Archive for November, 2008

Breakdown of BCE buy-out sends shares reeling, but optimistic call buyers remain

Today’s tickers: BCE, DE, BA, FLR, SGR & JPM

BCE – BCE Inc. – Accountants working behind the scenes at BCE told the management group behind the world’s biggest ever leveraged buyout proposal that post-buyout its debt level would fail to adequately meet solvency tests. Shares recoiled some 37% to $19.48. Options activity at BCE has appeared regularly on our market scanners during the past few days but largely due to call option activity. Today’s news hardly gave investors time to react and we’re seeing call activity once again in ascendancy in Wednesday’s session but at drastically reduced premiums. Out of overall volume of 3,156 contracts at the December 25 strike some 2,560 have so far been bought at around a 90 cent premium. Meanwhile investors have initiated more sales of 30 strike puts at around 9.90 than have been originated to buyers. In summary, the pattern is messy and in the heat of the moment option traders appear to be more willing to expect a rebound than a further drop in BCE shares. Right now that looks a confusing prospect.

DE – Deere & Co. – Revenues and costs rose hurting agricultural machine producer, Deere sending shares down almost 10% to $30.00. Option activity is relatively hectic as a result with 11,500 volume in early trading. Shares have performed badly on the back of weakness in related commodity markets and although implied volatility is lower post-earnings today, investors are positioning for a breach of the 52-week low at $28.55. December puts were sought in early activity with premiums of 85 cents paid by investors wanting to short the stock at the 25 strike. Meanwhile the sale of 22.5 puts against that position likely makes for a more efficient way of seeking a downside move at Deere.

BA – Boeing Co. – Shares in Boeing are unchanged at $40.14, while there is no apparent catalyst for elevated call activity in the December contract inferring a rise in the share price to $55.00 within weeks. Investors bought calls at the 50.0 and 55.0 strikes today on volume of 2,600 and 10,700 lots respectively. In the case of the latter we sense this is a fresh position since the existing open interest reads a mere 2,352 lots. Perhaps the comments from a German minister suggesting that European competitor, Airbus must face the reality of securing private rather than government capital. First, German…
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Grim FDIC Quarterly

Here’s Mish’s summary of the FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile, along with helpful colorful charts and his prediction for the market from now and into 2009.  

Grim FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile

Courtesy of Mish, at Global Economic Trend Analysis

Inquiring minds are looking at the FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile for the third quarter of 2008. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Asset-Quality Problems Continue to Depress Earnings
  • Net Income of $1.7 Billion is Second-Lowest Since 1990
  • Loan-Loss Rate Rises to 17-Year High
  • Net Interest Margins Register Improvement
  • Failures Are Highest Quarterly Total in 15 Years

Return On Assets .05 Percent

Expenses for credit losses topped $50 billion for a second consecutive quarter, absorbing one-third of the industry’s net operating revenue (net interest income plus total noninterest income). Third quarter net income totaled $1.7 billion, a decline of $27.0 billion (94.0 percent) from the third quarter of 2007. The industry’s quarterly return on assets (ROA) fell to 0.05 percent, compared to 0.92 percent a year earlier. This is the second-lowest quarterly ROA reported by the industry in the past 18 years.

Nine Failures in Third Quarter Include Washington Mutual Bank

The number of insured commercial banks and savings institutions fell to 8,384 in the third quarter, down from 8,451 at midyear. During the quarter, 73 institutions were absorbed in mergers, and 9 institutions failed. This is the largest number of failures in a quarter since the third quarter of 1993, when 16 insured institutions failed. Among the failures was Washington Mutual Bank, an insured savings institution with $307 billion in assets and the largest insured institution to fail in the FDIC’s 75-year history. There were 21 new institutions chartered in the third quarter, the smallest number of new charters in a quarter since 17 new charters were added in the first quarter of 2002. Four insured savings institutions, with combined assets of $1.0 billion, converted from mutual ownership to stock ownership in the third quarter. The number of insured institutions on the FDIC’s "Problem List" increased from 117 to 171, and the assets of "problem" institutions rose from $78.3 billion to $115.6 billion during the quarter. This is the first time since the middle of 1994 that assets of "problem" institutions have exceeded $100 billion.

Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF)
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Dave’s Daily

MARKET COMMENT

November 25, 2008.  Courtesy of Dave Fry, at ETF Digest.  

The US consumer needs a credit card bailout like a crack addict needs another fix. Now we’re going to backup credit card debt and auto loans.

When all this bailing out started I tossed out the old English maxim: “In for a penny, in for a pound.” That was an understatement. Once the government went down this road there was no stopping them.

Da Boyz on the trading desks and hedge funds like all this money pumping so they bid up stocks when they can.

Once again volume really didn’t pick up until the last hour but what there was wasn’t impressive. Breadth was good but not great. And, just in the nick of time fellow blog reader and subscriber David Hurwitz provides us with today’s data direct from Geneva where he’s vacationing. Thanks David! Now go have some fun!

ProShares launched leveraged long/short euro ETFs today. [Ultra Long, UCE and Ultra Short EUO].

ProShares launched leveraged long/short Yen ETFs today as well. [Ultra Long Yen YCL and Ultra Short YCS].

ProShares will launch leveraged Long/Short gold ETFs tomorrow I believe. [Ultra Long Gold UGL and Ultra Short Gold GLL].

ProShares launched leveraged long/short oil ETFs today. [Ultra Long UCO and Ultra Short SCO].


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Wednesday Already!?!

Holy cow is this market getting predictable!

It's a very dangerous thing as we can get complacent in our positioning but we have been hitting our marks on the button for weeks.  We were looking to break 8,200, test 8,600 and hold 8,500 and we got a yes, yes, no on that in just 2 days., which means we expect to test 8,200 again this week.  Please note that these used to be predictions I would make for the month and we would do nothing for a whole week at a time with days of Dow up 30, down 25, up 47, down 31, up 62…  Really – I'm not kidding!  Once upon a time a 100-point move in the Dow used to be the headline in the newspapers.  Ah, memories

Still, you do not have to day trade to trade this market, you just have to hedge.  Our discount entry system is a reliable way of giving yourself a 20% head start on stock entries and we can play the tops and bottoms of our ranges with simple index ETFs that give us both protection and profits on the market gyrations.  It may surprise you to note that, for all this fuss and bother, we are actualy only 100 points off where we finished the day on Friday, October 24th.  Fundamentally, this is terrible as the government has spent over $7Tn to give us that 100 points, but I think (as I did then) that we can at least begin to form a base here around 8,000 and there's plenty of ways to make money in a flat market.

As I said yesterday, it's like a roller coaster, a lot of up and down action but you end up stopping at the exact same place you started and that's just fine.  What's good about a roller coaster is the thrill of feeling like you are racing out of control but the knowledge that you will return to a comfortable place.  Things are a lot different when you have no idea what lies ahead.  At the end of yesterday's comments I laid out the entry logic for our hedged stock positions and that is key – the market is trading as though anything can happen, fear and panic are overtaking investors (and for good reason) but we can…
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Problem Institutions

Here’s a report by Michael J. Panzner at Financial Armageddon on the increase in "problem" banks.  

Note:  Michael J. Panzner is starting another blog, When Giants Fall - the name of his new book.

Problem Institutions: Breaking Out

It seems like an eternity, but it was less than two years ago when a near decade low 50 FDIC-insured financial institutions were deemed to be at risk of failure. Only 21 months later, the number has more than tripled — and appears headed far higher still. In "’Problem’ Banks Rose 46 Percent in Third Quarter, FDIC Says," Bloomberg gives us the salient details from the FDIC’s latest Quarterly Banking Profile.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said banks categorized as "problem" institutions increased 46 percent in the third quarter to the highest level in 13 years as the credit crisis battered the financial industry.

The FDIC identified 171 "problem" banks as of Sept. 30, up from 117 in the second quarter and the highest since December 1995, the regulator said today in its quarterly report. The Washington-based agency does not make public the banks’ names. 

