Archive for 2016

The Global Bear Market In Freedom

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Erico Matias Tavares via Sinclair & Co.,

Americans will be celebrating Memorial Day this weekend, to honor those who fought and died for the values they have traditionally cherished the most as a nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The world has changed dramatically in recent decades. The geopolitical situation is much more complex, with rising powers challenging America’s supremacy. The intractable war on terror seems interminable. Old foes appear to spring back to life even more powerful than before. And things at home look dicey in terms of politics and economics.

As we reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice that others have made‎, it is an opportune moment to consider a very important question: is the US winning the fight for freedom?

More than other dictatorial regimes, “totalitarianism” represents the opposite of everything America is supposed to stand for. For most people it conjures images of a repressive leader and his minions having total control of a society with very limited freedoms. That’s not too far off from reality, but there’s more to it and a process to get there.

The term was first coined by Giovanni Amendola in 1923 to describe the emergence of Italian fascism (which was different from other dictatorships). However, it only gained traction in academic research during the 1960s largely based on the work of political scientists Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They reformulated the definition to account for the Soviet Union as well as the fascist regimes of the 20th century, where a totalitarian system featured the following mutually-supportive defining characteristics:

  1. An elaborate guiding ideology;
  2. A single mass party, typically led by a dictator;
  3. A system of terror, using such instruments as violence and secret police;
  4. A state monopoly on weapons;
  5. A state monopoly on the means of communication; and
  6. Central direction and control of the economy through state planning.

As far as we can tell this definition has not been materially updated since it was first proposed, perhaps because the topic has lost academic interest following the collapse of the Soviet Union. One critique is that many totalitarian regimes do not exhibit all these characteristics at‎ the same time, and not with the same intensity. Initially they may even be welcomed and perceived as necessary by the general population, only to…
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Trickle-Down Crash? Trophy Assets Suddenly Tanking

Courtesy of John Rubino.

One of the defining traits of the past few years’ “recovery” has been the torrent of money flowing from big banks to favored clients, and from there into trophy properties like high-end real estate, superyachts, and fine art. This might be the first financial bubble to completely bypass the 99%.

And now it’s ending. Falling oil prices and negative interest rates (rich people own a lot of government bonds) seem to have sucked the animal spirits out of the 1%, leading to stories like this:

A Worrisome Pileup of $100 Million Homes

(New York Times) – One of the latest symbols of the overinflated luxury housing market is a pink mansion perched above the Mediterranean on the French Riviera.

The 13,000-square-foot property, built and owned by the fashion magnate Pierre Cardin, is composed of giant terra cotta orbs arranged in a sprawling hive. The home’s name befits its price. “Le Palais Bulles,” or “the Bubble Palace,” is being offered for sale at approximately $450 million.

The listing is part of a global pileup of homes listed for $100 million or more. A record 27 properties with nine-figure prices are officially for sale, according to Christie’s International Real Estate. That is up from 19 last year and about a dozen in 2014.

If you add in high-priced “whisper listings” that are offered privately, brokers say the actual number of nine-figure listings worldwide could easily top 40 or 50.

Continue here >

And this…

Trophy Corporate Jets Were All the Rage, Until They Weren’t

(Bloomberg) – The private jet Janine Iannarelli is selling for a Russian client has leather seats, wood paneling, a satellite phone and can fly nonstop from Tokyo to Los Angeles. The price has dropped $3 million since September and is still falling.

Iannarelli today is hawking the 10-year-old Bombardier Global 5000 for $14.5 million but recommends that her client cut the price further as the market for large-cabin business jets keeps weakening. A new Global 5000 lists for $50.4 million.

“There’s absolutely no evidence of a recovery on the horizon,” says Iannarelli, founder


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Libertarian Party Chairman Candidate Strips To His Underwear On Stage

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While badly needing an alternative to the fake left-right division plaguing US society, Americans will not get a much needed, credible libertarian “third choice” for at least another year. Here’s why.

