Archive for 2010

Erik Nielsen On Europe Past And (Immediate And Rosy) Future

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Goldman’s Erik Nielsen has yet to disclose if he is joining his Euro-pal Jim O’Neill in declaring all out war on the bears (for those unsure about the reference see here, and FYI Jim, the grizzlies send their love… and in keeping with the animal references, they don’t really give a rats ass about the occasional dead cat bounce). What he has no problem disclosing, however, is his latest round of rose-colored ebullience, even as other, “slightly” more objective europundits see the end of the Eurozone as ever more imminent. It is stunning how cognitive dissonance can lead two people to the following diametrically opposite conclusions: Erik Nielsen: “The European recovery continues to look pretty good and solid to me” and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: “[the Pan-European austerity package] can end only in two ways. Either Germany tolerates massive monetary reflation by the ECB or Spain will be forced out of EMU, setting off a catastrophic chain-reaction through north Europe’s banking system.” Of course, when one is in the business of perpetuating ponzies, while another has a page view quota, the truth likely is somewhere inbetween. Then again, “inbetween” two polar opposites is a wide range. Anyway, since we will likely see a lot more pain “on the plain” shortly, here are some soothing words for all those who are still long and strong and need goal-seeked analyses.

Happy Friday night,

Gosh, I can’t believe I just wrote that, but here I am collecting my thoughts on Europe while others are out having fun.  But I’ll be off to my local coast in Denmark tomorrow morning for a long weekend – and writing this now seems a better idea than spoiling the (almost) midsummer nights up on my childhood beach.  Here goes:

  • The past week delivered another stream of good, to very good, real economy data out of Europe while markets started to calm down the last couple of days.
  • We also saw a number of important policy measures in Spain and Italy.
  • Fitch downgraded Spain today, but I really can’t get excited.  AA+ is fine, but the timing…  Some thoughts on why I differ from a lot of people on the prospects for the Euro-zone.
  • Former PM and finance minister, and present head of the IMF’s European department, Marek Belka is about to be


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Free Advice to the Stars Re: Ponzi Schemes

Free Advice to the Stars Re: Ponzi Schemes

Courtesy of Joshua M BrownThe Reformed Broker

Apparently, something happens when you get famous…the things that tether you down to earth, such as rational thought and common sense, evaporate into the aether. 

Yesterday, Kenneth Starr, money manager for Sly Stallone, Annie Leibovitz, Jacob the Jeweler, Uma Thurman, Martin Scorsese and Wesley Snipes, was arrested for a ponzi scheme.  In light of this news and in remembrance of similar scams gone by (Dana Giachetto, Bernie Madoff, etc), I thought I’d offer the following free advice to the Hollywood set when working with an advisor…

1. Anyone who refers to himself as a "Financier" is full of sh*t.

2. Your financial advisor is not supposed to play polo or wear designer sunglasses, nor should he ever have a popped up collar under any circumstances. He must never wear shoes without socks or wear a watch with a diamond bezel.

3. In truth, if an advisor or money manager’s opening shpiel is about all of the other famous people he works with, this should not make you feel comfortable.  Its actually a giant red flag indicating that you are dealing with a starf*&%er and a social climber who is more concerned with himself than you.

4.  Even your brother-in-law will rob you if you give up power of attorney.  Go ask Billy Joel.  Uma Thurman signed over Power of Attorney so that Ken Starr would do her taxes.  That’s funny, my CPA never seemed to need signatory authority over my bank account to prepare my tax forms…hmmm.

5.  Custody of assets is all you need to know.  If your money guy needs to set up extraneous accounts in both your name and his, its a scam.  If he asks you to transfer money into a financial institution that you haven’t seen advertise during The Masters, its a scam.  If he tells you not to worry about receiving statements because he’s "taking care of everything", its a scam.  You get the idea.

6.  Most important:  Your financial guy is NOT supposed to party with you.  He shouldn’t be at the same nightclub as you buying bottles, nor should he have a copy of Variety in his waiting area.  The financial advisor is the guy you apologize to when you sleep through an appointment with him, hung over from an all-night rager.  He’s not supposed to be there with you at the club, holding your hair while…
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Michael Lewis Summarizes Financial Reform Infiltration

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

To: Wall Street chief executives

From: Your man in Washington

Re: Embracing the status quo

Our earnings are robust, our compensation has returned to its naturally high levels and, as a result, we have very nearly regained our grip on the imaginations of the most ambitious students at the finest universities — and from that single fact many desirable outcomes follow.

