Archive for the ‘Biotech’ Category

Democratic governors are quicker in responding to the coronavirus than Republicans

 

Democratic governors are quicker in responding to the coronavirus than Republicans

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who did not issue a stay-at-home order for his state until April 1, 2020. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Luke Fowler, Boise State University; Jaclyn Kettler, Boise State University, and Stephanie Witt, Boise State University

While the coronavirus pandemic is a national and international concern, state and local officials find themselves on the front lines of the public health battle.

Governors, in particular, have been in the spotlight in recent weeks. New York’s Andrew Cuomo has been praised by news outlets for his leadership at the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, while others have been criticized for slow responses.

A clear partisan gap has emerged in how quickly governors have declared emergencies and issue stay-at-home orders. Democratic governors have issued orders three to four days sooner than Republican governors, on average.

Timing pivotal

We study state governments, including their interactions with the federal government. Our previous work on federalism and state politics has identified partisan conflict between national, state and local government. Federalism is the distribution of power and authority across levels of government, and partisan conflict involves disagreements and competition between political parties. Partisan conflict over policy is nothing new.

But the coronavirus has put some governors in an ideologically compromising position. Republicans, who traditionally advocated for states’ rights, now find themselves deferring to the federal government.

Meanwhile, Democrats are leading the nation on pandemic responses and reaping the political rewards. They are also pushing for more federal coordination efforts, especially in obtaining high-demand medical supplies.

Although the same policies are being used across the country, the timing of decisions is likely to prove pivotal in mitigating how hard COVID-19 hits communities, as experiences in South Korea and Italy suggest. Earlier emergency declarations and stay-at-home orders increase the chances of a better outcome for the health of people in the state.


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The CDC now recommends wearing a mask in some cases – a physician explains why and when to wear one

 

The CDC now recommends wearing a mask in some cases – a physician explains why and when to wear one

The change in CDC guidance comes in response to new research on how the new coronavirus can spread. Peter Denovo/Shutterstock.com

Thomas Perls, Boston University

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its policy and is now advising everyone, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, to cover their face with a mask or cloth covering whenever social distancing is difficult to maintain. To be clear, the CDC is not saying you should wear a mask wherever you go, but rather in places where people congregate, including grocery stores and public transportation and ride-shares.

The shift in recommendations reflects growing evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by a person’s exhalations and normal speech but also the fact that people are not effectively covering their sneezes and coughs.

The stealth virus

COVID-19’s middle name should be “stealth.” People can be shedding virus for one to three days before showing any symptoms – including no coughing, sneezing or fever – in what’s called “presymptomatic transmission.” A Singapore study suggests that 10% of infections are attributable to presymptomatic spread.

A study of the 3,711 passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess cruise ship indicates that close to 1 in 5 COVID-19 carriers never develop symptoms. Some these people transmit the virus through “asymptomatic transmission.” The proportion of infected people that never develop symptoms could be more like one-third for the general population that is younger and healthier than typical cruise takers.

The virus’s ability to spread so easily from one person to the next is why people are being asked to physically distance themselves from one another. But people still have to go out to get essentials at places where people gather.

If a person is not coughing or sneezing, how are they spreading the virus? One way is by contact. The virus lives on the mucous membranes in the throat and nose. With people touching their faces every two-and-a-half minutes, on average it’s easy to see how the virus gets on our…
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What the coronavirus does to your body that makes it so deadly

 

What the coronavirus does to your body that makes it so deadly

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (pink dots) on a dying cell. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Benjamin Neuman, Texas A&M University-Texarkana

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses belong to a group of viruses that infect animals, from peacocks to whales. They’re named for the bulb-tipped spikes that project from the virus’s surface and give the appearance of a corona surrounding it.

A coronavirus infection usually plays out one of two ways: as an infection in the lungs that includes some cases of what people would call the common cold, or as an infection in the gut that causes diarrhea. COVID-19 starts out in the lungs like the common cold coronaviruses, but then causes havoc with the immune system that can lead to long-term lung damage or death.

SARS-CoV-2 is genetically very similar to other human respiratory coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. However, the subtle genetic differences translate to significant differences in how readily a coronavirus infects people and how it makes them sick.

SARS-CoV-2 has all the same genetic equipment as the original SARS-CoV, which caused a global outbreak in 2003, but with around 6,000 mutations sprinkled around in the usual places where coronaviruses change. Think whole milk versus skim milk.

Compared to other human coronaviruses like MERS-CoV, which emerged in the Middle East in 2012, the new virus has customized versions of the same general equipment for invading cells and copying itself. However, SARS-CoV-2 has a totally different set of genes called accessories, which give this new virus a little advantage in specific situations. For example, MERS has a particular protein that shuts down a cell’s ability to sound the alarm about a viral intruder. SARS-CoV-2 has an unrelated gene with an as-yet unknown function in that position in its genome. Think cow milk versus almond milk.

