Archive for 2010

Swing trading virtual portfolio – week of February 8th, 2010

This post is for live trades and daily comments. 

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

- Optrader

The Meaning of “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life”

Amusing analogy, and while the finer details may be hard to appreciate, like the difference between dying from contaminated salmon mousse and an e-coli-laced burger, I believe Robert Waldmann’s argument is correct — food poisoning kills.  And slicing, dicing and spreading contaminated beef through the hamburger supply, kills most efficiently. What we have here is not one bad can of salmon. - Ilene  

The Meaning of "Monty Python and the Meaning of Life"

Courtesy of Robert Waldmann at Angry Bear

Barry Ritholtz argues that the problem with mortgages was underwriting standards and not securitization. He appeals to the very great authority of Monty Python. Click the link.

Ritholtz seems not to be familiar with this new idea in economic theory called "Nash equilibrium". Over -rated yes. Totally irrelevant not so much. One can not assume that underwriting standards are exogenous. If there had been no MBS, no firm would have underwritten those mortgages. It was exactly because it was possible to blend them, and then sell them to people who didn’t spin the mortgage tapes before buying, that the mortgages existed in the first place. 

Raw hamburger texture

Let me work with his analogy. First, while I have great respect for the Monty Python team, few people have been killed by canned Salmon. Even blended into mousse, it kills fairly quickly and can be tracked back to the canner. The way bacteria work is that if you mix some contaminated stuff with other stuff you have trouble for sure. It doesn’t work that things seem fine until people notice.

At a way lower cultural level than Ritholtz I appeal to road runner cartoons. Wile E. Coyote runs along in mid air until he notices. Then he falls. As noted by everyone, this is the way financial markets really work. The non Monty Python quality humor is based on the fact that gravity doesn’t really work that way. Neither do bacteria. Analogies between rotten mortgages and rotten Salmon fail for this reason.

Notably, the ingredients in the Salmon mousse are few enough that the dead diners immediately know what went wrong when death points at the mousse. That’s not the way MBS work let alone CDOs of MBSs or CDOS of tranches of CDOS.

A better analogy would be making hamburger. Bits from hundreds of steers end up in the…
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Bottled Water Syndrome

The Drinking Water Profiteers

Bottled Water Syndrome

Courtesy of JOSEPH NEVINS writing at CounterPunch

Portrait of a young woman showing a water bottle

In mid-January, I received a mass email asking me to donate $10 for bottled water and other supplies for participants in an important immigrant rights march in Phoenix. Given the ever-repressive and cruel political climate in Arizona for immigrants (especially unauthorized ones), I was unequivocally in support of the mobilization. Nonetheless I was taken aback by a request to contribute even nominally to an effort to buy bottles of water for what turned out to be, according to some estimates, more than 20,000 people.

Certainly there are other ways—ecologically sustainable and less expensive ones—to provide water for such a multitude. How, why, and to what effects bottled water became the preferred way to do so for myriad people and places far beyond a single event in Phoenix is the focus of Elizabeth Royte’s powerful and compelling book, Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs and the Battle Over America’s Drinking Water.

I’ve never been a fan of bottled water, considering it ecologically damaging—in the United States alone 30-40 million single-serve bottles per day end up as litter or in landfills—and economically foolhardy, another capitalistic trick to con us into purchasing  something from profiteers that we don’t shouldn’t have to. But as Royte powerfully illustrates, the increasing commodification of drinking water is far more complex, and dangerous, than at least I appreciated.

Until recently, the sale of single-serve bottles of water was rare. While the United States had regional bottled water companies as early as the nineteenth century, such entities mainly supplied homes and offices with large containers of the life-sustaining liquid (for water coolers, for instance). This situation began to change in the 1980s with the entry of Perrier into the U.S. market and its successful television advertising which stressed that a little luxury—a bottle of the French water—was available to everyone.

Other companies, like Evian and Vittel, followed, employing the likes of Madonna and fashion models, to help equate bottled water with personal health, fitness, and glamour. That, combined with the invention of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic—which made water easily portable—helped the U.S. bottled-water industry boom: between 1990 and 1997 its annual sales increased from $115 million to $4 billion. (By 2006, the figure was $10.8 billion; globally bottled water’s income was $60 billion.)

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Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Here’s PSW member Tuscadog’s detailed analysis of the company Amedisys (AMED). Tuscadog feels this is one of the few solid opportunities in the stock market, and he suggests a massive short squeeze may be coming due to AMED’s 53% short interest. – Ilene

Amedisys, Inc. provides home health and hospice services to the chronic, co-morbid, and aging American population. Its home health services include skilled nursing and home health aide services; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and medically oriented social work to eligible individuals who require ongoing care. The company also offers clinically focused programs for chronic conditions and various diseases,… (Yahoo financial, more here.>>)

Why Amedisys (AMED) will hit $85

Courtesy of Tuscadog, member at PSW

Doctor standing outdoors with elderly patient

Feb 23rd may be ‘Judgment Day’ for the AMED short interest.

