Archive for the ‘Permissions’ Category

Attention US Millennials: Japan Is Now Giving Away Free Houses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

There are over 8 million abandoned homes in Japanese suburbs, according to The Japan Times. 

If you are a struggling American millennial: you could theoretically move to Japan because the sushi’s fresh, cost of living is low, and the government is giving away free homes. 

What is driving the government to give away these homes? Well, there is a massive housing glut. 

In part, it has to do with Japan’s aging population – responsible for the high number of abandoned houses across the country. Japan has a major demographic problem, which means there are too few first time home buyers. 

According to the World Bank Group, the country’s population declined by -0.2% in 2017 alone, while China and the US barely grew .60% and .70% respectively. Back in 2010, Japan had 1.3 million more people than today. 

The Japan Times said an increasing number of abandoned properties are being listed on online databases known as “akiya banks”—“akiya” translating to “vacant house” — with tens of thousands of homes being offered at a massive discount. Prices on one particular database range from 30 million yen ($266,800), while many other properties are listed under “gratis transfer” for the sum of literally zero yen.

This is all part of a government scheme to counter the country’s unprecedented housing crisis. 

A 2013 government report revealed that more than eight million abandoned homes were spread across Japan, with many of them located in rural regions. Nearly 25% have been deserted indefinitely, neither for sale nor rent.

In Tokyo, where 70% of the people live in apartments, about 10% of homes are dormant, a ratio higher than in cities like New York, London, and Paris.

And that figure is expected to surge in 2020, as deaths outpace births in a mature society where more than 25% of the population is 65 or order. 

Nomura Research Institute forecasts the number of abandoned homes could grow to 21.7 million by 2033, or about 33% of all homes in Japan. 

Meanwhile, the population peaked a decade ago, forecasted to plunge 30% by 2065, creating an even more profound crisis in the decades to come.

“There is no single answer to the problem,” said Wataru Sakakibara, a senior consultant at NRI who led the think tank’s study.

He said the government had led several measures to tackle the phenomena, including subsidies for owners willing to dismantle decaying homes.

 ”But tearing down homes is costly, and a decades-old tax break that promotes construction by setting property tax on vacant lots at six times the level of


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Obamacare Gutted; Core Provisions Ruled Unconstitutional By Texas Judge

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Core provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge on Friday following a lawsuit brought by a group of Republican attorneys general from 20 states against Democratic attorneys general from 14 states led by California's Xavier Becerra.

According to court documents (below) US District Judge Reed O'Connor of Fort Worth agreed with the GOP coalition that he had to gut key provisions of the Affordable Care Act after Congress last year eliminated the tax penalty for not buying insurance – a decision which will undoubtedly be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. 

The Democratic attorneys general argued that overturning Obamacare would toss millions of people from health insurance rolls by reversing Medicaid expansion — which would end tax credits and allow insurers to start denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. 

DOJ attorneys urged Judge O'Connor to strike down the individual mandate and pre-existing condition mandate, however they asked the judge to spare the rest of the law – including Medicaid expansion, health exchanges, the employer mandate, federal healthcare reimbursement rates for hospitals and premium subsidies. 

On September 13, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh tried to save Obamacare, seeking a judgment that the Affordable Care Act is indeed constitutional, in the form of a court order barring the United States from taking any action inconsistent with that conclusion. Frosh sued then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions along with the DOJ and department of Health and Human Services. 





Incarceration Crisis: 50% Of Americans Have Had A Family Member Jailed 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The impact of the incarceration crisis on America’s families and communities has been staggering, according to a new survey by criminal justice non-profit FWD.us and Cornell University.

The survey found that today’s incarceration rate stands at 710 inmates per 100,000 people compared to 147 in the United Kingdom, 118 in Canada and 98 in France.

FWD.us and Cornell University point out that more than 1.5 million people are currently behind bars in state or federal prisons in the US. Admissions to jails have been higher than 10 million per year for at least two decades. These figures explain how over 50% of adults (about 113 million people) has had an immediate family member incarcerated for at least one night in jail.

One in seven adults has had an immediate family member locked up for more than one year, and one in 34 adults has had a family member spend at least ten years in prison. The survey said an estimated 6.5 million people have an immediate family member currently incarcerated in jail or prison (1 in 38).

