Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

TLP: Just This Once, I Swear

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant

politics as usual

That didn’t take long.

The Washington Post:

After Francisco "Quico" Canseco beat Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Tex.) as part of the Republican wave on Nov. 2, the tea party favorite declared: "It’s going to be a new day in Washington."

Two weeks later, Canseco was in the heart of Washington for a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club. The event--hosted by Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.)--was aimed at paying off more than $1.1 million in campaign debts racked up by Canseco, much of it from his own pocket.

After winning election with an anti-Washington battle cry, Canseco and other incoming Republican freshmen have rapidly embraced the capital’s culture of big-money fundraisers, according to new campaign-finance reports and other records.

Dozens of freshmen lawmakers have held receptions at Capitol Hill bistros and corporate townhouses in recent weeks, taking money from K Street lobbyists and other powerbrokers within days of their victories. Newly elected House members have raised at least $2 million since the election, according to preliminary Federal Election Commission records filed last week, and many more contributions have yet to be tallied.

OK, so this is not surprising. Politics takes money if you want to win. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an old school Democrat like Charlie Rangel, a Tea Party upstart like Rand Paul or a relative unknown like Quico Canseco.

The part that’s incredible when you read stories like this is that voters get taken in, over and over. Wave after wave, from the post-Watergate Democrats to the Reaganauts to Blue Dogs and the Republican Revolution in ’94. It’s a rare case when someone comes to Congress vowing change and is able to resist the influence of the permanent political class.

Quico fell fast. Plenty more still have a chance.


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11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy

11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy

trends destroying economyCourtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

The U.S. economy is being slowly but surely destroyed and many Americans have no idea that it is happening.  That is at least partially due to the fact that most financial news is entirely focused on the short-term.  Whenever a key economic statistic goes up the financial markets surge and analysts rejoice.  Whenever a key economic statistic goes down the financial markets decline and analysts speak of the potential for a "double-dip" recession.  You could literally get whiplash as you watch the financial ping pong ball bounce back and forth between good news and bad news.  But focusing on short-term statistics is not the correct way to analyze the U.S. economy.  It is the long-term trends that reveal the truth.  The reality is that there are certain underlying foundational problems that are destroying the U.S. economy a little bit more every single day.

11 of those foundational problems are discussed below.  They are undeniable and they are constantly getting worse.  If they are not corrected (and there is no indication that they will be) they will destroy not only our economy but also our entire way of life.  The sad truth is that it would be hard to understate just how desperate the situation is for the U.S. economy. 

Long-Term Trend #1: The Deindustrialization Of America

The United States is being deindustrialized at a pace that is almost impossible to believe.  But now that millions upon millions of people have lost their jobs, more Americans than ever are starting to wake up and believe it.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 69 percent of Americans now believe that free trade agreements have cost America jobs.  Ten years ago the majority of Americans had great faith in the new "global economy" that we were all being merged into, but now the tide has turned.…
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Jobs Decrease by 54,000, Rise by 60,000 Excluding Census; Unemployment Rises Slightly to 9.6%; A Look Beneath the Surface

Jobs Decrease by 54,000, Rise by 60,000 Excluding Census; Unemployment Rises Slightly to 9.6%; A Look Beneath the Surface

Courtesy of Mish 

This morning the BLS reported a decrease of 64,000 jobs. However, that reflects a decrease of 114,000 temporary census workers.

Excluding the census effect, government lost 7,000 jobs. Were the trend to continue, this would be a good thing because Firing Public Union Workers Creates Real Jobs.

Unfortunately, politicians and Keynesian clown economists will not see it that way. Indeed there is a $26 billion bill giving money to the states to keep bureaucrats employed. This is unfortunate because we need to shed government jobs.

Birth-Death Model

Hidden beneath the surface the BLS Black Box – Birth Death Model added 115,000 jobs, a number likely to be revised lower in coming years. Please note you cannot directly subtract the number from the total because of the way the BLS computes its overall number.

Participation Rate Effects

The civilian labor force participation rate (64.7 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.5 percent) were essentially unchanged from last month’s report. However, these measures have declined by 0.5 percentage points and 0.3 points, respectively, since April.

