Posts Tagged ‘the Federal Reserve’

Priceless: How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession

A new article "Robert Johnson: Economists As Marketeers for the Monied Interests" reminded me of this article from 2009. Here, Ryan Grim examines how the economics profession became essentially a servant to the Federal Reserve. ~ Ilene 

*****

Ryan Grim is the senior congressional correspondent for the Huffington Post and former staff reporter with Politico.com and Washington City Paper. He's the author of the book, "This Is Your Country on Drugs" and won the 2007 Alt-Weekly Award for best long-form news-story. – Ilene

Intro by Tom Burger:

alchemist

Here is a good article to consider when you are pondering how it is that nearly all mainstream economists toe the line with respect to monetary economic dogma.  

As I have so often asserted: there is a darn good reason why these people have gone to such great lengths to nail down support from economists and government: their business is extremely lucrative. They have quite literally achieved the alchemist's dream of converting lead to gold (i.e. money). The only difference is that the Fed doesn't need even a lead mine. They can convert "nothing at all" to "gold."

This article, however, might lead one to believe that this Fed influence is a recent development; the author cites people who say this is how it has been since about the 1970s. Well, maybe the Fed's total dominance of academia is that recent, but their campaign began at least 15 years before the legislation that founded the Fed.

The big city bankers of that turn of the century era put together a comprehensive program involving a blizzard of articles for the public and for economists. They founded university chairs for "right thinking" economists, they lobbied legislators. The activities described by Rothbard and others went on and on. In my opinion, none of this — then or now — was done because these people thought it would be good for the public or for the economy. They did it because it opened the door to unlimited theft. Okay … the perpetrators probably didn't admit to themselves they were thieves. They probably just believed that unlimited wealth was their destiny because they were just so much smarter than everybody else.

If you doubt the Fed's destructive control over economic thought, please read this article. – Tom
 

Priceless:
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“If These Allegations Are Correct, It Appears To Have Been A Direct Transfer Of Wealth From The United States Treasury To Goldman Sachs Shareholders”: Josh Rosner

Courtesy of The Daily Bail 

"If These Allegations Are Correct, It Appears To Have Been A Direct Transfer Of Wealth From The United States Treasury To Goldman Sachs Shareholders": Josh Rosner

 

 

 

Our favorite quotes so far from today’s FCIC report and reaction from analysts…

  • "Less than a 3 percent drop in asset values could wipe out a firm." – FCIC Report
  • "The AIG counterparty bailout, which was spun as necessary to protect the public, seems to have protected the institution at the expense of the public." – Josh Rosner
  • "The total was for proprietary trades," the report asserts. "Unlike the $14 billion received from AIG on trades in which Goldman owed the money to its own counterparties, this $2.9 billion was retained by Goldman."
  • "At the time, the idea was the sucker could go down because there wasn’t enough liquidity in the system, money wasn’t moving, and you could see a domino effect," said Ann Rutledge, a principal at R&R Consulting in New York, which specializes in structured finance.  In reality, she contends, those fears were overblown: There was ample money in the financial system.  Rather, individual institutions did not have enough cash on hand to survive their losses, she asserts. But the fear of a broader liquidity crisis was used as justification for what now appears to have been a backdoor means of bailing out Goldman, said Rutledge.
  • The details in the commission’s report leave Goldman "naked," she added. "It doesn’t have the fig leaf of a systemic risk argument. Normally what happens when you have a sophisticated institution that’s doing stupid credit stuff is you let them eat it, but that didn’t happen in the bailout."
  • "If these allegations are correct, it appears to have been a direct transfer of wealth from the Treasury to Goldman’s shareholders." – Josh Rosner

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Buried One Mile Deep In Economic News: Rand Paul Proposes Elimination of HUD; Churches “Walk Away”; China Hard Landing; Repeal of Davis-Bacon

Courtesy of MIsh

Many stories of significance have come my way on housing issues, state debt issues, federal debt issues, pension issues, and other economic items of note. I feel as if I am buried a mile deep news. Here are a few stories that caught my eye.

