Archive for 2008

Panic Selling in Gold

Minyanville’s Kevin Depew discussing his expections for the price of gold in the future:

Panic Selling in Gold: What’s Next?

The panic selling in gold and mining shares has accelerated and the Gold Miners ETF (GDX) is the clearest example of how sharp the selloff has been, down more than 2.5% midd-day as I write. On Minyanville’s Buzz and Banter on July 24, I noted the potential head and shoulders pattern that was forming on the weekly chart:

Buzz and Banter, July 24:

Here’s a weekly chart of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) showing a deferred potential TD-Sequential 13 sell signal.  (I believe that means a strong sell signal – ed.)

Click to enlarge

As well, we could be seeing a potential head and shoulders pattern form. A key to identification would be neckline violation on expanding volume. The right shoulder has already recorded a weekly volume bar that was greater than the left shoulder volume bar peak, and that increases the probability of the formation completing in my interpretation. I should also note that the GDX has given a double bottom point and figure sell signal (1×3 chart) and violated a trendline from the May lows.

Now that this has transpired, the question is: What’s Next? 

The GDX has blown through another retracement level that could have served as a potential stopping point. This is an important session today. A close below 34.43 would increase the probability that the selloff is not done and note we still have an unfulfilled DeMark TD-Sequential buy countdown in place, this bar currently on 8 of a potential 13. A close above that level and next week the ~33 area may provide a trading point for longs as the fulfillment of the downside count from the head and shoulders.

As for gold, I would like to be more positive on the metal itself, but I believe this selling is related to a buildup of longer-term deflationary pressures in the credit markets that will dwarf the inflationary mask of (formerly surging) food and energy costs.

When debt and leverage are this excessive, cyclical inflation simply accelerates the deflationary outcome and makes the unwind more severe. Watching the Consumer Price Index is like driving over a cliff with your…
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Financial Markets: Harder, Faster…

Here’s an excerpt from Brett Steenbarger‘s article at TraderFeed discussing the "tricky" trading environment.     

Financial Markets: Harder, Faster, Not Necessarily Better or Stronger


Excerpt:  "It’s been a tricky environment for sector relationships since the July bottom. The U.S. dollar has turned sharply higher, particularly against European currencies; commodities have fallen significantly; U.S. stocks have bounced; and the shares of emerging markets have lagged. You couldn’t ask for a more thorough unwinding of themes from earlier in the year. Just in the last few days, we’ve seen housing stocks break out to multiweek highs, while energy shares languish near their lows (top chart).

Once these themes unwind, they go further than one would expect from a normal correction, shaking out large numbers of participants. Conversely, those who catch the turn in themes can make significant money in a relatively short period. While in London, I read an interesting piece in a financial publication that noted that the sharp down move in gold was initiated and sustained almost entirely in the futures markets by large participants who were trading an algorithmic relationship vis a vis the U.S. dollar. Gold may be classified as a commodity, but it trades as a currency when these algorithms dominate.

All of this makes it difficult to be a classic trend follower or a fundamental, longer-term participant waiting for relatively undervalued assets to return to (or overshoot) their fair value. The normal way of trading those approaches is to wait for markets to confirm your views and then gradually add to positions as the markets move your way. When themes unwind, however, such a money management scheme almost ensures that a trader will be running the greatest risk just as markets reverse.

I’m not sure there’s an easy answer to this dilemma"…. Full article here.


Weekend Wrap-Up

Wow – what a wild ride this has been!

40% seems to be the number of the month as our $25KP is now up by exactly that much, our $10KX is up 40.6% after its first expiration period and Optrader's Swing Trade Virtual Portfolio hit 41%.  All in all it was a great month.  Day Trading did well but was reset on 8/4 and is up "just" 13.2% in that period while our "safe" Stocks Portflio made a nice 11.4%  and our Butterfly Collection made 11.2% in its first month, which is really good as we absorbed a huge loss in ELN along the way

We started these virtual portfolios after the 7/18 expiration week in order to more fully illustrate the various styles of option trading along with various virtual portfolio balancing techniques.  Only our pokey old Long-Term Virtual Portfolio, now up 224.8% for the year, had index puts for protection as we ran this month generally bullish – as we had last month when we were punished for it as we started our bottom fishing just a little bit early.  The waters are still very treacherous and we still have plenty of covers but, on the whole, things are going pretty much according to plan.

