Archive for 2008

Notable Calls – Elan II

Elan (NYSE:ELN): PML near term pain could yield long term Tysabri gain – Leerink

- Leerink Swann is back with some comments on Elan (NYSE:ELN) following yesterday’s PML related sell-off:

- Bottom Line: Report of two newly confirmed cases of PML in MS patients treated with Tysabri are likely to create significant volatility in BIIB and ELN stocks today. But they believe the occurrence could create a positive long-term environment for the drug by demonstrating successful intervention using plasmapharesis (PLEX, initial details of which were presented at ECTRIMS in October 2007).

The patients who developed PML were treated in Europe, a region for which a TOUCH program has not been established. A MEDACorp MS consultant noted to the firm last night that the lack of confirmed cases of PML in the U.S. may suggest that the RiskMAP is effective. As of the end of 2Q:08, BIIB and ELN reported that 17,800 patients were being treated with Tysabri in the U.S. and 13,400 internationally.

They believe it highly unlikely that the FDA would remove Tysabri from the market once again following these latest cases of PML for reasons that include the fact that no confirmed cases have occurred in the U.S. and they suspect the Agency has gained comfort that the TOUCH program is working.

Second, they note comments made by Dr. Russ Katz, Director of the Division of Neurology Products at the March 2006 FDA advisory panel where it was recommended that Tysabri be reintroduced into the U.S. market. Prior to the start of the panel, Dr. Katz said "It is absolutely critical to state at this point that if marketing is permitted, we fully expect that additional cases of PML, many likely to be fatal, will occur."

Key will be whether the recent incidences of PML will impede growth in Europe or perhaps contract usage and if physicians in the U.S. will discontinue treatment or at least not initiate treatment in new patients.

Notablecalls: I have bought some ELN for my L-T investing acccount here around $11. I see the PML problem as a minor issue. The only risk here are the big funds that may be dumping the stock over the next couple of weeks due to risk-management issues.

On the valuation side, ELN’s now dirt cheap. I suggest you ignore the media ga-ga and start buying some.

Long ELN

Bottom Calling

"The only sure way to call a bottom is of course to………keep calling one."  Lol, I’ve done it that way.  Adam Warner, at Daily Options Report, discusses bottom calling and his advice is basically simple – don’t.  – Ilene 

Bottom Calling

The only sure way to call a bottom is of course to………keep calling one. Does it actually make anyone money bringing on Bobblehead after Bobblehead to opine on it? 

Harry Schiller expresses my sentiments exactly over on RM the other day.

All morning I am hearing people proclaim that the bottom is in. So what? The Dow is now over 700 points off the lows. The financials have rallied almost 40% off the lows and even now are about 30% off the lows. So you’re thinking about buying the financials now? Great plan.

Personally, I would rather not worry about such arcane and ultimately unknowable things and concentrate on buying the next hard break for the next inevitable rally. That’s all I want to do. I have no interest in trying to determine if another shoe is yet to fall. How many more skeletons are in the closet, etc., etc., etc.

I realize I am a volatility trader, and short-term oriented, so "bottom" is a pretty useless concept, other than the fact it’s some sort of support to lean against if it gets anywhere near there again. But no matter what your time frame, does it matter in the least? Particularly so many points after the fact. I doubt all that many investors did nothing, nothing, nothing and then got 100% long right then and there.

More reason why this whole exercise is kind of pointless? How about the fact that what we’ve seen in Financials is beyond classic Bear Market behavior. This from Bespoke.

With the sector down over 25% so far this year, it’s hard to believe that the Financial sector has had most of its best one-day performances since 1990 during 2008. But as shown in the chart below (click thru to see) , seven of the ten best days for the sector (red dots) have come during 2008.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because we experienced a similar situation eight years ago with the Tech sector. As shown below (again, click thru) , the Technology sector had nine of its ten best one-day gains during the bear

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YM BioSciences

Biotech Idea – might be interesting to watch YM BioSciences in the coming few months.  Courtesy of Mike Havrilla, at MikeHav Market Blog.

