Posts Tagged ‘David Einhorn’

A Reporter’s Notepad: My Almost Book On The Blame-Shifters

A Reporter’s Notepad: My Almost Book On The Blame-Shifters

Courtesy of Roddy Boyd, THE FINANCIAL INVESTIGATOR

Shadow Of Woman Writing

Editor’s Note: There is perhaps nothing so silly and attention-seeking as the reporter who willingly inserts him- or herself into a story for some narrative purpose or other, but I am going to make a (big) and one-time exception to this rule by posting this.

The backstory: Prior to committing to a book on AIG and its collapse, I had begun to pitch a book called “Shifting The Blame.”

The idea was simplicity itself: I’d take about eight or nine companies–from Overstock to Lehman, from Arthrocare to MBIA–who had hit the skids and who had, at some point, blamed some combination of reporters and short-sellers for their woes. As opposed to, say, embellishing their financials, lying, losing money, hiding losses, incompetence…you take the point. My goal was to fuse investigative reporting and the naturally dramatic arc of their sleazy behavior and comeuppances to make for an eye-opening read. I’d raise a few eyebrows, get some laughs, maybe make a deeper point about free speech, investigative reporting and the real scandals in the market.

My agent, summoning me to a breakfast one Saturday, said she loved the idea but, well, there was another book coming out by a fellow named Rick Sauer and it was going to hit on a few of the same themes. I lamely tried to suggest that Sauer’s book was an “Inside-the-SEC guy-turned-shortseller” type thing, where as my work was a series of inter-connected investigative essays.

No matter. The market is the market and the market didn’t, apparently, want two of these books. So I scrapped it.

This was the preface to the book, telling a story about an earnest PR guy who had the unenviable job of spinning a discredited yarn into gold for his revenge-hungry clients. I found it in a musty corner of the hard-drive and showed it to a few pretty smart former colleagues of mine who said they liked it.

I sort of do too. It’s dated, but like a hiss on an old record album, it gives it some gravity. Maybe.

The origin of this book lies with a series of phone conversations between myself and Jeffrey Lloyd, a partner at the public relations firm of Sitrick and Company, in the early autumn of 2008.

Lloyd, a courteous…
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SEC Crazy Talk

SEC Crazy Talk

By Gary Weiss, Portfolio.com

Sam Antar is an unlikely whistleblower: a convicted felon who went to jail for his role in the Crazy Eddie stock scandal and now spends his time fighting securities fraud. He says the SEC has been giving him—and other whistleblowers—a hard time.

A couple of weeks ago, a man from New York by the name of Sam Antar forwarded a zip drive to the Securities and Exchange Commission containing 37,000 documents that regulators wanted to see—a quarter of a million pages in all. “Just to open each file,” he told me, “I calculated that at a rate of two files a minute, it would take an SEC investigator, working seven hours a day, eight weeks to get through them all.”

Antar spent weeks fighting the agency over this, but eventually he decided the legal expenses of fighting it in court would be too crushing. It’s hard to be too sympathetic with Antar at first blush. When the SEC wants documents, it should get them, right? After all, everyone wants a vigorous, crime-fighting SEC. But in this case, the commission wasn’t targeting adversaries, but allies.

And that’s just one of the reasons why this probe smacks of the SEC’s infamous persecution of David Einhorn—a short-seller who was targeted rather than a company that he believed was engaged in improper practices, which the SEC eventually sanctioned. This is the kind of thing that has gotten me to increasingly wonder: What in heaven’s name is the SEC thinking? Is it completely out to lunch?

[...]

What makes this all even worse than the Einhorn mess is that the SEC is probing the two men’s contacts with those two Dow Jones reporters. That can’t help but have a chilling effect on the ability of the financial press to do its job. The agency has rules strictly limiting subpoenas to the media. Similar rules are needed to keep it from engaging in fishing expeditions aimed at people talking to the press.

