Posts Tagged ‘Treasuries’

Bernanke Says Economic Outlook is “Unusually Uncertain”, Fed Prepared for “Actions as Needed”

Bernanke Says Economic Outlook is "Unusually Uncertain", Fed Prepared for "Actions as Needed"

ben bernanke Courtesy of Mish

Be prepared for Quantitative Easing Round 2 (QE2) and/or other misguided Fed policy decisions because Bernanke Says Fed Ready to Take Action.

Treasuries rose, pushing two-year yields to the fourth record low in five days, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the economic outlook is “unusually uncertain” and policy makers are prepared “to take further policy actions as needed.”

Ten-year note yields touched a three-week low as Bernanke said central bankers are ready to act to aid growth even as they prepare to eventually raise interest rates from almost zero and shrink a record balance sheet.

“An unusual outlook may call for unusual measures, and that means the Fed may take more action as needed, which would lead to lower rates,” said Suvrat Prakash, an interest-rate strategist in New York at BNP Paribas, one of the 18 primary dealers that trade with the central bank.

The Fed chief didn’t elaborate on steps the Fed might take as he affirmed the Fed’s policy of keeping rates low for an “extended period.” Economic data over the past month that were weaker than analysts projected have prompted investor speculation the Fed may increase monetary stimulus in a bid to keep the economy growing and reduce a jobless rate from close to a 26-year high.

“Bernanke acknowledged that things weren’t very strong economically and left action on the table without going into details, and that’s sending investors from stocks into bonds,” said James Combias, New York-based head of Treasury trading at primary dealer Mizuho Financial Group Inc.

Monetary Policy Report to the Congress July 2010

Inquiring minds are slogging through the 56 page Monetary Policy Report to the Congress July 2010. Here are a few key snips.

Summary of Economic Projections

Participants generally made modest downward revisions to their projections for real GDP growth for the years 2010 to 2012, as well as modest upward revisions to their projections for the unemployment rate for the same period.

Participants also revised down a little their projections for inflation over the forecast period. Several participants noted that these revisions were largely the result of the incoming economic data and the anticipated effects of developments abroad on U.S. financial markets and the economy. Overall, participants continued to expect the pace of the economic recovery to


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Bernanke Reiterates the Fed’s “Whatever It Takes” Pledge for the Thousandth Time

To summarize and save you time, Jr. Deputy Accountant writes

Bernanke Reiterates the Fed’s "Whatever It Takes" Pledge for the Thousandth Time

I won’t call Bernanke a one trick pony since he’s got more tricks than a Hollywood madam but I will say this: the man is nothing if not consistent.

USA Today:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Wednesday the economic outlook remains "unusually uncertain," and the central bank is ready to take new steps to keep the recovery alive if the economy worsens.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke also said record low interest rates are still needed to bolster the U.S. economy. He repeated a pledge to keep them there for an "extended period."

Whatever it takes!

Full text of Bernanke’s semi-annual monetary policy check-in with Congress may be found via the Board of Governors


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First Time in History – Direct Bidders Buy More Treasuries than Wall Street Dealers; Reflections on Common Sense

First Time in History – Direct Bidders Buy More Treasuries than Wall Street Dealers; Reflections on Common Sense

Courtesy of Mish 

Here’s an interesting sign of the times from Bloomberg: Treasury Bids Rise 18% as Investors Surpass Dealers

For the first time since the government started collecting the data, central banks, mutual funds and U.S. banks are buying more government securities at Treasury auctions than Wall Street’s bond dealers.

Foreign and domestic investors bidding directly at note and bond auctions bought 57 percent of the $1.26 trillion in Treasuries sold by the government this year, up from 45 percent during the same period in 2009 and as little as 32 percent for all of 2008, according to government data compiled by Bloomberg. Bids compared with the amount of debt sold, the bid-to-cover ratio, rose 18 percent from last year’s 14-year high, according to data that Treasury started collecting in 1994.

“The data shift that we had from the first quarter to the second quarter has been fairly dramatic and came sooner than many investors would have expected,” said Eric Pellicciaro, New York-based head of global rates investments at BlackRock Inc., which manages about $1 trillion in bonds. “Treasuries are still attractive.”

Primary dealers, which are required to bid in government auctions and act as the trading partner to the New York Fed, have won the lowest proportion of Treasuries in auctions since the government began releasing the data in 2003.

