Posts Tagged ‘bubble’

Meet the Bialystock & Bloom of the Mortgage Meltdown

Meet the Bialystock & Bloom of the Mortgage Meltdown

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker

This is an incredible story.  I recommend you find the time this weekend to read the entire article (Pro Publica) about how hedge fund Magnetar figured out a way to invest in and even help create some of the most horrid debt bombs of the credit bubble era.

Like Broadway’s scheming Bialystock & Bloom (The Producers), Magnetar figured out a way to ensure the collapse of their own product – and to profit immensely from these failures in a self-funded, diabolical way.

The slant of the article is that had they been stopped, the bubble/ crisis would’ve been over and done with earlier and easier – but that’s debatable.

Have at it and prepare to lose a bit more of your innocence…

In late 2005, the booming U.S. housing market seemed to be slowing. The Federal Reserve had begun raising interest rates. Subprime mortgage company shares were falling. Investors began to balk at buying complex mortgage securities. The housing bubble, which had propelled a historic growth in home prices, seemed poised to deflate. And if it had, the great financial crisis of 2008, which produced the Great Recession of 2008-09, might have come sooner and been less severe.

At just that moment, a few savvy financial engineers at a suburban Chicago hedge fund helped revive the Wall Street money machine, spawning billions of dollars of securities ultimately backed by home mortgages.

Read on below:

The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going by Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein (ProPublica) 

***** 

The End Of The Innocence


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10 Signs of Speculative Mania in China

10 Signs of Speculative Mania in China

China Plans New Energy Strategy

Courtesy of Mish 

Inquiring minds are reading a GMO white paper on China’s Red Flags

In the aftermath of the credit crunch, the outlook for most developed economies appears pretty bleak. Households need to deleverage. Western governments will have to tighten their purse strings. Faced with such grim prospects at home, many investors are turning their attention toward China. It’s easy to see why they are excited. China combines size – 1.3 billion inhabitants – with tremendous growth prospects. Current income per capita is roughly one-tenth of U.S. levels. The People’s Republic also has a great track record. Over the past thirty years, China’s Gross Domestic Product has increased sixteen-fold.

So what’s the catch? The trouble is that China today exhibits many of the characteristics of great speculative manias. The aim of this paper is to describe the common features of some of the great historical bubbles and outline China’s current vulnerability.

Past manias and financial crises have shared many common characteristics. Below is an attempt to list ten aspects of great bubbles over the past three centuries.

1. Great investment debacles generally start out with a compelling growth story. This may be attached to some revolutionary new technology, such as railways in the nineteenth century, radio in the 1920s, or more recently the Internet. Even when the new technology is for real, prospective rates of growth may beexaggerated. Early growth spurts are commonly extrapolated into the distant future. ….

2. A blind faith in the competence of the authorities is another typical feature of a classic mania. In the 1920s, investors believed that the recently established Federal Reserve had brought an end to “boom and bust.” A similar argument was trotted out in the mid-1990s when it was widely believed that the Greenspan Fed had succeeded in taming the business cycle. The “New Paradigm” disappeared in the bear market of the new millennium. It was soon replaced with the “Great Moderation” thesis of Ben Bernanke, which suggested that high levels of mortgage debt made sense because monetary policymaking was so vastly improved. …

Three purple tulips overhanging from vase, elevated view, close up, studio shot

3. A general increase in investment is another leading indicator of financial distress. Capital is generally misspent during periods of euphoria. Only during the bust does the extent of the misallocation become clear. As the nineteenth century economist John Mills


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China: the coming costs of a superbubble

China: the coming costs of a superbubble

Courtesy of Vitaliy N. Katsenelson writing in the Christian Science Monitor 

Construction continues on the site of the World Expo in Shanghai

The world looks at China with envy. China’s economy grew 8.7 percent last year, while the world economy contracted by 2.2 percent. It seems that Chinese “Confucian capitalism” – a market economy powered by 1.3 billion people and guided by an authoritarian regime that can pull levers at will – is superior to our touchy-feely democracy and capitalism. But the grass on China’s side of the fence is not as green as it appears. 

In fact, China’s defiance of the global recession is not a miracle – it’s a superbubble. When it deflates, it will spell big trouble for all of us. 

