almost here and it's time for the baseball post season to start today. Speaking of baseball, is a "New Deflationary Ball Game" starting in a variety of assets?

This 5-pack reflects that a variety of long-term support and resistance line breaks are taking place.


Click for a larger image

The U.S. Dollar (upper left) is pushing above a 9-year resistance line recently. At the same time the TR commodity index, Gold,...



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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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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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When you register for the webinar, you’ll also get instant access to following trading videos:

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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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