Archive for 2017

New Declassified CIA Memo Presents Blueprint for Syrian Regime Collapse

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Brad Hoff via The Libertarian Institute,

A newly declassified CIA document explored multiple scenarios of Syrian regime collapse at a time when Hafez al-Assad’s government was embroiled in a covert “dirty war” with Israel and the West, and in the midst of a diplomatic crisis which marked an unprecedented level of isolation for Syria.

The 24-page formerly classified memo entitled Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change was produced in July 1986, and had high level distribution within the Reagan administration and to agency directors, including presidential advisers, the National Security Council, and the US ambassador to Syria. The memo appears in the CIA’s latest CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 recently declassified documents.

A “severely restricted” report

The memo’s cover letter, drafted by the CIA’s Director of Global Issues (the report itself was prepared by the division’s Foreign Subversion and Instability Center), introduces the purpose of presenting “a number of possible scenarios that could lead to the ouster of President Assad or other dramatic change in Syria.”

It further curiously warns that, “Because the analysis out of context is susceptible to misunderstanding, external distribution has been severely restricted.” The report’s narrowed distribution list (sent to specific named national security heads, not entire agencies) indicates that it was considered at the highest levels of the Reagan administration.

The coming sectarian war for Syria

The intelligence report’s contents contain some striking passages which seem remarkably consistent with events as they unfolded decades later at the start of the Syrian war in 2011:

Although we judge that fear of reprisals and organizational problems make a second Sunni challenge unlikely, an excessive government reaction to minor outbreaks of Sunni dissidence might trigger large-scale unrest. In most instances the regime would have the resources to crush a Sunni opposition movement, but we believe widespread violence among the populace could stimulate large numbers of Sunni officers and conscripts to desert or munity, setting the stage for civil war. [pg.2]

The “second Sunni challenge” is a reference to the Syrian government’s prior long running war against a Muslim Brotherhood insurgency which culminated in the 1982 Hama Massacre. While downplaying the nationalist and pluralistic composition of the ruling Ba’ath party, the report envisions a renewal and exploitation of sectarian fault lines pitting Syria’s Sunni population against its Alawite leadership:

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The Hype Surrounding Advanced Micro Device’s Ryzen Product Launch

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The Hype Surrounding Advanced Micro Device's Ryzen Product Launch

Shares of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD), which had a torrid run after 2006, began to turn the corner in early 2016. The shares are currently at their highest level in a decade, with the latest thrust upwards provided by the impending commercial launch of its Ryzen processors.

Market analyst Ralph Acampora said in a tweet on Monday, “Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is now at a level not seen since July 2007; use any pull back as a long-term buying opportunity.” Is the upside sustainable or will the stock cede the gains raked up by it? The answer to the question depends on how Ryzen 7 fares.

AMD Chart

AMD Source: Y Charts

Unwrapping AMD’s Newest Chip-On-The-Block

The company announced last Wednesday the global launch of its Ryzen desktop processors. Pre-orders commenced on the same day. The development of Ryzen was in the works for about four years, with the company embarking on developing its Zen processor core four years ago.

Dr. Lisa Su, president and CEO of AMD, said the Ryzen 7 family of processors will release on March 2.

The Ryzen 7 line up consists of three models, namely Ryzen 7 1800x, Ryzen 7 1700x and Ryzen 7 1700. The pricing suggested by the company was $499 for the 1800X, $399 for the 1700X and $329 for 1700. The company also stated that 1800X outperformed a similarly configured 8-core, 16-thread Intel Core i7-6900K in Cinebench R15 multi-threaded and Handbrake-based video transcoding, as well as showing comparable 4K gaming performance.

Related Link: Advanced Micro Devices Establishes New 2017 High As New Ryzen Processors To Ship Next Week

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DryShips Initiates New Quarterly Dividend, Will Total $0.07/Share

Courtesy of Benzinga.

DryShips Initiates New Quarterly Dividend, Will Total $0.07/Share

Dryships Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS), a diversified owner of ocean going cargo vessels, announced it will initiate a new dividend, paying back $2.5 million to common shareholders on a quarterly basis, starting with shareholders on record as of March 15,2017. The dividend will likely work out to around $0.07 per share on a quarterly basis.

