Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment numbers’

Thrilling Thursday – Can We Make Another Billion Today?


$1,129,860,000!  That’s how much money was made shorting 376,620 NYMEX contracts at $103 yesterday, as we planned!  Congratulations to those of you who got your share playing along with us and, to the manipulators who got stuck with the bill – screw you bastards, we have your number and we’re going to ring it now!  I called a cash-out at the $100 line in Member Chat as 2.9% was more of a drop than we expected in one day and we will re-load on the bounce as we cross back below the $100.50 line – as discussed in this morning’s Member Chat - assuming the Dollar has bottomed out at 74.35.

This isn’t complicated people – what’s the 2.5% line off of $103?  $100.425.  That’s where we’ll look for oil to consolidate but below that line we’ll be comfortable with our shorts again, looking for those next legs down to $98.88 (down 4%) and then $97.85, where we will once again look for a 20% retrace to $98.88 and then a nice short there when it fails.  So come on – you can play along at home – don’t miss out on making the next $1.129Bn!  

Meanwhile, what’s a 20% bounce off a $3 drop? 60 cents, right?  Where did oil bounce to in the futures?  $100.60?  This is not rocket science folks…  We teach these little tips to our Members every day at Philstockworld.  Sure you may find it disturbing that the chart we drew up (above) in early April is hit almost to the penny on the NYSE yesterday (2 months later) as it halted right on our red line – but that just shows us that Bots are running this market (as we keep telling you) and it also means that we can rely on our ranges and that makes it EASY to make good trading decisions.  

Also in Member Chat last night, I reviewed 8 short put ideas (bullish) that can net us over $3,000 in 15 days if we get a bounce and hold our "Must Hold" levels.  This is the nice thing about hedging – we make money on the way up OR on the way down and, when we are trading in a range – like we hopefully will this summer – then we make money both ways on a regular basis!  Let the market manipulators play their…
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Digging Still Deeper In Friday’s Jobs Report; What’s the Real Unemployment Rate?

Courtesy of Mish

Every month the government posts the unemployment rate yet few know where the unemployment rate comes from, how it is determined, and the relationship between the unemployment rate and the monthly reported jobs total.

For a quick recap, the unemployment rate comes from a "Household Survey" while the reported headline jobs total comes from the "Establishment Survey". The former is a monthly phone survey, the latter is a sample of actual business employment.

The reason for the "Household Survey" is that it will pick up new business formation, especially small businesses that might not be on the radar of the "Establishment Survey" sample. Even if the "Establishment Survey" sample size was 100%, unless duplicate names were weeded out, it would double-count those holding multiple jobs.

The "Household Survey" attempts to determine five key items.

  1. Do you have a job?
  2. Is so was it full or part-time?
  3. If not, do you want a job?
  4. If you do not have a job and want a job, did you look for a job in the last 4 weeks?
  5. Are you in school, on leave, etc.

The BLS does not ask the questions like that, instead the BLS attempts to determine those answers by a detailed list of questions.

For a discussion of exactly what questions the BLS asks to determine the unemployment rate, please see Reader Question Regarding "Dropping Out of the Workforce"; Implications of the Falling Participation Rate

Definition of Unemployed

Logically, one might think one would be unemployed if they want a job and do not have a job.

However, the official definition of unemployed is you do not have a job, you want a job, and crucially, you have looked for a job in the last 4 weeks.

Every month the government reports "alternative" numbers but even though many of the alternate numbers are a more accurate representation of the unemployment rate, the media focuses on the headline number, ignoring millions who have "dropped out of the labor force" simply because they stopped looking for work.

Millions more are in "forced retirement", which I define as someone over 60 whose unemployment benefits ran out so they retired to collect Social Security even though they really want a job.

244,000 Jobs Added Last Month, So Why Did the Unemployment Rise?

Last month many were surprised to see the jobs report claim 244,000 jobs were added yet…
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March Non Farm Payrolls: +162K, Below Consensus, Unemployment Rate 9.7%, Ex-Census, Weather and Birth-Death NFP Change Is -67K

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Summary of Data:


From Stone-McCarthy:


At first blush, about one quarter of the increase in March payrolls appears to be related to the hiring of census workers and another half of the gain seems to be a payback from the weather-related distortions of February. The February payroll decline of 36,000 was revised to a loss of 14,000 while the 26,000 decrease in January payrolls reported a month ago was revised to a gain of 14,000. Thus, there was a cumulative 62,000 net upward revision to January and February payrolls.

