Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Testy Tuesday – 1,975 or BUST!

SPY 5 MINUTEI told you it was going to be a wild week!

Not that you can draw any conclusions from yesterday's low-volume action.  The Fed doves have their say for the next two days and then we go into a hawkish nosedive on Thursday and Friday, so this little drama is just getting started.  All went according to plan yesterday – per our set-up in the morning post:

As a hedge, for our Member Portfolios, we're favoring SQQQ (now $36.55) and DXD (now $24.52) to protect us from another slide but the real tilt to hawkish doesn't start until Thursday, after the Fed minutes, so we can assume they will be spun bearish from there into the weekend and we'll look to take nice, short positions against any run-up that comes from doveish Fed statements early in the week.  

As you can see from yesterday's action, that was the perfect way to play it and our short positions on the Futures gave us several quick victories as it was all downhill from the open until 1pm.  Even our oil short gave us a nice $600 win – the one that was right there in the morning post at $89.60 and oil was below $89 by 10:45, less than 3 hours for that trade idea to play out!  

That's good because we REALLY needed the money because GTAT, one of our good-sized positions in two of our portfolios, declared a surprise bankruptcy yesterday.  Bankruptcies are not supposed to be surprising but this one was and GTAT dropped 90%, essentially wiping out a $25,000 position and costing us 1/4 of our year's profits in the Long-Term Portfolio.  

There's an excellent article in Bloomberg and another one from Seeking Alpha outlining what happened and where it stands so I'll spare you the gory details other than to say that this is why we stress diversification and portion control in investing.  Even so, GTAT happened to be a stock that got weak and, because management promised a turn-around, we added to our losing position on the initial dip and maxed our allocation and then got burned so quickly that we had…
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The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

Robert Reich defends public workers and redirects charges of unfairness to the top 1% holders of wealth. Charles Hugh Smith discusses the heart of the problem in U.S.O.F.C.: If the Fraud Stops, the Financial System Collapses. The financial system is where the most dramatic inequities lie. – Ilene 

Courtesy of Robert Reich

In 1968, 1,300 sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support them. That was where he lost his life. Eventually Memphis heard the grievances of its sanitation workers. And in subsequent years millions of public employees across the nation have benefited from the job protections they’ve earned.

But now the right is going after public employees.

Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers. They don’t want stories about Wall Street bonuses, now higher than before taxpayers bailed out the Street. And they’d like to avoid a spotlight on the billions raked in by hedge-fund and private-equity managers whose income is treated as capital gains and subject to only a 15 percent tax, due to a loophole in the tax laws designed specifically for them.

It’s far more convenient to go after people who are doing the public’s work – sanitation workers, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, social workers, federal employees – to call them “faceless bureaucrats” and portray them as hooligans who are making off with your money and crippling federal and state budgets. The story fits better with the Republican’s Big Lie that our problems are due to a government that’s too big.

Above all, Republicans don’t want to have to justify continued tax cuts for the rich. As quietly as possible, they want to make them permanent.

But the right’s argument is shot-through with bad data, twisted evidence, and unsupported assertions.

They say public employees earn far more than private-sector workers. That’s untrue when you take account of level of education. Matched by education, public sector workers actually earn less than their private-sector counterparts.

The Republican trick is to compare apples with oranges — the average wage of public employees with the average wage of all private-sector employees. But only 23 percent of private-sector employees have college…
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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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Schemes of the Rich and Greedy

Courtesy of Michael Hudson

Tax-Avoidance – The Worst is Yet to Come

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”
“The Rich Boy,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The 30-year campaign of the wealthy to rig our economic system – especially the tax component – for their own benefit will accelerate with the GOP capture of the House of Representatives and the likely capture of the presidency and Senate in two years. For a foreshadowing of what is to come, a dress rehearsal has been conducted in Latvia, Iceland, Ireland and other financially strapped countries. Latvia has been burdened with the world’s most regressive tax system, while Iceland and Ireland have become record setters in tapping taxpayers to bail out financial crime syndicates, a.k.a. banks. 

