Archive for June, 2017

“We Don’t Know What Happened” St. Louis Officials Clueless As Downtown Sinkhole Swallows Car

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In a development that should send a chill down the spine of every citizen of St. Louis  – especially considering the city’s efforts to revitalize its violence-plagued downtown – a sinkhole spontaneously appeared in the city's downtown, swallowing a car that had been parked street side.

And even more concering, city officials say they have no idea how it happened.

Vincent Foggie, of the city's water division, said the hole was missing mounds of dirt that normally support the road's asphalt-topped concrete. He called such voids large enough to swallow a vehicle a rarity in the city.

"We don't know what happened," Foggie said. "I have no idea where the dirt went."

St Louis resident Jordan Westerberg parked his car on sixth street downtown near the railway exchange building on Thursday morning as he and his fiancée headed to an early morning workout at a gym nearby.

When he returned shortly before 7 a.m. local time, his Toyota Camry was nowhere to be found. Westerberg and his fiancée said they figured it had been towed.

Then, they saw a gathering of street workers near their parking space, tipping them off that something wasn’t right. That's when Westerberg, 25, found the vehicle in the gaping hole – about 20 feet (6 meters) deep and 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) across – that took up the entire southbound lane of the street, next to a vacant building expected to feature apartments, office space and retail, according to the Associated Press.

No injuries were reported.

"It's pretty crazy," said Westerberg, who lives in a loft downtown. "We could've been in the car. It's a compact car. It's not like it's heavy."

The city said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the sinkhole, though an 8-inch, below-ground water main at the site appeared to have been broken for some time, given the amount of erosion.

Now for the real question: How does a water main break in a major city’s downtown without city officials being alerted somehow?

Hopefully the city will refund Westerberg's parking costs, at the very least.

Here’s a video courtesy of local AM radio station KMOX.





Picturing An ‘America First’ Korea Policy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”

So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.

Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.

Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?

First, the decapitation of the Kim dynasty. But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

Then there is a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.

What about sanctions?

The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil…
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5 Maps That Explain The Modern Middle East

By Mauldin Economics. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Nation-states are the defining feature of the modern political era. They give people a collective identity and a pride of place… even when their borders are artificially drawn, as they were in the Middle East.

However, transnational issues like religion and ethnicity often get in the way of the notion of nationalism. Those can’t be contained by a country’s borders.

Arab nation-states are now failing in the Middle East. Their failure is mainly due to their inability to create viable political economies. Transnational issues—especially the competition between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam—however, amplify the process.

Qatar, Facing Economic Ramifications, Is Expected To Fall In Line With GCC

Albert Edwards Sees Central Banks Losing Independence After Next Crash

Modern Middle East

The Failure of Pan-Arabism

Transnational issues have long plagued the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism. It’s a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world. It promoted a kind of nationalism that defied the logic of the nation-state.

Pan-Arabism failed because it couldn’t replace traditional nationalism with something that had never existed in history. But the countries that rejected it never really developed into viable political entities.

The coercion of state security forces was what hold them together, not the ideology.

Since the 1970s, these countries have been challenged by another transnational idea, Islamism (or political Islam). It has proven to be far more effective than pan-Arabism. The movement has spread throughout the Middle East.

It has taken root not only among Sunni Arabs, but also among Shiites. In fact, the Shiites were the first to create an Islamist government when they toppled the monarchy in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Sunni Islamists would not hold traditional political power until after the so-called 2011 Arab Spring. But their power was short-lived.

The Origins of the Islamic State

The anarchy of the Arab Spring was fertile ground for jihadists, especially for the Islamic State. It became the most powerful Sunni Islamist force in the region. What underlay its success was the group’s ability to exploit sectarian differences in the region.

The Baathist regime in Iraq was replaced by a Shiite-dominated government that Sunnis had tried to keep from power.

Likewise, the Islamic State, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey strived to take over the Sunni…
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“China Faces Its Comeuppance” – Kyle Bass Warns Of “Tectonic Shift” In US Relationship

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Hayman Capital's Kyle Bass ventured on to CNBC this morning to drop some painful truth bombs about Trump's "drastically changed Chinese diplomacy" and China's looming "come-uppance."

Bass began by highlighting what he calls a "tectonic shift" in US-China relations in the last few days, pointing to two crucial events…

1. Things changed drastically when US launched unilateral sanctions on China over North Korea

"Xi is a control freak and he absolutely doesn't appreciate the United States acting unilaterally."