Earlier today, the Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as its presidential ticket Sunday, as the party attempts to elevate itself into the mainstream during an election that’s given the small party unprecedented opportunity. Unfortunately, “taking itself into the mainstream” was just not meant to be for a party that earlier today saw a candidate for chairman strip to his underwear and give the entire convention a striptease.

The pair, both two-term governors, have more executive experience than any other candidate in the race, and they will offer an alternative to two historically unpopular candidates, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“This is the best message team going forward,” Johnson, the Libertarians’ presidential nominee, told reporters after Weld won the vice presidential nomination.

And, as NBC reports, it all came to be in a contested convention. After endless speculation that the Republican Party’s divided primary might end in a contested convention in Cleveland and continued theories that the Democrats’ primary could end in Philadelphia with a floor battle between party insiders, 2016 finally had a contested convention, in Orlando. 

Johnson won on the second ballot after falling short of a majority by just a few votes — getting 49.5 percent — on the first. However, unlike the democratic or republican races, there were no superdelegates who will make all the difference.

Unfortunately, it is here that things took a turn for the bizarre. The tense hour between ballots left candidates scheming and delegates making floor deals and chanting for and against candidates. It was the kind of drama political reporters had previously only dreamed about.

While Johnson locked down enough votes on the second ballot, the drama was far from finished Sunday. Libertarians also allow their party to choose the vice presidential nominee, and Johnson’s chosen running mate — Weld — is not a party favorite, as many question whether he’s really a Libertarian. It didn’t help that he endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the Republican presidential nomination earlier in the…
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China Sends Yellen Another Warning, Fixes Yuan At Lowest In Over Five years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

We got an early hint of what the PBOC would do tonight on Friday and Saturday, when as we reported, an unprecedented volume burst of bitcoin buying out of China, sent the digital currency soaring to the highest level since 2014.

To be sure, we had expected sailing would not be smooth for the FX market, when on Friday afternoon, after Yellen’s’ unexpectedly hawkish comments at Harvard, which sent the USD surging, we predicted a stormy sea for the Monday Yuan fix:

CNY will be interesting on Sunday night

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 27, 2016

That is precisely what happened when moments ago the PBOC set the official exchange rate of the onshore Yuan lower by nearly 0.5%, from 6.5490 to 6.5794, the lowest fixing in more than 5 years, or February 2011.

Which brings us to a post we wrote last Wednesday, when according to Daiwa, “Round Two Of China Capital Outflows Is About To Begin.” The highlights:

As Kevin Lai, HK-based chief economist of Asia ex-Japan at Daiwa Capital Markets writes in note released overnight, round two of China capital outflows is about to begin, if second half last year was considered the first round. This is what he believes will happen next:

  • China’s FX reserves may fall below $2t in about a year
  • Downward pressure on FX reserves is most likely to be underestimated as short-term speculative flows are far more ready to leave than real flows
  • Based on estimates, about 49% of PBOC’s FX reserves are made up of flows which are speculative and short-term in nature
  • Expects decline in FX reserves to be more rapid in next 24 months at least
  • Look for further $500b decline to $2.7t by end-2016 and a further $900b decline to $1.7t by end-2017
  • If companies, especially SOEs, face trouble paying back creditors, central government would bail them out
  • Massive bailouts would require government’s monetary policy to turn a lot more aggressive, putting more pressure on yuan
  • Policymakers would have to seriously think about letting CNY slide gradually to a better equilibrium level

His conclusion: the USD/CNY will hit 7.50 by end-2016, some 15% higher than where it is now.

Then again, also today Goldman chimed in
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“This Is Not The America My Parents Immigrated To In 1957″

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by ‘Stucky’ via The Burning Platform blog,

Not that I remember what America was like in 1957, as I was not yet five years old. Years later, when I was old enough to understand, they told me their story. Briefly, it goes like this.

