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GE2020: The Roar of the Swing Voter

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post here.
I run a little website called The Thought Experiment where I talk about various issues, some of them Singapore related. And one of my main interests is Singaporean politics. With the GE2020 election results, I thought I should pen down my take on what us as the electorate were trying to say.
If you like what I wrote, I also wrote another article on the state of play for GE2020 during the campaigning period, as well as 2 other articles related to GE2015 back when it was taking place.
If you don't like what I wrote, that's ok! I think the beauty of freedom of expression is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm always happy to get feedback, because I do think that more public discourse about our local politics helps us to be more politically aware as a whole.
Just thought I'll share my article here to see what you guys make of it :D
Article Starts Here:
During the campaigning period, both sides sought to portray an extreme scenario of what would happen if voters did not vote for them. The Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) warned that Singaporeans that their political opponents “might eventually replace the government after July 10”. Meanwhile, the Worker’s Party (WP) stated that “there was a real risk of a wipeout of elected opposition MPs at the July 10 polls”.
Today is July 11th. As we all know, neither of these scenarios came to pass. The PAP comfortably retained its super-majority in Parliament, winning 83 out of 93 elected MP seats. But just as in GE2011, another Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has fallen to the WP. In addition, the PAP saw its vote share drop drastically, down almost 9% to 61.2% from 69.9% in GE2015.
Singapore’s electorate is unique in that a significant proportion is comprised of swing voters: Voters who don’t hold any blind allegiance to any political party, but vote based on a variety of factors both micro and macro. The above extreme scenarios were clearly targeted at these swing voters. Well, the swing voters have made their choice, their roar sending 4 more elected opposition MPs into Parliament. This article aims to unpack that roar and what it means for the state of Singaporean politics going forward.
1. The PAP is still the preferred party to form Singapore’s Government
Yes, this may come across as blindingly obvious, but it still needs to be said. The swing voter is by its very definition, liable to changes of opinion. And a large factor that determines how a swing voter votes is their perception of how their fellow swing voters are voting. If swing voters perceive that most swing voters are leaning towards voting for the opposition, they might feel compelled to vote for the incumbent. And if the reverse is true, swing voters might feel the need to shore up opposition support.
Why is this so? This is because the swing voter is trying to push the vote result into a sweet spot – one that lies between the two extreme scenarios espoused by either side. They don’t want the PAP to sweep all 93 seats in a ‘white tsunami’. Neither do they want the opposition to claim so much territory that the PAP is too weak to form the Government on its own. But because each swing voter only has a binary choice: either they vote for one side or the other (I’m ignoring the third option where they simply spoil their vote), they can’t very well say “I want to vote 0.6 for the PAP and 0.4 for the Opposition with my vote”. And so we can expect the swing voter bloc to continue being a source of uncertainty for both sides in future elections, as long as swing voters are still convinced that the PAP should be the Government.
2. Voters no longer believe that the PAP needs a ‘strong mandate’ to govern. They also don’t buy into the NCMP scheme.
Throughout the campaign period, the PAP repeatedly exhorted voters to vote for them alone. Granted, they couldn’t very well give any ground to the opposition without a fight. And therefore there was an attempt to equate voting for the PAP as voting for Singapore’s best interests. However, the main message that voters got was this: PAP will only be able to steer Singapore out of the Covid-19 pandemic if it has a strong mandate from the people.
What is a strong mandate, you may ask? While no PAP candidate publicly confirmed it, their incessant harping on the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) scheme as the PAP’s win-win solution for having the PAP in power and a largely de-fanged opposition presence in parliament shows that the PAP truly wanted a parliament where it held every single seat.
Clearly, the electorate has different ideas, handing Sengkang GRC to the WP and slashing the PAP’s margins in previous strongholds such as West Coast, Choa Chu Kang and Tanjong Pagar by double digit percentages. There is no doubt from the results that swing voters are convinced that a PAP supermajority is not good for Singapore. They are no longer convinced that to vote for the opposition is a vote against Singapore. They have realized, as members of a maturing democracy surely must, that one can vote for the opposition, yet still be pro-Singapore.
3. Social Media and the Internet are rewriting the electorate’s perception.
In the past, there was no way to have an easily accessible record of historical events. With the only information source available being biased mainstream media, Singaporeans could only rely on that to fill in the gaps in their memories. Therefore, Operation Coldstore became a myth of the past, and Chee Soon Juan became a crackpot in the eyes of the people, someone who should never be allowed into Parliament.
Fast forward to today. Chee won 45.2% of the votes in Bukit Batok’s Single Member Constituency (SMC). His party-mate, Dr. Paul Tambyah did even better, winning 46.26% of the votes in Bukit Panjang SMC. For someone previously seen as unfit for public office, this is an extremely good result.
Chee has been running for elections in Singapore for a long time, and only now is there a significant change in the way he is perceived (and supported) by the electorate. Why? Because of social media and the internet, two things which the PAP does not have absolute control over. With the ability to conduct interviews with social media personalities as well as upload party videos on Youtube, he has been able to display a side of himself to people that the PAP did not want them to see: someone who is merely human just like them, but who is standing up for what he believes in.
4. Reserved Election Shenanigans and Tan Cheng Block: The electorate has not forgotten.
Tan Cheng Bock almost became our President in 2011. There are many who say that if Tan Kin Lian and Tan Jee Say had not run, Tony Tan would not have been elected. In March 2016, Tan Cheng Bock publicly declared his interest to run for the next Presidential Election that would be held in 2017. The close result of 2011 and Tan Cheng Bock’s imminent candidacy made the upcoming Presidential Election one that was eagerly anticipated.
That is, until the PAP shut down his bid for the presidency just a few months later in September 2016, using its supermajority in Parliament to pass a “reserved election” in which only members of a particular race could take part. Under the new rules that they had drawn up for themselves, it was decreed that only Malays could take part. And not just any Malay. The candidate had to either be a senior executive managing a firm that had S$500 million in shareholders’ equity, or be the Speaker of Parliament or a similarly high post in the public sector (the exact criteria are a bit more in-depth than this, but this is the gist of it. You can find the full criteria here). And who was the Speaker of Parliament at the time? Mdm Halimah, who was conveniently of the right race (Although there was some hooha about her actually being Indian). With the extremely strict private sector criteria and the PAP being able to effectively control who the public sector candidate was, it came as no surprise that Mdm Halimah was declared the only eligible candidate on Nomination Day. A day later, she was Singapore’s President. And all without a single vote cast by any Singaporean.
Of course, the PAP denied that this was a move specifically aimed at blocking Tan Cheng Bock’s bid for the presidency. Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s current Minister of Trade and Industry, stated in 2017 that the Government was prepared to pay the political price over making these changes to the Constitution.
We can clearly see from the GE2020 results that a price was indeed paid. A loss of almost 9% of vote share is very significant, although a combination of the first-past-the-post rule and the GRC system ensured that the PAP still won 89.2% of the seats in Parliament despite only garnering 61.2% of the votes. On the whole, it’s naught but a scratch to the PAP’s overwhelming dominance in Parliament. The PAP still retains its supermajority and can make changes to the Constitution anytime that it likes. But the swing voters have sent a clear signal that they have not been persuaded by the PAP’s rationale.
5. Swing Voters do not want Racial Politics.
In 2019, Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and the man who is next in line to be Prime Minister (PM) commented that Singapore was not ready to have a non-Chinese PM. He further added that race is an issue that always arises at election-time in Singapore.
Let us now consider the GE2015 results. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Senior Minister and someone whom many have expressed keenness to be Singapore’s next PM, obtained 79.28% of the vote share in Jurong GRC. This was above even the current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who scored 78.63% in Ang Mo Kio GRC. Tharman’s score was the highest in the entire election.
And now let us consider the GE2020 results. Tharman scored 74.62% in Jurong, again the highest scorer of the entire election, while Hsien Loong scored 71.91%. So Tharman beat the current PM again, and by an even bigger margin than the last time. Furthermore, Swee Keat, who made the infamous comments above, scored just 53.41% in East Coast.
Yes, I know I’m ignoring a lot of other factors that influenced these results. But don’t these results show conclusively that Heng’s comments were wrong? We have an Indian leading both the current and future PM in both elections, but yet PAP still feels the need to say that Singapore “hasn’t arrived” at a stage where we can vote without race in mind. In fact, this was the same rationale that supposedly led to the reserved presidency as mentioned in my earlier point.
The swing voters have spoken, and it is exceedingly clear to me that the electorate does not care what our highest office-holders are in terms of race, whether it be the PM or the President. Our Singapore pledge firmly states “regardless of race”, and I think the results have shown that we as a people have taken it to heart. But has the PAP?
6. Voters will not be so easily manipulated.
On one hand, Singaporeans were exhorted to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact tracing became mandatory, and groups of more than 5 are prohibited.
But on the other hand, we are also told that it’s absolutely necessary to hold an election during this same period, for Singaporeans to wait in long lines and in close proximity to each other as we congregate to cast our vote, all because the PAP needs a strong mandate.
On one hand, Heng Swee Keat lambasted the Worker’s Party, claiming that it was “playing games with voters” over their refusal to confirm if they would accept NCMP seats.
But on the other hand, Heng Swee Keat was moved to the East Coast GRC at the eleventh hour in a surprise move to secure the constituency. (As mentioned above, he was aptly rewarded for this with a razor-thin margin of just 53.41% of the votes.)
On one hand, Masagos Zulkifli, PAP Vice-Chairman stated that “candidates should not be defined by a single moment in time or in their career, but judged instead by their growth throughout their life”. He said this in defense of Ivan Lim, who appears to be the very first candidate in Singaporean politics to have been pushed into retracting his candidacy by the power of non-mainstream media.
But on the other hand, the PAP called on the WP to make clear its stand on Raeesah Khan, a WP candidate who ran (and won) in Sengkang GRC for this election, stating that the Police investigation into Raeesah’s comments made on social media was “a serious matter which goes to the fundamental principles on which our country has been built”.
On one hand, Chan Chun Sing stated in 2015, referring to SingFirst’s policies about giving allowances to the young and the elderly, “Some of them promised you $300 per month. I say, please don’t insult my residents. You think…. they are here to be bribed?”
On the other hand, the PAP Government has just given out several handouts under its many budgets to help Singaporeans cope with the Covid-19 situation. [To be clear, I totally approve of these handouts. What I don’t approve is that the PAP felt the need to lambast similar policies as bribery in the past. Comparing a policy with a crime is a political low blow in my book.]
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. And so did the electorate in this election, putting their vote where it counted to show their disdain for the heavy-handedness and double standards that the PAP has displayed for this election.
Conclusion
I don’t say the above to put down the PAP. The PAP would have you believe that to not support them is equivalent to not wanting what’s best for Singapore. This is a false dichotomy that must be stamped out, and I am glad to see our swing voters taking a real stand with this election.
No, I say the above as a harsh but ultimately supportive letter to the PAP. As everyone can see from the results, we all still firmly believe that the PAP should be the Government. We still have faith that PAP has the leadership to take us forward and out of the Covid-19 crisis.
But we also want to send the PAP a strong signal with this vote, to bring them down from their ivory towers and down to the ground. Enough with the double standards. Enough with the heavy-handedness. Singaporeans have clearly stated their desire for a more mature democracy, and that means more alternative voices in Parliament. The PAP needs to stop acting as the father who knows it all, and to start acting as the bigger brother who can work hand in hand with his alternative younger brother towards what’s best for the entire family: Singapore.
There is a real chance that the PAP will not listen, though. As Lee Hsien Loong admitted in a rally in 2006, “if there are 10, 20… opposition members in Parliament… I have to spent my time thinking what is the right way to fix them”.
Now, the PAP has POFMA at its disposal. It still has the supermajority in Parliament, making them able to change any law in Singapore, even the Constitution at will. We have already seen them put these tools to use for its own benefit. Let us see if the PAP will continue as it has always done, or will it take this opportunity to change itself for the better. Whatever the case, we will be watching, and we will be waiting to make our roar heard once again five years down the road.
Majulah Singapura!
Article Ends Here.
Here's the link to the actual article:
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2020/07/11/ge2020-the-roar-of-the-swing-vote
And here's the link to the other political articles I've written about Singapore:
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2020/07/07/ge2020-the-state-of-play/
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2015/09/10/ge2015-voting-wisely/
https://thethoughtexperiment.org/2015/09/05/expectations-of-the-opposition/
submitted by sharingan87 to singapore [link] [comments]

Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019.

The Fed and Apple earnings will make or break market’s return to record highs in the week ahead - (Source)

Stocks will try in the week ahead to break the all-time highs set earlier in the year as a slew of S&P 500 companies get set to report.
Stock prices are bumping up against their highs, but whether they can burst through and hold gains may, for the near term, depend on what investors hear from Jerome Powell in the week ahead.
In a week stacked with major events, the Fed’s two-day meeting is likely to be the high point. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to make its third quarter point interest rate cut Wednesday afternoon, followed by comments form Fed Chairman Powell. Those comments could be his most important message of the next few months, as investors watch to see whether he holds the door open to future rate cuts, or signals it’s time to pause, as some economists expect.
“Our view is they’ll be done after this. We’re not expecting a cut in December, and we’re not expecting cuts next year. The economy, in my mind, looks like it’s stabilizing, and there should be more evidence of that in the next couple of weeks. focusing on the labor market is the key thing,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management. If the labor market holds up, expectations for rate cuts should decline. “I do think the dissenters are arguing they shouldn’t be cutting at all.”
But Matus’ view is just one of many on Wall Street. Some economists expect another cut in December, while others expect one or more cuts next year, depending on how they view the economy. Goldman Sachs economists laid out a case where the Fed will clearly signal that it plans to pause after Wednesday.
All of this could make for volatility in stocks and bonds, depending on which market view prevails in Powell’s comments. “It’s going to be choppy going into the Fed,” said Andrew Brenner of National Alliance. In the past week, yields were higher with the 10-year Treasury yield touching 1.8% Friday.
The S&P 500 was up 1.2% for the week, ending at 3,022, just below its closing high. On Friday, it briefly traded above the July 26 high of 3,025. The Dow ended the week with a gain of 0.7%, at 26,956, and it remains about 1% below its closing high.
In addition, the earnings calendar remains heavy with about 145 S&P 500 companies releasing earnings, including Alphabet Monday and big oil Exxon Mobil and Chevron Friday. On Wednesday, earnings are expected from Apple, which is setting new highs of its own.

Big economic reports

On top of that, November kicks off Friday in what looks to be the most important day for economic data of the new month. Besides the critical monthly employment report, there is the key ISM manufacturing report, expected to show a contraction in manufacturing activity for a third month.
Both reports could be distorted by the GM strike, which is expected to result in an October employment report with fewer than 100,000 jobs. According to Refinitiv, total non farm payrolls are expected to be 90,000, while manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 50,000. That would include the impact of GM workers, but also the employees of the many suppliers and services that support the car company’s manufacturing operations.
“The jobs number will be big, but the ISM could be bigger. If that turns up, like Markit [PMI] suggested, that could be a big deal,” said Leuthold Group Chief Investment Strategist James Paulsen. On Thursday, Markit flash PMI manufacturing data for October was higher than expected, and still has not shown a contraction.
“If it turns up, I think that’s to affect a lot of people and how they feel about things. That could take on a whole new dimension of what happens to Wall Street earnings estimates,” he said.
Manufacturing data has dragged, due to the impact of tariffs and the trade war, and some big companies have taken a hit as a result, like Caterpillar which on Wednesday reported weaker than expected earnings and sales. Caterpillar also cut its outlook, in large part due to weakness in China. Caterpillar shares were slammed but on Friday, the stock was bouncing back by 3.5%.

