Archive for the ‘Topic’ Category

Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs


Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs

Work isn’t as stable as it once was. fizkes/

Courtesy of David L. Blustein, Boston College

On the surface, the well-being of the American worker seems rosy.
Unemployment in the U.S. hovers near a 50-year low, and employers describe growing shortages of workers in a wide array of fields.

But looking beyond the numbers tells a different story. My new book, “The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty,” reveals that some Americans are experiencing an erosion in the world of work that is hurting their well-being, relationships and hopes for the future.

We can’t simply blame the rise of the gig economy. It’s also a result of a growing impermanence in the U.S. economy, with more short-term jobs that lack security and decent benefits. At the same time, worker wages continue to stagnate, which underscores the breadth of the problem.

Beyond the numbers, a complex reality

The unemployment rate, which at 3.7% is about the lowest since 1969, is the usual metric economists and others use to understand the labor market and how workers are faring.

Although statistics like this suggest there’s an abundance of jobs in the American labor market, it tells us nothing about their quality and ignores a more complex reality. Moreover, it fails to account for the growing and disconcerting prevalence of what is called precarious work, or short-term or contract jobs with minimal protections for workers such as less sick time or no health insurance.

The most obvious examples are Uber drivers and TaskRabbit freelancers but also include coders, warehouse workers and many others who are on short-term contracts. According to recent estimates, this type of work now makes up about 11% of all jobs.

While the growth in precarious work is slow, more disconcerting is the fact that 94% of new jobs are short-term.

Along with wages that have barely budged for most Americans in decades, this is creating serious stress for today’s workers.


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Brexit: wisdom of crowds proves effective predictor of Britain’s chaotic EU departure


Brexit: wisdom of crowds proves effective predictor of Britain's chaotic EU departure


Courtesy of Aleks Berditchevskaia, Nesta and Kathy Peach, Nesta

Winston Churchill once described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Many feel the same about Brexit.

Achieving Brexit is a fiendishly complex task. And when the process is led by a government with a tiny majority, blocked by a divided parliament and confronted with a split country, the path out of the EU looks far from certain. With more potential endings than a Bandersnatch-style plot line, it’s no wonder that the one thing commentators and experts seem to agree on is that Brexit is unpredictable.

In these times of radical uncertainty, accurately forecasting what will happen becomes more difficult – as statistical models built on historical data often don’t work. It also becomes more necessary as individuals and organisations attempt to navigate their way through the unknown. Anyone who chartered ferries or stockpiled toilet roll before March 31, when the UK was originally scheduled to leave, could attest to this.

So what to do when statistical models can’t help?

Ask the crowd

Crowd forecasting is a relatively new approach to predicting the future. It’s getting serious attention, because as the world becomes more complex and uncertain, it’s unlikely that any single person will have enough information to build a complete picture.

When individuals make a prediction, partial information and personal experience can lead to errors. These individual errors, however, tend to be cancelled out when predictions from a group of people are aggregated. Companies, such as the car manufacturer Ford, have cottoned on and have used one type of crowd forecasting called a Prediction Market to forecast vehicle sales. This has been found to be more accurate than traditional forecasting methods.

This harnessing of collective human intelligence is sometimes called the “wisdom of crowds”, a term popularised by James Surowiecki. He argued that when a diverse group of people come up with an answer it is likely to be better than that of the smartest person in that group, or even a…
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Analysts Weigh In On Netflix’s Rocky Quarter

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Analysts Weigh In On Netflix's Rocky Quarter

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported second-quarter results highlighted by an uncharacteristic decline in U.S. subscribers while international subscriber adds missed expectations. Here is a summary of how some of the Street’s top analysts reacted to the print.

The Analysts

Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne maintains an Overweight rating on Netflix with a $450 price target.

Raymond James’ Justin Patterson maintains at Strong Buy, price target lowered from $470 to $450.

KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Andy Hargreaves maintains at Sector Weight.

Shares of Netflix were trading lower by 11% to $321.25 on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley: No Reason To Overreact

Netflix’s report shows a net subscriber addition that fell short of estimates by more than 2 million, Swinburne wrote in a note. Netflix has shown one net subscriber addition miss once a year for the past three years — two of which happened in the seasonally light second quarter.

While the magnitude of the subscriber miss looks large, Swinburne said it’s roughly consistent compared to prior misses when adjusting for the relative size of the business.

Netflix reported a miss that has some investors asking if anything changed in the past three months. Simply put, the analyst wrote, “we do not believe” any notable changes occurred. In fact, there’s no reason to “overreact” as the company could still end 2019 with record net additions and nearly double-digit average revenue per user growth.

