Posts Tagged ‘Volcker Rule’

Quick Hits: Walking Away from Boats; Philadelphia Demands $300 Blogger License Fee; Birth Rate Lowest in Century; Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders

Quick Hits: Walking Away from Boats; Philadelphia Demands $300 Blogger License Fee; Birth Rate Lowest in Century; Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders

Courtesy of Mish 

I am traveling this morning will look at ISM and other data this afternoon. Meanwhile here a a few quick hits on propriety trading, bizarre charts of robo trader patterns, walking away from boats, Blogger fees in Philadelphia, birth rate demographics, and other potpourri.

JPMorgan to Shut Proprietary Trading Unit over Volcker Rule

Bloomberg Reports JPMorgan Said to Shut Proprietary Trading to Meet Volcker Rule

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. lender by assets, told traders who bet on commodities for the firm’s account that their unit will be closed as the company begins to shut down all its proprietary trading, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank eventually will end all proprietary trading to comply with new curbs on investment banks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because JPMorgan’s decision isn’t public. The New York-based bank will shut proprietary trading in fixed-income and equities later, the person said.

Closing the prop trading desk for commodities affects fewer than 20 traders, including one in the U.S. and the rest in the U.K., the person said.

This is a baby step in the right direction.

Developer Sells Zero of 141 Luxury Condos

The Press Enterprise reports Lack of sales spurs developer to lease

After two months of marketing his 141 luxury condos with not one sale, Mark Rubin said he has given up wooing buyers to the Raincross Promenade project in downtown Riverside that cost him $40 million to build.

Prospective buyers kept trying to beat down his prices, even after he shaved $30,000 off the initial list prices ranging from $240,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath condominium to $475,000 for a two bedroom, 2 ½-bath townhouse. "There were no sales," Rubin said. "Everyone wants a bargain. They read about foreclosures and think they can buy for distress prices."

Rubin paid cash for the property and is now looking to lease units.

Walking Away From Boats

MIAMI - APRIL 22:  Officer Jorge Pino from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission checks on a derelict/abandoned boat on April 22, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Though it is hard for law enforcement officers to determine which boats have been abandoned unless they wash-up on shore or are a navigational hazard the downturn in the economy has shown that derelict/abandoned boats are becoming more of a problem from California to Maine.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 The USA Today reports Abandoned boats litter waters in tough economy

States across the USA are taking steps to deal with an armada of derelict boats abandoned by their owners in a tough economy:

In Massachusetts,Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill this month that gave local governments the


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Bye Bye Blythe: JPM Shutting Down Their Proprietary Commodity Trading Operation

Bye Bye Blythe: JPM Shutting Down Their Proprietary Commodity Trading Operation

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

Breaking news from Bloomberg…

J. P. Morgan said today that they will be shutting down their proprietary commodity trading operations in reponse to the Volcker Rule in the Financial Reform legislation.

The JPM proprietary commodity trading group is headquartered in London with a few traders located in New York.

Within the past month trading head Blythe Masters had reassured her traders that things in the unit would continue on as they had been despite losses and layoffs.

Employees are being told that they may apply for other positions now.

Speculation is that this is also in response to position limits and other reforms in the Commodity Markets spearheaded by Commissioner Bart Chilton which will make it more difficult for large players to dominate the short term markets through sheer position size.

It is not clear if JPM will be exiting all markets at the same time including gold and silver in addition to other commodities.

We will look for clarification from their official statement which has not yet been issued.

According to a person who has been briefed, JPM will eventually be shutting down ALL proprietary trading in all markets in response to financial reform. This will include fixed income and equities which are much larger departments at the bank.

JPM recently suffered heavy losses in their proprietary commodity trading provoking a high level review by top executives.

JPM may continue to deal in these markets for commercial and private customers. They will cease trading for their own book.

It will be interesting to see what JPM does with RBS Sempra, a commodities company which they acquired earlier this year.

