Archive for 2017

Did Russia’s Iranian Energy Deal Kill Four Birds With One Stone?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

Russia’s gargantuan $30 billion energy deal with Iran simultaneously accomplished four objectives that are central to the grand strategic goals behind Moscow’s “Ummah Pivot”…

Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin announced that his company signed a roadmap to invest the mind-numbingly large sum of $30 billion in the Iranian energy sector following his and President Putin’s visit to the Islamic Republic to hold three-way talks with Azerbaijan. This masterstroke of energy diplomacy wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Trump scaring Western investors away from Iran and pushing the country closer towards Russia as a result, which totally reversed the intended dynamic of the Obama Administration that sought to reorient Iran in the opposite direction through the multiple concessions that it offered up through the summer 2015 nuclear deal. Russia’s foreign policy “progressives” are indeed making rapid progress in advancing their 21st-century grand strategic goal of positioning Moscow as the supreme balancing force in the Eurasian supercontinent, and this is in turn accelerating the global transition to a Multipolar World Order.

In order to appreciate just how profoundly significant of a geostrategic move Moscow made this week, one needs to look no further than the four objectives that were immediately advanced through the Russian-Iranian energy roadmap:

Unveiling A Trans-Azeri Pipeline

Russia intends to build a trans-Azeri pipeline to Iran, which will not only strengthen bilateral Russian-Iranian relations and their trilateral expansion with Azerbaijan, but also importantly demonstrates the success of the recent Russian-Azeri rapprochement over the past year. Moscow views Baku as an integrationist in the sense that it’s facilitating Russia and China’s supercontinental goal of linking the landmass closer together, while traditional Russian “ally” Armenia is seen as a Western-leaning obstructionist that’s suddenly become a wayward partner.

It shouldn’t be interpreted as coincidental that this new energy-driven milestone in Russian-Azeri relations occurred just weeks before the planned signing of Armenia’s “Comprehensive And Enhanced New Agreement” with the EU. The dichotomy of Azerbaijan moving closer to Russia at precisely the same moment that

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Vetr Downgrades Blackstone Group

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The Vetr crowd has downgraded Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) from 4.5 stars to 4 stars.

The crowd rates the stock a Buy, with a price target of $36.76. Wall Street analyst consensus has a price target of $33.00.

See how crowdsourced ratings can help predict the market?

Blackstone shares closed at $33.03 Monday afternoon.

For the Vetr crowd’s full analysis of the stock, click here.

Posted-In: VetrDowngrades Crowdsourcing Analyst Ratings General

Four Viral Claims Spread By ‘Journalists’ On Twitter In The Last Week Alone That Are False

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

There is ample talk, particularly of late, about the threats posed by social media to democracy and political discourse. Yet one of the primary ways that democracy is degraded by platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is, for obvious reasons, typically ignored in such discussions: the way they are used by American journalists to endorse factually false claims that quickly spread and become viral, entrenched into narratives, and thus can never be adequately corrected.

The design of Twitter, where many political journalists spend their time, is in large part responsible for this damage. Its space constraints mean that tweeted headlines or tiny summaries of reporting are often assumed to be true with no critical analysis of their accuracy, and are easily spread. Claims from journalists that people want to believe are shared like wildfire, while less popular, subsequent corrections or nuanced debunking are easily ignored. Whatever one’s views are on the actual impact of Twitter Russian bots, surely the propensity of journalistic falsehoods to spread far and wide is at least as significant.

Just in the last week alone, there have been four major factually false claims that have gone viral because journalists on Twitter endorsed and spread them: three about the controversy involving Donna Brazile and the DNC, and one about documents and emails published by WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign. It’s well worth examining them, both to document what the actual truth is as well as to understand how often and easily this online journalistic misleading occurs:

Viral Falsehood #1: The Clinton/DNC agreement cited by Brazile only applied to the General Election, not the primary.