YM BioSciences: Awaiting Key Clinical Trial Results For Nimo

YM BioSciences (YMI) (follow link for my PDF profile) expects to report Phase 2 clinical trial results for nimotuzumab [nimo] in a colorectal cancer study some time during 3Q08, which are expected to have a major impact on the stock price. Nimo has the potential to be best-in-class among epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors such as ImClone’s (IMCL) Erbitux, Amgen’s (AMGN) Vectibix, and Genentech’s (DNA) Tarceva — note that two of the three previous companies (DNA, IMCL) have recently received buyout offers from big pharma. The key differentiating feature for nimo is the lack of severe (Grade 3 or 4) toxic side effects such as a potentially fatal skin rash that may develop with other EGFR-inhibitors. To be deemed successful in the Phase 2 colorectal cancer trial, nimo must demonstrate progression-free survival of about four months with no incidence of severe skin rash. In addition, Japan licensee Daichii-Sankyo and European partner Oncoscience AG are both expected to release late-stage results for nimo throughout the remainder of this year for treatment in a variety of cancers. Furthermore, a European Marketing Authorization Application (EMEA) has already been filed by licensee Oncoscience AG with potential approval and launch in 2009, pending successful review of the 120-day list of questions and a manufacturing inspection.

YM Bio is a speculative, micro-cap biotech play with a near-term catalyst in the form of Phase 2 results for nimo in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Trading at a slight discount to its cash position of $55M as of mid-year, YM Bio is already being priced for failure by the market despite two late-stage drug candidates which have established mechanisms of action. YM Bio has retained the rights to nimo in the US, Canada, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand; with partnership discussions underway for some of these regions. YM Bio expects to have a total of four Phase 3 trials underway by the end of this year, which is an impressive feat for a company with a $54M market cap and cash burn rate of less than $4M per quarter. Given a stock price today near its cash position, YM Bio is trading like a long-dated

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Not Exactly a Boom, Either

James D. Hamilton, at Econbrowser, discusses how we are not yet in a recession in an article posted here yesterday, "Not quite a recession."  In today’s follow up article, "Not exactly a boom, either," James argues that although we are not technically in a recession, the latest GDP figures show the economy is continuing to slow, and employment data are consistent with a recession.  – Ilene

Not exactly a boom, either

While the latest GDP figures suggest an economy that continues to grow, today’s employment data are more consistent with the claim that the U.S. economy has entered a recession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the seasonally adjusted number of workers on nonfarm payrolls fell by 51,000 in July. Their separate survey of households put the decrease in employment at 72,000. Earlier this week, ADP reported a tepid 9,000 gain in private-sector employment.

Though the monthly employment figures contain considerable measurement error and are prone to revision, a clearer picture emerges from the year-over-year percentage change, which is now negative. We’ve never seen a year-over-year decline in nonfarm payrolls without an economic recession.

Source: FRED.

The BLS also reported that the unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 5.7%. A spike up in the unemployment rate is another defining characteristic of an economic recession.

Source: FRED.

These numbers are not necessarily inconsistent with yesterday’s GDP report. Okun’s Law is an economic regularity noted by Arthur Okun in the 1960s that has held up reasonably well in the decades since. It asserts that for if GDP grows 2-3 percent slower than trend for one year, the unemployment rate would rise by 1%. Real GDP growth over the last 4 quarters has been 1.8%, compared with an average annual growth rate of 3.4%. The unemployment rate has increased over the last year from 4.7% to 5.7%. Thus slow GDP growth alone, rather than an outright fall in real GDP, would be consistent with the rising unemployment rate.

I’ve argued previously that the question of whether we’ve entered an economic recession is a materially important one, and I still believe this to be the case. But after this week’s numbers, I’m also sympathetic to the

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Fuzzy Math!

