Archive for 2008

Case Shiller CPI

Here’s an important economic analysis by Mish, looking at housing prices, interest rates, inflation and deflation, and also sharing his thoughts and expectations.

Note:  The Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are quarterly nominal house price indices for the United States.  The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households. CPI-U is the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

Case Shiller CPI vs. CPI-U November 2008 Analysis

Courtesy of Mish

This post is an update on the Case-Shiller-CPI (CS-CPI).

The chart is courtesy of my friend "TC" and a brief explanation is that the Case-Chiller housing index is substituted for Owners’ Equivalent Rent in the CPI. The results are compared to the BLS Government Published CPI (CPI-U called OER-CPI in the following chart).

CS-CPI vs. CPI-U

click on chart for sharper image.

The chart shows the negative consumer prices as measured by CS-CPI. Those watching the CS-CPI have not been shocked by the dramatic plunge in long term interest rates. Those woodenly following CPI-U preaching about negative real interest rates have been barking up the wrong tree.

In spite of massive cuts in the Fed Funds Rate, real interest rates are still positive by more than 1% and will still be positive when Bernanke cuts 50 to 75 basis points on December 16. Looking ahead I expect both falling consumer prices and falling home prices yet Bernanke is running out of room to cut rates.

Going forward, time permitting from "TC" who produces this chart, I will publish the data shortly after the release of Case Shiller housing data towards the end of every month and/or after the BLS CPI Release.

Please see Case Shiller and CAR November 2008 Release for the latest Case Shiller and California Association of Realtors data analysis by "TC".

Methodology Background

"Owners’ Equivalent Rent" (OER) is the largest component in the government compilation of the CPI. OER is a process in which the BEA estimates what it would cost if owners were to rent the homes they own from themselves. I do not believe this to be a valid construct of prices.

By ignoring housing prices, CPI massively understated inflation for years. The CPI is massively overstating inflation now.

In normal…
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Blaming Moody’s

Another H/T to Barry, as he reports on a NY Times article by Gretchen Morgenson, Debt Watchdogs: Tamed or Caught Napping? about Moody’s.  I’ve been reading Barry’s articles for a long time and have never seen him write anything quite so angry (not saying there’s nothing I’ve missed).  – Ilene

Blaming Moody’s

By Barry Ritholtz

Excerpt:  The Sunday NYT has a big Gretchen Morgenson column on Moody’s, one of the three incompetent and corrupt ratings agencies that helped foster the current credit crisis.

A combination of factors led the ratings agencies to their current state of criminal embarrassment. Once they went public, the usual short term focus on profits began driving what was once an objective decision making process regarding rating bonds.

Once again, we see misplaced incentives shift the focus of a publicly traded firm: From safe, low-margin business of rating bonds to the more lucrative business of covering structured financial products and derivatives.

Thomas J. McGuire, a former director of corporate development at the company who left in 1996, was quote din the Times article, saying: “Moody’s was like a good watchdog that had regarded the financial markets as its turf and barked and growled when anybody it didn’t know came near it. But in the ’90s, that watchdog got muzzled and gelded. It was told to turn into a lapdog.”...

And of course, the SEC, enraptured in their radical free-market, self-regulating, delusions, were nowhere to be found…

Since I cannot put this in the book, I might as well toss it out here: All of these motherfuckers need to be thrown in prison, where they will be sodomized on a daily basis for the rest of their lives.

Barry’s Source:

Debt Watchdogs: Tamed or Caught Napping?

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

"These errors make us look either incompetent at credit analysis or like we sold our soul to the devil for revenue, or a little bit of both.”

— A Moody’s managing director responding anonymously to an internal management survey, September 2007.

The housing mania was in full swing in 2005 when analysts


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Getting bang for your buck

Here’s an excerpt from Joseph Stiglitz’s essay (at guardian.co.uk) entitled Getting bang for your buckJoseph Stiglitz 

Getting bang for your buck

Preserving financial institutions is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. It is the flow of credit that is important.

By Joseph Stiglitz

We are all Keynesians now. Even the right in the United States has joined the Keynesian camp with unbridled enthusiasm and on a scale that at one time would have been truly unimaginable.

For those of us who always claimed some connection to the Keynesian tradition, this is a moment of triumph, after having been left in the wilderness, almost shunned, for more than three decades. At one level, what is happening now is a triumph of reason and evidence over ideology and interests.

Economic theory has long explained why unfettered markets were not self-correcting, why regulation was needed, why there was an important role for government to play in the economy. But many, especially people working in the financial markets, pushed a type of "market fundamentalism". The misguided policies that resulted – pushed by, among others, some members of President-elect Barack Obama‘s economic team – had earlier inflicted enormous costs on developing countries. The moment of enlightenment came only when those policies also began inflicting costs on the US and other advanced industrial countries.