2. Things escalated when Trump sold $1.4bn in weapons to Taiwan, angering Beijing more as Bass notes:

"Taiwan was the one area which Beijing has asked Trump to stay away from during his meeting at Mar-a-Lago."

"Since the death of Otto Warmbier, any chance of meetings with North Korea are now off…and our diplomatic relationship with China took a major step for the worse yesterday."

Bass notes that "China is trying to make marginal changes in its balance of trade with US – buying beef once again and importing a lot more crude oil from the US."

But then Bass shifts to the potentially even more precarious situation under the hood of China's economy. As Reuters reports, China's leaders want the restructuring of their massive non-performing loans problem to address financial risks while avoiding big employee lay-offs, and have instigated 'cure by committee'…

"The solution for zombie firms isn't just bankruptcy," a Shandong-based banking official told Reuters. "The impact of bankruptcy is just too big. Just think about the thousands of workers. Social stability is key."

Stability is always uppermost in the minds of Chinese leaders, and even more so this year, ahead of the five-yearly party congress this autumn, when a new generation of senior leaders will be selected.

"China is avoiding the crisis of calling in loans that can't be repaid anyway," said Paul Gillis, professor of accounting at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management. "This buys time to do things in an orderly way."

But Bass makes the crucial point that there are over 12,800 credit committees in China right now – overseeing


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Hedge Fund Traders Return To Banking As Trump Promises To ‘Make Prop Trading Great Again’

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The hedge fund industry is finding itself in increasingly dire straits as persistently weak returns and the advent of low-cost investing have forced more and more funds to shut down. So, it's unsurprising that, amid this steadily worsening backdrop, more traders are heading for the exits. But where are the heading? Increasingly, more traders are moving back from where they came – i.e. the big banks, which expect to see a boost in trading revenue as President Donald Trump has vowed to dial back postcrisis regulations that forced banks to wind down their prop desks.

In recent months, a number of high-profile hedge fund names have made the leap back to banking, according to Bloomberg.

“This month, Barclays Plc hired Chris Leonard, a founder of two hedge funds in the decade since he left JPMorgan Chase & Co., to turn around U.S. rates trading. At the end of last year, ex-bankers Roberto Hoornweg and Chris Rivelli, both of Brevan Howard Asset Management, left that London hedge fund for banks.

Recruiters say these moves and others aren’t just the usual attrition: banks in New York and London are interesting employers again a decade after the financial crisis, and may get involved in more proprietary trading if President Trump eases regulatory burdens. There’s also another factor: many macro funds just don’t make money anymore.

One recruiter says he expects defections to increase over the next nine months.

“In the last quarter of the year or first quarter of 2018, you will find more people leaving the hedge funds to join banks to run proprietary money,” said Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of the Kennedy Group in London, which hires for banks and hedge funds. “The banks will become more attractive in terms of jobs and pay.”

The Trump administration has struggled to pass elements of its agenda – most notable its plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. And it only recently scored a partial victory on its immigration ban. Yet financial deregulation is one area where the Trump agenda is moving inexorably forward. On June 13, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin issued a report – the first in a series that will detail how the administration plans to


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Grant Williams: Get Out of Equities Before Boomers Are Forced To Sell Them

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Stephen McBride via MauldinEconomics.com,

Last year, the first baby boomers turned 70 and that spells trouble for investors.

Speaking at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference, Grant Williams, Co-Founder of RealVision TV, warned investors about the wave of forced selling by millions of retirees and the impact it will have on their portfolios.

Equities Make Up 70% of Boomers’ Portfolios

“Boomers are the largest generation in history to retire, and they’re doing so right now.”

In fact, according to Pew Research, 1.5 million Americans turned 70 last year and will do so every year for the next 15 years.

“When Boomers are retiring in their millions, they have 70% of their portfolios in equities… at a point in time when we are due a recession,” pointed out Grant Williams.

“And in recession, bad things happen… the average stock market drawdown in recession since 1980 is 37%.”

Just $136,000 Saved for Retirement

While boomers have their biggest allocation to equities they’ve ever had, Williams says the numbers don’t look good for them: “The reality is they don’t have enough money to retire.”

