Posts Tagged ‘Banking’

The Real Horror Story: The U.S. Economic Meltdown

The Real Horror Story: The U.S. Economic Meltdown

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

economic meltdownThis October, millions of Americans are going to watch horror movies and read horror stories because they enjoy being frightened.  Well, if you really want to be scared, you should just check out the real horror story unfolding right before our eyes – the U.S. economic meltdown.  It seems like more bad news for the U.S. economy comes out almost every single day now.  Unfortunately, things are about to get a whole lot worse.  The mainstream media has been treating "Foreclosuregate" as if it is a minor nuisance, but the truth is that the lid is about to be publicly lifted on years and years of massive fraud in the U.S. mortgage industry, and this thing has the potential to cause economic chaos that is absolutely unprecedented.  Over the past several days, expert after expert has been coming forward and warning that this crisis could completely and totally paralyze the mortgage industry in the United States.  If that happens, it will be essentially like pulling the plug on the U.S. economic recovery. 

Not that there was going to be a recovery anyway.  The truth is that economic statistic after economic statistic has been pointing to incredible trouble for the U.S. economy.

For example, the U.S. government just announced that the U.S. trade deficit went up again in August.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. trade deficit was $46.3 billion during August, which was up significantly from $42.6 billion in July.

So how much coverage did this get in the mainstream media? 

Well, just about none.

We have gotten so used to horrific trade deficits that it isn’t even news anymore.

But these trade deficits are absolutely killing our economy.

How long do you think that the U.S. economy can keep shelling out 40 or 50 billion more dollars than we take in every single month?

If you look at the countries around the world that have become very wealthy, almost all of them have gotten that way by trading with the United States.

Meanwhile, many of our once great manufacturing cities are turning into open sewers.

Every single politician in the United States should be talking about the trade deficit.

But hardly any of them are.

Is it because Americans have all become so dumbed-down that we don’t understand these things anymore, or is it because we are so…
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Foreclosure Fraud: 6 Things You Need To Know About The Crisis That Could Potentially Rip The U.S. Economy To Shreds

Foreclosure Fraud: 6 Things You Need To Know About The Crisis That Could Potentially Rip The U.S. Economy To Shreds

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

The foreclosure fraud crisis seems to escalate with each passing now.  It is being reported that all 50 U.S. states have launched a joint investigation into alleged fraud in the mortgage industry.  This is a huge story that is not going to go away any time soon.  The truth is that it would be hard to understate the amount of fraud that has gone on in the U.S. mortgage industry, and we are watching events unfold that could potentially rip the U.S. economy to shreds.  Many are now referring to this crisis as "Foreclosure-Gate", and already it is shaping up to be the worst thing that has ever happened to the U.S. mortgage industry.  At this point, it seems inevitable that some financial institutions will go under as a result of this mess.  In fact, by the end of this thing we might see a whole bunch of lending institutions crash and burn.  This crisis is very hard to describe because it is just so darn complicated, but it is worth it to try to dig into this thing and understand what is going on because it has the potential to absolutely decimate the entire U.S. mortgage industry.

The truth is that there was fraud going on in every segment of the mortgage industry over the past decade.  Predatory lending institutions were aggressively signing consumers up for mortgages that they knew they could never repay.  Many consumers were also committing fraud because a lot of them also knew that they could never possibly repay the mortgages.  These bad mortgages were fraudulently bundled up and securitized, and these securitized financial instruments were fraudulently marketed as solid investments.  Those who certified that these junk securities were "AAA rated" also committed fraud.  Then these securities were traded at lightning speed all over the globe and a ton of mortgage paperwork became "lost" or "missing". 

Then, when it…
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PAUL VOLCKER: THE MARKET IS “BROKEN”

PAUL VOLCKER: THE MARKET IS “BROKEN”

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

This is a superb summary of Paul Volcker’s must read comments at the Federal Reserve bank of Chicago from today. Highly recommended reading (via the WSJ):

1) Macroprudential regulation — “somehow those words grate on my ears.”