This is a long posting based on a lot of research and high level interviews I’ve conducted. I’m a private (long term) investor in Amed and I don’t appreciate the way Amed has been ‘jerked around’ by the hedge funds with false rumors and shorting, hence my willingness to share my analysis with small investors. These are my opinions based on my own extensive research, so invest at your own risk. For background on Amed pay particular attention to the 7 articles by Daryl Davis in the ‘Financial Blogs’ section of the Yahoo Finance page for Amed.


Amed will likely release 2009 EPS on Feb 23rd of around $4.90 to $5 and, more importantly, it will give guidance for 2010 based on the status quo on Medicare billing rates for 2010 (i.e. as already issued for 2010 by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS). Based on the company’s growth rates and CMS’s announced approved rate increase for 2010 (which translates into a 1.8% net increase for 2010 after two flat pricing years) Amed will likely provide 2010 guidance in the $5.60 to $5.70 range.  I believe actual results outcome will likely be higher, in the $5.70 to $5.90 range.

The 15 analysts who cover AMED are likely waiting for Amed’s guidance update and to see if there are any Health-Bill developments. The Suntrust  upgrade Monday to a $70 target is using a pessimistic assumption of a revision to a retroactive 2.5% Medicare billing rate reduction for 2010. Currently, analysts eps forecasts for 2010 include varying degrees of…
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Weekly Charts + The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

Courtesy of Market Tamer

Weekly Charts

Dow Jones

S&P 500



The Reverse Cup & Handle Chart Pattern

- The inverse of a Cup & Handle Chart Pattern.


-The stock bounces off of a support level and moves higher on unremarkable volume.


- A “Rounded Top” forms and then subsequently moves lower on increasing volume producing “The Cup”.


- The pattern is completed when a Bear Flag forms producing the handle.


- The breakdown occurs when the stock breaks the low of the handle on increasing volume.


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You Had Better Cage The Monster CONgress

You Had Better Cage The Monster CONgress (AIG/GS/CDS)

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

Vinyl Ready Art - Holidays

I’ve been writing about this now over a year in regard to the mess that became of AIG, their "financial products" unit, and what I believe is culpability not only of certain financial parties but more importantly our regulators of these firms.

Now The NY Times has published a new article that makes clear that my clarion call for major changes in these areas of the market were not only spot-on, but are even more necessary today than they were back then.

A.I.G. had long insured complex mortgage securities owned by Goldman and other firms against possible defaults. With the housing crisis deepening, A.I.G., once the world’s biggest insurer, had already paid Goldman $2 billion to cover losses the bank said it might suffer.

A.I.G. executives wanted some of its money back, insisting that Goldman — like a homeowner overestimating the damages in a storm to get a bigger insurance payment — had inflated the potential losses. Goldman countered that it was owed even more, while also resisting consulting with third parties to help estimate a value for the securities.

Read that carefully.  The NY Times is making this sound like AIG had insured losses against securities Goldman was holding.  That’s what insurance is, right?

Here’s the problem: Goldman didn’t own the securities.

In addition to offering to cancel its own contracts, Goldman offered to buy all of the insurance A.I.G. had written for several other banks at severely distressed prices, according to three people briefed on the discussions.

Negotiating with Goldman to void the A.I.G. insurance was especially difficult, Federal Reserve Board documents show, because the firm did not own the underlying bonds. As a result, Goldman had little incentive to compromise.

Now do you see the outrage in these so-called "protection devices"?

They aren’t.  They were raw bets.  Very highly-leveraged gambling instruments that had a very low cost at origination – a cost all out of proportion to their eventual potential return.

We do not let "just anyone" buy insurance.  You must have an insurable interest.  That is, I can’t buy fire insurance on your house.  If I could, I might – and so might 20 of…
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The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street

The OTHER Reason that the U.S. is Not Regulating Wall Street 

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Mature businessman dancing along street with briefcase and umbrella

Sure, American politicians have been bought and paid for by the Wall Street giants. See this, this and this.

And everyone knows that the White House and Congress – while talking about cracking down on Wall Street with strict regulation – have actually watered down some of the most important protections that were in place.

For example, Senator Cantwell says that the new derivatives legislation is weaker than the old regulation. And leading credit default swap expert Satyajit Das says that the new credit default swap regulations not only won’t help stabilize the economy, they might actually help to destabilize it.

But the U.S. is not being sold out in a vacuum.

On March 1, 1999, countries accounting for more than 90 per cent of the global financial services market signed onto the World Trade Organization’s Financial Services Agreement (FSA). By signing the FSA, they committed to deregulate their financial markets.

For example, by signing the FSA, the U.S. agreed not to break up too big to fails. The U.S. also promised to repeal Glass-Steagall, and did so 8 months after signing the FSA.

Indeed, in signing the FSA and other WTO agreements, the U.S. has legally bound itself as follows

• No new regulation: The United States agreed to a “standstill provision” that requires that we not create new regulations (or reverse liberalization) for the list of financial services bound to comply with WTO rules. Given that the United States has made broad WTO financial services commitments – and thus is forbidden by this provision from imposing new regulations in these many areas – this provision seriously limits the policy [options] available to address the current crisis.