The drop in participation rate this year is the only reason the unemployment rate is not over 10%. The drop in participation rates is not that surprising because some of the long-term unemployed stopped looking jobs, or opted for retirement.

Nonetheless, I still do not think the top in the unemployment rate is in and expect it may rise substantially later this year as the recovery heads into a coma and states are forced to cut back workers unless Congress does substantially more to support states.

Employment and Recessions

Calculated Risk has a great chart showing the effects of census hiring as well as the extremely weak hiring in this recovery.

click on chart for sharper image

The dotted lines tell the real story about how pathetic a jobs recovery this has been. Bear in mind it has taken $trillions in stimulus to produce this.

June, July Revisions

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from -221,000 to -175,000, and the change for July was revised from -131,000 to -54,000.

Those revisions look good but it is important to note where the revisions comes from. The loss of government jobs in June was revised from…
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THE ANSWER TO A HOUSING RECOVERY: LOWER PRICES

THE ANSWER TO A HOUSING RECOVERY: LOWER PRICES

housing marketCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

The simple economics behind the situation in housing is beginning to become more apparent as the weeks go by. As we’ve noted for several years now the primary problem in the US housing market remains one of supply and demand.  As the jobs market continues to weaken, deflation takes hold of the US economy and the shadow inventory floods the market the math here remains simple enough for an Econ 101 student to understand. In order for the housing market to build a firm foundation that does not require government aid we will need to see a reduction in prices. In a recent research report Merrill Lynch described just how extreme the supply/demand imbalance has become in recent months and years:

“The collapse in housing demand means that it likely will take even longer to clear the inventory of homes for sale. In the new market, builders have continued to slash construction, maintaining incredibly lean inventories, and yet there is still supply of 9.1 months. Even more worrisome, however, is the existing home market where inventory is still on a decisive uptrend. As such, it takes 12.5 months to clear the inventory at the July sales pace. This widening gap between housing demand and supply means that construction likely will remain depressed and prices will dip lower (Chart 5).”

mer1 THE ANSWER TO A HOUSING RECOVERY: LOWER PRICES

More worrisome is the huge increase in shadow inventory that Merrill expects:

“The inventory of existing homes for sale is set to increase further as “shadow inventory” moves into the market. According to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association’s report, 9.1% of loans outstanding, which translates to 4.8 million, were seriously delinquent at the end of Q2 (capturing 90+ days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure). Unfortunately, this is not the end of the foreclosure pipeline. There were 2.6 million of mortgages either 30 or 60 days delinquent (Chart 6). It is likely that re-defaults from failed modifications — there have been 616,839 failed HAMP modifications – have contributed to early stage delinquencies.”

mer2 THE ANSWER TO A HOUSING RECOVERY: LOWER PRICES

Based on Merrill’s estimates the housing market is unlikely to normalize before 2015.  The supply/demand imbalance is simply staggering at the current levels and is likely to deteriorate if the economy weakens further:

“We define a normal housing market to be one in which housing starts


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The Trade Deficit Nightmare

The Trade Deficit Nightmare

Courtesy of Michael Snyder of Economic Collapse 

When they hear the word deficit, most Americans immediately think of the U.S. government budget deficit which is rapidly spiralling out of control.  But that is not the only deficit which is ripping the U.S. economy to shreds.  In fact, many economists commonly speak of the "twin deficits" that are destroying the U.S. financial system.  So what is the "other deficit" that they are referring to?  It is the trade deficit.  Every single month, we buy much more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  That means that every single month there is a massive outflow of wealth from the United States.  Every single day, America becomes just a little bit poorer as Americans continue to run out and fill up their shopping carts with cheap plastic crap from China and dozens of other emerging economies. 

Not that trade is a bad thing.  Trade can actually be a very good thing.  But the gigantic trade imbalances that the United States has been running for years are absolutely bleeding us dry.  Unfortunately, our politicians have just stood idly by as each month we continue to transfer massive amounts of wealth out of the United States.

The U.S. Commerce Department recently announced that the U.S. trade deficit increased by 18.8 percent in June to $49.9 billion.  Most analysts had expected the figure to be somewhere around 41 to 43 billion dollars.