See Also: Netflix Short Sellers Up $800M On Subscriber Miss

Raymond James: Bull And Bear Takeaways

Netflix’s quarter brings up legitimate “controversy” if the streaming video company reached a maturation stage in the cycle, Patterson wrote, but the company has now grown to a size where subscriber misses has minimal impact on revenue given recent price increases. Also, it should be noted Netflix typically ramps subscriber adds in the back half of a given year.

On the positive side, ARPU is ramping faster than expected and more than offsets churn, while operating margin has now materially outperformed for two straight quarters.

Bears can point to the “tough” quarter against high expectations as a sign multiple compression in the stock is now warranted. The analyst said this narrative could change if Netflix

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US House condemns Donald Trump’s racist tweets – why his language is so dangerous


US House condemns Donald Trump's racist tweets – why his language is so dangerous

Courtesy of Natasha Lindstaedt, University of Essex

President Donald Trump has been denounced by the US House of Representatives for tweets attacking four Democratic Congresswomen of colour calling on them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”. The resolution, which passed by 240 to 187 votes on July 16, condemned the “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

In response to Trump’s threat, the four Democratic Congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who have come to be known as “the squad”, made clear that they would not be marginalised or silenced.

Trump responded to the House vote, by tweeting: “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” But the House clearly felt otherwise.

The vote was historic, and constitutes the first time the House has voted to rebuke a president in more than 100 years. Mindful of the message that Trump’s statements send to American citizens and the global community, House representatives made clear that the US has no room for “racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia and hate”.

Since his election, Trump has tapped into the latent and overtly racist feelings of some of his supporters, and legitimised their bigotry. Fringe groups such as neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and skinheads marked Trump’s victory in 2016 with a Nazi salute. No longer on the fringe, these groups saw Trump’s election as their coming out party.

Instead of unequivocally condemning these groups, he has pandered to them, leading to dangerous consequences. A recent study reported that every extremist murder in the US in 2018 had links to far-right ideology, making it one of the deadliest years in recent history.

While Trump sees no link between his behaviour and the rise of right-wing white nationalism, Democrats disagree. US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi recently asserted that what Trump means by “making American great again” is to “make America white again”. Trump hit back by claiming that Pelosi was the racist.

Driving division

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Americans focus on responding to earthquake damage, not preventing it, because they’re unaware of their risk


Americans focus on responding to earthquake damage, not preventing it, because they're unaware of their risk

Heavily built-up areas can experience more disastrous damage in an earthquake. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Courtesy of Matt Motta, Oklahoma State University

On July 4 and 5, two major earthquakes, followed by several thousand smaller ones, struck Southern California. Their size and the damage they caused captured attention around the country.

What tends to get much less notice from the public is what can be done to prevent catastrophic damage from big quakes.

Had the epicenter of these latest large California earthquakes been closer to downtown Los Angeles, tens of thousands of apartment buildings could have been damaged or collapsed. Consequently, structural engineers are calling on legislators to prepare for and prevent earthquake damage by crafting new and improved building codes. Restricting where developers can put up new skyscrapers, or requiring that new residential buildings be designed to withstand high-magnitude earthquakes, could ultimately save structures and lives.

For the most part, though, there’s just not that much general demand for preventative policies. Why?

Might low awareness about earthquake risks help explain why the public doesn’t demand policies aimed at mitigating the loss of life and property in the event of a major earthquake? Andrew Rohrman, a civil engineer, and I, a political scientist, teamed up to investigate this question.

What would happen if an earthquake like the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 struck the city today? ASSOCIATED PRESS

Politicians give people what they want

For an example of inconsistent and inadequate earthquake preparedness regulations, look at San Francisco. While the city has strict laws on the books to prevent damage to hospitals and schools, regulations regarding its 160 skyscrapers are significantly more lax. A 50-story tower in downtown San Francisco has the same building strength requirements as a structure with only five stories.

Although scientists can’t precisely predict when and where earthquakes will strike, a 2014 U.S. Geological Survey report suggested there’s a 72% chance
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Federal Budget Deficit Growing – Bad News Is It Makes US Economy Look Good


Federal Budget Deficit Growing – Bad News Is It Makes US Economy Look Good

Courtesy of , Liquidity Trader

The US Federal Budget Deficit is growing. That makes the US economy look good. And that’s bad news.

Federal Tax revenues rose in June. The calendar also made government outlays look smaller than they were. Thus the deficit looked smaller than it really was.

To the media’s credit, most reported that the deficit grew on a year to date basis. Others reported that the June decline was due to timing of payments, and would have been larger if not for the calendar. So for once, they got it right.

But they left out what it means to you as an investor. It is emphatically not good news. Here’s why.

Growing Federal Budget Stimulates the US Economy

What was hidden in June showed up in July. The budget deficit continues to grow. That’s stimulus. It boosts US economic numbers.

But those numbers don’t tell the true story of the bifurcation of the US economy, which shows up in other tax data. That data shows that the few do very well indeed, boosting the top line data. But the majority are struggling to keep up. As more consumers fall behind, the US economy is being hollowed out.