Bloomberg
JPMorgan Said to End Proprietary Trading to Meet Volcker Rule
By Dawn Kopecki and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
Aug 31, 2010 4:45 PM ET

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. lender by assets, told traders who bet on commodities for the firm’s account that their unit will be closed as the company begins to shut down all of its proprietary trading, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank eventually will end all proprietary trading to comply with new U.S. curbs on investment banks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because


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Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

By Steven Brill, courtesy of TIME 

government for sale, time

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME.

Two weeks ago, along a marble corridor in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, I watched about 40 well-dressed men (and two women) delivering huge value for their employers. Except that we, the taxpayers, weren’t employing them. The nation’s banks, mortgage lenders, stockbrokers, private-equity funds and derivatives traders were.

They were lobbyists — the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses. According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided "input and technical advice on various tax matters" to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds. (Time Warner, the parent company of TIME magazine, is also a client of Capitol Tax Partners.)

Since 2009, the Private Equity Council has paid Capitol Tax, which has eight partners, a $30,000-a-month retainer to keep its members’ taxes low. Counting fees paid to four other firms and the cost of its in-house lobbying staff, the council reported spending $4.2 million on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 through March of this year. Now let’s assume it spent an additional $600,000 since the beginning of April, for a total of $4.8 million. With other groups lobbying on the same issue, the overall spending to protect the favorable carried-interest tax treatment was maybe $15 million. Which seems like a lot — except that this is a debate over how some $100 billion will be taxed, or not, over the next 10 years.

And what did the money managers get for their $15 million investment? While lawmakers did manage to boost the taxes of hedge-fund managers and other folks who collect carried interest as part of their work,…
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Financial Reform Bill Is Like Watching An R-Rated Movie On TNT

Financial Reform Bill Is Like Watching An R-Rated Movie On TNT

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Just going through the details of the Senate and House’s merged Financial Reform Bill, also known as the Let’s Not Allow Our Largest Donors To Embarrass Us Again Act of 2010.

Wall Street wins this round. The "teeth" of the Volcker Rule have been kicked in and there are enough holes elsewhere for White & Case to exploit on behalf of their clientele til the cows come home.  The Dems unanimously voted for it.  Interestingly, Republicans all voted against it.  They didn’t think the final version was strict enough or that it did enough to prevent Too Big To Fail.

Reading through the bill, I have to say, is a bit like watching Pulp Fiction or Goodfellas on TNT.  The plot is intact but the movie is still somehow rendered meaningless minus the blood, guts and f-bombs.  No, Ray Liotta didn’t just say ‘Fudge You’ and no, banks should not be taking deposits with one hand and rolling the dice with the other.

There will be some limitation to what large banks can do on a proprietary basis, but they will still be de facto giant hedge funds, albeit hedge funds with higher capital reserve requirements.

The ratings agency stuff in the bill was well done in my view – it adds liability into the mix, finally.

Tyler Durden is even, how shall we put this, …
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Wall Street CEOs Are Nuts

Wall Street CEOs Are Nuts

Courtesy of James Kwak at Baseline Scenario 

“Geithner’s team spent much of its time during the debate over the Senate bill helping Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd kill off or modify amendments being offered by more-progressive Democrats. A good example was Bernie Sanders’s measure to audit the Fed, which the administration played a key role in getting the senator from Vermont to tone down. Another was the Brown-Kaufman Amendment, which became a cause célèbre among lefty reformers such as former IMF economist Simon Johnson. ‘If enacted, Brown-Kaufman would have broken up the six biggest banks in America,’ says the senior Treasury official. ‘If we’d been for it, it probably would have happened. But we weren’t, so it didn’t.’”

Oh, well.

That’s one passage from John Heileman’s juicy article in New York Magazine. It provides a lot of background support for what many of us have been thinking for a while: the administration is happy with the financial reform bill roughly as it turned out, and it got there by taking up an anti-Wall Street tone (e.g., the Volcker Rule), riding a wave of populist anger to the point where the bill was sure of passing, and then quietly pruning back its most far-reaching components. If anything, that’s a testament to the political skill of the White House and, yes, Tim Geithner as well.

