Posts Tagged ‘spending’

RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK

The Pragmatic Capitalist discusses RISKS TO THE OUTLOOK.  In addtition to listing David Rosenberg’s concerns, Pragcap adds one of his own — a double dip in housing. – Ilene 

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Lightning striking miniature house

David Rosenberg provided a nice list of risk in this morning’s client letter.  The one major risk that Rosenberg and the market is largely overlooking at this juncture is the housing double dip. This has the potential to be THE most important story of 2011.  As I’ve previously explained, declining asset values are highly destructive during a balance sheet recession.  If the housing double dip surprises to the downside the problems that we’ve swept under the rug will quickly reemerge and this time there won’t be any political will for government intervention.

I still believe we are mired in a balance sheet recession that will result in below trend growth, deflationary risks and leaves us extremely vulnerable to exogenous risks that could exacerbate the current malaise. Rosenberg’s excellent list follows:

1.  China is getting more active in its policy tightening moves as inflation pressures intensify. It’s not just food but wages too. Headline inflation, at 4.4%, is at a 25-month high. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) just hiked banking sector reserve ratios by 50 basis points to 18.5% — the second such increase in the past two weeks and the fifth for the year. This could well keep commodity prices under wraps over the near-term.

2.  European debt concerns will not be fully alleviated just because a rescue plan has been cobbled together for Ireland as it deals with its banking crisis. The focus will now likely shift to other basket cases such as Portugal and Spain. Greece has a two-year lifeline before it defaults. This saga is going to continue for some time yet.

3. Massive tightening in U.S. fiscal policy coming via spending cuts and tax hikes. This is the part of the macro forecast that is not given enough attention. See States Raise Payroll Taxes to Repay Loans on page A5 of the weekend WSJ.

4. Gasoline prices are about six cents shy of re-testing the $3-a-gallon threshold for the first time since mid October 2008. On a national average basis, prices at the pump are up 26 cents from a year ago — effectively draining about $25 billion out of household cash flow. Tack on the coming


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DEBT AND DELEVERAGING: A FISHER, MINSKY, KOO APPROACH

DEBT AND DELEVERAGING: A FISHER, MINSKY, KOO APPROACH

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

The following paper by Paul Krugman is an excellent analysis of the current situation in the United States.  Professor Krugman accepts Richard Koo’s “balance sheet recession” and draws similar conclusions to Koo – primarily that government must maintain large deficits in order to offset the lack of spending by the private sector.  The key component missing in both Krugman and Koo’s argument is the idea that a nation that is sovereign in its own currency cannot default on its “debt”.  Nonetheless, the conclusions we all come to are similar – a temporary deficit is not only necessary, but an economic benefit during a balance sheet recession:

“In this paper we have sought to formalize the notion of a deleveraging crisis, in which there is an abrupt downward revision of views about how much debt it is safe for individual agents to have, and in which this revision of views forces highly indebted agents to reduce their spending sharply. Such a sudden shift to deleveraging can, if it is large enough, create major problems of macroeconomic management. For if a slump is to be avoided, someone must spend more to compensate for the fact that debtors are spending less; yet even a zero nominal interest rate may not be low enough to induce the needed spending.

Formalizing this concept integrates several important strands in economic thought. Fisher’s famous idea of debt deflation emerges naturally, while the deleveraging shock can be seen as our version of the increasingly popular notion of a “Minsky moment.” And the process of recovery, which depends on debtors paying down their liabilities, corresponds quite closely to Koo’s notion of a protracted “balance sheet recession.”

