Posts Tagged ‘VIX’

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big options market participant appears to be rolling a bull call spread from the October to November expiration. A 45,000-lot Oct 19.0/23.0 call spread appears to have been sold, while the November 17/23 call spread appears to have been purchased, all at a net premium of $0.57 per contract. The spread looks for volatility to potentially rise to the highest levels since December 2012 when the VIX touched a two-year high of 23.23. The chart below marks the 17.0 and 23.0 levels (dashed lines), the striking prices selected in the Nov 17.0/23.0 bull call spread.

Chart – 2-year chart of CBOE Vix Index


Big Prints In VIX Calls

The CBOE Vix Index is in positive territory on Friday morning as shares in the S&P 500 Index move slightly lower. Currently the VIX is up roughly 2.75% on the session at 13.16 as of 11:35 am ET. Earlier in the session big prints in October expiry call options caught our attention as one large options market participants appears to have purchased roughly 106,000 of the Oct 22.0 strike calls for a premium of around $0.45 each. The VIX has not topped 22.0 since the end of 2012, but it would not take such a dramatic move in the spot index in order to lift premium on the contracts. The far out-of-the-money calls would likely increase in value in the event that S&P500 Index stocks slip in the near term. The VIX traded up to a 52-week high of 21.48 back in February. Next week’s release of the FOMC meeting minutes from August could give rise to increased volatility in U.S. equities. If you recall, the VIX spiked to approximately 17.5 on August 1st amid concerns over geopolitical risk that sent market participants scrambling for protection as stocks slumped.

Chart – One-year chart of CBOE Vix Index

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Will We Hold It Wednesday – S&P 1,440 Edition – Again

SPY WEEKLY 1,440 – Again.

That's right, we have made not one inch of progress since we had the same exact title in last Wednesday's post, when I said: "This is the part where the MSM begins to realize that Manufacturing is slowing down, stimulus won't create jobs, earnings are not going to be as good as expected, Europe is not fixed, housing is not as strong as expected andthe stock market is being manipulated.  Yep, all the stuff I've been telling you for months."  Our plan was to buy into the dip and that's what we've been doing the past week as our short-term virtual portfolios are now much more bullish than they were a week ago.  

As you can see from Dave Fry's weekly SPY chart, we're still in an uptrending channel and still over the major support line at 1,420 and we tested 1,430 at the end of last week but have, so far, held 1,440 this week.  

Last week we were all worried about Spain because they were rioting in the streets and this week we are all worried about Spain because they haven't requested a bail-out yet.  "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," as they say in the country next to Spain…

USO WEEKLY In Member Chat last Wednesday, we took advantage of Oil Futures (/CL) testing $90 to go long and by the end of the week it was back to where we liked to short it at $93 and this morning, ahead of inventories, oil is at $91.22 but we're not long today as we don't expect the bulls to have much to get excited about but, if we get a dip to $88.50 that holds – we'd like to go long there.  As you can see from this USO chart – we're pretty well stuck in the channel but the bottom is about $89 so I'm thinking a build this morning takes us just below the $33 line on USO

AAPL was at $666 last Wednesday and they closed at $665 yesterday but we've worked ourselves into a more bullish position there (we had several long-term bullish trade ideas on AAPL in Member Chat that day).  XLF was holding $15.50 and we went longer there – now $15.69.  We added QQQ Oct $70s at .30 and yesterday we had the chance to add them again…
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Thursday Thoughts – To QE or Not to QE? That’s a Trillion Dollar Question

Now we have dueling Fed heads weighing in on QE talk.  

CNBC interviewed both Boston's Rosengren (dove), who said not only is QE necessary but that "it needs to be substantial enough that it off sets some of the shocks that we're getting from abroad and some of the concerns that people have with how weak the world economy has been – so we're in a Global slow-down."   Isn't that great?  He thinks the Global economy is TERRIBLE and that means we should rush out and pay 5-year highs for equities, right?  What a silly market we have.