DryShips shares have experienced extreme volatility since the November 8 election; a new dividend could bring stability to the stock. In November, shares of Dryships went from $38.46 to $584 within a week.

Related Article: A Year Of Living Dangerously: The DryShips Trade

There have been four DryShips reverse stock splits in the past year. All together, each share of DryShips stock represented 1,200 shares a year ago. On a reverse split-adjusted basis, DryShips’ 52-week high is $2,227.

“We are very excited to initiate our new dividend policy which is a testament to the dramatic transformation of the Company’s finances over the last 6 months. We continue to transform DryShips and we are confident that the results of our efforts will become evident in the near future,” said Dryships Chairman and CEO, George Economou.

Shares reacted positively after the announcement, up about 28 percent to $2.35 in after-hours trading.

Posted-In: News Dividends After-Hours Center Movers Best of Benzinga

Barclays Names Costco Catalysts

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Barclays Names Costco Catalysts

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) “is one of the few stocks in retail that has been able to decouple from macro fears,” with the stock rallying year to date, gaining 10.9 percent, as compared to the 5.7 percent rise in the S&P 500.

Barclays’ Karen Short maintains an Equal-Weight rating on the company, with a price target of $158.

Q2 Expectations

Costco Wholesale is scheduled to report its second-quarter 2017 results after the close on March 2.

“The benefit to profits from the new Visa card (Visa Inc (NYSE: V)) appear to be reflected in estimates, but there may still be upside to comps in FY 2017 given the cycling of tobacco as well as lessening headwinds from deflation,” the analyst mentioned.

Related Link: Costco’s Colossal January Comps Keep It A Top Pick For 2017

Short also noted that there was a widespread expectation that MFI (membership fee income) is only likely next year, although this is not reflected in the forecasts as yet.

As a result, the analyst believes that the stock is fairly valued at present, explaining that “COST does not appear to have a clear valuation ceiling given its scarcity value among retail stocks.”

For Q2, Short expects investors to focus on the timing of the potential MFI, the new Vida co-branded card sign-ups, reinvestment or flow-through of the Visa benefit and deflation commentary from management.


Among the catalysts for Costco Wholesale, the analyst noted that traffic had accelerated in recent months in the United States.

In addition, the new Visa credit card might drive an overall increase…
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The Market In 5 Minutes

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The Market In 5 Minutes



Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (NYSE: BRK-B) recent investment in Sirius XM Holdings Inc (SIRI) shows that, even at age 86, Warren Buffett is still capable of a surprise or two. Here’s a look at some of Buffett’s more surprising investments in recent years and how they have performed: Link

It was a rough week for Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), one of the top performing issues in the S&P 500 index in 2016. Last year, the issue ran up 224 percent from its 2015 year-end close ($32.96) to $106.74: Link

It’s fairly common knowledge the Super Bowl typically draws the largest TV audience of the year and is also the most expensive real estate on TV when it comes to advertisers. However, the second most expensive event of the year for advertisers arrived Sunday: the Academy Awards show. Link

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) analyst Gene Munster explored when the iPhone maker will win an Oscar for its own original content: Link


Buffett was dismissive of professional money managers in his widely read letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. But the billionaire reasserted his belief in his own ability to pick winners and losers: Link

Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel’s premise for reinventing social media in 2011 was simple: create an app to send disappearing pictures: Link

Santosh Pillai was wooed to work in the U.S. for his coding skills more than a decade ago and has built a good life in Cupertino, Calif. He considers it home and is awaiting approval for his green card—but is now worried his family could be forced leave: Link

After weeks of high expectations for a swift Dodd-Frank rollback with a Republican in the White House, the reality of a hard slog is beginning to set in on…
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Benzinga’s Top Upgrades, Downgrades For February 27, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Top Upgrades

