Posts Tagged ‘Greenspan’

Which is the Bigger Threat: Terrorism or Wall Street Bonuses?

Which is the Bigger Threat: Terrorism or Wall Street Bonuses?

By Wallace C. Turbeville, courtesy of New Deal 2.0

stockmarket-1500001

The current system of trader compensation will continue to decay the heart of Wall Street.

Which is a greater threat to the nation — terrorism or the relentless decline of middle income families? Unless we abandon our core values out of unwarranted fear, terror cannot fundamentally change our way of life. The number of people affected by growing income disparity is vast. When I was a student, income disparity was indicative of an underdeveloped and unstable society.

The government appropriately devotes enormous resources to protect our lives and property from terrorism. It is unthinkable that a leader would display any weakness opposing this threat. Politicians have stiff backbones when it comes to terrorism.

In contrast, the government is timid and half-hearted in its approach to the system which perversely rewards a few Wall Street traders with billions of dollars of bonuses, yet allows the foundation to decay.

Kenneth Feinberg issued his report identifying outrageous Wall Street compensation of executives despite their role in the financial disaster and bail out. He proposed that the banks voluntarily adopt “brake provisions” that permit boards of directors to nullify bonuses in the event of a new financial crisis.

He might have more success asking the lions of the Serengeti to give the wildebeests a sporting chance of making an escape.

Over the last fifteen years, the financial sector’s percentage of GDP has increased dramatically. At the same time, the median family income stagnated and then declined.  I do not believe that this is a coincidence.

The large banks have changed. They slice and dice the constituent elements of a stagnant economy, squeezing value out in ever more sophisticated ways. Wall Street has turned away from its roll as the financial backer of industry and commerce. In the short term, it is more profitable for them to use their capital for trading. Newfangled software and MIT “quants” allow the traders to “rip the faces off” of corporate counterparties and investors which were once trusted clients.

These young traders are simply doing what America has told them to do.  They are allowed to earn obscene amounts of money using the advantageous information, technology and capital of their employers. Making money from less powerful counterparties is like shooting fish in a barrel.  The banks make so much money that…
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DEFLATION!!

DEFLATION!!

Deflated globe

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

By Comstock Partners:

Wow!  We see the word “Deflation” everywhere; we see it in every financial publication and hear it every time we turn on financial TV.  We see that the pundits who were bearish because of runaway inflation have just recently included deflation as well as inflation to be the problem.   We were talking and warning about the ramifications of deflation as far back as the late 1990s.  That was when we authored the “Cycle of Deflation” (see 1st chart).  Whenever we used the word deflation back then, and through 2001, Microsoft Word did not recognize the word and then spell check would constantly try to get us to replace this unusual word with inflation or some other word that started with “de…. .”

comstock41 DEFLATION!!

You may wonder why we would bring up the fact that we were so early in deflationary warnings which are really only just now becoming recognized as a threat.  At that time, we believed that the deflation about which we were warning during the biggest financial mania of all times would have taken place when the bear market started in 2000 and the recession hit in 2001.  However, the Fed decided to make sure deflation did not take place by lowering fed funds from 6 ¼ % to 1% and, then kept it there for a year.  Remember, 2002 was when Bernanke gave the helicopter speech where he implied that he would do whatever it took to control deflation-”even drop money out of helicopters.”  Well, what they did was exacerbate a housing bubble that was already in force and started a second financial mania with stocks following the housing market into the stratosphere.

We wish Greenspan and Bernanke would have let the tremendous overleveraging (even at that time) unwind with the recession and, even though it would have been very painful, let the public repair their balance sheets as they either paid off or defaulted on their debt.  At that time, the total debt (public and private) was a very high 280% of GDP vs. 260% of GDP at the worst of the Great Depression.  Clearly, the unwinding of the debt back then would have been very painful had the Fed not intervened, but now the debt problem is much larger.  Now that the debt has just about doubled they have to deal with a much bigger…
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It’s the End of the World As We Know It

What are 308,367,109 Americans supposed to do?