Full article here.>


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TALKING OURSELVES OFF THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF

TALKING OURSELVES OFF THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Yesterday’s WSJ MarketBeat blog took David Einhorn to task for his op-ed in the NY Times titled “Easy Money, Hard Truths“.  They make the argument that Einhorn is simply pushing his massive gold position.  I fear Einhorn is doing something much worse – helping to scare us all into continued recession.

First off, I have no problem when someone talks their book.  In fact, I almost prefer for people to talk their book.  There’s a certain trust in someone who is willing to “put their money where their mouth is”.  It’s the primary reason why I believe the hedge fund business is such a wonderful advancement beyond traditional mutual funds – the manager’s interests are generally aligned with those of the investor.  If you can find a manager who is not only intelligent, but has a sound moral compass you’ve wandered upon quite a gem.  From all accounts David Einhorn appears to fit the mold.  But I take very serious issue with his recent comments which I believe are filled with half-truths and propaganda that we continually hear from the inflationistas (all of whom have been terribly wrong thus far in terms of their macroeconomic outlook) who are driving the country towards the edge of the cliff.

Einhorn is a great investor and clearly a brilliant man, but for two years I have watched policymakers and fear mongerers misdiagnose the problems that we confront and this is, in my opinion, why we are still wrangling with these issues. In 2008 I wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve saying that this was a classic “balance sheet recession” with problems rooted in the private sector – specifically the consumer.  I told them that saving banks was not the solution and that monetary policy would prove as fruitless in the U.S. as it has in Japan.  I was shocked to receive a friendly response to my letter but not shocked to see Mr. Bernanke implement his Friedman-like monetarist campaign of “saving the world”.  Obviously it hasn’t worked (unless you’re a banker) as we sit here two years later still discussing this wretched credit crisis and the ranks of the unemployed continue to climb.  If we cannot properly diagnose the problems we cannot find a proper cure.  Thus far, we have failed.…
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But, You Sputtered, I’m Just A Hack….

But, You Sputtered, I’m Just A Hack….

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

That is, with all my pesky math and charts like this:

Remember that I’ve been preaching for a while that we embedded a roughly $500-600 billion structural deficit into the economy post-2000?  And that now, in response to this recession (and in a refusal to admit that we have been playing credit drunk) we’ve now embedded a roughly 10% structural deficit – three times the former?

Before you consider me a chucklehead for having the temerity to look at the math you might take it up with the BIS - the Bank of International Settlements, or the "bankers’ bank" – which agrees with me:

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the United States’ structural deficit — the amount of our deficit adjusted for the economic cycle — has increased from 3.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2007 to 9.2 percent in 2010.

Gee, you mean they looked at the same chart I’ve been preaching from? 

This stuff isn’t hard folks!

Now Einhorn of Greenlight Capital, a rather-well-known hedge fund manager, is sounding off.  He said:

A good percentage of the structural increase in the deficit is because last year’s “stimulus” was not stimulus in the traditional sense. Rather than a one-time injection of spending to replace a cyclical reduction in private demand, the vast majority of the stimulus has been a permanent increase in the base level of government spending — including spending on federal jobs.

Yep.

This is exactly what I’ve been saying now since this mess began and the "response" became clear: Government didn’t "stimulate", it instead built in structural deficits – just as it did in 2003.

But you can read David’s missive any time you’d like, or the BIS’.

The key question is why would the government take such a step?

Some would claim that it was about trying to exert more control over the economy, as of there is some sort of grand conspiracy extant to take every piece of control you have over your life and transfer it to government.

I’m a bit more realistic in my assessment – and less conspiratorial.