Census additions were 48,000 and the weather impacts is expected to be about 100,000, thus the net organic add was just barely positive. Keep in mind the birth-death in March was +81,000 (vs. 97,000 in February) for the adjusted metric, so one wonders how much of this gain was purely adjusted on paper. If one excludes birth-death we get -67,000.

The U-6 rate increased by 10 bps, to 16.9%.

Average hourly earning decreased by 0.1% to $22.47 even as the average weekly hours increased by six minutes to 34 hours.

The question on everyone’s mind: is this statistic improvement in the data sufficient for the Fed to reconsider ZIRP.

The answer is a resounding no. Although keep an eye on the 10 Year. We may just break 4% today.

Below is the Statement of Keith Hall, Commissioner of the BLS

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent for the third month in a row. Job gains continued in temporary help services and in health care, while job losses occurred in financial activities and in information.  The March employment increase also included 48,000 workers hired by the federal government for Census 2010.
Temporary help services employment increased by 40,000 in March.  Since last September, employment in this industry has grown by 313,000, or 18 percent.
Health care added 27,000 jobs in March, compared with an average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months.  Mining employment rose by 8,000 in March.  This industry has added 31,000 jobs since last October.
Federal government employment rose over the month, reflecting ramped-up hiring for Census 2010.  In March, the Census Bureau brought on 48,000 temporary workers.  Employment…
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Jobs Contract By 36,000; Unemployment Rate Steady At 9.7%; No Snow Effect

Jobs Contract By 36,000; Unemployment Rate Steady At 9.7%; No Snow Effect

Courtesy of Mish 

Today the BLS reported 36,000 job losses with the unemployment rate holding at 9.7%. Before diving into the numbers let’s analyze the snow job ahead of the report.

Speaking before Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke harped about snow, warning policymakers will "to be careful about not overinterpreting" the upcoming data." In the wake of that warning, economists busily upped their projections for job losses in February, some by as much as 220,000 jobs.

I talked about that yesterday in Range of Snow Impact on Jobs: Negligible to 220,000; Have Your Snow Job Decoder Ring Handy?

Snow Job Decoding

Did 220,000 people not receive any pay for the period in question?

Color me skeptical.

In terms of the unemployment rate, the blizzards will not have an effect. In terms of the reported jobs number there will be an impact but the most likely impact is in the number of hours worked.

Regardless, expectations as to the importance of the blizzard range from negligible all the way to 220,000. Whatever the affect was, it will be over by next month although I have seen analysis that says the effects will last until May.

In today’s job report, the BLS chimed in about snow, confirming the above.

BLS Confirms Bernanke’s Snow Job

Effect of Severe Winter Storms on Employment Estimates

Major winter storms affected parts of the country during the February reference periods for the establishment and household surveys.

In the establishment survey, the reference period was the pay period including February 12th. In order for severe weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll employment, employees have to be off work for an entire pay period and not be paid for the time missed. About half of all workers in the payroll survey have a 2-week, semimonthly, or monthly pay period. Workers who received pay for any part of the reference pay period, even one hour, are counted in the February payroll employment figures.

While some persons may have been off payrolls during the survey reference period, some industries, such as those dealing with cleanup and repair activities, may have added workers.

In the household survey, the reference period was the calendar week of February 7-13. People who miss work for weather-related events are counted as employed whether or not they

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Consumers Ask – What Recovery?

Consumers Ask – What Recovery?

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What 


So, a weak consumer confidence survey confirms what anyone with an ounce of sense and the ability to engage in social conversation with a broad swath of Americans could have told you months ago. A lot of people are hurting and those that aren’t know too many who are and are, therefore, terrified that they could be next in line.

Outside of New York and Washington, things are bleak even for those who are employed. Everyone is looking over their shoulders just to make sure that the ax isn’t poised above their neck. Supposedly secure occupations like teachers, cops and firemen don’t look so untouchable any longer. Cities and states that government workers were counting upon to come through with their retirement packages are teetering and just to make the potion more distasteful, new taxes, fees and surcharges are being piled onto already stretched budgets.

