Archive for 2016

The Ultimate 21st Century Choice: OBOR Or War

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Pepe Escobar, originally posted op-ed at SputnikNews.com,

The G20 meets in tech hub Hangzhou, China, at an extremely tense geopolitical juncture.

China has invested immense political/economic capital to prepare this summit. The debates will revolve around the main theme of seeking solutions “towards an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.”

G20 Trade Ministers have already agreed to lay down nine core principles for global investment. At the summit, China will keep pressing for emerging markets to have a bigger say in the Bretton Woods system.

But most of all China will seek greater G20 backing for the New Silk Roads – or One Belt, One Road (OBOR), as they are officially known – as well as the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

So at the heart of the G20 we will have the two projects which are competing head on to geopolitically shape the young 21st century.

China has proposed OBOR; a pan-Eurasian connectivity spectacular designed to configure a hypermarket at least 10 times the size of the US market within the next two decades.

The US hyperpower – not the Atlanticist West, because Europe is mired in fear and stagnation — “proposes” the current neocon/neoliberalcon status quo; the usual Divide and Rule tactics; and the primacy of fear, enshrined in the Pentagon array of “threats” that must be fought, from Russia and China to Iran. The geopolitical rumble in the background high-tech jungle is all about the “containment” of top G20 members Russia and China.

It doesn’t take an oracle to divine which project is intriguing — and in many ways seducing — the Global South, as well as an array of G20 member-nations.

That connectivity frenzy

Shuttling between the West and Asia, one can glimpse, in myriad forms, the graphic contrast between paralysis and paranoia and an immensely ambitious $1.4 trillion project potentially touching 64 nations, no less than 4.4 billion people and around 40 per cent of the global economy which will, among other features, create new “innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive” trade horizons and arguably install a post-geopolitics win-win era.

An array of financial mechanisms is already in place. The AIIB (which will fund way beyond the initial commitment of $100 billion); the Silk Road Fund


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“Blunt Language” – Goldman Explains Why It Is So Confident The Fed Will Hike In Under 3 Weeks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

After Friday’s payrolls miss, the market’s initial reaction was to aggressively fade the probability of a near-term Fed rate hike, as September odds initially tumbled, only to quickly rebound into the afternoon. What catalyzed this jump? As we reported at the time, the move was almost entirely driven by an unexpected note by Goldman’s Jan Hatzius who bucked the trend other sellside lemmings, and instead of punting the September hiking date to December, the Goldman strategist said that the weak jobs report was nonetheless “strong enough” to prompt him to boost his Sept. rate hike odds from 40% to 55%.

Realizing the severity of his prediction, and the collapse in credibility he would suffer is he is – again – wrong (as we have duly documented, the past two years have been absolutely abysmal for Goldman predictions and recommendations), earlier today Goldman took time away from his holiday schedule and penned a note to explain why he is confident that, contrary to every other forecaster, he expects a better than even chance of a rate hike to be announced in just over two weeks when the Fed meets on September 20-21.

As he puts it, Yellen’s Jackson Hole speech used “blunt language” for a Fed chair, “which would have been unnecessary if she was only trying to convey a general sense that rates would be moving higher over time, or to signal a potential hike that was still 3½ months away. There are plenty of other opportunities to prepare markets for a move before the December meeting.”

Just as important was Goldman’s take on the the consensus call that the Fed would not hike until the election. As Goldman rhetorically puts it, “wouldn’t the tactics favor waiting until December given the presidential election?” To which it responds: “This is a widespread view, but we have not found much evidence that the election calendar has an impact on monetary policy—the Greenspan Fed started to tighten in June 2004 and continued to move right through the election, and the Bernanke Fed announced the then-controversial QE3 in September 2012, not December.”

So just maybe, Yellen (and Goldman) may have it in for Hillary. The rest of Hatzius’ contrarian reasoning is laid out in the following rhetorical Q&A dubbed “Why September?

