Trading the Odds

A statistical approach to profit in the US equity markets, trading the markets like professional card counters are playing Blackjack or expert poker players are playing Poker.

Trading the Odds on Friday – June 12, 2009

WE031672-klein

Although the S&P 500 couldn’t hold onto its intraday gains of +1.82% above Wednesday’s close and again reversed course (as it was the case on Wednesday’s sessions), the index closed up +0.61% on the day, in compliance with the positive bias which was triggered on Wednesday’s close based on the setup ‘the S&P 500 closed within a +/- 0.35% four days in a row AND the S&P 500 posted a higher high on two consecutive sessions, but closed almost flat (+/- 0.25%) in comparison to the close three sessions ago ‘ (see my post Trading the Odds on Thursday – June 11, 2009).

That the S&P 500 would possibly get into trouble during the session was noticeable due to the fact that the $SOX Semiconductor Index as well as the Nasdaq 100 (significantly) under-performed the S&P 500, and when the Nasdaq 100 started to post lower lows intraday it was time to took some money of the table and close any potential index long positions for the day (see my respective Twitter update at 01:35 PM CET).

Market breadth was positive with NYSE Advancing Issues/Declining Issues at 1.59, and NYSE Advancing Volume/Declining Volume at 1.91 (for a NYSE TRIN at 0.83 in positive territory). Notably was the fact that although the S&P 500 posted a higher high (above the previous session’s high) the third day in a row, and a high above the previous session’s close of at least +1.0% the second day in a row, new NYSE 52-week Highs came in lower on Thursday’s session (16) than on Wednesday’s session (18).

Notably as well was the fact as well that the SPY posted ‘6 Highs’ today (higher open, higher high, higher low and a higher close than the previous session’s open/high/low/close, a close above the open AND a low above yesterday’s close) and left an unfilled opening gap on the upside.

I therefore checked for the following setups which were triggered on Thursday’s close:

  • the SPY left an unfilled opening gap on the upside (intraday low above the previous session’s close) (Setup S1),
  • the SPY posted an intraday high at least +1.50% above the previous session’s close, but gave back at least -1.25% of its’s gains until the close to finally close near the low (max. +0.25% above the low) (Setup S2),
  • the SPY gave back at least -1.0% of its’s intraday gains until the close on two consecutive sessions (Setup S3),
  • the S&P 500 posted a higher high on three consecutive sessions, a high of at least +1.0% above the previous session’s close on the last two consecutive sessions (both indicating a strong positive bias), while NYSE 52-week Highs came in lower on the most recent sessions then on the previous session (Setup S4), and
  • Setup S2 and Setup S3 combined (Setup S5).

Table I shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) performance (since 01/02/1990) on the next session immediately following those sessions where setups S1 to S5 listed above had been triggered.

20090611-ES-S

Surprisingly and contrary to what one might have assumed, setups S1 to S5 are not all agreeing concerning a supposed negative bias for the then following session (e.g. a potential gap fill on the then following session concerning setup S1, or an assumed potential negative tendency due to the fact that the market couldn’t hold onto it’s intraday gains and gave back at least -1.0% on two consecutive sessions). Especially setup S3 (‘the SPY gave back at least -1.0% of its’s intraday gains until the close on two consecutive sessions‘) shows a significant positive tendency on the then following session, with the majority of occurrences since 10/01/2007 and especially during the most recent ralley which might give this setup additional weight. Only the very specific setups S2, S4 and S5 with a very small sample size (and too small to read any statistically significant into it) show a significant negative tendency on the then following session.

Table II shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) performance (since 01/02/1990) over the course of the then following five sessions immediately following those 253 sessions where the SPY gave back at least -1.0% of its’s intraday gains until the close on two consecutive sessions (setup S3).

20090611-ES-5

Contrary to what one might have assumed, setup S3 shows a strong positive tendency over the course of the then following five sessions, and chances are good that the market closes (significantly) higher 5 sessions later (the profit factor almost doubles the respective at-any-time profit factor for a higher close 5 sessions later).

