Posts Tagged ‘states’

One Reaction to the Obama State of the Union Address That Made Sense

Courtesy of Jesse’s Americain Cafe

It amazes me that the discussion on change centers on ‘improving competitiveness’ when the crisis was caused by a massive financial fraud and political and regulatory failure that goes largely unresolved and unrepaired, sucking the life out of the real economy and spreading corruption of thought and action. Slogans and code words are the substance of the public policy discussion in the US and Europe, and I think with the intent to deceive, a propaganda campaign. The mainstream media in the States is owned by a handful of powerful corporations. But fewer and fewer turn to the mainstream media anymore.

"In addition, any economist will tell you that when the free market fails a black market emerges. The blogs are the black market of information." 

David B. Collum, Cornell University

As for competitiveness, the current global trade regime is underpinned with and founded on a fraud, a set of managed currencies pinned to the US dollar and under the control of a banking cartel. There is no real free trade, only an illusion of such, promoted by the rapacity of multinational corporations and their partners in authoritarian governments.

The only real competition I can see is the race to destroy the middle class and reduce the public around the world to the least common denominator of slavery, serfdom, and servitude, with the dollar and the jackboot as their weapons.

From Mark Thoma:

"Eliminating regulation: The idea is that removing unnecessary regulation will improve our ability to innovate, and this will help the economy create new, good jobs. However, it wasn’t lack of innovation or lack of competitiveness that got us into this mess, it was an out of control financial sector. 

The President talked about eliminating unnecessary regulation, but far too little was said about the need to implement new regulations where they are needed. In addition, by focusing so much on helping business, the president risks sending the message that what is good for business is necessarily good for the nation. (Risk? As the risk of sounding snarky, that is the reason for the season. It was the corporate FIRE sector that caused the financial crisis in the first place. – Jesse)

Businesses need the right environment to thrive, but we must not lose sight of the fact that it’s the skills of the people that work at businesses that matters most. Our ultimate goal is the best possible life for


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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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Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

By David von Drehle, courtesy of TIME 

Ellen Weinstein for TIME 

In New Jersey, taxes are high, the budget’s a mess, government is inefficiently organized, and the public pension fund is blown to kingdom come. Which makes New Jersey a lot like most other states in 2010. What makes the state unusual is its rookie governor, a human bulldozer named Chris Christie, who vowed to lead like a one-termer and is keeping his promise with brio. He has proposed chopping $11 billion from the state’s budget — more than a quarter of the total — for fiscal year 2011 (which starts July 1). He’s backing a constitutional cap on property taxes in hopes of pushing the state’s myriad villages and townships to merge into more efficient units. He’s locked in an ultimate cage match with the New Jersey teachers’ union. It may be the bitterest political fight in the country — and that’s saying something this year. A union official recently circulated a humorous prayer with a punch line asking God to kill Christie. You know, New Jersey humor. And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Christie didn’t talk about the possibility that his fiscal initiatives might be compromised or defeated; he pictured himself "lying dead on State Street in Trenton," the state capital. Presumably that was a figure of speech.

The tone of the New Jersey budget battle may be distinctive, but many of the same notes can be heard in state capitals across the country. From Hartford to Honolulu, once sturdy state governments are approaching the brink of fiscal calamity, as the crash of 2008 and its persistent aftermath have led to the reckoning of 2010. Squeezed by the end of federal stimulus money on one hand and desperate local governments on the other, states are facing the third straight year of staggering budget deficits, and the necessary cuts will cost jobs, limit services and touch the lives of millions of Americans. Government workers have been laid off in half the states plus Puerto Rico. Twenty-two states have instituted unpaid furloughs. At least 28 states have ordered across-the-board budget cuts,…
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Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Courtesy of Mish

The New York Times article Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes has been making the rounds. At least 20 people sent me the link. Let’s take a look at few snips, then a look at a followup Times article on addressing the problems.

In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year.

It’s what the system promised, said Mr. Tassone, now 47, adding that he did nothing wrong by adding lots of overtime to his base pay shortly before retiring. “I don’t understand how the working guy that held up their end of the bargain became the problem,” he said.

According to pension data collected by The New York Times from the city and state, about 3,700 retired public workers in New York are now getting pensions of more than $100,000 a year, exempt from state and local taxes. The data belie official reports that the average state pension is a modest $18,000, or $38,000 for retired police officers and firefighters. (The average is low, in part, because it includes people who worked in government only part time, or just a few years, as well as surviving spouses getting partial benefits.)

Some will receive the big pensions for decades. Thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year; nine did so in their 30s.

The Times article is 4 pages long so please give it a closer look.