Keynes argued not only that markets are not self-correcting, but that in a severe downturn, monetary policy was likely to be ineffective. Fiscal policy was required. But not all fiscal policies are equivalent. In America today, with an overhang of household debt and high uncertainty, tax cuts are likely to be ineffective (as they were in Japan in the 1990s). Much, if not most, of last February’s US tax cut went into savings.

With the huge debt left behind by the Bush administration, the US should be especially motivated to get the largest possible stimulation from each dollar spent. The legacy of under-investment in technology and infrastructure, especially of the green kind, and the growing divide between the rich and the poor, requires congruence between short-run spending and a long-term vision...

And yet one should read history and theory carefully: preserving financial institutions is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. It is the flow of credit that is important, and the reason that the failure of banks


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We’re Down 33%

Trader Mark, pointing out that besides our personal investments doing rather poorly, perhaps, our collective investments aren’t doing so hot either:

We’re Down 33% in 1 Month on "Our" Investment

Courtesy of Trader Mark, at Fund My Mutual Fund

Talk about adding insult to injury – not only are our real investments being obliterated but even our tax dollars are being obliterated – "we’re" down 33% in 1 month. But don’t you worry, from government’s mouth to God’s ears, these are long term investments that will make us scads of money – just you wait. Unlike everyone else, the US Government is not a daytrader.

Foreign readers, I am sorry to inform you, you are not eligible for this once in a lifetime investing opportunity. Only those on American soil are so lucky to have this chance… please do not email me with your envious thought. I suggest immigration to take part in such bountiful excesses.

  • Stock intended to eventually earn taxpayers a profit as part of the Bush administration’s massive bank bailout has lost a third of its value — about $9 billion — in barely one month, according to an Associated Press analysis. Shares in virtually every bank that received federal money have remained below the prices the government negotiated.
  • Shares in virtually every bank that received federal money have remained below the prices the government negotiated.
  • "We’re not day traders, and we’re not looking for a return tomorrow" said Neel Kashkari, the director of Treasury’s Office of Financial Stability, which oversees the $700 billion financial rescue fund. "Over time, we believe the taxpayers will be protected and have a return on their investment." (I believe Yahoo should be worth $150 – if only the market respect my beliefs)
  • Most of the Treasury Department’s investments since late October have been in preferred bank stocks, more than $180 billion worth, with investments in giants like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, and many small community banks.
  • But the government also negotiated options to buy up to 1.2 billion shares of common bank stock that was valued at $27 billion. Now, however, the value of that common stock is worth less than $18 billion. If the government exercised all its warrants to purchase the stock today, it would


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Wild Weekly Wrap-Up

What a fun week!

The market performed like a trained puppy for us, going right up and down in our range between 8,200 and 8,650 – which we are now fairly certain is our new mid-point, which means we'll be looking for a test to the upside over the next three weeks that is equal to the test to the downside of the past 3 weeks, so we'll be looking as high as 9,800 on a good run – I guess we'd be able to call that a "Santa Clause Rally" but really, anything less than that will actually be fairly bearish.  We topped out at 9,625 on Nov 4th and last closed above that level on Oct 6th – on the way down.

Our last good run off 8,200 came on October 28th (into the 11/4 election), when we had one huge day (Tues) followed up by another week of gains leading to the top on Nov 4th.  The catalyst that week was the election and a lot of CB rate cuts and we can expect more money drops into the end of the year as World Governments scramble to save Christmas.

I was in a very Scroogey mood on Monday, where I predicted a market maelstrom, following through with my bearish call to cover up the Friday before as we felt the markets great week was simply full of ill-gotten gains.  As I pointed out in referring to the image of the ships circling a whirlpool in the ocean – you can see how people on one side of the ship can look down into the hole and see nothing but oblivion while people on the outside of the ship can look out and see calm waters ahead.  That's how the markets are trading with neither the bulls nor the bears able to see the others' point of view.  Monday's action did not disappoint us as we plunged headlong into the abyss with a 600-point drop for the day.  The rest of the week was spent just trying to get back to the last Friday's open…

Nonetheless even Monday morning I was calling for more bottom fishing and Monday evening I put out a list of 36 "Stocks to Buy at the Bottom" as I was encouraged by the technical neatness of the
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Depressionomics

Let’s check in with MishHere’s his most recent article on "Depressionomics," which he explains, read on…

Depressionomics, Poof 1/2 Million Jobs Lost 

Courtesy of Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis

I wrote about the latest jobs numbers this morning in Jobs Contract 11th Straight Month; Unemployment Rate Hits 6.7%.

Let’s look at some more details starting with this report: Half-million jobs vanish as economy deteriorates.

An alarming half-million American jobs vanished virtually in a flash last month, the worst mass layoffs in over a third of a century, as economic carnage spread ever faster and the nation hurtled toward what could be the hardest hard times since the Great Depression.