John Carney has a good post up about what went wrong or more appropriately why all the great thinkers got this recovery talk all wrong. Here’s a bit of what he has to say, but take a couple of minutes and read the whole post:

Why was it different this time? The problem this time is that we’re in what the Keynesians would call a “liquidity trap.” Consumers, having been savaged by the housing bubble and its consequences, continue to be fearful of the future. Government regulation is making consumer spending more difficult by increasing capitalization requirement for banks and squeezing consumer access to credit. Huge debt overhangs from the boom still have many people trying to pay down debts instead of engaging in new spending. To put it briefly, the supply of funds to fuel economic growth is still very low because cautious Americans do not have faith in the recovery.

Economic planners will describe the situation as an “excess liquidity preference” and recommend more government spending to push the economy toward higher employment. Unfortunately, unless we’re really lucky, much of this government spending will likely be long-term destructive because it will direct funds in the wrong directions because it isn’t subject to market discipline. In any case, the current political atmosphere seems particularly unwelcoming to additional deficit spending. So we’d better hunker down and get ourselves adjusted to an economy with a

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Businessman with bubble gum bubble about to be popped

A Bubble in Search of a Pin
Unemployment Numbers: A Mixed Bag
A Bubble in Search of a Pin
And Speaking of Bubbles
Help in Europe, California, Tampa, and Becoming our Parents

Should Greenspan and Bernanke have seen the bubble in housing and other assets and acted, or should we accept their defense that you can’t know whether there is a bubble until after the fact? We will look at research that suggests they should have known, and, at the least, policy makers should no longer be allowed to say, “How could I have known?”

Of course, the employment numbers came out this morning, and the results are mixed; but that is better than they have been for the past two years. We dig into the numbers to see what they are really saying. And finally, we examine why the markets are so volatile. Is it just Greece, or is there more? There’s a lot of very interesting, and important, material to cover.

But first, and quickly, as I wrote in Outside the Box a few weeks ago, I am starting to very selectively buy biotech stocks, and mostly, though not exclusively, companies associated with the regenerative genetic revolution that is coming our way. I am convinced that this is going to be a decade of the most amazing medical breakthroughs, which will literally change (and in many cases extend) our lives, as therapies to treat all sorts of diseases become available.

This is the last time I am going to mention it, but here is the link to that OTB, which analyzes why we may see a bubble in biotech stocks before the end of the decade. The OTB was written by my friend Pat Cox, who covers these stocks and other technological marvels in his newsletter, Breakthrough Technology Alert. I have been following Pat for some time now, have talked extensively with him, and think he is one of those guys who have a handle on what by all accounts is going to be an amazing decade of breakthroughs.

I have asked his publisher to offer my readers a very discounted subscription price for one more week. (Ignore the deadline of February…
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Jobless claims rise 7,000 to 480,000

Jobless claims rise 7,000 to 480,000

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

Small Dip Seen In Unemployment Numbers, First Drop Since January

Initial jobless claims for the week ended December 12th came in at a seasonally-adjusted (SA) 480,000, which is a rise of 7,000 from the previous week.  This brings the 4-week SA average down to 467,500, the lowest in 15-months.  Clearly layoffs have receded.  However, hiring has yet to begin in earnest, so the employment situation remains weak.

Because of heavy seasonal adjustments at this time of year, I think we will have to wait until after the holiday season for a more meaningful change in the data.  For now, the scenario is in a holding pattern: slow but steady decline in new claims mixed with weak hiring environment and a high level of unemployment and underemployment means a weak recovery.









Dec. 12

Dec. 5


Nov. 28


Initial Claims (SA)






Initial Claims (NSA)






4-Wk Moving Average (SA)













Dec. 5

Nov. 28


Nov. 21


Ins. Unemployment (SA)






Ins. Unemployment (NSA)






4-Wk Moving Average (SA)






Ins. Unemployment Rate (SA)






Ins. Unemployment Rate (NSA)







Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report – US Department of Labor


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Stimulus ll Announced Today

Stimulus ll Announced Today

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What


Second stimulus here we come. With unemployment threatening to break the dreaded 10% level and the mid-term elections starting to focus politicians as nothing else can, the Obamites threw out the trial balloon today and then promptly pulled back.