How the virus infects

Every coronavirus infection starts with a virus particle, a spherical shell that protects a single long string of genetic material and inserts it into a human cell. The genetic material instructs the cell to make around 30 different…
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Why wear face masks in public? Here’s what the research shows

 

Why wear face masks in public? Here's what the research shows

People have resorted to using scarves and bandanas as face masks to protect against spreading coronavirus. While cloth masks aren’t as effective as surgical masks, research suggests they can limit the spread of droplets. Jens Schleuter/Getty Images

Hector Chapa, Texas A&M University

With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.

But can these masks be effective?

President Donald Trump, in announcing the change in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on April 3, stressed that the recommendation was voluntary and said he probably wouldn’t follow it. Governors and mayors, however, have started encouraging the precautions to reduce the spread of the virus by people who might not know they are infected.

Some cities have gone as far as setting fines for failing to wear a mask. In Laredo, Texas, anyone over the age of five who walks into a store or takes public transit without their mouth and nose covered by a mask or bandana could now be fined up to $1,000.

These new measures are designed to “flatten the curve,” or slow the spread of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

Flattening the curve is another way of saying slowing the spread. The epidemic is lengthened, but we reduce the number of severe cases, causing less burden on public health systems. The Conversation/CC BY ND

They’re also a shift from the advice Americans have been hearing since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The World Health Organization and the CDC have repeatedly said that most people do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. In February, the U.S. surgeon general even urged the public to stop buying medical masks, warning that it would not help against the spread of the coronavirus. Part of the reason was to reserve N95 respirators and masks for healthcare workers like
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Coronavirus case counts are going to go up – but that doesn’t mean social distancing is a bust

 

Coronavirus case counts are going to go up – but that doesn't mean social distancing is a bust

Empty parking lots show social distancing’s costs. It could take time to see its benefits. Pete Starman/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Abram Wagner, University of Michigan

The last few weeks have brought previously unimaginable changes to the lives of people throughout the United States. Americans everywhere are waking up to a new reality in which they can’t go to work or school outside the home and they have to stay six feet away from others. More than 80% of Americans are under such stay-at-home orders.

People are also seeing charts in the news showing rapidly increasing case counts. This is likely to continue to occur. The United States surpassed Italy and China to have the most confirmed cases of any country.

Americans might begin to wonder if these social distancing measures are working if the case numbers keep climbing. The problem is that the number of reported cases is not the same as the number of people who are infected. It takes time for people to develop symptoms, seek treatment and get tested and for the results to come back. So the effects of social distancing might not be obvious from the numbers for a while. As an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, I can assure you that staying at home is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A key reason for the delay between people severely restricting their movements and a drop in the number of new cases is that COVID-19 can have a long incubation period, the time between getting infected and becoming sick. The average incubation period is around 5 days, but it can be as long as 14 days or more. This means that a person infected before a stay-at-home order might not get diagnosed until days later.

Testing for COVID-19

Testing is another factor in the delay between the start of social distancing and seeing the results. Many Americans don’t even know if they’ve been infected with the new coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2. Though the United…
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A small trial finds that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for treating coronavirus

 

A small trial finds that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for treating coronavirus

A trial of an anti-malaria drug in France found different results from a similar study last month. Liliboas / Getty Images

Courtesy of Katherine Seley-Radtke, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

On Saturday the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of two antimalarial drugs, hydroxychloroquine and a related medication, chloroquine, for emergency use to treat COVID-19. The drugs were touted by President Trump as a “game changer” for COVID-19.

However, a study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body. The study comes on the heels of two others – one in France and one in China – that reported some benefits in the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 patients who didn’t have severe symptoms of the virus.

I am a medicinal chemist who has specialized in discovery and development of antiviral drugs for the past 30 years, and I have been actively working on coronaviruses for the past seven. I am among a number of researchers who are concerned that this drug has been given too much of a high priority before there is enough evidence to show it is indeed effective.

There are already other clinical studies that showed it is not effective against COVID-19 as well as several other viruses. And, more importantly, it can have dangerous side effects, as well as giving people false hope. The latter has led to widespread shortages of hydroxychloroquine for patients who need it to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, the indications for which it was originally approved.

The idea that the combination of hydroxychloroquine with an antibiotic drug, azithromycin, was effective against COVID-19 gained more attention after a study published on March 17. This study described a trial of 80 patients carried out by Philippe Gautret in Marseille, France. Although some of their results appeared to be encouraging, it should also be noted that most of their patients only had mild symptoms. Furthermore, 85% of the patients didn’t even have a fever…
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Google Publishing Location Data To Monitor Social Distancing

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Google has launched a website which uses anonymized location data to show where people are taking social distancing more seriously than others.

