Archive for 2008

Kevin’s Five Themes for 2009

Five more themes for the New Year, courtesy of Kevin Depew, at Minyanville.

Five Themes You Need to Know for 2009

Kevin Depew’s Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

Before we get to 2009, first, think back to a year ago. Deflation was barely on the radar of mainstream economists and financial media. Most viewed it as an impossibility, focusing instead on what was supposed to be the resurrection of the commodities bull market.

Even today, while paying deflation minor lip service here and there, the vast majority of economists and financial media are ill-prepared for just how severe this ongoing deflationary credit contraction and debt unwind is going to be. Consequently, if there is one theme that stands above all else in 2009, it will be this: The despair that unfolds as the point of recognition emphasizes the "de-" in deflation. The fat is in the fire.

"In my hour of darkness, in my time of need, O Lord grant me vision, O Lord grant me speed."
- Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris, "In My Hour of Darkness"

1. The Point of Recognition

What is "the point of recognition" and why is it the most important theme for this new year?

Think of it this way:

It’s a warm summer night and you’re driving a 1976 Cadillac Sedan De Ville, alone, on a dark interstate highway, halfway between towns and just past the decent side of midnight.

The windows are down and the car stereo is on, but not too loud, the warm breeze whipping around through the wide open, sprawling car interior and mixing with an old Brewer & Shipley tune: "One toke over the line, Sweet Jesus, one toke over the line. Sitting downtown in a railway station, one toke over the…" twelve-point mule deer slumped sideways across your shattered windshield, the entire weight of your body pressing the brake pedal to the floor, the interior of the car filling with the smell of burning rubber tossed with the hideous, sickly sweet smell of radiator fluid.

There’s really no accurate way to describe the sound a vintage, American luxury automobile makes when it hits a 250 pound…
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Edge, Execution, Allocation

Here’s a note from Condor Options discussing the essential building blocks of a successful trading system.   

Edge, Execution, Allocation: Pieces of the Trading Puzzle

Courtesy of Condor Options.
 
We spend a fair amount of time on this blog looking for trading systems that have some discernible and consistent edge over the market averages.  And edge is important: if you don’t know where your profits will come from, you certainly shouldn’t expect to have any.  But an empirically demonstrable edge is just one of the three components that comprise any good trading system.  The other two, execution and allocation, are also essential to the success of any trading program or system. This is an admittedly basic, big-picture approach to thinking about trading.  But it sure beats a vague or unreflective stance.

Edge

Edge, again, just refers to whatever it is about your system that generates positive expectancy or, hopefully, market-beating returns.  We’re not dogmatic about alpha generation, but we don’t do faith-based trading, either.  The key rule of thumb for claiming an edge is: if you can’t quantify it, it doesn’t exist.  Ideally, finding an edge should be the least difficult part of developing a trading system, in the sense that cognitive biases, emotions, and human error can in principle be entirely eradicated.

The process of finding an edge tends to go something like:

  1. Intuition – some hunch or probing question arises about a relationship or tendency among various products, indicators, timeframes, etc.;
  2. Quantification – the intuition is formulated as precisely as possible so that it can be evaluated.  What was previously a jumble of notions becomes an array of variables and conditional statements;
  3. Testing and optimization – both walk-forward and traditional backtesting are essential to ensure robustness and avoid curve-fitting, and there are plenty of other key constraints;
  4. Application – even the most cautious testing procedures aren’t a substitute for application under live conditions.

The quantification criterion (”if you can’t quantify it, it doesn’t exist”) isn’t negotiable.  That criterion may exclude approaches to fundamental analysis in which the “story” of a stock or company plays a non-redundant role beyond the balance sheet review; and it may exclude large swaths of what passes for technical analysis, especially when it comes to non-classifiable pattern recognition and ill-defined support and resistance specifications.  But the good news


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More Great Ideas

Time for something new?  

More Great Ideas

Courtesy of Adam Warner at Daily Options Report.

Amazingly, this piece comes from an economics professor writing in The Financial Times, not The Onion.
 

So where do we go from here? The only actor large enough to restore confidence in the US market is the US government. The current policy of quantitative easing by the Fed is a move in the right direction but it does not, as yet, go nearly far enough.

It is time for a greatly increased role for monetary policy through direct intervention of central banks in world stock markets to prevent bubbles and crashes. Central banks control interest rates by buying and selling securities on the open market.

A logical extension of this idea is to pick an indexed basket of securities: one candidate in the US might be the S&P 500, and to control its price by buying and selling blocks of shares on the open market.

Even the credible announcement that a policy of this kind was being considered should be enough to boost the markets and restore consumer and investor confidence in the real economy.

