Archive for April, 2017

5 Head Scratchers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

Market dislocations occur when financial markets, operating under stressful conditions, experience large widespread asset mispricing.

Welcome to this week’s edition of “World Out Of Whack” where every Wednesday we take time out of our day to laugh, poke fun at and present to you absurdity in global financial markets in all its glorious insanity.

While we enjoy a good laugh, the truth is that the first step to protecting ourselves from losses is to protect ourselves from ignorance. Think of the “World Out Of Whack” as your double thick armour plated side impact protection system in a financial world littered with drunk drivers.

Selfishly we also know that the biggest (and often the fastest) returns come from asymmetric market moves. But, in order to identify these moves we must first identify where they live.

Occasionally we find opportunities where we can buy (or sell) assets for mere cents on the dollar – because, after all, we are capitalists.

In this week’s edition of the WOW: 5 head scratchers

Today we’re going to blast through a few shards of information that have bloodied my windshield recently… but first some context.

The world is a web, interconnected at multiple levels but in it’s entirety it is one giant capital flow chart. This is why looking at events, trends and prices from multiple angles and with historical context is critical. It means that in order to understand global capital flows and the world at large investors needs to be generalists. Specialisation renders one towards narrow focus by necessity. There is nothing wrong with narrow focus when you need it so long as it can be brought into focus through a broad understanding.

Let’s therefore look at a number of topics.

1: Saudi Arabia Got WHAT??

In what I dearly wish was a delayed April fools joke the United Nations just elected Saudi Arabia to the Woman’s Rights Commission. No isht!

A quick reminder: this is the only country in the world which actually bans women from driving cars while implementing Sharia Law, which – for those among you who haven’t read the intricacies of – permits, among other heinous things, honour killings. Way to go UN!

Question: does this make the UN complicit in crimes against humanity committed by Saudi Arabia’s government? Oh, wait…

Why do I even


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Here Is The Simplest Reason Why The Reflation Trade Is About To Fizzle

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Forget Trump, forget China, forget oil, forget central banks unwinding their balance sheets, forget Reuters trial balloons: there is a far simpler reason why the ‘reflation trade’ is about to hit a major pothole.

Back in October, when the “credible” media gave Trump about 5% odds of becoming president and when there was approximately $12 trillion in negative yielding bonds around the globe, we said inflation was about to spike for a very simple reason: energy prices were about to anniversary their multi-year lows, and as a result of the base effect, headline CPI would surge dramatically around the globe for the next 6 months. It did just that, in many cases spilling over into core CPI, and in other cases confusing central bankers and traders into believing that inflation had returned.

Now it’s time for the hangover.

As SocGen writes in previewing tomorrow’s Headline and Core PCE deflators numbers, after spending nearly five years missing to the downside on the inflation target, the Fed finally achieved its goal as the yoy headline PCE deflator hit 2.1% in February. Unfortunately, Fed officials cannot take a victory lap, because they will be right back to missing the target again when the March figures are released. The data in hand from the PPI and CPI suggest that the headline PCE deflator likely fell by 0.164% in March, which would result in the yoy rate falling from 2.1% to 1.9% (1.885% un-rounded).

Energy prices – now virtually unchanged from a year ago – in the CPI fell by 3.2% last month, and these likely flowed through into the PCE as well. However, given the smaller weight of energy in the PCE gauge, the drop in energy prices will result in a smaller drag on the headline PCE index (almost a tenth less than in the CPI). Meanwhile, the CPI’s food index increased by 0.34% in March (that being said, the PCE food index is broader, and the food indexes in the PCE not present in the CPI have been a bit volatile of late).

So aside from anniversarying the unchanged Y/Y base effect, here is what else SocGen expects from tomorrow’s anti-reflationary PCE prints: the core PCE deflator looks to have declined by 0.1% in March (-0.072% un-rounded). A reading in line with our forecast would


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Welcome To The Corporatocracy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,

The interests of Washington and large corporations have merged so completely they are now inseparable.

