Posts Tagged ‘Money’

Priceless: How The Federal Reserve Bought The Economics Profession

A new article "Robert Johnson: Economists As Marketeers for the Monied Interests" reminded me of this article from 2009. Here, Ryan Grim examines how the economics profession became essentially a servant to the Federal Reserve. ~ Ilene 

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Ryan Grim is the senior congressional correspondent for the Huffington Post and former staff reporter with Politico.com and Washington City Paper. He's the author of the book, "This Is Your Country on Drugs" and won the 2007 Alt-Weekly Award for best long-form news-story. – Ilene

Intro by Tom Burger:

alchemist

Here is a good article to consider when you are pondering how it is that nearly all mainstream economists toe the line with respect to monetary economic dogma.  

As I have so often asserted: there is a darn good reason why these people have gone to such great lengths to nail down support from economists and government: their business is extremely lucrative. They have quite literally achieved the alchemist's dream of converting lead to gold (i.e. money). The only difference is that the Fed doesn't need even a lead mine. They can convert "nothing at all" to "gold."

This article, however, might lead one to believe that this Fed influence is a recent development; the author cites people who say this is how it has been since about the 1970s. Well, maybe the Fed's total dominance of academia is that recent, but their campaign began at least 15 years before the legislation that founded the Fed.

The big city bankers of that turn of the century era put together a comprehensive program involving a blizzard of articles for the public and for economists. They founded university chairs for "right thinking" economists, they lobbied legislators. The activities described by Rothbard and others went on and on. In my opinion, none of this — then or now — was done because these people thought it would be good for the public or for the economy. They did it because it opened the door to unlimited theft. Okay … the perpetrators probably didn't admit to themselves they were thieves. They probably just believed that unlimited wealth was their destiny because they were just so much smarter than everybody else.

If you doubt the Fed's destructive control over economic thought, please read this article. – Tom
 

Priceless:
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The Curious Case of the Fed Analyst Fired After Asking Too Many Questions

Why was William Bergman, analyst with the Chicago Fed for 14 years, fired? Was it because he asked too many questions on a sensitive issue? We don’t know, but Jr. Deputy Accountant is investigating and will keep us posted. Unless she disappears (oh no!), in which case we’ll have to draw our own conclusions.  - Ilene  

The Curious Case of the Fed Analyst Fired After Asking Too Many Questions

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant

Ed. note: the following might a bit long and F-bomb lite for regular JDA readers. I ask you to overlook that, grab a beer, get comfy and read anyway. 

Before we get into the story of William Bergman, an analyst with the Chicago Fed for 14 years of his life, we need to get the background on the story he was sniffing out.

Some of his work at the Chicago Fed includes The New Midwest in Recession and RecoveryThe Revival of the Rust Belt: Fleeting Fancy or Durable Good? and 1995 Economic Outlook: 1994 Will Be a Tough Act to Follow. Without calling him bland (we’d never be so rude), let’s just say he was good at his job, which as a Fed analyst is to pump out quality droll nonsense that appeals only to central bankers and economy nerds. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.

On August 2, 2001, a non-routine letter went out from the Fed Board of Governors to the 12 regional banks. The letter reminded them that "among other things, the review of SARs assists in the identification of potential supervisory issues at banking organizations, provides information for determining compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and provides useful information on suspicious activity being identified by the reporting institutions."

Suspicious Activity Reports (here’s what one looks like), while not specific to terrorism, can be useful for tracking terrorism activity and financing based on reports the regional Fed banks receive from banks they supervise. The August 2011 letter went deeper:

Reserve Banks must continue to conduct a thorough and timely review of all material SARs filed by supervised financial institutions in their districts. This review is an integral component of the supervisory function. A periodic, comprehensive review of SARs will assist Reserve Banks in identifying suspicious or suspected criminal activity occurring at or through supervised financial institutions; provide the information necessary to


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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. 

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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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Goldman Traders Made $100 Million In A Day 68 Times Last Year

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider, Chart of the Day   

The Goldman 10-K is out!

Here’s a look at how it did trading wise. It had 68 days of making more than $100 million from trading.

It only lost money on 25 days for the year.

chart of the day, goldman sachs net revenue daily trading 2010, feb 2011 


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State Bankruptcy Option Is Sought, Quietly – NYTimes.com

A Path Is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, NY Times

Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.