"We’ve had profound problems in our financial markets that are taking a rising toll on the real economy," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in a news release. "Today’s report reflects these challenges."

Troubled institutions have increased in number amid souring real-estate loans in the worst housing slump since the Great Depression. Twenty-two lenders have failed this year including Washington Mutual Inc., whose September collapse was the biggest in U.S. history.

Third-quarter earnings among U.S. banks and thrifts fell 94 percent to $1.73 billion from $28.7 billion in the same quarter a year ago, driven by higher provisions for loan losses, the FDIC said. It was the lowest net income reported since the fourth quarter of 2007, the agency said.

The industry wrote off $27.9 billion in loan losses at the end of September, an increase of 157 percent from the $10.9 billion reported in the third quarter a year earlier.

Funds set aside to cover loan losses increased to $50.5 billion, more than triple the $16.8 billion reported in the year- earlier quarter.

Loans 90 days or more overdue jumped 13.1 percent to $184.3 billion from $162.9 billion in the second quarter, the FDIC said.

‘Problem Bank Assets’ 

Lenders


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Gov’t to Commit More

So what’s another $800 Billion?

Government To Commit Another $600 Billion On Mortgages, Another $200 Billion on TALF

Courtesy of Mish Shedlock

Not content with previous Bailout Pledges of $7.7 Trillion the Fed Commits $800 Billion More to Unfreeze Lending.

The Federal Reserve took two new steps to unfreeze credit for homebuyers, consumers and small businesses, committing up to $800 billion.

The central bank will purchase as much as $600 billion in debt issued or backed by government-chartered housing-finance companies. It will also set up a program of $200 billion to support consumer and small-business loans, the Fed said in statements today in Washington.

With today’s announcement, the central bank is starting to use some of the unorthodox policy tools that Chairman Ben S. Bernanke outlined as a Fed governor six years ago. Policy makers are aiming to prevent a financial collapse and stamp out the threat of deflation.

“They’re trying to put funds into the system, trying to unfreeze these markets,” said William Poole, the former St. Louis Fed president, in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Clearly, the Fed and the Treasury are beginning to take a large amount of credit risk.”

The Fed will purchase up to $100 billion in direct debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks and up to $500 billion of mortgage-backed securities backed by Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae, the statement said. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said at a press conference that $200 billion is just the “starting point” for the asset-backed securities program.

“The economy is turning down pretty dramatically,” he said. “It’s very important that lending continue to be available.”

There is no name yet for this new lending facility. Proposals are being taken. Here is the Press Release.

The Federal Reserve announced on Tuesday that it will initiate a program to purchase the direct obligations of housing-related government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)--Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks--and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. Spreads of rates on GSE debt and on GSE-guaranteed mortgages have widened appreciably of late. This action is being taken to reduce the cost and increase the availability of credit for the purchase of houses, which in turn should support housing markets and foster improved conditions in financial markets more generally.


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Investors lose appetite for fresh stimulus package as Caterpillar bears growl

Today’s tickers: CAT, CTX, SPLS, M, SAP, IDCC, FRE & SLM

CAT – Caterpillar Inc. – The government stimulus package might indeed create revenues and profits from the core of the economy outwards, but that’s not how one investor played the prospects for shares in Caterpillar. Investors are still reacting positively to the prospects for Caterpillar, despite the mid-morning index reversal, which has erased more than 100-Dow points from the rally. An investor appears to be adding to existing bear put spreads in the December contract in which 35 strike puts, just below Caterpillar’s shares are currently trading at $36.54, were bought 15,000 times while the lower 30 strike puts were sold. Should Caterpillar fumble and shares decline to the lower strike price the investor keeps the value of the distance between the strikes ($5.00) minus the net premium paid, which in this case is 1.08.

