Archive for 2018

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    mr stick … will he stay or will he go???

Will These Puzzles Be The Next Crypto Trend To Go Mainstream?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The cryptocurrency mania that drove the price of a bitcoin to $20,000 last year has come and gone, leaving a legion of deeply disappointed marginal buyers in its wake. But anybody who still believes in the long-term promise of crypto – and is looking to pick up some coins on the cheap – should try their luck at a crypto puzzle.

What's a crypto puzzle? Put simply, it's a burgeoning genre of artwork where viewers race against one another to solve a puzzle embedded in the picture. Whoever wins is rewarded with a purse of crypto.


Though the phenomenon first emerged in 2014, when @coin_artist, the pseudonym of Marguerite deCourcelle, created Dark Wallet Puzzle, the first known cryptopuzzle, Business Week claimed in a recent feature about the trend that cryptopuzzles are still thriving – with buyers even paying hefty sums for pieces even after they have been solved.

Marguerite deCourcelle lives at the peculiar intersection of Bitcoin and art. Under the pseudonym @coin_artist, she’s credited with inventing the crypto-art puzzle, a genre of images hiding complicated ciphers that reward the first solver with a walletful of virtual currency. The most famous of these is an @coin_artist oil pastel from 2015 called Torched H34R7S, the final work in a series known as The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto. Depicting a ­turtledove, chess pieces, and a ­phoenix surrounded by flames, the painting incorporates symbolic references to Bitcoin’s creator, as well as to Shakespeare and deCourcelle’s personal life. An anonymous person solved the riddle in 2018, unlocking 5 Bitcoins, at the time worth about $50,000.

DeCourcelle started the Bitcoin-art-puzzle phenomenon in 2014 with Dark Wallet Puzzle, a painting of two leading crypto anarchists that hides a key. It led to a 3.4-Bitcoin reward. "I created it after realizing that without a third party litigating how money moves, that money could be ‘pulled out’ of anything," she says.

The result is a strange amalgam of the crypto and art-world universes, as crypto puzzles are beginning to "enter the mainstream through galleries, museums, international exhibitions, and even video games." In a way, winning crypto purses from solving these visual puzzles isn't that much different than the process of crypto…
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Despite Political Tensions, Canada Goose Opens First Store In China

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Despite Political Tensions, Canada Goose Opens First Store In China

Despite political tension between Canada and China, Canada Goose Holdings Inc (NYSE: GOOS) proceeded with plans to open its flagship store in Beijing.

What Happened

At the request of U.S. authorities in early December, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Shortly after, several Canadian citizens were detained in China in what the government said amounts to “arbitrary detention.”

The diplomatic spat prompted Canada Goose, the maker of jackets and other apparel for cold weather, to delay its store opening from Dec. 15 but Sunday’s grand opening attracted a large crowd of shoppers, Reuters reported. The new Canada Goose store welcomed a long line of Chinese shoppers who were looking at Canada Goose products, including jackets that cost around 9,000 ($1,300).

Why It’s Important

Canada Goose said the delay in its store opening is due to construction work and according to Reuters there were construction workers in the store Monday. Reuters said Canada Goose hasn’t made any official mention of its new store opening on any of its Chinese operated social media platforms.

What’s Next

Shares of Canada Goose were higher by more than 7 percent Monday morning as investors are likely encouraged by the company’s plans in China proceeding despite political tension. Several Wall Street analysts are bullish on the stock as China is the world’s largest luxury market and Canada Goose’s expansion into the company is in the early stages.

Related Links:

Susquehanna Bullish On Canada Goose: ‘We Foresee A Long Runway For Margin Expansion’

Credit Suisse Says Canada Goose Stock Pressure Appears Overdone

Posted-In: Apparel Canada ChinaNews Retail Sales Global Movers Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

Chinese Schools Monitor Students With “Smart Uniforms” 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Education facilities in China have rolled out "intelligent uniforms" embedded with microchips to better monitor students' attendance and whereabouts, said the Global Times. Eleven schools in Southwest China's Guizhou Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have introduced smart uniforms, which are developed and manufactured by Guizhou Guanyu Technology.