Stocks at ‘inflection point’

Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial’s chief market strategist, said the fact Caterpillar was able to come back at the end of the week was a positive for the market, which she says is now entering the late year seasonal period where stocks typically do well. At the same time, she said news for the market looks like it’s about to get “less bad.”
″″Less bad’ is not a full fledged agreement with China. Less bad is a truce. It means that Dec. 15 extension in tariffs does not happen,” she said, adding the market appears to be at an inflection point with investors expecting an agreement of some type between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping when they meet in November.
″‘I’m not bullish. I’m not bearish. I’m optimistic. This market has been led by the defensive sectors. You’re starting to see that move into consumer discretionary. It’s telling you the market is seeing growth, albeit it not stellar growth, but when it gets ‘less bad’ you’re going to see that it’s being reflected in this inflection point in the market,” said said. “We’re seeing a move more and more into the cyclical and growth sectors, and by the way, we’re seeing a steepening of the yield curve.”
The yield curve represents the difference between the yields of two different duration Treasury securities. When the curve inverts, the yield on the shorter duration security, in this case the 2-year has become higher than that of say, the 10-year. That is one part of the curve that was temporarily inverted, and if it stayed inverted it would be a recession warning.
The 10-year has been moving higher, and the 1.80% level will be important if the yield can stay above it.
“If it pushes through 1.80, you’re going to take the inversion out, by the bond market, not the Fed,” Paulsen said. Paulsen said it would be a sign of confidence in the economy if yields can push higher.
The Fed taking a pause may add to that sense. “I think most people think one more cut and done,” he said. “The bigger news will be what [Powell] says in that press conference. He can go pretty off script sometimes.”

‘Greater optimsim’ in market

Paulsen said stocks could be in a good period, and earnings news seems to be already priced in. “The data by and large has been okay. You have earnings that are okay, and there’s no sense of imminent recession. It just seems there’s greater optimism,” he said.
Of the approximately 200 S&P companies that reported by Friday morning, more than 78% have beaten on earnings per share, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. Earnings are expected to decline by 2% for the third quarter, based on estimates and results from companies that already reported.
Paulsen said there’s some sense in the market that Brexit will not end in a worst case scenario, but it is something to watch in the week ahead as British lawmakers decide whether to hold an election.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with Cresset Wealth Advisors, said he thinks Brexit would be a bigger deal than the trade agreement for the world economy, if it goes poorly, with the U.K. leaving the European Union with no deal. “A no deal Brexit is likely to take 2 percentage points off of British growth...It would take 1% off European growth...I think that’s significant,” Ablin said. “I think investors are underplaying it because it’s so binary. It’s hard to position for a binary outcome. If we get some resolution there, to me, that has the biggest impact for the markets.”

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #4!)

Bullish Halloween Trading Strategy Treat Next Week

Next week provides a special short-term seasonal opportunity, one of the most consistent of the year. The last 4 trading days of October and the first 3 trading days of November have a stellar record the last 25 years. From the tables below: * Dow up 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.4%. * S&P up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.5%. * NASDAQ up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.7%, median gain 2.3%. * Russell 2000 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.2%, median gain 2.5%.
Many refer to our Best Six Months Tactical Seasonal Switching Strategy as the Halloween Indicator or Halloween Strategy and of course “Sell in May”. These catch phrases highlight our discovery that was first published in 1986 in the 1987 Stock Trader’s Almanac that most of the market’s gains are made from October 31 to April 30, while the market goes sideways to down from May through October.
Since 1950 DJIA is up 7.5% November-April and up only 0.6% May-October. We encouraged folks not to fear Octoberphobia early this month and wait for our MACD Buy Signal which came on October 11. We have been positioning more bullishly since in sector and major U.S. market ETFs and with a new basket of stocks. But the next seven days have been a historically bullish trade.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Normally a top month, November has been lackluster in Pre-Election Years

November maintains its status among the top performing months as fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions drive November to lead the best consecutive three-month span November-January. However, the month has taken hits during bear markets and November 2000, down –22.9% (undecided election and a nascent bear), was NASDAQ’s second worst month on record—only October 1987 was worse.
November begins the “Best Six Months” for the DJIA and S&P 500, and the “Best Eight Months” for NASDAQ. Small caps come into favor during November, but don’t really take off until the last two weeks of the year. November is the number-two DJIA (since 1950), NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 2000 (since 1979) month. November is best for S&P 500 (since 1950) and Russell 1000’s (since 1979).
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In pre-election years, November’s performance is noticeably weaker. DJIA has advanced in nine of the last 17 pre-election years since 1950 with an average gain of 0.3%. S&P 500 has been up in 10 of the past 17 pre-election years, also gaining on average a rather paltry 0.3%. Small-caps and techs perform better with Russell 2000 climbing in 6 of the past 10 pre-election years, averaging 1.2%. NASDAQ has been up in 7 of the last 12 pre-election year Novembers with an average 0.9% gain. Contributing to pre-election year November’s weaker performance are nasty declines in 1987, 1991 and 2007.

Q4 Rally Is Real. Don’t Let 2018 Spook You

Understandably folks are apprehensive about the perennial fourth quarter rally this year after the debacle that culminated in the Christmas Eve Crumble in 2018. But the history is clear. The fourth quarter is the best quarter of the year going back to 1949, except for NASDAQ where Q1 leads Q4 by 4.5% to 4.0%, since 1971.
Historically, the “Sweet Spot” of the 4-Year Election Cycle is the three-quarter span from Q4 Midterm Year through Q2 Pre-Election Year, averaging a gain of 19.3% for DJIA and 20.0% for S&P 500 since 1949 and 29.3% for NASDAQ since 1971. Conversely the weakest two-quarter span is Q2-Q3 of the Midterm Year, averaging a loss of -1.2% for DJIA and -1.5% for S&P 500 since 1949 and -5.0% for NASDAQ since 1971.
Market action was impacted by some more powerful forces in 2018 that trumped (no pun intended) seasonality. Q2-Q3 was up 9.8% for DJIA, 10.3% for S&P and 13.9% for NASDAQ. Q4 was horrible, down -11.8% for DJIA, -14.0% for S&P and -17.5% for NASDAQ.Q1-Q2 of pre-election year, especially Q1 gained all that back.
Pre-Election year Q4 is still one of the best quarters of the 4-Year Cycle, ranked 5th, for average gains of 2.6% for DJIA and 3.2% for S&P since 1949 and 5.4% for NASDAQ. Additionally, from the Pre-Election Seasonal Pattern we updated in last Friday’s post, you can see how the market tends to make a high near yearend in the Pre-Election Year. So, save some new unexpected outside event, Q4 Market Magic is expected to impress once again this year.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

2019 May Be One of the Best Years Ever

“Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” The Lego Movie
As the S&P 500 Index continues to flirt with new record highs, something under the surface is taking place that is making 2019 extremely special. Or dare we say, “awesome”.
First, let’s look back at last year. 2018 was the first year since 1969 in which both the S&P 500 (stocks) and the 10-year Treasury bond (bonds) both finished the year with a negative return. Toss in the fact that gold and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were both down last year, and it was one of the worst years ever for a diversified portfolio.
“As bad as last year was for investors, 2019 is a mirror image, with stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil all potentially finishing the year up double digits for the first time in history,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, it has been a great year for stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil. Of course, there are still more than two months to go in 2019, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for these four important assets.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

An Early Look at Earnings

We're now in the thick of the Q3 earnings reporting period with 130 companies reporting since just the close last night. As shown in our Earnings Explorer snapshot below, earnings will be in overdrive for the next two weeks before dying down in mid-November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Through yesterday's close, 248 companies had reported so far this season, and 75% of them had beaten consensus bottom-line EPS estimates. However, just 63% of stocks have beaten sales estimates, and more companies have lowered guidance than raised guidance. In terms of stock price reaction to reports this season, so far investors have seen earnings as relatively bullish as the average stock that has reported has gained 0.60% on its earnings reaction day. Below we show another snapshot from our Earnings Explorer featuring the aggregate results of this season's reports and a list of the stocks that have reacted the most positively to earnings. Four stocks so far have gained more than 20% on their earnings reaction days -- PETS, BIIB, APHA, and LLNW.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We provide clients with a beat-rate monitor on our Earnings Explorer page as well. Below is a chart showing the rolling 3-month EPS and sales beat rates for US companies over the last 5 years. After a dip in the EPS beat rate earlier in the year, we've seen it steadily increase over the last few months up to its current level of 64.46%. That's more than five percentage points above the historical average of 59.37%.
In terms of sales, 57.87% of companies have beaten top-line estimates over the last 3 months, which is much closer to the historical average than the bottom-line beat rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Banks - On To The Next Test

