Posts Tagged ‘Banks’

Greek Sovereignty Massively Limited; You Cannot Roll Over What You Do Not Have; Railing Against the Truth; EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms

Courtesy of Mish

Jean-Claude Junker, the man who says "When it becomes serious, you have to lie", apparently has had a sudden splash of honesty, stating Greek sovereignty to be massively limited.

Greece faces severe restrictions on its sovereignty and must privatize state assets on a scale similar to the sell off of East German firms in the 1990s after communism fell, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited," he told Germany’s Focus magazine in the interview released on Sunday, adding that teams of experts from around the euro zone would heading to Greece.

"One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone," Juncker said.

Massive Loss of Sovereignty is an Insult

If I was Greek, I would take a statement regarding massive loss of sovereignty as an insult, not help. Thus, true to form, in aggregate, Juncker’s statements are a collective lie.

EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms 

Bloomberg reports EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms After Portugal Downgrade.

European policy makers lashed out at rating companies after Moody’s Investors Service cut Portugal’s debt to junk, reviving calls to curtail their clout.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the grip of the big three rating companies had to be broken when asked about Moody’s downgrade. “I have said before that we have to curb the influence of the rating agencies,” Schaeuble told reporters in Berlin today. There’s a need to “break up” the companies’ dominance, he said.

European Commission President Jose Barroso said he “deeply” regrets the timing and magnitude of Portugal’s downgrade by Moody’s and said proposals for increasing regulation of the rating companies in Europe would come out this year. The moves by Moody’s “do not provide for more clarity. They rather add another speculative element to the situation,” Barroso told reporters in Strasbourg today.

The commission, the European Union’s executive arm, “is looking into the regulation of rating agencies to determine whether there are some measures that need to be taken with regard to the prevention of possible conflicts of interest and other matters,” he said. “Developments since the sovereign- debt crisis show we need to take a further look at reinforcing our rules.”

Truth Not Appreciated

I agree with Schaeuble regarding the need to “break…
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Generations of Pork: How Greece’s Political Elite Ruined the Country

The latest tranche of loans from the EU and the IMF has helped buy debt-ridden Greece some time. But the Greeks will find it hard to get back on their feet. Their country has been ruined by three political dynasties, which created a bloated system of cronyism that is hard to change. By SPIEGEL Staff.

[...]

Regardless of whether it happens under Papandreou alone or with both politicians working together, if Greece starts economizing, it risks choking its own economy. "It’s like a cat chasing its own tail," says Greek economics professor Yanis Varoufakis.

Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff recently warned: "If they just continue with the European Union’s austerity program, they’re going to be in slow growth or recession as far as the eye can see, and at the end of the day they’re still going to default."

And it’s not as if Greece hasn’t already adopted austerity measures. Athens managed to cut its budget deficit from 15.4 percent of its gross domestic product to 10.6 percent last year, thanks to its first austerity package. The government made cutbacks in salaries, retirement funds and social benefits, among other things.

This austerity policy also caused 200,000 people to lose their jobs last year, with unemployment reaching an all-time high of 15 percent by late March.

With pay in the private sector also often falling by 10 to 20 percent, consumption likewise dropped by nearly 10 percent and the recession intensified. It’s a vicious circle. Since taxes need to increase and spending needs to decrease, the situation is likely only to get worse.

Full article here: Generations of Pork: How Greece’s Political Elite Ruined the Country – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International.


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The Extended Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man

Courtesy of Zero Hedge  

The book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins is easily one of the most engrossing pieces of non-fiction one can read to learn about the true drivers behind globalization, espionage, corporate cronyism, the emergence of such "artificial" organizations as the World Bank and the IMF, and most importantly, debt "enslavement", all as seen from an insider’s view. It explains in simple words why over the past 40 years the developing world paradigm has been exploited as heavily as it has, why the BRIC concept was instrumental as a Red Herring to perpetuating the myth of endless growth, and why credit must always flow no matter what to keep the status quo in power.

For those who have read the book, and for those who are on the fence about reading it, below we present the three part presentation by John Perkins at the 2006 Veterans for Peace National Convention in which he expounds on all the key ideas in his book, and does an extended Q&A covering topics not discussed previously. We urge everyone to spend at least a few minutes listening to Perkins who gives a unique and non-conflicted expert opinion on the primary force for why the the modern equivalent of enslavement is not by force, but by debt.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And for the truly time-constrained we recommend the following blurb which encapsulates the key elements from the book, and Perkins’ life.