The adverse effects that individuals experience after being incarcerated have been well documented, but more research still needs to be done on the direct and indirect harms and challenges that families and communities suffer. 

The study shows that incarceration impacts all types of Americans, “rates of family incarceration are similar for Republicans and Democrats — but the impact is unevenly borne by communities of color and families who are low-income. Black people are 50% more likely than white people to have had a family member incarcerated, and three times more likely to have had a family member incarcerated for one year or longer. People earning less than $25,000 per year are 61% more likely than people earning more than $100,000 to have had a family member incarcerated, and three times more likely to have had a family member incarcerated for one year or longer,” the survey said.

The following infographics visualize the figures from the survey and highlight the shocking realities behind the crisis: 

Incarceration does not just impact the person who is sent to jail, it reverberates into families and destroys communities. So, the biggest threat to Americans is the American police state.





“If This Continues, We’re Going To Start Hearing Some Fund Liquidity Issues”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Up until the end of September, credit investors in particular and Wall Street in general had nothing but good things to say about the leveraged loan market and demand for new issuance seemed relentless, despite growing warnings from various third parties and websites such as this one. And then, loan pricing nose-dived along with prices on most other credit products starting around the first week of October, right after Powell’s “neutral rate” speech…

… and suddenly complacency turned to sheer panic without passing go. But the catalyst for this wholesale dread was not so much the slump in prices as much as fund flows – i.e., observing in real time what one’s peers are doing – and as we showed yesterday, they are selling, with Lipper reporting that loan funds saw a record outflow of $2.53 billion in the week ended December 12, a fitting culmination to the fourth consecutive week of selling.

And then, as if on cue, the soundbites from the very same “concerned” investors who until two months ago were rushing to rushing to 4x oversubscribe any new loan deal, preferably with zero covenant protection, mutated into a cannonade of fear.

“Having outflows that are 2 to 3 percent of the market is scary. What happens if we get 10 or 15 percent?” Distenfeld, co-head of fixed income at AllianceBernstein, said on Bloomberg TV Friday. He has long been skeptical of the market. “I’m worried if this continues, we’re going to start hearing some liquidity fund issues from open-ended mutual funds.

in addition to fears about declining rates – the primary attaction for floating-rate debt – some are worried that the bottom is about to drop out of the CLO market. As a reminder, the total outstanding volume of leveraged loans is about $1,130bn (~5.5% of GDP); of this universe, CLOs – which are repackaged corporate debt that has made up “most of the appetite” for loans – hold approximately half, or $600bn (~3% of GDP) of the total loans outstanding.

And like the broader space, while CLOs had been on a feeding frenzy for much of this year, in the wake of recent widespread market volatility and sliding prices, demand has waned, even causing some investors to pull offerings as we reported last night.

“When that changes and you’re…
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100 Lucky Stockton Residents To Receive $6,000 In ‘Universal Basic Income’

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

For more than a year now, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and a non-profit organization called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration have been planning a radical economic experiment: Making Stockton the first city in the country to distribute a “Universal Basic Income” to its largely impoverished residents (the median income in the city is below $46,000).

And while the city of 300,000 – which recently emerged from bankruptcy after becoming a cautionary tale of the fallout from the financial crisis when it first filed in 2012 – won’t be sending checks to as many people as they would have liked, those lucky enough to receive the letters announcing their eligibility for the program will receive them this week.

Tubbs

Michael Tubbs

Stockton residents are struggling with stagnant wages, rising home prices due to the city’s proximity to Silicon Valley and a loss of middle class jobs – all against a backdrop of the looming threat of automation. The city first filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

The program, which is being financed by a non-profit called the SEED, will ultimately dole out $500 a month to the 100 lucky finalists for a year. Another 200 will be selected for a “control” group (they will receive a $20 gift card to compensate them for the time spent filling out surveys). At the end of the year, SEED will publish its findings to demonstrate the impact of UBI on recipients’ health and stress levels.

The pervasive poverty in the city helped inspire mayor Tubbs to announce last year that the city would soon begin an interesting social experiment. And on Friday, he took a few moments to crow about the project to a local TV station.

“Around this country, especially in communities like Stockton, people are working incredibly hard and falling further and further behind. We have people in our community that work two or three jobs, we have people that are working and still can’t pay rent,” said Mayor Michael Tubbs.