  • Analysts at Bank of America upgraded Western Gas Equity Partners LP (NYSE: WGP) from Underperform to Neutral. Western Gas Equity shares fell 1.38 percent to close at $45.90 on Friday.
  • Mizuho upgraded Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) from Neutral to Buy. Sunoco Logistics Partners shares rose 2.89 percent to $26.00 in pre-market trading.
  • Analysts at Argus Research upgraded Carnival Corp (NYSE: CCL) from Hold to Buy. Carnival shares fell 0.16 percent to $55.94 in pre-market trading.
  • Analysts at Evercore ISI Group upgraded Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) from Hold to Buy. Illumina shares fell 0.63 percent to close at $160.00 on Friday.
  • Analysts at Avondale Partners upgraded PRA Health Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: PRAH) from Underperform to Market Perform. PRA Health shares fell 1.44 percent to close at $60.18 on Friday.
  • Analysts at RBC Capital upgraded Clearwater Paper Corp (NYSE: CLW) from Underperform to Sector Perform. Clearwater Paper shares slipped 0.36 percent to close at $56.05 on Friday.
  • B. Riley upgraded Steven Madden, Ltd. (NASDAQ: SHOO) from Neutral to Buy. Steven Madden shares dropped 0.27 percent to close at $37.15 on Friday.
  • JP Morgan upgraded AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) from Neutral to Overweight. Aflac shares slipped 0.01 percent to close at $71.71 on Friday.
  • Deutsche Bank upgraded Terex Corporation (NYSE: TEX) from Hold to Buy. Terex shares gained 1.47 percent to close at $30.35 on Friday.

Top Downgrades

  • Goldman Sachs downgraded Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) from Neutral to Sell. Tesla shares dropped 3.21 percent to $248.75 in pre-market trading.
  • Raymond James downgraded Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE: MAIN) from Outperform to Market Perform. Main Street Capital shares rose 0.13 percent to close at $37.48 on Friday.
  • Wells Fargo downgraded

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Watch These 3 Huge Put Purchases In Monday Trade

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Benzinga’s newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Friday’s regular session.

  • Hertz Global Holdings, Inc (NYSE: HTZ) Mar 20.0 Puts Sweep: 1075 @ ASK $1.70: 1437 traded vs 6810 OI: Earnings 2/27 After Close $19.60 Ref
  • Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: NUS) Jun 50.0 Puts Sweep: 3847 @ ASK $4.787: 8565 traded vs 575 OI: Earnings 5/4 After Close (est) $49.53 Ref
  • CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (NYSE: CBL) Mar 10.0 Puts Sweep: 875 @ ASK $0.45: 1114 traded vs 4029 OI: Earnings 4/26 After Close (est) $9.89 Ref

Posted-In: Huge Put PurchasesOptions Markets Movers Trading Ideas

Earnings Scheduled For February 27, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Earnings Scheduled For February 27, 2017

Companies Reporting Before The Bell

  • AmTrust Financial Services Inc (NASDAQ: AFSI) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.73 per share on revenue of $1.21 billion.
  • AES Corp (NYSE: AES) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $5.29 billion.
  • Sothebys (NYSE: BID) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $1.19 per share on revenue of $280.83 million.
  • National General Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: NGHC) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.24 per share on revenue of $911.45 million.
  • VimpelCom Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: VIP) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.04 per share on revenue of $2.34 billion.
  • JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.20 per share on revenue of $699.88 million.
  • American Tower Corp (NYSE: AMT) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.58 per share on revenue of $1.54 billion.
  • Core-Mark Holding Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: CORE) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.47 per share on revenue of $3.76 billion.
  • Armstrong World Industries Inc (NYSE: AWI) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.44 per share on revenue of $302.11 million.
  • MDC Partners Inc (NASDAQ: MDCA) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.12 per share on revenue of $376.33 million.

Companies Reporting After The Bell

  • Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) is estimated to post its quarterly earnings

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Maine Drops 9,000 From Food Stamps After Refusal To Comply With Work Requirements

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Republican Governor Paul LePage dared to begin enforcing Maine’s volunteer and work requirements for food stamp (SNAP) recipients to keep their benefits. The end result was more than 9,000 non-disabled adults getting dropped from the program.