America’s large corporations and its government have merged. Or was it an acquisition? If the latter, who acquired whom? Unfortunately, the labels affixed to purely corporate combinations lose their analytical usefulness here. While the two retain their own distinct legal structures and managements, so to speak, such a close community of interest has evolved that it’s no longer possible to separate them or delineate their individual contours. Political labels are no help; the ones most often used have become hopelessly imprecise. The Wikipedia definition of “fascism” is over 8,000 words, with 43 notes and 16 references.

However, the conjoined blob is so big, rapacious, and intrusive that akin to Justice Potter Stewart’s famous non-definition of obscenity, everybody knows it when they see or otherwise come into contact with it. This article will use the term “corporatocracy.” It’s less letters, dashes, and words to type than “the corporate-government-combination.” No serviceable understanding of either US history or current events is possible without close study of the corporatocracy. Unfortunately, such study, like entomology or cleaning septic tanks, requires a stout constitution. But take heart, entomologists grow to love their creepy crawly things, and septic tank cleaners say that after a few minutes you don’t even notice the smell.

A cherished delusion of naive liberals holds that big government is a counterweight, not a partner, to big business. Such a rationale is touted when the righteous demand new regulation, the public and media endorse it, the legislators pass it, and the president signs it into law. However, there are always unpaved stretches on the road to hell—once regulation is law, the righteous, public, media, legislators, and president, and their ostensibly good intentions, are on to the next cause.

In the quiet obscurity they relish, regulators and regulated get down to doing what they do best: bending the law to their joint benefit. Business, whose P&L’s can be powerfully affected by regulations, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers in a never ending effort to tilt the playing field in their direction, and improve bottom lines, stock prices, and executive bonuses. The return on such investment is far higher than on old fashioned expenditures like research


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What’s The Oldest Business In Your State?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Is the oldest business in your state a mom-and-pop shop, or a famous megabrand?

Today’s infographic from Busy Beaver Button Co. maps the diverse range of companies that claim to be the oldest in their respective states. While many of them exist today as modest family-owned businesses such as pizzerias or taverns, Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes that some have also grown into respected brands known around the country, like Jim Beam or Imperial Sugar.

Source: Visual Capitalist

THE MOST INTERESTING STANDOUTS

Here are the standouts from the list, including a pirate-themed restaurant and a global aerospace company.

Georgia: The Pirates’ House (est. 1753)

Located in downtown Savannah, The Pirates’ House is thought to be the oldest standing building in the state of Georgia. It was once an inn and tavern for seaman visiting from abroad, developing quite a negative reputation among the locals for scoundrelry and drunkenness. Today, the restaurant is obviously more family-friendly – and it is one of Savannah’s most-popular tourist attractions.

California: Ducommun (est. 1849)

Ducommun is an aerospace and defense manufacturer based founded in Carson, California with a current $320 million market capitalization on the NYSE. The company manufactures structural and electronic components for commercial, military, and space aircraft, including the Boeing 737 NG and 777 airliners.

Kentucky: Jim Beam (est. 1795)

Amazingly, seven generations of the Beam family have been involved in whiskey production for the company since it was founded in 1795. After Prohibition impacted the business, the company was rebuilt by James B. Beam, and the whiskey still bears his name today.

Texas: Imperial Sugar (est. 1843)

Located in the aptly-named Sugar Land, Texas, this company is a sugar behemoth with revenues of nearly $1 billion per year. Imperial Sugar focuses on producing sugar products and sweeteners that are made from non-GMO cane sugar.

Vermont: Fort Ticonderoga Ferry (est. 1799)

The oldest business in Vermont is not a multi-national brand – but instead, a quaint seven-minute ferry ride that provides scenic daytime crossings on Lake Champlain between Ticonderoga, New York and Shoreham, Vermont.





Ludwig von Mises’ Century Of Validation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by EconomicPrism’s MN Gordon, annotated by Acting-Man’s Pater Tenebrarum,

Seeing the Light

It has been said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  No one quite knows who first uttered this remark; it has been attributed to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and has even been said to be an Ancient Chinese Proverb.  What is known is that this cliché has been repeated over and over again so often that its mere mention substantiates its own definition.

Several of the ladies and gentlemen above wanted to let us know that they’re merely eccentric,  and if they want to do things all over again and again and again, we should let them…

 

Nonetheless, we repeat it again because it’s particularly fitting to today’s deliberations.  Here we begin with a look back to the past in search of edification.  For the miscalculations of the past continue to dictate the insanity of the present.