Have you ever seen literature from a fund posting attractive gains and comparing its performance to that of the benchmark S&P 500?  Have you ever investigated how the figures listed were calculated?  If not, you will definitely want to read on!

Let’s take a fairly representative example.  Fund Manager Joe Bull, for example, is very good at generating profits in bull markets.  Let’s say Joe Bull made 20% in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.  But Joe Bull does not have the toolset to survive bear markets and finds in 2008 that he is down 30%.  What has Joe Bull’s return been over 5 years?

It turns out, the answer to that questions depends greatly on what Joe Bull wants to report as his return!  Why? Because little regulation exists to prevent Joe Bull from choosing any number of mathematical approaches to calculate his return!

For example, fund manager Joe could simply take the average of his returns over 5 years.  This would be calculated as the sum of 20% + 20% + 20% + 20% -30%, all divided by 5.  So, this would be equal to 50% / 5 or 10%. 

Or Joe could choose to report the nominal annual rate with no compounding or the nominal annual rate with compounding or indeed the effective annual rate assuming continuous compounding!  Depending which of these approaches was chosen, the returns would be 9%, 7.7% or 7.4% respectively!

So, step into fund manager Joe’s shoes for a moment.  You need more investors because inevitably some existing investors will leave based on the most recent decline of 30%.  How should you market your return?  Which return should you choose?  Which will attract most new clients?

Obviously, the double digit average return stands out.  But that’s not where the marketing typically ends.  Joe now will want not only to show his return but his return relative to some benchmark, say the S&P 500.  So, if no regulation restricts Joe from choosing a methodology to denote the performance of the S&P 500, which do you think he will choose? 

That’s right, the lowest return; the effective annual rate assuming continuous compounding!

Most investors simply hand over their money in trust.  Few are sophisticated enough to know which method is used to calculate the overall return.  But now that you know the subtleties, make sure to look closely to determine which figures are…
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Apple Math

Jason Schwarz on Apple:

Apple Math: Market Share over Margins

Why has the impact of 3G iPhone sales been nonexistent on Apple (AAPL) stock? Because investors are flunking their Apple math exam. The iPhone story grows larger by the day, we are now on day 18 of iPhone mania. Tuesday morning the Santa Monica Apple store had a 2 hour wait by 8:30 a.m. If one million phones sold in the first three days was impressive, then what we’ve witnessed since then is even more impressive.

It’s time for a quick discourse on Apple math. Those, like CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who believe this has turned into an event driven stock are completely wrong. It’s all about the fundamentals. The lackluster response to unprecedented iPhone demand represents the greatest buying opportunity on Wall Street. Apple math sacrifices a big payday today for an even larger payday tomorrow. There are two components of Apple math creating this buying opportunity:

1.Those who don’t understand Apple math look at the recent earnings report and see a meager $419 million of iPhone revenue. This short term dilution of earnings power, caused by the 24-month deferred subscription accounting, has caused investors to ignorantly ignore the long term iPhone impact on earnings per share.

To foresee the real power of Apple math let’s fast forward to the December 2009 quarter when it’s estimated there will be 58 million iPhones reporting approximately $71.75 per phone per quarter ( These numbers produce a profit of $2.5B from $4.16B in revenue for just a single quarter. Compare that to the current Q2 net income of $1.07B on revenue of 7.46B for the entire company! Investors are in store for a 1,000% increase in reported revenue from the iPhone over the next 18 months.

Apple math creates a rolling snowball effect that produces larger and larger returns while at the same time eliminating short term earnings volatility. By June 2009, earnings from the iPhone will reach current net income for Macs, iPods, Apple TV, software and iTunes combined. That is only 10 months away. This growth is happening right before our eyes but most are missing it because they fail to see the future ramp manipulated by Apple math. Apple hasn’t reported any revenue from the iPhone since the beginning of March. It’s coming.
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Financial Sector Best Days

Interesting charts from Bespoke Investment Group, comparing the financial sector now to the bursting of the technology bubble between 2000 and 2002. 