Bond Bears

Even bond-market bears such as primary dealer Morgan Stanley have trimmed forecasts for U.S. yields to rise in the second half of the year, with slow growth likely to keep the Federal Reserve from increasing record low borrowing rates into 2011. The target for overnight loans between banks has been zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.

Morgan Stanley of New York has lowered its estimate for the 10-year yield at the end of the 2010 to 3.5 percent from 5.5 percent at the start the year. The median projection of 55 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey is 3.36 percent, down from 3.80 percent in June.

Pent-Up Demand Takes Hold

Over the past few years I have received many taunts from people saying treasuries were a sure loser.

However, a few inquiring minds did ask who would buy them. My reply was there was a pent-up demand for treasuries. I said so in a rebuttal…
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Junk vs. Investment Grade Bonds, What Does the Divergence Suggest for Equities?

Junk vs. Investment Grade Bonds, What Does the Divergence Suggest for Equities?

Courtesy of Mish 

Businessman getting knives thrown at him

Minyan Harvey is inquiring about the divergence between junk bonds as measured by JNK and higher grade corporates as measured by LQD.

The question is in regards to Corporate Bonds Smacked, Junk Yields Rise, Deals Pulled; Treasuries Rally; Yield Curve Flattens; Global Slowdown Coming

Minyan Harvey writes …

Prof. Shedlock (or is it Prof. Mish),

Hope you are well. Just read your post in Buzz & Banter about JNK in particular and high yield corps in general. I see all of that and it confirmed what I thought the junk market was telling us. However, one thing confuses the heck out of me, and I hope you can clear this up. Why is the investment-grade market (LQD) seemingly holding up so well? In 2008, the LQD fell throughout the year and slightly led the equity market down in the waterfall decline. Yet LQD is actually HIGHER year-to-date and up ever so slightly since the April top in equities.

What gives? If we are headed for another 2008 waterfall, shouldn’t the LQD be showing signs of stress?

I defer to you as I am anything but an expert on corporate bonds. Thanks for your time and answer.

Peace,
Minyan Harvey

Hello Minyan Harvey, just plain "Mish" is quite fine. Thanks for asking.

In regards to the divergence you spotted, Rot is most often visible at the edges first. The same applies to both bonds and equities:

Consider Europe. The weak link was Greece, but the concern about rot quickly spread to Portugal, then Spain. I think that concern will spread to Italy as well.

In equities, the first visible crack something was amiss in the global recovery thesis was China and emerging markets, not the US. Note that the Shanghai index $SSEC led the recovery then was the first to correct. Europe followed, now the US.

$SSEC Weekly Shanghai Index

Likewise, in regards to corporate bonds, it would be normal for rot to appear first in junk.

Also note that in 2008 continuing into March of 2009 there was indiscriminate selling of everything in the corporate bond world. Bond prices reflected Armageddon that did not happen, even if in some cases it should have and would have without government intervention, as is the case in Fannie Mae…
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Corporate Bonds Smacked, Yields Rise, Deals Pulled; Treasuries Rally; Yield Curve Flattens; Global Slowdown Coming

Corporate Bonds Smacked, Yields Rise, Deals Pulled; Treasuries Rally; Yield Curve Flattens; Global Slowdown Coming

Courtesy of Mish

The 30-year long bond is sitting just 3 basis points away from hitting a 3-handle and the yield on 5-year treasuries is 1.94 after hitting 2.60 in April. That is quite a reversal.

Yield on the 10-year note is at 3.13% a price last seen a year ago.

Meanwhile, Libor Shows Strain, Sales Dwindle, Spreads Soar

Corporate bond sales are poised for their worst month in a decade, while relative yields are rising the most since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse, as the response by lawmakers to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis fails to inspire investor confidence.

Companies have issued $47 billion of debt in May, down from $183 billion in April and the least since December 1999, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The extra yield investors demand to hold company debt rather than benchmark government securities is headed for the biggest monthly increase since October 2008, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Broad Market index shows.

Junk bonds issued in the U.S. have been especially hard hit, with spreads expanding 141 basis points this month to 702, contributing to a loss of 3.78 percent. Leveraged loans, or those rated speculative grade, have also tumbled. The S&P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index ended last week at 89.23 cents on the dollar, from 92.90 cents on April 26.

