Archive for 2012

Does QE Really Work? The Evidence To Date

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The market’s hopes and dreams for the next LSAP remain high. As gold inches higher, tail-risks priced out (expectations for extreme FX moves are considerably lower than sentiment would suggest), and US equity vol expectations (and put skews) are crushed; the equity market clearly remains ‘at a premium’ in its notional indices given what is sheer lunacy in earnings expectations going forward. The question every investor should be asking is not when QE or even if QE, but so-what-QE? As Credit Suisse notes, given the deterioration in US economic activity (and the extension of Operation Twist) the FOMC will probably wait until its September meeting (and remember the trigger for further pure QE is a long way off for now). The most critical question remains, will additional QE work? After all, few would argue that US interest rates are too high or that banks in the US need still more excess reserves. Two things stand out in their analysis of how QE is supposed to work (transmission mechanisms) and its results to date: QE1 was more effective than QE2, and it’s easier to find QE’s effect on Treasury yields than on real economic performance. Perhaps more concerning is that the potential negative effects of such unconventional monetary policy has received little attention (aside from at fringe blogs here and here).


Credit Suisse: Does QE Really Work? The Evidence to Date

Less than four weeks ago, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to continue its maturity extension program (Operation Twist) for another six months. But the sluggishness of US economic activity has the key decision-makers on the FOMC considering a more aggressive easing move.

In our view, another round of large-scale asset purchases (“QE3”) is looking increasingly likely before Election Day in November. While an announcement is possible as soon as the July 31-August 1 meeting, the FOMC probably will choose to wait until its September 12-13 meeting.

Having forecast that the FOMC will buy more assets, we address the next natural question: Will additional QE work? After all, few would argue that US interest rates are too high or that banks in the US need still more excess reserves.

To find the answer, we consulted empirical studies within and without the Federal Reserve system on the effectiveness of the…
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Pick The Subordinated Bond Out

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Something interesting happened on the way to the detail-free bailout of Spain’s insolvent banking system (which may or may not see senior bond impairments depending on just how big of a capitalization hole the ECB, not some fringe blog, sees). We got details. To wit, from Dow Jones:

The European Union loan to Spain will have a 30-year maturity, an interest rate of 2.5% and a 10-year grace period, reports ABC in its Monday Internet edition, without citing any sources.


The EU has offered to lend up to EUR100 billion to Spain, but the definite figure and the final details of the EU aid won’t be known until July 20, when a final bailout agreement is expected to be signed off by EU finance ministers.

Now here’s the thing: anyone who has ever looked at a balance sheet, and actually happens to be familiar with terms such as priority, seniority, guarantee, and subordination, will notice something rather peculiar. Namely that only idiots of the nth degree will claim that a 30 year 2.5% bond is pari passu, or equal in right of subordination – precisely what those unelected technocrats in Europe have been repeating day after day since various European summits – with a 10 year at 7%, which is where the Spanish debt actually clears the market. In other words, sorry – there is something here which gives the bailout debt implied seniority.  And here is the punchline: if the Spanish bailout debt does not trade like a pari passu piece of debt, it means that it is… i) not pari passu, and that it is ii) priming, no matter what any so-called pundit with a newsletter to peddle, may claim otherwise. Period. End of Story.

Or in other words: spot the subordinated bond out:

  • 10 Year at 7%, or
  • 30 Year at 2.5%

Take your time. We have all the time that’s left in the future of the Eurozone… and then some.

Interview: Unusual Pre-9-11 Currency Movements; an Ex-Federal Reserve Employee Talks to Robert Wenzel

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by EB.

Submitted by

Bill Bergman-a former Federal Reserve (Chicago branch) economist and policy analyst, who has raised concerns about unusual currency transactions pre- 9-11—-including billions in one hundred dollar bills, is the guest this week on the Robert Wenzel Show. 

Bergman worked at the Chicago Federal Reserve for over 13 years as an economist and financial markets policy analyst, until he started asking questions about unusual currency movements before 9-11. On the show we talk about what happened to him, after he started his investigation.

We also talk about how the Fed’s Biege Book is assembled, the trillion plus dollars sitting at the Fed as excess reserves, the LIBOR “scandal”, Warren Buffet and much more…

YouTube and podcast versions may be found here:

* * *

EB:  On the same topic, see this April 2011 report at ZeroHedge regarding Mr. Bergman’s termination written by one Jr. Deputy Accountant (who, apparently, was not picked up in a chauffered black helicopter and still writes to this day here).