Staring at 533,000 lost jobs, economists were anything but hopeful. Since the start of the recession last December, the economy has shed 1.9 million jobs, and the number of unemployed people has increased by 2.7 million — to 10.3 million now out of work.

Some analysts predict 3 million more jobs will be lost between now and the spring of 2010 — and that the once-humming U.S. economy could stagger backward at a shocking 6 percent rate for the current three-month quarter.

The jobless rate would have bolted to 7 percent for the month if not for the exodus of 422,000 people from the work force for any number of reasons — going back to school, retiring or simply abandoning job searches out of sheer frustration. When people stop looking, they’re no longer counted in the unemployment rate.

The United States — already in recession for a year, may not be out of it until the spring of 2010 — making for the longest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, economists are now saying. Recessions in the mid-1970s and early 1980s last 16 months.

Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent in 1982, terrible but still a far cry from the Depression, when roughly one in four Americans were out of work.

Depressionomics

On Wednesday I wrote Prepare For Depression Level Unemployment.

Deflation has already set in and it’s now realistic to start talking about another "D" word, this one being depression. Before we can use a word, we must define it. For the sake of argument, let’s define depression as unemployment


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Headed in the Other Direction

Here’s another interesting article by Michael Panzner posted on his new site, When Giants Fall. 

Headed in the Other Direction

The Financial Times’ Martin Wolf is one of my favorite commentators. Even when I disagree with his perspective, I am always interested in hearing what he has to say.

As it happens, I make liberal reference to his views in my forthcoming book, mainly because he can connect the dots of economic reality in ways that many ivory tower theorists can not.

In his most recent column, he discusses the potential fallout stemming from large structural imbalances between nations such as the U.S., which has, up until recently at least, been a chronic overconsumer, and export-driven countries like China and Japan.

One difference between Wolf and I: He appears to have faith that many challenging issues can still be resolved in the spirit of global cooperation.

I, on the other hand, believe we are past that point, if only because there is plenty of evidence that others are quickly losing faith in win-win solutions.

Regardless of who is right, it’s worth having a look at Wolf’s latest thoughts, in a column entitled "Global Imbalances Threaten the Survival of Liberal Trade."

The world has run out of willing and creditworthy private borrowers. The spectacular collapse of the western financial system is a symptom of this big fact. In the short run, governments will replace private sectors as borrowers. But that cannot last for ever. In the long run, the global economy will have to rebalance. If the surplus countries do not expand domestic demand relative to potential output, the open world economy may even break down. As in the 1930s, this is now a real danger.

To understand this, one must understand how the world economy has worked over the past decade. A central role has been played by the emergence of gigantic savings surpluses around the world. In 2008, according to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, the aggregate excess of savings over investment in surplus countries will be just over $2,000bn (see chart).

The oil exporters are expected to generate $813bn. Remarkably, a number of oil-importing countries are also expected to generate huge surpluses. Foremost among them are China ($399bn), Germany ($279bn) and Japan ($194bn). As a share of gross domestic product, China’s current account surplus is forecast


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Geopolitical Synchonicity

Michael Panzner, on his website When Giants Falls, writes about the global economic crisis affect China and warnings of ensuing social unrest.  

Geopolitical Synchronicity

Courtesy of Michael Panzner

I’m not sure if it is 1) pure coincidence; 2) string-pulling or "promotional" efforts by those with some sort of axe to grind; 3) intense competition among editors and reporters to jump on what could be the next "hot" story; 4) or some combination of all three, but it often seems that certain developments start attracting a lot of media attention, all at once.

Such was evident in the post I put together on the problem of growing violence on and around our southern border, entitled "Failed State in Our Own Backyard?" My commentary included links to numerous recent articles detailing the unsettling fallout stemming from ongoing battles between the Mexican government and ruthless drug cartels.

In the latest example of what might be described as "geopolitical synchronicity," there are a growing number of reports discussing the potential for social unrest in China in the wake of increasingly unsettled economic conditions. Needless to say, if things were to get seriously out of hand, it would likely have far-reaching repercussions.

Below are three examples:

"Slowing Economy Spurs Disquiet in China" (Spiegel Online):

With factories running out of money and workers fearing for their wages, the global crisis has hit China at full tilt. The country’s political leadership is implementing aggressive countermeasures.

An eerie quiet has descended on the world’s factory, especially in places where machines are suddenly at a standstill. In Dongguan in southern China’s Pearl River Delta, hundreds of workers from the bankrupt Weixu shoe factory march silently through the city, causing traffic jams on wide streets usually crowded with a constant stream of heavily loaded trucks.

