Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

Deutsche Bank job cuts are tip of the iceberg for the finance industry

 

Deutsche Bank job cuts are tip of the iceberg for the finance industry

 

Welcome to the fintech revolution. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Arturo Bris, IMD Business School

Deutsche Bank caused a recent stir with the seemingly sudden announcement that it would cut 18,000 jobs – one fifth of its global staff. It is part of a reorganisation designed to return the bank to its core business of corporate banking, private banking and asset management. Most of the job losses will be in the global equity traders and investment banking division Deutsche Bank stated in an announcement made on July 7.

Some may read the bank’s problems as the result of a bad strategy, bad execution, bad luck, or a combination of these three. I, however, think that the German bank’s problems reflect the profound transformations currently taking place in the financial industry in general, and in investment banking especially.

Let me start by saying that the value of the financial industry is not easy to justify in terms of social and economic benefits. It is true that banks perform a useful function of redistributing financial risk, allocating capital and providing credit. But there are too many banks, and what is even worse, there are too many bankers.

Looking at the case of Deutsche Bank, between 2009 and 2018 the bank lost US$14.8 billion in market value (including dividends paid to shareholders). This is the total value loss, with some ups and downs. In 2016 the market value of Deutsche Bank dropped by almost US$27 billion, while in 2017 it grew by US$21.5 billion.

This means Deutsche Bank destroyed US$15,370 per employee, per year. And, on average, the 100,000 employees of Deutsche Bank were paid more than what they have generated. Hence the logic that firing 18,000 bankers creates value.

A new financial order

In his recent book “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory”, David Graeber from the London School of Economics describes a major trend in modern economies: the proliferation of useless, unfulfilling jobs that do not create value for society. In his words, it is the rapid development of FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) companies that…
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As flood risks increase across the US, it’s time to recognize the limits of levees

 

As flood risks increase across the US, it's time to recognize the limits of levees

Water rushes through a breached levee on the Arkansas River in Dardanelle, Ark., May 31, 2019. Yell County Sheriff's Department via AP

Courtesy of Amahia Mallea, Drake University

New Orleans averted disaster this month when tropical storm Barry delivered less rain in the Crescent City than forecasters originally feared. But Barry’s slog through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri is just the latest event in a year that has tested levees across the central U.S.

Many U.S. cities rely on levees for protection from floods. There are more than 100,000 miles of levees nationwide, in all 50 states and one of every five counties. Most of them seriously need repair: Levees received a D on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2018 national infrastructure report card.

Levees shield farms and towns from flooding, but they also create risk. When rivers rise, they can’t naturally spread out in the floodplain as they did in the pre-flood control era. Instead, they flow harder and faster and send more water downstream.

And climate models show that flood risks are increasing. During this year’s unusually wet winter and spring, dozens of levees on the Missouri, Mississippi and Arkansas rivers were overtopped or breached by floodwaters. Across the central U.S., rivers are becoming increasingly hard to control.

Levees exist in one out of every five U.S. counties. USACE

Remaking the Missouri

In my book, “A River in the City of Fountains,” I describe the complexities of flood control in Kansas City, which sits at the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers.

The Missouri, the larger of these two, is America’s longest river, rising in Montana’s Rocky Mountains and flowing east and south for 2,341 miles until it joins the Mississippi River north of St. Louis. Historically it was wide and shallow, full of sand bars and snags that created challenges for steamboats.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Kansas City…
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Jeffrey Epstein’s Curiously Nimble Trading in LinkedIn Stock Raises Red Flags

Courtesy of Pam Martens.

Is Jeffrey Epstein, the accused sex trafficker and sexual assaulter of dozens of underage girls potentially guilty of financial crimes as well? His criminal profile suggests that may well be worth investigating.

Bernie Madoff knew he was no genius and could never compete with the physics and math geniuses employed by the major trading firms on Wall Street. So he simply generated fake investment statements to reassure his thousands of clients of his trading prowess and didn’t buy one stock for their portfolios over the decades he was looting their assets, according to prosecutors.

But the criminal profile that emerges for Jeffrey Epstein is that of a man so arrogant and confident of his genius that he felt he could beat anybody – by hook or by crook, or by hiring ruthless lawyers to intimidate and compromise Federal prosecutors.

Armed with an aptitude for physics and math, Epstein became a math teacher at the exclusive Dalton School in Manhattan – despite the fact that he lacked a college degree. He traded up from that position to work for Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns, which blew itself up in the early days of the financial crash of 2008. Epstein’s exit from Bear Stearns coincided with an SEC investigation of the firm, the details of which remain murky. No charges were brought. Epstein moved on to collect $25,000 a month from Towers Financial, whose CEO Steven Hoffenberg went to prison for 20 years for turning the company into a $450 million Ponzi scheme. Hoffenberg has alleged in an affidavit filed in a previous court case that Epstein was a major participant in the Ponzi scheme.

