Phil's Newsletter

Just Another Manic Monday

Up we go again!

In the end, the S&P 500 only made a weak retracement of the rally, back to the 3,800 line on the button, per our 5% Rule as we noted on Friday morning.  Since then we bounced back but it's a fall from 3,900 so those bounces then should be 20 points so 3,820 (weak) and 3,840 (strong) and we don't pay much attention to the Futures but a fail to hold a strong bounce today means we are still more likely to be consolidating for a move down to 3,700 this week.  

Bonds finally stopped falling (which indicates rates are rising) but they too are likely just bouncing after falling 5% from 140 to 133 so we're not very impressed with that move either until we see a strong bounce – which would be 2 points back to 135 – where you can see we paused on the way down.

Pausing here is certainly nothing to get excited about as the US just held a TERRIBLE 7-year note auction that got very little interest (the lowest demand in history) and the 10-year note yield is still about 1.5% – back to where it was pre-Covid and miles above the Feds 0.25% target rate – a gap that shows how far away from reality the Fed really is at the moment.  

Almost everything that mattered was red on Thursday. Treasuries sank, driving the yield on 10-year notes up as many as 23 basis points to 1.61%. Stock losses were most pronounced in Nasdaq-100 and small-cap shares that, with help from frenzied speculators and economic optimists alike, had led equities higher. Corporate bonds continued to rack up the biggest losses since the pandemic began as companies scramble to sell debt before yields go up even more. The dollar surged in a classic haven trade.

A return to pre-pandemic yield levels didn't calm anyone

So, what's gotten better over the weekend?  Nothing really.  “I was surprised to see the almost complacency from Fed officials, with naive comments about U.S. bond yields reflecting a stronger outlook,” said Thomas Costerg of Pictet Wealth Management in Geneva.  What sounds like reassurance to US investors sounds like idiocy to Global Traders – that's why no one is buying our bonds anymore –
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TGIF – The Weak Ends Just in Time

Now oil is down 2.5%.

Of course $62 is going to be bouncy, that's our shorting line and, according to the fabulous 5% Rule™, a 5% drop gives us 1% bounces (20% of the drop) and we're down $1.60 from $63.60 so 0.32 bounces to $62.32 (weak) and $62.64 (strong).  If we fail to hold the weak bounce and head back to $62, there's a good chance it will fail.  Failing at $63.64 is a bit trickier as we could be consolidating for a move up or down – it requires patience.  

If we fail $63.64 and then fall back below the weak bounce line and consolidate between the strong and weak bounce lines – THEN we can anticipate a break lower.  How much lower?   At least half of the previous drop so another 1.25% to $61.66.  Now that we KNOW how much the potential reward is, we can calculate the potential risk and decide whether it's worth the trade.  Clearly, at $62.25, I can make a bet that $62.32 will fail and set a stop at $62.35, risking a loss of $100 per contract if we stop out at $62.35.  The next test would be at $62.60, with a stop at $62.70 – so another $100 risked but the reward of a drop back to $61.66 would be $1,000 gain per contract.  

We've been playing the Oil Futures (/CL) with conviction and, although we have a nice $10,000 gain this morning – it only makes us even as we've had to double down our two shorts twice.  Now we're at goal as all we ever wanted to do was get back to even and get back to 2 shorts – but now at a much higher basis ($62.24) for a long-term play.

Conviction shorts are very different and require a lot more risk tolerance – they are certainly not for everyone.  Our conviction is that next week's OPEC meeting will not do enough to keep prices over $60, so we're positioning for that.  

So we're back to just 2 short at $62.245 and we'll add 2 more at $62.60 with that same stop at $62.70 on the 2 new ones.  If we go higher than that, we wait to DD again at about
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32,000 Thursday – Dow Touches Another Record

Dow 36, 000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the  Stock Market: Glassman, James, Hassett, Kevin, Glassman, James K., Hassett,  Kevin A.: 9780812931457: Amazon.com: BooksDow 32,000!