Commerce Secretary Locke pretty much confirmed that the subject is under consideration. A spokesman, later noted that his comments were “imprecise”, whatever that means. His original comments were made on Bloomberg TV. Here is the link to the updated article from Bloomberg and I found this particular part of his comments interesting.

Locke, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, said: “If there is to be another stimulus — and that’s being hotly discussed and very seriously considered within the administration as well as members of Congress — it needs to be very targeted, very specific and we need to be very mindful of the deficit as well.”

As I wrote last night one of the problems with the entire approach to stimulus has been targeting and making it specific. What that means in English is that we’re going to make sure that the money goes to our friends and we get the maximum political boost from the expenditures.

Cash For Clunkers Program To End In 3 Days

That sort of targeting is why we get artificial boosts in home and auto sales with marginal long-term stimulus. So far the administration has proven itself adept at lining the pockets of bankers, auto workers and real estate agents while failing woefully to truly move the economy out of recession.

Make no mistake, absent a miraculous reversal of the unemployment numbers a second stimulus is already baked in the cake. No one in the administration is going to be “mindful of the deficit.” Their only thing they are mindful of is the debacle that will result if the unemployment rate isn’t down substantially by mid to late-spring.

You’ll see desperation legislation, not anything resembling a rational approach to the problem. The usual economists will tout rationales to give the administration cover, but at its base it’s going to be good old Chicago vote buying.


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Dismal Unemployment Situation In Chart Form

Dismal Unemployment Situation In Chart Form

Courtesy of Mish

I have been following a number of unemployment charts showing just how bad the current recession is. Click on any chart to see a sharper image.

Job Loss Recovery

The last three recessions are unlike the eight preceding recessions. For numerous reasons described below we are heading for another job loss recovery.

Job Loss Recovery Detail

click on chart for sharper image

If the pattern holds, unemployment will rise until 2011 or beyond. Moreover, take a look at the first chart again. Odds of a double dip recession similar to 1980-1982 are high after whatever inventory rebuilding and bottom fishing in housing ends.

Consumer Confidence About Jobs

The Following is by permission from Contrary Investor

Contrary Investor writes:

"The jobs hard to get response is pushing up against 30 year highs seen in the last few months. Likewise the jobs easy to get component of the survey has hit a new low for the current cycle. We’ll just have to see how hard the folks at the Bureau of Labor stats can goose the headline payroll numbers for July with further Birth/Death model estimates. We’ll be surprised at nothing. But consumers are telling us labor market conditions have worsened, despite the government numbers. And without question this has driven their consumption behavior. "

Decade For Lost Jobs

Please consider the following chart from Lost Decade For Jobs by Michael Mandel of BusinessWeek.

Record Number See Benefits End

The following chart is courtesy of David Rosenberg.

Take a good look at that chart. It’s 50,000 now. The expectation is 500,000 by September and 1.5 million by the end of the year. What are the odds Obama creates 1.5 million jobs by the end of the year? Can he really create any? For how long?

While on the subject of claims please consider the following four charts courtesy of Chris Puplava at Financial Sense. I asked him to chart Data from Moodys.

Continuing Claims Since 2000

Continuing Claims Since 1970

Continuing Claims as % of Population Since 2000

Continuing Claims as % of Population Since 1980

Chris notes "The EUC and the extended benefits come out with a lag as Moody’s had data for them only up to

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Food-Stamps Reach 33.8 Million in April, 5th Consecutive Monthly Record

Food-Stamps Reach 33.8 Million in April, 5th Consecutive Monthly Record

Courtesy of Mish

The record hit parade keeps right on rolling.

Earlier today, in Continuing Claims Soar by 159,000 to New Record; Initial Jobless Claims Skewed By Autos I noted The peak in initial claims might be in but the peak in unemployment has not. Moreover, reported continuing claims hit 6.883 million, setting a new all time record.

However, the real number of continuing claims is closer to 9.4 million on account of extended benefits via the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program as detailed in the above link. I hope to have charts of this phenomenon later today or tomorrow.

Unsurprisingly another record was broken today and that is a record for food stamps. Please consider U.S. Food-Stamp Recipients Reached Record 33.8 Million in April.