On December 31st, I did my Index Round-Up '07 and it's good to go back and read these things once in a while to see how on or off track my predictions are as we move through the year.  We had expected a rough first half and we expected Q2 earnings to be the beginning of a market turn – so far so good but the bottom was lower than we thought as oil went higher than we expected.  Now it depends what kind of pullback we get in crude and how soon the now-recessionary global economy can pull itself back together.  Back in December, with oil just getting to $100, I said we needed it to ge below $100 for us to kick-start the economy.  After spending most of Q2 in the $120s, $110 just doesn't cut it, we need to average $80 in the second half of the year and July is already over at $125 avg. 

The difference between $80 oil, which is what the second half of '07 averaged (and they had terrorism and hurricanes and peak oil too) and $110
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Meredith Whitney, About Average

Chad Brand of Peridot Capital Management LLC discusses Meredith Whitney.

Sorry Fortune, Meredith Whitney Is Just An Average Analyst (You Even Said It Yourself!)

Remember when Henry Blodget made his $400 call on Amazon stock back in the late 1990′s? He will be known forever for that call more than all the other ones he made combined. Fast forward nearly a decade and Oppenheimer banking analyst Meredith Whitney has achieved similar rock star status. The August 18th issue of Fortune Magazine has her on the cover.

Now, I like Fortune a lot. In fact, aside from an online subscription to the Wall Street Journal, my subscription to Fortune is the only periodical I actually pay for. But this Meredith Whitney hoopla is really getting old, and quite frankly, it’s too much.

Like Blodget, whose $400 price target came to fruition despite the controversy surrounding it, Whitney’s early warning on Citigroup (C) stock last year definitely deserves kudos. She got death threats after suggesting the banking giant would be forced to cut their dividend and raise capital. At the time it was a minority opinion, but she was right and deserves credit for a very bold and correct call.

That said, let’s not get carried away. Investors and the media should not judge an analyst on a single call, but rather the entirety of their work. There are great analysts out there, but the track records of most are mediocre at best. When I have the chance to guest lecture undergraduate and MBA students, I often refer to a study that showed the stock picks of sell-side analysts, like Whitney, consistently underperform the market and do so with more volatility.

So, does Meredith Whitney deserve all the attention she has been getting lately from investors and the media (she is on CNBC all the time)? I have nothing against her, but I doubt it. She should be commended for the Citigroup call, but treating her as the "go-to" analyst on banks would only be reasonable if her track record beyond that one call was overly impressive. Unfortunately for investors, it isn’t.

In the Fortune cover story, in fact, it is mentioned that according to Starmine (a company that tracks the performance of analyst recommendations against

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Gold, Silver and the Great Unwind

In this article, Mish argues that "commodity bulls" are currently underestimating the great unwinding of gold, silver and other commodities and the Implications of the Slowing Global Economy.  He argues that a cyclical downturn in commodities is underway.   

Gold, Silver and the Great Unwind

What’s happening with gold should be no real surprise. Although I have stated many times that gold is money and gold should do well in deflation, and we are in deflation (see The Future Is Frugality and Implications of the Slowing Global Economy for the deflation case), in the initial stages of deflation, leverage in everything is reduced by force.

There are thousands of hedge funds, pension plans, and individuals over-leveraged in a massive bet against the US dollar and US assets in general. Many themes of the past 7 years are now being unwound. And one would expect leverage to be forced out in deflation as credit simply dries up. I call this the great unwind.

The Great Unwind

  • Short US Dollar – Long Commodities
  • Short US Dollar – Long Foreign Equities
  • Short Financials – Long Gold
  • Short US Equities – Long Foreign Equities

Gold will reassert itself eventually along with the short financials trade, but as the great unwind continues, the unwinding process for those in gold can be painful.

The reason gold will reassert itself is that Gold Is Money. For more on Gold As Money, please see Misconceptions about Gold and Why does fiat money seemingly work?

Bear in mind that gold disconnected from the US dollar in 2005 for the entire year, so it could do so again. Furthermore, there is really no way to tell just how long the unwinding can last. However, given that commodities were essentially a one way bet for the last seven years, the unwind can last a lot longer than commodity bulls might think.

Gold and Silver Seasonality

Another factor to consider is gold and silver seasonality. August through January is generally a very favorable timeframe from gold and silver, so that might (or might not), slow or even reverse the effects of the unwind.