Thus, we have almost fully recovered from what we have agreed to call The Great Misfortune. In the next few weeks, however, ill-informed senators will meet with ill-paid representatives to reconcile their ill-conceived financial reform bills. This process cannot and should not be stopped. The American people require at least the illusion of change. But it can be rendered harmless to our interests.

To this point, we have succeeded in keeping the public focused on the single issue that will have very little effect on how we do business: the quest to prevent taxpayer money from ever again being used to (as they put it) “bail out Wall Street.”

As we know, we never needed their money in the first place, and by the time we need it again, we’ll be long gone. If we can keep the public, and its putative representatives, fixated on the question of whether their bill does, or does not, ensure there will be no more bailouts, we may entirely avoid a discussion of our relationship to the broader society.

….

In the short term, we must do whatever we can to dissuade Representative Barney Frank from allowing any part of these discussions between senators and representatives to be televised. In the longer term we must return to the shadows. Do your work in private; allow your money to speak for you; and remember, the only way we’ll get the financial reform we need is if we pay for it. No one else can afford it.

 

Read the full thing here





Guest Post: Goodbye Keynes – Hello Ricardo!

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Frode Haukenes of Econotwist

Goodbye Keynes – Hello Ricardo!

The world has been fighting the financial crisis by using every possible trick according to John Maynard Keynes‘ playbook. But, as The Great Depression taught us, extreme government spending tends to cause about as much problems as it solves. Perhaps it’s time to put Keynes back on the bookshelf, and pull out the 200 year old theories of David Ricardo.

“While budget stimulus measures are intended to boost demand from financially constrained consumers, it may for others – the majority – result in the emergence of Ricardian behavior.”

Philippe d’Arvisenet

For those not too familiar with economic theories; Ricardian behavior is basically increased  consumer spending due to expectations of higher taxes in the future. This effect has been shown to emerge more widespread in countries with large governmental debt, and lead to significant difference in the recovery process among nations.


The increase in public debt registered over the last few years is without precedent.

In each of the main OECD countries, public debt is not on a sustainable path, BNP Paribas chief economist, Philippe d’Arvisenet writes in a research paper.

This contrasts with past periods, during which emerging markets have appeared more at risk from this perspective.

The majority of developed countries will have a public debt ratio in excess of 90% in the middle of the decade, BNP Paribas estimates.

However, according to the IMF,  from 2007 to 2014, the debt ratio in these countries is expected to rise by an average of more than 30 points of GDP, reaching an average of 110% of GDP.

Philippe d’Arvisenet points out that of this increase, 3 points will be related to supporting the financial system.

  • 4 points to the increased cost of debt.
  • 10 points to automatic stabilizers.
  • 3.5 points to budget stimulus measures.
  • 9 points to losses of tax revenues relating to the decline in asset prices.

“The widening of deficits is largely structural in nature. The deficit ratio adjusted for cyclical variations is 4.4% in the euro zone out of a total deficit of 6.7
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Curbing Drug Company Abuses: Are Fines Enough?

Curbing Drug Company Abuses: Are Fines Enough?

By Ken Stier, courtesy of TIME 

AstraZeneca

In late April, when the Justice Department announced its deal with AstraZeneca for the pharmaceutical company to pay a $520 million fine, as a result of the off-label marketing of its blockbuster anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, Justice officials called it a "historic settlement." Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary, Katherine Sebelius, and the head of the Food and Drug Administration held a press conference, trumpeting it as part of the administration’s "top priority" fight against health care fraud. It was the largest ever civil-only fine imposed by the U.S. Government for an off-label marketing offense — promoting the drug for uses not approved because it has not been shown safe, necessary and effective. 

Seroquel had FDA approval for use in short-term treatment of schizophrenia and acute bipolar 1, but according to Justice’s complaint the company aggressively marketed the drug "as a long-term cure-all for a broad spectrum of psychiatric maladies, including…aggression and agitation in children" even though clinical studies have sometimes shown "serious and debilitating side effects," particularly among the elderly and children. Seroquel is typically prescribed by psychiatrists, but was being marketed to general medical practitioners, including staff at nursing homes, veterans hospitals and prisons, and to neighborhood pediatricians, making patients "guinea pigs in an unsupervised drug test," according to a prosecutor. 