On Wednesday, Politico published a blockbuster accusation from Donna Brazile’s new book: that the DNC had “rigged” the 2016 primary election for Hillary Clinton through an agreement that gave Clinton control over key aspects of the DNC, a claim that Elizabeth Warren endorsed on CNN. The Clinton camp refused to comment publicly, but instead contacted their favorite reporters to publish their response as news.

The following day, NBC published an article by Alex Seitz-Wald that recited and endorsed the Clinton camp’s primary defense: that Brazile was

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In Bizarre Warning JPMorgan Says “Beware The Shadow World” As “Speed Of Asset Rally Is Scary”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While the Fed may still be confused by the lack of inflation, if only in the "real economy", if not in financial assets, increasingly more analysts have realized that what the Fed has done is tantamount to blowing an roaring inflationary bubble, if largely confined to the realm of asset prices. And while we used a Goldman chart to demonstrate this divergence a little over a month ago…

… now it's JPMorgan's turn to undergo the proverbial epiphany.

In a note from JPM's Jan Loeys, titled "Financial overheating a problem yet?", the strategist writes that "growth-sensitive assets, such as equities, credit, cyclicals, and commodities continue to gain and outperform, keeping us comfortably in the Growth Trade. Growth prospects have been rising and accelerating over the past two months from the only slow and dispersed upgrades of the previous 12 months. By now, we are in a full-fledged and globally synchronized move up in growth optimism." Perhaps, but there is a catch as JPM unwillingly concedes:

The speed of these upgrades and asset price rallies is both exhilarating and scary. The faster we rally, the greater the joy, but the more one should be worried about the eventual reckoning. How far from now is that and what should we do about it?

JPM's answer to this rhetorical question is ambivalent: while the largest US bank says that the current rally still has upside, it quietly advises its clients to start selling.

We stay in the Growth Trade as we believe that the steady upgrading of growth prospects and asset price moves is still benefiting from greater positive feedback loops and that the negative feedback from economic and financial overheating are both still too weak or too far off. At the same time, the speed of the rally is inducing us to start trimming slowly, through going neutral on HY.

Going back to the top chart, JPM then distinguishes between economic and financial overheating:

Economic overheating to us means that as companies start spending more, they eventually push up input prices – wages, resources – and the cost of borrowing, which all eat into profits and then future capital spending,

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Weekly Market Recap Nov 05, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

While there was some chop to this past week, the bulls remain in control as that chop right now would be seen as some form of consolidation after a round of market gains.  The weekly gain for the S&P 500 was 0.3% and for the NASDAQ 0.9%.   For the month of October the S&P 500 was up 2.2% and the NASDAQ 3.6%.

Monday was the only day of sustained selling and some attributed that to a report that the House of Representatives is considering phasing in a cut to corporate taxes rather than enacting them immediately.  The actual House plan was released Thursday to much fanfare.   Andrew Hunter, U.S. economist at Capital Economics, sees the Republican tax plan adding roughly $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

The House is discussing a “gradual phase-in for the corporate tax-rate cut that President Donald Trump and Republican leaders want — a schedule that would have the rate reach 20 percent in 2022,” according to Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter.

“Unveiling of the tax bill is a step one. Approving and passing the legislation is step two and it’s not at all clear in what form or shape this bill will be passed,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst and portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

The Federal Reserve meeting – as expected – yielded nothing.

The Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates but referred to the U.S. economy in positive terms.  The central bank, in its statement following a two-day meeting, said economic activity has been picking up at a “solid rate,” versus the “moderate” rate that it had referenced in September. The rosier view of the economy also suggests that it is on track to hike interest rates in December, as has been widely expected.

More important, the new Federal Reserve head was nominated by Trump: Jerome Powell.   Powell is viewed as a nominee who will be measured in his approach to raising borrowing costs and who also is favorable to scaling back Wall Street regulations.

“Under Powell expect a pragmatic path on

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PBOC’s Zhou Warns Of “Sudden, Complex, Hidden, Contagious, Hazardous” Risks In Global Markets

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Just two weeks after warning of the potential for an imminent 'Minsky Moment', Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has penned a lengthy article on The PBOC's website that warns ominously of latent risks accumulating, including some that are "hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous," even as the overall health of the financial system appears good.