Then CNBC brings on Richard Fisher, who said additional stimulus would have little impact, as we're already at 0.25% and that's clearly not helping and that additional Fed stimulus now would look political and it's the US lawmakers, not the Fed, that need to "get their act together" if they want to stimulate the economy.  Elsewhere, Fisher was backed up by KC's Esther George, who said that, at $3Tn on the balance sheet already, the Fed is only buying a future crisis when it comes time to unload these assets on a market that is ill-prepared to absorb them.  “It’s always easy to buy,” George said. “We’ve never had to go back into the market to sell this quantity of assets.  

Gosh that makes sense! 

She said the Fed’s bond holdings further would create a “steeper hill” once policy starts to shift in the face of a stronger recovery.  Add to that the burden imposed on savers, George said, and the pressure on pension funds, banks and insurance companies to take investment risks they normally wouldn’t take to earn a bit of income.  

She said she didn’t know how Europe’s struggle to save its common currency, the euro, would come out. “Either way they go, the results are going to be dramatic and will be painful,” she said. “I see no short-term solution.” 

The drought is likely to drive up food prices globally, if not this year then next, she said. George also noted that rising prices for food, energy and apparel were particularly hard on low-income Americans because those essentials accounted for a relatively large portion of their spending. "We know inflation can move quickly, and we’ll have to watch for that,” she said. The federal deficit and last summer’s contentious effort to raise…
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Friday Fake Out – The Bear Trap is Sprung!

Oh you people are such suckers!

You panic out of positions at rock bottom prices and you'll sit there like a deer in the headlights when we bounce back until we're already too high again and then you'll chase the top – only becoming fully invested after we've already exited.  Don't blame me – I try to warn you, but no one listens to me.  

This morning the markets are in full panic more and that's fine with us as not only are we still "Cashy and Cautious" but what did we tell you Wednesday morning?  "TZA July $19/25 bull call spread at $1.50, selling $18 puts for $1.05 for net .45" along with EDZ at $17.23 and SQQQ at $51.80.  SQQQ is at $53.79 (up 3.8%) and EDZ is $17.90 (up 3.9% and the TZA hedge is already at net .80, which is up 77% in just two days (so far) – now that's a hedge!   When you have your hedges in place, THEN you can bottom fish with impunity and boy is the fishing good out there!  

Today we get our Non-Farm Payroll numbers and there's a rumor out there that it's a big miss at 120,000 or lower.  CNBC has been pretty much reporting it as a fact all morning and Europe is freaking out for that and many other reasons so I had occasion to look back at last month's NFP report, where we predicted it would be a miss with the the title:  "The Blow Jobs Deal to the Market Could be Huge."  That was 10% ago on our indexes are back to testing last week's lows, where we began to get bullish with our Twice in a Lifetime List of stocks that are back at their 2009 panic lows which we still like enough to sell puts in (giving us an additional 15-20% discount on initial entry).  

That post capped off a week of bearish picks as we followed through with our plan to cash out into the April rally – it's those bearish profits we're now GAMBLING with as we bottom fish but, as noted above – we're hedging our bullish bets because there's no limit to how badly investors can freak out in the stock market – CASH remains KING!

A quick review of the week leading up to the last NFP report is a nice view of
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Will We Hold It Wednesday – Euro $1.24 Edition

If it wasn't for bad news, Europe would have no news at all.

The funniest thing about watching Europe implode in a sea of incompetence is that we're actually no different over here – it's just not our time yet.  That doesn't stop the punditocracy from pontificating on all the ills of the European Union, as if America will be immune to California as their economy ($361Bn in debt) slips into the ocean

Actually Greece is not the disaster du jour in Europe this morning – it's Spain (who were downgraded yesterday), whose junk-rated 10-year notes are now costing them 6.65% – back to pre-LTRO levels already, after just 90 days of being "cured."  Italy is right behind them, only able to sell 90% of the bonds they auctioned off and even those went for 5.66% on the 5-year notes and 6.03% on the 10-years.  