The Irish bailout will encumber its people with perhaps as much debt as a $9 trillion bailout would be here in the United States. The Irish also are expected to also gut unemployment insurance, their minimum wage and similar social safety nets while boosting interest rates and home property taxes to pay tribute to the European creditor agencies that have “rescued” them. They will relinquish ownership of much of Ireland to their creditors, capped by ownership of government policy-making. The new banks will be owned by foreigners, who will put Ireland on a debt treadmill to transfer its taxable surplus to mainland Europe and Britain. 

Just as the U.S. taxpayer saved Goldman Sachs and the other high rollers from taking a loss, the Irish are being forced to “socialize” (that is, oligarchize) the losses of the banks. Think of how the Federal Reserve gave the banks 100 cents on the dollar for the some $2 trillion of toxic assets they took off the books of the banks and you get a sense of how the Irish bailout money will be used. It will keep the banks and creditors whole. 

Bad banking is going unpunished.  Shareholders, bondholders, large depositors and bank executives are not facing constraints on moral hazard. The European Central Bank (ECB) has cleaned up their mess, enabling and their wealth to grow on its trajectory as before – at the price of impoverishing the non-financial parts of society. Every effort will be made to re-inflate the property bubble putting off the day of reckoning. Taxes – like accountability – are for what Leona Helmsley referred…
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Revolutionizing House Monetary Policy; Balanced Budget Amendment Wins Backers; Plea to Republicans; Case for Compromise; Irony of Bernanke’s QEII

Revolutionizing House Monetary Policy; Balanced Budget Amendment Wins Backers; Plea to Republicans; Case for Compromise; Irony of Bernanke’s QEII

Courtesy of Mish

With Republicans taking control of the House, Ron Paul becomes the senior member on the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee.

Paul looks to raise hell judging from his plans.

Those looking for good news amidst the insanity of QEII can find it here: Ron Paul Is About to Totally Revolutionize the House Monetary Policy Panel

“I will approach that committee like no one has ever approached it because we’re living in times like no one has ever seen,” Paul said in an interview with NetNet Thursday.

Paul said his first priority will be to open up the books of the Federal Reserve to the American people. “We need to create transparency there. To see what it is they are buying and lending, and who it is they are dealing with,” Paul said.

Paul mentioned that he hoped to use subcommittee hearings to educate the public about the causes of business cycles—which he believes are mainly attributable to monetary manipulation by central bankers.

Monetary reform is also on the agenda. Paul is a noted advocate of the gold standard.

“We will have to have monetary reform,” Paul said. “I think those on the other side of this issue are already planning. They are going to try to replace a bad system with an equally bad system.”

Rubio Supports Balanced Budget Amendment

Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, Tea Party backed candidates, both won and both back a balanced budget amendment.

Please consider Rubio On A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment

RUBIO: “Growing our economy is essential. We need new jobs in America. New jobs means new prosperity. New prosperity, by the way, leads to more revenue for government. But what would they use this new revenue for?

“Well, I think that unless there are specific provisions in law preventing it from doing it, government, no matter who’s in charge – Republicans or Democrats, will use it to grow government. That’s why it’s so important that spending constraints be put into law and, specifically in today’s topic, in the Constitution.

“Here’s the deal: history teaches us that no matter who’s in charge of government – Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals – eventually, they will use it to grow government. And


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The Calm Before The Storm

Note: Michael wrote this prior to the elections. – Ilene

The Calm Before The Storm

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

An eerie calm has descended upon world financial markets as they await perhaps the two most important financial events of the year this week.  On Tuesday, investors will be eagerly awaiting the results of one of the most anticipated midterm elections in U.S. history.  On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to end months of speculation by formally announcing the details of a new round of quantitative easing.  If either the election or the meeting of the Federal Reserve open market committee delivers a highly unexpected result, it could have a dramatic impact on world financial markets.  In fact, many are looking at this week as a potential turning point for the U.S. economy. The decisions that are made or not made this week could set us down a road from which the U.S. economy may never recover.

At this point, it looks like the Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and will pick up a number of U.S. Senate seats as well.

There are many in the financial world who already consider Barack Obama to be the most "anti-business" president in U.S. history, so a defeat for the Democrats on Tuesday would be greatly welcomed by many on Wall Street.  Barack Obama’s decline in popularity since he was elected has been absolutely stunning.  According to Gallup, Barack Obama had an average approval rating of just 44.7% during the seventh quarter of his presidency, which was a brand new low.  In fact, Obama’s average approval rating has fallen during every single quarter since he took office.  Things have gotten so bad for Obama that one new poll has found that 47% of Democrats now think that Barack Obama should be challenged for the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination. 