Finally, we crunched the numbers, and indeed found a material spike in currency during the ten weeks preceding 9-11 when compared to the previous five years.  All the more compelling, considering the average includes the cash dump prior to the Y2K event in 2000.  See here:

* * *

The Robert Wenzel Show is broadcast every Sunday morning at 7:00 am.  Previous guests include Robert Morrow (on the JFK assassination), Peter Schiff, libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (worth it for the fireworks), James Altucher (how he lost $15 million dollars), Derek Pilecki (inside Goldman Sacks asset management division) and many more.

ECB Advocates Forcing Senior Bondholders to Take Losses on Spanish Debt; What’s It Mean?

Courtesy of Mish.

In a surprise but welcome move, the ECB Shifts View on Bond Losses.

The European Central Bank, in a sharp turnaround, has advocated imposing losses on holders of senior bonds issued by the most severely damaged Spanish savings banks, though finance ministers have for now rejected the approach, according to people familiar with discussions.

The ECB’s new position was made clear by its president, Mario Draghi, to a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers discussing a euro-zone rescue for Spain’s struggling local lenders in Brussels the evening of July 9.

The ministers rejected the advice out of concern that financial markets would react badly to the decision. [Mish translation: Finance ministers want to screw the taxpayers to save the wealthy].

Imposing losses on bondholders reduces the amount of money taxpayers need to inject into struggling banks. One euro-zone official said the desire to avoid putting more public money at risk than necessary was one reason behind the ECB’s change of heart since 2010. The ECB’s new stance can also be explained by the different scenarios, including the existence of a bank-restructuring framework for Spain that didn’t exist for Ireland, and the fact that the Irish government, unlike Spain’s, guaranteed much of its banks’ debts.

What’s It Mean?

Take your pick from the following possibilities.

  • Losses at Spanish banks are way bigger than reported by Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy.
  • Losses at Spanish banks are such that they would blowout the entirety of the ESM
  • ECB president Mario Draghi is concerned about a reaction from the German constitutional court 
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel warned Draghi in no uncertain terms that German taxpayers would not pony up any more money for bailouts.
  • ECB has recognized the approach in Ireland was a failure

I suspect all of those are true. I also expect Irish citizens will be hopping mad over how they were treated (as well they should be).

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

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Soak Wealth, Not Income?

Courtesy of Bruce Krasting

Two big problems America faces are that there is not enough tax revenue, and income is skewed to the top 10%. These issues will define the 2012 election. Obama wants to lower the taxes that middle-income earners pay at the expense of those bastards who are in the lofty top 10% of income. Romney wants to lower taxes across the board, but his plan heavily favors the shit heels that are at the top of the pile. This chart compares the two candidate's proposals: .



The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) wrote on this topic last week, presenting the following chart to describe what is happening:



The CBO used the actual IRS tax data from 2009, so this info is an accurate description of who made what and what taxes were paid. The results confirm the problem. The top 20% of income earners make 51% of all income. This same group pays fully 68% of all Federal tax dollars. So who are these “fat cats” who are on top of the income pile and how much are they making? The results are surprising, the following shows the incomes for those in the top 20%:

81st to 90th percentile = $137,500
91st to 95th percentile = $175,800
96th to 99th percentile = $271,800
Top 1 percent = $1,219,700

So who are these "wealthy" people in America?

Nearly half of those “rich folks” are a husband and wife who each make $65,000 a year. I understand that there are plenty of folks who don’t earn this much, but if those same people think that the households that bring in $132k a year are “rich”, they are wrong.

The people in this group are not fat cats, they are not rich and they are not bastards. This is your Dr., Dentist, accountant, small business owner. This group is what fuels the economy. Take half their income away and you have a big fall.

If you’re wondering who fits into this income group (91st to 95th percentile) consider that every Senator and Congressman is in this bracket.

We get up to the stratosphere of income…
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Is Keynesianism Running Dry?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via Perspectives from Pictet,

Why policymakers must be brave and innovate with economic policy

Even though the policy mix is extraordinarily stimulating, developed-world economies just cannot embark on a virtuous circle of recovery. Worse still, governments, whose finances have been bled dry, are powerless to boost demand. This all suggests Keynesian policies have failed. A fresh approach to economic policy is needed. But policymakers will need to be both bold and brave.

The current state of economies is serious and worrying: although deliberate expansionary policies have been pragmatically implemented since March 2009, governments and central banks throughout the developed world have been unable to push recalcitrant economies back into the virtuous loop of self-sustaining recovery. The implications are plain for all to see: once governments apply a brake to public spending, growth slows considerably. Economies of the developed world have become addicts, ‘hooked’ on government spending.