[...]

“People who are working incredibly hard are smart and they don’t have money because they are not good with money, they don’t have money because jobs aren’t paying enough for folks to live and survive. We believe something as small as $500 a month can make a world of difference,” he said.


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Chinese Millennials Secure Loans With Nude Photos

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Beijing may be cracking down on the peer-2-peer loan industry, but industrious Chinese have found a new way to borrow and lend money under even “shadier” circumstances.

With the cost of living rising, there is a brand-new trend in China’s financial services that have taken the country by storm: Chinese millennials are borrowing excessive amounts of money and exchanging naked photos as collateral.

ABC reports that LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.’s e-commerce platform Fenqile allows millennials to buy automobiles, iPhones, jewelry, and even a wide variety of snacks all on credit with payback installments.

For example, a box of Oreo biscuits can be acquired for 50 yuan ($10) and paid back in monthly installments of 2.07 yuan ($0.41) over three years. Customers of the microloan website can expect annual interest rates of over 20% (advice: don’t try this at home).

Dorrit Chen, Euromonitor International’s Consumer Finance analyst in China said millennials spend much differently than their parents. While their parents saved, millennials prefer the buy-now-pay-later scheme. “This trend is not only happening in metropolitans, but also [being taken up by] young generations from small towns,” Chen said.

“Ant Check Later — the [loan service] affiliate of Alibaba — as one of the most popular online credit service providers is a case in point,” Chen added. “[It] offers credit from 500 yuan ($100) to 50,000 yuan ($10,000) based on big data analysis from their Alipay account history.”

But what is most surprising, or rather alarming, is that according to ABC some of these microloan websites use “nudie selfies” as loan collateral. A 10 gigabytes batch of naked selfies of Chinese college students was recently leaked online.

These pictures of 161 female students showed their naked bodies while holding government photo IDs. It was alleged that an illegal microloan website had asked for the images to secure payday loans.

Many of the victims were young female college students, many from China’s rural, impoverished regions. 

Some of these lenders used WeChat or QQ to target their victims. The 161 college students “borrowed between  $1,000 to $2,000 with interest rates up to 30%. The victims were threatened to leak the naked photos to their friends and family if they did not repay the loan,” said ABC. And even more shocking, is that some of these millennials were sent into the sex industry to repay their debts. 

China’s Central Public Security Comprehensive Management Commission referenced one case where Bing Chen, a resident in eastern Nanjing city, received a nude photo of his daughter,…
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Weekend Reading: Did The Grinch Steal Christmas?

Courtesy of Lance Roberts, Real Investment Advice

On Tuesday, we put on a small S&P 500 trading position for an oversold bounce. At first, it didn’t work and we were almost stopped out, but a late day rally kept us in the position.

Wednesday was a different picture as stocks rocketed out of the gate on more “trade talk” news with China, but that rally faded as well heading into late day as the owner of the “National Enquirer” was granted immunity in exchange for details on another Trump-related “hush money” payment.

Yesterday, the markets struggled out of the gate as economic data pointed to slowing rates of inflationary pressure and economic growth, fell into negative territory, and then ended the day flat.

This morning stocks opened down as concerns of global economic weakness rose from China.

So far, the “Santa Rally” has failed to appear and traders are beginning to wonder if they are on the “Naughty List” this year? With all of the rhetoric over trade, White House shenanigans, and weak economic data, it certainly would seem to be the case.

But, it may actually be more of the “Grinch (aka The Fed) That Stole Christmas” this year.

While the Fed’s rate hikes do indeed raise borrowing costs and slow economic growth, it is the extraction of liquidity from the markets which is most important. As shown in the chart below, the Fed is now reducing their flows by $50 billion each month. This is in direct contrast to the billions they were injecting previously which corresponds with the markets decade-long bull market despite weak revenue growth due to a sluggish economic expansion.

But it is no longer just the Fed. On Thursday, the European Central Bank made two important announcements.

  1. They will stop adding to its stock of government and corporate bonds at the end of December, and;

  2. They are seeing signs of weaker inflation and economic growth.

In other words, as world markets are beginning to struggle as the driver of the decade-long bull market is being removed.