First of all, despite clamping down on immigration, our population grew by 2.6M people last year.  Unfortunately, not only did we not create jobs for those 2.6M new people but we lost about 4M jobs so what are these new people going to do?  Not only that, but nobody is talking about the another major job issue: People aren't retiring!  They can't afford to because the economy is bad – that means there are even less job openings…   The pimply-faced kid can't get a job delivering pizza because his grandpa's doing it

There are some brilliant pundits who believe cutting retirement benefits will fix our economy.  How will that work exactly?  Pay old people less money, don't cover their medical care and what happens?  Then they need money.  If they need money, they need to work and if they need to work they increase the supply of labor, which reduces wages and leaves all 308,367,109 of us with less money.  Oh sorry, not ALL 308,367,109 – just 308,337,109 – the top 30,000 (0.01%) own the business the other 308,337,109 work at and they will be raking it in because labor is roughly 1/3 of the cost of doing business in America and our great and powerful capitalists have already cut their manufacturing costs by shipping all those jobs overseas, where they pay as little as $1 a day for a human life so now, in order to increase their profits (because profits MUST be increased) they have now turned inward to see what they can shave off in America.

How does one decrease the cost of labor in America?  Well first, you have to bust the unions.  Check.  Then you have to create a pressing need for people to work – perhaps give them easy access to credit and then get them to go so deeply into debt that they will have to work until they die to pay them off.  Check.  It also helps if you push up the cost of living by manipulating commodity prices.  Check.  Then, take away people's retirement savings.  Check.  Lower interest rates to make savings futile and interest income inadequate.  Check.  And finally, threaten to take away the 12% a year that people have been saving for retirement by labeling Social Security an "entitlement" program – as if it wasn't
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Thrilling Thursday – Can We Be Saved?

Let’s review first, how we got into this mess

Not only is a bust cycle the inevitable result of a Capitalistic boom but the way we keep shoveling crises under the rug (to avoid pain and the ensuing political fallout) only exacerbates the problem once the rug becomes too small to mask the problem.  Then things begin unraveling at the fringes and then – horror of horrors – someone actually lifts up the rug and says: "OH MY GOD – IT’S TERRIBLE!"   Well DUH!  Of course it’s terrible.  Hayek (Freidrich, not Selma) told us this would happen 60 years ago and it’s happened dozens of times already and it will happen dozens of times again because it’s the nature of a system where there can be winners and losers – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose

It is no surprise then, that the Europeans are choosing to follow Hayek’s path to austerity, while the Americans cling to the Keynesian delusion that we, if we just buy a bigger rug, we can fit a lot more problems under it and maybe no one will notice until we move out.  David Leonhardt has a great article in The Times presenting the Keynsian side of the eqation.  Paul Krugman points out that the "bond vigilantes" are behind this massive attack on the markets as they work very hard to drive current rates down and keep them there BECAUSE THAT INCREASES THE VALUE OF THE BONDS THEY OWN. 

Come on people, grow up!  First Pimpco and company drove rates sky high telling you the World was going to default and there was a "ring of fire" in Europe and that sent swap rates and note rates flying so these evill jackasses were able to buy tens of Billions in sovereign debt at sky-high interest rates.  Now those same crooks push for a bailout, using other people’s money to insure their high-yield bonds and then they begin a PR campaign to crack the whip on austerity to make sure that making the bondholders whole is every country’s top priority, no matter what the cost to the population. 

How much is at stake here?  Pimpco alone has over $1Tn in bonds that get much, much more valuable if they can engineer a low-rate Japan-style deflationary environment.  I pointed out that this was happening on June 15th, when Mohamed El-Erian teamed up with
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TWO DECADES OF GREED – THE UNRAVELING

TWO DECADES OF GREED – THE UNRAVELING 

Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform 

We are currently in the midst of a Fourth Turning. This twenty year Crisis began during the 2005 – 2008 timeframe with the collapse of the housing bubble and subsequent repercussions on the worldwide financial system. It is progressing as expected, with the financial crisis deepening and leading to tensions across the world. It will eventually morph into military conflict, as all prior Fourth Turnings have. The progression from High to Awakening through the Unraveling took from 1946 until 2006. The most treacherous period of the Saeculm is upon us. The intensity of a Crisis is very much dependent upon how a country and its citizens prepare for the Crisis during the final years of the Unraveling. The last Unraveling period in U.S. history from 1984 through 2005 was symbolized by Boomer greed, materialism, debt and selfishness. When Michael Lewis graduated from Princeton University in 1985 and joined Salomon Brothers, I’m sure he didn’t realize that he would end up book-ending the Unraveling period in his two best-selling books about Wall Street.