Question of Solvency

“This is a quintessential liquidity crisis,” said William Cunningham, head of credit strategies and fixed-income research at Boston-based State Street Corp.’s investment unit, which oversees almost $2 trillion.

I disagree. This is a return, and rightfully so, to questions of solvency. Many corporations were given a new lease on life in May of 2009 by once again securing funding at cheap levels.

Now, huge cracks are appearing in the corporate bond market. At least seven junk bond deals have been pulled. This environment is not good for equities.

JNK – Lehman High Yield Bond ETF

click on chart for sharper image

Is this another scare like we saw in January and February or is this the real deal? I think the latter, but I thought so in February as well.

Notice how the top in junk bonds coincided with the top in equities. I cautioned many


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THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

THREE THINGS I THINK I THINK

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Businessman holding a personal organizer

  • Everyone is making a big fuss over the fact that four U.S. banks went 61 days in a row without any losses.  Well, the better question in this environment is how did any bank manage to not make a profit on all 61 days?  These big banks are borrowing from the Fed for nothing and can effectively sell low risk bonds back to the government for a 3%+ annualized gain.  This is a no-brainer when it comes to making money.  If you’re a big bank you’re just laddering into a massive fixed income portfolio without almost no risk.  The confusion or misrepresentations made by many regarding this “phenomenal performance” is that these firms are just sitting around “trading” the Nasdaq 100 like Joe Schmo does at home.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  These firms make most of their “trading” revenues by playing market maker or “trading” in these low risk fixed income markets.  They’re essentially just pairing buyers and sellers and scraping a fee off inbeteween.  Yes, there are other higher risk portions of their portfolios, but for the most part these firms are just vacuuming money up from off the NYSE floor at every twist and turn.  It should shock no one that the big banks are making profits.  A better question for the Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman Sachs’s of the world might be why they still have their bank holding company status?   Allowing these firms to borrow from the Fed at 0% is a slap in the face to every other hard working financial firm.
  • Bondsquawk pointed out this morning that the LIBOR OIS spread continues to widen.  According to Prospects Daily:

    “Dollar money-market rates to highest levels since August. The cost of inter-bank borrowing for three-month dollar funds increased to the highest level in almost nine months, as the IMF/EU’s $1 trillion financial plan for Europe failed to boost confidence sufficiently in commercial banks to step up their lending. The three-month London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, for dollar funds increased to 0.43% this morning from 0.423% yesterday, the most since August 17, according to the British Bankers’ Association. Meanwhile, the three-month rate for euro, or EURIBOR, fell to 0.624% today from 0.628% yesterday, after soaring to 0.634% last week. Notably, EURIBOR established fresh lows each trading day over January 2010 to date. The


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Dow Plunges Nearly 1000 Points; Video of Riots in Greece; Dollar Melt-Up Continues; Treasury Bears Slaughtered

Dow Plunges Nearly 1000 Points; Video of Riots in Greece; Dollar Melt-Up Continues; Treasury Bears Slaughtered

Courtesy of Mish 

Treasuries and the US dollar both rallied hard today as panic broke out in Greece and equity markets worldwide.

Video of Greek Riots 

That video is from yesterday. Tensions rose again today.

At one point the S&P futures fell all the way to 1056 from an opening at 1163. I have seen these kind of days close green, but the treasury market sure isn’t buying this rally.

Yield Curve as of 2010-05-06 3:15PM EST

Bullish Flattening of Yield Curve

That chart shows a bullish flattening of the yield curve as I expected. Those expecting a bearish flattening (yields rising) got their clocks cleaned today as treasury bears were slaughtered.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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A different perspective on interest rates

A different perspective on interest rates

Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity

In the endless debates over stimulus and deficits, more “dovish” commentators frequently point out that debt markets appear sanguine about US borrowing. Despite some recent upward jitters, the Federal Government currently pays less than 4% to borrow for 10 years, and under 5% to borrow for 30 years. Those are bargain rates in historical terms, the argument goes, so investors must not be terribly concerned about inflation or default or any other bogeyman of “deficit terrorists”.

To make the point, Paul Krugman recently published a graph very similar to this one: 

 

Since the financial crisis began, the US government’s cost of long-term borrowing has dramatically fallen, not risen. If we graph a longer series of 10-year Treasury yields, the case looks even more compelling. The United States government can borrow very, very cheaply relative to its historical experience.