Table III now shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) intraday performance (since 01/02/1990) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Friday, June 12) immediately following those 253 sessions where the SPY gave back at least -1.0% of its’s intraday gains until the close on two consecutive sessions (setup S3).

20090611-ES-i3

Probabilities and odds (profit factor) are above-average and positively tilt that the S&P will close higher and above the open on the then following session.

But cautious will probably be warranted, because especially setup S2 shows a significant negative tendency on the then following session.

Table IV shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) intraday performance (since 01/02/1990) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Friday, June 12) immediately following those 14 sessions where the SPY posted an intraday high at least +1.50% above the previous session’s close, but gave back at least -1.25% of its’s gains until the close to finally close near the low (max. +0.25% above the low) (setup S2).

20090611-ES-i5Setup S2 shows a negative tendency the then following session due to the fact that on almost every second occurrence the ES left an unfilled opening gap on the downside (intraday high below the previous session’s close), and regularly a tendency for a significantly lower open as well. But remarkable is the positive tendency concerning the fact that although chances for a close above the open are below-average, the respective profit factor on the close – open doubles the respective at-any-time profit factor. So at least concerning this setup chances are significantly tilt in favor of a lower open and a low significantly below Thursday’s close, but any signifcant intraday weakness early in the session might provide a favorable intraday and short-term only buying opportunity.

________________________________

Bottom line:

  1. With respect to Friday’s session is seems that the positive bias (concerning the close) is still alive (for the time being), although the market wasn’t able to hold onto it’s strong intraday gains during the last 2 sessions. Therefore any (significant) weakness on or shortly after the open may provide a favorable buying opportunity especially with respect to the fact that setup S2 shows a significant tendency for an upside reversal (close – open) on any (probable) intraday weakness, and concerning the (bullish) ‘NYSE divergence‘ setup which was triggered on last Friday’s close (5 consecutive sessions with a NYSE TRIN above 1), it seems that the path of least resistance might still be be up, not down (see my post Trading the Odds on Monday – June 8, 2009).

Successful trading,

Frank

P.s.: WordPress recently implemented a Twitter widget, so I’ll regularly make some intraday updates as well using Twitter. If you’re interested in, please have a look at the blog during the trading session as well or subscribe directly to Twitter (recommended).

Disclaimer: No positions in the securities mentioned in this post at time of writing.

Filed under: Daily Update, , , , , ,

Trading the Odds on Friday – May 29, 2009

WE031672-klein

The S&P 500 fully complied again to today’s bullish forecast based on the positive setup triggered on Wednesday’s session when the S&P 500 not only closed lower at least -1.90% but posted a higher high and higher low on the same session as well (see my post Trading the Odds on Thursday – May 28, 2009).

On Thursday’s session the S&P 500 closed higher +1.54% on the day, and breadth was (relatively) strong with NYSE Advancing Issues/Declining Issues at 1.92, and NYSE Advancing Volume/Declining Volume at 3.02 (NYSE TRIN at 0.64).

But although the markets showed a couple of notable patterns at today’s close, such as

  • the Nasdaq 100 under-performed the $SOX Semiconductor Index the fourth day in a row,
  • small caps ($RUT) significantly under-performed large caps,
  • speculative interest as the ratio of Nasdaq Total Volume / NYSE Total Volume closed above 165% today (although it was close, it did NOT trigger the sell signal at the 175% mark, see my Twitter update),
  • the Nasdaq 100 under-performed the S&P 500 on today’s session, and
  • the S&P closed strong +1.50% on the day, but posted a lower low and a lower high than Wednesday’s low / high,

only the last pattern ‘S&P closed higher at least +1.00% on the day on higher NYSE Total Volume (than the previous session’s volume), but couldn’t manage to take out the previous session’s high‘ showed a notable tendency concerning the next sessions performance. Nonetheless the high running speculative interest is negative concerning the Nasdaq 100′ performance over the course of the then following 5 sessions, at least upside potential is limited.

Although my first impression was that if the S&P 500 closed strong on higher volume, but couldn’t manage to take out the previous session’s high, that would be negative concerning the S&P 500′ next day’s performance, but market history tells otherwise.