Critics will argue that this policy is dangerous socialist meddling. But I am not arguing that the government should pick winners and losers: only that it should stabilise a broad basket of stocks.

Hat tip Clusterstock. Who also adds this.

Before you laugh, keep in mind that this is quite the crackpot proposal it seems to be. Professor Roger E. A. Farmer, the economist who wrote those paragraphs, is vice chair for graduate studies in the department of economics at the University of California Los Angeles. And is his proposal really all that more radical than having the government buy up mortgage securities, recapitalize auto companies or ban short selling?

I still say this has to be a spoof, but agreed, it’s no more ridiculous than anything else from 2008.

If this comes to pass, it would make me inclined to short every index put known to man.

 





A Look Ahead

Thoughts on the market for the New Year.  And another plea for TARP help; will it ever end?  Courtesy of Joe, Upsidetrader.

Happy New Year and a Look Ahead

I’m still waiting for the Fed to completely forgive my mortgage, auto loans and credit card debts-hasn’t happened yet. GMAC has just announced that they are going to ring in the new year by giving credit to the credit unworthy and we are on the road to truly getting "saved by zero". I am also waiting for Capital One to start handing out $10,000 Mastercards to high school kids, as that should help retail which is about to go bankrupt. An IPhone in every pot should be the new mantra. Shouldn’t everyone "always" have nice things even if they have no way of paying for it?

I am considering a fund raiser through this platform for the full page Wall St Journal that I still may take out naming the names of the pundits that have been wrong on every tick in 2008. They need to be accountable and they all need to be fired or even shot on sight. They could find work cold calling for stock brokers or maybe they can become counselors at Hope Now or debt collectors at Capital One. They might even become mortgage brokers because I heard that whole house thingy has bottomed.

If that thing called Christmas didn’t get in the way, retail would have fallen into the deep blue sea already, now the inevitability has just been slightly delayed. No one is buying $120 jeans at Abercrombie and even Prada is 50% off. Challenger believe 75,000 retail stores will lose in 2009 and one million job losses alone could come from that sector. JoJo Banks will give you two suits free if you buy one, but things are just swell. Let’s not forget the commercial real estate companies that lease space to these failing companies. I believe commercial real estate will look like the set of "I Am Legend" before it’s all done.

Home prices will drop further, still too much inventory and unemployment will go parabolic. Everything else is nonsense, as it is all about jobs. Obama’s plan is thoughtful but it’s too little too late. Bridges don’t get put up in a week and it’s too late for the


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2009 Predictions…Stop the Insanity!

What are the generous, prolific, insightful writers who contribute so much excellent material to our Favorites Section thinking now, as this horrendous year for the markets comes to a close?

Let’s start with Howard Lindzon contemplating the New Year, suggesting no more predictions.  Instead, get out there and sell something (no, he didn’t say stocks).  – Ilene

2009 Predictions…Stop The Insanity!

At 12-01 AM January 1, 2008, my pal Andy Swan Twittered that ‘2008 was not living up to all the hype’. Priceless and how right he was.

Here is a perfect look back at 2008 . All great but my fave part:

We bailed out everybody in 2008 and I think it’s only fair that we have two S&P’s, the nationalized one and the free market one. After all the largest institutions took money, note to self, call my Congressman and Chairman Cox in the morning and make suggestion. The banks bellied up to the bar and if you weren’t a bank you just filled out a simple form and became a bank. Piece of cake, even Goldman Sachs did it. Who’s the schmuck that tore down Glass-Steagall in he first place? I need to find that guy. I remember saying as a green kid that banks know nothing of the brokerage business and that it would fail miserably.

Because of the bailout I am now a proud owner of all the big banks, I hedge my position almost everyday by being short, and will continue to be through 2009. John Thain was at Goldman, went to the NYSE, went to Merrill diluted the begeezus out of it, said everything was grand, sold to Bank America and then acted like a brat last week demanded a $10 million bonus. Great job Biff, I have your back. He’s another one.

The year 2008 was in a word…PATHETIC! Actually, F#$@#*king PATHETIC!

The worst run brand in the world is now…AMERICA!

I have made predictions in 2006 , 2007 and 2008 . I KILLED it all three years. BUT, the year 2008 was a trainwreck for my stock portfolio though because I am a trend follower. By the end of January, my picks were ALL worthless and I had completely gone into retreat. That saved my year, but my ghastly stock…
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We’re In For Stormy Weather

Musical Introduction: Bad Moon Rising

 

We’re In For Stormy Weather

Overshadowed by the economic headlines, serious climate trouble looms ahead.