For the sake of what little


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The Greater Depression – Part 1

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

There are several movies I will watch every time they are aired on one of my generally useless 600 cable channels. They all have the same thing in common – a compelling character portrayal which keeps you riveted and mesmerized by how the protagonist deals with adversity and circumstances beyond their control. The movies I can’t resist include: The Godfather I & II, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, Apocalypse Now, and Patton. Another captivating movie, which didn’t do well at the box office, is Cinderella Man. The portrayal of Depression era heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock by Russell Crowe is inspirational, with a rousing and improbable victory by the champion of the common man. While watching this great movie a few weeks ago I found myself equating the themes to the current presidential campaign.

http://www.freemovieposters.net/posters/cinderella_man_2005_1974_medium.jpg

The Greater Depression

Braddock was an inspiration to all downtrodden demoralized Americans during the Great Depression. The parallels between the 1930’s Great Depression and today’s Greater Depression are uncanny, despite the propaganda emitted by the establishment politicians, media and banking cabal that all is well. The corporate mainstream media faux journalists scorn and ridicule anyone who makes the case we are currently in the midst of another Great Depression. They are paid to peddle a recovery narrative to keep the masses ignorant, sedated, and distracted by latest adventures of Caitlyn Jenner and the Kardashians. An impartial assessment of the facts reveals today’s Depression to be every bit as dreadful for the average American as it was in the 1930’s.

The Obama administration has used the identical failed fiscal policies utilized by FDR. $800 billion stimulus packages, cash for clunkers, payroll tax holidays, student loans for anyone with a pulse, and hundreds of other useless Keynesian claptrap ideas have driven the national debt from $10 trillion in September 2008 to $19.4 trillion eight years later, a 94% increase. The national debt in October 1929 was $17 billion. Eight years into the Great Depression, after billions in wasteful New Deal programs the national debt stood at $36.5 billion, a 115% increase.

The Great Depression lasted from 1929 through World War II despite the tens of billions spent on fiscal stimulus. After eight years of the largest budget


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Weekly Market Recap Sep 4, 2016

Courtesy of Blain.

The week that was…

Three mild down days were bookmarked by 2 mild positive days as we had another week where the indexes mostly stalled.  The big event of the week was Friday’s employment data (subject to revision in the months ahead) which was a bit below expectations at 151,000 jobs created.  In the perverse world of stock investing however that was “good” as it meant no urgency for the Federal Reserve to move to hike rates.  Hence the premarket gap up Friday.   Ah “Goldilocks”.

“It wasn’t strong enough to force the Fed to raise interest rates in September, but it also wasn’t weak enough to raise concern about the U.S. economy or dampen the outlook for corporate earnings.” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

It is also worth noting the ISM Manufacturing index fell below 50 (49.4) which signals contraction – keep an eye on this if it stays there as there was some worry about a manufacturing recession early in the year (ex automotive) but we’ve seen some bounce back the past few months.  One month does not mark a new turn in the situation so the report a month from now will be of high interest.

Did we mention it a slow August? The WSJ reports it was the 4th smallest range for an August since 1928!

volatility

Here is a nice 5 day “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 via Doug Short.

SPX-five-day

Who knew?: We’ve all heard of house flipping but did you know credit card flipping was a thing?

Indeed, as credit-card reward programs have grown more generous, online forums and bloggers have become fonts of ingenious ways to exploit them for free travel or cash. To accrue sign-up bonuses, for example, some credit-card churners end up cycling through dozens of credit cards.

Banks, hotels and airlines don’t necessarily condone such strategies. But the online buzz among churners and other points-obsessed customers has become a roar that’s also reached card offers’ broader intended audience: affluent people who travel frequently.

The week ahead…

We are going from an economic heavy week of reports to those that are less…
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Why This $1.6 Billion Hedge Fund Is 50% In Cash

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

“The whole world is wrongly positioned,” warns Norwegian hedge fund firm Sector Asset Management’s founder Peter Andersland, “the common denominator for everything is the long duration — real estate, stocks, bonds. Everything is much more rate sensitive now.”

As Bloomberg reports, Andersland’s $1.6 billion holds as much as 50 percent in cash in one of its funds, because holding cash is the best protection against bond and stock markets inflated by record monetary stimulus.

“What can kill us now?,” Peter Andersland, the 55-year-old founder of Sector, said in an interview on Tuesday at his office overlooking the Oslo fjord. “It’s the correlation between stocks and bonds that will be induced by higher rates. That’s the biggest risk in the capital markets today, not geopolitics or Trump.”

Massive central bank stimulus with below zero rates and quantitative easing has led to increasingly dysfunctional markets, with even the negative correlation between stocks and bonds breaking down. As we have noted previously, they are now largely moving in the same direction as markets have become more driven by central banks, leaving investors with no place to hide.