To understand the Chinese economy, consider three distinct periods: “Late-stage growth obesity” (the decade prior to 2008); “You lie!” (the time of the financial crisis); and finally,  “Steroids ’R’ Us” (from the end of the financial crisis to today).

Late-stage growth obesity

About a decade ago, the Chinese government chose a policy of growth at any cost. China’s leaders see strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth not just as bragging rights, but as essential for political survival and national stability. 

Because China lacks the social safety net of the developed world, unemployed people aren’t just inconvenienced by the loss of their jobs, they starve; and hungry people don’t complain, they riot and cause political unrest. 

Continue reading here.>>

See also: China’s Red Flags - A White Paper by GMO’s Edward Chancellor. H/tip Zero Hedge. 


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Richmond Fed: "Bubble? What Bubble?"

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

The latest out of the Richmond Fed is a joke of a paper that while analyzing the possibility that the entire stock market and dollar carry trade is one zero cost of capital-funded bubble, skips over this possibility and instead goes on to analyze the "factors that could contribute to a fundamentals-based explanation for the recent rally in certain risky asset markets." Spoiler alert: No bubble – it’s all based in sound reality.

In what is likely a first, the Fed quotes Nouriel Roubini:

 The near zero nominal interest rate in the United States, jointly with the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet, have created resources available to be lent. Some investors have taken advantage of those resources by borrowing in dollars at very low rates and investing in foreign assets, especially in emerging economies and commodities. The expected profits from this investment strategy have been magnified by the expectation of a weaker dollar: Once it comes time to pay off the dollar-denominated loans, the investors can repay them using dollars that are worth relatively less. In turn, this trading strategy – referred to as “shorting” the dollar – has itself contributed to the decline in the value of the dollar since investors must exchange dollars to purchase foreign-denominated assets.

In explaining what Roubini means to his intellectually subprime colleagues, Richmond Fed analyst Renne Courtois provides this enlightening narrative:

The argument of Roubini and others is that this represents a bubble because the emerging markets and commodities rallies are fueled by easy money and the carry trade, rather than economic fundamentals. Under this view, several likely factors could cause this asset bubble to burst. After appreciating during the height of the financial crisis, the dollar steadily declined for most of 2009 but eventually will likely stabilize at some point. Stabilization of the dollar would reduce returns for investors with short dollar positions. Additionally, economic recovery in the United States will raise expectations of an interest rate increase. This would cause the dollar to appreciate (since higher interest rates raise the expected return of dollar-denominated assets, all else equal), and thus cause significant losses for investors short on the dollar.

The Richmond Fed goes as far as refuting Bernanke’s recent claim that low interest rates have never, NEVER, been responsible for this arcane concept known…
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GURU OUTLOOK: FELIX ZULAUF & THE SECULAR BEAR MARKET

GURU OUTLOOK: FELIX ZULAUF & THE SECULAR BEAR MARKET

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

guruThis week’s Guru Outlook brings us the brilliance of Felix Zulauf.  Zulauf is the founder of Zulauf Asset Management based in Switzerland and is well known for his appearances in Barron’s annual roundtable.   Zulauf has nailed the secular bear market downturn and 2009 upturn about as well as anyone.  More importantly, he has been nearly flawless in connecting the dots in the macro picture.  From the de-leveraging cycle that led to the downturn to the government stimulus that led to the upturn – Zulauf has been remarkably prescient.

At the 2008 roundtable Zulauf recommended investors purchase gold and short stocks due to concerns with the consumer.  He remained bearish throughout the year.  At the 2009 roundtable Zulauf said stocks would bottom at some point in the second quarter after making a new 2009 low.  He got aggressive and said stocks would rally after that.  His recommendations to purchase oil, gold and emerging markets were home runs.

Zulauf’s macro outlook hasn’t changed all that much.  He still believes the de-leveraging bear market cycle is with us and that we’re in the early stages.  Zulauf sees a number of similarities with Japan and says the consumer is in the process of long-term balance sheet repair:

“we are in the early stages of a deleveraging process, which is marked by a shift from maximizing profits to minimizing debt. It is a multiyear process. The U.S. consumer is in bad shape, and the U.K. consumer is even worse.”

