Archive for October, 2015

Mission Creepy: U.S. Puts Boots On The Ground Russia Is Bombing

Courtesy of John Rubino.

Russia’s decision to bomb pretty much everyone opposed to Syria’s Assad regime — including the guys the US was training and funding — startled the West last month. But at least we didn’t have any personnel there at the time, right?

Well, that might be about to change:

Obama orders US special forces to ‘assist’ fight against Isis in Syria

(Guardian) – Barack Obama has ordered up to 50 special operations troops to Syria, US officials announced on Friday, in an apparent breach of a promise not to put US “boots on the ground”, to fight Islamic State militants in the country.

The Pentagon has also been “consulting” with the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to establish a special operations taskforce to fight Isis “leaders and networks” across the Syrian border in Iraq, a senior administration official told the Guardian on Friday.

But the White House insisted that its overall strategy to combat Isis remained the same and said the special forces troops would be helping coordinate local ground forces in the north of the country and other non-specified “coalition efforts” to counter Isis rather than engaging in major ground operations.

“The decision the president has made is to further intensify our support for our forces who have made progress against Isis,” the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said at a news conference.

The move came as diplomats worked in Vienna to restart talks on a political transition that would remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. At the discussions with leaders from Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, framed the troop announcement as part of a shifting policy that included this major diplomatic push to initiate talks that would bring about a political transition in Syria.

“We are intensifying our counter-Daesh campaign and we are intensifying our diplomatic efforts to end the conflict,” Kerry said, using the Arabic acronym for Isis. “That is why President Obama made an announcement about stepping up the fight against Daesh.”

The injection of US special forces in Syria seemed at odds with earlier statements Obama has made about not placing troops in the country.

Barack Obama in

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The Empty Bus

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tim Knight from Slope of Hope.

From the Slope of Hope: With all the grousing and grumbling I do here, I thought I’d change my tone and write up a genuinely positive, optimistic post. This has to do with what I think will be a tectonic shift over the next twenty years: transportation.

As dull as that sounds, I think the changes that take place in how we get people (or cargo) from point “A” to point “B” are going to be more profound that Amazon, Facebook, and the iPhone put together. My insight, if you want to be generous enough to call it that, is spawned from a couple of (as is typical for me – - negative) observations I make on a periodic basis.

The first observation is one I make almost daily: in spite of the relative wealth of the San Francisco peninsula, there are buses all over the place. Some of them are the fabled “white buses” that tote highly-paid twenty-somethings from Google and Facebook back to their residences in San Francisco. But most of them are the large (and sometimes double-length) VTA buses that drive all over the Santa Clara valley, and there is one thing I notice about virtually every one of them: they’re empty or near-empty. As they rumble by, I typically see two or three people sitting in a bus that holds 50 to 100 people.

The other observation I have is that the people driving these buses are really, really, really overpaid. Many of them make six figures. One fellow mentioned in this article was clearing almost $200,000. For driving a bus. This is about as close to “unskilled labor’ as I can imagine. It’s mindless, boring work. And very, very lucrative. (Thank you, civic employee unions!)…
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Analyst Warns Of Turbulence: “Geopolitical Dislocations Could Result In Key Resource Supplies Disappearing”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Mac Slavo via,

Some of the world’s biggest investors have been taking significant positions in the commodity resource sector as of late, most notably in gold. With geopolitical tension and fear of economic breakdown reaching a near boiling point, it’s not difficult to see why. Instability pervades the entire system, encompassing everything from financial markets to social safety nets. And while it is easy to ignore the seriousness of current events because stock markets remain at record highs and mainstream pundits continue to toe the recovery line, the fact is that an unexpected and seemingly minor event could well send the entire world into a tailspin.

According to analyst John Kaiser, this is exactly what we need to be concerned with. In a candid interview with Future Money Trends Kaiser explains just how political dislocations could result in supply lines to critical commodities like food, copper, zinc and gold being cut – even without a major war – should the United States, Russia and China continue to bump heads.

