Posts Tagged ‘regulators’

U.K. Medical Journal Questions Avandia License

Followup on "After Avandia: Does the FDA Have a Drug Problem?"Ilene 

U.K. Medical Journal Questions Avandia License

BY JASON DOUGLAS AND STEN STOVALL, WSJ

LONDON—The British Medical Journal on Monday said GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s diabetes drug Avandia should never have been licensed and should be withdrawn from sale, a claim the company rejected.

An investigation by the journal found the U.K. Commission on Human Medicines in July advised the country’s drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or MHRA, to withdraw Avandia from sale because its risks outweigh its benefits.

The probe also found members of a European panel that reviewed the drug prior to its European Union-wide approval in 2000 had concerns about the long-term risks and benefits of Avandia, also known as rosiglitazone. The journal raised concerns about the quality of the data GlaxoSmithKline used to show Avandia didn’t lead to increased heart problems compared with other diabetes drugs.

Avandia was once Glaxo’s second-biggest drug, raking in about $3 billion a year. But its sales have plunged since a U.S. study linked it to heart attacks in 2007, and second-quarter revenue was only £152 million ($235 million) as patients defected to alternatives, such as Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Actos.

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Eight Banks Seized, One with Ties to Obama; Regulators Allow “Unusual Bid” for Failed Bank

Eight Banks Seized, One with Ties to Obama; Regulators Allow "Unusual Bid" for Failed Bank

bank closures

Courtesy of Mish 

The bell rings once again on "Foreclosure Friday". The toll this week is 8 banks. One of the banks, Shore Bank, has ties to the Obama administration, Goldman Sachs, and other notables.

Eight Banks Shuttered as 2010 Failures Reach 118 

Bloomberg reports ShoreBank, Seven Others Shuttered as 2010 Failures Reach 118

ShoreBank Corp., the Chicago lender operating under a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. cease-and- desist order for 13 months, and seven other banks were shut by regulators as 2010 bank failures climbed to 118.

Regulators also closed four banks in California, two in Florida and one in Virginia. All eight closures cost the FDIC’s deposit-insurance fund $473.5 million, the agency said yesterday. This year’s bank failures will surpass last year’s total of 140, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said last month in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Regulators Allow "Unusual Bid" for Shore Bank

The Wall Street Journal reports Regulators Seize ShoreBank; Management Takes Over

Regulators seized ShoreBank Corp. on Friday and agreed to sell assets to a team led by the community lender’s executives and backed by several large U.S. financial firms.

The bank closure, among the 118 failures in the U.S. this year, caps months of uncertainty for a $2.16 billion Chicago bank that had ties to the Obama administration and deep roots on Chicago’s South Side. The new institution will be known as Urban Partnership Bank and led by William Farrow, a former First Chicago Corp. executive who was ShoreBank’s president and chief operating officer at the time of its failure.

The decision to sell to management is a rare move by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which generally bars investors who own more than 10% of the failed bank from bidding on its assets. The FDIC also typically wants to know if bidders have "ever been an officer or director of a failed institution" and "participated in a material way in one or more transactions that caused a substantial loss to any such failed institution," according to an FDIC document.

The structure of the deal "is unusual," said Atlanta banking attorney Chip MacDonald.

The holding company will remain intact, according to a person familiar with the deal. Urban Partnership is backed by a consortium of large U.S. financial institutions, including Bank


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Jim Grant on the New Federal Reserve Governor Nominees; Economic Groupthink

(Video’s back in working order.)

Jim Grant on the New Federal Reserve Governor Nominees; Economic Groupthink

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Organizations, whether it be a club or a profession or a department, too often over time develop a sort of intellectual inertia, a bureaucratic mindset that tends to perpetuate and validate a certain view of the world amongst its members, particularly if they share other elements in background and world view.

This works to its advantage when they are right, and when the scope of the tasks which they must address are limited to largely operational concerns, without significant risk in the classic sense of the term.

But when the situation becomes different, the environment changes, this organizational mindset not only stifles innovation and adaptation, it can literally reach out and strangle it, well beyond its members, using the entrenched power of its tenure. We see this tendency clearly in organizations that have enjoyed long periods of organizational growth under the leadership of strong personalities, such as the FBI under Hoover, and the Federal Reserve under Greenspan.

We can see this same tendency on a micro level in our daily life on chatboards, in clubs, in our company departments, in civic organizations. It is a tribalistic instinct, that urges the adoption of a consensus view, often influenced and promoted by articulate and single minded individuals, which then musters and focuses the energy and vitality of the group in the execution of its mission.

When it is right, it brings success. But when it goes wrong, when it feeds on itself, becomes defensive and inwardly focused, when perpetuation of the group view overtakes all other considerations, when tribal loyalty and sameness is valued over results, it leads to a cult like behaviour, inbred thinking, that may be inimical to the best intentions of the group, and the sort of behavioural anomalies which we have seen in the tragedies of Watergate, the latter stage Hoover FBI, and even Jonestown.