Ban Ki-Moon, NEWSWEEK
 
The past year will be remembered for the global financial crisis. But next year will be no less dangerous, albeit for a different reason. Lost among the economic headlines is an even more important fact: emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, rose by an unexpected 3 percent in 2007.
 
This revelation means that the 50 percent targets for carbon cuts set by Europe and elsewhere by 2050 are already out of date. Scientists now say reductions of 60 to 80 percent will be needed to avoid a catastrophe.
 
There is other bad news. Everyone knows about the accelerated melting of Arctic sea ice. Now recent U.N. reports offer evidence of less visible but equally troubling changes. Our planet’s species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate, according to the U.N. Environment Program. Massive "dead zones" are multiplying in the oceans as pollutants are absorbed, killing off coral reefs and decimating fisheries. Incidents of extreme weather, such as the hurricanes that devastated Haiti and Myanmar, have grown more frequent. Insurers predict that 2008 will set yet another record for economic losses. Meanwhile, U.N. refugee agencies believe that as many as 50 million people will be displaced by climate-related disasters by 2010, and the figure could hit 200 million by 2050.
 
All this points to a stark truth: though we can overcome the financial shocks of 2008, we will not overcome the climate-change crisis unless we act fast. This means 2009 will be the critical year for the critical challenge of our era…
 
Nothing can happen without global leadership and unity of purpose. So far, however, we have fallen short. Narrow differences paralyze us. The United States and other developed nations insist that no accord is possible without the participation of rising powers such as China, India and Brazil. Yet many in the developing world blame the industrialized nations for creating the problem—and insist that they should therefore solve it.
 
This impasse is a prescription for disaster. To break it means


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TGI 2009!

Happy 2009!

Not too many investors are going to be sorry to see 2008 go – it's been a disastrous year for the markets and, of course, the global economy as all our 2007 bubbles popped one by one: Housing, Construction, Mortgages, Investment Banking (including LBOs and IPOs), Retail Banking, BRIC and, finally Commodities all fell apart one by one.  These were all the "new paradigms" that would never end and would infinitely grow in the new global economy

Perhaps they would have kept growing if they did not, one by one, get caught up in the speculative bubble that began and ended with home speculation.  It can be argued that this was all just one big bubble, with housing carrying the others along, creating a mania of easy money and heavy leverage that overvalued commodities which, for quite some time, went into building more and more homes and buildings that, ultimately, no one actually wanted.  The same thing happened to the Auto industry as more people buying more homes and more families refinancing their own homes felt rich enough to go from 2 cars to 3 or 1 car to 2 but now that's a luxury that has also been scaled back and once again, as it was until only recently, when a teenager wants to go out they will need to borrow THE car.

The same goes for the BRIC countries, where kids were leaving the farms in record numbers to start a life in the big city.  This led to "demand" for new housing as YUM, MCD, WMT et al raced over to build stores to welcome the new consumers who were able to readily find jobs building new YUM, MCD and WMT stores and working for the banks that were financing the construction and the electrical companies putting in the wiring and the countless other TEMPORARY industries that spring up to support the construction of entire cities.  Those temporarily employed people needed housing and that led to another boom in home construction and the demand for the limited amount of current housing led to skyrocketing prices which made all the people who bought early feel rich and they traded up and fed the boom and PRESTO – another housing bubble!


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Borrowing From Peter to Pay Paul

Ellen Brown, at the Web Of Debt, writes about Fractional Reserve Banking and how it leads to boom and bust cycles.

BORROWING FROM PETER TO PAY PAUL:
THE WALL STREET PONZI SCHEME CALLED FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING

Cartoon in the New Yorker:
A gun-toting man with large dark glasses, large hat pulled down, stands in front of a bank teller, who is reading a demand note. It says, “Give me all the money in my account.”
 

Bernie Madoff showed us how it was done: you induce many investors to invest their money, promising steady above-market returns; and you deliver – at least on paper. When your clients check their accounts, they see that their investments have indeed increased by the promised amount. Anyone who opts to pull out of the game is paid promptly and in full. You can afford to pay because most players stay in, and new players are constantly coming in to replace those who drop out. The players who drop out are simply paid with the money coming in from new recruits. The scheme works until the market turns and many players want their money back at once. Then it’s game over: you have to admit that you don’t have the funds, and you are probably looking at jail time.

A Ponzi scheme is a form of pyramid scheme in which earlier investors are paid with the money of later investors rather than from real profits. The perpetuation of the scheme requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep it going. Charles Ponzi was an engaging Boston ex-convict who defrauded investors out of $6 million in the 1920s by promising them a 400 percent return on redeemed postal reply coupons. When he finally could not pay, the scam earned him ten years in jail; and Bernie Madoff is likely to wind up there as well.