As students arrive on school grounds, facial recognition cameras identify the time and date of arrival along with a short video that school administrators and parents can access via a mobile app.

If the student attempts to skip class, the mobile app will inform teachers parents of the truancy. A GPS system embedded in the uniform can even track the student beyond the school limits.

The microchips within each uniform can withstand up to 500 washes and 150 degrees Celsius, the company told Global Times.

Guizhou Guanyu Technology released a public statement via the Chinese social media site Weibo stating the uniforms "focus on safety issues", and provide a "smart management method" that benefits students, teachers and parents. The company's marketing manager boasted the uniforms' capabilities on a personal Weibo account:

"You go to any school and ask the security guard how many students there are in the school today. He definitely can't give you an answer, but we can," the post read.

On its website, the company said the suits were designed to "fully implement the state policy of actively constructing smart campuses and smart education management for the development of education".

Beijing has recently made statements calling on all education facilities to develop "smart campuses" in a move to digitize education. Lin Zongwu, principal of Number 11 School of Renhuai in Guizhou where more than 800 students have been wearing smart uniforms since 2016, told the Global Times that administrators could track students at all times, though the technology was used sparingly.

"We choose not to check the accurate location of students after school, but when the student is missing and skipping classes, the uniforms help locate them," Zongwu said, adding the attendance rate had increased since the intelligent uniforms were introduced.

Guanyu Technology responded to sharp criticism on Weibo, saying the "the smart uniform does not track students'…
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What Social Trends Told Us About The Economy In 2018

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

When trying to determine exactly how America's economy changed during 2018, Bloomberg decided to abandon legacy macroeconomic data in favor of taking a look at the most prevalent social trends throughout the year – and subsequently, what they told us about the economy.

One trend that emerged in 2018 was the American population moving away from small metropolitan areas towards cities. The sidewalk scooter – once a mainstay back around the year 2000 – has made a comeback in cities like Washington and Los Angeles, signaling the changing demographic.

The saga over where Amazon was going to place their headquarters also told us something about the economy in 2018: job creation for big technology industries is concentrating as it grows.

The top 10 metropolitan areas for digital services held 44.3% of all jobs in 2017, but captured 49.1% of jobs added in the sector from 2015 to 2017.

2018 was also the year when the broader population realized that rent inflation was significantly outpacing wage gains. This was confirmed by the rising number people who live in urban areas that are struggling to pay bills. As a result, we’ve seen adults move into dorm-like home-sharing areas and WeWork-style shared working locations.

Naturally, social media like Instagram continues to play a big role in the economy, as online shopping continued growing in 2018. One of the most searched fashion brands of the year was Fashion Nova, which is a budget friendly clothing company that has made itself famous solely via social media. It was a more popular search on Google this year than brands like Louis Vuitton and Versace.

Sneakers also became a growing "alternative investment" in 2018. As we have written in the past about things like art and fine whiskeys, investors are looking to speculate in different markets and those who have been purchasing exclusive sneakers released in small batches have benefited from prices rising over the course of the last year.

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China Beige Book Issues Dire Fourth-Quarter Preview

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Rahul Vaidyanath of The Epoch Times

Just about every economic measure is trending down in China, and not surprisingly, deflation fears are mounting. The China Beige Book (CBB) fourth-quarter preview, released Dec. 27, reported that sales volumes, output, domestic and export orders, investment, and hiring all fell on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis.

A much-weaker 2019 appears to be in the offing for China, but it’s not solely due to trade tensions with the United States. The domestic economy was already on weak footing and the CBB argues that government support is unlikely.

The CBB is a research service that speaks to thousands of companies and bankers on the ground in China every quarter. It contends that deflation is the bigger threat compared to inflation.

“Because of China’s structural problems, deflation has very clearly emerged as the bigger threat in a slowing economy than inflation. Consumer demand has weakened, and you see that reflected in retail and services prices,” said Shehzad Qazi, CBB managing director, in an interview.

