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 fxdailyterminal.com

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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Phil's Favorites

Congress is considering privacy legislation - be afraid

 

Congress is considering privacy legislation – be afraid

Courtesy of Jeff Sovern, St. John's University

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.

For years, a gridlocked Congress ignored privacy, apart from occasionally scolding companies such as Equifax and Marriott after their major data breaches. In its absence, ...



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Zero Hedge

Key Events This Week: Trade War, EU Elections, Durables, PMIs And Fed Minutes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Looking at this week's key events, Deutsche Bank's Craig Nicol writes that while the unpredictable nature of US-China trade developments will likely continue to be the main focus for markets again next week, we also have the European Parliament elections circus to look forward to as well as various survey reports including the flash May PMIs which may offer some insight into the impact of trade escalation on economic data. The FOMC and ECB meeting minutes are also due, along with a heavy calendar of Fed officials speaking.

The European Parliament elections will kick off next Thursday with voting continuing into the weekend across the continent, with results expected on Sunday. With the elections surrounded by internal and external challenges for the EU, members di...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will S&P 500 Double Top Derail The Rally?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The rally off the December stock market lows has been strong, to say the least. The S&P 500 rallied 25 percent before hitting and testing the 2018 high.

The old highs proved to be formidable resistance and ushered in some volatility in May… and a 5 percent pullback.

In today’s 2-pack, we look at that resistance level – could that be a double top? We can see similar patterns develop on the S&P 500 Index and its Equal Weight counterpart.

Both indexes are testing short-term Fibonacci retracement levels of the recent decline at point (2).

What takes place here after potential double top highs will be important. Stay tuned...



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Insider Scoop

60 Biggest Movers From Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Gainers
  • Fastly, Inc. (NYSE: FSLY) shares jumped 50 percent to close at $23.99 on Friday. Fastly priced its 11.25 million share IPO at $16 per share.
  • Outlook Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OTLK) shares climbed 37.3 percent to close at $2.10 on Friday after the stock rose over 68 percent Thursday following an Oppenheimer initiation at Outperform with a price target of $12.
  • Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) shares rose 22.5 percent to close at $36.52 after Hewlett Packard Enterpri...


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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap May 18, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

China – U.S. trade talk continued to dominate the week.   A heavy selloff Monday was followed by 3 up days, with Friday moderately down.

On Monday, Chinese officials announced retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., hitting $60 billion in annual exports to China with new or expanded duties that could reach 25%.

Then on Wednesday:

The Trump administration plans to delay a decision on instituting new tariffs on car and auto part imports for up to six months, according to media reports.

...

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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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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:

 

·       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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