The company denied the allegations but agreed to settle to "avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of protracted litigation." That kind of outcome is not uncommon. A conviction in court can be crippling to companies. The government too has an interest in avoiding expensive court fights, particularly if it feels it can gain future compliance through fines and corporate integrity agreements [CIAs] that allow it to guide and monitor companies’ compliance efforts.

But critics are starting to question these settlements, pointing out that even such large fines have yet to make a serious dent in recurring marketing abuses. AstraZeneca’s fine represented just 16.5% of revenue earned from Seroquel during the years its off-label marketing was ongoing — $8.6 billion in the U.S. between 2001 and 2006. Just how much of this was due to improper marketing is unclear, but considering the limited primary market and the widespread use of the drug, it was bound to have been significant. 

Since companies can roll the costs of such fines into…
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DJIA Sell Signal

DJIA Sell Signal

Courtesy of Allan

Below is a monthly chart of the DJIA with both a long term Trend Model (low volatility version) and a long term Elliott Wave count.  In addition, I’ve added the elements of an Advanced GET Mechanical Sell Signal which as of the end of May has generated a fresh SELL on this monthly chart.  [Click on charts to enlarge]

(1) Trend Model:  The Monthly Trend Model has been on a SELL since June, 2008 @ 11,350.  The rally that began in early 2009 was insufficient to flip this model from its entrenched SELL MODE and now it appears that prices are once again in sync with the dominant trend, DOWN.

(2) Elliott Wave Count: In terms of Elliott Wave counts, this one shows a completed multi-decade five waves up, terminating in October, 2007.  I would expect at a minimum, a decade of lower prices.  Whether current prices are in an ABC, or have traced out  Waves 1 and 2 and are now in Wave 3 DOWN, is academic.  Whether a Wave 3 or Wave C, both are third waves, so the expectation is hard down under either interpretation.

(3) Mechanical SELL SIGNAL:  Below is a close-up of the most recent five years which culminated on Friday with an Advanced GET Mechanical SELL SIGNAL.  The elements of this very reliable, objective signal are Waves 1-4 shown on the chart; an Elliott Oscillator which goes from way oversold to neutral (bottom study); a False Bar Stochastic Sell Signal (top study); and a break down of the Trend Regression Channel (broken on Friday’s monthly close). The upper target for this move is shown as about 4,500 on the DJIA, the lower target (not shown), just below 1,000.  

  

One more heads-up for the days and weeks ahead.  Below is the DJIA monthly chart using my standard Trend Model settings (as opposed to the low volatility settings above).  Note that the rally from 2009-2010 was enough to flip this model LONG last September.  But more importantly note where the model will flip back SHORT: any monthly close below 9,601.84:

In a prior life (1977-1994) I practiced law and that experience, believe it or not, does at times help with dealing with market prediction  The legal system has its own specialized sets of rules, evidence and associated standards of proof. 
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Beyond Market Turbulence

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

As a follow-up to my last comment, David Parkinson of the Globe & Mail reports, Despite the turbulence, strategists stay bullish:

The sight of slumping stock prices hasn’t shaken most market strategists’ confidence that the bull market#001f5e ! important; padding-bottom: 0px ! important; color: #001f5e ! important; background-color: transparent ! important; background-image: none; padding-top: 0pt; padding-right: 0pt; padding-left: 0pt;"> still has further to fly. But they warn investors to buckle up – we could be in for plenty of turbulence.

In the wake of a selloff that has knocked the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index into official “correction” territory (a drop of more than 10 per cent) in the space of a month while lopping 7 per cent off Canada’s S&P/TSX composite, strategists on Wall and Bay streets are reminding clients that the size of this correction is nothing out of the ordinary in a post-recession bull market. What’s more, they insist that the selling is being driven by fear rather than fundamentals – meaning that markets with solid growth prospects are merely getting cheaper and creating buying opportunities.

“It is difficult to be very bearish of corporate assets when growth is reasonably strong, inflation is low, margins are expanding, monetary policies are easy, and valuations are undemanding,” said economist Larry Hatheway of UBS Ltd. in London.