It has been a pretty monumental two weeks for the KBW Bank index. Since the close on 10/8, the index has rallied just under 9% as earnings reports from some of the largest US banks received a warm welcome from Wall Street. The index is now once again testing the top-end of its range, one which it has unsuccessfully tested multiple times in the last year. If you think the repeated tests of 3,000 for the S&P 500 over the last 18 months have been dramatic, the current go around with 103 for the KBW Bank Index has been the sixth such test in the last year! We would also note that prior to last year's fourth quarter downturn, the same level that has been acting as resistance for the KBW Bank index was previously providing support.
In the case of each prior failed break above 103 for the KBW Bank index, sell-offs of at least 5% (and usually 10%+) followed, but one thing the index has going for it even if the sixth time isn't the charm is that just yesterday it broke above its downtrend that has been in place since early 2018. The group has passed one test at least! From here, if we do see a pullback, that former downtrend line should provide support.
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Turning to the KBW Index's individual components, the table below lists each of the 24 stocks in the index along with how each one has performed since the index's recent low on 10/8 and on a YTD basis (sorted by performance since 10/8). In the slightly more than two weeks since the index's short-term low, every stock in the index is up and up by at least 4%. That's a pretty broad rally!
Leading the way to the upside, State Street (STT) has rallied nearly 20%, while First Republic (FRC), Northern Trust (NTRS), and Bank of America (BAC) have jumped more than 13%. In the case of STT, the rally of the last two-weeks has also moved the stock into the green on a YTD basis.
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STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending October 25th, 2019

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STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 10.27.19

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Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $AAPL
  • $AMD
  • $FB
  • $T
  • $SHOP
  • $HEXO
  • $BYND
  • $SPOT
  • $GOOGL
  • $MA
  • $BABA
  • $WBA
  • $GE
  • $SBUX
  • $TWLO
  • $MRK
  • $GRUB
  • $ABBV
  • $ON
  • $PFE
  • $ENPH
  • $QSR
  • $GM
  • $MO
  • $AWI
  • $L
  • $TEX
  • $AMG
  • $BMY
  • $XOM
  • $CHKP
  • $AKAM
  • $CTB
  • $PINS
  • $EXAS
  • $EPD
  • $KHC
  • $ELY
  • $AMGN
  • $CI
  • $X
  • $GLW
  • $LYFT
  • $MCY
  • $DO
  • $AYX
  • $YUM
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Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 10.28.19 Before Market Open:

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Monday 10.28.19 After Market Close:

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Tuesday 10.29.19 Before Market Open:

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Tuesday 10.29.19 After Market Close:

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Wednesday 10.30.19 Before Market Open:

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Wednesday 10.30.19 After Market Close:

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Thursday 10.31.19 Before Market Open:

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Thursday 10.31.19 After Market Close:

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Friday 11.1.19 Before Market Open:

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Friday 11.1.19 After Market Close:

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Apple, Inc. $246.58

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:30 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.84 per share on revenue of $62.57 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.93 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $2.59 to $2.93 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 2.41% with revenue decreasing by 0.52%. Short interest has increased by 13.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 13.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.3% above its 200 day moving average of $196.73. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, October 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,061 contracts of the $220.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. $32.71

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:20 PM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.18 per share on revenue of $1.80 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.18 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 80.00% with revenue increasing by 8.89%. Short interest has increased by 21.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.4% above its 200 day moving average of $28.35. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 17, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,665 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 12.8% move in recent quarters.

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Facebook Inc. $187.89

Facebook Inc. (FB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.90 per share on revenue of $17.33 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.02 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 79% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 7.95% with revenue increasing by 26.25%. Short interest has decreased by 0.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% above its 200 day moving average of $178.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 20,043 contracts of the $325.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 5.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.

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AT&T Corp. $36.91

AT&T Corp. (T) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:20 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.93 per share on revenue of $45.52 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 3.33% with revenue decreasing by 0.48%. The stock has drifted higher by 14.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.1% above its 200 day moving average of $33.21. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 there was some notable buying of 308,450 contracts of the $30.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

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Shopify Inc. $317.45

Shopify Inc. (SHOP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.11 per share on revenue of $381.46 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.16 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 74% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $377.00 million to $382.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 41.25%. Short interest has decreased by 19.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 5.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.7% above its 200 day moving average of $269.78. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,505 contracts of the $360.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.6% move in recent quarters.

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HEXO Corp. $2.38

HEXO Corp. (HEXO) is confirmed to report earnings after the market closes on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.05 per share on revenue of $19.30 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 49% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has increased by 107.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 61.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 56.7% below its 200 day moving average of $5.50. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 10, 2019 there was some notable buying of 4,144 contracts of the $4.00 call expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 23.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.5% move in recent quarters.

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Beyond Meat, Inc. $100.81

Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $77.10 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 43% expecting an earnings beat. The stock has drifted lower by 45.9% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 25.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.

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Spotify Technology S.A. $120.69

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:00 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.92 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.36) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 51% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 186.49% with revenue increasing by 22.15%. Short interest has decreased by 13.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.7% below its 200 day moving average of $136.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 16, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,974 contracts of the $109.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.1% move in recent quarters.

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Alphabet, Inc. -

Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $12.57 per share on revenue of $32.71 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $12.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 3.75% with revenue decreasing by 3.05%. Short interest has decreased by 4.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.3% above its 200 day moving average of $1,167.05. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, October 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,578 contracts of the $1,200.00 put expiring on Friday, November 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.8% move in recent quarters.

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Mastercard Inc $270.19

Mastercard Inc (MA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:50 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.01 per share on revenue of $4.42 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 12.92% with revenue increasing by 13.39%. Short interest has increased by 11.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $250.57. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 there was some notable buying of 8,143 contracts of the $260.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.

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DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead wallstreetbets.
submitted by bigbear0083 to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

2019 Offseason Review Series: Day 18 - The Carolina Panthers

Team: The Carolina Panthers

Division: The NFC South

It’s that time of year again! After a season that could best be described as “a hangover you don’t deserve”, we watched the Panthers soar to a 6-2 record. After a beatdown of eventual playoff caliber Baltimore, It finally looked like we were poised to shrug off our non-consecutive winning streak habit. But it was not meant to be. A combination of shallow defensive depth and a lingering shoulder issue for Cam Newton saw us collapse down the stretch, and we ended 7-9 winning only a single game. After watching the sharp downturn of our fortunes, questions surrounding our QB’s health and a major exodus of our most tenured veteran talent, one could be forgiven for a glum outlook on the franchise’s future going into this offseason.
But despite the spirit in which we entered it, this offseason has been a resounding success. And one that leaves little doubt that we’re an improved team despite our more prominent losses. What follows is a point for point breakdown in how we made the transition from collapsed contender to potential comeback story.

Coaching Changes

None whatsoever.
From both the commentator sphere and other fanbases, the Panthers were pretty roundly rebuked for hiring offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Despite alarms being raised over 7 step drops and an over reliance on deep shot, Turner was a revelation for our offense. He apparently meant every word of emphasizing high completion throws and taking pressure off of Cam, and we began to see looks for our QB that were totally absent in the Mike Shula era. He’s now had a chance to throw dump offs, and to have reliable comeback options. Cam, prior to breaking down, was enjoying one of the best seasons of his career and despite the shoulder injury, still finished with a career high completion percentage. Christian McCaffery, our other offensive mainstay, saw his rushing efficiency go from 3.7 YPC his rookie season to 5.0 yards in year two, with his total scrimmage yardage upticking from 1,086 to 1,965 in Norv’s new passing and blocking system. Turner’s tenure thus far has been an unmitigated success and a refreshing change of pace from the stale, dull system we fell into under Shula.
The other transition, from Steve Wilkes to Eric Washington at defensive coordinator, yielded decidedly more mixed results. Washington, simply put, was not good in his transition from the DL coach. In over his depth. He struggled all year, culminating in Rivera assuming defensive playcalling down the stretch. The turnaround in our defense once he did was remarkable, though by that point, Cam was falling apart so visibly that what happened on that side of the ball no longer mattered. Washington has been retained for the upcoming season, but Rivera’s going to keep the playcalling duties.
And captaining the ship is Rivera himself. Despite a call for his head among our fanbase’s more frustrated elements, Rivera was kept for 2019. And I’m glad for it. All or Nothing (though I’ve not had a chance to see it) provided a window into his management style, vindicating some like me who pushed back against narratives that he was a dispassionate robot. And while I’m a bit higher on Ron than many, I don’t think it’s unsafe at all to say that none of the coaching hires would have represented an obvious upgrade. At the end of the day, Rivera lead a squad to 6-2 before his QB’s season derailed, which is not really on him. He could maybe be criticized for letting Washington fail for too long, but at the end of the day, few of our woes from last year can be solely attributed to him. While this is certainly a put up or get out year for Rivera, I have little doubt that he’ll be leading the gang come 2020 as well.