This report is excerpted and modified from Federal Budget Deficit Simultaneously Stimulating and Eviscerating Won’t End Well.

That doesn’t matter to the stock market in the short run. But it remains to be seen if a bull market can continue to be built upon an ever-narrowing economic foundation.

Revenue Comparisons Are Improving But Below Pre Cut Level

Meanwhile, year to year revenue comparisons have been improving since February. That comparison is now with like to like tax rates effective after the big 2018 tax cut. The monthly comps now show modest growth. The question will be how much is due to real growth and how much will be due to inflation, with employee earnings inflating at 5% in June and 3.3% on average this year.

Proponents of the 2018 tax cut have said

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3 myths to bust about breaking up ‘big tech’


3 myths to bust about breaking up 'big tech'

Before taking on tech giants, shatter a few misconceptions. W. Scott McGill/

Courtesy of Bhaskar Chakravorti, Tufts University

As the public and government regulators around the world discuss whether and how to manage the power of technology companies, one idea that keeps coming up is breaking up these large conglomerate corporations into smaller pieces. Public distrust for tech companies has shifted to talk of antitrust action against them. Facebook, for instance, might then have to compete with Instagram for photo-sharing and WhatsApp for messaging – rather than owning both.

The idea has managed to garner support from both Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, and Republican President Donald Trump.

However, advocates and opponents of breaking up big technology firms are falling prey to some serious misconceptions. I study the effects of digital technologies on lives and livelihoods across 85 countries and lead Tufts Fletcher School’s Digital Planet initiative studying technological innovation around the world. In my opinion, there are three myths worth busting before considering taking on big tech.

Myth 1: Comparing Standard Oil and Google

John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. Urbanrenewal/Wikimedia Commons

Arguments for and against antitrust action against tech firms rely heavily on the experiences of earlier cases. The massive 19th-century monopoly Standard Oil has, in fact, been referred to as the “Google of its day.” There are also people who are recalling the 1990s antitrust case against Microsoft’s dominant position in the era of personal computers.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page. Joi Ito/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

Those cases from the past may seem similar to today’s situation, but this era is different in one crucial way: the global technology marketplace. Currently, there are two parallel “big tech” clusters. One is in the U.S., dominated by Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. The other is based…
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How immigrants give American companies a powerful boost against Chinese rivals


How immigrants give American companies a powerful boost against Chinese rivals

Courtesy of Benjamin A.T. Graham, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The ongoing trade war is the most visible front in America’s struggle with China for global influence. Oddly, it may be immigration policy, as much as tariffs and trade deals, that determines which country prevails.

That’s because American competitiveness in foreign markets is a key battlefield in the struggle. And while the U.S. has long been the leading source of foreign investment in developing countries, China has emerged as an increasingly assertive player. With its Belt and Road Initiative, China is using investment as a tool to extend its political influence throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But as it turns out, immigrants – a group that President Donald Trump frequently denigrates – provide the U.S. with a surprisingly powerful competitive advantage, as my research has shown. And policies that limit the number of immigrants who can come to the U.S. could be detrimental to America’s competitiveness in the long run.

A nation of immigrants

While America is a nation of immigrants, China is not. Chinese companies have few immigrants to hire, and this hurts them.

There are only a million foreign-born residents in China, compared with 50 million in the U.S., even though China’s population is four times larger.

Whether an American company wants to invest in India, Nigeria, Armenia or Guatemala, there is a flourishing immigrant community in the U.S. that businesses can tap to help them navigate challenging social and political environments. Few Chinese companies can do the same.

This gives American companies a competitive edge. Specifically, immigrants’ social and political ties to their home countries, combined with the professional connections they make in the U.S., allow immigrants to bridge the gap between American companies and valuable networks in developing countries.

Brothers-in-law and childhood friends

In many developing countries, formal institutions like courts are weak, and personal relationships play a large role in both business and politics.

If you want to get a permit quickly, you need a brother-in-law…
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Senator Compares Facebook’s Libra Association to Spectre in James Bond Movie

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Yesterday the U.S. Senate Banking Committee assembled to hear Facebook’s David Marcus explain how the company wants to create a global digital currency called Libra, to be run by a Switzerland-based global organization called the Libra Association, made up of 27 members from the fields of payment systems, technology, telecommunications, blockchain services, venture capital, nonprofits and academic institutions.

Given Facebook’s serial history of abusing the privacy rights of its users and selling their data without their permission, not to mention its role in facilitating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, we immediately went to check out the names of the nonprofits that had signed up to monitor this sprawling international monetary system cooked up in a Facebook lab in a year’s time. We were hoping to see names like American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, Consumer Federation of America, or Center for Constitutional Rights. No such luck. Here’s who Facebook lists under nonprofits, multilateral organizations and academic institutions: Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking. We have to admit to ignorance of any of these groups.