(Watch at Future Money Trends or Youtube)

Forget about the big, giant macro-economic increases in overall global GDP, but instead let’s look at the turbulence we’re starting to see where China is asserting itself in the South China Sea area… where Putin is eyeing its lost colonies in Europe and Central Asia and thinking maybe we should re-establish the Soviet empire… where we see instability in the middle east.

Then you also realize that a lot of metal comes from China… a lot of metal comes from Russia. And if we end up in a shoving match where, say, the United States pushes back in the South China Sea… and Chinese generals get all up in arms and we end up with an incident… well what happens if China suddenly has sanctions going against it… or something similar, that Russia goes beyond messing in the Ukraine and starts taking out Latvia or Estonia?

All of a sudden we have not so much nickel coming from Russia anymore… and similar in China.. Tungsten, 85% of it comes from China… graphite, 85% of it comes from China… 40% of the world’s zinc comes from China.

These types of geopolitical dislocations… they could result in supply simply disappearing.

And because the rest of the world

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Fed Admits “Something’s Going On Here That We Maybe Don’t Understand”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

In a somewhat shocking admission of its own un-omnipotence, or perhaps more of a C.Y.A. moment for the inevitable mean-reversion to reality, Reuters reports that San Francisco Fed President John Williams said Friday that low neutral interest rates are a warning sign of possible changes in the U.S. economy that the central bank does not fully understand. With Japan having been there for decades, and the rest of the developed world there for 6 years…

Suddenly, just weeks away from what The Fed would like the market to believe is the first rate hike in almost a decade, Williams decides now it is the time to admit the central planners might be missing a factor (and carefully demands better fiscal policy)… (as Reuters reports)

"I see this as more of a warning, a red flag that there's something going on here that isn't in the models, that we maybe don't understand as well as we think, and we should dig down deep deeper and try to figure this out better," said San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams on Friday pointing out that low neutral interest rates are a warning sign of possible changes in the U.S. economy that the central bank does not fully understand.

Williams, who is a voting member of the Fed's policy-setting panel through the end of the year, has said the central bank should begin to raise interest rates soon but thereafter go at a gradual pace; ironically adding that the low neutral interest rate had "pretty significant" implications for monetary policy, and put more focus on fiscal policy as a response.

"If we could come up with better fiscal policy, find a way to have the economy grow faster or have a stronger natural rate of interest, then that takes the pressure off of us to try to come up with other ways to do it, like through a large balance sheet or having a higher inflation target," Williams said. "It also means we don't have to turn to quantitative easing and other policies as much."

As we noted previously, depending on the importance of the credit channel, the Federal Reserve, by pegging the short term rate at zero, have essentially removed one recessionary market mechanism that used to efficiently clear excesses within the…
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Another Black Swan? Turkey Holds Snap Elections Amid NATO-Backed Civil War

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

There’s a potential black swan event taking place in Turkey on Sunday and no one seems to care. That is, the media isn’t devoting nearly enough coverage to Turkish elections considering the impact the outcome will invariably have on the situation in Syria, on the fate of the lira, and on the Pentagon’s strategy with regard to embedding spec ops with the YPG.

As a reminder, Turkey held elections back in June and the outcome did not please President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

AKP lost its absolute majority in parliament thanks in no small part to a relatively strong showing by the pro-Kurdish HDP and that meant that Erdogan couldn’t move forward with plans to consolidate his power by amending the constitution. Well, if you know anything about Erdogan, you know that he isn’t exactly the type to take these kinds of things lying down, and so, he decided to trade NATO access to Incirlik for Western acquiescence to a crackdown on the PKK.

Of course that’s not how it was pitched to the media.

The official line was that after a suicide bombing in Suruc claimed by ISIS, Ankara decided it was time to go after Islamic State. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s a joke. The PKK and many other observers have long contended that Turkey is complicit in allowing money, guns, and personnel to flow across the border into Syria so that ISIS can continue to destabilize the Assad regime which Ankara opposes. In other words, Erdogan has no interest whatsoever in fighting ISIS. What he does have an interest in is starting a new war with the PKK in order to convince voters that the security situation in Turkey is such that only a dictator can get the situation under control – that’s the whole gambit.