Financial Sector Has Seven of Ten Best Days During 2008

Excerpt:  "With the sector down over 25% so far this year, it’s hard to believe that the Financial sector has had most of its best one-day performances since 1990 during 2008.  But as shown in the chart below, seven of the ten best days for the sector (red dots) have come during 2008… If this story sounds familiar, it’s because we experienced a similar situation eight years ago with the Tech sector.  As shown below, the Technology sector had nine of its ten best one-day gains during the bear market of 2000-2002…" 

Full article, charts here.

Not Quite a Recession

Are we in a recession?  According to James D. Hamilton, not quite.   

Not quite a recession

By James D. Hamilton, courtesy of Econbrowser. 

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that U.S. real GDP grew at a 1.9% annual rate in the second quarter of 2008, less than many analysts had been predicting a week ago, but substantially better than the 6-month-ahead predictions for that number that we were hearing back in January.

Today’s report contained some good news. The main reason that the final GDP number was weaker than predicted was the big drawdown in inventories. Without that negative contribution from inventories, real final sales grew at a robust 3.8% annual rate. Housing subtracted 0.6% from the annual real GDP growth rate, though that’s actually the smallest negative contribution we’ve seen in a year. Remember that new home construction has to be worse (on a seasonally adjusted basis) than it was the previous quarter in order to make a negative contribution to the GDP growth rate. Bigger exports and smaller imports each boosted the GDP growth rate by over 1%. Complain as you like about the Fed permitting such a big slide in the dollar, but at least it’s having the intended effect on aggregate demand through the international channel. Without the gains on net exports, real GDP would have actually fallen, making one worry about recent indications of a global economic slowdown. Real personal consumption spending also grew, though less than I had been expecting, given the presumed stimulus from the tax rebate.


The BEA also released its annual revision of earlier GDP numbers. Most noteworthy here is the adjustment to 2007:Q4 growth, which was initially reported at +0.6%, and has been revised down to -0.2%. One rule of thumb sometimes used is that two quarters of falling real GDP is characterized as a recession, according to which the -0.2% for 2007:Q4 and anemic +0.9% for 2008:Q1 do not quite qualify. I have developed an algorithm (described here and in more detail here) that looks at the full history of GDP data to refine that rule a little, based on a simple pattern-recognition procedure. Given the revisions in the data (and the great usefulness of having more than one quarter’s data to identify the most recent trend), I only use this to make a call as to where the economy was in

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Not Practical

Here’s an article by Mish, on truth-telling in financial matters.

Not Practical To Tell The TruthPanicky Man

The Fed, now in continual panic mode, Extends Emergency Borrowing Program.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it was extending its emergency borrowing program to Wall Street firms and was taking other steps to ease a tight credit market that has hobbled the national economy.

The Fed said the program, in which investment houses can tap the central bank for a quick source of cash, will be available through Jan. 30. Originally the program, started on March 17, was supposed to last until mid-September.

Another program, in which investment firms can temporarily swap more risky investments for safer Treasury securities, also will continue through Jan. 30, the Fed said. It also will let commercial banks, in a separate program, bid on cash loans that last longer — for 84 days — besides the 28-day loans now available.

FASB Postpones Off-Balance-Sheet Rule for a Year

On July 30th, FASB Postpones Off-Balance-Sheet Rule for a Year.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board postponed a measure, opposed by Citigroup Inc. and the securities industry, forcing banks to bring off-balance-sheet assets such as mortgages and credit-card receivables back onto their books.

FASB, the Norwalk, Connecticut-based panel that sets U.S. accounting standards, voted 5-0 today to delay the rule change until fiscal years starting after Nov. 15, 2009. The board needs to give financial institutions more time to prepare for the switch, FASB member Thomas Linsmeier said at a board meeting.