Table I shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) performance (since 01/02/1990) over the course of the then following 5 sessions immediately following those sessions where the S&P closed higher at least +1.00% on the day on higher NYSE Total Volume (than the previous session’s volume), but couldn’t manage to take out the previous session’s high.

20090528-ES-1

Table II shows the ES (S&P 500 E-MINI) intraday performance (since 01/02/1990) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Friday, May 29) immediately following those 84 sessions where the S&P closed higher at least +1.00% on the day on higher NYSE Total Volume (than the previous session’s volume), but couldn’t manage to take out the previous session’s high.

20090528-ES-2

It is especially notable that

  1. the market (ES mini) regularly shows a notable tendency of some follow-through of the trigger day’s strength on the next session as well as over the course of the then following 5 sessions, not especially with respect to an above-average probability for a higher close the then following sessions, but with respect to the respective profit factor, means potential gains (better ‘the sum of’) on the upside almost double potential losses on the downside;
  2. downside potential on the then following session is regularly limited (the respective profit factor significantly exceeds the respective at-any-time profit factor on the intraday low, means losses are significantly smaller than the respective average losses on the intraday low), and the market shows a significant tendency to leave an unfilled opening gap on the upside the then following session (on 22 out of 84 occurrences);
  3. the market shows a significant tendency to close the session (significantly) above the open, not only concerning the probability of 64.29% for a close above the open compared to an at-any-time probability for a close above the open of 52.13% only, but with respect to a profit factor of 2.53 (at-any-time: 1.05) as well.

If I’d take into account those sessions only where the S&P closed higher at least +1.50% on the day on higher NYSE Total Volume (than the previous session’s volume), but couldn’t manage to take out the previous session’s high‘ (+1.50% instead of +1.00% only, like on today’s session), the sample size would be significantly lower (37 occurrences), but surprisingly the bullish tendency was even stronger (with respect to the setup’s profit factor).

________________________________

Bottom line:

  1. Although probabilities for a higher close the then following session are average only (5 winning trades and 5 losing trades concerning the last 10 occurrences), the setup triggered at today’s close shows historically a significant tendency for some follow-through of the trigger day’s strength, with potential gains significantly surpassing potential losses, and downside potential is regularly limited the then following session. So any kind of weakness at or shortly after the open might provide a favorable (short-term and intraday) buying opportunity.

Successful trading,

Frank

P.s.: WordPress recently implemented a Twitter widget, so I’ll regularly make some intraday updates as well using Twitter. If you’re interested in, please have a look at the blog during the trading session as well or subscribe directly to Twitter (recommended).

Disclaimer: Long BGZ (Daily Large Cap Bear 3x Shares ) at time of writing (as a hedge only).

Filed under: Daily Update, , , , , ,

Memorial Day, the VIX and Other (Un-)Favorable Seasonalities

WE031672-klein

Monday next week will be Memorial Day, and additionally we’re entering into the favorable (with a bullish bias) end-of-month period for stocks -at least as an adage says-.  As always I decided to take the quantitative approach concerning this (potential) end-of-month phenomena in oder to check if there is any historical and statistical evidence which supports the thesis, and to check it the sessions following Memorial Day and (almost, except Good Friday) all other exchange holidays as well show any potential peculiarities possibly providing a tradable edge.

I checked for those occurrences since 01/02/1990 where the following setups were triggered, assumed one would have bought the ES (E-mini S&P 500 Futures) on close of the session immediately preceding the respective exchange holiday for a holding period of 5 days (1 week). Therefore concerning Memorial Day one would have bought the ES on close of Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day (in this event Friday, May 22, 2009), and closed the trade on close of Monday one week after Memorial Day .