In his latest book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Lewis seems bewildered by the fact that his first book Liar’s Poker, written in 1989,  didn’t dissuade college students from pursuing careers on Wall Street. If Lewis had read The Fourth Turning by Strauss & Howe when it was published in 1997, he would have understood why the people on Wall Street couldn’t change. The generations were just acting out their part in a grand never ending cycle. Lewis explains what he thought would happen:

“I stumbled into a job at Salomon Brothers in 1985 and stumbled out much richer three years later, and even though I wrote a book about the experience, the whole thing still strikes me as preposterous—which is one of the reasons the money was so easy to walk away from. I figured the situation was unsustainable. Sooner rather than later, someone was going to identify me, along with a lot of people more or less like me, as a fraud. Sooner rather than later, there would come a Great Reckoning when Wall Street would wake up and hundreds if not thousands of young people like me, who had no business making huge bets with other people’s money, would be expelled from finance.”

Michael…
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Marc Faber’s Must Watch 2010 Presentation

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

As someone once said, the only man who can tell a room full of people they are doomed and get a standing ovation, Marc Faber, gives a terrific hour long presentation to the Mises Circle in Manhattan on May 22, discussing the economy, interest rates, markets, why having massive output gaps (see previous post for Bernanke’s most recent dose of lunacy on the matter) and hyperinflation can easily coexist, why the Fed will never again implement tight monetary policy, why Greenspan is a senile self-contradictor, why Paul Krugman is a broken and scratched record, and the fact that pretty much nothing matters and we are all going to hell. Little new here for long-term economic skeptics, but a must watch for all neophytes who are still grasping with some of the more confounding concepts of our dead-end Keynesian catastrophe and not only why the world can not get out of the current calamity absent a global debt repudiation, but why gold is the asset to own, even though one must not be dogmatic and shift from asset class to asset class in times of tremendous currency devaluation (i.e., such as right now). 2010′s must watch Marc Faber presentation.

One thing we disagree with Mr. Faber on, is that Asian banks did not buy CDOs during the housing bubble – this is patently wrong. As a detailed perusal through the Goldman discovery will confirm, Goldman looked increasingly eastward, first to Europe, and then to Korea, Japan and Taiwan, when finding the dumbest money around to invest in monstrosities such as Timberwolf, Abacus and others. If Mr. Faber is investing based on the assumption that Asian banks are free of this relic of the credit boom, we urge him to promptly reevaluate his investment thesis as he will certainly lose money here.

 


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Will The EU’s Collapse Push The World Deeper Into The Great Depression II?

Will The EU’s Collapse Push The World Deeper Into The Great Depression II?

Courtesy of Timothy D. Naegele[1]

First World War

“For want of a nail . . .  the kingdom was lost.”[2] Will Greece’s debt crisis lead to a Greek debt default and the collapse of the euro and an ensuing collapse of the 27-member European Union (or EU), and trigger the next round of crashes that will be described by economic historians decades from now as “the Great Depression II”?[3] The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife in Sarajevo, Serbia brought the tensions between Austria-Hungary and Serbia to a head.  In turn, it is said this triggered a chain of international events that embroiled Russia and the major European powers; and World War I broke out in Europe.[4] Will Greece’s debt crisis set a series of events in motion that sends the world into a downward economic spiral of unfathomable proportions?

For years, I have wrestled with the question of whether the Europe would collapse economically, politically, socially and militarily.  Sounds absurd, you say?  The countries are too interwoven and mutually dependent now for that to happen, and at the very least they will muddle along, making the worst of the best situations, and achieving the lowest common denominator?  The United States of Europe, they are not and never will be, but they have achieved a degree of cohesiveness that I never thought was likely years ago.

I believed jealousies and rivalries and, yes, the hatreds of the past would linger barely beneath the surface, coming unglued at the most inopportune times when it really mattered the most.  When the chips were down, I felt the EU would splinter and fall apart; and that its participants and the world would write it off as a noble experiment that failed, much like the League of Nations.  After all, its successor—the United Nations—is considered to be a colossal joke by Americans, many of whom would love to see it shipped to Europe, and its building on the East River in Manhattan bulldozed and turned into a park, or made into co-ops or condominiums.

The bitter hatreds of the past seem to have subsided in Europe though, and it has become a cultural melting pot, more and more.  Airbus was the first tangible sign of economic integration that I never thought would…
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A SELF SUSTAINING RECOVERY? NOT YET.