One thing that is especially clear from the analysis is the likelihood that policy discussion in the aftermath of a deleveraging shock will be even more confused than usual, at least viewed through the lens of the model. Why? Because the shock pushes us into a world of topsy-turvy, in which saving is a vice, increased productivity can reduce output, and flexible wages increase unemployment. However, expansionary fiscal policy should be effective, in part because the macroeconomic effects of a deleveraging shock are inherently temporary, so the fiscal response need be only temporary as well. And the model suggests that a temporary rise in government spending not only won’t


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Telling Signs-of-the-Times: Layaways, Off-Brands, Goodwill Stores, Consignment Sales, Frugality, all Thrive in Middle-Class Suburbia

Telling Signs-of-the-Times: Layaways, Off-Brands, Goodwill Stores, Consignment Sales, Frugality, all Thrive in Middle-Class Suburbia

Courtesy of Mish

Boutique window display

Telling Signs-of-the-Times: In grocery stores, "No-Name" sales are up 2% and now represent 22% of total sales. Some full priced stores now offer consignment sections, an unheard of practice a couple years back.

Layaway sales are back in vogue at Toys-R-Us and jewelers alike. Layaways are a depression era phenomenon that all but died with the mass marketing of credit cards.

Old Stigmas Become New Badge of Honor

Frugality is the new "badge of honor" says the Yahoo!Finance report In a tough economy, old stigmas fall away

The Goodwill store in this middle-class New York suburb is buzzing on a recent weekend afternoon. A steady flow of shoppers comb through racks filled with second-hand clothes, shoes, blankets and dishes.

A few years ago, opening a Goodwill store here wouldn’t have made sense. Paramus is one of the biggest ZIP codes in the country for retail sales. Shoppers have their pick of hundreds of respected names like Macy’s and Lord &Taylor along this busy highway strip.

But in the wake of the Great Recession, the stigma attached to certain consumer behavior has fallen away. What some people once thought of as lowbrow, they now accept — even consider a frugal badge of honor.

At the supermarket, shoppers are buying more store-labeled products, like no-name detergents and cereal, and not returning to national brands.

And in a telling trend, Americans are turning to layaway more often when they buy expensive items such as engagement rings and iPads. The wealthy are also using layaway more often, a drastic change from the past.

"The old stigmas are the new realities," says Emanuel Weintraub, a New York-based retail consultant. "Now, people don’t have a problem saying, ‘I can’t afford it.’ It’s a sign of strength."

Two years ago, having second-hand clothes in the same store that sells regular-priced goods might have driven well-heeled shoppers away. Today, the concept works. The new consignment area, called My Secret Closet, has brought in new customers. Shoppers browse both the retail and consignment areas without hesitation.

"We are seeing a permanent change in how people shop, and we have to respond to that," says Tom Patrolia, who has owned the store for 24 years.

The growth in layaway also reflects Americans’ new willingness to set aside


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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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Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Double Dip Delayed, Not Derailed; Understanding Consumer Spending

Courtesy of Mish 

The BEA Advance GDP for Third Quarter 2010 came in at +2.0%. However, Table 2. Contributions to Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product shows that Change in private inventories contributed +1.44 while real final sales contributed a mere .6.

How sustainable is that?

The answer is not very. This is likely the last hurrah for inventory replenishment even without factoring in upcoming cutbacks at the state level.

Not a V-Shaped Recovery

In terms of real final sales, this "recovery", is the weakest on record. Dave Rosenberg has some thoughts on that in Lunch with Dave.

U.S. REAL FINAL SALES 60 BASIS POINTS SHY OF DOUBLE-DIPPING

The major problem in the third quarter report was the split between inventories and real final sales. Nonfarm business inventories soared to a $115.5 billion at an annual rate from the already strong $68.8 billion build in the second quarter — this alone contributed 70% to the headline growth rate last quarter. If we do get a slowdown in inventory investment in Q4, as we anticipate, it would really not take much to get GDP into negative terrain. We estimate that if the change in inventories slowed to about $94.0 billion in Q4 (about $22 billion below Q3 levels), GDP would contract fractionally. In other words, it won’t take much for GDP to slip into negative terrain.

The recession may have technically ended, but outside of inventories, and the best days of the re-stocking process look to be behind us, this has been a listless recovery. At 60 basis points above zero, real final sales are just a shock away from double-dipping — a shock like looming tax hikes, accelerating fiscal cutbacks at the state/local government level or the millions of “99ers” about to fall off the extended jobless benefit rolls at the end of November.