There are two other things in the article I thought worth commenting on. Here’s one:

Cupid holding heart box of Valentine candy

“Obama could be forgiven for expecting greater reciprocity from the bankers—something more than the equivalent of a Hallmark card and a box of penny candy. He had, after all, done more than saved their lives directly by continuing the bailout policies formulated by Paulson and Geithner. He and his team could credibly claim to have kept the world economy from falling off a cliff. Yet with the unemployment rate still near double digits, Obama had (and still has) received scant credit from the public for what was arguably his signal accomplishment. At the same time, the one thing that almost every slice of the electorate would have applauded wildly—the sight of the president landing a few haymakers on Wall Street’s collective jaw—was an opportunity that the president had largely forsworn.”

This is a theme you hear a lot these days — the idea that Obama (or Geithner)…
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Merkley for Main Street

Merkley for Main Street

By Bryce Cover, courtesy of New Deal 2.0

Senator Jeff Merkley took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, complete with fist pounding, to air his frustration over the blockage of the Merkley-Levin amendment that would fortify the Volcker Rule. The rule restricts banks that have access to FDIC insurance from speculative trading. What he wanted to know: “Why is Wall Street winning and Main Street losing tonight in the US senate?” Watch his passionate speech:

 

See also: Merkley-Levin Amendment Can’t Get a Vote 


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10 Things You Need To Know That Are Going On This Weekend

SPECIAL EDITION: 10 Things You Need To Know That Are Going On This Weekend

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal, at Clusterstock 

It’s a Saturday, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it, because there’s a heck of a lot going on. 

Here’s what you need to be paying attention to this May Day.

  • Greece/IMF/EU talks continue. According to Greek government officials, some kind of announcement may be made today. The market is hoping to hear something that’s orders of magnitude stronger than any bailout announcement we’ve gotten so far, or otherwise the feeling will be that it can and will fall through again.
  • Of course, there are fresh violent, anti-austerity protests going on today in Athens. The fact that it’s May Day, a day for celebrating anti-capitalism only adds to the tension.
  • New reports suggest the criminal probe into Goldman Sachs is not just a perfunctory follow-on to the SEC charges, but rather a truly separate thing that’s wider than Abacus, and that started before the SEC’s investigation. HUGE.
  • With just five days before the election, UK’s The Guardian has endorsed the Liberal Democrats, the country’s biggest third party. Its leader, Nick Clegg, has surged thanks to a string of strong debate performances, Gordon Brown’s disastrous campaigning, and a lingering sense of unease with the conservatives.


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    SOROS: DESTROY THE BANKING OLIGOPOLY

    SOROS: DESTROY THE BANKING OLIGOPOLY

    Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

    Famed investor George Soros is calling for a break-up of the banking oligopoly in the United States.  His recent comments were made in reference to the big four U.S. banks that have come to dominate the banking sector.  CitiGroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo now dominate the overwhelming majority of the U.S. bank market.

    As regular readers know, I believe this oligopoly is part of the problem and that Ben Bernanke has likely increased the potential risks in the U.S. economy by further consolidating the sector.  Perhaps most important, however, is the risks these four banks (and all banks for that matter) are allowed to take.  Soros is in favor of the Volcker Rule which would segregate deposits from a bank’s risk taking operations such as hedge funds and prop trading.  This appears like a no-brainer after what we just experienced, but unfortunately, with consolidated banking came consolidated lobbyists and that’s a recipe for even further power over Congress. The likelihood of the Volcker Rule passing is close to nothing at this point.

    Soros has made a career out of being right.  I am guessing he’ll be right again about the U.S. banking system, but it appears as though little will be done about it….

    Read the full story at BusinessWeek.

    Picture credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant 

     


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    Are Pig Farmers Doing All The Trading? “The Top Five Prop Desks Are Buying And Selling Securities With Leverage … To Each Other!”

    Are Pig Farmers Doing All The Trading? "The Top Five Prop Desks Are Buying And Selling Securities With Leverage … To Each Other!"

    Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

    Swine Flu Threat Reaches Indonesia

    A suitable follow up to our earlier post on domestic equity fund flows (which have been negative year to date), and our conclusion that Primary Dealers are merely taking advantage of the ZIRP carry trade, is Rosie’s observation that the only entities doing any relevant trading are the prop desks of the Big Five TBTFs. If that is indeed the case, the market, which Rosenberg concludes optimistically is 25% overvalued will certainly face a Black Monday-type correction as soon as the elusive "unpredictable" occurs and the Prop desks as always scurry for cover, with no volume consolidation to the upside.

