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Posts Tagged ‘small business’

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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30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Not everyone has been doing badly during the economic turmoil of the last few years.  In fact, there are some Americans that are doing really, really well.  While the vast majority of us struggle, there is one small segment of society that is seemingly doing better than ever.  This was reflected in a recent article on CNBC in which it was noted that companies that cater to average Americans are doing rather poorly right now while companies that market luxury goods and services are generally performing exceptionally well.  So why aren’t all American consumers jumping on the spending bandwagon? 

Well, it seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can’t spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to.  A stunningly high number of Americans are still unemployed, and for many other Americans, there is a very real fear that hard economic times will return soon.  On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of Americans who are blowing money on luxury goods and services as if the economy has fully turned around and it is time to let the good times roll.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?

Well, in 2010 life is very, very different depending on whether you are a "have" or a "have not".  The recent article on CNBC referenced above described it this way….

Consumer spending in the U.S. has turned into a tale of two cities in 2010, with an entire segment of consumers splurging confidently on the finer things in life, while another segment, concerned about unemployment and with little or no discretionary income, spends only on bare necessities.
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Another Atlas Shrugs – Small Business Owners Chime In

Another Atlas Shrugs – Small Business Owners Chime In

Courtesy of Mish 

In response to Small Businesses are Not Hiring – Should They? I received a couple emails worth sharing. The CEO of a healthcare consulting company writes ….

Hello Mish

You ran a series of articles on small businesses, hiring and expansions. I thought I would add to it.

I run a small firm, with about 45 employees and 40 contractors. We have been growing pretty well, close to 80% topline numbers for the past 3 years. Our average salary is over $100,000. We have some innovative software we sell to the industry. We also offer operational improvement strategies and IT consulting.

We provide great healthcare insurance coverage to our employees. It is necessary in order to attract talent and I am in the talent business. Our healthcare costs went up 90% this year – and that is on a 6-figure number to begin with. We found only one insurer willing to provide us coverage, United Healthcare.

Every other provider pulled out of our segment of the small business market. Cigna, our prior carrier, refused to renew at the last minute on a technicality despite being our carrier for the past 3 years.

Our management team’s focus for two weeks was seriously diverted as we dealt with the consequences of this. Had we lost coverage altogether, we would have been out of business as our employees would go elsewhere.

Our staff is young and healthy, by and large. Average age is early 30s, in the healthcare consulting, software and technology industry. Only in a severely government distorted marketplace can a firm with a young and healthy staff that has had coverage for years face insurers pulling out or demanding a 90% hike.

We had plans to add one person to our R&D staff, a low 6-figure salary. That was shelved because of healthcare costs. Our software development cycle is slowed as a result.

How has the healthcare bill helped the economy? In this case, not one bit. And everyone of my employees has been hurt, because we switched mid-year, those who were part way into their deductible have to start all over again. That is a few 1000s for a number of employees. Because of a bill that passed that cost us money, and most of our employees money. No one is happy with this.

I


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Small Businesses are Not Hiring – Why Should They?

Small Businesses are Not Hiring – Why Should They?

Courtesy of Mish 

Hand holding out empty pocket

In response to Creating Jobs Carries a Punishing Price, an article about Mr. Fleischer, president of Bogen Communications Inc. and why he is not hiring, I received an interesting email from "David" a reader who disagrees with Mr. Fleischer’s stated reasons for not hiring.

One of the items mentioned by Mr. Fleischer and challenged by "David" is the idea that corporations are sitting on cash. On this score, "David" is correct. I have also debunked the idea that corporations are sitting in cash (Please see Are Corporations Sitting on Piles of Cash?)

"David" also challenged Mr. Fleischer’s math on healthcare.

However, such arguments miss the entire point of the post.

Actions Matter!

It does not matter one iota if Mr. Fleischer is wrong about corporate sideline cash or anything else. What matters is Mr. Fleischer thinks he has sufficient reasons not to hire.

On that score, I believe Mr. Fleischer is correct. There are numerous good reasons to not hire.

Businesses have a legitimate worry about health care costs, rising taxes, and other artifacts of Obama’s legislation.

On the consumer side, this is not a typical recession. This is a credit bust recession with consumers still deleveraging. With savings deposits yielding close to 0% and with credit card rates over 20%, common sense dictates consumers pay down bills rather than make new purchases. The housing bubble has burst and boomers are headed into retirement with insufficient savings.