Government did this because it was the only way to avoid having to admit that we have too much debt in the…
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THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Nothing would derail the Fed’s great reflation/recovery experiment like higher interest rates.  Several notable investors including David Einhorn (see Einhorn’s thoughts here) and Julian Robertson (see Robertson’s thoughts here), have expressed their concerns over the potential for higher interest rates.  The great Richard Russell of the Dow Theory Letters has long feared a spike in interest rates.  In a recent note he explained that the end of quantitative easing has bond investors worried over the future of interest rates.  Russell believes higher rates are the next big move in the bond market:

“Older subscribers may remember that I said that the Fed could continue its “quantitative easing” (printing money) until the bond market says it can’t. Below is a daily chart of the 30-year Treasury bond. The bond market doesn’t like what it sees. I view the pattern on this chart as a huge, down-slanting head-and-shoulder top with the bond sitting right on support. The bond appears weak, and if support is violated, interest rates will be heading higher. And that’s the last thing the Fed wants at this time.” 

0 THE ONE CHART THAT SCARES RICHARD RUSSELL

Source: Dow Theory Letters 


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GURU OUTLOOK: DAVID EINHORN IS VERY WORRIED ABOUT THE DEBTS

GURU OUTLOOK: DAVID EINHORN IS VERY WORRIED ABOUT THE DEBTS

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

David Einhorn became a household name last year when he attacked Lehman Brothers (among other companies) for their poor financial condition.  He very publicly shorted the stock ahead of the firm’s implosion.  This didn’t help Einhorn from losing money for the first time in his career, however.  His firm’s flagship fund finished the year down 22.7% in 2008.  It looks bad at first glance, but this was just half of the losses the S&P 500 experienced last year.  He has since recouped all of the losses this year.  Einhorn is famous for his 2006 18th place finish in the World Series of Poker and has proven over the last 13 years to be one of the best risk managers on Wall Street.  So what does Einhorn like now?  Let’s take a look.

Einhorn is increasingly concerned about the debts in the financial system.  Einhorn had some very interesting comments earlier this year regarding gold, which has become one of Greenlight’s favorite positions.  He isn’t a goldbug, but Einhorn is growing increasingly concerned about the future of fiat currencies due to irresponsible monetary and fiscal policies.  Einhorn has very little faith in the Fed to print us back to prosperity.  The following is an excerpt from his 2008 year-end letter:

We never thought we would ever buy gold or gold stocks.   David’s grandfather Benjamin was a goldbug.   From the time David was ten, Grandpa Ben took every opportunity to tell David  about  the  problems  with  fiat  currencies  and  the  coming  inflation  and  advised  that the only sensible thing to do was to buy gold and gold stocks.  And, for the last thirty years of his life, that is what Grandpa Ben did.   And it was a lousy investment.   Being a patient investor is one thing.  Being “wrong” for three decades is quite another. To everyone’s dismay, we believe that some of Grandpa Ben’s predictions are playing out. Our  current  chairman  of  the  Federal  Reserve,  Ben  Bernanke,  is  an  “inflationist.”   When times  were  good,  he  supported  an  easy  money  policy.   Even  when  the  Fed  raised  rates, Bernanke  took  great  pains  to  give  the  markets  many  warnings  to  insure  that  the  higher rates  wouldn’t  break  up 


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Did The Markit Group, A Black-Box Company Partially Owned By Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Devastate Markets?

The Markit Group: A Black-Box Company that Devastated Markets

markitCourtesy of Mark Mitchell at Deep Capture

Although much attention has been directed at the contribution made by credit default swaps  to the financial crisis, most discussion has focused on the companies, such as American International Group (AIG), that posted big losses because they sold these instruments without sufficient due diligence.

Another line of inquiry has not been pursued, however, though it is of equal, and perhaps greater, significance. That line of inquiry concerns the way in which the prices of credit default swaps effect the perceived value of all forms of debt — corporate bonds, commercial mortgages, home mortgages, and collateralized debt obligations — and as a result, the ability of hedge funds manipulators to use credit default swaps in bear raids on public companies.

If short sellers can manipulate the price of credit default swaps, they can disrupt those companies whose debt is insured by the credit default swaps whose prices are manipulated.  The game plan runs as follows: find a company that relies on a layer of debt that is both permanent, and which rolls over frequently (most financial firms fit this description). Short sell that company’s stock. Then manipulate the price of the CDS upwards, preferably into a spike, as you spread the news of the skyrocketing CDS price (perhaps with the cooperation of compliant journalists at, say, CNBC).