A SELF SUSTAINING RECOVERY? NOT YET.

Bull standing on pile of coins, snorting

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Richard Koo’s latest commentary is not quite as wildly bullish as equity investors have gotten in recent weeks and I fully agree with his outlook.  The markets are pricing in a self sustaining organic recovery and I still believe we have anything but that.  While we are still very constructive on the economy in H1 (and likely into Q3), I believe we are still mired in a balance sheet recession that is simply being papered over by extraordinary amounts of government spending.  In essence, the government has implemented a massive private sector crediting of accounts while their balance sheets remain highly indebted and continue to be worked down.  Richard Koo agrees.  Mr. Koo notes that the lending market is actually not improving at all:

“From borrower’s perspective, credit crunch is worsening Amid a severe nationwide credit crunch, the Fed is now actively listening to borrowers and trying to build a close cooperative relationship with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a leading small business organization. This is a major, unprecedented change. Traditionally, the Fed paid little attention to the views of borrowers, and as a result there were no data series like the index of banks’ willingness to lend as seen by the borrowers found in the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey. Without input from borrowers, the Fed tended to administer policy based solely on the views of lenders—ie, the financial sector.”

koo1 A SELF SUSTAINING RECOVERY?  NOT YET.

“Like the Bank of Japan, the NFIB has been asking borrowers for their views on banks’ willingness to lend for many years. The relevant question asks businesses whether they find it easier or harder to obtain bank loans than they did three months ago. Recent numbers are deep in negative territory, indicating that banks are much more reluctant to lend than they were three months ago. This suggests that the credit crunch is not over and in fact is growing worse.

Koo elaborates on the deep weakness in the credit markets by claiming that mark to market would result in widespread banking bankruptcies if they were forced to actually mark these assets down to their true values:

“If US authorities were to require banks to mark their commercial real estate loans to market today, lending to this sector would be extinguished, triggering a chain of


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Reich Levels Broadside at Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers, and Phony Financial Reform

I posted this article earlier, but now Jesse writes a great intro. – Ilene

Reich Levels Broadside at Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers, and Phony Financial Reform

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Robert Reich is exactly correct. Back in 1999 I started questioning what Robert Rubin might have said to Alan Greenspan in a private meeting in 1997 to reverse his policy bias after his famous "irrational exuberance" speech and embrace the monetary easing that led to the tech bubble, and to join the fight against regulation, resulting in the repeal of Glass-Steagall in which the Fed was absolutely instrumental.

PBS Frontline – The Warning: The Roots of the Financial Crisis

This was no accident, in my opinion. This was no misplaced belief in ‘the efficient market hypothesis.’ This was not the culmination of the neo-liberal fascination with a mythology of human nature that would make Rousseau blush in its unthinking naiveté. And for Greenspan to say now, I am sorry, I guess I was mistaken, is more prevarication from the master dissembler.

There were plenty of enablers to this financial fraud. There always are many more people who do not act out of principle, or inside involvement and knowledge, but out of their own selfish bias and greed or craven fear that compels them to ‘go with the flow.’

And there is little better example of this than the many people who are even now turning a willful eye away from the blatant government manipulation of the stock and commodity markets, in particular the silver market. They do not wish to believe it, so they ignore it, and even ridicule it depending on how deeply it affects their personal interests. But the overall body of evidence is compelling enough to provoke further investigation, and the refusal to allow audits and independent investigation starts to become an overwhelming sign of a coverup. I am not saying that it is correct, or that I know something, but I am saying to not investigate it thoroughly and to air all the details, is highly suspicious and not in the interests of the truth. I did not know, for example, that Madoff was conducting a Ponzi scheme, but the indications were all there and a simple investigation and disclosure would have revealed the truth, one way or the other.

"Fiat justitia ruat caelum." Let justice be done though the heaven’s fall. This is the principle…
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Maestro no more

Given the name of his blog, it’s not surprising that Tim has thoughts on the Maestro’s latest return to explain (again) why the mess was not his fault. – Ilene 

Maestro no more

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

The defense of monetary policy during the gestation years of the housing bubble was reiterated (yet again) yesterday by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan in a paper(.pdf) titled "The Crisis" that is being presented today at the Brookings Institution.