Dad was born in Romania (Czernowitz in Northern Bulovina), but he identified (haha) as German because, well, his dad was German, his mom was German, they spoke German and kept German customs, and lived in a German community so, applying the “quacking duck” theory, that’s what he was. Mom was born in Yugoslavia (now, Slovenia), but she identified as German for the same reasons as dad did. The Nazi regime would refer to folks such as my parents as “Volksdeutsche” —- being German as a people or race, regardless of citizenship. More on that  here.

When dad was about seventeen the Deutsche Wehrmacht (army) made a pit stop in his neck of the woods, and forcibly yanked his ass off the farm, and within a few weeks turned him into a bonafide Mortarman (dudes who launch grenades). He might have destroyed or damaged a Russkie tank or two, but was eventually captured by the Russians, and spent the rest of the war, and some time thereafter, in one of their luxurious prison camps. When mom was a pre-teen the Russian army made a pit stop in her neck of the woods, killed most of her family, but spared her life and put her to work as a slave laborer and sex-toy (cuz she was very pretty), in one of their gulags.

Obviously they both survived this ordeal (otherwise I probably wouldn’t be writing this). However, after the war ended, neither parent was allowed back to their ancestral homes. In order to keep Germans from becoming a “problem” again, Eastern Europe (with approval of all the Western powers) decided to enact a program of ethnic cleansing by expelling as many as 14 million Germans. This German Diaspora comprised the largest migration of any European people in modern history. More here. Many died, estimates range from 500,000 to 2,000,000. My parents survived that as well, obviously.

They arrived as Flüchtlinge (refugees) in an Austrian camp for such people … two Germans as refugees in a German country,


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CEO Of Asia’s Largest Commodity Trader Unexpectedly Resigns

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

We have tracked the problems of recently junked Noble Group – Asia’s largest commodity trader - extensively over the past year (see “Noble Group’s Kurtosis Awakening Moment For The Commodity Markets“, “Junk Isn’t Very Noble: Asia’s Largest Commodity Trader Responds To Moody’s Downgrade“, “Noble Group’s Cliffhanger“, “Noble Group’s “Collateral Margin Call“, “Noble Group’s “Margin Call” Part II: The Enron Moment“).

And then moments ago things finally turned serious for the company, which just a few weeks ago finalized a $3 billion credit facility in what according to some was an “all clear” moment. Apparently the only clarity was for long-time company CEO, and former Goldmanite Yusuf Alireza, that the time has come to exit stage left.

As the company announced moments ago on the Singapore stock exchange, not only is CEO Alireza resigning, to be replaced by William Randall and Jeff Frase as co-CEOs, but the company will also begin the sale process of its Noble Americas Energy Solutions, a deal that will generate “significant cash proceeds”, which is great since Nobel is desperately in need of cash; it also means that the company is losing one more of its star performing assets as it continues to asset strip itself of any potential future growth, and is merely scrambling to preserve solvency and liquidity.

Randall, based in Hong Kong, is currently President of Noble Group and an Executive Director and will retain his Board Seat. Frase, based in Stamford, Connecticut is currently President, Noble Americas and Head of Oil Liquids and will be invited to join the Board.

From the press release:

The Directors of Noble Group announce that they have accepted the resignation of Yusuf Alireza, Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Alireza has helped guide Noble through a very challenging period, moving the company to an asset light, merchant focused model; he played a pivotal role in the successful sale of Noble Agri to a group of investors led by COFCO, and has also been instrumental in securing the recently announced re-financing, a crucial element in the process of giving the group a stable base from which to develop.

With this transformation process now largely complete, Mr. Alireza considered that the time was right


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ECB Policy-Failure On Display: European Businesses Aren’t Planning To Invest

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

There once was a time (at least in banished Austrian economic circles) when low market interest rates signaled to entrepreneurs a positive environment in which to make investments in order to grow or create new product. That indicator has long since been broken as central banks muddy the waters and arbitrarily move interest rates wherever they feel ‘optimal’, including corporate bond rates.