While lower prices look good for consumers, policy-makers don’t like deflation for a number of reasons. With prices falling, companies produce less, often lay off workers, and reduce investment, leading to a vicious circle of sorts. While the trade war hurts export-sensitive regions, local orders have now weakened for two straight quarters.

Hiring fell for the first time since early 2016. Worse still, the fall was concentrated in services and retail, two sectors being counted upon to pick up the slack left by manufacturing’s woes.

Also, debt—of which China has plenty—becomes more problematic under deflation, as its value adjusted for inflation rises.

And it’s an issue for central bankers, who typically target 2 percent inflation for price stability. Rate cuts to spur the economy and inflation are less effective, since the real interest rates are higher when accounting for deflation.

China is an aging, leveraged country, with excess industrial capacity. Appearances by inflation should be cheered,” according to the CBB Q4 preview. “They are also rare.”

Qazi says that the only inflation is in agriculture commodities, which is not what Beijing wants.…
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Canadian Household Debt-to-Income Ratio Near Record High

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

"Households with elevated levels of debt are more vulnerable to increases in interest rates", the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation redundantly observes in its latest bulletin and warns that "with interest rates on the rise, highly indebted households could see their increased required payments exceed their budgets."

Naturally, this increased debt payment burden usually come at the cost of reduced consumption, decreased savings or opting to make lower repayments on principal amounts. Some households might even default on their loans if their incomes are not sufficient to cover higher expenses and credit charges.

And, as the CMHC ominously warns, if an increasing number of borrowers begin to default on their loans, financial institutions may decrease lending activities in response.

These negative effects could then impact other areas of the economy. Research has shown that recessions in highly indebted countries tend to exhibit a greater loss in output, higher unemployment, and last longer compared to countries with lower debt levels.

Here are some of the latest troubling observations on Canadian household debt levels from the CMHC:

Household debt to disposable income near record levels

The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a measure of the relative vulnerability of indebted households. While households may be able to service their debt during periods of low interest rates, some may face challenges when rates rise. Highly indebted households have usually few debt consolidation options to respond to increasing debt service costs.

Total household debt relative to disposable income has been trending higher as indebtedness has been rising faster than incomes, with mortgage debt being a major contributor, counting for two-thirds of all outstanding household debt in Canada. While the increasing trend in the Canadian DTI ratio has now paused, it remains near a record high, hovering around 170% in Canada and varies significantly among Canada’s metropolitan areas (see chart 1). Vancouver and Toronto have the highest DTI ratios in the nation, at 242% and 208%, respectively. Thus, the DTI ratio in Vancouver is more than double the level in Saint John (106%).

While the DTI ratio in Canada has not changed much over the last 9 quarters, that is not the case for all centres. Significant year-over-year percentage point changes have occurred in…
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UN Blames Facebook, WhatsApp For Enabling Human Trafficking; Charities Call BS

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The UN has resorted to blaming big tech for failing to crack down on human traffickers who use their platforms to lure migrants "to their deaths" with false promises of safe passage into Europe, according to the Independent

Companies such as Facebook and WhatsApp are “enabling criminal activity” by traffickers who entrap victims who are unaware of the dangers they face, according to the UN’s migration agency.

The warning comes amid a surge in migrants attempting to reach the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats, with almost 100 people intercepted by both British and French authorities while attempting to reach the UK from France since Christmas Day. -Independent

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has declared the migrant crossings a "major incident," cutting short his family holiday to meet with his French counterpart and officials from Britain's Border Force, as well as the National Crime Agency, in order to take "personal control" of the situation, according to immigration minister Caroline Nokes. 

There have been over 17,700 deaths recorded in the Mediterranean Sea in just under five years. And that's apparently been enabled by Facebook and other tech firms which provide the ability to communicate. 

Leonard Doyle, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said migrants were being “lured to Calais” over the internet as smugglers operate via social networks “without any real oversight” from the companies controlling them.  