2) Banking — Investment banks became “trading machines instead of investment banks [leading to] encroachment on the territory of commercial banks, and commercial banks encroached on the territory of others in a way that couldn’t easily be managed by the old supervisory system.”

3) Financial system — “The financial system is broken. We can use that term in late 2008, and I think it’s fair to still use the term unfortunately. We know that parts of it are absolutely broken, like the mortgage market which only happens to be the most important part of our capital markets [and has] become a subsidiary of the U.S. government.”

4) Business schools — “We had all our best business schools in the United States pouring out financial engineers, every smart young mathematician and physicist said ‘I don’t want to be a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer. I’m a smart guy, I want to go to Wall Street.’ And then you know all the risks were going to be sliced and diced and [people thought] the market would be resilient and not face any crises. We took care of all that stuff, and I think that was the general philosophy that markets are efficient and self correcting and we don’t have to worry about them too much.

5) Central banks and the Fed — “Central banks became…maybe a little too infatuated with their own skills and authority because they found secrets to price stability…I think its fair to say there was a certain neglect of supervisory responsibilities, certainly not confined to the Federal Reserve, but including the Federal Reserve, I only say that because the Federal Reserve is the most important in my view.”

6) The recession — “It’s so difficult to get out of this recession because of the basic disequilibrium in the real economy.”

7) Council of regulators — “Potentially cumbersome.”

8 ) On judgment — “Let me suggest to you that relying on judgment all the time makes for a very heavy burden whether you are regulating an individual institution or whether you are regulating the whole market or whether you are deciding what might be disturbing or what might not be disturbing.


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Meredith Whitney Sees Bleak Second Half in Stock Market, Small Business Credit Crunch, Double Dip in Housing

Meredith Whitney Sees Bleak Second Half in Stock Market, Small Business Credit Crunch, Double Dip in Housing, Says European Banks in Worse Shape

meredith whitneyCourtesy of Mish

Meredith Whitney is concerned about financial reform that will punish banks just for the sake of doing something. This she says, will hamper small business lending right at a time state and local cutbacks will cost 1-2 million jobs.

The Wall Street Journal covers this in The Small Business Credit Crunch

Over the next 12 months, disappearing state and local government jobs will prove to be a meaningful headwind to an already fragile economic recovery. This is simply how the math shakes out. Collectively, over 40 states face hundreds of billions of dollars in budget gaps over the next two years, and 49 states are constitutionally required to balance their accounts annually. States will raise taxes, but higher taxes alone will not be enough to make up for the vast shortfall in state budgets. Accordingly, 42 states and the District of Columbia have already articulated plans to cut government jobs.

So the burden on the private sector to create jobs becomes that much more crucial. Just to maintain a steady level of unemployment, the private sector will have to create one million to two million jobs to offset government job losses.

Herein lies the challenge: Small businesses continue to struggle to gain access to credit and cannot hire in this environment.

Unless real focus is afforded to re-engaging small businesses in this country, we will have a tragic and dangerous unemployment level for an extended period of time. Small businesses fund themselves exactly the way consumers do, with credit cards and home equity lines. Over the past two years, more than $1.5 trillion in credit-card lines have been cut, and those cuts are increasing by the day. Due to dramatic declines in home values, home-equity lines as a funding option are effectively off the table. Proposed regulatory reform—specifically interest-rate caps and interchange fees—will merely exacerbate the cycle of credit contraction plaguing small businesses.

If banks are not allowed to effectively price for risk, they will not take the risk. Right now we need banks, and particularly community banks, more than ever to step in and provide liquidity to small businesses. Interest-rate caps and interchange fees will more likely drive consumer credit out of the market and many community banks out


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Big Bank Usury: Warren on Whitehouse Amendment

Big Bank Usury: Warren on Whitehouse Amendment

Courtesy of Lynn Parramore at New Deal 2.0 

Aristotle called usury the “most hated form” of wealth-accumulation. Dante sent practitioners to the seventh circle of hell. The Qur’an proposes that usurers are controlled by the devil’s influence, and we’ve all heard how Jesus, that avatar non-violence, was stirred to a round of ass-kicking when he found the money lenders in Herod’s temple.