“According to BlackRock, the average Boomer has only $136,000 saved for retirement. Even with return assumptions fixed at 7%, when they’re more like 2%, you are talking an income of $9,000 a year… that’s $36,000 shy of the ideal retirement income,” adds Williams.

As such, boomers will be forced to look for income elsewhere. In the not-so-distant past, that has come from bonds.

As the below chart shows, once you hit the age of 65, you go through the most profound asset class shift since your 30s. You trim your equity positions and raise your bond exposure to lower the risk.

Source: Haver Analytics, Gluskin Sheff

However, with today’s yields, bonds won’t provide the needed income.

Even if boomers decide to stick to equities for higher yields, there’s another reason they will be forced to divest their equity holdings—one they have little choice in.

Forced


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Voter Fraud, or How Zero Hedge Slants a Story

 

Update: More than half the states refusing to provide voter data to Trump election panel (Oregon and Washington added themselves to the list.)

At least 29 states are pushing back or outright refusing to comply with the Trump administration’s request for voter registration data.

From The Hill24 states refusing to provide voter data to Trump election panel:

At least 24 states are pushing back or outright refusing to comply with the Trump administration’s request for voter registration data.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, formed by President Trump to investigate his widely debunked claim that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, sent letters this week to the 50 secretaries of state across the country requesting information about voters.

The letter, signed by commission vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), asked for names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. It also sought felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Hill.

Many states immediately raised concerns and voiced their opposition to providing the information. 

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said that she does not intend to release the data. 

"The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue — it is not,” Lundergan Grimes said. “I do not intend to release Kentuckians' sensitive personal data to the federal government.” 

[...]

Trump has alleged that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in November’s election, an assertion for which he has offered no evidence. Repeated academic and state studies of voter files show that only a handful of improper votes were cast in recent elections. 

Chief election officials from both sides of the aisle expressed skepticism about Trump’s claim of voter fraud. 

Zero Hedge's version of the story is here: Andrew Cuomo Refuses Federal Data Request Related To Trump's "Voter Fraud Myth".

Shortly after moving into the White House, President Trump promised a "major investigation into VOTER FRAUD" and vowed that any evidence of


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Your Opportunity Lies Here [CHARTS]

By Steve Blumenthal. Originally published at ValueWalk.

“Change of a long-term trend is usually gradual enough that it is obscured by the noise caused by short-term volatility.  By the time secular trends are even acknowledged by the majority they are generally obvious and mature.  In the early stages of a new secular paradigm, therefore, most are conditioned to hear only the short-term noise they have been conditioned to respond to by the prior existing condition.  Moreover, in a shift of long-term significance, the markets will be adapting to a new set of rules while most market participants will be still playing by the old rules.”

 * Robert Farrell, Former Chief Stock Market Analyst Merrill Lynch

Most hedge funds today are hardly even hedging; they are record net long equities

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I listened to Bob Farrell several times a week.  Bob was the chief stock market analyst at Merrill Lynch.  Do you remember those old “squawk boxes?”  On my desk sat a small speaker box.  It was the firm’s way of communicating to the thousands of brokers.  I’d keep the volume low but when Farrell stepped to the mic, I’d turn the knob to the right.  His deep monotone voice would fill my cubical and echo in the office around me.  As a young broker, I had little idea as to the way of the financial world.  I hung on his every word.

Bob was unique on Wall Street.  Most firms pushed out product that had recently worked.  Easier to sell, as you might imagine, but rarely worked as those gains were in the past.  But…
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Pakistan-China Ties Soar As The U.S. Pivots To India

By Polina Tikhonova. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Having just lost India to the U.S., Pakistan pivots to China, elevating Pakistan-China relations to a brand new level. What has been speculated for years finally took place this week: Pakistan gave up any hopes for improved relations with its once-key ally Washington and declared Beijing as “the cornerstone” of its foreign policy.

Pakistan-China

Pakistan / Pixabay

Pakistan-China ties have experienced a major boost after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington this week. Islamabad sent a crystal clear message to Washington, its decades-long key ally, following the enthusiastic and upbeat meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Modi.

During this week’s state visit to Islamabad by China’s foreign minister, Pakistan’s top foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz declared that Pakistan-China relations are “the cornerstone of our foreign policy.” The downward trend in U.S.-Pakistan relations reached its peak when Trump and Modi shook hands and hinted that Pakistan is responsible for the spread of regional terrorism via its alleged support for anti-Afghan insurgents.