The US exchange holidays are celebrated …

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – observed on the third Monday of January
  • Presidents Day – observed on the third Monday of February
  • Memorial Day – observed on the last Monday of May
  • Independence Day – July 4
  • Labor Day – observed on the first Monday in September
  • Thanksgiving Day – observed on the fourth Thursday of November
  • Christmas Day – December 25

____Left Out____

Good Friday

____No Exchange Holidays____

Columbus Day – observed on the second Monday in October

Veterans Day – November 11

_______________________

At first Table I below shows the E-MINI S&P 500 (ES)‘ performance (since 01/02/1990) concerning setups S1 to S5 -side by side- over the course of the then following 5 sessions assumed one would have bought the ES (S&P 500 futures) on close of the session immediately preceding the respective exchange holiday (E-mini S&P 500 Future’s day session). Setups S1 to S5 are defined as

Table I

  • Setup S1: New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Setup S2: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – observed on the third Monday of January
  • Setup S3: Presidents Day – observed on the third Monday of February
  • Setup S4: Memorial Day – observed on the last Monday of May
  • Setup S5: Independence Day – July 4

20090523-ES-1

Table II

  • Setup S1: Labor Day – observed on the first Monday in September
  • Setup S2: Thanksgiving Day – observed on the fourth Thursday of November
  • Setup S3: Christmas Day – December 25
  • Setup S4: buy on close 3 sessions before the last session of the month, sell on close of the 2nd session of the new month

20090523-ES-2

With a win/loss ratio of 11:8 and a profit factor of 2.71 compared to an at-any-time profit factor of 1.15 for the ES, the week after Memorial Day not only shows the highest probability for a higher close 5 sessions later, but the highest profitability (pay-off) off all 8 exchange holidays listed above as well. Additionally the end-of-month period shows as well a win/loss ratio and profit factor (1.63) well above the respective at-any-time probability for a higher close 5 session later and profit factor (1.13).

But due to the VIX’ (S&P 500 Volatility Index) peculiar behavior on Friday’s session – the VIX posted an intraday low of -2.49% below Thursday’s close, but completely reversed course and close up +4.10% on the day although the SPX closed almost unchanged -, I had a hunch that it would be worth some time and effort in order to check if the VIX would -as it regularly does- mirror (but negatively correlated) the ES mini’s bullish bias during Memorial Day week and would show a bearish bias respectively. But now comes the surprise …

At first Table III below shows the VIX‘ performance (since 01/02/1990) over the course of the then following 5 sessions assumed one would have ‘bought’ (hypothetically and for statistical purposes only, the VIX itself is no tradable asset) the VIX on close of the session immediately preceding Memorial Day (regularly the Friday before). The ‘Trigger’ column shows the VIX’ value on close of the session immediately preceding Memorial Day (like last Friday). ‘next session’ is the session immediately following Memorial Day and so on.

20090523-VIX-2

It is especially remarkable -to say the least- that the VIX closed up the sesion immediately following Memorial Day on 18 (!) out of the last 19 years, for an extraordinary hypothetical profit factor of 37.93 compared to an at-any-time profit factor for the VIX of 1.09 only, especially due to the extraordinary winn/loss ration of 18:1 and the fact that the VIX closed higher the next session +4.00% or (significantly) more on 13 out of the last 19 years (and +8% or more on 9 occurrences). Additionally the VIX was trading above the close of the session immediately preceding Memorial Day one week after Memorial Day with a probability and hypothetical ‘profit factor’ (magnitude of change on the upside compared to the downside) significantly above the respective at-any-time probability for a higher VIX close 5 sessions later and ‘profit factor’ as well.

Table IV below now shows the VIX‘ intraday performance (since 01/29/1993) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Tuesday, May 26) immediately following Memorial Day.

20090523-VIX-3

If history is any indication concerning the VIX’ performance on Tuesday, May 26, the VIX may be looking forward to -from a historical and statistical point of view- one of it’s probably most bullish sessions (means up-trending VIX, not the major market indexes) of the year, if not THE session (will be suibject to a follow-up) with the highest probability for a higher open/high/low/close and magnitude of change (on the upside) as well. During the last 8 years, the least higher open on the session immediately following Memorial Day was +4.44%; since 01/02/1990 the VIX always posted a high above the previous session’s close, and in only 4 out of 19 years did the VIX post an intraday low below the previous session’s close at all while the VIX left an unfilled gap on the upside in the other 15 years .


P.s.: Due to the significance of the findings I thought of a data or programming issue and manually (double-)checked (and verified) at least the last 9 occurrences (since 2000).