So what Erdogan did was this: he obstructed the coalition building process in the wake of June’s elections, started a civil war in order to try and convince voters that supporting HDP was a mistake, then called for new elections in November which he hopes will restore AKP’s absolute majority and allow him to change the constitution. It’s deplorable to the point of absurdity (especially given the recent suicide attack in Ankara) and underscores
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HaPPY HoRRoRWeeN 2015

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by williambanzai7.










Crude Supertanker Rates Collapse As VLCC ‘Traffic’ To China Lowest In 13 Months

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

A few days ago we warned, confirming Goldman Sachs' earlier analysis that the world was running out of space to store crude distillate products, that China was running out of storage space for crude oil as it dramatically ramped up its Strategic Petroleum Reserve 'buy low' plan. While the brightest indicator at the time was "about 4 million barrels of crude oil stranded in two tankers off an eastern port for nearly two months," this week, the dial went to 11 on the oil-demand-fear-o-meter, as Bloomberg reports supertankers sailing to Chinese ports plunged to its lowest in 13 months, sending the daily rate for shipping crashing. The marginal demand-er of last resort just left the market.

As a reminder, this is what Goldman said: "the build in Atlantic distillate inventories this year has been large, following near-record refinery utilization in both the US and Europe, only modest demand growth, especially relative to gasoline, and increased imports from the East on refinery expansion and rising Chinese exports."

As a result, and despite a cold winter in both Europe and the US last year, European and US distillate storage utilization is reaching historically elevated levels, driving a sharp weakening in heating oil and gasoil time spreads.

Such high distillate storage utilization has two precedents, leading in both cases to storage capacity running out in the springs of 1998 and 2009, pushing runs and crude oil prices and timespreads sharply lower. This raises the question of whether today’s oil market oversupply can rebalance simply through financial stress – prices remaining near their current low level through 2016 – or if operational stress – breaching storage capacity constraints and forcing prices below cash costs like in 1998 and 2009 – is ineluctable.

And then something very unexpected happened: the world quietly hit a tipping point when, according to Reuters, China ran out of space to store oil.

In a report explaining why "oil cargoes bought for state reserve stranded at China port" Reuters notes that "about 4 million barrels of crude oil bought by a Chinese state trader for the country's strategic reserves have been stranded in two tankers off an eastern port for nearly two months due to a lack of storage, two trade sources said."

And now, as Bloomberg reports,

VLCCs sailing

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Mario Draghi Admits Global QE Has Failed: “The Slowdown Is Probably Not Temporary”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Undoubtedly, the most amusing this about the prospect of more easing from the ECB (as telegraphed by Mario Draghi last week) and the BoJ (where Haruhiko Kuroda just jeopardized his status as monetary madman par excellence by failing to expand stimulus) is that both Europe and Japan both recently slid back into deflation despite trillions in central bank asset purchases. 

In other words, the market expects both Draghi and Kuroda to double- and triple- down on policies that clearly aren’t working when it comes to altering inflation expectations and/or boosting aggregate demand. Indeed, both Goldman and BofAML said as much last week. For those who missed it, here’s Goldman’s take

The subdued and increasingly persistent inflation dynamics that have prevailed in recent years may have eroded central banks’ best line of defence in the face of adverse disinflationary shocks. The energy-price-driven decline in Euro area inflation from 2012 to 2015 has thrown this possibility into even sharper relief.


By embarking on unprecedented balance sheet operations and forward guidance, central banks in Europe have sought to ring-fence domestic inflation expectations and signal their intention to maintain monetary conditions easy for a protracted period of time. Mario Draghi himself described the ECB’s asset purchase programme as a way of ensuring that very low (and, at times, negative) inflation does not lead wage- and price-setters to adjust their behaviour to a perceived lower steady-state rate of inflation. However, judging from market-based implied measures of longer-term inflation expectations, the effectiveness of the ECB’s announcements has proved limited so far.

Or, visually:

Meanwhile, many critics have accused the ECB of adopting policies that work at cross purposes with Berlin’s insistence on fiscal rectitude. That is, the more Draghi’s PSPP drives down borrowing costs, the less effective the “market” is at pricing risk which in turn means investors aren’t able to punish governments for budgetary blunders. In other words, Spain, Portugal, and Italy shouldn’t be able to borrow for nothing based on the fundamentals, but thanks to the ECB they can – so why implement reforms? 