In the month of June, imports rose to approximately $200 billion while exports fell to about $150 billion.

So can we afford to have a net outflow of 50 billion dollars each and every month?

Of course not.

We had so much wealth as a nation that we could afford to do this for a while,…
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AUSTERITY VS DEFICIT SPENDING – A CATCH 22

AUSTERITY VS DEFICIT SPENDING – A CATCH 22

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Courtesy of Hannes Kunz, Ph.D., President of Institute for Integrated Economic Research

A vivid debate is currently going between two groups of economists, politicians and financial analysts. One camp argues that government deficits have to be kept within reasonable limits or avoided altogether, because fast-increasing public debt will become unmanageable in the foreseeable future. We wholeheartedly agree.

The other group advocates a continuation of stimulus spending and credit driven investment by governments. In a New York Times op-ed piece published on June 17, 2010, Paul Krugman explained why slamming the breaks on government spending would throw us back into recession. On June 28, he doubled up, now arguing that with reduced government stimulus, we’re headed straight towards a new depression. We fully agree with his assessment.

How come IIER is simultaneously able to agree with two camps which are ready to turn to fists when making their argument? It’s quite simple: both have a point. But equally, both have no real answer.

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset

The Keynesian bridge to nowhere

Let’s begin with Mr. Krugman, whom one might locate in the deficit-spending, or Keynesian camp. Keynes, in the part that is mostly quoted by the people advocating stimulating consumption and investment by governments, suggests two things. By keeping demand for goods and services high during a recession, the government is able to keep people employed and stimulate further demand by implying a multiplier effect from its spending. At the same time, valuable industrial infrstructure utilization is guaranteed, which ensures that past capital investment is preserved during a downturn, making the conversion to a growing economy smoother, preventing a situation where future growth would be limited by capacity constraints.

We have to say that we fully agree with all the assumptions about those direct implications, in fact, the Post-Keynesian concept of the “multiplier effect” extra government dollars have is very much in line with our own view of the impact growing credit levels have on an economy.  But wait. When the concept was introduced in the 1930s, the world stood at the beginning of exploring a bounty of natural resources, first and foremost oil, and what was missing was infrastructure to make good use of those gifts from mother nature. Thus, building cars, roads, machinery and other things made a lot of sense, and…
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Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse 

In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010.  But there has been a shift.  Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages.  People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with "teaser rates" or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments.  But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures.  Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result.  But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010.  At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are "turning the corner", things just seem to get even worse. 

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate.  For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now.  According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.…
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2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase

These are some startling numbers, and, unfortunately, it seems if you have more than $1 million and plans to die soon, you may as well go before New Years (but WAIT till the last minute in case the rules get changed--and, yikes, they could be changed in retrospect as a cruel, cruel joke.) – Ilene 

2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase

Courtesy of Michael Synder at The Economic Collapse 

Unless the U.S. Congress acts, there is going to be a massive wave of tax increases in 2011. In fact, some are already calling 2011 the year of the tax increase. A whole host of tax cuts that Congress established between 2001 and 2003 are set to expire in January unless Congress chooses to renew them. But with Democrats firmly in control of both houses that appears to be extremely unlikely. These tax increases are going to affect every single American (at least those who actually pay taxes). But this will be just the first wave of tax increases. Another huge slate of tax increases passed in the health care reform law is scheduled to go into effect by 2019.  So Americans that are already infuriated by our tax system are only going to become more frustrated in the years ahead. The reality is that the U.S. government will soon be digging much deeper into our wallets.

The following are some of the tax increases that are scheduled to go into effect in 2011…. 

1 – The lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.

2 – The next lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 25 percent to 28 percent.

3 – The 28 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 31 percent.

4 – The 33 percent tax bracket…
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Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Emergency Press Conference on Newark Budget Gap; Massive Service Cuts; No Toilet Paper for City Offices; Newark is Bankrupt

Courtesy of Mish

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the city council are fighting over ways to balance a $70 million budget hole. Literally everything is under discussion except the one thing that needs to be done: declare bankruptcy.

Please play this video. It is pretty enlightening.