Senator Rand Paul Proposes Elimination of HUD

I am pleased to report a tremendous deficit cutting idea by senator Rand Paul: Eliminate Energy, HUD and most of Education department

In his first major legislative proposal, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has proposed cutting government spending by $500 billion in a year, including eliminating the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development and most of the Department of Education.

That is the single best piece of fiscal legislation proposed in years.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval Addresses Underfunded Public Pension Plans

While Illinois has jumped off the deep end with tax hikes, Nevada’s Governor says Tax increases last thing Nevada businesses need

Tax increases are the last thing Nevada businesses need now, Gov. Brian Sandoval told a receptive audience Wednesday during a speech to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. "My understanding is that PERS is an $8 (billion) or $9 billion unfunded liability that Nevada can’t afford," he said. Sandoval said benefits reforms must starts with the new employees hired by the state.

I commend Governor Brian Sandoval’s ideas and his starting point. States need to scrap defined benefit pension plans for new hires immediately.

100,000 People in Oakland Expected to Apply for 650 Subsidized Housing Openings

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Oakland opens waiting list for Section 8 vouchers

Oakland’s housing authority opened up its waiting list Tuesday for Section 8 housing vouchers, drawing thousands for a coveted spot in line.

The only way to sign up was over a computer, so across the city, hundreds jammed into city libraries to fill out the forms in the hope that they might eventually get a chance to live in subsidized housing.

In the first three hours, 6,000 people filled out applications. Over the five-day application period, the housing authority expects 100,000 people to apply for only 10,000 spots on the waiting list.

The housing authority uses a lottery to determine who gets on the list. And even then it’s no more than a foot in the door. It has taken nearly five years to clear the waiting list that was


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Surprise, It Was Greenspan and Bernanke’s Fault

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

 

 What, Bernanke worry?

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is about to tell us, in 576 pages, what many of us already know:

The majority report finds fault with two Fed chairmen: Alan Greenspan, who led the central bank as the housing bubble expanded, and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who did not foresee the crisis but played a crucial role in the response. It criticizes Mr. Greenspan for advocating deregulation and cites a “pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages” under his leadership as a “prime example” of negligence.

Anyone else running out tomorrow to get a copy?

Like the 9/11 Commission, we could have saved a whole lot of money and time by simply verifying alternative media claims instead of starting from scratch as if no one knew anything all along.

Oh well. 


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What Most People Don’t Realize About The Fed’s Superpowers

Bob Prechter’s Conquer The Crash reveals whether the Fed really can rescue the US economy 

By Elliott Wave International

Since its creation in 1913, the primary intended role of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has been that of protector. In theory, the central bank was bestowed with the power to shape monetary policy in a way that would keep both booms and busts in check. The two main tools at its disposal — interest rates and money creation — would provide a "ceiling of normalcy" above expansions AND a "net of safety" below contractions.

To this day, the financial mainstream holds great faith in the Fed’s ability to fulfill its save-the-day duties — as these recent news items make plain:

  • "Why Raising Fed Funds Rate Is Positive For Equities." (Seeking Alpha)
  • "Fed’s Moves Lift All Asset Classes." (Associated Press)
  • "US Stocks Erasing Losses: The aggressive moves of the Fed have been an important driver for the stabilization of stock prices." (Bloomberg)

But of all the variables the Fed creators took into account, there’s one glaring factor they neglected to consider: Namely, it cannot force consumers to spend, creditors to lend, or businesses to borrow. The events of 2007-2009 "credit crunch" and the subsequent "Great Recession" made that obvious. Remember how the government was upset at banks for sitting on the bailout funds instead of lending them out to consumers? And consumers weren’t exactly lining up on the street to get a loan, either.

The Fed’s inability to change social mood is the central theme in Chapter 13 of EWI President Bob Prechter’s NY Times business bestseller book Conquer the Crash. There, Bob describes the Fed’s strategy of lowering the federal funds rate to stimulate spending to be as effective as "pushing on a string." Writes Bob:

"The primary basis for today’s belief in perpetual prosperity and inflation with an occasional recession is what I call the ‘Potent Directors Fallacy.’ It is nearly impossible to find a treatise on macroeconomics today that does not assert or assume that the Federal Reserve Board has learned to control both our money and our economy. Many believe that it also possesses the immense power to manipulate the stock market. The very idea that it can do these things is false."