Unlike cities, the states are barred from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court. Any effort to change that status would have to clear high constitutional hurdles because the states are considered sovereign.

But proponents say some states are so burdened that the only feasible way out may be bankruptcy, giving Illinois, for example, the opportunity to do what General Motors did with the federal government’s aid.

Beyond their short-term budget gaps, some states have deep structural problems, like insolvent pension funds, that are diverting money from essential public services like education and health care. Some members of Congress fear that it is just a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout, say bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides.

Continue here: State Bankruptcy Option Is Sought, Quietly – NYTimes.com.


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Charles Ferguson: MIT Brunel Lecture on Economics and the Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Jesse’s Americain Cafe

See Charles Ferguson’s documentary Inside Job when you have the opportunity.  I understand that the DVD may be released sometime around March 2011.

Ferguson starts his presentation at about 7 minutes in.

I was glad to hear him admit that he was wrong, honestly wrong, about his assessment of Japan Inc. and the Japan asset bubble. He also goes on to make a rather pointed observation about economics which needs to be heard dispassionately by related institutions in particular, whose own credibility and integrity is at risk. 

"It is one thing to be honestly correct or not correct about something; it’s another thing for an academic discipline to have a systemic corruption problem. And that’s what I will be talking about in part later, because the economics discipline in my view does have that problem."

In Charles’ defense he is only saying publicly what is being said privately amongst academic scientists and mathematicians about the inordinate effect of power and money on the integrity of economic opinions and research.

As you may recall Alan Greenspan was caught up in the Keating Five S&L scandal. The point of this is that the ‘empirical objectivity’ of the Federal Reserve in setting policy is a myth as egregious as the trickle down theory and the efficient markets hypothesis. 

At the heart of the current financial crisis is the weakening and even corruption of a number of institutions, both public and private. And their reform and restoration to a fully functional state remains to be accomplished. Reforms risks disclosure, and coverups protect the status quoagainst such the effects of such a disclosure. This is why reform from within is problematic.

Yes, there is always the need for some discretion and privacy in executive decisions. But it must be limited and exceptional, subject to overview by a more relatively impartial third party, always. 

The Fed, and particularly the New York Fed, is a largely private institution making decisions not only about its own industry, but is taking actions with public funds that approach and sometimes become de facto public policy decisions with far reaching effects, and is doing so largely in secret. It is therefore highly vulnerable to insider dealing and conflicts of interest. Excessive secrecy is inimical to a free society, for wherever secrecy and power exist, corruption quickly follows. …
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Adam Smith critiques the Deficit Reduction Commission

Courtesy of Michael Hudson

adam smithWhat would Adam Smith have said about the Bowles-Simpson economic report last week?

What a pity the great free marketer was not around to serve on the Deficit Reduction Commission. He not only would have rolled over in his grave, he would have risen up wielding an ax to the fiscal proposals that are diametrically opposite to the fiscal principles that he and his original free market contemporaries urged.

Writing in the wake of the French Physiocrats with their Impôt Unique to collect the revenues that France’s landed aristocracy drained from the countryside and towns, Smith endorsed the idea that the least burdensome tax was one that fell on land rent:

A more equal land-tax, a more equal tax upon the rent of houses, and such alterations in the present system of customs and excise as those which have been mentioned in the foregoing chapter might, perhaps, without increasing the burden of the greater part of the people, but only distributing the weight of it more equally upon the whole, produce a considerable augmentation of revenue.

(Wealth of Nations, Book V.3.68)

If Britain were to become a dominant economic power, Smith argued, its industrial capitalism would have to shed the vestiges of feudalism. Groundrent charged by its landed aristocracy should be taxed away, on the logic that it was the prototypical “free lunch” revenue with no counterpart cost of production. He noted at the outset (Book I, ch. xi) that there were “some parts of the produce of land for which the demand must always be such as to afford a greater price than what is sufficient to bring them to market.”