• Removal of regulation: The United States even agreed to try to even eliminate domestic financial service regulatory policies that meet GATS [i.e. General Agreement on Trade in Services] rules, but that may still “adversely affect the ability of financial service suppliers of any other (WTO) Member to operate, compete, or enter” the market.

• No bans on new financial service “products”: The United States is also bound to ensure that foreign financial

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Duck Tales inflation lesson

Duck Tales inflation lesson

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Daily Bail

Even though this is a cartoon, it provides a pretty good explanation of what goes on in a pure fiat money system where trust is placed in the central bank and the government to not abuse the power that they and only they have to create money.

Spotted over at The Daily Bail where there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of interesting things to watch on YouTube.


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A review of 2009 Super Bowl commercials

A review of 2009 Super Bowl commercials

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

Get ready for a whole new batch of memorable Super Bowl commercials in a few hours – at least, that’s the hope. Here’s a compilation of the best from last year’s game.

The rhinoceros is quite funny, but, if you ask me, those baby ETRADE spots are just creepy.





The following comes to us courtesy of Annaly Capital Management.  If you haven’t read Mike Farrell’s recent comments I highly recommend taking a look.  Farrell is an expert in the mortgage markets and really has his pulse on the health of the U.S. economy and real estate markets.  His outlook is less than optimistic.  The interview is a must see:

Mike Farrell will be appearing as a guest on Consuelo Mack’s “WealthTrack” this weekend. On the show, Mike discusses a number of macro themes, and several of the graphs maintained by our research group will be highlighted. Since graphs are rarely on screen long enough for thoughtful contemplation, we reproduce them here along with some context.

The first two graphs illustrate how different actors in our economy are behaving through the current environment. Households, businesses and financial institutions alike have begun the process of increasing their savings, refinancing their debt and de-levering their balance sheets. It’s a painful but necessary process. The progress made by the private sector, however, has been more than offset by the borrowing and spending of federal, state and local governments. The headline savings rate that we usually think about is the household one, but the same calculation can be applied to the government. On a national level, think of households, businesses, financial institutions and governmental entities all contributing their savings to one big piggy bank. The first graph below shows what each is contributing to our national piggy bank in the form of net savings. Gross savings is simply income less expenditures, and net savings is calculated by subtracting the consumption of fixed capital from gross savings. As the graph shows, net savings of the private sector has been generally rising and net federal government savings lately has been plummeting.


The graph below sums up the total of private and government net savings and presents it as a percentage of gross national income. It’s clear that government spending is draining the national piggy bank.


The third of our graphs that appears on this weekend’s WealthTrack is the one below, which demonstrates how the mortgage market-and thus the housing market-is on government

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Zero Hedge

US Doubles Down As Empire Declines

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers via,

US empire is in decline. Reports of the end of the US being the unitary power in world affairs are common, as are predictions of the end of US empire. China surpassed the United States as the world economic leader according to Purchasing Power Parity Gross National Product, and ...

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Phil's Favorites

Trade War Humor? Zimbabwe Rejects Imported Chinese Condoms For Being "Too Small"

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

A Chinese condom manufacturer is considering producing its prophylactics in different (read: larger) sizes after Zimbabwe's health minister complained that the condoms its produces are too small, and are therefore ineffective at helping the country combat its rampant AIDS crisis.

Zhao Chuan, the chief executive of condom manufacturer Beijing Daxiang and His Friends Technology Co, told the South China Morning Post that his firm was planning to produce a new suite of products following the complaints.

Chuan's announcement comes after Health Minister David Parirenyatwa made the comments at an event in the capital Harare last week to promote HIV/Aids ...

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Insider Scoop

41 Biggest Movers From Yesterday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ: OMEX) shares climbed 118.42 percent to close at $8.30 on Thursday after the company disclosed positive Mexico Court Decision nullifying a previous denial of application for Don Diego project.
  • Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) shares gained 35.31 percent to close at $15.75. The maker of a cataract surgery drug called Omidria realized a "big win" from Wednesday's release of the U.S. government spending bill, according to Stat News. Specifically, a policy included in the spending bill includes a pass-through exte... more from Insider

Chart School

Bitcoin Cycles Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker. uses Bartel's logic to find dominant cycles in a time series.

Cycles are present in markets, as shown below the 22 and 40 day cycles on calendar days looks like the best fit. Therefore the chart below suggest we can expect a bitcoin low either now or in a few weeks.

Bitcoin has not been effected by the SP500/Dow sell off which is a very bullish sign, bitcoin may see safe haven money chasing price very soon, add to this the sister coin, litecoin, isgetting ready for wider use with the massive e-commerce payment market (litepay, litepal, atomic swamps, lightening network).

The bitcoin move is not over!


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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks With CNBC's "Power Lunch" Today

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

WHEN: Today, Thursday, March 22, 2018

WHERE: CNBC’s “Power Lunch”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” (M-F 1PM – 3PM) today, Thursday, March 22nd. Following are links to video from the interview on

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Timeless Reading in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.


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Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)


"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

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

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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

Market Shadows >>