But Zulauf hasn’t turned bearish in the short-term yet.  He says the markets have another 10% of upside before concerns over the end of the stimulus begin to weigh on the markets:

“Central bankers themselves are somewhat afraid of what they have been doing. Politicians are worried about public-sector debt. Therefore, the authorities will try to step away slowly from their stimulation efforts, because this policy isn’t sustainable. That’s the risk for the markets.  The U.S. stock market has enough momentum to rise another 10% or so. But the authorities will start leaning the other way as they see signs of economic growth in the first two quarters, and possibly a jump in inflation. That could push the market down.”


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Of Course Chinese Real Estate is a Bubble. Grow Up.

Of Course Chinese Real Estate is a Bubble. Grow Up.

Courtesy of The Reformed Broker, Joshua M Brown

china, real estate bubble

Hey amnesiacs, I’ll help you out with your willful blindness re: speculative manias…

There IS, in fact, a property bubble in China, it is utterly undeniable.  Close your eyes and repeat this phrase however many times it takes until you are able to sober up:

THIS TIME IT IS NOT DIFFERENT.

Teenage Girl with Bubbles

OK, hopefully, you will have cleared your mind enough to focus on the real question.  We should not concern ourselves with disproving the obvious.  Instead, we should be more focused on what the inevitable bursting of that bubble will mean for China’s economy and then by extension, everyone else’s.

In short, yes there is a bubble, but what will it mean when it pops?

First, I’ll address the pussyfooting around going on in the blogosphere.  I’ll throw some factoids at you, you tell me it doesn’t read like a Dubai article from 2008 or a Malibu story from 2005 or (brace yo self) a report from Japan circa 1989.

  • In Tianjin, a city two hours from Beijing, a developer is starting work on a vast project of luxury villas, built in clusters named after continents, which form the shape of a world map. (FT)
  • Overinvestment – Total fixed investment jumped to an estimated 47% of GDP last year—ten points more than in Japan at its peak…in most developed countries it accounts for around 20% of GDP. (Economist)
  • (There is a) 7-star hotel and indoor ski slope that are also part of the plans. (FT)
  • Prices of new apartments in Beijing and Shanghai leapt by 50-60% during 2009. (Economist)

I could go on and on forever; we could talk about the overbuilding of Macau’s Cotai Strip, the fact that Chinese citizens are referring to themselves as "mortgage slaves" during protests, the massive overcapacity in the industrial sector, the things that college students are doing to afford housing and the gold rush of foreign money coming in to play the build-and-flip game…but you already know this stuff is going on.

Now of course, there are writers and analysts all over the world who will use increasingly arcane stats to obscure the mania and justify valuations.  They will also try to bend your perception of…
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China

So is China the next best thing since sliced bread, or another bubble in the baking?

Contrarian Investor Sees Economic Crash in China

By DAVID BARBOZA, NY Times

Heavy Snow Fall Causes Disruption In Beijing

SHANGHAI — James S. Chanos built one of the largest fortunes on Wall Street by foreseeing the collapse of Enron and other highflying companies whose stories were too good to be true.

Now Mr. Chanos, a wealthy hedge fund investor, is working to bust the myth of the biggest conglomerate of all: China Inc.

As most of the world bets on China to help lift the global economy out of recession, Mr. Chanos is warning that China’s hyperstimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that most economists predict. Its surging real estate sector, buoyed by a flood of speculative capital, looks like “Dubai times 1,000 — or worse,” he frets. He even suspects that Beijing is cooking its books, faking, among other things, its eye-popping growth rates of more than 8 percent.

“Bubbles are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation excesses,” he said in a recent appearance on CNBC. “And there’s no bigger credit excess than in China.”… continue here.>>

See also

Zero Hedge’s China Begins Liquidity Tightening, As Bubble Threat Looms

While the domestic money printing syndicate refuses to accept the glaring reality that endless money printing causes unavoidable hyperinflation (the only question being when), China has decided it is time to start closing the spigot. Bloomberg reports that, "China’s central bank began to roll back its monetary stimulus for an economy poised to become the world’s second-biggest this year, seeking to reduce the danger of asset-price inflation after a record surge in credit. The People’s Bank of China yesterday sold three-month bills at a higher interest rate for the first time in 19 weeks." Ah the benefits of a planned economy: controlling the supply and the demand at the same time. And further, being pegged to the dollar, China receives all the secondary benefits of the Chairman’s endless dollar printing. Ain’t life grand in Beijing…