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“The People Vs. Goldman Sachs” – Taibbi’s Magnum Opus

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

By Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone Magazine

The People vs. Goldman Sachs

They weren’t murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn’t leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

The great and powerful Oz of Wall Street was not the only target of Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse, the 650-page report just released by the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, alongside Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Their unusually scathing bipartisan report also includes case studies of Washington Mutual and Deutsche Bank, providing a panoramic portrait of a bubble era that produced the most destructive crime spree in our history — "a million fraud cases a year" is how one former regulator puts it. But the mountain of evidence collected against Goldman by Levin’s small, 15-desk office of investigators — details of gross, baldfaced fraud delivered up in such quantities as to almost serve as a kind of sarcastic challenge to the curiously impassive Justice Department — stands as the most important symbol of Wall Street’s aristocratic impunity and prosecutorial immunity produced since the crash of 2008.

To date, there has been only one successful prosecution of a financial big fish from the mortgage bubble, and that was Lee Farkas, a Florida lender who was just convicted on a smorgasbord of fraud charges and now faces life in prison. But Farkas, sadly, is just an exception proving the rule: Like Bernie Madoff, his comically excessive crime spree (which involved such lunacies as kiting checks to his own bank…
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Twilight of the Übermenschen

Courtesy of The Epicurean Dealmaker

Are you shooting at me?

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

Beware of the pursuit of the Superhuman: it leads to an indiscriminate contempt for the Human.

— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

* * *

Steven Davidoff opens a recent piece at The New York Times DealBook blog with the following words:

Reputation is dead on Wall Street.

This is powerful language. What does he mean?

Well, for one thing he means that the reputations of individual investment banks are no longer coterminous with the reputations of their executives and employees. He ascribes this to the tremendous growth in scale and complexity of financial markets over the past three decades:

Today’s Wall Street is not the Wall Street of 1907 when J.P. Morgan single-handedly used his reputation and wallet to stem a running financial panic.

Until the 1980s,… Wall Street was made up of traditional partnerships. These were small groups of investment bankers who represented companies in offering and selling securities and occasionally acquisitions. These bankers put their individual reputations on the line, because there were so few of them. Morgan Stanley, for example, had only 31 partners in 1970 and fewer than 1,000 employees.

But this began to change in the 1980s. Trading markets became much more sophisticated, and trading and brokerage became the investment banks’ primary business. This is a technology game. The better the technology, the better the trading and brokerage operation. Individuals became less important.

The growth of more complex capital markets and a global economy also created much larger financial institutions. Morgan Stanley now has more than 62,000 employees. These banks could use their assets and position to compete in the market for finance and trading. Again, individuals were less important as size dominated. A client now trades or does business with a bank based on its positions or ability to make a market or loan. The executive at the bank executing the transaction is unimportant.

In one respect, this is true. Lazard is no longer Felix Rohatyn. Goldman Sachs is no longer Sidney Weinberg. The


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Case Shiller’s Double Dip Has Come and Gone

Courtesy of Lee Adler at Wall Street Examiner

The S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices reported Tuesday are, as usual, so far behind the curve that not only did they miss the “double dip” that has come and gone, it will be at least July or August before it reports an apparent upturn in prices in March and April. S&P’s view of the data was dour. “There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing, ” said S&P’s David Blitzer. “The 20-City Composite is within a hair’s breadth of a double dip.”

There’s just one problem with that. Other price indicators that are not constructed with the Case Shiller’s large built in lag, passed the 2009-2010 low months ago. The FHFA (the Federal Agency that runs Fannie and Freddie) price index showed a low in March 2010 that was broken in June 2010 and never looked back. That index is now 5.6% below the March 2010 low. Zillow.com’s proprietary value model never even bounced. It shows a year over year decline of 8.2% as of February. Zillow’s listing price index shows a low of $200,000 in November 2009, followed by a flat period lasting 6 months. As of March 31, that index stood at $187,500, down 6.25% from the 2009-2010 low for data.

The Case Shiller Indices for February held slightly above the January level (not seasonally adjusted). I follow their 10 City Index due to its longer history. It was at 153.70 in February versus 152.70 in January. These levels are still above the low of 150.44 set in April 2009.

The Case Shiller index showed a recovery in prices in 2009-10 only because of the weird methodology it uses. Not only does it exclude the impact of distress sales that have been such a big part of the market, but it takes the average of 3 months of data instead of using just the most recent available month. The current data purports to represent prices as of February. In fact, it represents the average price for December, January, and February, with a time mid point of mid February. These are closed sales which generally represented contracts entered in mid to late November, on average. That means that the current Case Shiller index actually represents market conditions as of 5 months ago. Things can change in 5…
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SUPREME COURT RULES FED MUST RELEASE ALL BAILOUT DATA

Courtesy of The Daily Bail

Video – The Fed has 5 days to release all data.

March 21 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve must disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an industry appeal that aimed to shield the records from public view.  The justices today left intact a court order that gives the Fed five days to release the records, sought by Bloomberg.

A huge win for transparency.