And so begins one of the most groundbreaking studies into the very real INABILITY of the Fed to fell the great bears of economic declines, or…
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Rand Paul Reintroduces Audit The Fed Bill, DeMint And Vitter Co-Sponsors

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

If there is one thing that the one-time GAO audit of the Fed disclosed, is how woefully insufficient the extremely superficial data discovery was. Another thing uncovered was just how needed this disclosure was: it provided extended material into how the Fed subsidizes banks (both domestic and international) on an ongoing basis, not to mention substantial number crunching for the blogosphere. Either way, if Bernanke was hoping that the Frank-Dodd bill would take care of the Fed opacity, pardon, transparency issue in perpetuity, he may be disappointed: Ron’s son, Rand, has just announced he is introducing legislation to, well, Audit The Fed, precisely along the lines of what his father did previously and generated massive support from everyone in Congress. Once again Ben Bernanke is about to become a major thorn on the side of the political puppetry.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation allowing for a full audit of the Federal Reserve. This legislation is a Senate version of similar legislation long-championed by and introduced this session in the House of Representatives by his father, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Co-sponsoring the “Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011” (S. 202), are Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina and David Vitter of Louisiana.

“We must take a critical look at the Fed’s monetary policy decisions, discount window operations, and a host of other things, with a real audit – and not just pay lip-service to the idea of an audit,” Sen. Paul said today. “At a time when we’re seeing great volatility in small Euro-zone economies like Greece, Portugal, and Ireland, it is more crucial than ever that we have real transparency at our own central bank.“

The bill will eliminate the current audit restrictions placed on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and mandate a complete audit of the Federal Reserve to be completed by a firm deadline, finally delivering answers to the American people about how their money is being spent by Washington.


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Stock World Weekly

Here’s the newest: Stock World Weekly Newsletter. Comments welcome! – Ilene 

Jobs Cartoon

Archives here. 


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Settling Prosecutions For Pennies on the Dollar Is a Type of Bailout

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog 

The following is an excerpt of my much longer roundup of the many covert ways the government is bailing out the giant banks.

Fraud As a Business Model

If you stop and think for a moment, it is obvious that failing to prosecute fraud is a bailout.

Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof demonstrated that if big companies aren’t held responsible for their actions, the government ends up bailing them out. So failure to prosecute directly leads to a bailout.

Moreover, as I noted last month: 

Fraud benefits the wealthy more than the poor, because the big banks and big companies have the inside knowledge and the resources to leverage fraud into profits. Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market. The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading (representing up to 70% of all stock trades) and high proportions of other trades as well). This not only distorts the markets, but which also lets the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this,thisthisthis and this.

Similarly, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley together hold 80% of the country’s derivatives risk, and 96% of the exposure to credit derivatives. They use their dominance to manipulate the market

Fraud disproportionally benefits the big players (and helps them to become big in the first place), increasing inequality and warping the market.

[And] Professor Black says that fraud is a large part of the mechanism through which bubbles are blown.

***

Finally, failure to prosecute


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“The Fed No Longer Even Denies that the Purpose of Its Latest Blast of Bond Purchases … Is To Drive Up Wall Street”

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

The stated purpose of quantitative easing was to drive down interest rates on U.S. treasury bonds.

But as U.S. News and World Reported noted last month:

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Fed is purchasing $600 billion in treasuries in hopes that it will push interest rates even lower, spur lending, and help jump-start the economy. Two years ago, the Fed set the federal funds rate (the interest rate at which banks lend to each other) to virtually zero, and this second round of quantitative easing--commonly referred to as QE2--is one of the few tools it has left to help boost economic growth. In spite of all this, a funny thing has happened. Treasury yields have actually risen since the Fed’s announcement.