Given all the economic uncertainties, consumers are reacting in a rational manner by not spending. In turn, businesses have consistently cited lack of customers as one reason to not hire.

Pertinent Facts

That Mr. Fleischer fails to articulate reasons that others agree with is irrelevant. The pertinent fact is he is not hiring.

More importantly, numerous other small business owners think and act just like Mr. Fleischer. How do we know? Simple …

What Can Be Done?

For my thoughts on what to do about small business hiring, please…
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The Bernanke Cycle

The Bernanke Cycle

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

“Eighty-one percent of the jobs lost in America were from small business,”

-Senator Mary L. Landrieu, (D) Louisiana and chairwoman of the small-business committee

One of my pet topics here is the utter neglect of small businesses, which have been completely ignored during the race to stimulate and reflate The Systemic Six banks.  In a press release from something called Industry Source Network, this systemic neglect is given a name - The Bernanke Cycle…

The Bernanke Cycle works as follows:

1. Small business gets battered by the economy.  The business is still profitable but less so than before.

2. The business sees its lending facility pared back or eliminated by their bank.

3. Small business cuts jobs, moves to a smaller building or stops future equipment orders so that their expenses reflect the reality of their new lower revenues.

4. These cuts also negatively impact other small businesses associated with the small business’ supply chain which gives the cycle a multiplier effect.

5. Small business owner takes their austerity program to their lender in hopes of restoring some of their lost borrowing capabilities.  The lender looks at the lower revenues, layoffs and downsizing as a further deterioration of the business.  The lender lowers the business’s line of credit even further.

6. The business now has to run on even less cash and is not able to replenish inventory at the levels needed to grow its business.

7. Go back to step 1 and repeat until the business becomes truly uncreditworthy and eventually becomes insolvent.

I couldn’t agree more, and I see very little being done to help, either nominally or tactically.

Source:

The Bernanke Cycle is Crippling Small Business (PRLog) 


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Small Business Trends – Yet Another Disaster

Small Business Trends – Yet Another Disaster

Courtesy of Mish

Neither the treasury market nor small business trends reflect the incessant optimism of the stock market. These will eventually align, when I do not know.

Please consider NFIB Small Business Economic Trends for August 2010.

OPTIMISM INDEX

The Index of Small Business Optimism lost 0.9 points in July following a sharp decline in June. The persistence of Index readings below 90 is unprecedented in survey history. The performance of the economy is mediocre at best, given the extent of the decline over the past two years. Pent up demand should be immense but it is not triggering a rapid pickup in economic activity. Ninety (90) percent of the decline this month resulted from deterioration in the outlook for business conditions in the next six months. Owners have no confidence that economic policies will “fix” the economy.

LABOR MARKETS

Ten (10) percent (seasonally adjusted) reported unfilled job openings, up one point from June but historically very weak. Over the next three months, nine percent plan to increase employment (down one point), and 10 percent plan to reduce their workforce (up two points), yielding a seasonally adjusted net two percent of owners planning to create new jobs, up one point from June and positive for the third time in 22 months.

CAPITAL SPENDING

The frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months fell one point to 45 percent of all firms, one point above the 35 year record low reached most recently in December 2009. The percent of owners planning to make capital expenditures over the next few months fell one point to 18 percent, two points above the 35 year record low. Five percent characterized the current period as a good time to expand facilities, down one point. But a net negative 15 percent expect business conditions to improve over the next six months, down nine points from June and 23 points from May.

INVENTORIES AND SALES

The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months lost one point, falling to a net negative 16 percent, 18 points better than June 2009 but indicative of very weak customer activity. Widespread price cutting continued to contribute to reports of lower nominal sales. The net percent of owners expecting real sales gained a point over June, rising to


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Atlanta Fed asks: How “Discouraged” are Small Businesses?

Atlanta Fed asks: How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses?

Courtesy of Mish  

Girl at lemonade stand

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Asks How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses? Here are some Insights from an Atlanta Fed small business lending survey.

Roughly half of U.S. workers are employed at firms with fewer than 500 employees, and about 90 percent of U.S. firms have fewer than 20 employees. While estimates vary, small businesses are also credited with creating the lion’s share of net new jobs. Small businesses are, in total, a big deal.