Statement from Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News:

As a financial crisis developed in 2007, "The Federal Reserve forgot that it is the central bank for the people of the United States and not a private academy where decisions of great importance may be withheld from public scrutiny.  The Fed must be accountable to Congress, especially in disclosing what it does with the people’s money."

“The board will fully comply with the court’s decision and is preparing to make the information available,” said David Skidmore, a spokesman for the Fed.

The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed’s unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic.

“I can’t recall that the Fed was ever sued and forced to release information” in its 98-year history, said Allan H. Meltzer, the author of three books on the U.S central bank and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Continue reading at Bloomberg… 


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Enjoying Coffee in the Lodge with Jesse

THE BANKS MUST BE RESTRAINED, AND THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM REFORMED, WITH BALANCE RESTORED TO THE ECONOMY, BEFORE THERE CAN BE ANY SUSTAINED RECOVERY – Jesse 

Enjoying Coffee at the Lodge with Jesse 

By Ilene

coffee at the lodge with JesseI have long been a fan of Jesse’s Café Américain. Jesse is a brilliant writer and a deep thinker who uniquely transcends politics, easily seeing through lies and disinformation. He has a great feel for what really matters, and the courage to speak out about it.  Jesse and I have spoken before about the economy, markets and politics, and being at a crossroads once again, it was a perfect time to catch up. 

****

Ilene: Hi Jesse, since our last interview, I would guess that we’d both agree that nothing has been done to clean up the financial system – the banks and government interconnectedness, conflicts of interest, and out-and-out fraudulent activities.  Are things better or worse, or in line, with what you were expecting over a year ago?

Jesse: I think things are progressing in line with what I had expected, with the Fed and the government trying to prop up an unsustainable status quo by monetizing debt.  I am still a little shocked by the brazen manner in which the financial markets are being conducted and regulated, and the news is reported in the US. It is one thing to hold a theory that says something will happen, but it is quite another to see it actually happening, and so blatantly, almost without a word of protest.

Ilene: How do you view our financial system and the global financial system now, with no progress towards any kind of reform?

Jesse: The US is now being run by an oligarchy, with lip service being paid to the electorate in allowing the people to vote for the candidates that the parties and the powers will put forward.  There will be no recovery for the middle class until they assert themselves. I know I have stated this often in my tag phrase, “The banks must be restrained…” But it is the case.

There are areas of resistance to this trend on what one might call ‘the fringes of Empire,’ those client states which have been ruled by powerful cliques with the support and the protection of the US.  Although certainly not a great analogy, it does remind one of…
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Oh, So Allstate Wasn’t Just Sold Crap By ONE Bank?

Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker

banksOh hoh, and there were…. all of them?

In its complaint, Allstate alleges the defendants "made numerous misrepresentations and omissions regarding the riskiness and credit quality" of the loans backing the securities sold as part of the transaction. JPMorgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual — along with the banks’ assets — back in 2008 when the housing meltdown hit. While both firms are technically defunct, each still has structured finance trading platforms unwinding.

Same basic allegations in the last lawsuit.  Statistical sampling says "you intentionally hosed us."

In a land with an actual justice system by now there would be some people in "pound-me-in-the-ass" Federal Prison. Instead, we do the quaint lawsuit thing.

Incidentally, Matt’s at it again over at Rolling Stone.

"Everything’s ****ed up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That’s your whole story right there. Hell, you don’t even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."

I put down my notebook. "Just that?"

"That’s right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything’s ****ed up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

And until we, the people, demand that this change and enforce that demand with an Egypt-like protest, it won’t change, and you, dear reader, will keep getting screwed.

Right up until the debt bubble pops…. which it will.

And soon.

Pic credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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The Next Borrow-Short Lend-Long Guaranteed to Blow Up Bank Lending Scheme; Citigroup, Chase, Bank of America CD Ripoff

Courtesy of Mish

Borrow-short lend-long strategies have caused more pain and grief than nearly any play in the book. They are virtually guaranteed to blow up given enough time if the duration mismatch and leverage is too great.

For those who do not know what I am describing, a couple examples below will help explain. The first example is a look at "cost of funds" and guaranteed profits that banks can make. It is not a borrow-short lend-long strategy but will morph into such a scheme as I vary the parameters.

Citigroup CDs

Inquiring minds investigating Citigroup’s cost of funds note that Citigroup 5 year CDs yield a mere 1.5%. For this example, Citigroup’s cost of funds is 1.5%, the rate it pays depositors. Here are a few snips from Citi’s website.

Who said there are no guarantees in life?

Some things in life are a sure thing. Like a Citibank CD, which offers a guaranteed—and highly competitive—interest rate. You also get a wide range of terms, from 3 months to 5 years.

Guaranteed Ripoff

Citigroup has the gall to brag about "guarantees in life" when the "guarantee" in question is a complete ripoff. It’s a ripoff because 5-year US treasuries currently yield 2.35%.