The annualised rate of US economic growth has slackened to no more than 2%, down from 6% in Q2 2009, in spite of the mix of reflationary fiscal policies and the US Federal Reserve’s unprecedented quantitative easing. Europe’s economies are heading for recession, crippled by draconian budget austerity in many countries intended to redress astronomical public-sector deficits and national debt. Worst-case scenarios are pointing to Europe’s GDP shrinking by 2% over the coming 12 to 18 months. This calamitous failure of economic policies will have serious social, political and, self-evidently, economic repercussions.

Keynesianism running dry

Both US and European economies see jobs being destroyed once growth slows below 2%. If recession bites, obviously jobs are wiped out on a more massive scale and household income shrinks. Unemployment and contracting income penalise social well-being in developed nations: the number of people living below the poverty line is rising non-stop. Although this stratum of society was considered just a marginal fringe twenty years ago, it now accounts for between 10% and 20% of the total population in most developed economies (15% in the US, 12% in France, 21% in the UK).

Draconian austerity measures in a setting of lacklustre growth make a recipe for despair in the population, creating a breeding-ground for ever more popular extremist political parties. Recent general elections in Greece, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden have seen farright populist and parties disturbingly making…
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In Shocking Development, ECB Demands Impairment for Senior Spanish Bondholders; Eurocrats Resist

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

In a landmark shift in its bank "impairment" stance, the WSJ reports that "in a sharp turnaround" the ECB has advocated the imposition of losses on senior bondholders at the most "damaged" Spanish savings banks, "though finance ministers have for now rejected the approach, according to people familiar with discussions." The WSJ continues: "The ECB's new position was made clear by its president, Mario Draghi, to a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers discussing a euro-zone rescue for Spain's struggling local lenders in Brussels the evening of July 9. It marks a contrast from the position the central bank adopted during the 2010 bailout of Irish banks--which, like Spain's, were victims of a property meltdown--when it prevailed in its insistence that senior bondholders in bailed-out banks shouldn't suffer losses." Needless to say, if indeed the fulcrum impairment security is no longer the Sub debt, but Senior debt, as the ECB suggests, it is only a matter of time before wholesale European bank liquidations commence as the ECB would only encourage this shift if it knew the level of asset impairment is far too great to be papered over by mere pooling of liabilities (think shared deposits, the creation of TBTF banks, and all those other gimmicks tried in 2010 when as a result of Caja failure we got such sterling example of financial viability as Bankia, which lasted all of 18 months). It also means the European crisis is likely about to take a big turn for the worse as suddenly bank failures become all too real. Why? Senior debt impairment means deposits are now at full risk of loss as even the main European bank admits there is no way banks will have enough assets to grow into their balance sheet.

Obviously, the ECB's 'revolutionary' suggestion will be met by harsh criticism at the FinMin level across Europe because if taken seriously it would mean the threat of wholesale bank runs. Sure enough, as the WSJ reports:


The ministers rejected the advice out of concern that financial markets would react badly to the decision. A draft of the rescue agreement, which will provide as much as EUR100 billion ($122.5 billion) for the Spanish banking system, requires Madrid to force losses only on shareholders and junior

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Citigroup Earnings, NIM and the FDIC TAG Program

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by rcwhalen.


Your humble scribe is scheduled to be on CNBC this Monday ~ 8:00 ET to talk bank earnings for Citigroup (C) and then Goldman Sachs (GS) the following day.  With all of the attention being paid to JPMorgan and its hapless CEO Jamie Dimon, I’ve been less attentive to the zombie dance queen than usual.   Let us repair this deficiency.


Like most of the TBTF banks, C has been showing steadily improving numbers in its public disclosure to the SEC and federal regulators.  Indeed, even with the high loss rate, C managed to climb up to a “B” in The IRA Bank Monitor as of Q1 2012 vs. “F” where the bank languished for more than two years.   Citi did about $3 billion in net income in Q1 2012 on $15.7 billion in revenue, and likely will come in around that level again, assuming no “surprises.”


Because C’s natural credit loss rate is 2x the industry average, it is very difficult for C and other high loss rate peers such as Capital One Financial (COF) to ever achieve an “A” in IRA’s tough quarterly stress survey of the US banking industry.  Recall that C management has previously made some noises about changing the bank’s business model to include a lower internal target loss rate, but the latest disclosure does not show this nor should we expect to see any meaningful change in the Q2 2012 earnings release. 