Many people have noted the decline in small business lending during the recession, and some have suggested proposals to give incentives to banks to increase their small business portfolios. But is a lack of willingness to lend to small businesses really what’s behind the decline in small business lending? Or is it the lack of creditworthy demand resulting from the effects of the recession and housing market distress?

We at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have also noted the paucity of data in this area and have begun a series of small business credit surveys. Leveraging the contacts in our Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), we polled 311 small businesses in the states of the Sixth District (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) on their credit experiences and future plans. While the survey is not a stratified random sample and so should not be viewed as a statistical representation of small business firms in the Sixth District, we believe the results are informative.

Indeed, the results of our April 2010 survey suggest that demand-side factors may be the driving force behind lower levels of small business credit. To be sure, when asked about the recent obstacles to accessing credit, some firms (34 firms, or 11 percent of our sample) cited banks’ unwillingness to lend, but many more firms cited factors that may reflect low credit quality on the part of prospective borrowers. For example, 32 percent of firms cited a decline in sales over the past two years as an obstacle, 19 percent cited a high level of outstanding business or personal debt, 10 percent cited a less than stellar credit score, and 112 firms (32 percent) report no recent obstacles to credit.

Perhaps not surprisingly, outside of the troubled construction and real estate industries, close to half the firms polled (46 percent) do not believe there


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Double Digit Health Insurance Hikes Crush Small Businesses

Double Digit Health Insurance Hikes Crush Small Businesses

Courtesy of Mish 

Syringes and pills shaped as a dollar sign

Small businesses across the country are getting hammered by rising medical insurance costs. Blue Shield of California is jacking up rates as much as 76%.

Is this what president Obama meant when he said "Change You Can Believe In"?

The LA Times reports Health insurance rate hikes hitting California small businesses could hurt state’s economic recovery.

Small businesses in California are being hit this year with double-digit hikes in health insurance costs that could hurt the state’s economic recovery as companies curtail plans for hiring and expansion to pay their insurance bills.

Five major insurers in California’s small-business market are raising rates 12% to 23% for firms with fewer than 50 employees, according to a survey by The Times.

Similar increases are being felt by many small businesses across the nation, including those in Texas, Ohio and Florida — mainly the result of escalating costs for medical care and pharmaceuticals, insurers say.

In California, some small businesses say they are stunned by their latest insurance bills. Longtime customers of Blue Shield of California, for instance, are facing rate hikes as high as 76% after the insurer lost money on a handful of plans.

"We don’t have that money," said Ann Terranova, a San Francisco financial planner who is dropping Blue Shield for herself and two employees after learning that their annual premium would jump to more than $19,000 a year from $11,000.

Financial pressures are also squeezing Tessier Cabinet Co., a 59-year-old family business in Montclair. Its president is reluctant to hire because of weak demand for his goods amid a 14% rate hike from Kaiser Permanente. "I’m ready to hang it up," Dan Tessier said.

Small firms nationwide are struggling with the problem as they worry about what the effect of the new national healthcare law. It will impose billions of dollars in taxes on insurance companies and require mid-sized firms to provide insurance for workers or pay fines.

"They are very concerned that their costs aren’t going to go down. They’re just going to go up," said Stephanie Cathcart, a spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Business in Washington. "They’re going to be paying new taxes, new fees. It’s kind of a double whammy on them."

Small businesses say 2010 is shaping up to be their most expensive year


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The PR War

The PR War

Courtesy of James Kwak at Baseline Scenario

Every major bank other than Goldman Sachs must be ecstatically happy that Goldman exists, soaking up all the attention with its escapades in Greece and Italy. The other banks, by contrast, are trying to make themselves out to be white knights. See, for example, JPMorgan’s ad today in multiple major print newspapers describing its commitment to small business lending:

JPMorgan

Like that picture of small-town America?

The main claim is in the second paragraph: a commitment to lend $10 billion to small businesses in 2010. These kinds of marketing claims are difficult to verify. But I gave it a shot.

“Small business” lending, in JPMorgan’s financial supplements (great web page, by the way), is almost certainly “Business banking origination volume,” on page 13 (PDF page fourteen) of the most recent supplement. To see how JPMorgan Chase defines its business lines, see page 3 (PDF page eight) of this Realigned Financial Supplement. “Middle Market Banking” is included in Commercial Banking. So the “Business banking” segment of Retail Financial Services is almost certainly small business lending.