For months, Pakistan feared that the Trump administration would cut ties from Islamabad for its alleged support for terrorist groups or even impose sanctions against India’s neighbor and arch rival. But Washington opted for a much subtler shift in foreign policy.

US-India pivot gives rise to Pakistan-China relations

After Trump and Modi held their over-enthusiastic meeting earlier this week, it was a clear that Washington was shifting its political pivot from Pakistan to India. Not that the U.S. had not seen it coming, Islamabad was quick to renew its wedding vows with China and declared its long-time diplomatic, economic and military partner “the cornerstone” of its foreign policy.

The U.S. foreign policy shift could not have come at a more opportune time, as Islamabad has arguably a more reliable alternative to Washington in the face of China. Although Pakistan-China relations have for decades been particularly warm, only in recent years the two neighbors turned their friendship into a strong political partnership, largely thanks to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its successful implementation.

Pakistan can afford losing U.S. to India

For decades, Washington has supplied Islamabad with military equipment and aid, and even today the South Asian nation continues to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. annual support. This time around, however, India is getting…
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Warren Buffett Destroys Investment Fund Managers & Winning $1 Million Bet Index Funds Beat Them

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Warren Buffett is an American investor, businessman and philanthropist. He is regarded as one of the world’s greatest stock market investors, and is the largest shareholder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He bet against Protege Partners, LLC the following: Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2017, the S&P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses. The bet may be viewed here http://longbets.org/user/buffett/

Does Anybody have a clear picture of the state of HCG’s finances?

The Value Of Cash

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Warren Buffett Destroys Investment Fund Managers & Winning $1 Million Bet Index Funds Beat Them

Berkshire Hathaway B shares Warren Buffett

By Mark Hirschey (Work of Mark Hirschey) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The post Warren Buffett Destroys Investment Fund Managers & Winning $1 Million Bet Index Funds Beat Them appeared first on ValueWalk.

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Zero Hedge

Visualizing The 150 Apps That Power The Gig Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Go back in time a decade, and you’d have a tough time convincing anyone that they would be “employed” through an app on their phone.

And yet, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins explains, in a short period of time, the emergence of the smartphone has enabled the gig economy to flourish into a multi-trillion dollar global market. And by leveraging apps like Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy, it’s estimated that ...



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Phil's Favorites

What's going on with Blue Apron?

By Ilene 

The Blue Apron business model appears, perhaps, flawed. While the service is convenient, I think it would appeal mostly to very busy people who don't have time to shop for food -- but enjoy cooking -- and have enough money that the trade off between paying for food delivery vs. spending time shopping is worth it. Here's the unfortunate stock chart and some numbers from Yahoo:

The company has been losing money, and is projected to lose money again next year. Revenue is projected to decrease in 2019 from the 2018 level, but pick up again in 2020, though still below 2018's revenue. Maybe a larger company that could integrate APRN's services into its existing infrastructure should acquire APRN and save it from its apparent...



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Chart School

Palladium minor cycle bottom

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Once again RealVision TV posts another trade idea, long palladium. We shall review it with our RTT cycle tools and parallel channels.







Any trader will be concerned with the supply shock at $1800 which pushed down price quickly. Profit taking maybe, sure! The question, is there more supply out (or more profit taking) there ready to dump on the market, either now or after any minor advance. This why waiting for the 'C' wave of the A-B-C to form over some more time is a good idea, and once done, we want to see solid buying moving price up before acting, after all we do not want to be early or a lonely bull (Richard Wyckoff logic). 

The parallel channel highl...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Banks Sending Bearish Message To Stocks, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Quality bull markets prefer to see Banks stronger than the broad markets or at least keeping up with it. Concerns often crop up when banks reflect relative weakness compared to the S&P.

This chart looks at the Bank Index (BKX) over the past few years, reflecting a falling channel of lower highs and lower lows has taken place inside of falling channel (1). This falling channel has now been in play for the past 15-months.

The index hit the bottom of the channel in December of 2018 and a counter-trend rally took place. The rally off the December lows saw the index hit the top...



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Insider Scoop

Analyst: US Sanctions 'May Not Kill Huawei'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that limits how "foreign adversaries" conduct business with U.S. companies.

What Happened

The Department of Commerce said China's Huawei and 70 related companies will be included in the "Entity ...



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Biotech

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

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

 

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University

...



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ValueWalk

More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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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.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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About Phil:

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

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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