In terms of components, the good news was that consumer spending did accelerate to a 2.6% annual rate from 2.2% in the second quarter — the best performance since Q4 2006. Non-residential construction eked out a 3.8% annualized gain, the first advance since Q2 2008. But the good news pretty well stopped there.

It is also no surprise to see imports bulge when inventories did the same, but what caught our eye in the external trade portion of the GDP report was


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Boomergeddon

Book Review: Boomergeddon

Courtesy of JOHN RUBINO of Dollar Collapse 

The trouble began in the early 1980s, when we baby boomers entered our 30s and began molding the world in our own image. You can graph the spreading darkness from that point, as US debt, the number of government employees, the trade deficit and virtually every other measure of societal pathology inflected upward. Our generation, says James Bacon, a Virginia writer and magazine publisher, will go down in history as the one that ended the American empire — along with the retirement dreams of pretty much everyone everywhere.

Full disclosure: I’ve known Jim Bacon ever since I wrote for one of his magazines back in the 1980s. He was one of my favorite editors, both because he had a light touch and because he almost always saw the real story behind the noise and opinion. So I expected his new book, Boomergeddon to be both easy to read and incisive, and he’s succeed on both counts. Here’s a representative excerpt from the intro:

When you wake up 20 years from now, shaking your head of thinning white hair (those of you who have hair), groping for your bifocals, and feeling all out of sorts because your “golden” years have become as shopworn as cheap costume jewelry, you’ll know whom to blame. Just look in the mirror and take a long hard look at the miscreant who failed to save enough money, despite abundant warnings that retirement would be very, very expensive. Then head to East Capital Street, N.E./ Washington, D.C., where you can accost any  member of the 535 members of Congress who, through successive decisions more short-sighted than your own rheumy eyeballs, racked up mountains of debt, presided over the disintegration of the United States retirement safety net, and ruined whatever shot you had at living an old age where the words “happy,” “carefree” and “solvent” applied.

Bacon’s main point early on is that the system has devolved to the point where it no longer matters who’s in charge. Each major party is run by a ruling class of lobbyists, bureaucrats and professional politicians who are beholden to a set of interest groups that demand higher spending and increased money printing. Each side blames the other for the mounting problems, so elections tend to be alternating landslides, as opposition candidates demonize incumbents, are given a chance to…
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Federal Reserve Officials: Americans Are Saving Too Much Money So We Need To Purposely Generate More Inflation To Get Them Spending Again

Federal Reserve Officials: Americans Are Saving Too Much Money So We Need To Purposely Generate More Inflation To Get Them Spending Again

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

Some top Federal Reserve officials have come up with a really bizarre proposal for stimulating the U.S. economy.  As unbelievable as it sounds, what they actually propose to do is to purposely raise the rate of inflation so that Americans will stop saving so much money and will start spending wildly again.  The idea behind it is that if inflation rises a couple of percentage points, but consumers are only earning half a percent (or less) on their savings accounts, then there will be an incentive for consumers to spend that money as the value of it deteriorates sitting in the bank. 

Yes, that is how bizarre things have gotten.  It is not as if U.S. consumers are even saving that much money.  Several decades ago, Americans typically saved between 8 and 12 percent of their incomes, but over this past decade the personal saving rate got down near zero a number of times as Americans were living far beyond their means. Once the recession hit, Americans very wisely started saving more money, and so now the personal saving rate has been hovering around the 5 to 7 percent range.  This is well below historical levels, but the folks at the Fed apparently are eager for Americans to pull that money out and start spending it again.

In an article entitled "Fed Officials Mull Inflation as a Fix", Wall Street Journal columnist Sudeep Reddy described this bizarre new economic approach that some over at the Federal Reserve are now advocating….   