CNN Money reports Newark mayor: No toilet paper for city offices

In a desperate attempt to fill a $70 million budget hole, Newark’s mayor is taking a chainsaw to the town’s budget — even going so far as to cut toilet paper from the 2010 budget.

"Every single contract that does not go to the core function of our city in providing safe streets, providing fire protection, or other things to keep our city afloat will now be cut," Booker said during an emergency press conference Wednesday.

The reductions include not buying toilet paper for city offices, cutting the work week to four days for non-uniformed city workers, which is equivalent to a 20% pay cut, scrapping city holiday decorations, and closing city pools. These extreme measures, most of which will take effect beginning in August, are expected to save the city between $10 million and $15 million.

The city came to this impasse after the city council deferred a vote to create a Municipal Utilities Authority, a key component of Booker’s method of balancing the budget. Because Newark could issue bonds on the Authority, it would have cash inflow to cover the immediate deficit. Without that infusion, the mayor said they can’t make ends meet.

Municipal Utilities Authority Idea is Sheer Madness

I applaud the decision by the council to reject Mayor Booker’s Municipal Utilities Authority.

It is time for cities and states to address issues now, not raise taxes and not float more bonds that cannot and will not be paid back unless sugar daddy Congress steps in with taxpayer sponsored guarantees.

The Blame Game

As you might expect, finger-pointing is now running rampant. Please consider Newark council slams Mayor Booker for ‘savage’ proposed budget cuts.

Donald Payne Jr., Newark’s council president, and four of his colleagues today put up a united front to counter Mayor Cory Booker’s roll out of "savage" budget cuts, accusing him of political gamesmanship for trying to thrust responsibility on the


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Nothing Was Sacred: The Theft of the American Dream

Jesse wrote a terrific opening post for Phil’s Weekend article and popular R.E.M. song "It’s The End of the World as We Know It." - Ilene 

Nothing Was Sacred: The Theft of the American Dream

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

America must decide what type of country it wishes to be, and then conform public and foreign policy to those ends, and not the other way around. Politicians have no right to subjugate the constitutional process of government to any foreign organization.

Secrecy, except in very select military matters, is repugnant to the health of a democratic government, and is almost always a means to conceal a fraud. Corporations are not people, and do not have the rights of individuals as such.

Banks are utilities for the rational allocation of capital created by savings, and as utilities deserve special protections. All else is speculation and gambling. In banking, simpler and more stable is better. Low cost rules, as excessive financialisation is a pernicious tax on the real economy.

Financial speculation, as opposed to entrepreneurial investment, creates little value, serving largely to transfer wealth from the many to the few, often by exploiting the weak, and corrupting the law. It does serve to identify and correct market inefficiencies, but this benefit is vastly overrated, because those are quickly eliminated. As such it should be allowed, but tightly regulated and highly taxed as a form of gambling.

When the oligarchy’s enablers, hired help is the politer word, and assorted useful idiots ask, "But how then will we do this or that?" ask them back, "How did we do it twenty years ago?" Before the financial revolution and the descent into a bubble economy and a secretive and largely corrupted government with a GDP whose primary product is fraud.

Other nations, such as China, are surely acting for their own interests, and in many cases the interests of their people, much more diligently and effectively than the kleptocrats who are in power in Washington and New York these days. How then could we possibly subvert the Constitution and the welfare of the people to unelected foreign organizations? If this requires a greater reliance on self-sufficiency, then so be it. America is large enough to see to its own, as the others see to theirs.

Economics will not provide any answers in and of itself. Economics without an a priori policy and morality, without a guiding principle…
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Market News

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Financial Markets and Economy

Wealth Bubble In ‘Scary Graph’ Flashes Warning About Future U.S. Downturn (Bloomberg)

Americans are about as wealthy as they've ever been—and that's a worry?

U.S. Stocks Advance as Commodities Retreat on Dollar Strength (Bloomberg)

U.S. stocks rose, sending the S&P 500 Index to a record, and the dollar strengthened as speculation mounted that central banks from Japan to Europe won’t be in a rush to add to unprecedented stimulus. Emerging-market assets and commo...