"We need to get a new standard into effect," Linsmeier said, though "it’s not practical" to begin requiring companies to put assets underlying securitizations onto their books this year.

Citigroup’s Mysterious Shadow Assets

Of that $11 trillion in total bank off balance sheet entities, Citigroup has $1.1 trillion of it. Enquiring minds may wish to consider Citigroup’s $1.1 Trillion in Mysterious Shadow Assets.

If Citigroup is looking for an award, it can take the blue ribbon for greed, arrogance, and stupidity in the off balance sheet category. There are plenty of other categories and more blue ribbons will be awarded. Nominations are being taken now.

Did Citigroup Know In Advance?

On July 23, the Citigroup CEO said Citi Off-Books Risks `Well in Hand’.

Citigroup Inc. Chief Financial Officer Gary Crittenden said earnings will probably

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Merrill’s Zigzag

I think I now understand the two transactions between Merrill and Lone Star Funds and Merrill and Temasek.  In both cases, it appears that Merrill is protecting the other party from incurring a loss beyond a certain level.  Here’s an excerpt from another good article.  – Ilene 

Merrill Zigzag Makes Investors Uncomfortably Numb: Mark Gilbert

Commentary by Mark Gilbert, a Bloomberg News columnist.

Excerpt:  "July 31 (Bloomberg) — To be comfortable is to be “in a state of tranquil enjoyment and content; free from pain and trouble; at ease,” the Oxford English Dictionary says. It’s hard to think of a less appropriate description of the situation at Merrill Lynch & Co. after the bank’s latest pirouette.

Two weeks ago, Chief Executive Officer John Thain told the world Merrill was “in a very comfortable spot in terms of our capital,” after reporting a $4.65 billion second-quarter net loss. This week, he decided he needed to raise an additional $8.55 billion to get truly comfy. If financial markets were courts of law, Thain would risk accusations of perjury.

Merrill’s balance-sheet flip-flop came with two more bombshells. First, those collateralized-debt obligations that used to trade at 100 percent of face value? Well, Merrill now values $31 billion of them at just 22 percent, meaning the rest of Wall Street has some catching-up to do on its writedowns.

And that $4.4 billion that Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, invested in Merrill at Christmas? That backing turns out to be somewhat less than wholehearted, because Merrill is now paying Temasek $2.5 billion in restitution for the stock losing half of its value this year.

“Call me naive, but if these investors take an ownership stake by buying Merrill shares, why do they get compensated if the price falls?” Bill Blain, who produces a daily market report for bond broker KNG Securities LLP in London, wrote this week. “I thought providing equity capital to banks meant I shared in their upside and downside. Can I have the same, please?”

That “heads we win, tails we don’t lose” twist somewhat tarnishes the ringing endorsement from Manish Kejriwal, Temasek’s senior managing director for investments. He said on Dec. 26 that the deal was “a vote of confidence for the management team and the underlying strengths of Merrill Lynch’s franchise.”

Votes of confidence don’t typically come with just-in-case
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Phil's Favorites

Trump and the problem with pardons


Trump and the problem with pardons

Courtesy of Andrew Bell, Indiana University

As a veteran, I was astonished by the recent news that President Trump may be considering pardons for U.S. military members accused or convicted of war crimes. But as a scholar who studies the U.S. military and combat ethics, I understand even more clearly the harmful long-term impact such pardons can have on the military.

My researc...

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Zero Hedge

Macron Suffers Huge Blow With Defeat To Le Pen

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In what may be the biggest shock from today's European parliamentary elections, President Emmanuel Macron is set to suffer a blow with French voters set to hand a victory to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, picking the vocal Eurosceptic and nationalist over the former Rothschild banker.

Macron’s En Marche (Republic on The Move) will have just 22.5% of the vote compared with 24% for Le Pen, according to pollsters Ifop. With Macron and Le Pen neck and neck ahead of the elections, the outcome will be a...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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


DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University


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More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...

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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


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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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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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.

Market Shadows >>