Collected from their various products and services, the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports site will show changes in behavior - such as shopping and recreation, from a top-down look at entire countries – to individual states.

The website will track changes over several weeks – for time periods as recent as 48-to-72 hours prior, and will include 131 countries and certain counties within several states.

Google says the data will be collected in aggregate, rather than at an individual level, and it won’t show absolute numbers of people showing up at parks or grocery stores. The idea instead is to outline percentages, which highlight potential surges in attendance. For example, its first reports states that San Francisco County has seen a 72% drop in retail and recreation, a 55% decline in parks’ population, and a 21% increase in residential population between Feb. 16 and March 29. -CNBC

[below data since updated]

According to the report, public health departments may find this data useful in detecting the next potential coronavirus hotspot when used in conjunction with data collected at the local, state and federal level such as symptoms patients are reporting in emergency rooms. It may also help officials to target residents of certain areas with messaging about social distancing.

"This information could help officials understand changes in essential trips that can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings," reads Google's announcement.

That said, the project is bound to raise privacy concerns. While the new site says that it uses anonyized information from people's "location history" setting in Google Maps and other services – which the company says is "turned off by default," their location tracking has been the subject of controversy in the past.

April 2019, CNBC’s Todd Haselton found that Google had been tracking his location for years without him realizing it, and explained how to turn tracking off. In October 2019, Australian officials accused Google of misleading consumers in 2018 and earlier about the settings necessary to turn off location tracking. -CNBC

Meanwhile, Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been trying to work with government officials during the pandemic. Their life-sciences subsidiary, Verily, has already partnered with the Trump administration for a screening and testing website.

 





Antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 survivors know how to beat coronavirus – and researchers are already testing new treatments that harness them

 

Antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 survivors know how to beat coronavirus – and researchers are already testing new treatments that harness them

A person who has recovered from COVID-19 donates plasma in Shandong, China. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Ann Sheehy, College of the Holy Cross

Amid the chaos of an epidemic, those who survive a disease like COVID-19 carry within their bodies the secrets of an effective immune response. Virologists like me look to survivors for molecular clues that can provide a blueprint for the design of future treatments or even a vaccine.

Researchers are launching trials now that involve the transfusion of blood components from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to those who are sick or at high risk. Called “convalescent-plasma therapy,” this technique can work even without doctors knowing exactly what component of the blood may be beneficial.

For the pioneering work of the first treatment using therapeutic serum in 1891 (against diphtheria), Emil von Behring later earned the Nobel Prize in medicine. Anecdotal reporting of the therapy dates back as far as the devastating 1918-19 influenza pandemic, although scientists lack definitive evidence of its benefits during that global health crisis.

The extraordinary power of this passive immunization has traditionally been challenging to harness, primarily due to the difficulty of obtaining significant amounts of plasma from survivors. Due to scarce quantities, infusions of plasma pooled from volunteers were reserved for those most vulnerable to infection.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and the passive immunization picture changes considerably, thanks to steady advances in molecular medicine and new technologies that allow scientists to quickly characterize and scale up the production of the protective molecules.

Immune system’s defense workers

The immune systems of COVID-19 survivors figured out how to combat and defeat the invading SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Neutralizing antibodies are one kind of immunological front-line response. These antibodies are proteins that are secreted by immune cells called B lymphocytes when they encounter an invader, such as a virus.

Antibodies recognize and bind proteins on the surface of virus particles. For each infection, the immune system designs antibodies that are highly specific…
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Governors take charge of response to the coronavirus

 

Governors take charge of response to the coronavirus

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all bars, restaurants, entertainment and recreation facilities to temporarily close to fight the spread of COVID-19. Getty/Erika Schultz-Pool

Raymond Scheppach, University of Virginia

Just after every gubernatorial election, but before inaugurations, the National Governors Association organizes a two-day “New Governors School.” Current governors serve as the faculty for newly elected governors, offering a crash course in taking on states’ highest office from those with first-hand experience.

It is not by chance that the first of about eight sessions focuses on “What do you do in a crisis?”

One of the very first recommendations to all new governors during this session is to make their first appointment the state’s emergency preparedness agency director – not the chief of staff or even the governor’s liaison to the legislature. Those can wait.

The nation’s governors know a crisis can happen the day after the inauguration and they need to be prepared. Today, the coronavirus pandemic is rocking the world as we know it — quickly, radically and dramatically. Because the virus’ impact and timeline vary by geography and population, this unprecedented period demands state and local government leadership – and the very kind of preparation given governors in their pre-inaugural training.

Governors are taking aggressive action in their states to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Each governor is tailoring the response to the unique needs of their state.