Economics is in the grips of such a period in its development. One of the primary causes of this problem has been the rise of a few well funded think tanks, universities, and of course the Federal Reserve, that have become powerful influencers, and guardians, dogmatisers of the status quo. The petty sniping among the schools notwithstanding, the current debate of stimulus versus austerity serves to show how anemic, how self…
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As Broken Market Limps Along, SEC And CFTC Conduct Worthless Hearing: Watch It Live Here

As Broken Market Limps Along, SEC And CFTC Conduct Worthless Hearing: Watch It Live Here

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Watch the highly conflicted trading industry representatives, and the highly corrupt regulators try to convince each other that the May 6th events were totally unique, will never happen again, why there is no need to change anything, and why the joke of that is single stock circuit breakers (another reactive not proactive "solution") is all that is needed to return investor confidence. We wish them all the best as they continue to buy and sell stocks from each other, now that everyone else is out of the market permanently. Readers can watch the "Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues Meeting" here. (click here if stream does not show up).


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George Soros: Financial Crisis Has “Only Entered Act II”

George Soros: Financial Crisis Has "Only Entered Act II"

U.S. billionaire investor George Soros delivers his keynote speech during a Institute of International Finance (IIF) conference in Vienna June 10, 2010. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader (AUSTRIA - Tags: BUSINESS HEADSHOT PROFILE)

Courtesy of TraderMark

Love or hate his politics, there is no doubt George Soros is one of the brightest investment minds of the past few generations. Hence when you have Soros on one side saying we have only begun the 2nd stage of the financial crisis, and on the other hand you have "Unicorns and Butterflies" Bernanke telling us all is well (kumbaya!) [and coming off one of the worst economic forecasting records the past half decade you could put together], you can guess which side one might be better off listening to.

The collapse of the financial system as we know it is real, and the crisis is far from over,” Mr. Soros said at a conference in Vienna. “Indeed, we have just entered Act II of the drama.”

NYTimes DealBook has a full transcript of the speech Soros gave at the Institute of International Finance in Vienna here.  Remember, you can choose to accept the red pill or the blue pill; if you choose the blue pill Ben Bernanke has solved all your ills… if you choose the red, please read on for some excerpts.

  • Soros, 79, said the current situation in the world economy is “eerily” reminiscent of the 1930s with governments under pressure to narrow their budget deficits at a time when the economic recovery is weak.


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SEC staff watched porn as economy crashed

SEC staff watched porn as economy crashed; Senate panel: Ratings agencies rolled over for Wall Street; SEC Ignored Stanford Ponzi Scheme For 12 Years

SEC and Porn, Mary Schapiro Courtesy of Mish 

What was the SEC doing when Bernie Madoff was stealing billions and the economy crashed? Here are a few reports.

SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed

CNN is reporting SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed

"During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time," said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general’s office.

More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.

A regional office staff accountant tried to access pornographic websites nearly 1,800 times, using her SEC laptop during a two-week period. She also had about 600 pornographic images saved on her laptop hard drive.

Separately, a senior attorney at SEC headquarters admitted to downloading pornography up to eight hours a day, according to the investigation.

"In fact, this attorney downloaded so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive and downloaded pornography to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office," the inspector general’s report said.

SEC Knew About and Ignored Stanford Ponzi Scheme

Please consider IG report: SEC knew of Stanford scheme since 1997.

The Securities and Exchange Commission knew since 1997 that R. Allen Stanford likely was operating a Ponzi scheme but waited 12 years to bring fraud charges against the billionaire, the agency inspector general said Friday.

An SEC enforcement official who helped quash investigations of Stanford’s business later legally represented him, according to a new report by the agency watchdog.

The SEC didn’t bring charges against Stanford until February 2009, when it alleged a $7 billion fraud. SEC Inspector General David Kotz said in the report that "institutional influence" in the enforcement division was a factor in the agency’s repeated decisions not to conduct a full investigation.

The IG’s office did find evidence, however, that "institutional influence" within the enforcement division contributed to the repeated decisions not to conduct a thorough investigation of


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Geithner and the NY Fed Accused of Willfully Ignoring Fraud and Covering Up Lehman’s Bad Assets

Important (i.e. share it) article by Mish on William Black’s account of how Tim Geithner and the NY Fed covered up Lehman’s inflated asset values and lack of liquidity, long before the financial meltdown in 2008. – Ilene 

Geithner and the NY Fed Accused of Willfully Ignoring Fraud and Covering Up Lehman’s Bad Assets, by Senior Regulator During the S&L Crisis

Courtesy of Mish 

Inquiring minds are digging into a 27 page statement made by William Black before the Financial Services committee. Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law, at the University of Missouri.