The textbook intent of NIRP and ZIRP is to incentivize the banks to make loans and increase credit demand by making rates more attractive; however the central banks have not been able to do that, and the central planners now don’t know what to do (aside from the inevitable helicopter money path of course) in a debt-saturated world.

As evidence that the mechanism the central banks rely on to stimulate the economy is broken, we turn to a recent survey done by Intrum Justitia AB, which looked at whether or not negative interest rates were changing the minds of Europe’s companies on investment decisions (CapEx) – the answer is a resounding no.

84 percent of the 9,440 companies surveyed in 2016 said that low rates haven’t affected their willingness to invest, up from 73 percent just last year. In other words, not only are artificially low rates not spurring businesses to invest earlier than originally planned, companies aren’t even considering it anymore.

Intrum CEO Mikael Ericson said “Evidently, the strategy of keeping interest rates low for more than a year has not created the much sought-after stability. A calculation of an investment includes assumptions of the future. To get the calculation to go together those assumptions need to include a belief in stability and prosperity in the future. Perhaps the negative interest rates do not signal that stability at all, rather that we are still in an extraordinary situation.”

With nearly $10 trillion in debt trading at negative yields, it is safe to say we are still in an extraordinary situation. More importantly, the key takeaway here (other than another central planning failure) is that despite an extremely low cost of capital, companies still have no projects worth undertaking that make capital investments attractive – that should be what concerns everyone.





Paul Craig Roberts: Killary Will Be The Last US President

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

As Our Past Wars Are Glorified This Memorial Day Weekend, Give Some Thought To Our Prospects Against The Russians And Chinese In World War III

The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.

Like Steven Starr, Stephen Cohen, myself, and a small number of others, the Saker understands the reckless irresponsibility of convincing Russia that the United States intends to attack her.

It is extraordinary to see the confidence that many Americans place in their military’s ability. After 15 years the US has been unable to defeat a few lightly armed Taliban, and after 13 years the situation in Iraq remains out of control. This is not very reassuring for the prospect of taking on Russia, much less the strategic alliance between Russia and China. The US could not even defeat China, a Third World country at the time, in Korea 60 years ago.

Americans need to pay attention to the fact that “their” government is a collection of crazed stupid fools likely to bring vaporization to the United States and all of Europe.

Russian weapons systems are far superior to American ones. American weapons are produced by private companies for the purpose of making vast profits. The capability of the weapons is not the main concern. There are endless cost overruns that raise the price of US weapons into outer space.

The F-35 fighter, which is less capable than the F-15 it is supposed to replace, costs between $148 million and $337 million per fighter, depending on whether it is an Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy model

A helmet for a F-35 pilot costs $400,000, more than a high end Ferrari

(Washington forces or bribes hapless Denmark into purchasing useless and costly F-35)

It is entirely possible that the world is being led to destruction by nothing more than the greed of the US
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Study Says Lie to Employees to Get Them to Work Harder Without Paying Them More

Courtesy of Mish.

A study that no doubt wasted money concluded employers could get employees to work harder by doing one of two things:

  1. Giving them meaningful work
  2. Convincing the employees their work is meaningful when it isn’t.

Please consider How to Get Employees To Work Harder Without Paying Them More.

A new study walks through a solution to an age-old conundrum for employers: how to make employees work harder without paying them more.

The answer is to give them meaningful work, according to research by economists Michael Kosfeld, Susanne Neckermann, and Xiaolan Yang published on the economics commentary website VoxEU. Or at least motivate staff to believe their work has meaning.

Knowing that you matter really does matter, according to the study, “which suggests that the provision of meaning can be a low-cost instrument to stimulate work effort.”

In a survey of 413 students in Hangzhou, China, academics got output to increase by telling a group of study participants that their data-input work was of great importance to a research project. Another group was told the work was just a quality check that would probably never get used. The performance of those told that their work was of great importance ranked about 15% higher in the data-entry task.

Flawed Study

Where’s the control group?

Stressing the negative to half the employees and the positives to another is hardly a valid test.