Departures

Thomas Davis, LB - Now we get into the stuff that hurts. And this one really, really hurts. I understand it. We needed to figure out whether Thompson could stand on his own like, yesterday so we can decide his long term potential. Davis, while still playing at a high level, is an old man for the position he plays. Letting him walk was a logical decision. But none of it changes the fact that Davis has been the soul of this defense for over a decade, and was easily one of the most beloved players and leaders over the 14 years he spent with us. He will be missed, both for his play and his spirit.
Julius Peppers, DE - Speaking of franchise staples, long time DE and future Hall of Fame inductee Julius Peppers’ watch has ended. Unlike Davis, who we simply allowed to leave, Pep has called it a career. And what a career it was. Though almost every single article about our defensive adjustments leads off with “With Peppers retiring, the Panthers no longer have anyone who can rush the passer”, the reality is that Pep did far less than his opposite in Mario Addison to that effect. Though he came back to us in 2017 with a monster 11 sack season, that number was always misleading given how few pressures he accomplished it on. Last year, he came back down to earth. It was time, and while I wish we could have given Pep one last, Super Bowl winning hurrah, a new direction was needed.
Ryan Kalil, C - Ryan Kalil rounds out our list of beloved departing veterans. The anchor of our offensive line for 12 years has hung up his cleats. Of all the offseason changes, this was by far the scariest, as the difference between Cam with and without a good center of the course of his career has been stark and terrifying. Kalil was a damn good player right up to the end, though the rash of injuries he suffered between 2016 and 2018 clearly took their toll on his performance. And while we have replaced him (and debatably upgraded), Kalil was both a locker room leader and a damn good contributor that will be missed by all.
Devin Funchess, WR - We now get into the departures who will be less missed. Funchess, admittedly, gets a bit of a bad wrap from our fanbase who often talk about him as though he were trash. While not trash, he is at least very replaceable. In fact, Funchess replacement began well before the expiration of his contract, as he had been fully supplanted by rookie DJ Moore and sophomore Curtis Samuel down the stretch last year. By the end, he was a healthy scratch. While I’m sure he’s going to put up numbers in Andrew Luck’s offense, Funchess is no sort of elite talent. He’s a big body who fails to gain separation and who inconsistently leverages his size to his advantage. I view his upside as a Brandon LaFell type of guy. And that type of guy is no longer a fit for what we’re trying to do.
Matt Kalil, OT - If the Carolina fandom is ambivalent about Funyun’s departure, we’re positively giddy about this one. Cut with a June 1st designation, Kalil saved us the money that allowed other moves to be possible. Though the shine has come off the diamond that was Gettleman’s tenure with us, the man often doesn’t get the credit he should. He did do a great deal for us, particularly his completely unheralded building of our OL (No less than 3 of our 5 starters this coming season will have been Gettleman acquisitions). But by far the biggest mistake in his tenure was the massive albatros of a contract he doled out to Matt Kalil, who could not have failed more spectacularly (or predictably) to live up to it.
Mike Adams, FS - I speak on behalf of the fanbase when I say that we have nothing but respect for Adams. He was a solid player and a veteran leader who spent his last two years giving lift to a secondary that hasn’t seen a great safety tandem since the Clinton Administration. But your eyes don’t deceive. We really were running his 37 year old ass out there as a free safety. And that simply could not be allowed to continue. I wish Adams the best, but it was time to move on.

Arrivals

Matt Paradis, C - Here’s the fun stuff. After losing Kalil to retirement, we signed former Broncos safety Matt Paradis to replace him. At only 29, Paradis represents a significant youthening at the position, and for a guy whose upside is top 5 at the position, we got him at a significant discount. Obviously that discount was due to medical risks, which prompted his release by the Broncos in the first place. But Paradis’ has been fully cleared from day 1 and avoided the PUP list. By all accounts, he’s in tip top shape. We’ll obviously see how that holds up as the season gets underway, but Paradis is definitely one of the steals of the 2019 free agency period and I could not be happier to have him. His arrival is enormous for our prospects, and has turned our biggest positional question mark into an area of strength.
Daryl Williams, OT - It’s a bit disingenuous to call Williams an arrival, as he never actually left. But that he never left is nothing short of remarkable. After a 2017 All Pro season, Williams suffered a major setback of an injury in 2018 training camp that eventually turned into a season ending injury after he tried to rush back. Still though, the League is constantly hungry for All Pro level OT talent and I was sure Williams was going to get scooped up. Instead, he signed a 1 year, $6 million deal to come back to us, and short of black magic I’m not entirely sure how Marty Hurney pulled it off. Williams is a terrific player who can play many parts of the OL. He can slot in at LG if rookie OT Greg Little can win the LT job, but also provides insurance at LT if he can’t. He and Moton playing opposite one another represents the best OT tandem that Cam Newton has ever enjoyed.
Gerald McCoy, DT - Awwwww yeah! My all time favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneer is now a Carolina Panther. McCoy is a rock solid DT who truly needs no introduction from me. How we plan to use him is a bit murkier, but use him we definitely will. I suspect to see McCoy playing DT opposite Kawaan Short in our 3-4 looks (more on that in a minute), to line up next to him in our 5-2 looks, and to work with him on pass rushing 4-3 sets. He adds more juice to a pass rush that already saw a healthy injection of talent this year, and is more consistent in the run game than some of the other DL on the roster, which was a notable area of weakness last season. He fits the versatility first mold that’s going to allow Rivera to mix up our defensive looks as transition fully to a hybrid, and is a terrific leader in the locker room besides. Our beat writers have described him as “joined at the hip” with Kawaan Short, and I fully expect the pair to make one another better.
Bruce Irvin, OLB - Perhaps the first real signal that this wasn’t going to be the Carolina defense of yesteryear, Irvin is a vet leadership, change of pace signing. In moving to a hybrid defense, we acquired a number of rookie talents to complement OLBs like Marquis Hayes. Irvin rounds out that group, and provides us with a valuable cog in pass rushing sets and a good leader for the younguns. Though he’s not as disruptive as he once was, Irvin is a rock solid player who provides us with quality depth and leadership.
Chris Hogan, WR - A graduate of the Patriots Random White Guy Academy, Hogan flashed serious potential for his first couple of years in New England before getting gradually phased out of the offense. I’m not expecting much, but he has the potential to help us on deep balls and it’s generally never a bad thing to have more talent at WR.
Aldrick Robinson, WR - Robinson does one thing and one thing only, which is catch touchdowns. Conveniently, that’s one thing we struggled with last season. But with Greg Olsen now fully healthy and a sudden wealth of other options at WR, I would give Robinson long odds of making the roster.