And so, ahead of what might fairly be…
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Should America Fight For The Spratlys?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Fred Reed via,

It appears that Washington, ever a seething cauldron of bright ideas, is looking for a shooting war with China, or perhaps trying to make the Chinese kowtow and back down, the pretext being some rocks in the Pacific in which the United States cannot possibly have a vital national interest. Or, really, any interest. And if the Chinese do not back down?

Years back I went aboard the USS Vincennes, CG-49, a Tico class Aegis boat, then the leading edge of naval technology. It was a magnificent ship, fast, powered by a pair of airliner turbines, and carrying the SPY-1 phased-array radar, very high-tech for its time. The CIC was dark and air-conditioned, glowing with huge screens – impressive for then – displaying all manner of information on targets in the air. Below were Standard missiles, then on a sort of chain drive but in later ships using the Vertical Launch System. It was, as they say in Laredo, Muy Star Wars. (The Vincennes was the ship that later shot down the Iranian airliner.)

The Vincennes. The boxy thing up front is the radar. It is not hardened.

The Vincennes. The boxy thing up front is the radar. It is not hardened.

Being something of a technophile, I took all of this in with admiration, but I thought – what if it gets hit? As a kid in my preteens I had read about the battleships of WWII, the Carolinas but in particular the Iowa class, fast, brutal ships with sixteen-inch belt armor and turrets that an asteroid would bounce off of. The assumption was that ships were going to get hit. They were built to survive and continue fighting.

By contrast, the Vincennes was thin-skinned, hulled with aluminum instead of steel, and the radar, crucial to combat, looked perilously fragile. A single hit with anything serious, or perhaps even a cal .50, but certainly by anything resembling a GAU-8, and she would be hors de combat until refitted.

One hit.

The Iowa, BB-61. I went aboard her at Norfolk at the Navy’s invitation. It altered my appreciation of guns. I came away thinking that if you can’t crawl into it, it isn’t really a gun. And solid: There is a reason why no battleship was sunk after Pearl Harbor.

The Iowa, BB-61. I went aboard her at Norfolk at the Navy’s invitation. It altered my appreciation of guns. I came away thinking that if you can’t crawl into it, it isn’t really a gun. And solid: There is a reason why no battleship was sunk after

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The Quick “Bull” Vs “Bear” Case In 8 Charts

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

“What happens next?” Everyone wants to know the answer, but nobody has it (if they do, they are lying).

Still, one attempt at framing the narrative, comes from BofA’s Savita Subramanian. Here is the 30,000 foot cliff notes version of the two sides of the story.

First, the bear case, or as BofA calls it “an economic shock derails a fragile economy.”

Concern over global growth has become more wide-spread, as suggested by the charts below. We believe that outside of an exogenous geopolitical event, an economic shock would most likely be tied to credit, where signs of stress are building the most.

  • Growth expectations have come down over the past 12 months, per the Global Fund Manager Survey
  • More investors are starting to believe we’re in the “late cycle”
  • There are signs of stress in the high yield market, with distress ratio increasing recently
  • More companies in the S&P 500 are projected to lose money than those with negative EPS 12M ago.

And here is the “4 chart summary” of the bull case, which as usually expected, is “more aligned” with BofA’s economists’ current outlook (which does not foresee a recession any time in the coming decade), where they see stable to improving growth in developed markets. This requires that China’s economy does not collapse. But much of the uncertainty may be reflected is asset process, and we see several reasons to remain positive.

  • Valuations are still below average – see Chart 2 for the normalized P/E
  • Short interest has risen over time and is at the highest levels since 2008
  • Investors are underweight the US by a net 10% (per the Global FMS)
  • Sentiment is still bearish, with our Sell Side Indicator in “Buy” territory (see Chart 12) and cash levels at mutual funds also generating a “Buy” signal per the Global FMS.

A more detailed version of the above to follow tomorrow.