“In the first four months of this year, investors had become increasingly complacent to risk,” he said. “This was a market vulnerable to correction – all that was missing was a catalyst.”

However, that catalyst – a major sovereign-debt scare out of Europe – has re-awakened investors’ hyper-sensitivity to risk, a lingering effect of the credit crisis of 2008-09. The depth and speed of this risk adjustment does suggest that even if stocks can track generally higher in the coming months, they may do so in a very moody, volatile way.

“People are now a lot faster on the trigger in reducing risk. This increased volatility could be a byproduct of a new way of managing portfolios,” said Stéfane Marion, chief strategist at National Bank Financial in Montreal.  

“But we have to keep things in perspective. We haven’t yet seen the collateral damage [from the


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Possible Criminal Investigation For Tylenol Maker

Possible Criminal Investigation For Tylenol Maker

tylenol By Alice Park, courtesy of TIME 

Things just seem to be getting worse for Johnson & Johnson and one of its branches, McNeil Consumer Healthcare. After a routine inspection by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a McNeil plant in Pennsylvania found serious lapses in quality control — including bacterial contamination and lack of proper evaluation of a drug’s potency — the company voluntarily recalled several over-the-counter children’s medications for colds and allergies in April.

Now, after an investigation by the FDA into McNeil’s manufacturing practices, the agency has decided to refer the case for further review to the FDA’s law enforcement arm for possible criminal action.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform convened a hearing on Thursday to investigate the latest recall, since it wasn’t the first for the company this year. In January, the company recalled some of the same children’s products — children’s Motrin, children’s Tylenol and Benadryl, as well as others, including Extra Strength Tylenol for adults — because of a moldy smell coming from the medications. The odor apparently came from a chemical that coats the wooden pallets used to move and store the product packaging materials.

In testimony on Thursday, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein noted that the agency may seek criminal charges for J&J for its failure to comply with safe manufacturing practices as well as its failure to act responsibly in addressing problems. As reported in the New York Times:

During a session in which some committee members questioned McNeil’s integrity, Dr. Sharfstein noted lengthy delays by the company in reporting problems to the agency. And in one case, in 2008, he said, McNeil had hired a contractor to quietly remove packages of Motrin from retailers for suspected quality problems — which he suggested was essentially an unannounced recall that was not reported to the F.D.A.

“This is something troubling to the agency,” Dr. Sharfstein said. “We think it reflected poorly on the company.”

Colleen Goggins, the worldwide chairman of J&J’s consumer group, confronted the accusations of poor quality control and admitted the lapses, as ABC News reported:

"The quality and process issues that we found at McNeil, those which led to the recall and others, are unacceptable," she said.


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Dow Jones Masochism

Dow Jones Masochism

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Female devil holding whip, flames in background

Brett Arends has a story up over at WSJ that makes the case for more pain – that the March ’09 bottom wasn’t quite painful enough to have been THE bottom for this cycle.  The article’s an amusement park for shorts, but does a nice job categorizing the items that could lead to another brutal beating for stocks.

The slide that began in 1969 didn’t end until 1982. The slump after 1929 didn’t give way until the late 1940s. Japan’s gloom is still with us.

In general, the bigger the bull-market boom, the bigger and nastier the bear market that follows. The bull market of the ’80s and ’90s was the biggest on record. So expect the bear that follows to be ugly and tenacious.

And for some perspective, Lisa Haney throws in this Dow Jones Industrial Average bear market guide…

The 2007-2009 plunge is the worst on record, but according to some, not nearly damaging enough considering the run-up in asset prices that preceeded it.

Source:

May’s Big Selloff Could Be Just The Beginning (WSJ) 


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BP Abandons Top Kill; More Images; Failed Politics and Policies; Can BP do Anything Right?

BP Abandons Top Kill; More Images; Failed Politics and Policies; Can BP do Anything Right?

Courtesy of Mish

Gulf Coast Struggles With Oil Spill And Its Economic Costs

It’s back to the drawing board. BP has given up with the idea of sinking mud, golf balls, tires, and other junk into the well to plug it. Top Kill is officially dead.

Bloomberg reports BP Abandons ‘Top Kill’ Plan That Failed to Cap Leak.

BP Plc said it will switch to a new strategy to cap a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after a three-day effort to stop the flow with a blast of pressurized fluids was unsuccessful.