Many years ago, a bright minded and well intentioned Italian pursued a devious undertaking.  His efforts aimed to conceive a pure theory of a socialist economy.  His objective was to take the sordid teachings of Marx and pencil out the mechanics of how a centrally planned economy could bring a life of security and abundance for all.  What follows is an approximation of how the dirty deed went down.

In 1908, Italian economist Enrico Barone suffered an abstraction.  One late night he skipped a bite of his meatballs and marinara, and gazed into the outer frontiers of deep space.  Looking around, he couldn’t believe his eyes. For in this far corner of absolute darkness, he saw something truly amazing.  Out in the distant reaches of nothingness, peering into a black hole, he saw not the dark.  Rather, he thought he saw the light.

Barone’s light was a socialist utopia achieved through “scientific management” of the economy, lorded over by the Ministry of Production.  Through this endeavor, he imagined, an economy could attain something called “maximum collective welfare.”

Enrico Barone in the only photo of him we could find. Both Vilfredo Pareto (in 1897) and Barone (in 1908, in the monograph “The Ministry of Production” discussed above) used a system of simultaneous equations based on


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Japan Is Dumping A Record Amount Of Foreign Bonds: Here Are The Implications

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Back in February, around the time Bloomberg caught up to what we had been discussing for the past year, namely the historic dumping of US Treasurys by offshore official investors (such as central banks and reserve managers, just as the selling had in fact reversed and foreigners had resumed buying once more) we noticed that it was not China but Japan that had emerged as one of the most aggressive sellers of Treasuries following material Mark-to-Market losses on existing TSY holdings, prompting the foremost ex-Fed shadow banking expert Zoltan Poszar to declare the selling “a deer in the headlights moment”.

Fast forward two months, when according to the latest update from Deutsche Bank, Japan’s revulsion to fixed income products has accelerateed, and the Pacific island was a net seller of foreign bonds again in the past week, divesting another $12bn worth of securities. It was not only the third straight week of selling out of Japan, according to MOF data, but more remarkably, the the year-to-date divestment of $66bn in foreign bonds YTD is the biggest since 2002, the first full year of such data is available.

What is prompting the sudden liquidation? According to Deustche, “profit-taking most likely explains Japan’s selling.”

Ten-year Treasury yields declined in April to a lower level than any previous month since the Trump election. In the process, yen cross-currency basis has tightened to levels not seen since January 2016. Japanese investors use the yen basis (or more precisely, their derivative FX forwards) to hedge the currency risk of their coupon flows from non-yen bonds. The basis tightens when there is a drop in demand to swap yen for dollar.

The next chart, which shows the distinctive inverse relationship between cumulative Japanese purchases of foreign bonds and the 3m yen basis, should be useful to anyone still confused by what has been the biggest driver behind the gradual drop and sudden recent spike in the USD-JPY currency basis: it all has to do with Japanese TSY demand, and hedging costs (which we pointed out had risen so high last August it made TSYs and JGBs look equally priced to Japanese investors).

However, it’s not just the Yen basis (and thus relative


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The Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Gary Novak via Science Errors blog,

An electric auto will convert 5-10% of the energy in natural gas into motion. A normal vehicle will convert 20-30% of the energy in gasoline into motion. That’s 3 or 4 times more energy recovered with an internal combustion vehicle than an electric vehicle.

Electricity is a specialty product. It’s not appropriate for transportation. It looks cheap at this time, but that’s because it was designed for toasters, not transportation. Increase the amount of wiring and infrastructure by a factor of a thousand, and it’s not cheap.

Electricity does not scale up properly to the transportation level due to its miniscule nature. Sure, a whole lot can be used for something, but at extraordinary expense and materials.

Using electricity as an energy source requires two energy transformation steps, while using petroleum requires only one. With electricity, the original energy, usually chemical energy, must be transformed into electrical energy; and then the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of motion. With an internal combustion engine, the only transformation step is the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy in the combustion chamber.

The difference matters, because there is a lot of energy lost every time it is transformed or used. Electrical energy is harder to handle and loses more in handling.