At the end of the hearing, after Facebook’s Marcus had struggled to explain the checks and balances of his short-on-specifics plan, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said he suspected that Americans were going to view this organization as something like Spectre (the evil international surveillance organization) from the James Bond movie series.

It felt like Van Hollen had just read our minds.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the ranking member of the Committee, made opening remarks at the hearing that were so on-point and poignant to the interests and concerns of the American people that we’ve printed them in full below.

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Opposite of Conventional Wisdom


Opposite of Conventional Wisdom

Courtesy of 

There was an article in the New York Times that highlighted the reversal of previous findings in medicine.

Of more than 3,000 studies published from 2003 through 2017 in JAMA and the Lancet…more than one of 10 amounted to a “medical reversal”: a conclusion opposite of what had been conventional wisdom among doctors.

This got me thinking about conventional wisdom in investing that might need further scrutiny. Before I get into it, this thought exercise was way more difficult than I thought it would be. The only piece of conventional wisdom that 90% of investors will nod their head at is “diversification is the only free lunch.”

I was able to come up with five items where I think the opposite of conventional wisdom is true.

Stocks are riskier than bonds.

One-month U.S. Treasury bills, often put in the risk-free bucket, went 68 years with a negative real return. Sure stocks can kill you fast, but bonds can kill you slowly.

Gold is a good hedge against inflation.

This makes sense in theory, but it is not always the case in reality. If gold did provide a hedge against inflation, you would expect the two to be at least somewhat correlated. The chart below shows the rolling 12-month returns of gold and CPI. Of course I’m cherry picking by starting in 1980, a decade after rampant inflation and amazing returns for gold, but still, over the last 40 years, this conventional wisdom has not held up well.

If you can time the economy, you can time the stock market. 

Okay, this one is actually more true than I thought it would be before I looked at the data. Since 1950, by the time the recession started, on average, stocks were in a 9.2% drawdown, which you can see in the chart below. So it turns out that knowing when a recession starts is a great signal to get out of stocks. Problem is you can never know in real time when a where you are

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Phil's Favorites

Voices from an age of uncertain work - Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs


Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs

Work isn’t as stable as it once was. fizkes/

Courtesy of David L. Blustein, Boston College

On the surface, the well-being of the American worker seems rosy.
Unemployment in the U.S. hovers near a 50-year low, and employers describe growing shortages of workers in a wide array of fields.

But looking beyond the numbers tells a different story. My new book, “...

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Zero Hedge

Camouflaged Israeli Ex-PM Pictured Entering Epstein's Mansion The Same Day As Hotties Show Up

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was photographed entering Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan mansion in January, 2016 wearing a camouflage scarf around his face - the same day that a bunch of young women showed up, according to the Daily Mail.


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Silver ETF (SLV) Testing Dual Breakout Resistance

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Silver (NYSEARCA: SLV) has been in a bit of a slumber when compared to the price action for Gold (NYSEARCA: GLD).

Precious metals bulls hope that this about to change, as bullish action from Silver is necessary to confirm any bull market / move in metals.

Today’s chart takes a closer look at the Silver ETF (SLV) on a weekly basis. As you can see, Silver is up 5 percent this week alone.

This is good news for metals bulls. But this rally isn’t confirming a breakout just yet.

As you can see in the chart below, SLV has been trading between support (1) ...

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Insider Scoop

Analysts Weigh In On Netflix's Rocky Quarter

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported second-quarter results highlighted by an uncharacteristic decline in U.S. subscribers while international subscriber adds missed expectations. Here is a summary of how some of the Street's top analysts reacted to the print.

The Analysts

Mor... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Breaks Back Below $10k, Crypto-Crash Accelerates As Asia Opens

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Update 2010ET: Having briefly stabilized after this morning's weakness, cryptos are tumbling once again as Asian markets open.

Bitcoin has broken below $10,000 again...

*  *  *

While all eyes are on Bitcoin as it slides back towards $10,000, the real mover in the last 12 hours has been Ethereum after...

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DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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


DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...

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Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing


Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

Courtesy of Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

ValueWalk’s Q&A session with Professor Shubha Ghosh, a professor of law and the director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.


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Chart School

Gold Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Charts show us the golden brick road to high prices.

GLD Gann Angle has been working since 2016. Higher prices are expected. Who would say anything different, and why and how?

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.

The GLD very wide channel shows us the way.
- Conservative: Tag the 10 year rally starting in 2001 to 2019 and it forecasts $750 GLD (or $7500 USD Gold Futures) in 10 years.
- Aggressive: Tag the 5 year rally starting in 1976 to 2019  and it forecasts $750 GLD (or $7500 USD Gold Futures) in 5 years.

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if ima...

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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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