The following charts from Doug Short update this trend:

Click to View

Click to View

Click to View

 
Of course, rather than admit that the Fed is failing at driving down rates, rising rates are now being heralded as a sign of success. As the New York Times reported Monday:

The trouble is [rates] they have risen since it was formally announced in November, leaving many in the markets puzzled about the value of the Fed’s bond-buying program.

***

But the biggest reason for the rise in interest rates was probably that the economy was, at last, growing faster. And that’s good news.

“Rates have risen for the reasons we were hoping for: investors are more optimistic about the recovery,” said Mr. Sack. “It is a good sign.”

Last November, after it started to become apparent that rates were moving in the wrong direction, Bernanke pulled a bait-and-switch, defending quantitative easing on other grounds:


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Could the U.S. Dollar Rise 50%?

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds 

Conventional wisdom is that the Fed wants the U.S. dollar lower, so it must drop. But the dollar seems to be lacking proper obedience to the Fed’s grand commands.

Before you shout that all fiat currencies go to zero, let’s stipulate that the U.S. dollar has already proceeded 95% of the way to zero. According to the handy BLS inflation calculator, the 2010 dollar is roughly worth 4.5 cents of the 1913 dollar. Put another way, it now takes $22.10 to buy what $1 purchased in 1913.

(Interesting that the BLS inflation calculator only goes back to the birth of the Federal Reserve….)

So a 50% rise in the dollar would register as a mere blip on a 100-year chart. I mention this to put a 50% rise in perspective. It will seem like a large move in the present, but on a longer timeline it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

How could the dollar rise when the Treasury and Fed are moving Heaven and Earth to drive it down? Let’s turn to the Fed Flow of Funds for some perspective: what happened from 2007 (pre-recession) to the present?

Household Real Estate Assets: $22.7 trillion to $16.5 trillion: -$6.2 trillion

Corporate Equities: $9.6 trillion to $7.8 trillion: -$1.8 trillion

Mortgage debt: $10.53 trillion to $10.12 trillion: -$ .41 trillion

Household/non-profit Net Worth: $64.2 trillion to $54.9 trillion: -$9.3 trillion

And this is after a tremendous run-up in both bonds and stocks since early 2009. Add in whatever estimates of commercial real estate losses you reckon are semi-accurate and other impaired enterprise assets currently valued at "historical cost," i.e. marked to fantasy, and you get a number well north of $12 trillion even at conservative estimates.

The Fed has fought off this mass devaluation of assets by expanding its balance sheet by $2 trillion. First it sought to stem the collapse of the housing market by buying $1.2 trillion in impaired mortgage backed securities (taking garbage off the banks’ balance sheets) and now it is trying to suppress interest rates by buying $1 trillion in Treasury bonds (recall that QE1 already loaded the boat with T-Bills, so QE2 is simply adding another $600 billion to an already heavy cargo.)

In both cases the Fed’s campaigns are mere rear-guard actions: housing continues to slip, and the tides of higher yields and rates have started rising despite the Fed’s…
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Zero Hedge

UC Davis Rolls Out "Morning After Pill" Vending Machines - "It Encourages Responsibility"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The University of California at Davis has a revolutionary solution for all their binge-drinking students who find it difficult to control their primal urges after a night of frat-hopping...the 'Plan B' vending machine.  For $30 a box students can now flush that pesky, potentially-fertilized egg without the hassle of having to walk all the way to a pharmacy. 

Of course, the female students on campus seem to love the idea, saying..."It's like useful"....yeah, totally, and stuff.

"It's ea...



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ValueWalk

The First (and Last?) Competitive Advantage

By VWArticles. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Farnam Street Q1 letter to investors

Also see

2017 Hedge Fund Letters Hedge Fund Letters: 2016

The First (and Last?) Competitive Advantage

“Capitalism is a pretty brutal place.”

– Charlie Munger

]]> Get The Full Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email ...