However, if the Democrats were able to do surprisingly well on Tuesday, it would not only shock the political pundits, but it would also likely put world financial markets in a very bad mood. 

If the Republicans do very well on Tuesday, it will likely mean that there will be no more extensions for those receiving long-term unemployment…
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The Left Right Paradigm is Over: It’s You vs. Corporations

This is an excellent essay by Barry on the state of politics and the petty and even false distinctions between our republican and democrat rulers. – Ilene 

The Left Right Paradigm is Over: It’s You vs. Corporations

By Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture 

Excerpt:

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two “interest groups” – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

Full article here: www.ritholtz.com


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Ass Backwards: Senate to Shelve Bush Tax Cuts for Individuals; House to Pass Small Business Tax Cuts

Ass Backwards: Senate to Shelve Bush Tax Cuts for Individuals; House to Pass Small Business Tax Cuts

Courtesy of Mish

If ever you want to see tax policies that are ass backwards, look no further than two Congressional tax bills, one should pass but may not even get a vote, the other is seriously misguided but will pass anyway.

Senate Democrats Ready To Shelve Tax Cut Vote

TPM reports Senate Dems Ready To Shelve Tax Cut Vote

A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won’t be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election, a blow to party leaders and President Obama who believed this would have been a winning issue.

"Absent a stunning turn of events, we’re not going to do tax cuts before the election," the aide told TPM.

"We have a winning message now, why muddy it up with a failed vote, because, of course, Republicans are going to block everything," the aide said.

Aides for two senators in tough bids have suggested they would take the plunge and vote before the election, but they’d prefer to vote if it means the tax cuts extension could actually be passed. And that’s not counting the conservative Democrats who disagree with the majority of the caucus about where the threshold should be — and lean toward a higher than $250,000 in income definition of the middle class.

Politics as Usual

The irony is both parties are blaming each other and both parties are to blame. Certainly the Democrats should have enough votes to pass something given they have a majority. I highly doubt the Republicans would filibuster a tax cut proposal this close to election.

However, Democrats might not have the votes because of defections. Senate leaders fear those defections, and do not want to risk Democrats being blamed.

Another, perhaps more likely alternative is that Democrats believe a "winning message" (blaming Republicans) is better than "winning action".

Either way, taxpayers will suffer.

Contrary to the what the Democratic fools believe, I think people will blame incumbents not Republicans for failure to pass something. Thus, Republicans have every incentive to do the wrong thing, short of a filibuster.

The bottom line is the same. Nothing gets done, and both parties are to blame.

Year End Cliff Gamble on 2% of GDP

I did not think it would…
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TLP: ‘What’s All This Dirt Doing in the Yard?’

TLP: ‘What’s All This Dirt Doing in the Yard?’

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

lobbyists

Lobbying is typically thought of as a game of influence. Can you get paid to get someone to do what you want them to do, even if you don’t give a shit if they do it or not. These days, as the political winds look to be shifting, lobbying includes a bit of gambling.

NYT:

With Democrats in danger of losing control of Congress, some prominent lobbying shops, trade groups and contractors are already moving to bring more Republicans on board to bolster their political fortunes.

Lobbyists, political consultants and recruiters all say that the going rate for Republicans — particularly current and former House staff members — has risen significantly in just the last few weeks, with salaries beginning at $300,000 and going as high as $1 million for private sector positions.

“We’re seeing a premium for Republicans,” said Ivan H. Adler, a headhunter for the McCormick Group in Washington who specializes in placing lobbyists. “They’re the new ‘It’ girl.” …

If Republicans succeed in regaining control of the House and perhaps even the Senate, firms seeking influence over federal policies are looking to gain an edge by tacking toward the right. That will become particularly important, they say, if Republicans try to roll back some of the major initiatives in health care, business regulation and other areas that Democrats have pushed through Congress in the last year.

You may have seen this movie before.