While the 48 pages of text and the 18 page appendix await attention that they are unlikely to receive from me on this Friday, the contents are quite clearly based on reports in the mainstream financial media and the two central points appear to be:

1. Low rates are not to blame

2. See number 1

The Wall Street Journal carries a story in the public area of their website today where Jon Hilsenrath restores some order to the recent reporting on the former Fed chairman, inserting the once-mandatory caveats that all post-2008 Greenspan stories used to carry before an image re-building campaign apparently met with some success over the last year or so:

Mr. Greenspan’s reputation has been tarnished by the crisis. Widely hailed when he left office in January 2006 as one of


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Phil's Favorites

Momentum Monday - Rotation Rotation Rotation is The New Location Location Location

 

Momentum Monday – Rotation Rotation Rotation is The New Location Location Location

Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

Happy Monday everyone.

Not much has changed in the last week.

Tech leaders are correcting and the money is flowing into other stocks and markets…not out of the market.

The promise of low interest rates and money printing has most people focused on being in the markets.

As always, to kick off Momentum Monday’s, Ivanhoff and I tour the markets for what we see and like and are thinking. You can watch/listen right h...



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Biotech/COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 infection can block pain, opening up unexpected new possibilities for research into pain relief medication

 

SARS-CoV-2 infection can block pain, opening up unexpected new possibilities for research into pain relief medication

The spike protein on SARS-CoV-2 interferes with pain perception. SEBASTIAN KAULITZKI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

By Rajesh Khanna, University of Arizona

Imagine being infected with a deadly virus that makes you impervious to pain. By the time you realize you are infected, it’s already too late. You have spread it far and wide. Recent findings in my lab suggest that this scenario may be one rea...



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Zero Hedge

2020 Has Been A "Nightmare Year" For America, And The Economic Fallout Is Just Getting Started

Courtesy of Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog

Most of us have never experienced a year that has been as tough as 2020 has been for our nation.  It has just been one major crisis after another, and the month of September has brought us even more trouble.  The worst wildfire season in the history of the state of California has been making headlines day after day, and now the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatens to escalate the political turmoil in this nation to an entirely new level. 

Many had such high hopes for 2020, but at this point this year has been such a disaster that USA Today is calling...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Could It Be "Schitts Creek" For Technology Stocks If Selling Starts Here?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

The Nasdaq has been the unparalleled leader of the stock market in 2020, having rallied furiously off the COVID-19 crash market bottom in March.

But all of the excitement around tech stocks and the comeback in the stock market may be coming to an end… that is, if a key Fibonacci price target has anything to do with it!

In today’s chart, we look at the long-term “monthly” chart of the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) and focus in on the 18-year rally.

As you can see, the Nasdaq peaked in 2000 and bottomed in 2002. Applying Fibona...



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ValueWalk

Global Banking Stocks Hit Hard By FinCEN Leak

By Gorilla Trades. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Commenting on the impact of FinCEN leak on global banking stocks and today’s trading Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said:

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The major indices are all trading considerably lower at midday following the most bearish overnight session since June. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the Dow all hit new correction lows in early trading, but the tech benchmark has been slightly stronger than its peers. The troubling European COVID trends reignited the "lockdown trade" and put pressure on the most sensitive industries and cyclical issues, in...



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Politics

Can Trump and McConnell get through the 4 steps to seat a Supreme Court justice in just 6 weeks?

 

Can Trump and McConnell get through the 4 steps to seat a Supreme Court justice in just 6 weeks?

A political battle is shaping up over the confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice. Jose Luis Magana / AFP/Getty Images

By Caren Morrison, Georgia State University

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Sept. 18, thrusting the acrimonious struggle for control of the Supreme Court into public view.

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have already ...



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Chart School

Stocks are not done yet - Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There are a few times in history when a third party said this US paper (stocks, funds or bonds) is worthless.

Here is two.

1) 1965 Nixon Shock - The French said to US we do not want your paper dollars please pay us in gold. This of course led to the US going off the gold standard.

2) 2007 Bear Stern Fund Collapse - Investors said their funds collateral was worth much less than stated. This of course was the beginning of the great america housing bust of 2008.


In both cases it was stated .."look the Emperor is naked!"... (The Empe...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies Rarely Used To Launder Money, Fiat Preferred

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Shaurya Malwa via Decrypt.io,

Traditional channels continue to dominate the estimated $2 trillion global money laundering racket instead of cryptocurrencies, a report says.

In brief
  • Money laundering via cryptocurrencies is not a preferred tool for criminals, a report said...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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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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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! 

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

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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.