In the years that followed, Epstein flaunted his wealth and appeared eager to promote himself as a billionaire hedge fund manager that accepted only billion dollar accounts. But other than billionaire Les Wexner, founder of The Limited retail clothing chain and the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, it’s unclear if Epstein actually managed money for other people in a hedge fund.

What is clear, if we can believe the public tax filings Epstein’s accountants made to the IRS for his nonprofit charity, is that Epstein, unlike Bernie Madoff, actually did know how to make money trading stocks – especially when…
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UK, Philippines Side With Huawei: Why Is The US Behind On 5G?

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock, MishTalk

In a global 5-G battle, Trump has forced nations to take sides. The EU, UK, and the Philippines will buck Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reports Philippines Has Chosen Sides: Not the U.S.

The U.S.-China technology war is raging around the world, but the Philippines is no longer torn. It is binding its telecommunications future to China’s.

The country got its first taste of next-generation 5G services in late June with gear supplied by Huawei Technologies Co. This month, a new carrier backed by state-owned China Telecommunications Corp. will begin rolling out a network largely designed in China, to be executed by Chinese engineers in the Philippines.

The moves are a blow to the U.S., which has in recent months pushed allies to shun Huawei. U.S. officials contend Chinese companies could be compelled to conduct espionage for Beijing.

Huawei, which has repeatedly said it wouldn’t spy for China, estimates its 5G equipment will spread across more than 130 countries, including in Europe. Huawei’s 5G system is up and running in South Korea and will be deploying in the United Arab Emirates this year. Both countries are U.S. allies.

Chinese companies’ dominant presence in Philippine telecom networks stands to move the Southeast Asian country further away from the U.S., its treaty ally—testing a relationship that has already grown strained.

No Technical Reason to Exclude Huawei

The Register reports MPs Find 'No Technical Grounds' to Exclude Chinese Giant.

The UK's Science and Technology Select Committee said it can't find any "technical grounds" for chopping Huawei out of the UK's 5G and other telco networks, but said government should consider "ethical" issues and its relationship with "allies".

The committee of Commons MPs wrote in a letter (PDF) to Minister of Fun [Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] Jeremy Wright that Huawei's involvement in the 5G network posed no techie issues, excepting, of course, the not-so-minor point that if the country pulls the Chinese firm's kit from either its current or future networks, it could cause "significant delays".

The UK will have to choose between bowing down to Trump and doing what it thinks best.…
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How tech firms make us feel like we own their apps – and how that benefits them

 

How tech firms make us feel like we own their apps – and how that benefits them

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Melody Zou, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

Possessions are going out of fashion. An endless stream of media reports claim millennials – that amorphous mass of people born in the 1980s and 1990s who have grown up with the internet and digital technology – are in favour of accessing rather than owning stuff.

And yet my research shows that owning possessions is still something millennials hunger for. It is just that these possessions are now digital rather than physical.

People who become heavy users of the apps they download can develop deep relationships with these services, so deep that they take on what we call “psychological ownership” of them. This means they perceive each app as something that belongs just to them and has effectively become an extension of themselves. After using it frequently and adjusting the settings to their liking, it becomes “my app”, even though their rights to use the service and transfer their data are actually restricted and their accounts can be terminated at any time.

Psychological ownership can benefit the companies because it leads users to take on valuable extra roles. In the real world, companies have long pushed for shoppers to give feedback, recommend their products and help other shoppers. App “owners” are willingly doing all of this in the digital sphere and often with more expertise and commitment than traditional consumers.

My colleagues and I studied this phenomenon for users of music streaming apps such as Spotify and QQ Music and found that they went the extra mile in four ways. They provided services such as answering the queries of other users on internet forums or offering other information that would enrich the experience of users. They improved the app by giving the company feedback or taking part in the app’s governance. They advocated for the app by championing it in public or defending it against critics. And they financed the service by paying a premium fee or even donating money.

By interviewing more than 200 users of these…
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Directors are in the crosshairs of corporate climate litigation

 

Directors are in the crosshairs of corporate climate litigation

Melting glaciers threaten the village of Huaraz, Peru. Uwebart/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

Courtesy of Lisa Benjamin, Dalhousie University

The directors of RWE, a German energy company, had probably never heard of the small village of Huaraz, Peru before 2015. But Saúl Lliuya, a mountain guide and farmer there, sued RWE for climate-related harms that year.

Lliuya’s lawyers, supported by Greenpeace, argued that RWE’s historic green house gas emissions have contributed to increased global temperatures, which have, in turn, caused the glaciers around Lake Palcacocha to melt. The lake sits above Huaraz, where more than 50,000 residents now face an increased risk of severe flooding.