Professor Black’s statements regarding the collapse of Lehman and the role the Fed played in that collapse are refreshingly candid.

Please consider "Public Policy Issues Raised by the Report of the Lehman Bankruptcy Examiner". Emphasis, highlighting, and subtitles are mine.

I begin with a short description of my background that is relevant to your questions. My primary appointment is in economics. I have a joint appointment in law. I am a white-collar criminologist. My research specialization is financial fraud by elites and financial regulation. I was a senior regulator during the S&L debacle (and had the honor of testifying many times before this Committee).

Valukas Report Documents Three Major Deficiencies In Lehman Governance

The [Valukas] Report documents at least three major deficiencies in Lehman’s corporate governance that need to be addressed globally. First, it points out that Lehman, and many other Delaware corporations, have eliminated the fiduciary duty of “care.”

… Alan Greenspan has admitted that he had a similar view and that events have falsified this naïve account. It is insane to withdraw accountability for negligence. Doing so encourages negligence. Congress should mandate that corporate officers and directors be subject to the fiduciary duties of care and loyalty. They will still, of course, have the very substantial protection of the business judgment rule.

Second, the same individual should not serve as the CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors of a large corporation. The imperial CEO is a consistent problem in this and prior crises.

Third, Lehman ignored its stated risk “limits” and simply increased its limits retroactively to accommodate its violations of its risk limits. In plain English, that means it had no meaningful limits. ….

I have a different view than Mr. Valukas about the overall state of Lehman’s


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“Never Even a Whisper” at Fed’s Open Market Committee Meetings

Another excellent article by George Washington on regulatory capture and willful blindness displayed by the Fed on an ongoing basis.  - Ilene 

"Never Even a Whisper" at Fed’s Open Market Committee Meetings

May Day Demonstrations

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog

Ben Bernanke, William Dudley and Donald L Kohn are on the Fed’s Open Market Committee (FOMC).

They are also on the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – often called the "central banks’ central bank". And Kohn is an alternate director for BIS.

Alan Greenspan, of course, was a BIS director for many years.

Dudley is also chairman of BIS’ Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems. (Tim Geithner – previously on the FOMC – previously held that post).

So there is clearly quite a bit of overlap between the two groups.

In addition, BIS’ chief economist – William White – and others within BIS – repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve and other central banks that they were setting the world economy up for a fall by blowing bubbles and then using "using gimmicks and palliatives" which "will only make things worse".

As Spiegel wrote last July:

White and his team of experts observed the real estate bubble developing in the United States. They criticized the increasingly impenetrable securitization business, vehemently pointed out the perils of risky loans and provided evidence of the lack of credibility of the rating agencies. In their view, the reason for the lack of restraint in the financial markets was that there was simply too much cheap money available on the market…

As far back as 2003, White implored central bankers to rethink their strategies, noting that instability in the financial markets had triggered inflation, the "villain" in the global economy…

In the restrained world of central bankers, it would have been difficult for White to express himself more clearly…

It was probably the biggest failure of the world’s central bankers since the founding of the BIS in 1930. They knew everything and did nothing. Their gigantic machinery of analysis kept spitting out new scenarios of doom, but they might as well have been transmitted directly into space…

In their report, the BIS experts derisively described the techniques of rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s as "relatively crude" and noted that "some caution is in


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Volcker Rules?

Volcker Rules?

Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario 

Paul Volcker Testifies Before House Financial Services Committee

Bloomberg reports this morning that Treasury is gently letting the Volcker Rule (limiting proprietary trading for big banks) slip — Secretary Geithner would grant greater discretion to regulators which, in today’s context, most likely means not make the restriction effective.

This step is consistent with the broader assessment of the Volcker Rules that Peter Boone and I have in The New Republic (print and on-line): the underlying principles are sound, but the Rules have not been well-designed, and top people in the administration show little sign of wanting to make them effective.  This dimension of financial reform does not appear to be headed anywhere meaningful – and the main issues (bank size, capital, and derivatives) are not yet seriously on the table.

In the recent Senate Banking hearings on the Volcker Rules, John Reed – former head of Citibank – was adamant that the Volcker Rules made sense and could be made to work.  His point is that the executives know who is taking risk with the bank’s balance sheet – it’s a well-defined group within any bank with its own (speculative) culture – and this should be discontinued for banks that are in any sense too big to fail. 

You really do not want high octane speculators at the heart of this country’s largest banks.   Make banking boring, Reed argues with conviction.  


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AIG Counterparties “Demanded” Full Value, and other perversions

AIG Counterparties “Demanded” Full Value, and other perversions

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker  

Workers Arrive At The Offices Of Troubled Insurance Company AIG

I will never let this go ever.  The fact that both insolvent investment banks and foreign banks had the ability and the audacity to "make demands" of the New York Fed when settling up their damaged AIG-written swap agreements still turns the stomach 15 months later.

Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story have the scoop, emphasis is mine:

Regulators had to contend with major banks that were A.I.G.’s trading partners and were unwilling to accept a discount from the government when closing out the contracts the banks had struck with the insurance giant.

Ultimately, the government decided to make the banks whole on the contracts, a decision that the documents say was approved by Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary who, at the time, was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The Fed’s decision to pay A.I.G.’s trading partners in full on tens of billions of dollars in contracts has been controversial because many analysts say they believe the government could have negotiated a price for a fraction of that amount, reducing taxpayer funds used in the rescue. Similar contracts were being settled at heavy discounts in other deals where the government was not involved.

The above is from a New York Times article up today about the hundreds of thousands of documents that were turned over to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in preparation for next week’s bludgeoning.

If I were Tim Geithner, I would resign ahead of time.  He either knowingly made these counterparties whole with an eye toward future employment at Goldman or he just plain got taken advantage of in the heat of the moment.  Either way, its completely unacceptable.

Source:

A Rift at the Fed Over the Bailout of AIG (NYT)

 


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Phil's Favorites

Peter Van Buren, Washington and Tehran Come in From the Cold

 

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, Washington and Tehran Come in From the Cold

By Peter Van Buren at TomDispatch

Every election needs an organizing catchphrase and that goes doubly for the Republican presidential race, with 16 candidates having entered the fray and more on the way. I think I have the perfect one for the moment: “You’ve been Trumped!” After all, one striking thing about the Republicans, now that th...



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Zero Hedge

Hackers Claim John McCain Knew ISIS Execution Videos Were Staged

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

In a rather stunning note, CyberBerkut, a Ukrainian group of hackers, claims to have hacked John McCain’s laptop while he was in the Ukraine, and as Techworm reports, what they have released from his June visit appears to be a fully staged production of an ISIS execution video...

As Techworm reports, according to the hackers, they broke ...



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ValueWalk

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) 'Pyramid Scheme' Lawsuit Thrown Out

By Clayton Browne. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) notched another court victory on Tuesday as a federal judge in LA threw out an investor lawsuit against the much loved and reviled nutritional supplements maker. In the ruling announced today, the beleaguered firm won a second dismissal of an investor lawsuit claiming it was lying about the legitimacy of its business operations.

The lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System and others argued that Herbalife shareholders lost money after hedge fund activist ...



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Chart School

Second Day of Gains

Courtesy of Declan.

Another round of buying swept through Large Cap indices, but other indices didn't enjoy the same level of interest.

The S&P had the best of it. Since the middle of July it has enjoyed a strong advance relative to Small Caps and Technology indices, but it may be time for it to revert to mean. Technicals are a little scrappy, but are holding to the bearish side, but one more day of gains could swing it back in bulls favour.


The Nasdaq banked a small gain, but it's up against the big red candlestick from last week. The 'bull trap' is still in play. Technicals are mixed here too.

...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

Your Rent's About to Get Even Higher (Bloomberg)

If the monthly rent check is already painful to write, brace yourself.

The Census Bureau's U.S. rental vacancy rate, which tracks the share of properties that are unoccupied, fell to 6.8 percent in the second quarter. That's the lowest level using comparable data since 1985.

Everything's starting to crash (Business Insider)

In a recent update I gave ...



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Insider Scoop

Williams-Sonoma Upgraded To Overweight At JP Morgan, Firm Thinks 26% Upside Is Possible

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related WSM Oppenheimer Upgrades Williams-Sonoma, Says Housing Backdrop Still Improving Credit Suisse Discusses Home Furnishings Stocks, Notes Low Expectations And Negative Investor Sentiments

In a report published Wednesday, JP Morgan analyst Tami Zakaria upgraded the rating on Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM) from Neutral to Overweight, while raising the price target from $81 to $103...



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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Travel indicator being put to critical tests

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The American Economy is driven a good deal by the consumer.

The table below reflects that nearly 70% of GDP is based consumption.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The 4-pack below looks at consumption with a focus on the travel and leisure sector, by looking at Avis (CAR), Hertz (HTZ), Expedia (EXPE) and Priceline (PCLN).

CLICK ON CHART ABOVE TO ENLARGE

While many seem to be occupied by the news abou...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Lackluster earnings reports put eager bulls back into waiting mode

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

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-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.

Corporate earnings reports have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bul...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio

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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Digital Currencies

Gold Spikes Back Above $1100, Bitcoin Jumps

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Gold is jumping after the overnight double flash-crash...testing back towards $1100...

Bitcoin is back up to pre-"Greece is Fixed" levels...

Charts: Bloomberg and Bitcoinwisdom

...

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Pharmboy

Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...



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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 

Since...



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Promotions

Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene

 

The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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