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Zero Hedge

THE SUBPRIME U.S. ECONOMY: Disintegrating Due To Subprime Auto, Housing, Bond & Energy Debt

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By the SRSrocco Report,

The U.S. financial system continues to disintegrate even though most Americans hardly notice.  The system is being gutted from the inside out... much the same way a chronic disease weakens a patient even before any symptoms are felt.  However, we are already experiencing painful symptoms as U.S. economic indicators continue to weaken.

Here are just a few of the recent headlines:

...



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Chart School

Best Stock Market Indicator Update

Courtesy of Doug Short's Advisor Perspectives.

We continue to receive requests for updates to the "Best Stock Market Indicator", which used to be a regular guest post from John Carlucci. Here is an update of the "Carlucci" indicator along with a summary of John's explanation on how he uses it.

As John described it: "The $OEXA200R (the percentage of S&P 100 stocks above their 200 DMA) is a technical indicator available on StockCharts.com used to find the "sweet spot" time period in the market when you have the best chance of making money."

Latest Indicator Position

According to this system, the market ...



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Phil's Favorites

Stocks' Streak Of New Highs Hits Rarefied Air - What Happens Next?

Courtesy of Dana Lyons

The Dow just scored 7 straight all-time highs; are there more on the way, or is the air getting too thin?

When the major U.S. stock averages broke out to new highs earlier this month, the key consideration became would the breakout fail or would the new highs stick? Well, 10 days later the breakout gets high marks for follow through. This is particularly so in the case of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). As many averages have spent the past several days digesting recent gains, the DJIA has continued its ascent. In the process, the index has recorded 7 straight all-time highs.

While the streak is not unprecedented, it is just the 12th such run in the past 10...



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ValueWalk

Relypsa Inc (RLYP) Soars On Galenica Bid

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Relypsa Inc (NDAQ:RLYP) — to be acquired by Galenica AG (VTX:GALN) for $32 per share in cash is soaring this morning up about 58 percent at the time of this writing in early morning. On the other hand shares of Galenica are down on the announcement by about 8 percent. What are the details of the deal? Here is what the sell side analysts are saying about the pharma news.

Relypsa Inc (NDAQ:RLYP) bid – analysts react

Cantor Fitzgerald

Relypsa will be acquired by Galenica for $32 per share, a 59% premium over the last closing price. We have thought that Relypsa would likely be acquired at some point, given the opportunity to grow Veltassa to be a significant commercial brand, ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Doc Copper going to peak again at 200 Day moving ave?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Doc Copper is often viewed as a leading indicator, for global growth or lack of.

The 200 day moving average is often viewed as the line in the sand to determine if an asset is in an up or down trend.

Is Doc Copper climbing above its 200 day moving average a good or bad sign?

Below looks at Doc Copper over the past decade with the 200 MA applied.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Copper peaked in 2011 and since, has continued to create a series of ...



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Digital Currencies

Demystifying the blockchain: a basic user guide

 

Demystifying the blockchain: a basic user guide

By Philippa Ryan, University of Technology Sydney

Companies around the world are exploring blockchain, the technology underpinning digital currency bitcoin. In this Blockchain unleashed series, we investigate the many possible use cases for the blockchain, from the novel to the transformative.

Most people agree we do not need to know how a television works to enjoy using one. This is true of many existing and emerging technologies. Most of us happily drive cars, use mobile phones and send emails without knowing how they work. With this in mind, here is a tech-free user guide to the blockchain - the technology infrastructure behind bitcoin...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of July 18th, 2016

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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Mapping The Market

No wonder Saudis are selling as much as they can!

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

We are getting much more energy efficient – no wonder Saudis are selling as much as they can! Who wants to be the one with trillions of dollars of oil in the ground unwanted:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/07/the-amount-of-energy-needed-to-run-the-worlds-economy-is-decreasing-on-average/#p3

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan 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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Biotech

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members.

Here's an interesting article from Investor's Business Daily arguing that biotech stocks are beginning to recover from their recent declines, notwithstanding current weakness.

This Is Why Biotech Stocks May Explode Again

By 

Excerpt:

After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.

...



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News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

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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!




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