Dongguan is an important motor in the Chinese export machine. The city, not far from Hong Kong, is home to row after row of low-wage factories. The streets are normally empty during the day. At Weixu, for example, migrant workers lived in dormitories directly on the factory grounds, crowded into small, multiple-occupancy rooms.

But now the drudges are out in public, staging street demonstrations somewhere in Dongguan almost every day. Many factories are running out of money and work now that China’s consumers in Europe and the United States are buying less.

The 2,000 Weixu workers do not carry protest signs or use whistles. China does not permit unions that


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Why Wall St. Always Blows It

BullDead.jpgThe Atlantic was kind enough to ask me to write an article explaining how the hell we just blew yet another monstrous financial bubble whose bursting is now blowing our economy to smithereens.  Specifically, they wanted to me to explain how, time after time, so many smart people could be so stupid--on Wall Street and elsewhere.  They reached out to me because, in the last bubble, I was one of those people…  And here’s the article itself.  Hope you enjoy!  – ….

Why Wall Street Always Blows It

Excerpt: 

Well, we did it again. Only eight years after the last big financial boom ended in disaster, we’re now in the migraine hangover of an even bigger one—a global housing and debt bubble whose bursting has wiped out tens of trillions of dollars of wealth and brought the world to the edge of a second Great Depression.

Millions have lost their houses. Millions more have lost their retirement savings. Tens of millions have had their portfolios smashed. And the carnage in the “real economy” has only just begun.

What the hell happened? After decades of increasing financial sophistication, weren’t we supposed to be done with these things? Weren’t we supposed to know better?

Yes, of course. Every time this happens, we think it will be the last time. But it never will be.

First things first: for better and worse, I have had more professional experience with financial bubbles than I would ever wish on anyone. During the dot-com episode, as you may unfortunately recall, I was a famous tech-stock analyst at Merrill Lynch. I was famous because I was on the right side of the boom through the late 1990s, when stocks were storming to record-high prices every year—Internet stocks, especially. By late 1998, I was cautioning clients that “what looks like a bubble probably is,” but this didn’t save me. Fifteen months later, I missed the top and drove my clients right over the cliff.

Later, in the smoldering aftermath, as you may also unfortunately recall, I was accused by Eliot Spitzer, then New York’s attorney general, of having hung on too long in order to curry favor with the companies I was analyzing, some of which were also Merrill banking clients. This


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Bad Moon Rising

Commensurate with it’s name, Financial Aramgeddon finds a musical theme song.

Bad Moon Rising

 

Courtesy of Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon.

I see the bad moon a-rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
I see bad times today.

— From "Bad Moon Rising,"
by John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival 

Maybe I’m showing my age (and revealing, perhaps, that my brain has a rather odd configuration of neural pathways), but when I read the article that follows in the Baltimore Business Journal"CEOs Predict Hard Times Ahead," I was reminded of the 1969 hit single by CCR. Although it’s clear that the song has nothing whatsoever to do with economic or financial concerns, it nonetheless conjures up a mood of foreboding that seems appropriate to the topic at hand.

Nearly half of the chief executive officers across the U.S. expect their sales to decline over the next six months, according to a fourth-quarter survey conducted last month by the Business Roundtable.

The Washington, D.C.-based company’s economic outlook index — which measures expected sales, capital expenditures and employment figures for the next six months — shrunk to 16.5 this quarter. In the third quarter it was 78.8, and the fourth quarter of last year, it was 79.5. The index is centered on 50, and results can range from negative 50 to positive 150.

An index of 50 or lower points to an overall economic contraction.

For the next six months, 52 percent expect U.S. capital spending at their companies to decrease and 60 percent predict their U.S. staffing levels will contract during that time.

Business Roundtable has been surveying its membership — CEOs of about 160 of top U.S. companies — on a quarterly basis since 2002.

“As economic conditions continue to soften, so have our member CEOs’ near-term expectations for sales, capital spending and employment,” said Harold McGraw III, chairman of Business Roundtable and chairman, president and chief executive of The McGraw-Hill Cos. “We are committed to working with the new administration and Congress to restore economic growth through bipartisan solutions to the complex challenges facing our workers and businesses.”

In terms of the overall U.S. economy, member CEOs estimate gross domestic product growth for 2009 to be flat.

In regards to cost pressures, CEOs say material costs have the greatest impact


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Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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ValueWalk

The Competition For Capital Has Made Stocks Cheap

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The new year is upon us, and now is the time many investors look at what 2018 was and prepare for what 2019 might be. Recession jitters are starting to pick back up again, especially now that the full picture of 2018 is in the books. But what if you could pick only one theme for 2018? Jefferies strategist Sean Darby and team have a suggestion which is especially timely given that it appears to mark the end of an era.

StockSnap / PixabayVolatility carries into the new year

This past year was one of extremes, and the markets ended i...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

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 chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

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 www.shutterstock.com

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.

...

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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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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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