I guess it's time to read that book by Glassman and Hassett from 1999 – as that was their prediction at the time for where we'd be in 5 years.  Sure it's 22 years later but, hey, better late than never, right?  At the time, with the Dow at 12,000, they said:

The single most important fact about stocks at the dawn of the twenty-first century: They are cheap….If you are worried about missing the market's big move upward, you will discover that it is not too late. Stocks are now in the midst of a one-time-only rise to much higher ground–to the neighborhood of 36,000 on the Dow Jones industrial average.

The Dow was pushed down by the bursting of the dot-com bubble as the NASDAQ peaked in 2000 and bottomed out in 2002, and by the September 11 attacks in 2001. The Dow fell below 8,000 in 2002, remained below 12,000 until 2006, and below 30,000 until later 2020 and now, here we are at 32,000 (for a moment), this morning.

At the time, the book was largely discredited as misstating the risk characteristics of equity securities as equivalent to U.S. Treasury fixed income securities, it is commonly believed discredited for predicting a grossly inflated stock market.

The point is, everyone sounds like a genius when telling you to follow a trend – for as long as the trend holds out.  When the trend reverses, however, it's more like "who could have seen that coming?"  Well, rational people for one thing.  Water boils at 212 degrees and you can put water on the stimulus of a 500 degree burner and it will heat up very quickly and the trend from 180 to 200 may suggest the water will be at 280 degrees in 10 minutes but it never will be, will it?  That's because, at a certain point, Physics takes over and limitations are reached.  

No matter how much stimulus you apply, you will never get the water over 212 degrees because it simply can't be water at 213 degrees.  The economy and the market may
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What’s Next Wednesday – Powell Keeps it Easy but States are Raising Taxes

How does Money Printer Go Brrr: Part 1 — Bonds or Bondage? | by  Thoughtmosphere | MediumMORE FREE MONEY!!!

That was the message from Fed Chair Jerome Powell yesterday as he told the Senate the the Fed would hold interest rates near zero pretty much no matter what and the Fed would keep buying as many TBills as they want to print to allow Infinite Stimulus to keep going well into 2022.  “The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals,” Mr. Powell said, just days after the PPI Report showed the highest inflation in 20 years.  Powell will deliver the same message to the House this morning.

Consumer confidence in the U.S. rose in February for the second consecutive month as Americans grew more upbeat about current business and labor market conditions, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. Still, nearly a year after the crisis erupted in the U.S., the nation has about 10 million fewer payroll jobs than in February 2020.  Of course, 1M of those jobs were cleaning offices – they're not coming back…

The Fed’s semiannual report delivered Tuesday said that business leverage “now stands near historical highs” and that insolvency risks at small and midsize firms remain considerable.  Noting that asset bubbles triggered recessions in 2001 and 2007-09, Powell was asked if he sees a link between elevated asset prices and the Fed’s easy-money policies.

“There’s certainly a link,” Mr. Powell said. “I would say, though, that if you look at what markets are looking at, it’s a reopening economy with vaccination, it’s fiscal stimulus, it’s highly accommodative monetary policy, it’s savings accumulated on people’s balance sheets, it’s expectations of much higher corporate profits…. So there are many factors that are contributing.”

While the markets recovered on Powell's testimony, they didn't go any higher because, as I said yesterday – what more can this guy say?  He's telling you that the Government can spend as much as they want for as long as they want and the Fed will back them up by buying every note they issue and the Fed will continue to lend money at 0% – even though no one in the private sector will do anything close.  That's nothing more than perpetuating an artificial environment.…
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Toppy Tuesday – What More Can Powell Say or Do at this Point?

The FED Squeeze – Grrr GraphicsHere we are again.

Indexes are still hovering around their all-time highs and Fed Chairman Powell is speaking to Congress.  What is he going to say?  What can he possibly say to make you believe that the stocks you are massively over-paying for now are going to be even more massively over-paid for by the next sucker down the road?  How much money will they have to pour into the system to maintain this farce?  Will there ever be consequences or were we just being silly for the past 245 years having a budget?

Money can just be printed when you need it.  No matter what you want to spend, you just print more and buy whatever you need, right?  That's our current fiscal policy and, as we noted yesterday, the Fed is responsible for most of it and yes, we need the stimulus and we need the liquidity BUT THERE IS A COST – and we haven't even been considering it.  