Frightened Woman

Because the CDS is, in essence, an insurance policy on the debt of the company, the spiking CDS pricing will cause the company’s lenders to panic and cut off access to credit. As this happens, the company’s stock will nosedive, thereby cutting off access to equity capital. Thus suddenly deprived of credit and equity, the firm collapses, and the hedge fund collects on its short bets.

Moreover, credit default swap prices are the primary inputs for important indices (such as the CMBX and the ABX) measuring the movement of the overall market for commercial and home mortgages.  In the months leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, short sellers pointed to these indices in order to argue  that investment banks – most notably Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers – had overvalued the mortgage debt and property on their books. Meanwhile, several hedge funds made billions in profits betting that those indexes would drop.

It should therefore be a…
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Einhorn: Break up too big to fail financial institutions

Einhorn: Break up too big to fail financial institutions

Courtesy of Edward Harrison at Credit Writedowns

David Einhorn delivered a speech at the 2009 Value Investing Conference that is creating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. He said a lot of interesting things about the investing and political climate.  A surprising amount of it comes out of the playbook here at Credit Writedowns.

Below are the quotes I want to highlight for you. At the bottom is an embedded copy of his speech.

Enjoy.

On short-termism in politics and government

Winston Churchill said that, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for
all the others that have been tried from time to time.”

As I see it, there are two basic problems in how we have designed our government.
The first is that officials favor policies with short-term impact over those in our long-term
interest because they need to be popular while they are in office and they want to be reelected. In recent times, opinion tracking polls, the immediate reactions of focus groups, the 24/7 news cycle, the constant campaign, and the moment-to-moment obsession with the Dow Jones Industrial Average have magnified the political pressures to favor short-term solutions. Earlier this year, the political topic du jour was to debate whether the stimulus was working, before it had even been spent.

On crony capitalism and regulatory capture

The second weakness in our government is “concentrated benefit versus diffuse harm” also known as the problem of special interests. Decision makers help small groups who care about narrow issues and whose “special interests” invest substantial resources to be better heard through lobbying, public relations and campaign support. The special interests benefit while the associated costs and consequences are spread broadly through the rest of the population. With individuals bearing a comparatively small extra burden, they are less motivated or able to fight in Washington.

In the context of the recent economic crisis, a highly motivated and organized banking lobby has demonstrated enormous influence. Bankers advance ideas like, “without banks, we would have no economy.” Of course, there was a public interest in protecting the guts of the system, but the ATMs could have continued working, even with forced debt-to-equity conversions that would not have required any public funds. Instead, our leaders responded by handing over hundreds of billions


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David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

David Einhorn: Short McGraw Hill (MHP) & Moody’s (MCO) – The Curse of the Triple A

Courtesy of Market Folly

While David Einhorn’s short position in Moody’s (MCO) is by no means new information, we did recently learn that his hedge fund Greenlight Capital is now also short McGraw Hill (MHP), the parent company of fellow ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. He initiated the position after a U.S. judge refused to dismiss a case against the ratings agencies. Those agencies were seeking refuge from such litigation under the notion that their opinions on ratings are protected by free-speech rights. This U.S. District Judge’s refusal to throw out the case could be a landmark ruling, Einhorn says. While this could potentially be a chink in the armor, it is also prudent to point out that 10 of the 11 claims were dismissed; a fact that Moody’s representatives have been quick to point out.

Einhorn presented his short position in Moody’s back at the Ira Sohn Conference where numerous hedge fund managers shared investment ideas. While we can’t track their short positions via SEC filings, we have covered Greenlight’s long portfolio here. Greenlight was up 16.3% for the second quarter and year to date for 2009 is up 21.5%. For more of Einhorn’s tirades shorting companies, we highly recommend reading his book Fooling Some of the People All of the Time: A Long Short Story. In it, you’ll learn how Greenlight constructs and researches investment theses. Not to mention, it’s just an interesting read and story in general.