The Higher Regional Court of Hamm, in Germany, agreed with Lliuya’s arguments and let the case proceed to the evidentiary stage. No matter what the outcome, the court’s statements that climate harms can, in principle, give rise to corporate liability, is historic — no other court has made this decision before.

The intersection between climate change, energy and corporate law is a fast-emerging area. This case is part of a second wave of litigation against corporations, and has implications for directors and their legal duties. Corporate fiduciary duties and corporate law have traditionally been insulated from environmental and climate concerns, but as the impacts of climate change escalate, this may no longer be true.

The second wave of climate litigation

The directors of RWE are not alone. There has been an explosion of climate litigation launched against fossil-fuel intensive, or “carbon major” corporations.

The cities of Oakland and San Francisco have sued, as have New York and Baltimore. So have counties in California, Washington and Colorado, the state of Rhode Island and fishermen in Oregon and California.

Most recently, non-governmental organizations in the Netherlands have launched suits, and others are being considered in Toronto and Victoria.

These cases have been dubbed the second wave of climate litigation against carbon majors. There has never been a successful case against corporations for climate-induced harm — yet.

The first wave


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University of California’s showdown with the biggest academic publisher aims to change scholarly publishing for good

 

University of California's showdown with the biggest academic publisher aims to change scholarly publishing for good

For now, it’s going to be trickier for the University of California community to access some academic journals. Michelle/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Courtesy of MacKenzie Smith, University of California, Davis

This month, academic publisher Elsevier shuttered the University of California’s online access to current journal articles. It’s the latest move in the high stakes standoff between Elsevier, the world’s largest publisher of scholarly research, and the University of California, whose scholars produce about 10% of the nation’s research publications.

Last February, Elsevier chose to continue providing access to journals via its ScienceDirect online platform after UC’s subscription expired and negotiations broke down. With its instant access now cut off, the UC research community will learn firsthand what it’s like to rely on the open web and other means of accessing critical research.

The UC-Elsevier showdown made headlines because it’s symptomatic of the way the internet has failed to deliver on the promise to make knowledge easily accessible and shareable by anyone, anywhere in the world. It’s the latest in a succession of cracks in what is widely considered to be a failing system for sharing academic research. As the head of the research library at UC Davis, I see this development as a harbinger of a tectonic shift in how universities and their faculty share research, build reputations and preserve knowledge in the digital age.

Accessing a journal no longer means going to a periodicals room. Newton W. Elwell/Boston Public Library/Flickr, CC BY

Moving from stacks to screens

Here’s how things traditionally worked.

Universities have always subscribed to scientific journals so their researchers can study and build on the work that came before, and won’t needlessly duplicate research they never knew about. In the print age, university library shelves were lined with journals, available for any researcher or – in the case of public universities like the University of California – any member of the public to…
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Tax Filing Suggests Child Sex Offender Jeffrey Epstein Made His Wealth Flipping Hot IPOs on Wall Street

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Jeffrey Epstein is variously called a “billionaire,” a “hedge fund manager,” or a “financier” in the hundreds of articles that have appeared in print this month. But no one can say with any certainty how Epstein obtained his wealth or exactly how much wealth he actually has. We’ve located a highly interesting ledger from one of his nonprofit tax filings which shows he was able to get his hands on highly preferential hot IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) and flipped them on their first day of trading. We’ll explore that in detail shortly, but first some background.

Jeffrey Epstein is due in Federal Court in Manhattan this morning to argue his case for being allowed to serve his time until trial under house arrest in his opulent $77 million mansion on the upper East Side rather than the drab confinements of jail. Epstein was arrested by federal prosecutors on Saturday, July 6, and charged with sex trafficking of minors and sexually abusing dozens of underage girls at his mansions in Palm Beach, Manhattan and potentially at other mansions he owns. (Read the full text of the indictment here.)

There are a multitude of strong arguments against releasing this man from jail: ostensibly Epstein should have begun serving a life sentence a decade ago after Palm Beach, Florida police compiled sexual assault and trafficking evidence from more than 40 young women and gave it to the FBI. A sweetheart deal was instead crafted in that case during a meeting by his lawyer and federal prosecutor, Alex Acosta, which resulted in Epstein serving only 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach county jail. Adding insult to injury, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department allowed Epstein to leave the jail from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in a work-release program, six days a week, during the final 10 months of his incarceration.

Acosta advanced to Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department…wait for it…the Federal agency in charge of sex trafficking. Acosta resigned on Friday after widespread media reports of his involvement in the Epstein case.

Another strong reason to keep Epstein in jail is that under his plea deal in Florida, he is registered as a Level…
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How do lithium-ion batteries work?

 

How do lithium-ion batteries work?