And as for giving employees more meaningful work … if companies could do that, they would have done so already.

Finally, purposely telling employees lies is going to make for really angry employees when they do discover the truth. … and they will if continually lied to.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock





Opportunity Amongst The Entrails Of European Banks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Capitalist Exploits.

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

In a misguided and desperate attempt to fight the headwinds of deflation (a byproduct ofunsustainable debt which the market has been trying to unwind for the past decade), central bankers have manipulated markets with a range of tools. This ranges from a lot of preposterous jawboning to quantitative easing and slashing interest rates all the way down to levels never experienced before.

The markets’ belief in central bankers abilities to keep this particular boat afloat has never been higher. We can see this in the futures market where the market is pricing in low (and even negative) interest rates well into the sunset. If you doubt me go take a look at Euribor rates where the market still expects 3-month euro rates to be 0% some 5 years from now.One would only do this if one thought that default risk was non-existent.

As if that is not enough, central bankers themselves actually are beginning to believe their own rhetoric:

“But we are magic people. Each time we take something and give to the markets – a rabbit out of the hat.” - Vitas Vasiliauskas, ECB Governing Council member

We are clearly dealing with delusional people, and market participants are increasingly making decisions based on the absurdities uttered by these people.

Expecting the very same people who have caused so many of the problems we face today to be able to both identify and then solve those problems is like expecting my dog to be able to solve a quantum mechanics problem, cook my dinner, and restrain himself from chasing a cat. It’s just not going to happen.

While we can’t stop or change what these monetary masters of the universe have done (and will likely continue to do), we can look to profit from the global mispricing of assets – a byproduct of their actions.

The economic and political problems in Europe have seen investors turn on European banking stocks in the same way an ill treated pit bull can turn on its owner, mauling him to death.

Ask one hundred people where things are headed with European banks and you’ll likely receive an overwhelming majority telling you they’re in trouble and to stay away.

This is one of…
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ValueWalk

#1 Performing Global Macro Hedge Fund Sees More Shorts Opportunities Ahead As China Bursts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Crescat Global Macro Fund update to investors on 1/19/2019

Crescat Global Macro Fund and Crescat Long/Short fund delivered strong returns for both December and full year 2018 in a difficult market. Based on ...



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Zero Hedge

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins an...



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Phil's Favorites

Divisive economics

 

Guest author David Brin — scientist, technology consultant, best-selling author and futurist — explores the records of Democrats and Republicans on the US economy in the following post. For David's latest posts, visit the CONTRARY BRIN blog. For his books and short stories, visit his web...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock declines did not break 9-year support, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

We often hear “Stocks take an escalator up and an elevator down!” No doubt stocks did experience a swift decline from the September highs to the Christmas eve lows. Looks like the “elevator” part of the phrase came true as 2018 was coming to an end.

The first part of the “stocks take an escalator up” seems to still be in play as well despite the swift decline of late.

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- All of these indices hit long-term rising support on Christmas Eve at each (1), where support held and rallies have followed.

If you find long-term perspectives helpf...



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Digital Currencies

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

 

Transparency and privacy: Empowering people through blockchain

Blockchain technologies can empower people by allowing them more control over their user data. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Ajay Kumar Shrestha, University of Saskatchewan

Blockchain has already proven its huge influence on the financial world with its first application in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It might not be long before its impact is felt everywhere.

Blockchain is a secure chain of digital records that exist on multiple computers simultaneously so no record can be erased or falsified. The...



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Insider Scoop

Cars.com Explores Strategic Alternatives, Analyst Sees Possible Sale Price Around $30 Per Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 44 Biggest Movers From Yesterday 38 Stocks Moving In Wednesday's Mid-Day Session ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 13, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

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

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

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



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

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

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Biotech

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

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

 

Opening Pandora's Box: Gene editing and its consequences

Bacteriophage viruses infecting bacterial cells , Bacterial viruses. from www.shutterstock.com

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

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

...

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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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

 

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

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

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

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



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

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

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

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

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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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