 

 

However, there is another way to think about those rates. The US government’s cost of long-term borrowing can be decomposed into a short-term rate plus a term premium which investors demand to cover the interest-rate and inflation risks of holding long-term bonds. The short-term rate is substantially a function of monetary policy: the Federal Reserve sets an overnight rate that very short-term Treasury rates must generally follow. Since the Federal Reserve has reduced its policy rate to historic lows, the short-term anchor of Treasury borrowing costs has mechanically fallen. But this drop is a function of monetary policy only. It tells us nothing about the market’s concern or lack thereof with the risks of holding Treasuries.

But the term premium (or “steepness of the yield curve”) is a market outcome (except while the Fed is engaged in “quantitative easing”). How do things look when we graph the term premium since the crisis began?

The graph below shows the conventional barometer of the term premium, the 2-year / 10-year spread (blue), and a longer measure, the spread between the yield on 3-month T-bills and 30-year Treasury bonds (red), since the beginning of the financial crisis:

 

 

Since the financial crisis began, the market determined part of the Treasury’s cost of borrowing has steadily risen, except for a brief, sharp flight to safety around the fall of 2008. Investors have been demanding greater compensation for bearing interest rate and inflation risk, but that has been…
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The Mortgage Bubble

The Mortgage Bubble

Courtesy of Mish 

Iconic Houses

Here is an interesting snip about mortgages and the housing situation both in the US and Canada by Dave Rosenberg in Monday’s Breakfast with Dave.

Once again, this Houdini recovery has involved a situation where mortgage rates have plunged and yet Treasury bond yields have been rising — 30-year fixed rate mortgages have fallen to 4.93% and are sitting are record-tight spreads over long Treasury bonds (see Chart 7). Historically, the average spread is 150bps and this differential is now 20bps. This is remarkable and our concern is that investors who may be exposed to mortgages are at serious risk because there is a considerable chance that these rates will be moving higher over the intermediate term — notwithstanding continued support from Uncle Sam’s pocketbook.

Investors must be reminded time and again that mortgages are callable, Treasuries are not; and we are now in a situation where net of fees, which average 70bps, anyone buying mortgage paper today is receiving a rate that is less than what the borrower is paying, How nutty is that? 

Remember — despite all the ridiculous comparisons to the Weimar Republic, the long bond is THE risk-free benchmark interest rate in the U.S. and with State taxes going up, Treasuries are an even further bargain because of their tax status.

The stretch for yield is just as evident in Canada where provincial bonds now trade at a tight 42bps over the Government of Canada (the spread exceeded 100bps at the end of 2008); and Nova Scotia (Canada’s second smallest province) just issued a 30-year bond that has since tightened to a mere 7 bps over Ontario government debt (perhaps this is a market comment on Ontario’s fiscal strategies of overspending and over-borrowing as much as it is a comment on investor risk appetite at the current time. Both messages make us uncomfortable).

CANADIAN CONSUMER LESS ROBUST THAN MEETS THE EYE

All of a sudden, the Canadian economic data are coming a tad below expectations, including the 0.4% MoM advance in December retail sales, which just came up short from recouping the 0.5% decline the month before (revised from down 0.3%). Excluding autos, sales are running at a 2.1 % annual rate over the past three months, which can only be described as tepid in view of all the rampant monetary


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What If They Stop Buying Our Debt?

What If They Stop Buying Our Debt?

Courtesy of Doug Hornig, Senior Editor, Casey Research

 

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” said Blanche DuBois, in the final words of the play A Streetcar Named Desire. Well, don’t we all.

 

Many citizens probably still cling to the old saw that public debt doesn’t matter because “we owe it to ourselves.” Wrong. Debt always matters. And as for whom we owe it to, it is a lot of kind (or, at least, not yet unkind) strangers.

 

As recently as 1970, foreign holders of U.S. debt were essentially non-existent. But their slice of our obligation pie has steadily increased, especially over the past two decades, until now foreign governments and international investors hold about 35% of Treasuries, as the following chart reveals.

 

Total Fed Gov't Debt Growing

  

 

Of about $11 trillion in U.S. debt, foreigners have about $3.8 trillion, with China in the lead at nearly $1 trillion and Japan not far behind at around $750 billion. 