________________________________

Bottom line:

  1. From a historical and statistical point of view, the week after Memorial Day regularly shows a positive bias concerning the probability for a higher close 5 days later and the respective profit factor as well.
  2. But -again from a historical and statistical point of view- the ‘asset’ with the most bullish bias (on the upside) during Memorial Day’s week may probably be the VIX. Regularly there is an inverse relationship (negative correlation) between the S&P 500 and the VIX, and a signifcant bullish bias concerning the VIX would spell more than trouble concerning the SPX’ performance over the course of the then following 5 sessions, but Memorial Day’ week seems to be a period in the market where this (negative) correlation is completely decoupled.

Successful trading,

Frank

Disclaimer: (Net) Long VIX futures at time of writing.

P.s.: WordPress recently implemented a Twitter widget, so I’ll regularly make some intraday updates as well using Twitter. If you’re interested in, please have a look at the blog during the trading session as well or subscribe directly to Twitter (recommended).

Filed under: Daily Update, Studies/Survey, , , , , , ,

Trading the Odds on Friday – May 22, 2009

WE031672-klein

Although the S&P 500 (and SPY) recouped approximately half of its intraday losses during the last 30 minutes of trading, neither the SPX nor the SPY were able to close above their opening quotation (although is was close), leave alone to close up on the day, which brakes the recent series of a higher close and a higher close above the open concerning those setups which were triggered on Wednesday’s close (mainly SPX posted a high at least +1.50% above the previous session’s close, but finally closed lower on the day., see my post Trading the Odds on Thursday – May 21, 2009), so a potential ‘buy the open’ approach would have ended with a loss of -0.28% (only) for the SPY.

The S&P 500 closed lower -1.68% (SPY: -1.44%) on the day, while it postend an intraday low of -2.64% (SPY: -2.49%) below Wednesday’s close. Breadth was weak, but not as weak as one could have expected concerning today’s sell-off in the markets: NYSE Advancing Issues / Declining Issues closed at 0.37, and NYSE Advancing Volume / Declining Volume closed at 0.29.

But at least both indexes fulfilled the assessment concerning the high probability for a volatile trend day leaving an unfilled gap on the up- or downside: ‘(the setup) … is highly indicative for a highly volatile ‘trend day’ on Thursday’s session where an unfilled gap on the open does not only seem possible, but almost probable (see stats below), at least with a significantly above-average probability.

Based on the SPY and today’s peculiarities ( 1 – breadth better than in comparison to comparable sell-offs, 2 – intraday recovery from -2.5% to -1.5%, and 3- three consecutive sessions with a lower close) , I checked for those occurrences since 01/29/1993 where one (or combinations) of the following setups were triggered:

  1. NYSE Advancing Issues / Declining Issues > 0.35 and NYSE Advancing Volume / Declining Volume > 0.25, SPY closed lower at least -1.5% (Setup S1),
  2. SPY posted an intraday low of -2.5% or more, but closed better than -1.5% on the day (but lower on the close)  (Setup S2)
  3. SPY with 3 consecutive lower closes (Setup S3)
  4. Survey 1 AND Survey 3 combined (Setup S4)
  5. Survey 2 AND Survey 3 combined (Setup S5)

At first Table I below shows -side by side- the SPY‘s performance (since 01/29/1993) on the next session (in this event Friday, May 22) immediately following those sessions where setups S1 to S5 had been triggered.

20090521-SPX-1

It is remarkabel that concerning the SPY’s close the then following sessions, all setups including the combinations (although the sample size is small) show an above-average probability for a higher close the next session, and a profit factor which significantly exceeds the respective at-any-time profit factor.

Table II below now shows the SPY‘s intraday performance (since 01/29/1993) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Friday, May 22) immediately following those sessions where the SPX had posted a low -2,50% below the previous session’s close, but finally closed lower on the day -1.50% or better (Setup S2) AND this was the third day of a series of three consecutive sessions with a lower close for the SPY (Setup S3), see Setup S5 above:

20090521-SPX-2

It is especially remarkabel that concerning the SPY’s close the then following session, probabilities for a higher close are only slightly better than the respective at-any-time probability for a higher close the next session, but the profit factor almost triples the respective at-any-time profit factor (‘expectancy’ and potential pay-off). Additionally in every occurrence but one did the SPY post an intraday high regularly +1.0% or better above the previous session’s close (the respective profit factor assumed one would have closed a long position always on the high of the day -for statistical purposes only to put the bullish tendency on the intraday high into a single figure- quadruples the respective at-any-time profit factor), and the SPY left an unfilled opening gap on the upside on 4 out of 13 occurrences on the then following session.