Lithium-ion batteries power lots of different kinds of devices. Transport Canada

Courtesy of Robert Masse, University of Washington

The smartphone era is only just over a decade old, but the pocket-sized computers at the heart of that societal transformation are only really possible because of another technology: lithium-ion batteries.

First sold commercially in 1991 by Sony for its camcorders, these types of batteries are good for much more than portable consumer electronics. They’re at the center of two other technological revolutions with the power to transform society: the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, and the shift from an electric grid powered by fossil fuels to renewable energy generators that store surplus electricity in batteries for future use.

So how do these batteries work? Scientists and engineers have spent entire careers trying to build better batteries and there are still mysteries that we don’t fully understand. Improving batteries requires chemists and physicists to look at changes on the atomic level, as well as mechanical and electrical engineers who can design and assemble the battery packs that power devices. As a materials scientist at the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Lab, my work has helped explore new materials for lithium-air batteries, magnesium batteries and of course lithium-ion batteries.

Let’s consider a day in the life of two electrons. We’ll name one of them Alex and he has a friend named George.

Battery anatomy

What a standard AA alkaline battery looks like on the inside. Lead holder/Wikimedia Commons

Alex lives inside a standard alkaline AA battery, like in your flashlight or remote control. Inside a AA battery, there is a compartment filled with zinc and another filled with manganese oxide. At one end, the zinc only weakly hangs onto electrons like Alex. On the other end, the manganese oxide powerfully pulls electrons toward itself. In between, stopping the electrons from going directly from one side to another, is a piece of paper soaked in a solution of potassium and water, which coexist…
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The ‘giant sucking sound’ of NAFTA: Ross Perot was ridiculed as alarmist in 1992 but his warning turned out to be prescient

 

The ‘giant sucking sound’ of NAFTA: Ross Perot was ridiculed as alarmist in 1992 but his warning turned out to be prescient

Perot become a household name after making an independent run for president in 1992. AP Photo/Doug Mills

Courtesy of Harley Shaiken, University of California, Berkeley

H. Ross Perot famously had a way with words that galvanized ordinary Americans and helped him become the most successful third-party candidate since 1912.

He hurled one of his most well-known lines during a 1992 debate with Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush when he assailed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had just been tentatively agreed to by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

He predicted Americans would soon hear a “giant sucking sound” as production operations and factories packed up in the United States and moved to Mexico. Perot said something similar a year later in a debate with Vice President Al Gore, the most high profile in a series of debates on the trade pact, a few of which I participated in as an adviser to key Democratic leaders in Congress who opposed it.

Economists, business leaders, Clinton and most Republicans dismissed Perot’s worries as overblown. Despite the fact that most had never read the agreement, they argued free trade would create jobs, period. Over the objections of Perot, most Democrats in the House and other critics like me – NAFTA was ratified and went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994.

A quarter century later, another populist billionaire is promoting an updated, expanded and renamed NAFTA, which he rebranded as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement in an effort to avoid any association with the “giant sucking sounds” many Americans experienced from “free trade.”

As it turns out, Perot, who died on July 9, had a point. His projections were often fanciful, but his warning turned out to be prescient.

Perot talks about NAFTA’s ‘giant sucking sound.’

Perot’s warning

“You implement that NAFTA, the Mexican trade agreement, where they pay people a dollar an…
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Phil's Favorites

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

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Aleks Berditchevskaia, Nesta and Kathy Peach, ...



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Zero Hedge

Facebook Won't Say Whether Banned Individuals Can Use Libra Despite Claiming To Be 'Politically Neutral' 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Facebook's second day of Congressional hearings over Libra was by most accounts a total debacle - between Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-CA) suggesting that the social media giant 'shouldn't launch' the cryptocurrency - as new currencies should be 'left to democratically accountable institutions,' and another lawmaker accusing the company of 'winging it.' 

"Would you trust your money with a company that is just winging it?" She isn't buying w...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Aussie Dollar About To Send Bullish Message To Precious Metals?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The Australian Dollar and its ETF (NYSEARCA: FXA) have traded sideways for much of the past 4 years (see blue shaded area on chart above).

And since the Aussie Dollar and precious metals are highly correlated, this hasn’t helped gold and silver.

But this setup may be changing soon as a big test comes into play for the AU$.

It is currently testing falling resistance on a bullish falling wedge pattern.

If it succeeds in breaking out at (1), it will send metals and commodities a short-term bullish message. Stay tuned!

This article was first writ...



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Insider Scoop

Cannabis Stocks Gainers And Losers From July 17, 2019

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Read more about our latest Cannabis News! CANNABIS HOME Gainers
  • Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) shares rose 3.49%, to close at $7.41.
  • Aphria (NYSE: APHA) shares increased by 3.97% to close at $6.55.
  • Canopy...


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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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Biotech

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/Shutterstock.com

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



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ValueWalk

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

Excerpt:

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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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:

 

·       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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