He said that while tech firms had taken measures to curb other exploitative activities such as child pornography, efforts to prevent people-smuggling has been “microscopic” compared with the damage it causes. -Independent

Charities call BS

Charities operating on the ground in Northern France disagree with the notion that social media firms have enabled human trafficking, and instead blame "the persecution faced by migrants in their home countries." Also enabling criminal human traffickers, according to the Independent are European governments which have failed to inform refugees of their rights to asylum – and how to do so. 

Clare Moseley, founder of charity

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The “Disappeared” List: Here Is Who Went Missing In China This Year

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

China’s practice of “disappearing” political dissidents, corrupt public officials and virtually anybody deemed a threat to Communist Rule has been widely documented in the Western media (but not so well-documented in state-controlled mainland media). But in 2018, the regime of President Xi Jinping widened its dragnet to include a broader mix of high-profile figures, including a movie star, foreign nationals and even the head of the an international law enforcement organization.

Even prominent Marxists weren’t spared the most terrifying of judicial punishments – a clandestine rendition to a Chinese “reeducation camp” (where most of the missing presumably ended up). This year more than any other in recent memory laid bare the lengths to which the Communist Party will go to quash any perceived threats, be they activists and dissidents, or senior level bureaucrats.

With this in mind, we present the Associated Press’s “Disappeared List” for 2018 (text courtesy of the AP):

Foreign Pawns:


China threatened “grave consequences” if Canada did not release hi-tech executive Meng Wanzhou, shortly after the Huawei chief financial officer was detained in Vancouver in December for possible extradition to the US.

The apparent consequences materialised within days, when two Canadian men went missing in China. Both turned up in the hands of state security on suspicion of endangering national security, a nebulous category of crimes that has been levied against foreigners in recent years.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was taken by authorities from a Beijing street late in the evening, a person familiar with his case said. He is allowed one consular visit a month and has not been granted access to a lawyer, as is standard for state security cases.

Also detained is Michael Spavor, who organises tours to North Korea from the border city of Dandong.

Tax-Evading Actress


Fan Bingbing was living every starlet’s dream. Since a breakthrough role at the age of 17, Fan has headlined dozens of movies and TV series, and parlayed her success into modelling, fashion design and other ventures that have made her one of the highest-paid celebrities in the world.

All this made her a potent icon of China’s economic success, until authorities reminded Fan – and her legion of admirers – that even she was not untouchable.

For about four months, Fan vanished from public

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“I See No Way Out”: Countless Americans Still Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

A recent article noted that, despite the supposed economic "boom", professionals like real estate agents, farmers, business executives and even computer programmers are all still living paycheck to paycheck. Responding to a Washington Post inquiry on Twitter, millennials, Generation Xers and baby boomers that work in a range of geographic areas claim that they have simply been unable to save as rent, childcare and student loans have all gotten in the way.

Americans living paycheck to paycheck were highlighted in a recent report from the Federal Reserve that showed four in ten adults say they couldn’t produce $400 in an emergency without going into debt or selling something. And now a partial government shutdown that is seeing nearly 800,000 federal workers not getting paid has fueled the discussion on Twitter about how brief income lapses can be disastrous for some households.

Another Twitter user wrote: “Broke my lease to accept new fed job for which I have to attend 7 months of training in another state. Training canceled with shutdown. Homeless. Can’t afford short(?)-term housing/have to work full-time for no pay/returning Christmas presents.”

Those involved in the conversation on Twitter have been using the hashtag #ShutdownStories in response to Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who asked reporters last week: "Who's living that they're not going to make it to the next paycheck?"

Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor, has the answer: “It’s astronomical what people need just to make it month to month. Given the high cost of transportation, housing, health care. … There is often no wriggle room.”

This holiday season, about 2,000 employees working basic government jobs like housekeeping and security are all not getting paid as a result of the shutdown: “My supervisor told me we won’t be getting paid, so my bills won’t be getting paid,” one State Department cleaner said matter of factly.…
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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.

  • 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... more from Insider

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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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...

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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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