As CNS News’ Eric Schiener reports, a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) spokesman tells the Associated Press that 12,000 non-disabled adults were in Maine’s SNAP program before Jan. 1 – a number that dropped to 2,680 by the end of March…

The rules prevent adults, who are not disabled and do not have dependents, from receiving food stamps for more than three months unless they work at least 20 hours a week, participate in a work-training program, or meet volunteer guidelines for 24 hours out of the month.

Any one of those three minimums getting met will result in an individual to retain their SNAP food benefits.

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said the goal of the requirements is to encourage people to find work.

“If you’re on these programs it means you are living in poverty and so the more that we can help incentive people on that pathway to employment and self-sufficiency the better off they’re going to be,” Mayhew told the Associated Press.

In Maine, once someone loses their benefits, they cannot regain assistance for three years.

Patriot Chronicle points out, in Maine, 9,000 able-bodied people who are supposedly too poor to feed themselves couldn’t seem to handle that. In addition, those who lose their benefits in such a manner can’t reapply for assistance for three years.

Liberals have sold government dependence so deliberately well, that even doing 24 hours of approved volunteer work a month for a capable adult became too much for more than 9,000 people.

Either the Liberals have truly brain washed the voting masses into droning zombies, or they’re really not that needy for food.

Either way, the taxpayers who work hard for their paychecks, can feel some satisfaction at knowing they won’t have to support as much mediocrity as they used to.

As we noted previoulsy, thanks to many years of accelerated growth in the program under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 1 in 7 Americans now participate in the food stamp program. 

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Another Scotland Independence Vote Coming Up?

Courtesy of Mish.

In 2014, Scotland held an Independence Referendum on whether or not to braek away from the UK.

The “No” side won, with 2,001,926 (55.3%) voting against independence and 1,617,989 (44.7%) voting in favour. The turnout of 84.6% was the highest recorded for an election or referendum in the United Kingdom since the introduction of universal suffrage.

However, Scotland is not happy with the Brexit vote, and many Scots confident they can win independence referendum next year on account os the hard Brexit.


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to call another independence referendum since Britain’s decision to leave the EU, saying the House of Commons “would be making a very big mistake” if they thought she was “in any way bluffing”.

But despite polls which suggest Scots would vote to stay in the UK after the yes camp lost by a decisive 10 point margin in 2014, pro-independence insiders have claimed momentum is on their side as Theresa May pushes to sever ties with the EU bloc.

Charles Grant, a Scottish Government adviser said: ”I believe the Scottish Government is thinking very, very seriously about going for an independence referendum next year.

Earlier this month a poll indicated 49 per cent of Scots were behind splitting from the United Kingdom – a growth of 4 per cent on the month before when the Prime Minister was yet to put her cards on the table when it came to EU talks.

But while the British Government has said there is no need to push for another referendum, Holyrood may still drive Scotland to the ballot box yet again.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We have made it very clear that an independence referendum is very much an option on the table if it becomes clear that it is the best or only way to protect Scotland’s vital national interests.”

The 2014 Scottish independence referendum was agreed after Westminster granted temporary powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a vote.

The SNP are two votes short of a majority in the Holyrood Parliament, although the Greens have promised to back a bid for a second independence referendum should Ms. Sturgeon’s party propose a bill.

It is likely a similar arrangement would have to be reached between Edinburgh and London for

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Phil's Favorites

Trump and the problem with pardons


Trump and the problem with pardons

Courtesy of Andrew Bell, Indiana University

As a veteran, I was astonished by the recent news that President Trump may be considering pardons for U.S. military members accused or convicted of war crimes. But as a scholar who studies the U.S. military and combat ethics, I understand even more clearly the harmful long-term impact such pardons can have on the military.

My researc...

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Zero Hedge

Macron Suffers Huge Blow With Defeat To Le Pen

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

In what may be the biggest shock from today's European parliamentary elections, President Emmanuel Macron is set to suffer a blow with French voters set to hand a victory to Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, picking the vocal Eurosceptic and nationalist over the former Rothschild banker.

Macron’s En Marche (Republic on The Move) will have just 22.5% of the vote compared with 24% for Le Pen, according to pollsters Ifop. With Macron and Le Pen neck and neck ahead of the elections, the outcome will be a...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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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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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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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


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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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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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.

Market Shadows >>