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Phil's Favorites

Weekend Reading: Trumponomics - End Of 100 Days

Courtesy of Lance Roberts, Real Investment Advice

On election night, my friend Jessica and I were standing in the studios of Fox News in Houston as the ready to provide “color commentary” as the Presidential election proceeded. The newsroom was highly electric with reporters rushing back and forth grabbing the latest data as it poured in.

In between interviews on what a “Trump” election could mean for the country, Jessica and I stood glued to the monitors watching the results as they were reported. While we were both very hopeful that Trump could win the election, but deep down I don’t think we actually believed it. The odds of Trump winning enough of the “swing” states to gain the sufficient number of electoral votes seemed astronomical. Yet, as each of those states began to fall in Trumps...



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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World

 

Financial Markets and Economy

The US economy just grew at its slowest pace in 3 years (Business Insider)

The US economy grew by 0.7% in the first quarter, weaker than expected, according to an advance estimate of gross domestic product from the Department of Commerce released on Friday.

Oil's April Rollercoaster Takes It Back to $50 on Supply Dilemma (Bloomberg)

Futures are down 2.4 percent this month in New York after slipping 6.3 percent in March. What’s worrying investors is expanding U.S. crude production, which threatens...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Miners; Largest outflows in history could be bullish, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Could historical outflows present an opportunity? Yesterday Sentimentrader.com reported that outflows from Gold Miners ETF’s GDX and GDXJ topped $800 million on 4/26, the largest single day outflows in history. 

Below looks at Gold Miners ETF GDX, reflecting where these large outflows took place.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

The long-term trend since...



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Chart School

Semiconductors Tick Along

Courtesy of Declan.

It was another quiet day for indices but the Semiconductor index was able to add over 1% on the day. This also helped post gains to the Nasdaq 100, although there was a relative gain for the Semiconductor Index against the latter index.


The Nasdaq 100 registered an accumulation day despite its underperformance against Small Caps. The index remains well placed to make a move to upper channel resistance.

...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Spikes To Record Highs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

US dollar prices for virtual currencies are soaring. Both Bitcoin ($1343 highs) and Ethereum (as we described previously) are at new record highs as China regulators/exchanges appear to have 'stabilized', fears over the so-called 'hard fork' have abated, and hopes for an ETF have been revived by an SEC review.

Back above the price of gold and at record highs, Bitcoin rallied notably overnight after China's largest bitcoin exchanges introduced a flat 0.2% fee on eac...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 24th, 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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Members' Corner

Should I buy that stock?

Courtesy of Phil Stasukaitis (pstas)

I was asked by my local investment club to do a presentation on "how to buy a stock?" As I pondered the question, I began by noting all the elements that I monitor regularly and which come in to play as part of my decision process. As the group is comprised novices to experts, I tried to gear my discussion to cover both basics and more advanced concepts.

Four Part Discussion

  1. Macro Economic Indicators
  2. Market Indexes
  3. Fundamental Analysis
  4. Technical Analysis

1. Macro Economic Indicators

We'll start with reviewing some basic concepts and measurements that have direct effects on the stock market. 

A. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

...

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Mapping The Market

Bombing - Right or Wrong?

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

I am telling you Angel – makes no sense… BTW:

Republicans Love Bombing, But Only When a Republican Does It

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

A few days ago I noted that Republican views of the economy changed dramatically when Donald Trump was elected, but Democratic views stayed pretty stable. Apparently Republicans view the economy through a partisan lens but Democrats don't.

Are there other examples of this? Yes indeed. Jeff Stein points to polling data about air strikes against Syria:

Democr...



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Biotech

CAR-T & CRISPR - the Future is Now

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

PSW Members....it has been a while since my last post, but since many have all been on the board following the chat, it is time for a scientific lesson in a few of the companies we are long.  In addition, another revolution is coming in the medical field, and it will be touched upon as well.

CAR-T - stands for Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and the T is for T-cell.  

From the picture above, T-cells are one cell type of our immune system that fight off infection as well as they are one player at keeping rogue cells from becoming cancerous. Unfortunately, cancer somehow evades the immune system and so it begins.

CAR-T came along in the late1980s via a brilliant scientist, Zelig Eshhar...



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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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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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