 “It’s a signal toward the commercial banks, because the commercial banks allocate their lending at the


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THE 5 REASONS GOLD IS IN A BUBBLE AND AT RISK OF SIGNIFICANT CORRECTION

THE 5 REASONS GOLD IS IN A BUBBLE AND AT RISK OF SIGNIFICANT CORRECTION

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Chimu Mask (gold) Peru

Nouriel Roubini recently published a report claiming that gold is now in a bubble and at significant risk of a major correction (an opinion I had when gold was 10% higher and continue to maintain).  He says the bubble is being driven by 5 primary factors:

  • Inflation concerns are driving up gold prices as monetary policy exacerbates fears over the dollar.
  • A “massive wall of liquidity” is chasing asset prices.
  • The carry trade and diversification out of the USD.
  • Global supply of gold can’t keep pace with rising demand.
  • Sovereign risk is again on the rise.

While these powerful trends are widely considered to continue in 2010 (and help boost gold prices further) Roubini is less optimistic.  He sees 5 substantial risks that will keep gold from reaching the $2,000 price target many analysts (see the bullish outlook for gold here) and goldbugs have attached to the yellow metal:

  • An unwind in the carry trade would be devastating for gold and the reflation trade.
  • Central banks will be forced to implement an exit strategy soon.
  • Any bout of economic weakness will send investors fleeing into dollars.
  • Investors are chasing performance and causing a bubble in gold. All bubbles crash and this bubble in gold will be no different.
  • Fifth, the effect of rising sovereign risk on gold prices is ambiguous, as the events of recent weeks suggest.

Roubini concludes that gold bugs are “wrong” to assume the price surge will continue.  He says gold has no intrinsic value and is therefore not rising on fundamentals.  Investors should be wary of chasing the yellow metal at this point.

Source: www.roubini.com

 


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Willem Buiter Apparently Does Not Like Gold, and Why

Jesse debates Willem H. Buiter on the subject of Gold. Willem H. Buiter is a Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics and Political Science, former chief economist of the EBRD, former member of the MPC, and adviser to international organisations, governments, central banks and private institutions. He writes the FT’s Maverecon blog. – Ilene

Willem Buiter Apparently Does Not Like Gold, and Why

goldCourtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Dr. Willem Buiter of the London School of Economics, and advisor to the Bank of England, has written a somewhat astonishing broadsheet attacking of all things, gold.

I have enjoyed his writing in the past. And although he does tend to cultivate and relish the aura of eccentric maverick, it is generally appealing, and his writing has been pertinent and reasoned, if unconventional. That is what makes this latest piece so unusual. It is a diatribe, more emotional than factual, with gaping holes in theoretical underpinnings and historical example.

I suspect that commodities such as oil and gold are giving many western economists with official ties to government monetary committees a stomach ache these days. Perhaps this is just another manifestation of statists and financial engineers facing the music, as illustrated by the second piece of news from Mr. Buiter on the US dollar, from earlier this year.

Here are relevant excerpts from his essay, with my own reactions in italics.

Financial Times
Gold – a six thousand year-old bubble

By Willem Buiter
November 8, 2009 6:02pm

"Gold is unlike any other commodity. It is costly to extract from the earth and to refine to a reasonable degree of purity. It is costly to store."

This is inherent to its rarity. It is desirable because it is scarce and useful, and this requires greater protection against theft or accident. Euro notes are far more costly to store than the paper and ink which is used to make them, at least for now.

"It has no remaining uses as a producer good – equivalent or superior alternatives exist for all its industrial uses."

This is an absolute howler to anyone who cares to look into industrial metallurgy. Gold is one of the most malleable and ductile of metals, with excellent conductive properties, slightly less than silver but better than copper, and it is remarkably resistant to oxidation. It does not tarnish.


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China is now on the same bubble path as Japan post-1987 crash

China is now on the same bubble path as Japan post-1987 crash

James Packer's 'City Of Dreams' Casino Opens In Macau

Courtesy of Credit Writedowns

This article by Peter Tasker, a well-regarded financial analyst in Asia, comes via the Financial Times (hat tip Marshall). He sees an enormous bubble forming in China – and parallels to Japan circa 1987:

Emerging markets, it seems, have had a good crisis. In contrast to the debt-ridden G7 economies, they have quickly resumed their growth trajectory. No surprise, then, that US emerging market mutual funds are experiencing record inflows. The stellar performance of the Brics markets – Brazil, Russia, Indian and China – is due to continue into the distant future.