“Everyone is thinking about managing risk through diversification, a little bit in bonds, a little bit in stocks,” he said. “But if the correlation increases between those two then that risk management based on diversification doesn’t help. Because everyone is doing that.”

Sector, which bets on trends for countries, sectors and stocks, is protecting itself against the rising correlation by shortening duration in its investments and placing bets that will pay off when volatility rises. To do this they are holding more cash, shorting stocks and buying cheap put options, according to Andersland.

“The whole world is wrongly positioned,” he said. “The common denominator for everything is the long duration — real estate, stocks, bonds. Everything is much more rate sensitive now.”

“Risk is what you don’t think about, you can’t calculate it,” he said. “My analysis is five to ten percent more upside for global stocks, 40 to 60 percent downside for global stocks, MSCI ACWI. So it’s very skewed.”





Dr. Drew Asked To Retract Hillary Health Comments – Received “Scary, Creepy” Phone Calls

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Joseph Jankowski via PlanetFreeWill.com,

Eight days after Board-certified medicine specialist and TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky expressed his grave concern over Hillary Clinton’s health and the healthcare she was receiving, his popular show on HLN, the sister channel of CNN, was cancelled.

Appearing on KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning, Pinsky said he and his colleague Dr. Robert Huizenga became “gravely concerned……not just about her health but her health care” after analyzing what medical records on Hillary had been released.

Pinsky pointed out that after Clinton fainted and fell in late 2012, she suffered from a “transverse sinus thrombosis,” an “exceedingly rare clot” that “virtually guarantees somebody has something wrong with their coagulation system.”

According to sources close to Pinsky, the medicine specialist had been asked to retract his statements on the democratic nominee’s health and also received a series of nasty phone calls and e-mails over the his comments.

“CNN is so supportive of Clinton, network honchos acted like the Mafia when confronting Drew,” a source told Richard Johnson of Page Six. “First, they demanded he retract his comments, but he wouldn’t.”

What followed, according to a source close to Pinsky, was a series of nasty phone calls and e-mails which were described as “downright scary and creepy.”

The fact that Dr. Pinsky was asked to retract his comments, and even received “scary” calls and emails over what he said, can lead one to believe that it was indeed his concern for Clinton’s health that lead to his show being cancelled.

But according to a spokeswoman for Pinsky, the show’s cancellation had been decided weeks before Pinsky’s comments, as part of a HLN revamp that includes the end of Nancy Grace’s show.

“I know the timing is suspicious, and I know it’s hard to believe, but the two things had nothing to do with each other,” Pinsky’s rep Valerie Allen told Page Six‘s Richard Jones.

What makes Dr. Pinksy’s cancellation even more suspicious is that he is not the only one who has received repercussions for questioning Clinton’s health.

Just last week the Huffington Post banned journalist David Seaman from posting on their website for penning a commentary piece discussing questions surrounding Hillary’s health problems.

“Both of my articles have been pulled without notice of any kind, just completely deleted from the


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Want “Unlimited Access To A Target’s Mobile Devices… Leaving No Trace”? Ask NSO Group

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For the affordable price of $650,000, Israeli company NSO Group will enable you to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge. The cost is a little higher for Blackberry users (5 for $500,000).. and there is a 17% maintenance fee every thereafter to ensure “leaving no traces whatsoever.” Welcome to the new world of private companies selling surveillance tools to the ‘average joe’…

NSO Founders

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But, as The New York Times reports, last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

NSO is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords.

The NSO Group’s corporate mission statement is “Make the world a safe place.” Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate.

The New York Times points out that critics note that the company’s spyware has also been used to track journalists and human rights activists.

“There’s no check on this,” said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. “Once NSO’s systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they’re trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place.”

The NSO Group’s capabilities are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the


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The Fed Fiddles While Free Markets Burn

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Mark St.Cyr,

We’ve all heard the story of how the emperor Nero fiddled as Rome burned. Today, we use it an as analogy, whenever fitting, to show the callousness of either a person or entity when they are obviously engaged in wreaking havoc or utter devastation; all while caring none-the-least.