The imminence of China's Minksy Moment is something we have discussed numerous times this year.

The three credit bubbles shown in the chart above are connected. Canada and Australia export raw materials to China and have been part of China’s excessive housing and infrastructure expansion over the last two decades. In turn, these countries have been significant recipients of capital inflows from Chinese real estate speculators that have contributed to Canadian and Australian housing bubbles. In all three countries, domestic credit-to-GDP expansion financed by banks has created asset bubbles in self-reinforcing but unsustainable fashion.

And then at the latest Communist Party Congress meeting in Beijing, the governor of the PBoC (People’s Bank of China) said the following;

“If we are too optimistic when things go smoothly, tensions build up, which could lead to a sharp correction, what we call a ‘Minsky moment’. That’s what we should particularly defend against.”

Yet, stock markets shrugged off his warning… while the Chinese yield curve has now been inverted for 10 straight days – the longest period of inversion ever…

Which appears to be why he wrote his most recent and most ominous warning yet… (as Bloomberg reports)

The nation should toughen regulation and let markets serve the real economy better, according to Zhou.

The government should also open up financial markets by relaxing capital controls and reducing restrictions on non-Chinese financial institutions that want to operate on the mainland, he wrote.

“High leverage is the ultimate origin of macro financial vulnerability," wrote Zhou, 69, who is widely expected to retire soon after a record 15-year tenure.

“In sectors of the real economy, this is reflected as excessive debt, and

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Yen Tumbles On Trump, Kuroda Comments As Japan Comes Back From Long Weekend

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Amid President Trump's visit, Abe's calls for more sanction and general militarization, the Japanese came back from their long weekend and decided it was time to panic-sell JPY in favor of the dollar the open. The yen slumped as much as 0.6% moments ago to an 8-month low against the dollar…

… for two parallel reasons: first, Trump complained about the US-Japan trade relationship while in Tokyo for the first stop of his tour of the region. Trump was speaking to business leaders in Tokyo and said that US trade with Japan is "not fair” and isn’t open. He said it’s “not free and not reciprocal” and that the Trans-Pacific Partnership “was not the right idea”. Trump also complained that the US had experienced “massive trade deficits” with Japan.

Following the comments, the USDJPY jumped as much as ¥114.73 per dollar, the weakest level for the Yen since March 15, before exporters started selling dollars, according to an Asia-based FX trader.

An additional driver of the weakness in JPY was a speech by BOJ Governor Kuroda meant to further weaken the Yen – and which ironically came as Trump was indirectly bashing the weak Japanese currency – who confirmed the BoJ will continue with powerful easing, saying that "there’s still a long way to getting to the 2% inflation target" and added that it is "crucial for people to actually experience inflation above 2%."

Stock futures initially kneejerked higher with them but quickly reversed it all…

TSY yields – with which USDJPY has a high correlation – are also ticking higher, and as Citi concludes, the "JPY seems to be under attack from all sides – BoJ, Trump, Treasuries."

Goldman On Tax Reform: “Now Comes The Hard Part”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The ink wasn't even dry yet on the just published Republican Tax Cut And Jobs Act, and within the hour UBS was already confident that it has virtually no chance of passing: As UBS chief economist Seth Carpenter wrote shortly after the publication, "to our read, the release confirms our view that tax reform is far from being a done deal. The bill contains several specifics that we believe will prove sticking points, which increase the difficulty of finding the votes to support the plan in both the House and the Senate." Fast forwarding to Carpenter's conclusion: "We maintain our view that tax reform is unlikely this year or next."

To be sure, banks have a right to be skeptical: after all with the economy already growing above 3%, the last thing financial institutions want is for another burst of output courtesy of fiscal stimulus. Last week, Lloyd Blankfein said as much when the Goldman CEO warned "now’s not the best time for tax cuts", a view diametrically opposite that of his former "right hand man", Gary Cohn, currently Trump's chief economic advisor, who said this is precisely the right time for more tax cuts.