________________________________

Bottom line:

  1. Due to the fact that all setups triggered on Thursday’s close show an above-average probability for a higher close and an (significantly) above-average profit factor, chances are good that we’ll close the week on a positive (strong) note. Again any weakness on the open might -concerning a potential intraday high and profit target (of) at least +1.0% above Thursday’s close- present a short-term intraday buying opportunity.

Successful trading,

Frank

P.s.: WordPress recently implemented a Twitter widget, so I’ll regularly make some intraday updates as well using Twitter. If you’re interested in, please have a look at the blog during the trading session as well or subscribe directly to Twitter (recommended).

Disclaimer: Long FAS Russell 1000 Financial Services (Direxion 3x Shares) at time of writing.

Filed under: Daily Update, , , , , ,

Follow-up on Trading the Odds on Thursday – May 21, 2009

WE031672-klein

This is a follow-up on my previous post Trading the Odds on Thursday – May 21, 2009.

______________________

I received an excellent and very legitimate comment concerning the reliability of the SPX’ opening quotations, especially with respect to the assessment that the SPX shows an above-average tendeny to close above the open after Wednesday’s setups had been triggered in the past.

Due to the fact that the reversal setup where the SPX had posted a high at least +1.50% above the previous session’s close, but finally closed lower on the day showed a much higher volatility on the then following session, I primarily checked for this setup utilizing the SPY instead of the SPX first.

The table below shows the SPY‘s intraday performance (including the summary) (since 01/02/1990) concerning the open, high, low, close (compared to the previous’s session close) and close versus open on the next session (in this event Thursday, May 21) immediately following those sessions where the SPY had posted a high at least +1.50% above the previous session’s close, but finally closed lower on the day:

20090520-SPX-8

Since 01/29/1993 (first trading session for the SPY) there were 34 occurrences (SPX 30), but the respective assessment remains almost unchanged in comparison to the SPX:

The SPY left an unfilled opening gap on the downside on 6 (SPX  8) out of those 34 occurrences where this setup had been triggered (means the SPY never posted a high above the previous session’s close on the next session), and an unfilled gap on the upside on 6 (SPX  5) out of those 30 occurrences (means the SPY never posted a low below the previous session’s close on the next session), but the profit factor now only slightly exceeds the respective at-any-time profit factor at the close and concerning the close versus open (SPX: significantly).

Both the SPY and the SPX closed higher on the last 4 occurrences, and the SPY closed higher on 8 out of the last 10 occurrences, and closed above the open on 8 out of the last 10 occurrences as well.

It is notable as well that the outcome of the ‘reversal setup’ seems highly dependable on the then current bullish or bearish period for the market. Those occurrences between June and the beginning of October 2008 showed a significant bearish tendency, while those occurrences since the end of October 2008 showed a bullish tendency at the close.

________________________________

Bottom line:

  1. From my perspective the outlook for Thursday’s session and the remainder of the week is still positive (see my post Trading the Odds on Monday – May 18, 2009), not only based on the setup triggered on close of option expiration week, but based on Wednesday’ setups as well even utilizing the SPY instead of the SPX. Especially any weakness on Thursday’s opening may probably provide a short-term and intraday buying opportunity with respect to the SPX’s and SPY’s recent historical tendency to close higher on the close, and above the respective opening quotation as well.

Successful trading,

Frank

P.s.: WordPress recently implemented a Twitter widget, so I’ll regularly make some intraday updates as well using Twitter. If you’re interested in, please have a look at the blog during the trading session as well or subscribe directly to Twitter (recommended).

Disclaimer: Long BGU (Daily Large Cap Bull 3x Shares) at time of writing.

Filed under: Daily Update, , , , , ,

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