Such is the narrative now forming among investors. To anyone who has lived through the rise and fall of the Japanese bubble economy, it should set off alarm bells.

Remember that it was in the years following the 1987 "Black Monday" crash that Japanese assets went from being expensive to absurdly overvalued and the Nikkei’s dizzy rise to 39,000 forced the bears to throw in the towel…

But what you saw was decidedly not what you got. The crisis, far from leaving Japan unscathed, exacerbated its structural problems and laid the groundwork for a far greater disaster…

Interest rates have been far too low for far too long. If the natural interest rate is, as the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell posited, around the level of nominal GDP growth, then China’s interest rates should have been close to 10 per cent for most of this decade. Alan Greenspan, former chief of the US Federal Reserve, has been criticised for holding interest rates too low and setting off a housing and credit bubble in the US. But if US monetary policy was wrong for the US, it was even more wrong for the high-growth countries that "imported" it. The result could only be a massive misallocation of capital…

At the 2008 peak, the price-to-book ratio of the Shanghai stock exchange was over seven times, well above the five times achieved by Japanese stocks in 1989. After the turbulence of the past 18 months, the ratio has fallen to 3.3 times, still the world’s second highest after India, and residential real estate trades at multiples of income that make the US housing boom look tame…

What is scary is that the current frothiness of emerging markets,


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Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX Index Hits Two 18-Year Support Lines, Creates Large Bullish Reversal

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Has the DAX index from Germany experience a large decline of late? Yes, it has!

Has the decline broken long-term rising support lines? Not so far!

This chart looks at the DAX index on a monthly basis over the past 25-years. Over the past 6-years, it has traded sideways inside of the blue rectangle at (1).

The decline this year saw the DAX hit two 18-year rising support lines at (2) last month, where a large bullish reversal took place.

Until broken, important support remains in play at (2), which is bullish for this key index....



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Zero Hedge

Aaand Its Gone... The Biggest Support For Asset Prices

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Since the passage of “tax cuts,” in late 2017, the surge in corporate share buybacks has become a point of much debate. I previously wrote that stock buybacks were setting records over the past couple of years. Jeffery Marc...



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Phil's Favorites

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

 

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

 

Here's how scientists are tracking the genetic evolution of COVID-19

Why do scientists care about mutations on the coronavirus? Alexandr Gnezdilov Light Painting

Niema Moshiri, University of California San Diego

When you hear the term “evolutionary tree,” you may think of Charles Darwin and the study of the relationships between different species over the span of millions of years.

While the concept of an “evolutionary tree” originated in Darwin’s “...



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ValueWalk

Activists demand revamp of anti-redlining law

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Over 100 California Community Organizations and Leaders Call for Banking Regulators to Stop Planned Revamp of Anti-Redlining Law during COVID19 Crisis

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Worker, Housing, and Small Business advocates call on all resources to be dedicated to saving lives and responding to Coronavirus

San Francisco--Amongst an unprecedented public health crisis that threatens hundreds of thousands of lives, as small businesses are shuttered across California and the nation, and as millions file for...



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Chart School

The Big Short movie guides us to what is next for the stock market

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There is nothing new in WallStreet, it is only the players that change. Sometimes a market player or an event gets ahead of the crowd and WallStreet has to play catch up.

Previous Post Dow 2020 Crash Watch Dow, Three strikes and your out!

It is important to understand major WallStreet players do not want to miss out on a money making moves.  







...

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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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The Technical Traders

Founder of TradersWorld Magazine Issued Special Report for Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Larry Jacobs owner and editor of TradersWorld magazine published a free special report with his top article and market forecast to his readers yesterday.

What is really exciting is that this forecast for all assets has played out exactly as expected from the stock market crash within his time window to the gold rally, and sharp sell-off. These forecasts have just gotten started the recent moves were only the first part of his price forecasts.

There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!

...

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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation

 

10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...



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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

 

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...



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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.