"But as the U.S. economy struggles and flirts with the prospect of deflation, some central bank officials are publicly broaching a controversial idea: lifting inflation above the Fed’s informal target."

Does increasing inflation as a way to stimulate the economy sound like a good idea to any of you?…
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The Big Interview with David Stockman

The Big Interview with David Stockman

"In some ways Herbert Hoover got a bad rap," says David Stockman in an interview with WSJ’s Alan Murray. The Former Reagan Administration budget director lays out a plan for economic recovery by cutting spending, raising taxes, and allowing for years of austerity. ….WSJ


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Soaring Corporate Profits As US Worker Pay for Productivity Hits Record Lows

Soaring Corporate Profits As US Worker Pay for Productivity Hits Record Lows

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Two sets of charts tell the story. 

The problem is that when workers are pressed to the wall on pay they lose the ability to consume without taking on debt. And at some point the debt leverage mechanism for consumption breaks down.

Perhaps the problem is related to the one Wall Street is now confronting. How do you continue on in business after having impoverished, alienated, or driven away most of your clientele in the heat of a short term greed enabled by a corrupted political and regulatory system? 

Those who were around in the late 1970′s will recall the absolute disrepute in which equities were held by the public after the grinding bear market of 1973-74. Pit traders spent the better part of the day practicing their origami skills, for lack of serious ‘outside participation.’ Skinning each other when you have run out of greater fools is truly a zero sum game.

Weather report: Cloudy, with a chance of whirlwinds.

Fat profits, slim wages: the fruits of monetary bubbles and trickle down economics.


 

Charts courtesy of ContraryInvestor


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KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

KRUGMAN: LET THE LAWYERS IN CONGRESS SPEND ANOTHER $800B

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

lawyersPaul Krugman was on CNBC today calling for more stimulus.  He wants to give Congress the ability to spend another $800B in an effort to get the economy going again.  He says this is feasible because the bond market is allowing us to “fund” future spending via historically low rates.  There are a lot of things wrong here, but I’ll keep my comments brief.

First of all, it’s clear that Krugman is still suffering from neo-classical bewilderment.  Despite the operational evidence pointing to the contrary it’s clear that Krugman still believes we are living in a gold standard world where the USA’s deficits really are funded by taxes and bond markets.  Unfortunately for Mr. Krugman, we now live in a non-convertible fiat monetatry system where the USA is the monopoly supplier of currency.  Nonetheless, he still seems to make the connection that we can afford to spend even though it’s obviously not for the correct reasons.

Second, Mr. Krugman has no qualms about giving Congress the last call on where this money gets spent.  This is astonishingly naive in my opinion.  The efficiency of the original stimulus package was low to say the least and the latest CBO figures show that the impacts on the economy have been enough to keep us afloat, but far from enough to solve the actual problems.   What we have here is a balance sheet recession due to a debt bubble and implosion.  So, what we need is balance sheet repair.  We don’t need more solutions that merely kick the can down the road.  We don’t need to stimulate loan growth or to stimulate the banking sector. We don’t need to prop up the housing sector or to stimulate auto sales.  If we’re going to let Congress pass a stimulus bill we should put money in the pockets of the people who need it.  If we’re going to spend money on these plans we should actually target the problems as opposed to letting Congress chop up $800B so they can send 75% of it towards programs that will not even resolve the problem.

Mr. Krugman appears to be towing the political party line here by saying that tax cuts won’t help resolve the problem.  As usual, he’s letting his politics get in the way of his thinking.  I absolutely do not think…
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Zero Hedge

Watch These Geopolitical Flashpoints Carefully

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

Anyone who has been involved in alternative geopolitical and economic analysis for a decent length of time understands that the establishment power structure thrives according to its ability to either exploit natural crises, or to engineer fabricated crises.

This is not that hard to comprehend, but for s...



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Financial Markets and Economy

How a ‘Low Volatility’ Stock Plunged 85% in an Hour (The Wall Street Journal)

Reading the label isn’t enough for picking funds. You may need to go into the ingredients list, too.