At a press conference today, Doug Suttles, the BP executive in charge of the spill response, said the top kill strategy didn’t work. BP will now try a containment device known as a lower-marine riser package cap, Suttles said.

Oil from the spill may have spread underwater for 22 miles toward Mobile, Alabama, researchers aboard a University of South Florida vessel reported May 27. Initial tests aboard the Weatherbird II show the highest concentrations of “dissolved hydrocarbons” were 400 meters (1,312 feet) below the surface.

BP plans to install the new blowout preventer on top of the existing one, Suttles said. BP will then try to use the valves on the new blowout preventer to stop the flow.

“We’re still looking at a month before we get this thing killed,” Les Ply, a retired mud engineering consultant for the oil industry, said today in a telephone interview. “I think we’re looking at a week to 10 days to get this riser and cap in place.”

The new method, if successful, would stop the leak long enough for a so-called relief well to be drilled nearby and provide a permanent seal.

Crews are ahead of schedule in drilling a relief well and are about halfway to the end, with around 6,000 feet left to go, Suttles said. Completion of the well is still expected by about early August, he said.

Drilling on the second of two relief wells, which was temporarily suspended so that its blowout preventer could be available if the top kill failed, is expected to resume “shortly,” David Nicholas, a spokesman for BP, said today in a telephone interview.

BP’s costs from the spill rose to $940 million, the London- based company, the largest producer of oil and gas from the


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Phil's Favorites

Brexit identities: how Leave versus Remain replaced Conservative versus Labour affiliations of British voters

 

Brexit identities: how Leave versus Remain replaced Conservative versus Labour affiliations of British voters

Courtesy of Geoffrey Evans, University of Oxford and Florian Schaffner, University of Oxford

British politics was relatively stable in the post-war decades, and voters’ strong party loyalties were influenced by their place in society. More recently, there has been a marked decline in the number of people identifying with a political party, and in the strength of that attachment.

Now, our new research for a repor...



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Zero Hedge

Stocks Jump On Kudlow Denial: "There Is No Cancellation. None. Zero."

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"There are no cancellations. None. Zero. Let's put that to rest."

Hours after a headline from the FT about the US cancelling a round of trade talks with two senior Chinese ministers send stocks reeling to their lows of the day, the administration has dispatched Larry Kudlow (who apparently had to wait until 20 mins before the close thanks to CNBC's wall-to-wall Davos coverage) to jawbone the markets back into the green by...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P and Crude both testing key breakout levels!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The correlation between Crude Oil and the S&P 500 has been rather high over the last 100-days, as each looks to have peaked at the same time around the 1st of October at (1).

After peaking together in October, Crude fell over 40% and the S&P nearly declined 20%, with both bottoming on Christmas Eve at each (2).

Both have experienced counter-trend rallies since the lows, as Crude is up 23% and the S&P 13%.

These rallies have both testing dual resist...



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Insider Scoop

Cowen Suits Up With Nike, Looks To Outperform

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related NKE Consumer Discretionary Q4 Earnings: U.S. Consumer Appears Strong Amid Heightened Global Uncertainty Golf Equipmen...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 20, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

After entering the week quite overbought, indexes took a small retreat Monday before hurling back upwards.  This is typical of the “V” shaped moves up after any significant selloff, we’ve seen most of the past decade and watching them unfurl is quite amazing actually.  Thought maybe this time would be “different” but not so much.  So two week’s ago we asked “Has the Fed solved all the market’s problem in 1 speech?” – and thus far the market has answered resoundingly yes.  The word of the year thus far in 2019 is “patience” as that simple insert into a speech change the whole complexion of everything.

China has also been busy stimulating; on Tuesday:

An announcement from the People’s Bank of China that ...



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ValueWalk

Everyone Else Is Selling Stocks, So Is It Time To Buy?

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

After a difficult few trading days in the beginning of the year, U.S. stocks are bouncing back with meaningful gains on Monday following Friday’s strong rally. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq 100 were all up by more than half a percent by midday. It looks like investors could be taking advantage of the end-of-the-year declines, but is this a wise time to be buying?

Trying to time the bottom of the market will almost always be a fool’s errand, but one firm suggests equities could have much farther to fall before they hit bottom in 2019.

...



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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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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.

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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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