Since the financial crisis, the Fed has kept the cost of borrowing money for banks at near-zero percent interest. That allowed those banks to borrow money to buy their own stock (as did many corporations) to inflate their value but not, of course, the value of their service to Main Street.  When money is cheap because interest rates are low or near zero, the beneficiaries are those with the most direct access to it. That means, of course, that the biggest banks, members of the Fed since its inception, get the largest chunks of fabricated money and pay the least amount of interest for it.

Let’s recall that on September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers crashed. That bank had been around for more than 150 years. Its collapse was a key catalyst in a spiral of disaster that nearly decimated the World financial system. It wasn’t the bankruptcy that did it, however, but the massive amount of money the surviving banks had already lent Lehman to buy the toxic assets they had created.  In the wake of Lehman’s bankruptcy, $16 trillion in bailouts and other subsidies from the Federal Reserve and Congress were offered mostly to Wall Street’s biggest banks. That flow of money allowed them to return from the edge of financial disaster. 


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Monday Market Movement – The Weak Ahead

$4,000,000,000,000..

That's how much the M2 Money Supply has grown (26%) in the past 12 months (vs around 5% in a typical year) and it's going to grow another $4Tn this year as the Fed continues their easing policy.  This is the biggest growth since 1943, when war-time Money Printing was all the rage.  The looming danger for the economy isn’t only that the monetary printing presses have been in overdrive since the pandemic began, but also that they are already set for the same in 2021. A monetary surge for this year is locked in.

This is like giving kids an extra piece of candy the day after Halloween – it doesn't change anything, you're not going to get much of a reaction and the effort is probably wasted….  

It’s worth tallying the list of policy measures that got us where we are. The first and largest source of M2 growth in 2020 was the Fed’s purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. When the Fed buys such securities from nonbanks, which is its normal practice, it gives the seller a check or payment, credited to the seller’s bank deposit account. This increases M2. Since March 2020, the Fed’s holdings of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities have increased by almost $3 trillion. M2 has increased by roughly the same amount.

The second largest source of M2 growth has been commercial bank purchases of short-term Treasurys and other debt securities, including mortgage-backed ones. These transactions create deposits in the same way as new loans do, with the deposit account of the seller or borrower being credited. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the increase in banks’ holdings of these assets has added almost $1 trillion to deposits and, therefore, to M2.

Image result for dr seuss inflation cartoonThe U.S. money explosion isn’t over. Bank reserves, currently $3.2 trillion, will increase by about $1.4 trillion this year simply from Fed purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities at a promised $120 billion a month. In addition, the Treasury indicated in its February Refunding Statement that it will run down its Treasury General Account at the Fed by about $820 billion this year. This money will be spent through federal fiscal programs. These expenditures…
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PhilStockWorld February Portfolio Review – Part 2

Image for postDoes trading have to be exciting?  

While the market remains at all-time highs, I remain skeptical and a lot of that is because I allowed myself to become complacent in 2007, after having missed the rally of 1999 because that, too, was ridiculous.  In retrospect I was right – but not until March of 2000 and I could have had some fun betting on anything with a pulse in 1999 so, when 2007 came along – I finally went with the flow and, while we had pretty good timing in 2008 getting out on top – a lot of people didn't.  So I guess, this time around, I just want to make sure nobody gets burned when this thing collapses.  

We are all shaped by our past and we all run our own gauntlets to become the people we are today.  I know I trade like an old man because I learned from my Grandfather, Max Davis, who was born in 1903 and, in 1973, 10 year-old me laid on the floor on Sundays with the stock section of the paper laid out on the floor (you only got stock reports on Sundays back then), circling companies that made new highs or new lows so we could later investigate why it was happening and then Grandpa would do his Fundamental Analysis of the companies (often including actually visiting the company) to decide if there were any hidden values there.  

Having lived (in England) through World War 1, the Pandemic that followed, the Great Depression and World War II, Grandpa Max had seen a lot of shit – and he was very good at conveying his experiences to me from both a Social and Economic perspective.  Though he never went to college, Grandpa Max was a voracious reader and a very sharp businessman.  Learning from him always gave me a long-term and patient perspective on stocks and, since we only got stock news on Sundays anyway – you learn to be patient by default.  