Take a look at funds that track the MSCI Minimum Volatility Emerging Markets Index.

North Dakota Oil Spills 3 Times Larger Than First Estimated (Associated Press)

A December oil pipeline spill ...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

How a ‘Low Volatility’ Stock Plunged 85% in an Hour (The Wall Street Journal)

Reading the label isn’t enough for picking funds. You may need to go into the ingredients list, too.

Take a look at funds that track the MSCI Minimum Volatility Emerging Markets Index.

North Dakota Oil Spills 3 Times Larger Than First Estimated (Associated Press)

A December oil pipeline spill ...



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ValueWalk

Top 5 Myths About Medicare

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Google Trends data shows Health Care queries in the US is a reaching an all-time high in search engines (peaking at over 100k search volume). As health care changes are currently being discussed by lawmakers, Medicare coverage searches having increased over 250% within the last 7 days. Medicare Part B, which charges beneficiaries’ premium based on their income, has jumped the top search term in Google for Medicare related queries.

United Medicare Advisors has identified the The 5 Medicare Myths that Cause Confusion Among Seniors...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Fund flows of this size could mark a top, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

A year ago flows into ETFs were extremely low, actually the lowest in years, as many stock market indices were testing rising support off the 2009 lows. The crowd wasn’t adding money to ETFs as lows were taking place. In hindsight, this was a mistake by the majority. Below I look at ETF flows over the past few years with an inset chart of the S&P 500.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Nearly three months into this year, fund flows have surpassed mone...



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Chart School

Indecision Strikes

Courtesy of Declan.

It was no real surprise to see indices slow down in their recovery. Across the board doji mark a balance between buyers and sellers. The one index which bucked the trend a little was the Russell 2000. It staged a modest recovery which brought it back to former support turned resistance. However, technicals remain firmly bearish, and will stay this way even if there are additional gains.

The S&P closed on light volume with a doji below resistance. The narrow intraday trading range offers a low risk opportunity with a break and ...

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Members' Corner

Natterings

Check out some new posts from our friend The Nattering Naybob. 

The Big Lebowski Sequel?

Taking a "resp-shit" or "potty break" from "in the Toilet Thursday" or "Thursday's in the Loo"... One of our favorite scenes from the 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski, the ash can scene where Walter Subchak (John Goodman) eulogizes the departed Donnie (Steve Buscemi) with Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) looking on.

Keep reading: ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of March 20th, 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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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Tumbles Below Gold As China Tightens Regulations

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Having rebounded rapidly from the ETF-decision disappointment, Bitcoin suffered another major setback overnight as Chinese regulators are circulating new guidelines that, if enacted, would require exchanges to verify the identity of clients and adhere to banking regulations.

A New York startup called Chainalysis estimated that roughly $2 billion of bitcoin moved out of China in 2016.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, the move to regulate bitcoin exchanges brings assurance that Chinese authorities will tolerate some level of trading, after months of uncertainty. A draft of the guidelines also indicates th...



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Mapping The Market

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

Courtesy of Jean Luc

I am trying to remember who on this board said that people wanted to Trump because they want their freedom back. Well….

Congress begins rolling back Obama's broadband privacy rules

By Daniel Cooper, Endgadget

ISPs will soon be able to sell your most private data without your consent.

As expected, Republicans in Congress have begun the process of rolling back the FCC's broadband privacy rules which prevent excessive surveillance. Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced a resolution to scrub the rules, using Congress' powers to invalidate recently-approved federal regulations. Reuters reports that the move has broad support, with 34 other names throwing their weight behind the res...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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Biotech

The Medicines Company: Insider Buying

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

I'm seeing huge insider buying in the biotech company The Medicines Company (MDCO). The price has already moved up around 7%, but these buys are significant, in the millions of dollars range. ~ Ilene

 

 

 

Insider transaction table and buying vs. selling graphic above from insidercow.com.

Chart below from Yahoo.com

...

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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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