Meanwhile, German yields hit record lows at 1.318% so how, exactly, does it benefit Germany to "fix" this situation when the fix would be for Germany to go back to paying 3% while Spain and Italy go back to paying 4%?  It's not like Spain or Italy will ever be able to pay back the money anyway so all we're really doing is costing Germany money to PRETEND things are fixed – again.  When will this madness end?  

Extending and pretending is exactly what is being planned as the European Commission is prepared to as European Union finance ministers to give Spain an additional year to meet the budget deficit target of 3%, according to a report in the online edition of El Pais this morning. The newspaper said it had obtained a rough draft of the copy of the economic strategy for the euro zone set to be delivered by the Commission on Wednesday. Media reports said it will issue specific recommendations for each of the 27 countries. El Pais said the EC wants to give Spain until 2014 to reach the budget deficit target of 3%, in light of its economic problems, but will also include draft recommendations on pensions, the financial system, taxes and labor reforms.  

SPY DAILYThank goodness – that will fix everything, I'm sure!  

Meanwhile, on the US side, we're getting worry fatigue and we're ready to rally – as was made clear by yesterday's bullish action which took us over our
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Friday Follies – Come and See the Show!


Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends We're so glad you could attend 

Come inside! Come inside!

There behind a glass is a real blade of grass

Be careful as you pass.  

Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show's about to start

Guaranteed to blow your head apart

Rest assured you'll get your money's worth

The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth. – ELP

What a long, strange week it's been in the markets.  

I know we've been having fun.  See that turn in the S&P at 2:35?  My 2:46 comment to Members in Chat was:  

$25KP/StJ – Keep in mind it's an aggressive portfolio BUT, in the $5KP, we're going to take $1.80 and run for the DIA $127 puts on the whole thing and 1/2 out in the $25KP.

That's two days in a row we nailed the turn almost to the minute (Wednesday it was USO) and those $127 puts cashed out with a 50% profit in 2 days (we picked them up on the 17th).  I put it to you – are we simply amazingly good at picking tops and bottoms or is the market, in fact, a total scam and we just happen to be good at identifying criminal patterns of behavior? 

Since our premise for making these calls is that the market is a scam and since I said just yesterday morning "Every morning we have a pump job to short into and every afternoon there is a BS stick-save to re-establish our shorts" – you have to at least consider the possibility that the markets are, in fact, fixed.  

So it should come as no surprise that our ultra low-volume Futures are back up this morning with oil once again giving us an entry at our $103.50 shorting spot (see yesterday's post).  We caught a $1,300 per contract ride down to $102.20 yesterday and then all we have to do is wait and let them pump it back up to $103.50 and we short it again and already we're back to $103.25 (7:30) for a quick $250 per contract gain and now we wait for the next run-up and see if we can short them again – maybe at $104 this time.  If people are going to manipulate the Futures – that's fine…
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Free-Fall Friday – Are There Any Dips Left to Buy?


No one told us markets could go down?  This is an outrage, I demand an investigation – TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON!!!   

Has it already been a week since I said "Stop the Rally, We Want to Get Off"?  As I noted in that post, we began our list of 12 Long Put Plays for Members on Thursday of last week (near the end of what I called "A Weak Week of Denial") and some have already doubled while others, like PCLN, have gotten even cheaper, which only makes us love them more…

I concluded that this rally was fake, Fake, FAKE and gave my reasons on Friday so no point in going over them again – now we're just watching and waiting to see what sticks as we haven't actually done a lot of technical damage (see Dave Fry's chart) – Yet! 

Although we were TRYING to get bullish on Monday, we did so only after setting more aggressive targets in our Weekend Review of the 5% Rule (see post for details and levels) and by 10:09 on Monday, our first trade idea in chat was the very bearish TZA spread that I featured again in Tuesday's post, which was the April $17/18 bull call spread at .42, selling the April $17 puts for $1 for a .58 credit.  TZA finished at $18.39 yesterday and the spread is now .54 but the short puts are down to .65 for a net gain of .47, which is 81% in 3 days and a good way to offset the 2.3% drop in the Russell – isn't leverage fun?