The use of electrical energy requires it to move into and out of the space medium (aether) through induction. Induction through the aether medium should be referred to as another form of energy, but physicists sandwich it into the category of electrical energy. Going into and out of the aether through induction loses a lot of energy.

Another problem with electricity is that it loses energy to heat production due to resistance in the wires. A short transmission line will have 20% loss built in, and a long line will have 50% loss built in. These losses are designed in, because reducing the loss by half would require twice as much metal in the wires. Wires have to be optimized for diameter and strength, which means doubling the metal would be doubling the number of transmission lines.

High voltage transformers can get 90% efficiency with expensive designs, but household level voltages get 50% efficiency. Electric motors can get up to 60% efficiency, but only at optimum rpms


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Central Banks’ Obsession With Price Stability Leads To Economic Instability

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Frank Shostak via The Mises Institute,

For most economists the key factor that sets the foundation for healthy economic fundamentals is a stable price level as depicted by the consumer price index.

According to this way of thinking, a stable price level doesn’t obscure the visibility of the relative changes in the prices of goods and services, and enables businesses to see clearly market signals that are conveyed by the relative changes in the prices of goods and services. Consequently, it is held, this leads to the efficient use of the economy’s scarce resources and hence results in better economic fundamentals.

The Rationale for Price-Stabilization Policies 

For instance, let us say that demand increases for potatoes versus tomatoes. This relative strengthening, it is held, is going to be depicted by a greater increase in the price of potatoes than for tomatoes. 

Now in an unhampered market, businesses pay attention to consumer wishes as manifested by changes in the relative prices of goods and services. Failing to abide by consumer wishes will lead to the wrong production mix of goods and services and will lead to losses.

Hence in our example, by paying attention to relative changes in prices, businesses are likely to increase the production of potatoes versus tomatoes.

According to this way of thinking, if the price level is not stable, then the visibility of the relative price changes becomes blurred and consequently, businesses cannot ascertain the relative changes in the demand for goods and services and make correct production decisions.

Thus, it is feared that unstable prices will lead to a misallocation of resources and to the weakening of economic fundamentals. Unstable changes in the price level obscure changes in the relative prices of goods and services. Consequently, businesses will find it difficult to recognize a change in relative prices when the price level is unstable.

Based on this way of thinking it is not surprising that the mandate of the central bank is to pursue policies that will bring price stability, i.e., a stable price level.

By means of various quantitative methods, the Fed’s economists have established that at present, policymakers must aim at keeping price inflation at 2 percent. Any significant deviation from this figure constitutes deviation from the growth path of price stability.

Note that in this way of thinking changes in the


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So Much For That Obama Administration ‘Plan’ To “End Private Prison Use” In The US

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Duane via Free Market Shooter blog,

In August of last year, Free Market Shooter wrote in support of an Obama administration directive to end the use of private prisons in the United States, one of the only policy issues the administration managed to get right:

Why, you ask, is a free market advocate in favor of ending private prisons?  Simple: because these facilities aren’t  “private” at all.

The reason why should be obvious.  Prisoners are their only “customer”, if you want to call them a customer at all; the “customers” are provided by the government, who pays private prison companies for their incarceration.

What else makes private prisons so profitable? This should also be obvious – having as many facilities and customers as possible. They have every incentive to encourage laws that keep as many incarcerated as possible, as it increases their “customer” base. Moreover, they then sell the “labor” from prisoners to companies who source prison labor at bargain basement prices, increasing their margins even further.

We all should have known the Obama administration would manage to screw this up; it just took two weeks into the job for new Attorney General and Drug War champion Jeff Sessions to flick his pen and undo Obama’s efforts:

The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons.

In a memo made public on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Obama policy impaired the government’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal prison system.

The Obama administration said in August 2016 it planned a gradual phase-out of private prisons by letting contracts expire or by scaling them back to a level consistent with recent declines in the U.S. prison population.

And, in case you weren’t aware, this is the same Jeff Sessions who is on the record as being not only against medicinal marijuana, it is the same Jeff Sessions that has stated that marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin:

Jeff Sessions, to reporters in Richmond just now: “I think medical


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Bond Bears Battered By The Biggest Short Squeeze In History

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In the week when it was confirmed that Q1 was the weakest economic growth for a rate hike period since 1980…

Bond bears have never puked so much in such a short period of time as the $25 billion plus short-cover in 10Y Treasury bond futures in the last week.