Legal Theft

Undoubtedly Mr. Tassone is not as stupid as he sounds. He knows full well he gamed the system, but it was legal.

Tassone argues he held up his end of the bargain. Excuse me for asking what end is that? Public unions are legalized mobs. They coerce votes from corrupt politicians willing to buy there patronage.

There is no "public end" because there is no one working on the public’s behalf. Indeed the public in general has been crucified with never ending tax hikes to support union thugs who pack every school board in the country, and promise Armageddon if police or firefighters get laid off.

The public is


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32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments

32 States Borrow $37.8 Billion Total to Make Unemployment Payments; CA Tops List at $6.9 Billion; Bill to Extend Benefits Until DEC in Congress

Courtesy of Mish  

Inquiring minds are reading the Economic Policy Journal for clues on how much states are borrowing to make unemployment insurance claims.

The totals are not pretty. As of May 20, the total balance outstanding by 32 states plus the Virgin Islands is $37.8 billion.

The CINN Group accounts for $14 billion of it.

California $6.9 Billion
Illinois $2.2 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
New Jersey $1.7 Billion

The worst 4 grouping accounts for $17 billion, nearly 45% of the total.

California $6.9 Billion
Michigan $3.9 Billion
New York $3.2 Billion
Pennsylvania $3.0 Billion

Other Notables

Florida $1.6 billion
Indiana $1.7 billion
North Carolina $2.1 Billion
Ohio $2.3 Billion
Texas $1.0 Billion
Wisconsin $1.4 Billion

I bet the entire amount is forgiven. Any takers?

Note that the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extended to June 2, 2010 is about to run out.

But Wait! More Free Money Cometh

The Public Policy Examiner reports Unemployed must wait for Congress to preserve benefits.

A vote on a new end for unemployment benefits will not come until next week. On Thursday morning, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) proposed amending H.R. 4213 to extend benefits until December 31, 2010.

The amended bill, American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, would extend COBRA health benefits until the end of the year.

Other plans accompany the benefits extension effort. Rep. Bob Filner (Dist. 51) plans to help San .Diegans in economic trouble by passing George Miller’s Local Jobs for America Act. Filner says the city would get 3,263 jobs, with more jobs expected in the other county communities. The bill targets communities with high unemployment.

Rep. Susan Davis (Dist. 53), on Wednesday, was one of three legislators introducing the COBRA Health Benefits Extension Act, H.R. 5324. The unemployed could receive COBRA benefits past the standard 18 months, as long as they needed. At least until Obama’s health exchanges arrive.

Damn, I am sure glad there is a nascent economic recovery. Otherwise, who knows how bad this could get.


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Aha, Here’s Why Half Of America Doesn’t Believe In The Rebound… Because Half The U.S. Is Still In Recession

Aha, Here’s Why Half Of America Doesn’t Believe In The Rebound… Because Half The U.S. Is Still In Recession

Courtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock/Business Insider 

This explains why many Americans have yet to believe that the U.S. economy has rebounded. It’s because while the U.S. as a whole may have rebounded, many individual states are still in recession according to an analysis of the Philly Fed coincident indicators by Calculated Risk.

Calculated Risk:

In the past month, the indexes increased in 21 states, decreased in 22, and remained unchanged in seven for a one-month diffusion index of -2. Over the past three months, the indexes increased in 18 states, decreased in 25, and remained unchanged in seven for a three-month diffusion index of -14.

[While the recession ended for the nation in July 2009] ‘just over half the country was still in recession in February according to this index.’

Economic activity in any state colored from light pink to dark red is still contracting according to this analysis of the Philly Fed data:

 

chart
 
Note (thanks GlassHammer for posting in the comment section):
 
There are four economic statistics comprising the Index of Coincident Economic Indicators: 

Number of employees on non-agricultural payrolls. 
Personal income less transfer payments. 
Industrial production. 
Manufacturing and trade sales." 

-wikipedia


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States have $5.17 Trillion in Pension Obligations, Gap is $3.23 Trillion; State Debt as Share of GDP

States have $5.17 Trillion in Pension Obligations, Gap is $3.23 Trillion; State Debt as Share of GDP

Courtesy of Mish 

As the jobless yet supposedly nascent recovery plods on, states are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore their fiscal woes and pension deficits. The New York Times has some details in State Debt Woes Grow Too Big to Camouflage.

California, New York and other states are showing many of the same signs of debt overload that recently took Greece to the brink — budgets that will not balance, accounting that masks debt, the use of derivatives to plug holes, and armies of retired public workers who are counting on benefits that are proving harder and harder to pay.