Screwing the poor through usury has been considered an abomination throughout human civilization – a disease of the body politic that sickens people morally and economically.

For two centuries, American states had the power to enforce usury laws against any lender doing business with its citizens. But in 1978, a Supreme Court case transformed the world of lending. In Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp., the Supreme Court changed the interpretation of  the National Bank Act of 1863 so that states could no longer regulate interest rates on nationally-chartered banks. BINGO! Big banks quickly saw a Big Opportunity. They would now be able to dodge interest rate restrictions by reinventing themselves as “national banks” and hightailing it to states with weak consumer protections. A small number of states chucked interest rate caps in order to lure credit card business and related tax revenue.

Thanks to that unfortunate 1978 decision, credit card divisions of major banks are based in just a few states, while local banks struggle with unfair out-of-state competition fight to stay afloat. Meanwhile, consumers across the country are gouged by stratospheric interest rates and fees.

An amendment submitted by Senator Whitehouse and cosponsored by Senators Cochran, Merkley, Durbin, Sanders, Levin, Burris, Franken, Brown (OH), Menendez, Leahy, Webb, Casey, Wyden, Reed, Udall (CO), and Begich aims to change all this by restoring state powers to protect their citizens with interest rate limits on lending done within the state.

Here’s a breakdown of what the amendment would accomplish:

  • Restore to the states the ability to enforce interest rate caps against out-of-state lenders.
  • By Amending the Truth in Lending Act, cover all consumer lenders, no matter what their legal form, minimizing the opportunity for gaming by changing charter type.
  • Become effective twelve months after enactment – giving state legislatures time to evaluate and update usury statutes.
  • Level the playing field so that intrastate lenders like community banks, local retailers, and credit unions are no


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IMF Prepares For Global Cataclysm, Expands Backup Rescue Facility By Half A Trillion For “Contribution To Global Financial Stability”

IMF Prepares For Global Cataclysm, Expands Backup Rescue Facility By Half A Trillion For "Contribution To Global Financial Stability"

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

And all the pundits thought that the IMF would be on the hook for just €10 billion… The IMF has just announced that it is expanding its New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) multilateral facility from its existing $50 billion by a whopping $500 billion (SDR333.5 billion), to $550 billion. The current lending participant group of 26 entities will be increased by 13 new members all of whom will contribute token amount of capital to the NAB. The one country most on the hook in the new and revised NAB – the United States of America, will provide over $105 billion in total commitments, or 20% of the total facility. The US is currently on the hook for just $10 billion, meaning its participation in global bail outs just increased by $95 billion. And the bulk of these bailouts will certainly be located across the Atlantic. What is most troublesome is the massive expansion of the NAR. If the IMF believes that over half a trillion in short-term funding is needed imminently, is all hell about to break loose.

Never one to present a realistic picture Dominique (or is that Mrs, Pisani?) Strauss-Khan said: "The expansion and enlargement of the NAB borrowing arrangements provides a very strong multilateral foundation for the Fund’s efforts in crisis prevention and resolution, as an essential back-stop to the Fund’s quota resources. This will help ensure that the Fund has access to adequate resources to help members that are vulnerable to financial crises."

If memory serves us right, the Fund’s current resources give it acces to about a third of a trillion, so as of today the IMF has recourse funding to just under a trillion. Something big must be coming.

Some more details on the NAB from the just released PR: 

The NAB is a standing set of credit arrangements under which participants commit resources to IMF lending when these are needed to supplement quota resources. The expanded NAB will become operational when it receives formal acceptances from the required proportion of current and potential participants, which will require legislative backing in some cases.