Anyone buying CDs at less than the treasury yield rate is a fool.

Rates at Bank of America, Northern Trust, JPMorgan Chase

I will tie this together shortly, but first make note that the Northern Trust, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase offer even lower 5-Year CD rates.

Here are some rates courtesy of Bankrate.Com as of 2011-02-15.

According to Bankrate, national average for 5 year CDs is 1.61% and the rock bottom low is .95%. The site average is 1.98% and the top yielding 5-year CD yields 2.75%. Thus Citigroup’s claim of competitive rates is absurd.

Although Bank of America makes no such claims, its CD rate is priced so preposterously low, that Bank of America must not even want to deal with them. Alternatively, B of A has an incredibly large pool of moronic depositors begging to be ripped off.

Guaranteed Free Money

Anyone buying 5-year CDs from Citigroup, Bank of America, Northern Trust, or JPMorgan Chase is giving those banks a shot at guaranteed free money.

All those banks have to do is take that money and invest in 5-year US treasuries to have a guaranteed profit. Here are the reasons…
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Phil's Favorites

You're a Liar

 

You’re a Liar

Courtesy of 

Brendan Mullooly asked a bunch of people the following question:

What do you consider to be your biggest behavioral bias (as it pertains to investing or personal finance) and how do you work to control it?

My answer:

Hindsight bias was my biggest hurdle to overcome.

Hindsight bias makes one part of our brain lie to another part without even realizing it. The way I conquered my internal liar was to write down all of my trades and why I did them. Once every few weeks I would read what I wrote in order to check myself. If I knew Amazon was going higher, why di...



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Zero Hedge

China Is Spending Billions To Dethrone The U.S. In Race For The World's Fastest Supercomputer

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

China is currently in the midst of a multi-billion dollar investment cycle to upgrade its supercomputer infrastructure in a bid to pass the United States for fastest supercomputer in the world after the United States regained the title for fastest supercomputer in 2018, ending a five-year reign of Chinese dominance.

As SCMP notes, China had been first on the global Top 500 list of supercomputers sinc...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Germany Breakout Bullish For Stocks In The States!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

An important message to stocks in the states will come from Germany in the next few weeks!

This chart looks at the DAX index from Germany over the past 10-years. For the majority of the past 6-years, the DAX has remained inside of rising channel (1). The 2018 decline saw the DAX hit support where a 1-year counter-trend rally started.

Over the past year, the DAX has created a new falling channel (2). It is now testing the top of this falling channel and the lows of last February at (3).

For most of last year, the DAX created a bearish divergence with the...



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ValueWalk

Pension Flows Add 5 More Years To Credit Boom/Bust Cycle

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The pension crisis has been capturing headlines for years, but there’s another layer to the pension issue that’s starting to draw attention to itself. Public pension funds have shown an increasing appetite for credit and related holdings, the latest round of pension flows demonstrates that this trend continues One analyst believes pensions are largely to blame for the extremes of the boom/ bust cycles we’ve seen over the last year or so. He now suggests that the equity bull market could last another five years—thanks to the extremes driven by pension funds.

...

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Insider Scoop

Needham: Facebook No Longer A Buy Amid A 'Negative Network Effect'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The bullish case for Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB)'s stock has come to an end, according to Needham.

The Analyst

Needham's Laura Martin downgraded Facebook from Buy to Hold with no price target.

The Thesis

Needham's multi-year bullish stance on Facebook's stock can no longer be justified for three key reasons, Martin said in a research report. These include:

  1. A negative potent...


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Biotech

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

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

 

Marijuana is a lot more than just THC - a pharmacologist looks at the untapped healing compounds

Assorted cannabis bud strains. Roxana Gonzalez/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James David Adams, University of Southern California

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states as of November 2018. Yet the federal government still insists marijuana has no legal u...



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Chart School

Wyckoff Price Thrust Measure

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Richard Wyckoff said in his last days as an educator,'follow the waves'. And an important measure of those waves is the 'thrust'. The thrust of price into new ground, considering price and volume support or lack of it. The price wave thrust is clear visual presentation of the composite man demand or supply characteristics: strong, mild, weak or confused. 

readtheticker.com favored trend tool named RTTTrendStatus sister indicator RTTTrendThrust shows off Wykcoff measure of price thrust. RTTTrendThrust can be used to assist mechanical trading systems...

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Digital Currencies

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

 

Facebook's cryptocurrency: a financial expert breaks it down

Grejak/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alistair Milne, Loughborough University

Facebook is reportedly preparing to launch its own version of Bitcoin, for use in its messaging applications, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Could this “Facecoin” be the long-awaited breakthrough by a global technology giant into the lucrative market for retail financial services? Or will...



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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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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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