Most people are not involved in illegal Ponzi schemes, but we do keep our money in accounts that are tallied on computer screens rather than in stacks of coins or paper bills. How do we know that when we demand our…
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$6B Foot in Door

Here’s Mish’s take on the $6B gift to GMAC — $5B stake in GMAC, plus a $1B loan to GM.  

Paulson’s $6 Billion Foot In The Door Play

The US Treasury continues to throw $billions around like peanut shells. Bloomberg is reporting Treasury to Buy $5 Billion GMAC Stake, Expand GM Loan.

The U.S. Treasury committed $6 billion to support GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp., the latest step in the government’s widening effort to keep the largest U.S. automaker out of bankruptcy.

Treasury said it will purchase a $5 billion stake in GMAC, and lend $1 billion to GM so the automaker can participate in a rights offering at GMAC to support the lender’s reorganization as a bank holding company. The loan is in addition to $13.4 billion the Treasury agreed earlier this month to lend to GM and Chrysler LLC.

“This is a good start by the federal government,” said Thomas Atteberry, who helps manage $3.5 billion in fixed-income assets at First Pacific Advisors in Los Angeles. Still unknown, he said, is whether the government cash will “make it palatable for new investors to come in.”

My Question: How much GM and GMAC bonds is First Pacific Advisors sitting on?

A Treasury official said there is no cap or deadline for aid to automakers under the TARP. Congress “will need to release” the second half of the $700 billion TARP under Treasury’s rescue plan, the official said on condition of anonymity during a conference call with reporters.

Separately, GMAC said it has accepted all bonds tendered in a debt swap designed to reduce its debt load.

“Once the offers are settled, which we expect to do promptly, results will be disclosed,” said spokeswoman Gina Proia in an e-mail.

GMAC joins more than 190 regional banks, commercial lenders, insurers and credit-card issuers seeking funds from the Treasury’s bailout program for financial firms. American Express Co., the biggest U.S. card company by sales, and CIT Group Inc., the biggest independent commercial lender last year, won capital infusions last week after converting into banks.

The Fed has since granted approval before the swap was finished.

GMAC, which had 26,700 employees as of Dec. 31, 2007, had about $161 billion of unsecured and secured debt as of…
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Growing Unrest in Russia

Leo Tolstoy once wrote "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina, Chapter 1. 

Perhaps, the same is true of countries. twilight, Russia Ilene 

Growing Unrest In Russia Amidst Economic Crisis 

Courtesy of Mish 
 
Falling oil prices, a collapsing Ruble, and a souring economy have Russia in the worst crisis in over a decade. The Financial Times is talking about this in Russian economy: The Putin defence.
When a top economic adviser to Vladimir Putin approached his boss in September to argue that the rapid fall in the oil price meant he would have to devalue the rouble, the answer was a firm nyet. “He said he would not be the prime minister of devaluation,” one insider said.
 
But even before the oil price failed to recover on output cuts by the Opec producers’ cartel earlier this month, Mr Putin’s room for manoeuvre was running out. As crude has fallen from $147 a barrel this summer to less than $40, Russia’s oil-fuelled economic boom has come abruptly to an end. A country that was growing at a rate of 7 per cent only six months ago now faces a looming recession – and Mr Putin, almost exactly nine years since Boris Yeltsin handed him the presidency on New Year’s Eve, is stalked by the same prospect of economic failure as his ill-fated predecessor.
 
He must also contend with growing unrest. This month has seen thousands of Russians protest against the government’s handling of the crisis in a series of demonstrations across the country. With some 400,000 losing their jobs in November alone and around 2 per cent of those in work facing wage arrears, tensions are likely to rise further.
 
As well as suffering from a marked drop in demand for commodities, Russia’s economy is also being choked by Mr Putin’s rouble policy. His decision to stave off a sharp devaluation is starting to look to some economists as ill-advised as Yeltsin’s similar attempt in 1998. The central bank has already lost more than a quarter of its foreign currency reserves as a result of its efforts to


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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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Phil's Favorites

This Is The One Chart Every Trader Should Have "Taped To Their Screen"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

After a year of tapering, the Fed’s balance sheet finally captured the market’s attention during the last three months of 2018.

By the start of the fourth quarter, the Fed had finished raising the caps on monthly roll-off of its balance sheet to the full $50bn per month (peaking at $30bn USTs, $20bn MBS, although on many months the (balance sheet) B/S does not actually shrink by this full amount which depends on the redemption schedule) and by end-Q4 markets also experienced some of the largest volatility and drawdowns in nearly a decade.

As Nomura&...



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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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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 ...

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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 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:

 

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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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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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