Draft

Pick 1.16: Brian Burns, DE/OLB - I am still in shock that Brian Burns was available at pick #16. I wanted him very badly, but I was certain he’d be an Atlanta Falcon. Instead, people allowed him to fall all the way to us and I couldn’t be happier. Burns is the apotheosis of what we’re trying to accomplish with our defensive transition. He’s a guy as comfortable upright as he is with his hand in the dirt. While he lacks strength as a run defender, he has incredible burst off the edge and a ludicrously high ceiling as a pass rusher. I think he landed on a terrific team to turn that potential into reality and I’m extremely excited about what he can do with us.
Pick 2.37 Greg Little, OT - Every description I’ve ever read of Little has described him as “Pro Ready”, and the team clearly drafted him with an eye on starting at LT. Luckily, we’ve hedged that bet a bit with the Daryl Williams signing, but Little still projects as a talented young player with a high floor and a well rounded skillset. If not the LT starter this year, he’ll almost certainly have the job to himself next season.
PIck 3.100 Will Grier, QB - Boy did this piss people off at the time. Though cooler heads have since prevailed, this pick was seen by one group of reactionaries as an indictment on Cam’s health, and another as a wasted pick on a player who will never produce for us. The reality is neither. While Cam’s health is in good shape (put a pin it), we were put in a position last year in which he needed to rest a clearly deteriorating shoulder, but we had no faith in the men behind him to win games. If that’s the state of your backup, you need a better backup. This is a team that has seen playoff runs hinge on a game or two that Derek Anderson filled in for. So even as high as pick 100, Grier was a worthy investment. In terms of his playstyle, Grier slots as an accurate QB with a good deep ball and a cerebral style, but average arm strength and mediocre release.
Pick 4.115 Christian Miller, OLB - Like Burns, Miller projects as a do-all DE/OLB who can play either upright or down low. He’s an athletic prospect whose game is a bit raw, but who checks all the measurable boxes. Likely a top 50 player before injuries kept him out of the pre-draft process, Miller represents a hell of a value at 115. I suspect we’ll see he and Burns as long term staples of the pass rush.
Pick 5.114 Jordan Scarlett, RB - This was a bit of an odd one, but I’ve warmed to it over time. Scarlett is a bruising, violent running back who I’m almost certain was drafted to lend a hand in the red zone. As a change of pace to CMC, the two could not be more different. But coaches thus far have raved about his conditioning and power, so the pick may not have been as crazy as it looked at the time. Having said that, while I don’t think anyone should ever get upset over a 5th round pick, I do think we could have found better value at this position. Scarlett wasn’t likely to be gone by the time we selected our next player.
Pick 6.212 Denis Daley, OT - I like this pick quite a bit. Daley had a rough statline in terms of sacks allowed when facing a veritable who’s who of elite college pass rushers (Jachari Polite, Josh Allan, Clelin Ferrell among them). But in spite of that, scouting reports consistently cite both his physical gifts and his improvement as the season went on. If he can cut down on his most egregious habits (most notably his overeager lunging at edge rushers), he has legit starting potential.
Pick 7.237 Terry Godwin, WR - Godwin’s whole game is predicated on speed and football IQ. At 5’11, it’s certainly not coming from his physical measurables. But he was by all accounts a high work ethic, smart players who contributed admirably in his four years as Georgia starter. Godwin’s ceiling is likely a Curtis Samuel backup, but his early rapport with Cam makes me think he’ll stick on the roster despite his late draft spot.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Offense - With Cam’s health reportedly looking good (particularly his ability to throw deep; something he was never capable of throughout Camp) and the team adapting so well to Norv Turner’s system, I think offense as a whole is a good place to start. Though I said it last year, only to be hilariously wrong, Greg Olsen is operating at 100% as well, which provides a boost to our red zone effectiveness that is difficult to measure. By the end of last year, both DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel appeared to be on the cusp of a major breakout, both proving themselves so reliable that Devin Funchess was a healthy scratch by week 17. Those two should continue to grow, and Jarius Wright has proven to be a valuable slot receiver. And, of course, there’s CMC, who will continue to be our best offensive weapon not named Cam Newton. With good health and plenty of diverse options, I suspect the good times to continue to roll as we enter year two of Turner’s stewardship.
Offensive Line - I can’t emphasize this enough, but our offensive line is nasty. With Williams’ return, we now have an All Pro OT to pair with breakout sensation Taylor Moton, which makes for an excellent tandem. Matt Paradis replaces, and if we’re being honest, provides an upgrade over Ryan Kalil, and Trai Turner is as effective a RG as ever. LG will likely be manned by whichever of Williams or Little doesn’t win LT, and Greg Van Roten (who’s performed admirably at the position) is still in the building as well. This is a very solid group of players, and a massive upgrade over what we had to work with last year.
Pass Rush - This was a major area of concern last year, but I’m happy with where we’re at now. The transition to a hybrid defense was the right call for our personnel set, and between the draft and free agency, we’ve upgraded across the board. McCoy is a huge boost to our interior pressure and Brian Burns should contribute immediately. Efe Obada will likely continue to grow, and the new system is a much better fit for talented sophomore Marquis Hayes. Irvin is solid rotational addition as well, and Mario Addison is as stalwart a pass rusher as ever. All in all, we’ve gone from an extremely one dimensional pass rush to one that is versatile and capable of throwing multiple looks at our opponents. We will be hard to predict and hard to stop when we come at the QB next year.
Weaknesses
Run Defense - Though I’ve seen little attention paid to it, I’m very concerned about our run defense this year. Although we’ve beefed the hell out of the defensive front, few of these pieces excel in run defense. McCoy has mostly staked his reputation on being a 3 tech. Hayes, Miller and Burns were all flagged as prospect that lacked run support talent. Poe was miserable in defending the run last year, and it’s never really been Short’s bag. In terms of yards per carry, we finished 8th overall which sounds good. But this was mostly on the strength of changes when Rivera took over the playcalling, as backs tended to run over us consistently early in the year. As long as we have Luke, our run defense will be solid. But I do worry that with so much (needed, mind you) emphasis put on rushing the passer, we’ve left off this part of the game.
The Secondary: As always with us, the secondary is a concern. It is, to be fair, less a concern than in previous years. Donte Jackson and James Bradberry both enjoyed very solid campaigns last year, and the former has allegedly done a lot of growing over the previous season. Eric Reid represents a good, solid strong safety. But free safety is, as ever, a mess. The job is going to sophomore player Rashaan Gaulden, but I think his capturing the position unopposed has less to do with what coaches see in him, and running out of money after doling out contracts to Paradis, McCoy and Williams. Our secondary, while improved, was inconsistent last season and was the primary reason we finished in the middle of the pack.
And honestly, that’s about it. This is one of the strongest rosters Carolina has fielded in the Riv-Era, at least on paper.

X Factors

Cam’s Health - Those of your who frequent nfl have likely seen my refrain on this many a time, but Cam’s health is not as dire as last season made it look, and the Andrew Luck comparisons have always been, frankly, crazy. In 2016, Cam tore his rotator cuff. He rushed his recovery in order to play in 2017. This created a buildup of scar tissue which, when coupled with a minor bone spur, caused a great deal of swelling this year that put Netwon in pain and limited his range of motion. It’s one of those injuries that, while not terrible by any means, does require either surgery or a great deal of rest. Cam, by virtue of being alpha and omega to this team, had the luxury of neither. The swelling persisted until he could barely throw. While that looks scary, the actual diagnosis was not that grim, and a simple shoulder scope as cleared the damage. By all accounts, he’s 100% and even making throws that he was incapable of these last two years. Bill Voth, who was the first (and for a long time, only) writer sounding the alarm on Cam’s strength as far back as 2017, has said that he’s making throws that look like his old self routinely.
However, we are putting him on a pitch count. This like likely vet maintenance rather than a source of genuine alarm. But after the last couple of years, he does make you sweat a little.
OL Health - The major fly in the ointment when it comes to Carolina’s optimism over its OL is that big if healthy caveat. If healthy, Paradis is a top 5 Center. If healthy, Williams has All Pro talent. 4 days into camp, however, neither is participating in serious pass rush drills and only today suited up in pads. It is possible that they’re just being eased along. They did avoid the PUP list, which we were almost sure was going to get Paradis at the very least. So they appear to be alright. But if they’re not, or they reinjure again, we go from being an extremely strong team to a fatally flawed one. A great deal is riding on the health of those two players, and the entire house of cards could fall apart quickly if they’re unable to deliver.
Greg Olsen - The one health flag that I do have complete confidence in is tight end Greg Olsen. Suffering a series of foot breaks, he is now moving around at 100% capacity and has been medically cleared for all activity for months. Bone breaks are, when all is written, temporary injuries that often heal stronger when they actually get a chance to heal. Our most trusted beat writers, Voth and Rodrigue, have both been crystal clear that he looks like his old self and that his connection with Newton is as faithful as ever. What I’m less clear on is his role in the offense. For years, Greg Olsen was the pivotal piece of our passing game. But with his largely being sidelined with foot injuries over the last two years, the game has moved on. Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore are both going to receive plenty of targets, and McCaffery will be a critical element to the passing game. Greg will undoubtedly be our principle red zone threat, but the growth of other options has downgraded his loss from catastrophic to merely unfortunate. What role he carves out, and what boost he’s able to give our offense, will be very interesting to watch.
4-3 No More: Much has been made of the Carolina's transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this offseason. And most of it is crap. We aren't exactly moving in a direction that binary. IN the past, we have strictly been a 4-3 team throughout the Riv-Era. That is about to change, but not to a 3-4. What Rivera showed last year is a willingness to mix and match personnel sets. There were 3-4 looks, 4-3 looks and even 5-2 looks. What we're moving toward is thus not a single, codified base, but a hybrid defense that can throw out a number of formations and switch between them quickly. We want players who can play OLB and DE. DTs who can play DE. LBs who can drop into coverage and rush the passer. A modern defense is one that doesn't limit itself, which is why such a premium has been put on players with positional versatility. On paper, our personnel set is very well built for this. How it pans out in practice remains to be seen. It's a very radical transitioning happening over a short period of time, and while I think our defense has the potential to be excellent, there will doubtless be some growing pains as we navigate the transition.