So of course, growing up, I gravitated to books by Jeremy Grantham (also British) and Warren Buffett and that's my "style" – value investing but my twist on it (as I'm 30 years younger) is to use options for hedging and leverage – rather than just trying to…
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PhilStockWorld February Portfolio Review

Image result for one million dollars animated gif$1,766,591!  

Our paired Long & Short-Term Portfolios have gained $157,564 since our January Review and that is, of course, ridiculous and reflective of this ridiculous bubble rally.  The LTP went up and the loss of the STP went down – even as we increased our hedging.  That's because we sell a lot of premium and the premium decays regardless of the market direction.  Time is our friend using this strategy.  

Also, we have SUBSTANTIAL amounts of CASH!!! across all of our portfolios as we think this entire market is BS and will collapse at some point.  At least 2 or 3 days each week I wake up wanting to just cash out and go on vacation – only I can't go on vacation and I'd be bored so we stay invested – but that's a really stupid reason to risk your assets if this is money that is critical to your future.  

The S&P 500 is up almost 100% from it's March lows and yes, that was a 35% drop from the February highs but now we're 20% above those (3,393) and it's simply too far, too fast so we're being very careful with our positions and very aggressive with our hedges.  In our last STP Review, we determined we had a good $300,000 worth of protection and we only have $551,828 worth of position in our LTP – that is well-covered!  

We added new longs however in the LTP on BABA, GOLD, OIH, TOT, VLO, WPM and WU in the past 30 days as we've been enjoying earnings season and the bargains it brings.  We still have $1,057,650 of CASH!!! sitting on the sidelines and we've sold very few naked puts so we also have tons of margin to play with.  On the whole, we'd love a good crash – so we can go bargain-hunting.  I will repeat what I said back on December 16th as the strategy still holds and, after making 10% for the month, perhaps more people will pay attention:

We have 33% less


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Retail Wednesday – Is America Shopping?

Retail Sales.

They make up 60% of our GDP and December's Retail Sales were down 0.7% in December from the previous month, rather than up 3-4% as expected for the holidays.   Anything positive this month would be an improvement but the trend has not been our friend recently.  Excluding Autos, the trends are far worse as people still bought new cars last year, something the auto industry wisely locks in as 26% of all cars (50M) in the US are leased – so you HAVE to get a new car every 3 years or so.

14.6M cars were sold in 2020 and that's pretty much the amount of lease turnover for a year.  Auto Sales overall were down 15.5% from 2019 and even leasing was down at 26% from 30%, so that dropped about 15% too.  The key takeaway from the last Retail Sales Report is that it was clear that Consumer Spending decelerated at the end of the fourth quarter, partly because of expiring benefits, weakening confidence in the short-term outlook, and restrictions on certain activities due to worsening coronavirus trends.

  • Motor vehicle sales increased 1.9% m/m after declining 1.5% in November
  • Gasoline station sales were up 6.6% after declining 1.6% in November
  • Electronics and appliance store sales dropped 4.9% m/m following an 8.3% decline in November
  • Nonstore retailer sales fell 5.8% after declining 1.6% in November
  • Food services and drinking places sales declined 4.5% after declining 3.6% in November

We'll see what we get in the 8:30 Report but, to give you and idea of how insane the market is these days, this is what the Retail Sales ETF (XRT) looks like DESPITE these FACTS:

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Tricky Tuesday – Futures Jacked Up During US Holiday to Fool Who?

This is total BS!

The S&P 500 is up 40 points (1%) since Friday's close and the Dow is up 300 points, etc. on NO news and NO trading – just some last minute window-dressing into the bell and after hours – when no one is actually trading.  This is what fund managers like Jim Cramer do when they need to sell their holdings – they create a false sense of excitement to lure the suckers into buying shares while the fund managers are dumping their overpriced holdings.  

And, by the way:  Since I pointed out how blatantly Jim Cramer used to manipulate the market in his confessional video back on January 29th, team Cramer has been busy redacting that video from the Internet.  Very 1984!  If you can't find the video – it never happened, right?  A text description survives on Seekeng Alpha (for now) but who knows how long it will last.  

Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past… The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. – Orwell 

Image result for control of the mediaI find this disturbing and you should find it disturbing but, unfortunately, to our kids – reality is only what Google says it is.  How many generations before, like 1984, there are no written records and the only past we can refer to can be erased at the whim of a censor – or simply because a "leader" like Donald Trump doesn't like what it says?  We're having that discussion now in Congress and we're losing the battle – but you wouldn't know you're losing the battle because the 6 Billionaires that control the media aren't interested in telling you that, are…
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Phil's Favorites

Only took 12 years, but Wall Street has finally gotten bullish enough

 

Only took 12 years, but Wall Street has finally gotten bullish enough

Courtesy of 

One of the most interesting things that happens after a big, nasty, protracted bear market is that no one wants to be accused of being bullish or upbeat about anything. In the aftermath of a crash, the bulls always look and sound dopey or complacent.

Wall Street strategists are only human. And as markets trade higher, they gradually get more and more comfortable sounding positive on stocks. The trauma of having been bullish and wrong ahead of the last crisis fades away and the recenc...



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Zero Hedge

Controversial Bonus Change At Bank Of America Pulls Forward $400 Million In Costs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A controversial change in how bonuses were to be issued for 2020 has wound up pulling forward $400 million in expenses, which will be booked in Q1. The costs otherwise would have been spread out over the next four years, according to Bloomberg...



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ValueWalk

Ormat: Dirty Dealings in 'Clean' Energy

By Hindenburg Research. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Hindenburg Research‘s short report on Ormat Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:ORA).

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Ormat Technologies, Inc. (ORA)
  • Today we reveal how ESG-darling Ormat, a developer and operator of geothermal power plants, has engaged in what we believe to be widespread and systematic acts of international corruption.
  • We expect the blowback to these revelations to be severe, threatening Ormat’s ...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Miners Decline Nearly 30%, Currently Testing 15-Year Support Level!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The past 8-months have been great for the broad markets, the same cannot be said for Gold Miners. Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has lost nearly a third of its value since peaking last August.

This decline has taken place inside a bullish rising channel, that started at the lows in 2015.

The 27% decline in the past 30-weeks has GDX testing a support/resistance line at the $30 level, that has been in play for the past 15-years.

It is critical for GDX to hold this support at (1).

If this support level does not hold, odds increase that GDX could end up testi...



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Mapping The Market

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

 

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

Courtesy of Niall McCarthy, Statista

On Wednesday, U.S. regulators announced that Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine being developed by its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium is effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of the disease. The jab has been deemed safe with 66 percent efficacy and the FDA is likely to approve it for use in the U.S. within days.

The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine can be stored for up to three months in a refrigerator and requires a single shot, ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

 

Which Governments Ordered Johnson & Johnson's Vaccine?

Courtesy of Niall McCarthy, Statista

On Wednesday, U.S. regulators announced that Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine being developed by its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Belgium is effective at preventing moderate to severe cases of the disease. The jab has been deemed safe with 66 percent efficacy and the FDA is likely to approve it for use in the U.S. within days.

The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine can be stored for up to three months in a refrigerator and requires a single shot, ...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto - It Is Different This Time

 

Crypto – It Is Different This Time

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

?I have been astonished as you know by the growth of crypto.

I remember back in 2017 when I noticed that Stocktwits message volume on Bitcoin ($BTC.X) surpassed that of $SPY. I knew Bitcoin was here to stay and Bitcoin went on to $19,000 before heading into its bear market.

Today Bitcoin is near $50,000.

Back in November of 2020, something new started to happen on Stocktwits with respect to crypto.

After the close on Friday until the open of the futures on Sunday, all Stocktwits trending tickers turned crypto. The weekend messages on Stocktwits have increased 400 percent.

That has continued each weekend...



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Politics

What is fascism?

 

What is fascism?

A Donald Trump supporter wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of John Broich, Case Western Reserve University

Since before Donald Trump took office, historians have debated whether he is a fascist.

As a teacher of World War II history...



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Chart School

The Fastest Money

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The fast money happens near the end of the long trend.

Securities which attract a popular following by both the public and professionals investors tend to repeat the same sentiment over their bull phase. The chart below is the map of said sentiment.
 


 

Video on the subject.


 

Charts in the video



 



 



Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to ...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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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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