One additional point is that silver, unlike gold, might easily act more like an industrial commodity and less like a currency than gold. Gold’s primary role is that of money. Silver is a higher risk/higher reward offering

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Negative $50 Billion Each?

Wouldn’t being worth a negative number be being worth less than worthless?…  Barry Ritholtz comments on an article in Barron’s, "The Endgame Nears For Fannie and Freddie," by Jonathan R. Laing.  (A subscription is required for the full article at Barron’s, but a free text version is available at Marketwatch.)

Fannie and Freddie: Worth Negative $50 Billion Each

Excerpts:  "Fascinating piece in Barron’s this week on our favorite junk paper: Phoney and Fraudy.

A few interesting factoids about the GSEs, many of which you may have been unaware of:

• In the "1980s Fannie was effectively insolvent";

• These two GSEs currently have $5.2 trillion debt and guarantee obligations;

• Both balance sheets contain a tax credit entry called "deferred tax assets." These increase Fannie’s net worth by $36 billion and Freddie’s by $28 billion. They don’t represent real cash, but are merely paper credits built up over the years. The worse shape the companies are in, the greater these credits are. To insolvent companies like FRE & FNM, they are meaningless accounting entries.

• The CEO claim that losses were due to being "forced to buy higher-risk mortgages to meet government affordable-housing targets" is provably untrue; The vast bulk of GSE losses came from mortgages where there was no attempt to verify borrowers’ income or net worth. And, most of these mortgages were for principal balances much higher than mortgages made to low-income borrowers;

• It was the lack of lending standards — LTV, Income verification, FICO scores, debt servicing abiloity, down payments, etc. — that was the primary cause of losses, and not a "soft" government goal

Here’s your Ubiq-cerpt:™

"IT MAY BE CURTAINS SOON FOR THE MANAGEMENTS and shareholders of beleaguered housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . It is growing increasingly likely that the Treasury will recapitalize Fannie and Freddie in the months ahead on the taxpayer’s dime, availing itself of powers granted it under the new housing bill signed into law last month. Such a move almost certainly would wipe out existing holders of the agencies’ common stock, with preferred shareholders and even holders of the two entities’ $19 billion of subordinated debt also suffering losses. Barron’s first raised the possibility of a government takeover of Fannie and Freddie in a March 10 cover story, "Is Fannie Mae

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Short Oil

Phil [in his own words] "did an interview for the BBC in early July and told the guy that the whole oil thing was a scam and that the regulatory noose was tightening and there was going to be a huge correction in crude etc (you know, they typical stuff I say when you wind me up) and he talked to me for an hour and they used about 30 seconds of it.  That’s show biz I guess…  My bit’s at about 18:40."  -  

Speaking of oil, here’s an optimistic article on the price of oil coming down, courtesy of Jason Schwarz.  Jason’s the Options Strategist for Lone Peak Asset Management.   - Ilene

Forget $100 a Barrel – Oil Will Plummet to $30

Remember all those times OPEC tried to tell us that they didn’t want high oil prices and we didn’t believe them?  Well, they meant it.  They knew that technology was available to crush oil demand but they hoped that the low price of oil would keep the technology buried.  The cat’s now out of the bag.  The commodity run is over.  The talking heads are trying to temper the recent selloff in oil by saying that it will settle around $100 a barrel but that is not what happens when a bubble bursts.  Oil is headed back down to historical levels between $30-$50 a barrel.  Consider the following evidence:

1. Oil consumers quickly adjust to high gasoline prices.  June data from the IEA reports a 4.7% drop in miles driven by Americans year over year.  That equals a loss of 12.2 billion road miles of oil demand in just one month.  The adjustment has come without a hitch.  Staycations have replaced vacations.  Honda (HMC) Civics have replaced Chevy (GM) Tahoes. 

Not only are we driving less, we are using less gas while we drive.   Everyone was shocked at the gigantic $6.3 billion loss reported in GM’s latest earnings announcement. What has happened to automobile demand in just two months is astounding. You only have to go through that type of pain once to never let it happen again.  The gas guzzling SUV market has collapsed overnight.  Americans have proven how easy it is to adjust to high oil.  

2. New transportation
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Dr. Doom

Friday night fun! (okay, for some of us) – a visit with Dr. Doom, Nouriel Roubini, who really isn’t a "perpetually pessimistic perma-bear," as he’s often portrayed. - Ilene

New York Times Article on Nouriel Roubini as “Dr. Doom”

Courtesy of Nouriel Roubini.  