Nobody seems to fit that bill today more than central bankers. And to show just how Nero-esque they can be, it was none other than our own Stanley Fischer, current V.C. of the Fed. who displayed in an interview with Tom Keene of Bloomberg™ what can only be deemed as the most infuriating lack of compassion, as well as sheer imperialist intoned advice. Here’s a few “gems” from that interview. When it comes to negative rates? To wit:

While the Fed isn’t “planning to do anything in that direction,” the central banks using them “basically think they’re quite successful,” Fischer said Tuesday on Bloomberg Television with Tom Keene in Washington.

“We’re in a world where they seem to work,” Fischer said, noting that while negative rates are “difficult to deal with” for savers, they typically “go along with quite decent equity prices.”

So what is one to infer? Easy: Fed to savers and the prudent: Screw you – buy stocks.

You don’t need to take my word for it. If you’re a saver, a retiree, an entrepreneur who just sold your business, a pension fund recipient, an insurance policy recipient, __________(fill in the blank) You know all too well the harsh reality of what the Fed. and others have wrought to these markets and their once stable products.

No, you’re now told to wipe those tears with those now negative yielding, once safe repositories for one’s wealth – and plow it into stocks. You know, where the Fed. believes things are pretty “decent.”

That is, until their next policy error. Then? Who knows. Although, with that said, what I have no questioning of is this: The ones who clearly don’t have a clue are the very ones now sitting back giving some form of altruistic investing advice. e.g., central bankers.

As bad as all the above is, what is even more concerning is that the Fed. (as inferred by all the latest Fed. chatter)


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Goldman Reveals ‘The Great Dilemma’ For Investors

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The prevailing argument among equity bulls has been that absolute valuations don’t matter because, with a risk free rate of close to zero, why should equities not be much more highly rated – why should P/Es not reach 30x or even higher?  After all, a valuation derived from discounting future cash flows does approach infinity as discount rates get closer to 0%.  Therefore, much of the reason that equities appear cheap versus bonds is simply a reflection of how much bond yields have fallen.  In fact, according to a recent Goldman report by Peter Oppenheimer, the S&P 500 has enjoyed a 75% expansion of its P/E since 2011 while other markets have seen even more. 

To be sure, absolute levels of P/E multiples have doubled since the start of the financial crisis.  As depicted in the chart below, P/E ratios are at the very high end of their long-run ranges with average multiples being below the current level for about 90% of the time over the past 30 years.  The longer central banking policies keep rates artificially low, the longer investors will attempt to rationalize ever increasing multiples.

GS Multiple Expansion

That said, as Oppenheimer points out, eventually equity valuations will have to reflect a realistic assumption about long-term nominal earnings growth.  Declining discount rates may boost short-term valuations expectations but if a low-rate environment ultimately drives long-term growth expectations to 0% or below then valuations will, at some point, have to reflect that new growth reality.  As Goldman points out, rolling 10-year EPS growth rates have collapsed since the “great recession” and only seem to be getting worse.  

Rolling 10-Year EPS Growth

One interesting way of thinking about the sustainability of the significant asset price inflation of recent years is to compare it with the inflation that we have seen in the
real economy.  As Goldman notes in the chart below, since the start of QE, inflation, wages and commodity prices have been stagnant or falling while asset prices have inflated sharply, particularly in real terms.

This seems to be unsustainable in the long run. Either wages and inflation will rise in time, pushing up bond yields but forcing financial assets to de-rate, or secular stagnation will prevail, inflation and yields will stay low, but financial asset valuations will stop appreciating and returns will be lower.

Goldman - Asset Inflation Vs. Real Inflation

This


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The Worst Month of the Year

 

The Worst Month of the Year

Courtesy of 

According to a recent study, of the 47 most-damaging hurricanes between 1950 and 2012, storms with male names produced an average of 23 deaths, while those with feminine names killed 45 people on average. In less absurd, but still true studies, September has historically been the worst month of the year for stocks. In fact, it’s the only month that’s been negative, on average.

mont

The negative superlatives don’t stop there. Seven of the worst 26 months ever happened in September. If money was only invested in this month, $100 in 1926 would turn into $42 today.

1

Furthermore, if you were to invest in every month but September, you came out way ahead, outperforming by around 1% a year.

sept

September was up more than up one percent 42% of the time, but that wasn’t enough for it to  overcome the seven months that were down double digits. So yeah, it’s true, September has by far been the worst month historically. But are you really going to act on this? Come on. I mean really, come on.





 
 
 

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.

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

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About Phil:

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

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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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