California’s stated debt — the value of all its bonds outstanding — looks manageable, at just 8 percent of its total economy. But California has big unstated debts, too. If the fair value of the shortfall in California’s big pension fund is counted, for instance, the state’s debt burden more than quadruples, to 37 percent of its economic output, according to one calculation.

Unstated debts pose a bigger problem to states with smaller economies. If Rhode Island were a country, the fair value of its pension debt would push it outside the maximum permitted by the euro zone, which tries to limit government debt to 60 percent of gross domestic product, according to Andrew Biggs, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who has been analyzing state debt. Alaska would not qualify either.

Professor Rogoff, who has spent most of his career studying global debt crises, has combed through several centuries’ worth of records with a fellow economist, Carmen M. Reinhart of the University of Maryland, looking for signs that a country was about to default.

“When an accident is waiting to happen, it eventually does,” the two economists wrote in their book, titled “This Time Is Different” — the words often on the lips of policy makers just before a debt bomb exploded. “But the exact timing can be very difficult to guess, and a crisis that seems imminent can sometimes take years to ignite.”

Some economists think the last straw for states and cities will be debt hidden in their pension obligations.

Joshua Rauh, an economist at Northwestern University, and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago, recently recalculated the value of the 50 states’ pension


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Massive Layoffs Coming in NYC, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, Everywhere

Massive Layoffs Coming in NYC, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, Everywhere

Courtesy of Mish  
Miniature Businessman Walking Across Newspaper Stock Page With Briefcase

Cities, states, and municipalities are sinking by the minute. And unless unions agree to concessions (which they won’t) massive layoffs are coming everywhere you look. New York City is a prime example.

Please consider NYC May Lay Off 19,000 Workers If State Cuts Aid

New York City will have to lay off more than 10,000 public workers, in addition to 8,500 teachers, if the state legislature approves the $1.3 billion of cuts the governor proposed in his deficit-closing budget, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.

The mayor, in a speech to the legislature, estimated 3,150 police officers would be cut, reducing the force’s "operational strength" to 1985 levels.

About 1,050 firefighters would have to be let go, along with 900 correctional officers, and the city would have to cut its daily inmate population by 1,900, he said. The number of at-risk children that service workers monitor would fall to 2,700 from 9,000, Bloomberg said.

The mayor, an independent, said Governor David Paterson’s budget "utterly fails the test of fairness." He told lawmakers: "You can’t lose control of the streets in terms of safety or cleanliness. You can’t lose control of the streets in terms of an ambulance or a firefighter showing up."

NYC mayor: State budget would force city layoffs

Check out the spin in this version of the same story: NYC mayor: State budget would force city layoffs 

The proposed state budget would force thousands of layoffs and could reduce New York City police staffing to the level of 1985, before the city emerged as a terrorism target, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned legislators Monday.

Gov. David Paterson’s proposed 2010-11 budget would cut $1.5 billion in funding to the city, Bloomberg said — forcing layoffs of 9 percent of the city’s police officers; layoffs of 1,050 firefighters and the closing of some firehouses; and 8,500 teachers as part of what Bloomberg says is a $500 million cut in school aid.

In addition, aid for other services such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters and transit cards for students will be sapped with no way for the city to make up the funding.

"This executive budget would have devastating effects on essential services in New York City," Bloomberg said.

Pointing The Finger

It appears mayor…
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Union Battles In Las Vegas, Simi California, Hawaii, Massachusetts

Union Battles In Las Vegas, Simi California, Hawaii, Massachusetts

Courtesy of Mish

Union battles over benefits are starting to appear all over the place. Here are a few stories from the past two days.

USA, Nevada, Las Vegas, The Strip at dusk, elevated view

Las Vegas: City firefighters launch campaign against cutbacks

Las Vegas’ firefighters union has taken a hard stance against the city’s budget cuts, alleging that reductions will hurt emergency responses along with fire insurance rating for homes and businesses.

City officials, meanwhile, said the union is engaging in irresponsible “scare tactics” at a time when the city is facing economic difficulties.

The back-and-forth comes as the city readies for a series of town hall meetings scheduled from January to March to hear resident feedback on what city services are most important.

It also comes as the city is considering back-to-back 8 percent salary rollbacks and freezes for all employees, including firefighters, although a union official declined to comment today on the union’s positions on these wage proposals.

The union has created a Web site as well as a radio advertisement warning that cuts could increase response times, result in fewer people on duty, reduce the city’s ability to respond to disasters and hurt the city’s fire insurance rating, which is at the highest level.

This discussion is just one part of the ongoing wrangling over the city’s budget, which has seen an ever-widening deficit since the economic downturn began.

The city has already cut operating costs, eliminated vacant positions and announced some layoffs. City management has also proposed an 8 percent wage rollback in each of the next two budget years to avoid layoffs, a proposal being evaluated by the unions that represent city workers.