The New York Times has published a long article/profile about me – available online here – that appears in print on their glossy Sunday Magazine.

The article is a very friendly and sympathetic portrait of my views. I would take issue only with the characterization of myself as being a “perma-bear” or “perpetual pessimist”. For one thing I ended up a realist rather than a pessimist about the current economic and financial crisis; things are turning out even worse than I initially predicted.

Also, while very pessimistic about the U.S. and global financial outlook in the short run, I expect that the global economy can grow at a sustained rate in the medium term and that the integration of China, India and other emerging market economies in the global economy is a very important and positive trend over time. So, yes there is doom and gloom over the short term; but the medium term horizon will be brighter for the global economy if and when the mess of the current financial and economic crisis is fixed. Still, as i have recently argued – and as reported at the end of the New York Times article – this U.S. crisis may be the sign of the beginning of the long run decline of the American Empire.

Here is the text of the New York Times profile of me:

 Dr. Doom

Two years ago, Nouriel Roubini predicted the current economic crisis. Now he sees things becoming far worse.


Published: August 15, 2008, New York Times Sunday Magazine

On Sept. 7, 2006, Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University, stood before an audience of economists at the International Monetary Fund and announced that a crisis was brewing. In the coming months and years, he warned, the United States was likely to face a once-in-a-lifetime housing bust, an oil shock, sharply declining consumer confidence and, ultimately, a deep recession. He laid out a bleak sequence of events: homeowners defaulting on mortgages, trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unraveling worldwide and the…
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A Tale of Two Markets, Part 3

In this last article of the Tale of Two Markets series, Bennet Sedacca and Rob Roy discuss Option Adjusted Spreads, "Zero Hour," (defined below), AIG, C (expect it to survive, in pieces), the overall credit market (a "mess, and unlikely to recover any time soon"), equity prices (over-priced), and their long-term goal for the S&P 500, 650-900.   Courtesy of Minyanville. 

A Tale of Two Markets, Part 3

Option Adjusted Spreads (OAS) are defined by Bloomberg as "A methodology using option pricing techniques to value the embedded options risk component in a bond’s total spread."

OAS (Option Adjusted Spread) of 30 year FNMA 6% Mortgage Pool 

Click to enlarge

In plain English, it simply tells us how much an investor is being compensated to own a security (in this case a 30 year Fannie Mae 6% mortgage pool) and all of its embedded call options, or prepayment risk in mortgage backed securities.
So you might think that after all of the stimulus, bailouts, surprises, and rule changes that credit spreads would tighten. But no, OAS in most mortgage securities is at recent highs, which simply means that the stimulus isn’t having the desired impact.

This is what I call "Zero Hour," a concept I have been featuring for years that was originally brought to us by Barry Bannister. 

I wish that wide spreads were contained to FNMA, GNMA or FHLMC, but sadly they’re not. In fact, spreads in the credit markets are at historically wide levels and show no signs of tightening. It is my belief that the credit market is a rational place where balance sheets, cash flow, and write-downs/write-offs are burying many companies into a hole that they will not be able to emerge from for quite some time.

Equity markets, on the other hand, are much more emotional and susceptible to trades like "Get Shorty." "Get Shorty" would be a very tough trade to pull off in the credit markets, so Fed, SEC and Treasury officials concentrate on equities, even though if credit spreads don’t tighten and credit isn’t made more available to individuals and institutions, the system will continue starving for much needed stimulus.

For another example, consider the case of American International Group (AIG), the once great insurance behemoth. It’s now, in my opinion, been reduced to a company that is spinning out…
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Swing trading virtual portfolio – Optrader

A very good month again in the virtual portfolio: +41%! The swing trading virtual portfolio is now up 626% since beginning, 5 months ago, without compounding.
All trades were posted live in the comments and in the virtual portfolio and most of them were simple calls or puts.

During the month we closed 22 trades. 13 (59%) of them were winning trades and 9 (41%) were losses.
Total wins were 20.18R
Total losses were 6.55R
Average win was 1.55R
Average loss was 0.72R

Expectancy is (59%X1.55R)-(41%X0.72R)=0.62R
This means that on average we should expect on each trade a profit of 0.62R.

Our expectancy decreased significantly compared to previous month (was 1.84R last month). This is due to the fact that we did not have any big winners. Average win was only 1.55R this month. The reason is that it was a very choppy month and we had to take profits fast when we saw them. We also traded less (22 VS 31 closed trades), because of this choppy environment. Still very happy that we got a positive expectancy.