“The expansion of the NAB will make an important contribution to global financial stability, but it is not a substitute for a general


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Bearish Sentiment At 22-Year Low

Bearish Sentiment At 22-Year Low

Courtesy of Adam Sharp’s Bearish News

The latest sentiment reading by Investors Intelligence shows a disturbing trend. Only 15.6% of financial newsletters are currently bearish on equities.

Last time the bearish indicator was this low was April 1987. A few months later (Black Monday) the DJIA dropped 21% in a single day:

In other words – when everything seems peachy — watch out. Turns out that peaks and troughs in investor sentiment are pretty good contra-indicators. Bullish sentiment tends to peak as bubbles are near their top, and vice versa.

From the revamped and newly Bloombergesque Business Week:

Bull standing on pile of coins, snorting

Pessimism about U.S. stocks among newsletter writers fell to the lowest level since April 1987, six months before the equity market crash known as Black Monday, following the biggest rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in seven decades.

The proportion of bearish publications among about 140 tracked by Investors Intelligence fell to 15.6 percent yesterday from 16.7 percent a week earlier. Sentiment has improved since October 2008, when the financial crisis drove the figure to a 14-year high of 54.4 percent. After plunging 38 percent in 2008, the S&P 500 has risen 25 percent this year.

This is not to say markets wont’ run again in 2010. Irrational bull markets can last much longer than you’d think. The momentum they build up is impossible to fight. Gotta wait for that to break before getting seriously short. Example – After the bearish-sentiment index bottomed in 1987, the market rallied another 14% before crashing.

Smart investors like Bill Fleckenstein have been highlighting the credit bubble since the mid-1990’s. And today markets are more irrational than ever. Government intervention is preventing market cycles from proceeding like never before.

Industries like housing, banking, and commercial real estate have become completely dependent on government support. Their future (and that of our currency) depend on whether our leaders will extend or end this support. It’s a ludicrous, manipulated market.

So far America’s leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they have zero tolerance for economic pain. Their support for the financial markets seems unlimited, no matter the long-term cost. I don’t see that changing without something drastic hapenning – another huge round of bailouts, a shift in the political landscape, or something…
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An Independent Look into JP Morgan

An Independent Look into JP Morgan

Reggie MiddletonCourtesy of Reggie Middleton’s Boom Bust Blog

The JP Morgan forensic preview is now available. Remember, this is not subscription material, but a "public preview" of the material to come. I thought non-subscribers would be interested in knowing what my opinion of the country’s most respected bank was. There is some interesting stuff here, and the subscription analysis will have even more (in terms of data, analysis and valuation). As we have all been aware, the markets have been totally ignoring valuation for about two quarters now. It remains to be seen how long that continues.

Click graph to enlarge

image001.png, JP Morgan Notional Derivatives

Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM’s derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008).

JP Morgan cartoonWe all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don’t we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know  who". Now, I am not saying JPM is about to collapse, since it is one of the anointed ones chosen by the government and guaranteed not to fail – unlike Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and it is (after all) investment grade rated. Who would you put your faith in, the big ratings agencies or your favorite blogger? Then again, if it acts like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is it a chicken??? I’ll leave the rest up for my readers to decide. 

This public preview is the culmination of several investigative posts that I have made that have led me to look more closely into the big money center banks. It all started with a hunch that JPM wasn’t…
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Geithner, Kohn, (barf) Kneale, Banking and More

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Geithner, Kohn, (barf) Kneale, Banking and More

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker


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How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

Courtesy of Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario

How To Buy Friends And Alienate People

banks alienating peopleThe banking industry is exceeding all expectations.  The biggest players are raking in profits and planning much higher compensation so far this year, on the back of increased market share (wouldn’t you like two of your major competitors to go out of business?).  And banks in general are managing to project widely a completely negative attitude towards all attempts to protect consumers.