Most likely, though, this trend has already leveled off. The Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Indians have openly announced their decision to cut back on further purchases and existing holdings of U.S. government debt. Beyond that, the source of funds previously allocated to their purchases — trade surpluses — has declined sharply with the recession. As a consequence, going forward, foreign buying is more apt to shrink than increase.

While foreigners are continuing to show up for the record-sized Treasury auctions, it’s due to the dollar retaining its status (albeit shakily) as the world’s reserve currency. But they have become quite cautious, generally investing towards the front end of the yield curve, which is a vote of no confidence in the buck’s future. As the chart below illustrates, sales of long-term bonds to foreigners are way down.

 

 

 

So what does all this mean? 

 

It means that a big chunk of our prosperity during the past twenty years was due to a trade deficit that put billions of dollars into the hands of foreigners, who then turned around and bought Treasuries with them,
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Phil's Favorites

Trump Tweeting As Much As Ever Amid Twitter Standoff

 

Trump Tweeting As Much As Ever Amid Twitter Standoff

By , Statista

President Trump has signed an executive order which aims to remove some of the legal protection given to social media companies, though it is expected to face significant legal hurdles. In a nutshell, it sets out to clarify the Communications Decency Act, handing regulators the power to file legal proceedings against social media companies for the way they police content on their platforms. Trump's decision to take action comes two days after Twitter attached a fact check to one of his tweets lambasting mail-in voting. He then threatened to close ...



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ValueWalk

Gold supply chain in recovery mode after pandemic shutdown

By Michelle Jones. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The gold supply chain was largely shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world. However, things are starting to open back up, and production is beginning again. The World Gold Council studied the gold supply chain, how it was impacted by the pandemic, and how the disruption of the supply chain has affected investment demand for the yellow metal.

Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Disruption to the gold supply chain

The World Gold Council said the gold supply chain is entirely global because the metal is mined on evert continent except Antarctica and refined in nume...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Antigen tests for COVID-19 are fast and easy - and could solve the coronavirus testing problem despite being somewhat inaccurate

 

Antigen tests for COVID-19 are fast and easy – and could solve the coronavirus testing problem despite being somewhat inaccurate

Antibodies are incredibly good at finding the coronavirus. Antigen tests put them to work. Sergii Iaremenko/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Courtesy of Eugene Wu, University of Richmond

In late February, I fell ill with a fever and a cough. As a biochemist who teaches a class on viruses, I’d been tracking the outbreak of...



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Zero Hedge

Ted Cruz Accuses Twitter Of Violating Sanctions Against Iran, Demands DoJ Probe

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

We've mentioned in nearly every single one of our posts about this week's dustup between the president and Twitter that the Ayato...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Tech Indicator Suggesting A Historic Top Could Be Forming?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Tech stocks have been the clear leader of the stock market recovery rally, this year and since the lows back in 2007!

But within the ranks of leadership, and an important ratio may be sending a caution message to investors.

In today’s chart, we look at the ratio of large-cap tech stocks (the Nasdaq 100 Index) to the broader tech market (the Nasdaq Composite) on a “monthly” basis.

The large-cap concentrated Nasdaq 100 (only 100 stocks) has been the clear leader for several years versus the ...



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The Technical Traders

M2 Velocity Collapses - Could A Bottom In Capital Velocity Be Setting Up?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

M2 Velocity is the measurement of capital circulating within the economy.  The faster capital circulates within the economy, the more that capital is being deployed within the economy to create output and opportunities for economic growth.  When M2 Velocity contracts, capital is being deployed in investments or assets that prevent that capital from further circulation within the economy – thus preventing further output and opportunity growth features.

The decline in M2 Velocity over the past 10+ years has been dramatic and consistent with the dramatic new zero US Federal Reserve interest rates initiated since just after the 2008 credit crisis market colla...



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Lee's Free Thinking

US Southern States COVID19 Cases - Let's Give Credit Where Due

 

US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

Courtesy of  

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboar...



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Chart School

Is this your local response to COVID 19

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

This is off topic, but a bit of fun!


This is the standard reaction from the control freaks.








This is the song for post lock down!







What should be made mandatory? Vaccines, hell NO! This should be mandatory: Every one taking their tops off in the sun, they do in Africa!

Guess which family gets more Vitamin D and eats less sugary carbs, TV Show



...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

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

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