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More from the Fed Minutes

Fed Minutes Part 2 by Phil:

Staff Economic Outlook
In the forecast prepared for the December FOMC meeting, the staff raised its projection for average real GDP growth in the second half of 2009 somewhat, and it also modestly increased its forecast for economic growth in 2010 and 2011. Better-than-expected data on employment, consumer spending, home sales, and industrial production received during the intermeeting period pointed to a somewhat stronger increase in real GDP in the current quarter than had previously been projected. In addition, the positive signal from the incoming data, along with the sizable upward revisions to household income in earlier quarters and more supportive financial market conditions, led to small upward adjustments to projected growth in real GDP over the rest of the forecast period. The staff again anticipated that the recovery would strengthen in 2010 and 2011, supported by further improvement in financial conditions and household balance sheets, continued recovery in the housing sector, growing household and business confidence, and accommodative monetary policy, even as the impetus to real activity from fiscal policy diminished. However, the projected pace of real output growth in 2010 and 2011 was expected to exceed that of potential output by only enough to produce a very gradual reduction in economic slack.

The staff forecast for inflation was nearly unchanged. The staff interpreted the increases in prices of energy and nonmarket services that recently boosted consumer price inflation as largely transitory. Although the projected degree of slack in resource utilization over the next two years was a little lower than shown in the previous staff forecast, it was still quite substantial. Thus, the staff continued to project that core inflation would slow somewhat from its current pace over the next two years. Moreover, the staff expected that headline consumer price inflation would decline to about the same rate as core inflation in 2010 and 2011.

Oil, nat gas and copper are up 20% since the staff determined consumer price inflation was "transitory."

Participants’ Views on Current Conditions and the Economic Outlook
In their discussion of the economic situation and outlook, meeting participants agreed that the incoming data and information received from business contacts suggested that economic growth was strengthening in the fourth quarter, that firms were reducing payrolls at a less rapid pace, and that downside risks to the outlook for economic growth had diminished a bit further. Although


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at jennifersurovy@yahoo.com with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!

 
 

Zero Hedge

The Silver Paradox In One Chart

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

As gold and silver prices tumble to multi-year lows, an odd thing is happening in the 'paper' precious metals ETF markets. Demand remains high for silver ETF exposure as 'someone' is aggressively unwinding gold ETF positions.. and yet the prices for both are falling rapidly. It appears the retail investor is taking advantage of the lower prices in silver to accumulate additional exposure as Credit Suisse notes, "the perception is that silver will do well, and should outperform gold as the economic recovery strengthens," adding that "belief in silver’s dual properties, as a financial asset and also as an industrial metal, appears to remain strong."

  • *SPDR GOLD HOLDINGS TUMBLE 1...


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Chart School

Getting Technical: Weekend Update

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here's the latest weekend update from Serge Perreault, a Chartered Professional Accountant and market technician located near Montreal, Canada. Serge has been following the U.S. market in a series of weekly charts. Here is his update on the S&P 500.

This week, the S&P 500 remains neutral near a resistance, on above-average volume and on improving momentum.

Click for a sharper image

Note: For newcomers to technical analysis, here are brief explanations for the two key indicators that Serge features:

  • ...


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Phil's Favorites

Idiotic Proposals for Fed to Give Away Money

Courtesy of Mish.

A Fiscal Times, Yahoo Finance article by by John Grgurich claims that Instead of QE, Fed Could Have Given $56,000 to Every Household in America .

Grgurich formulated his article after reading "an intriguing piece just published in Foreign Affairs, Brown University political economist Mark Blyth and London-based hedge fund manager Eric Lonergan argue the Fed could have done better by pursuing a far different type of grand policy experiment."

The "intriguing piece" is Print Less but Transfer More, Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People.

Sheer Idiocy

  • Fir...



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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

IV Implodes On 4-hour YHOO Options As BABA Commences Trading

Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.

...

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Market Shadows

Selling PVD

Selling PVD

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

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

More details:

From: Interactive Brokers   dated July 18, 2014

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

As of the te...



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Promotions

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

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

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Sabrient

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

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

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



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 15th, 2014

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

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

Here's the latest Stock World Weekly. Enjoy!

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

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

 

...

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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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