“I can’t say this is the moment where you want the most fiscal stimulus in the market, when we’re mostly at full employment, when GDP last registered at 3 percent,” Blankfein said Thursday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “I don’t know that this is the moment that you provide the biggest stimulus.”

Goldman CEO's skepticism was obvious in a report released this afternoon by economic Alec Phillips, who looked at the tax plan released on Friday, and said that while Goldman still assigns a two-thirds chance of tax reform passing, it conceded that "now comes the hard part."

First, here are the big picture details:

Tax Reform: Now Comes the Hard Part

  • The recent release of the House tax reform bill marks the start of the second, harder, stage of tax reform. The plan cuts the corporate tax rate to 20% and reduces taxes on individual and “personal business” income while  staying within the $1.5 trillion (over 10 years) cost limit recently agreed to in the House and Senate.

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Pentagon Says Securing North Korean Nuclear Sites Would Require “Ground Invasion”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With President Donald Trump arriving in Japan today to kick off a 10-day Asia tour, the Washington Post is reporting that the only way to locate and secure all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” would be a ground invasion, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a newly released assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like.

The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.

The letter also said that Pentagon leaders “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons” and that the country “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents."

The Pentagon repeated that a detailed discussion of how the United States would respond to the threat could not be discussed in public.

The letter noted that Seoul, the South Korean capital, is a densely populated area with 25 million residents. 

The Pentagon’s candid assessment appears to validate claims made by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who famously said in an interview with the American Prospect before he was forced out of his White House job that there are no “good” military options for toppling the Kim regime. A ground invasion, he said, would lead to millions of casualties in the South Korean capital of Seoul from conventional weapons fire.

It’s release also coincides with the president’s push to rally the North’s neighbors in the region to do more to punish the restive Kim regime, which conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb – also its sixth nuclear test overall – in early September.

The North has been notably quiet since Sept. 15, when it launched a medium-range missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Aside from the usual condemnations of military drills involving US and South Korean, and threats that the North is seriously considering testing a

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FX Weekly Preview: USD Turnaround Hard Fought; Still A Correction Despite Stronger Data

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Shant Movsesian and Rajan Dhall MSTA

In recent weeks, we have continued to look to further gains in the USD, initially led by a belief that the bearish scenario had been exhausted, but later on improving data.  Time frame is a key factor in our metrics for where we see currencies finding value, and given that we have seen some strong gains against the CAD and JPY in recent weeks, we may be close to congestion levels, which these days tend to develop into significant tops.  

On Friday we saw the employment report missing on expectations, but the disruptive factors from Hurricane season saw the negative impact on the USD as temporary, with traders responding to the stronger ISM non manufacturing PMIs later in the day.  Wage inflation was something we could not determine this time around with the return of workers on the lower end of the pay scale dragging hourly earning back to 0.0% on the month, the yearly rate at 2.4% still down on the previous year.  Factory orders were also strong, and we can put this down to – in part – USD weakness seen over the large part of the summer.

Looking ahead, we have little in the way of US data to provide immediate drive for the greenback, so focus will be on the tax reform proposals, and whether much of the recent economic improvement is now largely priced in – not easy for an algo dominated market reliant on specific prompts.  

Selective gains suggested the EUR and GBP could come under pressure at the hands of the greenback in the week again, with EUR/USD set to grapple with demand into the mid 1.1500's and Cable eyeing a move on 1.3000 at some point.  

In Europe, we have German factory orders first thing on Monday followed up by final readings in the services and composite PMIs across the Euro zone as well as the Sentix indices.  German industrial production and trade stats later in the week will show us if economic momentum is as strong as recent data has shown us, and as we have seen with excessive currency strength within certain time frames, this can impact considerably.  Case in point is the

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#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 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 ... more from Insider

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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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

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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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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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:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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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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