But yet, despite the market turmoil this year, which certainly got investors attention, the debate has…
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Crypto Bull Tom Lee: Bitcoin’s ‘Fair Value’ Closer To $15,000, But He’s Sick Of People Asking About It

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Listening to the crypto bulls of yesteryear continue to defend their case for new new all-time highs, despite a growing mountain of evidence to suggest that last year's rally was spurred by the blind greed of gullible marginal buyers (not to mention outright manipulation), one can't help but feel a twinge of pity for Mike Novogratz and Wall Street's original crypto uber-bull, Fundstrat's Tom Lee.

Lee achieved rock star status thanks to his prescient calls for a stunning rally in bitcoin months before crypto went parabolic. But as prices plunged this year, he has carried on with his appearances on CNBC and in the financial press, making the structural bull case for bitcoin to anybody who is still willing to listen. We imagine most of Lee's audience is in the same boat as he is: Refusing to let go in the face of heavy losses, according to Bloomberg.

Lee

Apparently ignoring the fact that bitcoin has crashed through every support level so far with little regard for financial models projecting fair value at $6,000 (or $5,000 or $4,000), Lee has published another categorically bullish research note explaining why his model suggests that bitcoin's true "fair value" is somewhere between $13,800 and $14,800.

BTC

Bitcoin's present value "doesn't make sense", Lee argues, because, working backwards, one would expect the number of "active" crypto wallets to fall to 17 million from 50 million. Ergo, since the number of crypto wallets hasn't declined, the "fair value" level of crypto must be much higher than it is currently (though how Lee justifies the wallet metric as anything other than an arbitrary benchmark remains a mystery).

"Fair value is significantly higher than the current price of Bitcoin," he wrote.

"In fact, working backwards, to solve for the current price of Bitcoin, this implies crypto wallets should fall to 17 million from 50 million currently."

This latest call comes after Lee lowered his year-end projection for bitcoin from $25,000 to $15,000.

According to Lee's calculations, bitcoin wallets climb to around 7% of the total number of VISA account holders (some 4.5 billion) BTC could be worth $150,000.…
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Macquarie: “We No Longer Live In Conventional Capitalism; There Are No Recognizable Cycles”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Viktor Shvets of Macquarie Capital

Is the coast clear? It is not safe; too many sharks out there

  • As in ‘Jaws’, the question is whether it is safe to go back into water?
  • A number of positive signals (China, Italy etc) are tempting investors back.
  • However, liquidity continues to drain and reflationary momentum is still weakening. It might all ‘turn on a dime’ but risks into ’19 remain high.

We never know what would break the camels’ back but…

‘Well this is not a boat accident! It wasn’t any propeller! It wasn’t any coral reef! And it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark!’ As in ‘Jaws’, investors are now trying to assess whether there are sharks out there in the dark waters ahead, and what signals should they watch? Is it trade, politics, CBs, extraditions, retaliations, fiscal stimuli, spreads, private equity (arguably the single most overvalued and least liquid asset class), FX, oil or other uncertainties that could sink the boat? Who is selling and what does it mean? As we saw in ‘97-98 or ‘08-09, trying to anticipate whether it would be Russia, LTCM, subprime or Lehman’s PN business that would change everything is a fruitless exercise. We will know when we do. The value of a single signal by itself is limited, and the headlines that ‘we have just discovered the signal’ are not worth much.

Having said that, there is an underlying ‘heart beat’ that tells investors whether the general direction is towards a greater  disinflation or reflation. In a world dominated by asset prices, there is a need to generate more liquidity and debt than economies require. We no longer live in a conventional capitalism; there are no recognizable cycles, and late cycle arguments mean little, when public sectors determine their duration and strength.

In a modern economy, it is all about tax cuts, fiscal stimuli and manipulation of yield curves & rates. Indeed it makes sense, as generating excess liquidity & corralling volatilities is the only way to guide highly financialized economies. It does however lead to a Matrix world of random signals, turning what only days ago seemed…
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US Manufacturing Output Disappoints, Stagnates For 2nd Month In A Row

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On the heels of the dramatic slowdown in Chinese output, and after slowing in September and October, US Industrial Production was expected to rebound modestly in November and it did (but don't get to excited yet).