In 1814, David Buchanan published an edition of The Wealth of Nations with a volume of his own notes and commentary, attributing rent to monopoly (III:272n), and concluding that it represented a mere transfer payment, not actually reimbursing the production of value. High rents enriched landlords at the expense of food consumers – what economists call a zero-sum game at another’s expense.

david ricardoThe 19th century elaborated the concept of economic rent as that element of price which found no counterpart in actual cost of production. and hence was “unearned.” It was a form of economic overhead that added unnecessarily to prices. In 1817, David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation elaborated the concept of economic rent. Under conditions of


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Ben Davies: On Trading and the Markets

Ben Davies: On Trading and the Markets

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

I made several attempts to edit this piece down a bit, but Davies’ command of language, anecdote and illustrative reference is so strong that in the end I resisted all but the most cursory deletion. 

Listen well to what he says about the markets and how to trade them. I have said this myself many times in different ways, but rarely so concisely and so well. 

Remarks by Ben Davies,
CEO, Hinde Capital, London

Committee for Monetary Research and Education
Fall Dinner Meeting
Union League Club, New York
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Ben Davies and I co-founded Hinde Capital, a UK-based investment manager, with a gentleman called Mark Mahaffey…

The Federal Reserve chairman has said: "The economic outlook remains unusually uncertain." But economic predictions are not uncertain; they portend serious woes.

For once I agree with my namesake Ben — the outlook remains unusually uncertain. A quite stunning observation, no less. But I would not just agree with the assertion that economic predictions are not uncertain. Note the double negative there.

Economics has sought to blend epistemology, physics, mathematics, and behavioral science to try to measure uncertainty. They aim to try to predict when we might have an economic collapse, but no model has been created that manages this with much confidence, if any at all. How do you measure a risk that is unmeasurable?

No, there is nothing certain about economic predictions. Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. defense secretary, unwittingly declared it so at a NATO press conference in 2002, when he responded to a question on intelligence gathering:

"It’s not the certainties that make life interesting; it’s the uncertainties. There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the things we don’t know we don’t know."

"Unknown unknowns" — at the time this was ridiculed as a piece of deliberate and meaningless obfuscation. Rumsfeld even won an award from the British Plain English Campaign for the most nonsensical remark made by a public figure. I would add that he narrowly pipped California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who commented,


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From the Greenspan Archive: We Were Undercapitalized for 40 or 50 Years

From the Greenspan Archive: We Were Undercapitalized for 40 or 50 Years

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

How can an economic system be chronically undercapitalized for "40 or 50 years"? There’s only supposed to be as much money as there is demand for that money, right? Someone has to pay for something and sometimes they have to borrow money to get the things they want. That’s fine, it creates more demand for money (Someone A has to get the money to pay Someone B for the things they wanted but couldn’t afford and ends up paying both for the things and the interest on the money used to get the things) and supposedly our friends at the Fed are there watching that. Did any of these 40 to 50 years involve Greenspan?

I can’t believe this a**hole says some of this sh*t out loud sometimes.

“During the past 18 months, there were very few instances of serial default and contagion that could have not been contained by adequate risk-based capital and liquidity,” he said. In response to a question, Greenspan said “we were undercapitalized in the banking system for maybe 40 or 50 years.”

Maybe I’m completely off but I read that to mean all we have to do is continue to throw a whole sh*t ton of dirty Fed money out there and that could totally fix these rotting cesspools of residential real estate popping and fizzing around America.


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The Google Maps foreclosure dots look slightly less contagious than they did last time I checked but it still looks like an outbreak out there.

Here’s a solution since we’re just making this up: rent out foreclosed homes and make "owners" responsible for collecting the payments and returning the majority to whomever owns the mortgage (you know, like normal f**king homedebtors do minus the rent). Make these nearly foreclosed but rented out homes like operating leases so struggling CRE companies can pick them up and make a percentage from rents for holding them. It’s genius. F**k it! Otherwise bulldoze half of them and call the housing problem "corrected". 

Good thing Greenspan fixed that little undercapitalization problem by opening Pandora’s box on all sorts of creative blip-creating genius. Greenspan is the libertarian of the century for freeing the dollar, aren’t you glad he decoupled it from gold? Maybe that’s…
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Hugh Hendry Admits: “I’m Losing Money This Month! It’s A Very Uncomfortable Process!”

Hugh Hendry Admits: "I’m Losing Money This Month! It’s A Very Uncomfortable Process!"