In fact the stunning swing in sentiment in the last 8 weeks (with almost $62 billion in 10Y Treasury shorts dumped) is shocking to see, smashing Speculative Positioning from its shortest ever to its longest in over 9 years…

And perhaps more notably, the aggregate Treasury futures complex has shifted to a net long speculative position for the first time since July 2016

Note that Eurodollar futures shorts (rate hike bets) did increase modestly this last week (after dropping the week before).





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

A doctor shares 7 steps he'll review to decide when and where it's safe to go out and about

 

A doctor shares 7 steps he'll review to decide when and where it's safe to go out and about

The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, shown May 20, 2020, plans to use mannequins in its dining room to enforce social distancing when it reopens at the end of the month. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of William Petri, University of Virginia

As we return to some degree of normalcy after weeks of social distancing, we all need a plan. As an immunologist, I’ve given this a lot of ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

A doctor shares 7 steps he'll review to decide when and where it's safe to go out and about

 

A doctor shares 7 steps he'll review to decide when and where it's safe to go out and about

The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, shown May 20, 2020, plans to use mannequins in its dining room to enforce social distancing when it reopens at the end of the month. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of William Petri, University of Virginia

As we return to some degree of normalcy after weeks of social distancing, we all need a plan. As an immunologist, I’ve given this a lot of ...



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Zero Hedge

18 Million Jobs At Risk Of Permanent Loss: What Happens To Small Businesses When The Bailout Money Is Spent

Courtesy of Nick Colas of DataTrek Research

American small businesses are going to bear the brunt of the COVID Crisis and they employ 47% of the entire US workforce. Some will bounce back quickly (e.g. health care, construction, professional services) but accommodation/food service and retail will not. There are 18 million workers attached to small businesses there. Bottom line: at this early point in the cycle, large businesses have to find their footing because that’s what will set the floor on small business activity. The sooner that happens, the sooner small business America can start to recover.

We continue to worry – a lot – about how US small ...



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Chart School

Is this your local response to COVID 19

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

This is off topic, but a bit of fun!


This is the standard reaction from the control freaks.








This is the song for post lock down!







What should be made mandatory? Vaccines, hell NO! This should be mandatory: Every one taking their tops off in the sun, they do in Africa!

Guess which family gets more Vitamin D and eats less sugary carbs, TV Show



...



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ValueWalk

Hazelton Capital Partners 1Q20 Commentary: Long Renewable Energy Group

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Hazelton Capital Partners commentary for the first quarter ended April 30, 2020, discussing their current portfolio holdings Renewable Energy Group, Apple and Berkshire Hathaway.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Dear Partner,

Hazelton Capital Partners, LLC (the “Fund”) returned -23.8% from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. By comparison, the S&P 500 returned -19.4% during the same quarter.

Before reviewing the 1st quarter of 2020 and Hazelton Capital Partners’ portfolio, my sincere hope is that everyone, their family, friends, a...



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The Technical Traders

Gold Stocks Are Overbought. You Don't Want Prices to Go Straight Up

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Bill Powers of MiningStockEducation.com talks with a professional trader and market commentator Chris Vermeulen says gold stocks are overbought and need a breather which would be good for the overall upward trend.

Chris shares how he has and is trading the junior gold sector. He called the recent February 24th top in the gold stocks before the March crash. And now he is warning to a top in some gold-stock positions during an expected pullback.

Chris also addresses whether a lot of the gap-up’s in many gold...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Doc Copper Counter-Trend Rally Could Peak Here, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Could ole Doc Copper be sending an important message about the overall health of the global economy and the stock market in the next couple of weeks? It appears it could!

This chart looks at Copper futures on a weekly basis over the past 7-years. Doc Copper looks to have double topped in late 2017 and early 2018. After the double top, Copper has continued to create a series of lower highs, which sends a bearish divergence message to stocks.

Numerous highs and lows have taken place along the line (1) over the past 5-years. The rally off the March lows ...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

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 TradeExchange.com. 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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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:

Lee,

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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