    It would be such a wonderful time to truly implement the Volcker Rule as the bank’s prop desks, if David is correct, are about to cause some major damage to the market… Of course, it is these very prop desks that are the staunchest opposition to the Volcker Rule and its negative implication on prop trading.

    From David Rosenberg and Gluskin-Sheff:

    Well, well, the theory that the stock market has turned in a double top may not have gone the way of the Dodo after all, following the reversals we saw in the last two trading days of last week. Negative reversals and distribution days in three of the last six sessions is something to be concerned about if you are long this market — and volume remains tepid at best.

    The market is now overvalued by over 25% but is also extremely overbought having gone 24 sessions without a decline of 1% or more, and 89% of the stocks in the S&P 500 are now trading above their 50-day moving averages (see page M3 of Barron’s). The Dow has advanced in 17 of the past 21 days. I mean, even if you are bullish on the outlook, one would have to admit that such a parabolic move is vulnerable to at least a modest pullback… or more. I know what a broken record sounds like and this has been a confounding and confusing market — for both the bears and many (though not all) of the bulls.

    Looking at the fund flows, there is only one conclusion that can be reached:
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    Senator: Which Part Of “Too Big To Fail” Do You Not Understand?

    Senator: Which Part Of “Too Big To Fail” Do You Not Understand?

    Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario

    When a company wants to fend off a hostile takeover, its board may seek to put in place so-called “poison pill” defenses – i.e., measures that will make the firm less desirable if purchased, but which ideally will not encumber its operations if it stays independent.

    Large complex cross-border financial institutions run with exactly such a structure in place, but it has the effect of making it very expensive for the government to takeover or shut down such firms, i.e., to push them into any form of bankruptcy.

    To understand this more clearly you can,

    The Citigroup situation is simple.  They would like to downsize slightly, and are under some pressure to do so.  It is hard to sell assets at a decent price in this environment, so why don’t they just spin off companies – e.g., quickly create five companies in which each original shareholder gets a commensurate stake?

    The answer is that Citi’s debt is generally cross-guaranteed across various parts of the company.  US and foreign creditors have a claim on the whole thing, more or less (including the international parts), and you can’t break it apart without upsetting them.  The cross-border dimensions make everything that much more knotty.

    Senator Kaufman explains what this means – essentially the “resolution authority” proposed in the Dodd legislation is meaningless.  How would any administration put a huge bank into any kind of “resolution” (a FDIC-type bank closure, scaled up to big banks) when it knows that doing so would trigger default across all the complex pieces of this multinational empire?

    You could do it if you are willing to accept the costs – and if you understand there are big drawbacks to providing an unconditional bailout of the 2009 variety.  But will a future administration be willing to take that decision?  The Obama administration was not – and big finance will only become bigger and more complex as we move forward.

    If you look into the eyes of the decision-makers from spring 2009, they honestly believe that taking over Citi or Bank of America would have caused greater financial trouble and a worse recession.  You can argue about their true motivation all you want; this…
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    Phil's Favorites

    Brick and Mortar Winners in a Post Covid World

     

    Brick and Mortar Winners in a Post Covid World

    Courtesy of Howard Lindzon

    Before I get started…

    Zoom zoomed past Exxon in market cap yesterday. At some level that makes sense as Zoom is the fuel for 2020 economy. Between alternative energy and COVID, I have no idea if Exxon can regain past glory.

    Next up…

    JC does a fun weekly show with me where we talk about the markets and a few favorite ideas, and his team does a great job of slipping in great edits to make it funny and worth sticking around. Here is this week’s e...



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    Zero Hedge

    UK Officer In Charge Of Submarine's Nukes Boarded "Staggering Drunk" While Clutching BBQ Chicken

    Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

    On Monday the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed a hugely embarrassing incident involving a security and operations lapse aboard the British nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant while it temporarily was docked during a mission at a US naval base, specifically Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia.