So far they’re doing well, according to public opinion polls. When asked who was handling the coronavirus crisis best – local, state or federal governments, or Congress – respondents to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released on April 1 gave the highest approval rating to states.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has become a prominent face of the response to the coronavirus. Getty/Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket

Broad powers

I was the executive director of the National Governors Association from 1983 to 2011. In working with more than…
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Coronavirus cases are growing exponentially – here’s what that means

 

Coronavirus cases are growing exponentially – here's what that means

U.S. Army soldiers work to set up a field hospital inside CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Courtesy of Andrew D. Hwang, College of the Holy Cross

In the U.S., scientists stress that the number of coronavirus cases has been growing exponentially. In ordinary speech, the term “exponential” usually means “really fast.”

To mathematicians like myself, and to scientists and public health officials, the term has a precise and subtly different meaning: A quantity is “exponential” if its rate of change at each point is proportional to the current size.

Let’s explore why the difference matters, and how exponential processes can mislead our perception of risk.

When an exponential quantity is small, its change is slight; when the quantity is large, the change is rapid. Thanks to exponential growth, epidemics start slowly, then balloon with surprising speed.

This pattern presents a distinctive challenge. People intuitively underestimate exponential growth. By the time individuals sense their peril and act, the damage has been multiplied many-fold.

In an epidemic, numerical data and mathematical models are like night-vision goggles, illuminating what cannot be directly perceived.

Origins of exponential growth

To a good approximation, viruses spread exponentially in unexposed populations. Each infected individual meets others at random. At each meeting, there is some chance of the virus being transmitted.

The number of new cases in a one-day period – the rate of increase of infection, in individuals per day – is proportional to the number currently infected.

Exponential quantities have a characteristic interval over which the quantity doubles. For illustration, consider an epidemic that doubles daily. If one person is infected today, two are infected tomorrow, four the day after tomorrow, eight the day after that, then 16, 32, 64. After one week, 128. Three days after that, 1,024 are infected.

Let’s flag two items about this example.

First, the number of new cases…
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Phil's Favorites

Corporate debt is in serious trouble - here's what it means if the market collapses

 

Corporate debt is in serious trouble – here's what it means if the market collapses

Stand well back. Oatawa

Jefferson Frank, Royal Holloway

Markets abhor uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic is a severe supply shock that will substantially reduce the world’s economic output, and there will potentially be several waves as the contagion returns in the autumn or spring 2021.

Many governments are trying to form a b...



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Zero Hedge

"They've Left Me High And Dry": Here Is The Real Reason Companies Have Drawn Down A Record $293 Billion In Revolvers

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

One week ago, we reported that starting exactly one month ago on March 5, an unprecedented wave of corporate revolver draws was unleashed, resulting in what JPMorgan calculated was a record $208BN in revolving credit facilities being fully drawn (for the full list of companies see ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Democratic governors are quicker in responding to the coronavirus than Republicans

 

Democratic governors are quicker in responding to the coronavirus than Republicans

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who did not issue a stay-at-home order for his state until April 1, 2020. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Luke Fowler, Boise State University; Jaclyn Kettler, Boise State University, and ...



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ValueWalk

AZO and ORLY: Which one is a better buy?

By Marek Mscichowski. Originally published at ValueWalk.

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) and O’Reilly Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:ORLY): Both auto parts retailers are uncorrelated to S&P 500, but which one is a better buy?

By Price Earnings Ratio Tracker Team

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Over recent months I have created valuation models for the two main competitors in the auto parts retail business – AutoZone, the leader on the coasts with a $26 billion market ca...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P Repeating 2000 & 2007 Patterns Almost Exactly?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Does History Repeat? Is does rhyme sometimes!!!

This chart looks at the S&P 500 on a weekly basis over the past 20-years.

The S&P declined by 50% during the 2000-2003 bear market. On the week of 3/23/2001, it experienced its first counter-trend rally, which lasted 8-weeks, before the bear market resumed.

The S&P declined by 50% during the 2007-2009 bear market. On the week of 3/21/2001, it experienced its first counter-trend rally, which lasted 8-weeks, before the bear ...



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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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The Technical Traders

Founder of TradersWorld Magazine Issued Special Report for Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Larry Jacobs owner and editor of TradersWorld magazine published a free special report with his top article and market forecast to his readers yesterday.

What is really exciting is that this forecast for all assets has played out exactly as expected from the stock market crash within his time window to the gold rally, and sharp sell-off. These forecasts have just gotten started the recent moves were only the first part of his price forecasts.

There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!

...

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Chart School

Big moving Averages and macro investment decisions

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

When price is falling every one wonders where demand will come in.


RTT black screen Tv videos study the simplest measure of price (simple moving average). What has happen before guides us now. 














Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation

 

10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...



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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

 

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...



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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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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.