For example, the average Bank Stress Index score for the US banking was 1.3 in Q1 2012 (1995=1), but C had a stress score of 1.7.  In terms of charge-offs, C reported a score of 4.4 vs. 2.3 for the banking industry as a whole.  Remember that the Bank Stress Index industry average includes C, which is more than 10% of the whole industry.  So the ex-Citigroup population’s score for charge-offs is even lower than the industry average suggests when compared to C alone.  Of note, C common has fallen to a beta of less than 2 vs 3 for much of last year, but it remains among the most volatile stocks in the group.


To give you another perspective on C’s risk/return profile, in Q1 2012 IRA calculated a risk adjusted return on capital or RAROC of 0.543%, a pathetic level of real return…
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Loan Moratorium in Italy for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses; GDP Expected to Contract 2 Percent

Courtesy of Mish.

Italy’s new economic minister expects 2012 GDP fall “little less” than 2 percent.

Italy’s GDP is expected to shrink “a little less” than 2 percent, the country’s new economy minister Vittorio Grilli said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.

Grilli, who took over the economy portfolio from Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday, made his comments in a long interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The Bank of Italy governor has forecast that the economy will shrink by 2.0 percent and employers’ lobby Confindustria has forecast a contraction of more than 2.4 percent.

Optimistic Politicians

Given that politicians are nearly always overly-optimistic in such forecasts, look for a collapse in GDP closer to 3% than 2%.

Italy Loan Moratorium for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Please note that things are so bad that Italian Loan Moratorium Approved.

Small and medium-size Italian companies will be permitted to suspend payments on 3.6 billion euros ($4.4 billion) of debt for as long as a year, the Finance Ministry of Italy said on Saturday.

Since a loan moratorium began on March 1, Italian companies have made 16,000 applications to postpone 5.5 billion euros of payments, the ministry said. About 10,000 applications were processed through May, and the rest are being addressed.

The nation’s business associations and the Italian Banking Association agreed this year to extend an earlier moratorium to cope with the country’s fourth recession since 2001. The previous moratorium, begun in August 2009, allowed 260,000 companies to delay 15 billion euros of payments, the association said in February.

This moratorium is nothing more than an attempt to keep bankrupt and underperforming businesses alive. In a free market, uncompetitive businesses should fail. Thus, the moratorium is a mistake.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List

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James Howard Kunstler: It’s Too Late for Solutions

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity,

Author and social critic James Howard Kunstler has been one of the earliest, most direct, and most articulate voices to warn of the consequences — economic and otherwise — of modern society’s profligate wasting of the resources that underlie its growth.

In his new book Too Much Magic [7], Jim attacks the wishful thinking dominant today that with a little more growth, a little more energy, a little more technology — a little more magic — we’ll somehow sail past our current tribulations without having to change our behavior.

Such self-delusion is particularly dangerous because it is preventing us from taking intelligent, constructive action at the national level when the clock is fast ticking out of our favor. In fact, Jim claims we are past the state where solutions are possible – instead, we need a response plan to help us best brace for the impact of the coming consequences. And we need it fast.

[We now live in] this weird, peculiar period in American history when the delusional thinking has risen to astronomical levels — predictably, really — in response to the stress levels that our society feels. And it is expressing itself as sort of “waiting for Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy” to deliver a set of rescue remedies to us so that we can continue running Wal-Mart, Walt Disney World, Suburbia, the U.S. Army, and the Interstate Highway System by other means. That is the great wish out there. It is kind of understandable because that is the stuff that we have, and people tend to defend the stuff that they have in any given society and the systems and platforms that they run on.  But it is probably a form of collective behavior that is not really going to benefit us very much and really amounts to simply wasting our time, and wasting our dwindling resources, and even our spiritual resources when we could be doing things that are a lot more intelligent.


Here is something I have detected as I travel around the country: there is a clamor for “solutions”. Everywhere I go people say “Don’t be a doomer, give us solutions.” And I discovered that the subtext

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Zero Hedge

Enemy Of The People?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Via The Zman blog,

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

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


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Phil's Favorites

A 2019 Earnings Recession?


A 2019 Earnings Recession?

Courtesy of 

Shout to Leigh!

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

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

Check out Estimize ...

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

By ActivistInsight. Originally published at ValueWalk.

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

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold & Silver Testing Important Breakout Levels!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

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

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

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

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

To become a member of Kimbl...

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Insider Scoop

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

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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

Digital Currencies

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

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

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

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

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

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

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

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

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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn


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

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...

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Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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


Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

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


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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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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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About Phil:

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

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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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