Positional Battles

Very little to speak of. The premier battle is going to be between Greg Little and Daryl Williams at LT. Apart from that, the timeshare that forms in different defensive sets will be intriguing. But for the most part, the roster is set.

Win Loss Predictions

I hate this part, particularly since the NFCS is a murderers row at present. The Panthers have a shot at a serious playoff run if all the chips fall right, but the Falcons are likely going to be resurgent (god you have no idea how much it hurts me to type that) and the Saints aren’t going anywhere. The Buccs I’m sure will do their best.
That alone makes pinpointing what our season looks like in terms of Ws and Ls difficult. But this year, we’re also playing the equally enigmatic AFCS, whose teams look like contenders or middlers in turns. Even our other divisional draw, the NFCW, is difficult to find the pulse of.
So rather than pretend that I know what each game is going to look like, I’m going to do what I always do; Likely wins, likely losses, toss ups.
Likely Wins: TB, @AZ, JAX, @TB, @SF, TEN, WAS
Likely Losses: LAR, @NO, @IND
Toss Ups: @HOU, @GB, ATL, NO, @ATL, SEA
So that’s 7 likely wins, 3 likely losses and 6 toss ups.
If that seems like an unusually high degree of uncertainty, that’s because it is. Last year started off strong and fell apart for reasons that are both obvious and cautiously behind us. We’ve only improved over the offseason and should be formidable. But the schedule is grueling and many questions are yet unanswered. I said in my last offseason review that last year was likely going to be a tough season, and should be viewed mainly as a proof of concept for the new ideas we were incorporating via Turner’s offense and our gradual move away from a 4-3 defense. Well, it was a tough year for reasons of which I had no inkling at the time, and it was a proof of concept. And for the most part? The concept was proven sound. So this offseason, we’ve built on it and patched over the holes that developed in it.
I know that “This offseason is a major turning point” is one of those things that gets thrown around a lot. It’s like how every Presidential election gets described as historic, as though choosing the leader of the free world could ever be anything but. But in a very real sense, this franchise has hit a turning point. Cam has to bounce back this year or he’ll face major doubts about his future contract. Rivera has to bounce back this year, or he’ll be out of a job. GM Marty Hurney has done an excellent job restocking the cupboards, but we’ve been down this road of defensive transition and an offense that eases things on the quarterback before. Last year, both ideas mostly worked, but this is the season where we must commit to them and see them through if we want to succeed with the parts we have. Thus the Panthers find themselves where we always seem to. We are a team that is as capable of going on a deep playoff run as we are forcing a total rebuild in the next two years. But for what it’s worth, I think it’s going to be a strong, “Eureka!” type season where everything finally comes together. For the sake of Rivera and company, I hope it does.
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Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed
March 07, 2017
from Wikileaks Website


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Press Release
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence (below image) in Langley, Virgina.
It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including,
  1. malware
  2. viruses
  3. trojans
  4. weaponized "zero day" exploits
  5. malware remote control systems

...and associated documentation.
This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.
The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include,

  1. Apple's iPhone
  2. Google's Android
  3. Microsoft's Windows
  4. Samsung TVs,

...which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers.
The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI - below image), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand,
hacking systems trojans viruses,
...and other "weaponized" malware.


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Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more codes than those used to run Facebook.
The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.
The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that,
"There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'.
Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.
But the significance of 'Year Zero' goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to Redact (see far below) and Anonymize some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout,
Latin America Europe the United States

While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation).
The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see above image of the CIA for more details).
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS.
After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.
Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.
CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop.
The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.
A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year.
"Year Zero" shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 "weaponized" Android "zero days" which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of, WhatsApp
  1. Signal
  2. Telegram
  3. Wiebo
  4. Confide
  5. Cloackman
...by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers
The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.
This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ("Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA's Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as "Assassin" and "Medusa".
Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA's Network Devices Branch (NDB).
The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB's "HIVE" and the related "Cutthroat" and "Swindle" tools, which are described in the examples section far below.
CIA 'hoarded' vulnerabilities ("zero days")
In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis - rather than hoard - serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability.
If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.
The U.S. government's commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities.
The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts.
The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability.
As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers.
By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.
'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk
Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.
While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.
Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces - sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them.
There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'.
Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.
Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.
Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information.
The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base
In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ("Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.
The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport" Your Cover Story (for this trip) Q: Why are you here? A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate. Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.
Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area - including France, Italy and Switzerland.
A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity.
These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace.
The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media.
For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use.
To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos).
But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlying system is automatically infected and ransacked.
How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks
In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of "Vault 7", the CIA's, weaponized malware (implants + zero days) Listening Posts (LP) Command and Control (C2) systems, ...the agency has little legal recourse.
The CIA made these systems unclassified.
Why the CIA chose to make its cyber-arsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the 'battlefield' of cyber 'war'.
To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet.
If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet.
Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution.
This means that cyber 'arms' manufactures and computer hackers can freely "pirate" these 'weapons' if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.
Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e. into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts.
Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator's intent.
Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams.
For instance, attempted "malware injections" (commercial jargon) or "implant drops" (NSA jargon) are being called "fires" as if a weapon was being fired.
However the analogy is questionable.
Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its 'target'. CIA malware does not "explode on impact" but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target's device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target's devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target.
To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers.
But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.
A successful 'attack' on a target's computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization's leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system.
If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target's territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.
Evading forensics and anti-virus
A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as, Apple
  1. Microsoft
  2. Google
  3. Samsung
  4. Nokia
  5. Blackberry
  6. Siemens
  7. anti-virus companies,
...attribute and defend against attacks.
"Tradecraft DO's and DON'Ts" contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the "CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies" in "forensic review".
Similar secret standards cover the, use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf) describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) executing payloads (pdf) persisting (pdf), ...in the target's machines over time.
CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs.
These are documented in, AV defeats Personal Security Products Detecting and defeating PSPs PSP/DebuggeRE Avoidance For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin". While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM".
CIA hackers discussed what the NSA's "Equation Group" hackers did wrong and how the CIA's malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

Examples

The CIA's Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by "Year Zero") each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.
The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for,
penetration infestation ("implanting") control exfiltration
Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants.
Special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.
Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks' "Year Zero".
UMBRAGE
The CIA's hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency.
Each technique it has created forms a "fingerprint" that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible.
As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.
The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
UMBRAGE components cover,
keyloggers
  1. password collection
  2. webcam capture
  3. data destruction
  4. persistence
  5. privilege escalation
  6. stealth
  7. anti-virus (PSP) avoidance
  8. survey techniques