What was not fun is what happened to people who trusted Credit Suisse to run an honest game with their TVIX instrument.  As noted by ETF Digest's David Gillie, an ETN is an unsecured, unsubordinated debt security with significant basis on the credit rating of the issuer. Although ETNs may be named to indicate tracking certain futures markets or indices, due to the fact that their holdings are credit notes rather than tangible assets, such as ETFs, their price becomes largely supply and demand based rather than based on underlying holdings.  As Kid Dynamite points out – it does say right in the TVIX prospectus:

The long term expected value of your ETNs is

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Thin-Air Thursday – A Weak Week of Denial

We HAVE to try to get more bullish.  

HAVE to as in forced against our will.   HAVE to as in forced against reason and rational thought.  We HAVE to follow the herd or be stampeded by it despite screaming FACTS like the ECRI data on the right that CLEARLY shows that the herd is INSANE!

USUALLY, the market (and its investors) understands that where there is smoke,t here is fire.  The last time ECRI was this low (on the way down) was early 2008, by which time we KNEW the economy was stalling and the Government gave us a tax rebate that goosed us for a few months but then we crashed and burned in a horrible, horrible mess that kind of made us wish they hadn't screwed around in the first place.  

The ONLY OTHER TIME ECRI was this low, since the great depression, was back in 2001, but the Nasdaq had long since crossed 3,000 from the other direction and was on it's way from 5,000 to 1,500 – only a 70% drop.  Don't worry though, in 2007 the Nasdaq was all the way back to 2,850 and then only fell to 1,250 and that's just 56% so this time may indeed be different despite the lower low in 2007 on the 6-year cycle that we're again in year 5 of.  

Clearly, things are much better than they were in late 2008/early 2009, right? I believe, at the time, people thought the World was going to end and they were lining up at banks in Europe to withdraw money and the US had 300 bank failures and the FDIC was down to its last $50M to cover the $8Tn worth of cash on deposit (all better now, they have $850M!) and 1,000,000 people a single month were losing their jobs…  Yes, things are better than the end of the World, that's for sure!  

But, are they Dow 13,200 better?  Are they S&P 1,400 better?  Are they Nasdaq 3,050 better?  

The NYSE doesn't seem to think so.   Although the Dow (14,100), the S&P (1,560) and the APPLdaq (2,800) and even the Russell (850) are all within striking distance of their 2007 highs, the NYSE (10,300) is still 21% below at 8,125.  Why is our broadest market index, whose capitalization ($16Tn) is larger than the Nasdaq ($5Tn),
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Thank GOOG It’s Friday!

SPY DAILYCan we end the week with a bang for a change?

Google had tremendous earnings last night (10% beat) and that has the Futures flying (along with AAPL’s IPhone 4S release, which has, as usual, lines around the block to buy their product on the first day).  We already made some quick futures money in Member Chat, shorting the Nas (/NQ), Dow (/YM) and Oil (/CL) at 6am in Member Chat.  Why go short – just because we had a silly pre-market run-up and we wanted to lock in gains – now it’s 7:30 and we’re done – waiting and seeing how things go into the open

Futures trading is very useful for locking in pre-market gains but you have to be very careful or it’s just as easy to blow them and, as we demonstrate in Las Vegas Sunday Night – the futures markets are clearly a load of manipulated BS – especially in thin after-hours and pre-market trading.  Fortunately though, that’s fine with us as one of the main lessons at PSW is "We don’t care IF the market is rigged, as long as we can figure out HOW the market is rigged and place our bets accordingly."  

The news we didn’t want to risk the futures on comes up at 8:30, as we get the Retail Sales Report for September and not much is expected after a very weak August, where Auto Sales really dragged us down with a 0.2% drop and there was nothing sexy about the other items either.  Still, one thing people fail to grasp when looking at these charts is that the numbers are in MILLIONS, not thousands – so August 2011 was $389,502,000,000 in total sales and up $26Bn from last August.  That’s a pretty healthy pace of $4.6Tn in just Retail and Food Services – what recession?    