A record 33.8 million people received food stamps in April, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as unemployment surged toward a 26-year high, government figures show. Spending also jumped, as the average benefit rose.

It was the fifth straight month of record participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and up 1.8 percent from the prior month. Total spending was $4.5 billion, up 19 percent from the previous all-time high reached in March, the USDA said.

The government is boosting food aid in response to a jobless rate that rose to 9.5 percent in June from 9.4 percent in May. An additional $20 billion over five years was authorized for nutrition assistance in the $787 billion stimulus bill Congress passed in February.

Note the food stamp record is for April. Expect to see new records for May, June, July, and August as well, in line with rising unemployment numbers.

Given that unemployment numbers are likely to keep rising for a year, there is an opportunity to set 17 consecutive records. Let’s hope it does not come to that.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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Zero Hedge

The Elimination Of Reason

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Jeff Thomas via,

Recently, I paid for an item with the exact amount requested, including 89 cents in change. The salesgirl stared at the coins and clearly wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, she reached for a calculator and began to total them up one at a time: 25 + 25 + 25 + 10 + 4. Having been schooled in the age prior to calculators, I’m accustomed to doing arithmetic in my head, but this particular instance evidenced a level of “dumbing down” over the last fifty years that was beyond what I had realised.


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Phil's Favorites

Global Warming Scam Exposed

Courtesy of Mish.

When you are willing to pay for global warming “research” that has a predetermined outcome, all you do is open the door for fraud.

Reader Mark emailed an example today.

Please consider Top University Passed Off Rivals’ Research to Bankroll Climate Change Agenda.

One of the world’s leading institutes for researching the impact of global warming has repeatedly claimed credit for work done by rivals – and used it to win millions from the taxpayer.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday also reveals that when the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) made a b...

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Global Asset Management 3Q16 - Cash is a Capital Allocation Strategy

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Global Asset Management commentary for the quarter ended September 30, 2016.

Also see


Dear Friends,

Year-to-date we’v...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

The Brexit economy: falling pound and rising inflation fuel fears of slowdown (The Guardian)

The British economy’s post-Brexit vote bounce is losing momentum as the weak pound and higher inflation herald a squeeze in living standards, according to a Guardian analysis.

S&P 500 Skew Unwind Shows Complacency Over Clinton Win: Analysis (Bloomberg)


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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 24th,2016

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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Banks- This is putting a smile on this sector

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Historically, when strong bull markets have taken place, Banks go along for the ride. Since the summer of 2014, banks have under performed the broad market by around 12%, as the S&P is just a couple of percent from all-time highs. Are banks about to act healthier and put a smile on this sector, which could help the S&P breakout above the 2,150 level?

Below looks at the Bank Index (BKX)



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Oct 23, 2016

Courtesy of Blain.

The week that was…

A sleepy week indeed as almost all the “action” came out of a gap up Tuesday morning and a gap down Friday morning (which was met with buyers).  Outside of those events, the indexes stuck closely to unchanged most of the week.  Earnings began in earnest but outside of some individual high profile stories it was a lot of beating lowered expectations.

“Despite a couple of good reports, we’re in the midst of another earnings season that is hardly painting a bright picture,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. “Having another quarter where profits contract is not an underpinning for stocks to advance, and the market is searching for, if not demanding, a catalyst to move higher. At the moment, one is lackin...

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Members' Corner

The Orlando Massacre Part 3

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

A continuation of a Naybob of IT's Natterings from Part 1 and Part 2...

While many Christian churches expressed grief and offered free funeral services for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church held an anti-gay protest during the funeral of the victims.

But the Westboro Baptist Church's protest rally was blocked by about 200 people who formed a human barricade on the main street in downtown Orlando, ...

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Mapping The Market

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

Via Jean-Luc

Good article on investing success:

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

By Morgan Housel

There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.

Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...

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Digital Currencies

Gold, Silver and Blockchain - Fintech Solutions To Negative Rates, Bail-ins, Currency Debasement and Cashless

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Jan Skoyles

I was so pleased yesterday by the announcement that I have joined the Research team at GoldCore as it meant that I could finally start talking about it and was back in a role that lets me indulge in my passion by researching and geeking out on all things gold, silver and money.


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Epizyme - A Waiting Game

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

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...

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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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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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