Courtesy of Courtney Comstock at The Business Insider 

Hugh HendryHugh Hendry admitted he’s down this month while talking to BBC Hard Talk on Tuesday.

The often unhinged hedge fund manager was subdued until his interviewer began asking him about regulation and risk-taking in the hedge fund industry.

Then he got pretty riled up and spilled that he’s losing money this month, and how much it hurts.

It all started when the interviewer brought up financial regaultion.

"The financial industry is the most regulated sector in the economy," Hendry says.

Then the interviewer suggested that hedge funds, like Hendry’s are less regulated and therefore riskier than banks.

To which Hendry replied, "The most effective form of regulation is that if you mess up, you fail. And that’s the regulation that I’m subject to."

(Watch how the interview proceeds. Our summaries of the interviewer’s questions are in italics.)

Isn’t that very risky? asks the interviewer.

"I do not take extreme risk. Do you think for one moment [rich familes that have saved their money for generations] would give me their money to take extreme risks with it?" (circa 2:10)

Yes, I do think they would. I think that’s the premise that the entire hedge fund industry is based on.

"Extreme risk means that there is a very high probability of losing all of that capital."

Well, that’s what has happened to many hedge funds recently.

(This is when Hendry starts getting upset. The suggestion of his clients’ money being at risk in his hedge fund.)

"I spend half of my time allaying their fears – being transparent, addressing their issues - Where could I lose money? How much could I lose?" (circa 2:54)

(Then we find out why he’s really upset.)

"I’m losing money this month – it’s a very uncomfortable process! My phone never stops!" (circa 2:58) 

Hendry quickly went from the best macro fund (up over 13% YTD as of August) to losing money.

Watch the interview.


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Zero Hedge

A $30 Billion Computer Is About To Start Selling Stocks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One by one, human traders - having suffered devastating losses in the past 11 months - are giving up hope on stocks, now that BTFD no longer works. And, in a disturbing development, so are the robots.

A $30 billion computer, run by UBS' wealth management which oversees $2.4 trillion in capital and entrusted by some of the world’s richest, is poised to underweight stocks as real money and systematic investors pare risk amid flagging bull-market momentum. According to Andreas Koester, head of global asset allocat...



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Phil's Favorites

The US government has huge debts, and House Democrats could lead the way on solutions - an economist explains how

 

The US government has huge debts, and House Democrats could lead the way on solutions – an economist explains how

Democrat Nancy Pelosi spoke in D.C. the night of the midterm elections. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Courtesy of Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Boston University

Now that Democrats control the House, the question on many minds is what they will do with it.

Incoming Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi s...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock Market Correction Lingers As 800 Pound Resistance Levels Hold

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Key stock market indices continue to struggle beneath 800-pound Fibonacci extension levels (resistance).

In today’s “6-pack” chart, we illustrate these key bull/bear lines for investors – see below. The Dow Jones Industrials, Transports, S&P 500, and Nasdaq 100 are all experiencing weakness and selling pressure at long-term Fibonacci extension levels each at (1).

But the overhead resistance spreads to other key sectors like the Banks and Semiconductors. The Banks are experiencing weakness at the 2007 highs at (2) and the Semiconductors are experiencing weakness at the 2000 highs at (3).

Expect market weakness (or consolidation) to continue until these stock indexes and key market sectors breakout above resistance. Stay tuned!

6-Pack of Stock Market Indices –...



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Insider Scoop

BTIG Research: Etsy Is Online Leader In Handmade, Artisanal Goods

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ETSY Is Etsy A Better E-Commerce Play Than Amazon? 88 Biggest Movers From Yesterday ...

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Members' Corner

NY Times: OPERATION INFEKTION

 

This is a three-part Opinion Video Series from NY Times about Russia’s meddling in the United States’ elections as part of its "decades-long campaign to tear the West apart." This is not fake news. Read more about the series here.

OPERATION INFEKTION

RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: FROM COLD WAR TO KANYE

By Adam B. Ellick and Adam Westbrook

EPISODE 1

MEE...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlik...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern - but it may be a price worth paying

 

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Steven Huckle, University of Sussex

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity.

However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitc...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

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

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

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

One that stands out for me:

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



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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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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.




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

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About Phil:

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

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