NYMOAs you can see from David Fry’s chart, we probably need to work off some overbought conditions before we can have a proper rally.  Also, in an early Alert to Members this morning, we looked over our updated Big Chart and determined it was very unlikely that we will hit the levels we need to go bullish into the weekend so we are already planning to short the Nasdaq into the morning pop to put us neutral into the weekend with a 15/15 allocation (short-term positions, of course).  …
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Phil's Favorites

Banks Give Up Hopes of Hikes, Plow Into Long Dated Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities

Courtesy of Mish.

Banks have become convinced the Fed simply isn't going to hike. So instead of waiting any longer, large banks like Wells Fargo are plowing billions of dollars into longer dated treasuries and agencies.

Simply put, Big US Banks Lose Patience With the Fed
In the years since the crisis the banks have grown used to grappling with higher costs and subdued demand for credit, while keeping plenty of cash and cash-like instruments on hand in the hope of benefiting from an uptick in short-term rates.

But, after the decision from the US Federal Reserve to keep its target overnight rate on hold this month, more lenders are taking their cue from Wells Fargo, the biggest bank in the world by market capitalisation, said analysts. ...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

Japan Futures Signal Drop Before China Data; Dollar Holds Losses (Bloomberg)

Asian equities looked set to snap the longest rally for global stocks since February, with Chinese trade figures expected to provide a catalyst for investors. The dollar was weaker following a rally in commodity-linked currencies as traders continue to bet U.S. interest-rate increases will be pushed out until 2016.

What to watch for in Intel’s earnings (Market Watch)

Intel Corp. ...

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Zero Hedge

The Rise of the Sharing Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by derailedcapitalism.

Everyday I hear new stories of friends and family offering
rides through Uber, renting out rooms in their home on AirBnB, Uber or selling product on Framestr. while it’s a fairly new way of making money, it’s here to stay. There are obvious changes in consumer practices and
an opportunity for new market entrants to support a sharing economy in Canada.

Why is this happening? It’s pretty clear that Canadians have
become stretched. Debt-to-income hovers at record levels, contract positions
have increased (at the detriment of full-time work), and housing becomes as unaffordable
as ever.


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Sector Detector: Bulls rally, but bears lurk

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

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week, the S&P 500 put up its best week of the year, closing above key psychological levels and breaking through bearish technical resistance, with bulls largely inspired by the dovish FOMC meeting minutes. But this year’s market has been news-driven and quite difficult for traders to read. Even our fundamentals-based and quality-oriented quant models have struggled to perform. With corporate earnings season now underway, equities might take a breather at this point of the oversold rally until some clarity from key corporate bellwethers begins to take shape, particularly with respect to forward guidance. But despite severe global headwinds, there remain strong rea...

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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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Kimble Charting Solutions

Small Caps – Bull/Bear debate could be resolved here

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


Like almost every index on the planet, Small Caps have experienced softness of late. The decline took the index down to rising channel support the week before last, where it created a reversal pattern (bullish wick), at support.

Last weeks  rally in stocks, pushed small caps to the top of its short-term falling channel at (1) above.

The long-term rising channel remains in play.

In my humble opinion, a big time “Softness Test” is in play at (1). A breakout would be a plus, which would go a long way to sa...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 12th, 2015

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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Chart School

The Cherry on the Cake?

Courtesy of Declan.

After the rally of the last couple of weeks, Friday's narrow range gains felt like it may offer bulls a break from their buying. There are a couple of resistance levels in play for some of the indices, but these have't played important roles in recent months as markets traded in narrow ranges.

The Nasdaq is one such index. It finished Friday at its 50-day MA with a supply level lurking at 4,900 and declining resistance between it and 50-day MA.

The Nasdaq 100 broke declining resistance, but has the 200-day MA at 4,368 to consider. As it nicked the breakout Friday it may attract some buying interest on Monday. Look to pre-market...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

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

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene


The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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 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.

Thank you for you time!

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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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About Ilene:

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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