CTX – Centex Corp. – We’re still working on trying to understand quite why homebuilders’ share prices are so excited by today’s news. With 10-months worth of residential supply on the market and foreclosures still not necessarily at a peak, it’s still a little opaque as to why the measure would boost prospects for builders. The logjam in supply is in part a direct result of over supply. We can see the measures spurring consumers to take out a mortgage but not necessarily on a new home. Still, who are we to argue? Option bulls are out in force at Centex where its shares are 15.9% higher at $8.10. Meanwhile the December 7.5 strike calls have changed hands more than 9,000 times today at a 1.20 premium and the same January strike is also active at a 2.00 premium. In both cases option investors are close to doubling the number of bullish bets on the stock in today’s action. Call trading is currently eclipsing put buying by a factor of seven times. Implied volatility has fallen through the floor today as it dropped one-fifth to 134%.

SPLS – Staples Inc. – An analyst downgrade hurt shares at office-supplier, Staples in early trading sending its share price 8.2% lower to $15.84. Shares lately have challenged the October lows when implied volatility on its options peaked at 106%. Today volatility is on the rise at 93% as put buyers take the initiative seeking downside protection in the December contract where 9,300 puts were traded at the…
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Bailout Pledges Hit $7.7 Trillion

Incredible, like something out of into the Twilight Zone.

Bailout Pledges Hit $7.7 Trillion

Courtesy of Mish.

Bloomberg is reporting U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit.

The money that’s been pledged is equivalent to $24,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. It’s nine times what the U.S. has spent so far on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Congressional Budget Office figures. It could pay off more than half the country’s mortgages.

“It’s unprecedented,” said Bob Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at Vineland, New Jersey-based Cumberland Advisors Inc. and an economist for the Atlanta Fed for 10 years until January. “The backlash has begun already. Congress is taking a lot of hits from their constituents because they got snookered on the TARP big time. There’s a lot of supposedly smart people who look to be totally incompetent and it’s all going to fall on the taxpayer.”

Follow the $7.4 Trillion. Here is a Breakdown of the Bailout Rescue Efforts. Click on any chart for sharper image. Note: the tables below do not reflect another $300 billion for Citigroup.

The Fed Part 1

The Fed Part 2

The Treasury

The FDIC

The FHA

Mike "Mish" Shedlock





Testy Tuesday Morning

Wow, what a ride!

Unfortunately, like all good roller coasters, the market has a lot of ups and downs on our crazy trip to nowhere so let's not start betting we're going to jump the tracks we've been on since early October until we have some real evidence.  In a roller coaster there are two forces at work – first there is an artificial stimulus that pushes you up to a higher level and then there is the reality of gravity, which pulls you down at great speed

I discussed some of this in Stock Market Physics relating to the orbital model of market movement but that is a model for a calmer market.  Clearly we are on a roller coaster now and different forces are at work.  In an orbital model for the markets, stocks are launched and eventually stabilize at various levels where they happily drift along until some force is exerted on them that takes them higher or lower but, as the world is spinning properly, the tendency is for them to just keep going around. 

In the roller coaster model, gravity has increased and there is a tremendous pull dragging everything down.  Only when force is applied (through government bailouts and stimulus) can we move things back up hill but, as soon as the force is removed, the market quickly goes back to following it's natural path back to the bottom.  For the past 2 months, we've been looking for a floor and we hope that we've found one at 8,000 but let's keep in mind that our "bounce" off 7,500 last week was fueled by, not direct stimulus – but rumor of stimulus as Obama appointed Geithner, who has already been bailing our financials right and left as the head of the NY Fed followed by $326Bn of actual stimulus yesterday in the form of a Citigroup bail-out.

 

This clear signal was all the push the markets needed to race back up the hill to 8,500, which had been the top of our range since 11/17 and was the bottom of our range during October.  Note at the very end of October, we violated 8,500 to the downside and then had a 900-point rally on 10/28, added 500 more points for a neat 20% run top to bottom and…
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Hedge Fund Cash Levels

According to Stock Jockey, hedge funds still need to sell stocks and raise cash.

Hedge Fund Cash Levels Hit 31%

StockJockey's avatar

 

Courtesy of StockJockey, at 1440 Wall Street 

 

While I would take the 31% number with a grain of salt, nobody can argue that hedge funds have been selling securities and raising cash fast and furious to meet redemptions. But a survey completed last week by Sanford C. Bernstein indicates we might be at the halfway house going into Thanksgiving, and on the back nine as we close out the month.