Instead of summarizing Einhorn’s thoughts regarding why he is short the ratings agencies, we figured we’d just let him tell you himself. Embedded below is his presentation from the Ira Sohn investment conference entitled ‘The Curse of the Triple A.’ You can download the .pdf here or read on below:
 

David Einhorn’s Ira Sohn Presentation

So, while he presented that argument back in late May of this year, he appeared on television a few days ago to further elaborate on his argument. Below is the video where he presents his case to CNBC anchors:
 


And lastly, for posterity’s sake, we would also like to highlight Einhorn’s thoughts…
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Phil's Favorites

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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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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Zero Hedge

German State Finance Minister Found Dead

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The body of Thomas Schäfer - finance minister of the German state of Hesse, was found next to high-speed train tracks on Saturday morning in the town of Hochheim, located between Frankfurt and Mainz, according to DW, citing local police.

The remains of Schäfer, 54, were initially unable to be identified due to the extent of the injuries after witnesses reported the body...



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Biotech/COVID-19

The world before this coronavirus and after cannot be the same

 

The world before this coronavirus and after cannot be the same

Gettyimages

Courtesy of Ian Goldin, University of Oxford and Robert Muggah, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)

With COVID-19 infections now evident in 176 countries, the pandemic is the most significant threat to humanity since the second world war. Then, as now, confidence in international cooperation and institutions plumbed new lows.

While the on...



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Insider Scoop

'Psyched': Hawaii Considers Resolution For Shrooms, Champignon Eyes Ketamine Products

Courtesy of Benzinga

Psyched is a bi-monthly column covering the most important developments in the industry of medicinal psychedelics. We hope you follow us periodically as we report on the growth of this exciting new industry.

Champignon Brands Buys IP Company and Adds Ketamine and New Formulations To Its Portfolio

On March 19, Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF), a Canadian healt...



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The Technical Traders

These Index Charts Will Calm You Down

Courtesy of Technical Traders

I put together this video that will calm you down, because knowing where are within the stock market cycles, and the economy makes all the difference.

This is the worst time to be starting a business that’s for sure. I have talked about this is past videos and events I attended that bear markets are fantastic opportunities if you can retain your capital until late in the bear market cycle. If you can do this, you will find countless opportunities to invest money. From buying businesses, franchises, real estate, equipment, and stocks at a considerable discount that would make today’s prices look ridiculous (which they are).

Take a quick watch of this video because it shows you ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Broadest Of All Stock Indices Testing Critical Support, Says Joe Friday!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

One of the broadest indices in the states remains in a long-term bullish trend, where a critical support test is in play.

The chart looks at the Wilshire 5000 on a monthly basis over the past 35-years.

The index has spent the majority of the past three decades inside of rising channel (1). It hit the top of this multi-decade channel to start off the year, where it created a monthly bearish reversal pattern.

Weakness the past 2-months has the index testing rising support and the December 2018 lows at (2).

Joe...



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Chart School

Cycle Trading - Funny when it comes due

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Non believers of cycles become fast believers when the heat of the moment is upon them.

Just has we have birthdays, so does the market, regular cycles of time and price. The market news of the cycle turn may change each time, but the time is regular. Markets are not a random walk.


Success comes from strategy and the execution of a plan.















Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch an...

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Members' Corner

Bloody Mob Sh*t: An Interview with Lincoln's Bible

 

Bloody Mob Sh*t: An Interview with Lincoln's Bible

We talk Trump, Mogilevich, Epstein, Giuliani, Fred Trump, Roy Cohn, and more.

Courtesy of Greg Olear at PREVAIL, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia

(Originally published on Feb. 21, 20.)

...

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ValueWalk

Entrepreneurial activity and business ownership on the rise

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Indicating strong health of entrepreneurship, both entrepreneurial activity and established business ownership in the United States have trended upwards over the past 19 years, according to the 2019/2020 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report, released March 3rd in Miami at the GEM Annual Meeting.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The Benefit Of Entrepreneurial Activity ...

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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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