Hopefully next month we will be able to let more trades run. It started very well, as we have some opened trades right now such as AAPL and GOOG that we have been riding for a while.

Again, I want to thank everyone who has been participating in the comments. It feels that the group is becoming better and better every month and the discussions more interesting.

Live virtual portfolio is posted below but live updates are only available to subscribers to the swing trading virtual portfolio.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, membership etc.), please click here

- Optrader


Zero Hedge

Enemy Of The People?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Via The Zman blog,

There has never been a time when normal people did not know the media was biased and biased in a predictable direction. For every non-liberal in the media, there were at least ten liberals. The ratio was probably higher, but then, as now, some lefties liked to pretend they were independents or some third option.

The media used to invest a lot of time denying they had a bias and an agenda, but the only people who believed them were on the Left, which had the odd effect of confirming they had a bias and an agenda.


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Phil's Favorites

A 2019 Earnings Recession?


A 2019 Earnings Recession?

Courtesy of 

Shout to Leigh!

On the new Talk Your Book – Josh Brown is joined by Leigh Drogen of Estimize, one of the leading providers of crowdsourced financial and economic data to talk about the trend in corporate profits that could potentially lead to an earnings recession later this year.

What is the thing that Leigh is seeing in the data that Wall Street isn’t yet picking up on? What segment of the stock market is most at risk? Why is the crowd smarter than the narrow consensus of Wall Street analysts?

Check out Estimize ...

more from Ilene


D.E. Shaw Investment Calls For Leadership Change At EQT

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Elliott Management has offered to acquire QEP Resources for approximately $2.1 billion, contending the oil and gas explorer’s turnaround efforts have done little to lift the company’s share price. The company responded and said that a thorough review of the proposition is imperative in order to properly act in the best interests of shareholders, “taking into account the company’s other alternatives and current market conditions.” The news came only a month after Travelport Worldwide agreed to sell itself to Siris Capital Group and Elliott’s private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital for $4.4 billion in cash and two months after Athenahealth was bought by Veritas and Evergreen for $5.7 bi...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold & Silver Testing Important Breakout Levels!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold and Silver from a long-term perspective have created a series of lower highs over the past 8-years. Will 2019 bring a change to this trend? A big test is in play!

Gold since the lows in 2016 has created a series of higher lows, while Silver may have created a double bottom.

Gold & Silver are currently facing break attempts a (1) and (2). These falling resistance lines have disappointed metals bulls for the past few years.

The direction of Gold and Silver weeks and months from now should be highly influenced by what each does as they are attempting to break above important resistance levels.

To become a member of Kimbl...

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Insider Scoop

UBS Says Disney's Streaming Ambition Gives It A 'New Hope'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related DIS Despite Some Risks, Analysts Still Expecting Double Digit Growth From Communications Services In Q4 ... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

Russia Prepares To Buy Up To $10 Billion In Bitcoin To Evade US Sanctions

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

While the market has been increasingly focused on the rising headwinds in the global economy in general, and China's economic slowdown in particular, while the media is obsessing over daily revelations that Trump may or may not have colluded with Russia to get elected, a far more critical, if underreported, shift has been taking place over the past year.

As we reported in June, whether due to concerns over draconian western sanctions and asset confiscations following the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal, or simply because it wanted to diversify away from the dollar, Russia liquidated virtually all of its Treasury holdings in the late spri...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

In last week’s recap we asked:  “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problems in 1 speech?”

Thus far the market says yes!  As Guns n Roses preached – all we need is a little “patience”.  Four up days followed by a nominal down day Friday had the market following it’s normal pattern the past nearly 30 years – jumping whenever the Federal Reserve hints (or essentially says outright) it is here for the markets.   And in case you missed it the prior Friday, Chairman Powell came back out Thursday to reiterate the news – so…so… so… patient!

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reinforced that message Thursday during a discussion at the Economic Club of Washington where he said that the central bank will be “fle...

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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn


Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's failure based on his personality, which was evident years ago. This article, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump became president, in July, 2016, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...

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Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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


Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

Today, the scientific community is aghast at the prospect of gene editing to create “designer” humans. Gene editing may be of greater consequence than climate change, or even the consequences of unleashing the energy of the atom.


more from Biotech

Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...

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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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 >>