This is a dangerous combination for the industry, yet it is not being handled well.  Just look at the current strategy of the American Bankers’ Association.

Edward L. Yingling is justifiably proud of his organization’s postion as one of the country’s most powerful lobbies

His testimony to Congress on the potential new Consumer Financial Protection Agency plainly shows where his group stands.  The most revealing quote, highlighted in the ABA’s own press release, reads:

“It is now widely understood that the current economic situation originated primarily in the largely unregulated non-bank sector,” he said. “Banks watched as mortgage brokers and others made loans to consumers that a good banker just would not make and they now face the prospect of another burdensome layer of regulation aimed primarily at their less-regulated or unregulated competitors. It is simply unfair to inflict another burden on these banks that had nothing to do with the problems that were created.”

The premise here is false.  If major banks had really not been involved in the mortgage fiasco, we would not have had to roughly double our national debt-to-GDP in order to save the US and world economy.

Within the banking community, and presumably within the ABA’s membership, there is serious tension.  The small banks feel – overall with some justification – that the essence of the recent problem was not about them.  But they can’t bring themselves to suggest publicly that the economic and political power of the largest banks should be curtailed.

Small banks have always had clout in the American political system, particularly when they work through the Senate.  But we have not always had our current kind of crisis.  The executives of these banks lived comfortably in the 1950s and 1960s; their kind of banking was boring, stable, and nicely remunerated.

It is the changing nature and power of the largest financial institutions – banks of various kinds – that has damaged our
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Phil's Favorites

Phil on MoneyTalk

 

MoneyTalk: Why markets aren't rattled by Trump's troubles

President Donald Trump has stirred up controversy around the world after meeting with NATO allies and Russia's Vladimir Putin. Yet, U.S. markets are still not far off their record highs. Phil Davis, options strategist and founder of philstockworld.com weighs in on how he's playing the market with options.

[In the next clip], Phil Davis discusses his trade strategy and how options can be used in the current market conditions.

...

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Zero Hedge

California Supreme Court Blocks Proposal To Split Up State From November Ballot

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The California Supreme Court has shot down a measure that would have allowed Californians to vote on whether the state should be divided into three smaller states, dealing a serious setback to Venture Capitalist (and Elizabeth Holmes superfan) Tim Draper, who has insisted that the state is "ungovernable" in its current form and spearheaded a campaign to split it up.

The Court on Wednesday sided with an environmental group that had challenged the ballot measure, arguing that the reforms demanded by the ballot measure were "...



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Insider Scoop

Comcast Ends Pursuit Of Fox Assets, Will Focus On Sky

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related CMCSA 'Convergence' Is Key: Credit Suisse Weighs In On The Telecom And Media Sector Raymond James: AT&T To Suffer Extend...

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Digital Currencies

Citadel CEO Says Bitcoin Still A "Head Scratcher" But Billionaire Lasry Sees $40,000 Soon

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Ken Griffin, the CEO and founder of the Citadel hedge fund, has reiterated his negative stance on Bitcoin (BTC) in an interview with CNBC this morning.

Speaking at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York, ...



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Chart School

S&P Firms Breakout As Tech Keep The Pressure On

Courtesy of Declan.

Given overnight news and Netflix disappointment I was surprised to see markets finish as strong as they did given comments on the economy by the Fed Chairman.

The S&P opened at support and 'engulfed' the prior day's trading; it's not a true bullish engulfing pattern as this is a reversal pattern and what we have is a breakout but it does contribute to a confirmation of the breakout.


The Dow Jones is inching towards channel resistance. In the context of other indices, it was a low key day...

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Biotech

How summer and diet damage your DNA, and what you can do

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

How summer and diet damage your DNA, and what you can do

Bright sun and fatty foods are a bad recipe for your DNA. By Tish1/shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Adam Barsouk, University of Pittsburgh

Today, your body will accumulate quadrillions of new injuries in your DNA. The constant onslaught of many forms of damage, some of which permanently...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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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

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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