    The officer in charge of overseeing the vessel's nuclear warheads arrived to his shift "staggering drunk" while strangely carrying a bag of barbecue chicken.

    ...

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    ValueWalk

    Global Corporations Get Cracking On Oil & Gas Lending Exits

    By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

    From zero to fifty, global financial corporations get cracking on major oil & gas lending exits

    Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

    Accelerating divestment from oil and gas shows similar early trends to global financial institution’s exit from coal

    Financial Institutions Restrict Oil And Gas Drilling In The Arctic

    20 October 2020 (IEEFA): Fifty globally significant financial instituti...



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    Chart School

    Dow Gann Angle Update

    Courtesy of Read the Ticker

    Time to see what happens to the Dow post US elections.

    The Dow Gann Angle Target 3 (from 2007 top) is on the table, and what a ride that will be. The FED went BRRRRR is all the fundamental news you need to know. Gann angles are very good tool to see how the masses are pushing price.


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    The last two US elections saw Bitcoin and the DOW rally well for 6 months, due to stimulus. The most bearish 2020 US Election case for the markets is a Biden win with the Senate and Congress controlled by the Democrats, somehow this blog feels that is very unlikely. So what could go wrong!


    ...

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    Kimble Charting Solutions

    Will 2020 Mark Historic Low For Interest Rates?

    Courtesy of Chris Kimble

    US treasury bond yields have been trending lower for over 3 decades. Could the latest drop mark a significant low for bond yields and interest rates?

    In today’s chart, we can see that interest rates have had several spike lows and highs, but that each low is lower and each high is lower. That’s the definition of a downtrend. BUT, each of these spike lows has resulted in big rallies within the downtrend channel. And each of these lows and subsequent rallies have been marked by significant momentum lows (see each green line and shaded box).

    So is it time for short-term yields to rally?

    Looking at the current set-up, we can see that yiel...



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    Biotech/COVID-19

    Coronavirus reinfection cases: what we know so far - and the vital missing clues

     

    Coronavirus reinfection cases: what we know so far – and the vital missing clues

    By Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester

    As President Trump claims that he is immune to COVID-19 and isolated reports emerge of reinfection, what is the truth about immunity to COVID-19?

    To date, there have been six published ...



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    Politics

    Dan's Covid Charts: Blue States vs. Red States Over Time

     

    The trend of lower Covid-19 case numbers per capita in blue states compared to red states isn't itself surprising, but the magnitude of the differences may be. You can visualize the evolving differences in case loads by watching the infection's progression, as measured by cases per capita, at Dan's website.

    [Visit Dan’s COVID Charts to see these amazing animated charts and more. Fortunately, Dan broke his Twitter hiatus to share his work.]

    People say I should break my 12-year Twitter hiatus to share my latest animated COVID chart. It compares state cases factoring in partisanship since June 1, when science had proven methodology as to how to stop the spread after the initial sucker punch. ...



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    Digital Currencies

    Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading - here's why it's not yet a big deal

     

    Bitcoin: the UK and US are clamping down on crypto trading – here's why it's not yet a big deal

    Where there’s a bit there’s a writ. Novikov Aleksey

    Courtesy of Gavin Brown, University of Liverpool

    The sale and promotion of derivatives of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to amateur investors is being banned in the UK by the financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a...



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    Mapping The Market

    COVID-19 Forces More Than Half of Asset Management Firms to Accelerate Adoption of Digital Marketing Technology

    By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

    There is no doubt that the use of technology to support client engagement initiatives brings both opportunities and threats but this has been brought into sharp focus this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The crisis has brought to the fore the need for firms to enable flexibility in client engagement – the expectation that providers will communicate to clients on their terms, at their speed and frequency and on their preferred channels, is now a given. This is even more critical when clients are experiencing unparalleled anxiety from both market conditions and their own personal circumstances.

    ...

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    The Technical Traders

    Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

    Courtesy of Technical Traders

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

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



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    Lee's Free Thinking

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

     

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

    Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

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

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



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    Insider Scoop

    Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

    Courtesy of Benzinga

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

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    Promotions

    Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

    TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

    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! 

    This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

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

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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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