The headline industrial production print rose 0.6% MoM (well above the 0.3% rise expected and a notable bounce back from the downwardly revised 0.2% drop in October)…

However, the gains were dominated by a surge in Utilities… (Utility output jumped 3.3 percent after rising 0.2 percent the prior month)

As Manufacturing growth stalled for the second month in a row…

Bloomberg notes that excluding autos, manufacturing output stagnated for the second time in three months. The industry may be settling into a somewhat cooler pace, consistent with projections that economic growth will moderate this quarter and into next year, as the boost from lower corporate and consumer taxes wanes.

The slowdown in factory output included a 0.2 percent decline in business equipment and a third-straight drop in construction supplies.

Notably, this 'hard' data is weaker than the signal from a separate report that showed the ISM's factory index rebounded in November from a six-month low.

And finally, while INDUSTRIAL production has topped its previous peak, the gap between the INDUSTRIAL Average and production remains vast (but narrowing)…





 
 
 

Phil's Favorites

The NRA's financial weakness, explained

 

The NRA's financial weakness, explained

Political clout doesn’t guarantee a healthy bottom line. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Courtesy of Brian Mittendorf, The Ohio State University

The National Rifle Association’s political spending fell during the 2018 midterm elections. There’s talk of ending small perks like free coffee at its offices and even ...



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Zero Hedge

Attention US Millennials: Japan Is Now Giving Away Free Houses

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

There are over 8 million abandoned homes in Japanese suburbs, according to The Japan Times. 

If you are a struggling American millennial: you could theoretically move to Japan because the sushi’s fresh, cost of living is low, and the government is giving away free homes. 

What is driving the government to give away these homes? Well, there is a mass...



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Digital Currencies

Crypto Bull Tom Lee: Bitcoin's 'Fair Value' Closer To $15,000, But He's Sick Of People Asking About It

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Listening to the crypto bulls of yesteryear continue to defend their case for new new all-time highs, despite a growing mountain of evidence to suggest that last year's rally was spurred by the blind greed of gullible marginal buyers (not to mention outright manipulation), one can't help but feel a twinge of pity for Mike Novogratz and Wall Street's original crypto uber-bull, Fundstrat's Tom Lee.

Lee achieved rock star status thanks to ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bank Tank Part II Could Start Here, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

This chart looks at the Bank Index (BKX) over the past 25-years on a monthly basis, reflecting that currently, the 9-year trend in the index remains up.

The index may have created a double top this year, at the same level the financial crisis started unfolding back in 2007.

This index has created a bearish divergence in 2018 when compared to the S&P 500. This divergence has it testing 9-year rising support at (1).

As mentioned earlier, the trend in the banking index remains up and support is support until broken.

Joe Friday Just ...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • Data on retail sales for November will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • Data on industrial production for November will be released at 9:15 a.m. ET.
  • The flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index for December is schedule for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • Data on business inventories for October will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the recent week is schedule for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Economic DataNews Economics ...



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Biotech

Those designer babies everyone is freaking out about - it's not likely to happen

Reminder: We're available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Those designer babies everyone is freaking out about – it's not likely to happen

Babies to order. Andrew crotty/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy A Cecile JW Janssens, Emory University

When Adam Nash was still an embryo, living in a dish in the lab, scientists tested his DNA to make sure it was free of ...



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Members' Corner

Blue Wave with Cheri Jacobus (Q&A II, Updated)

By Ilene at Phil's Stock World

Cheri Jacobus is a widely known political consultant, pundit, writer and outspoken former Republican and frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CBS.com, CNBC and C-Span. Cheri shares her thoughts on the political landscape with us in a follow up to our August interview.

Updated 12-10-18

Ilene: What do you think about Michael Cohen's claim that the Trump Organization's discussions with high-level Russian officials about a deal for Trump Tower Moscow continued into June 2016?

...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Dec 09, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

Bears are certainly showing the type of strength we haven’t seen in a long time.   A week ago at this time futures were surging on news of a “truce” for 90 days between China and the U.S. in their trade spat.  But the charts were still not saying lovely things despite a major rally the week prior.   And by Tuesday, darkness had descended back on the indexes, with another gut punch Friday.    A lot of emphasis was put on a long term Treasury yield dropping below a shorter term Treasury.

On Monday, the yield on five year government debt slid below the yield on three year debt, a phenomenon which has p...



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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

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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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