Hedge funds are about halfway done selling securities to reduce their use of borrowed money and may unload $200 billion more to complete the process, according to managers surveyed by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

The survey found that 63 percent of hedge-fund managers said the sale of assets to cut leverage was at least half completed. Twenty-three percent said the process was three- quarters finished, New York-based Bernstein said. Bloomberg

Nothing is worse than being forced to puke your portfolio at ten year lows, particularly for valuation sensitive managers who never expected to see such enticing valuations, but sell they must. And before you dismiss the survey results, note that these were not pikers:

“We estimate that roughly $200 billion will be additionally unwound,” Adam Parker, an analyst at Bernstein wrote in a Nov. 21 report to clients. The survey was based on interviews in the first two weeks of November with managers of more than 65 hedge funds overseeing a combined $100 billion.

And while this theory seems a bit too simplistic, the money managers surveyed are keeping their eye on the VIX, which they believe will provide a clue to the end of the deleveraging process.

Some respondents said they expect deleveraging to continue as long as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, known as the VIX, remains elevated, Parker said.

They must appreciate having some strength to finally sell into; keep in mind that the managers surveyed were largely equity managers, with a smattering of fixed income and commodity traders also responding.

Good news, for stocks, to be sure, and maybe these markets seem to be a case of buying begetting buying, and selling begetting selling. 

I never thought we would see
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Phil's Favorites

What is at stake in the Strait of Hormuz?

 

What is at stake in the Strait of Hormuz?

Courtesy of Rockford Weitz, Tufts University

Tensions between the United States, Iran and other countries are flaring again in the Strait of Hormuz.

There are competing explanations for what’s going on in the narrow seaway through which 21% of the world’s crude oil currently passes.

Most of the reports of ...



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Zero Hedge

Wall Street Trading Desks Suffer Worst First Half In Over A Decade

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With Morgan Stanley reporting Q2 results yesterday, the first half earnings of all "big 5" US banks are now public, and when it comes to sales and trading they are nothing short of a disaster.

With the S&P at or near all time highs, institutional traders have, paradoxically, been increasingly moving to the "sidelines" for much of the second quarter as Wall Street trading desks posted their worst first half to a year in a decade, according to ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is Crude Oil Sending a Bearish Message to the Stock Market?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Crude Oil (NYSEARCA: USO) and the S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP: .INX) have peaked and bottomed together several times in the past 9 months. See points (1) and (2) on the chart above.

In summary, the correlation between Oil and the stock market has been quite interesting and demands investors attention.

Crude Oil has been creating lower highs of late and is breaking price support at (3).

If the correlation remains the same, Crude Oil may very well be sending a bearish message to stocks.

Tricky spot for active investors – careful here.

...

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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Monday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Goldman Sachs boosted the price target for Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) from $48 to $56. Applied Materials shares closed at $47.81 on Friday.
  • Citigroup raised the price target for Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE: ICE) from $92 to $99. Intercontinental Exchange shares closed at $90.77 on Friday.
  • Nomura cut the price target on LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE: LYB) from $107 to $93. LyondellBasell shares closed at $85.92 on Friday.
  • ...


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Chart School

RTT Plus Chart Book (Sneak Peak)

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

The magic of support and resistance channel lines and how they direct price. Here are some chart disclosed to members via the RTT Plus service. All charts are a few weeks old. 


XAU bound by parallel channel lines.


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Newmont Mining support from Gann Angles.



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US Dollar index (DXY) dominate cycle ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Suddenly Panic-Bid, Bitcoin Back Above $10k

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following further selling pressure overnight, someone (or more than one) has decided to buy-the-dip in cryptos this morning, sending Bitcoin (and most of the altcoins) soaring...

A sea of green...

Source: Coin360

Bitcoin surged back above $10,000...

Ethereum bounced off suppo...



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Biotech

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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

 

DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...



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ValueWalk

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

 

Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

Courtesy of Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

ValueWalk’s Q&A session with Professor Shubha Ghosh, a professor of law and the director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 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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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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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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