Phil's Favorites

DARK TOWERS by David Enrich


In his best-selling book Dark Towers, David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, chronicles the complicated history of Deutsche Bank and its entanglement with Donald Trump. Reviewing Dark Towers, Roger Lowenstein writes, 

"Enrich’s most tantalizing nugget is that in the summer of 2016, Jared Kushner’s real estate company (which received lavish financing from Deutsche) was moving money to various Russians. A bank compliance officer filed a “suspicious activity report,” but the report was quashed and she was fired. The suggestion that maybe the money was payback for Russian campaign meddling isn’t one that Enrich can prove. Similarly, we will have to wait to see if Deutsch...

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Zero Hedge

NYSE Announces Disaster-Recovery Test Due To Virus Fears

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

In a somewhat shocking sounding move, given administration officials' ongoing effort to calm the public fears over the spread of Covid-19, The New York Stock Exchange has announced it will commence disaster-recovery testing in its Cermak Data Center on March 7 amid coronavirus concern, Fox Business reports in a tweet, citing the exchange.

During this test, NYSE will facilitate electronic Core Open and Closing Auctions as if the 11 Wall Stree...

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Chart School

Dow, Three strikes and your out!

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The Dow has topped out with major events, the current virus could be the third strike!

2001 - 9/11 Twin Towers
2007 - Bear Sterns
2020 (?) - C19 Virus

Chart explains all. Dow Jones Industrial's comparing market tops 2000, 2007 and 2020.

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.

Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of ...

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Cities With The Most 'New' And Tenured Homeowners

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Homeownership is a major investment. Not just financially, but when a person or family purchases a home, they’re investing years – if not decades – in that particular community. 55places wanted to find out which real estate markets are luring in new homebuyers, and which ones are dominated by owners that haven’t moved in decades. The study analyzed residency data in more than 300 US cities and revealed the top 10 cities with the most tenured homeowners – residents who’ve lived in and owned their home for more than 30 years – are sprinkled across ...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Financial Crisis Deja Vu: Home Construction Index Double Top?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Most of us remember the 2007-2009 financial crisis because of the collapse in home prices and its effect on the economy.

One key sector that tipped off that crisis was the home builders.

The home builders are an integral piece to our economy and often signal “all clears” or “short-term warnings” to investors based on their economic health and how the index trades.

In today’s chart, we highlight the Dow Jones Home Construction Index. It has climbed all the way back to its pre-crisis highs… BUT it immediately reversed lower from there.

This raises concerns about a double top.

This pr...

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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Plunge Amid Coronavirus Fears

Courtesy of Benzinga

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded lower in early pre-market trade. South Korea confirmed 256 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, while China reported an additional 327 new cases. Data on U.S. international trade in goods for January, wholesale inventories for January and consumer spending for January will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago PMI for February is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan's consumer sentime... more from Insider

Biotech & Health

Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?


Could coronavirus really trigger a recession?

Coronavirus seems to be on a collision course with the US economy and its 12-year bull market. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Courtesy of Michael Walden, North Carolina State University

Fears are growing that the new coronavirus will infect the U.S. economy.

A major U.S. stock market index posted its biggest two-day drop on record, erasing all the gains from the previous two months; ...

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The Technical Traders

SPY Breaks Below Fibonacci Bearish Trigger Level

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our research team wanted to share this chart with our friends and followers.  This dramatic breakdown in price over the past 4+ days has resulted in a very clear bearish trigger which was confirmed by our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system.  We believe this downside move will target the $251 level on the SPY over the next few weeks and months.

Some recent headline articles worth reading:

On January 23, 2020, we ...

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TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  


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Members' Corner

Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship


Threats to democracy: oligarchy, feudalism, dictatorship

Courtesy of David Brin, Contrary Brin Blog 

Fascinating and important to consider, since it is probably one of the reasons why the world aristocracy is pulling its all-out putsch right now… “Trillions will be inherited over the coming decades, further widening the wealth gap,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The beneficiaries aren’t all that young themselves. From 1989 to 2016, U.S. households inherited more than $8.5 trillion. Over that time, the average age of recipients rose by a decade to 51. More ...

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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year


Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...

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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires


Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:


The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:


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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. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.