My recommendation to Las Vegas is to declare bankruptcy and let the unions see what they can get in court.

Simi California: Simi, police union agree to contract

The Simi Valley City Council on Wednesday approved a new agreement with the Simi Valley Police Officers’ Association for an 18-month employee contract that includes a 3 percent salary decrease for sworn police officers and sergeants.

The unanimous approval came after the council went into a closed session meeting late Wednesday afternoon with attorneys and representatives from both the city and police association.

Significant provisions of the MOU approved Wednesday include:

For fiscal year 2009-2010, the base


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10 States In Deep Fiscal Trouble

10 States In Deep Fiscal Trouble

Courtesy of Mish 

Dropping tax revenue, rising unemployment and yawning budget gaps are wreaking havoc in states from Arizona to Wisconsin, a new report shows.

CNNMoney reports 10 states face financial peril.

The same economic pressures that pushed California to the brink of insolvency are wreaking havoc on other states, a new report has found.

The 10 most troubled states are: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Other states — including Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Hawaii — were not far behind.

The list is based on several factors, including the loss of state revenue, size of budget gaps, unemployment and foreclosure rates, poor money management practices, and state laws governing the passage of budgets.

In a separate study released Wednesday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that states will likely have to make steep cuts in their fiscal 2011 budgets, which start next July 1 in most states. That’s because the critical federal stimulus dollars will run out by the end of 2010.

These cuts could take nearly a percentage point off the national gross domestic product and cost the nation 900,000 jobs, the study found.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, says the states need additional federal fiscal relief to avoid budget cuts that will hurt both the economy and people. State and local spending accounts for about one-eighth of the GDP.

And in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that his state is facing a budget gap of up to $7 billion. The state will likely announce across-the-board spending cuts in January.

"So we just have to hang in there, tighten our belts and live within our means," he said.

The center would like to see the federal government allocate another $50 billion, while economist Mark Zandi said about half of that would be needed. Congress should pass the additional aid now since states are currently crafting their fiscal 2011 budgets.

Budget projections show that states could face deficits as large as $260 billion in 2011 and 2012 after stimulus funding is exhausted. State economies usually take up to two years longer to recover after the nation’s fiscal health begins to improve.

New budget cuts and tax increases "will be a serious drag on the economy at just the


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Phil's Favorites

Why care about illegal immigrants? For one thing, they've become vital to key sectors of the US economy

 

Why care about illegal immigrants? For one thing, they've become vital to key sectors of the US economy

Suzanne Mayes reacts to Melania Trump’s jacket as she collects toys for detained families. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Courtesy of Mary Jo Dudley, Cornell University

“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”

While it may be impossible to know what Melania Trump meant when she wore a coat emblazoned with that statement during a recent visit to a children’s shelter in Texas, to many the mess...



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Zero Hedge

VIX 'Curve' Inverts As Traders Carry Biggest Short Vol Position Since Feb Crisis

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

VIX is spiking this morning, back above 16 for the first time since May...

and inverting the term structure...

...



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Insider Scoop

50 Biggest Movers From Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Gainers
  • Apollo Medical Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMEH) shares jumped 50.6 percent to close at $30.00.
  • Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NYSE: ZOM) gained 49 percent to close at $2.98.
  • Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ: AUTL) gained 47.06 percent to close at $25.00. Autolus priced its 8.8 million ADS IPO at $17 per ADS.
  • OncoCyte Corporation (NYSE: OCX) shares rose 36.96 percent to close...


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Chart School

Semiconductors Accelerate Losses

Courtesy of Declan.

There was no real change on the end-of-week position of markets. The Semiconductor Index was the most active with an undercut close of the week's swing low Next support level is the 50-day MA.


Despite the swing low undercut in the Semiconductor Index there were no breakout reversals for the Nasdaq or Nasdaq 100; indeed, the weakness may be viewed as a buying opportunity with a test of support.

...

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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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Digital Currencies

Crypto-Collapse Resumes After Japan's Largest Exchange Halts Account Creation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

What started off as a hopeful week of broadening user adoption is ending on a sour note as Japan's chief regulator launched a probe of crypto-exchanges, prompting the largest to halt account creation sending the entire crypto space lower...

As CNBC reports, the order...



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Biotech

Opioids don't have to be addictive - the new versions will treat pain without triggering pleasure

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

 

Opioids don't have to be addictive – the new versions will treat pain without triggering pleasure

shutterstock.

Courtesy of Tao Che, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The problem with opioids is that they kill pain – and people. In the past three years, more than 125,000 persons died from an opioid overdose – an average of 115 people per day – exceeding the number killed in ...



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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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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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