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Six Autumn Outliers

Six Autumn Outliers

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

So that there’s no confusion, these aren’t predictions or forecasts, they are Outliers.  I define an outlier as an event that is unlikely but possible.  I’m not betting the farm on this stuff, but I wouldn’t fall out of my chair if any of it happened between now and the end of the year.

Enough hedging, let’s go:

1. Silver Explodes:  Gold’s flashier little brother has had a decent go of it of late.  Silver prices just broke above the $19.50-ish level for only the third time since November 2009, and you know what they say about "the third time".  The big boys are usually buying gold right around now to get ahead of holiday demand and the wedding season in India, meanwhile the yellow metal is within melting distance of its high.  If the Slingshot Effect that silver prices experience during gold rallies takes hold, look out above.  My outlier here is that silver becomes the must-have investment of the season.

2. GOP Takes the House:  It is conventional wisdom that Republicans are going to gain some ground at the mid-term elections this November, but I’m going to go a step further and say that the Dems will lose more than 40 seats and along with them, control of the House.  Larry Sabato, a political scientist from the U of Virginia, has been quoted as saying that they could also lose as many as 8 or 9 senate seats as well.  This ain’t your Daddy’s Midterms, or maybe it is – there are shades of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America tour-de-force against Bill Clinton halfway through his 1st term back in ’94.  Peeps is pissed right now.

3.  Google Buys Twitter:  This would be a real outlier if only it didn’t make so much damn sense.  What in the hell are they waiting for in Mountain View, CA?  They tried to build their own Twittery-thing (Google Buzz, anyone?), it wasn’t terrible but people don’t need two microblogging platforms even if Google’s did have the advantage of being bundled with Gmail.  This is a doable deal for Google financially and as incredible a phenomenon as Twitter is, it’s still not a business yet – just a phenomenon.  The Googster ($GOOG) could monetize it on Day 4.

4.  Ballmer is Audi 5000:  He’ll…
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Phil's Favorites

Lessons From the General

 

Lessons From the General

Courtesy of 

Failure is a far better teacher than success because it’s much easier to duplicate failure than it is to replicate success. If we can study somebody’s shortcomings, we can take away tangible lessons and also realize that mistakes are just a part of the process. Some can be avoided, some we must learn for ourselves.

Ulysses S. Grant was an enormously successful General in the Civil War and he spent eight long years as President of a healing United States. But despite this heroic body of work, his financial life had plenty of room for improvement.

After a failed attempt at becoming a...



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Zero Hedge

Mapping World War In Syria & Iraq

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Via GEFIRA,

For some time now Syria and Iraq have been a place where interests of many players are clashing. The region is being devastated by civil war or a war by proxy, fought by a number of participants, where the borderline between friend and foe is sharp or vague as the case may be.

The military sorties, airstrikes and other activities are taking place on a day-to-day basis. Conflicting pieces of information that can be gleaned from a variety of sources may reflect both the factual status or the prop...



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Biotech

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

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

 

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy. Invitation image created by Kstudio, CC BY

If you’ve ever bought a new iPhone, you’ve experienced good packaging.

The way the lid slowly separates from the box. The pull...



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Chart School

Rallies Slow As Semiconductor Selling Eases

Courtesy of Declan.

Markets experienced early gains but gave them back by the close of business. Given the mini-rally of the past five days, some of the indices are looking vulnerable to a new round of selling.

The S&P finished with a narrow inverted hammer on low volume but at new highs. A move back to the newly accelerated channel is looking favored.


The Nasdaq also finished with a narrow doji but wasn't able to make new highs.  It's already close to one channel but looks more likely to reach down to the slower channel.

...

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Insider Scoop

Earnings Scheduled For December 13, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Companies Reporting Before The Bell
  • Lightinthebox Holding Co Ltd-ADR (NYSE: LITB) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $78.49 million.
Companies Reporting After The Bell
  • ABM Industries, Inc. (NYSE: ABM) is expected to post quarterly earnings at $0.49 per share on revenue of $1.49 billion.
  • ...


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Digital Currencies

Not A Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Meet The Crypto Company - up almost 20,000% since inception in September...

To a market cap of over $12.6 billion...

Grant's Interest Rate Observer drew the world's attention to this 'company' yesterday.....



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ValueWalk

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of FinancialSense.com via ValueWalk.com

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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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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About Phil:

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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