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

Iran's Supreme Leader Says Trump Will "Vanish From History" In Response To Pompeo's "12 Requirements"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Iran's leadership heightened its rhetoric in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's bellicose speech given at the Heritage Foundation in which he outlined 12 "basic requirements" issued to Iran in the wake of Trump's pulling the US from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Pompeo's list included demands that Iran withdraw from Syria, release all US citizens, stop enrichment of uranium, end support for anti-Saudi Houthi fighters in Yemen, and allow "unqua...



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Digital Currencies

How the US Government Could Effectively Use Crypto

The US government could start, or officially endorse an existing crytpo coin. What they would do is build a fee into the software protocol that went to a single address that they control. This is effectively a tax. The fee could be a transaction fee, a percentage of the next block award, or a combination of both. How this works is every single transaction that occurs everywhere wihtin the system, the fee scalped goes directly to this single address that is owned by the IRS, in this case, the "New-IRS." Forget postcards. We're down to a single dude in one office chair in front of one computer. Imagine that being the IRS, because that's where this is going. The consequences of this mechanism are dramatic. First off the IRS is now one guy. Granted, this guy controls the private key for the most valuable thing in the world. This key would be the single most important key right up there with the nuclear launch code, but the system would most definitely still work. More strikingly, the US...

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Phil's Favorites

New Animal Spirits: What it takes to be wealthy

 

New Animal Spirits: What it takes to be wealthy

Courtesy of 

Michael and Ben’s new episode of Animal Spirits is out today, and it’s awesome as usual. If this isn’t part of your weekly routine yet, I don’t even know what to tell you at this point. No one is covering more interesting topics and blowing up like this podcast is.

This week’s topics:

  • Are Jack Bogle and Vanguard actually underrated?
  • Why closet indexing will never die.
  • Why money is flowing out of growth funds even though they’ve outperformed. ...


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Insider Scoop

Benzinga's Daily Biotech Pulse: Insmed Presents Data, Pfenex Pulls Back On Offering, Oncolytics Listing

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related IBB Benzinga's Daily Biotech Pulse: Melinta, Ardelyx Pull Back On Offerings, Insys Awaits FDA Verdict ...

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Chart School

Wide Market Cycle Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Lets review some big market cycles, to see where cycle pressure is building or peaking.

Cycles are like long term trend lines and are great for the long term view, of course price action leads (Wyckoff Logic) before cycles.

Lets go ...

US 10 yr: Trending higher to 4% ... Ouch. Inflation moving from Wall Street to Main Street.

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The EURO looks to bottom (USD topping).

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SSEC looks forward to another pump up to save the SP...

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Biotech

Could this be the year for a Canadian Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences?

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

 

Could this be the year for a Canadian Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences?

Courtesy of John Bergeron, McGill University

In 2013, Kyoto University’s Shinya Yamanaka was awarded one of the first Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences for his discovery of “induced” stem cells that enabled researchers to convert adult cells back into stem cells.

The Breakthrough Prize is not to be sneezed at. Founded in 2013, the prize “honours transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.” It’s also the most financially attractive aw...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...



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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

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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