Fine Dining
Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out.
The questionnaire is used by the agency's OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically "exfiltrating" information from computer systems) for specific operations.
The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff.
The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.
Among the list of possible targets of the collection are,
  • 'Asset'
  • 'Liason Asset'
  • 'System Administrator'
  • 'Foreign Information Operations'
  • 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies'
  • 'Foreign Government Entities'
Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The 'Case Officer' is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types.
The 'menu' also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained.
This information is used by the CIA's 'JQJIMPROVISE' software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.
Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)
  1. 'Improvise' is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector
  2. selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like,
  3. Windows (Bartender)
  4. MacOS (JukeBox)
  5. Linux (DanceFloor)
  6. Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools
based on requirements from 'Fine Dining' questionnaires.
HIVE
HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software.
The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.
The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.
Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider.
The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a 'Blot' server that handles actual connection requests from clients.
It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the 'Honeycomb' toolserver that communicates with the implant.
If a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.
The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.
Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.
See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?
WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready. In February the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a "Cyberwar" review to be prepared within 30 days.
While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.
Redactions
Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, ...), are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
Attachments with other binary content, are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
Tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references, (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
Binary files of non-public origin, are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.
Organizational Chart
The organizational chart (far above image) corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.
Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far.
It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.
Wiki pages
"Year Zero" contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian.
Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.
The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).
What time period is covered?
The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).
WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order.
If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
What is "Vault 7"
"Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?
Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
Is each part of "Vault 7" from a different source?
Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
What is the total size of "Vault 7"?
The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of "Vault 7"?
Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?
No. That would be certainly counter-productive.
Has WikiLeaks already 'mined' all the best stories?
No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They're there.
Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.
Won't other journalists find all the best stories before me?
Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.
submitted by CuteBananaMuffin to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019

Good Saturday morning to all of you here on StockMarket. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning October 28th, 2019.

The Fed and Apple earnings will make or break market’s return to record highs in the week ahead - (Source)

Stocks will try in the week ahead to break the all-time highs set earlier in the year as a slew of S&P 500 companies get set to report.
Stock prices are bumping up against their highs, but whether they can burst through and hold gains may, for the near term, depend on what investors hear from Jerome Powell in the week ahead.
In a week stacked with major events, the Fed’s two-day meeting is likely to be the high point. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to make its third quarter point interest rate cut Wednesday afternoon, followed by comments form Fed Chairman Powell. Those comments could be his most important message of the next few months, as investors watch to see whether he holds the door open to future rate cuts, or signals it’s time to pause, as some economists expect.
“Our view is they’ll be done after this. We’re not expecting a cut in December, and we’re not expecting cuts next year. The economy, in my mind, looks like it’s stabilizing, and there should be more evidence of that in the next couple of weeks. focusing on the labor market is the key thing,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management. If the labor market holds up, expectations for rate cuts should decline. “I do think the dissenters are arguing they shouldn’t be cutting at all.”
But Matus’ view is just one of many on Wall Street. Some economists expect another cut in December, while others expect one or more cuts next year, depending on how they view the economy. Goldman Sachs economists laid out a case where the Fed will clearly signal that it plans to pause after Wednesday.
All of this could make for volatility in stocks and bonds, depending on which market view prevails in Powell’s comments. “It’s going to be choppy going into the Fed,” said Andrew Brenner of National Alliance. In the past week, yields were higher with the 10-year Treasury yield touching 1.8% Friday.
The S&P 500 was up 1.2% for the week, ending at 3,022, just below its closing high. On Friday, it briefly traded above the July 26 high of 3,025. The Dow ended the week with a gain of 0.7%, at 26,956, and it remains about 1% below its closing high.
In addition, the earnings calendar remains heavy with about 145 S&P 500 companies releasing earnings, including Alphabet Monday and big oil Exxon Mobil and Chevron Friday. On Wednesday, earnings are expected from Apple, which is setting new highs of its own.

Big economic reports

On top of that, November kicks off Friday in what looks to be the most important day for economic data of the new month. Besides the critical monthly employment report, there is the key ISM manufacturing report, expected to show a contraction in manufacturing activity for a third month.
Both reports could be distorted by the GM strike, which is expected to result in an October employment report with fewer than 100,000 jobs. According to Refinitiv, total non farm payrolls are expected to be 90,000, while manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 50,000. That would include the impact of GM workers, but also the employees of the many suppliers and services that support the car company’s manufacturing operations.
“The jobs number will be big, but the ISM could be bigger. If that turns up, like Markit [PMI] suggested, that could be a big deal,” said Leuthold Group Chief Investment Strategist James Paulsen. On Thursday, Markit flash PMI manufacturing data for October was higher than expected, and still has not shown a contraction.
“If it turns up, I think that’s to affect a lot of people and how they feel about things. That could take on a whole new dimension of what happens to Wall Street earnings estimates,” he said.
Manufacturing data has dragged, due to the impact of tariffs and the trade war, and some big companies have taken a hit as a result, like Caterpillar which on Wednesday reported weaker than expected earnings and sales. Caterpillar also cut its outlook, in large part due to weakness in China. Caterpillar shares were slammed but on Friday, the stock was bouncing back by 3.5%.

Stocks at ‘inflection point’

Quincy Krosby, Prudential Financial’s chief market strategist, said the fact Caterpillar was able to come back at the end of the week was a positive for the market, which she says is now entering the late year seasonal period where stocks typically do well. At the same time, she said news for the market looks like it’s about to get “less bad.”
″″Less bad’ is not a full fledged agreement with China. Less bad is a truce. It means that Dec. 15 extension in tariffs does not happen,” she said, adding the market appears to be at an inflection point with investors expecting an agreement of some type between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping when they meet in November.
″‘I’m not bullish. I’m not bearish. I’m optimistic. This market has been led by the defensive sectors. You’re starting to see that move into consumer discretionary. It’s telling you the market is seeing growth, albeit it not stellar growth, but when it gets ‘less bad’ you’re going to see that it’s being reflected in this inflection point in the market,” said said. “We’re seeing a move more and more into the cyclical and growth sectors, and by the way, we’re seeing a steepening of the yield curve.”
The yield curve represents the difference between the yields of two different duration Treasury securities. When the curve inverts, the yield on the shorter duration security, in this case the 2-year has become higher than that of say, the 10-year. That is one part of the curve that was temporarily inverted, and if it stayed inverted it would be a recession warning.
The 10-year has been moving higher, and the 1.80% level will be important if the yield can stay above it.
“If it pushes through 1.80, you’re going to take the inversion out, by the bond market, not the Fed,” Paulsen said. Paulsen said it would be a sign of confidence in the economy if yields can push higher.
The Fed taking a pause may add to that sense. “I think most people think one more cut and done,” he said. “The bigger news will be what [Powell] says in that press conference. He can go pretty off script sometimes.”

‘Greater optimsim’ in market

Paulsen said stocks could be in a good period, and earnings news seems to be already priced in. “The data by and large has been okay. You have earnings that are okay, and there’s no sense of imminent recession. It just seems there’s greater optimism,” he said.
Of the approximately 200 S&P companies that reported by Friday morning, more than 78% have beaten on earnings per share, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. Earnings are expected to decline by 2% for the third quarter, based on estimates and results from companies that already reported.
Paulsen said there’s some sense in the market that Brexit will not end in a worst case scenario, but it is something to watch in the week ahead as British lawmakers decide whether to hold an election.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with Cresset Wealth Advisors, said he thinks Brexit would be a bigger deal than the trade agreement for the world economy, if it goes poorly, with the U.K. leaving the European Union with no deal. “A no deal Brexit is likely to take 2 percentage points off of British growth...It would take 1% off European growth...I think that’s significant,” Ablin said. “I think investors are underplaying it because it’s so binary. It’s hard to position for a binary outcome. If we get some resolution there, to me, that has the biggest impact for the markets.”

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE WEEK-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE MONTH-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 3-MONTH PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE 52-WEEK PERFORMANCE!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #4!)

Bullish Halloween Trading Strategy Treat Next Week

Next week provides a special short-term seasonal opportunity, one of the most consistent of the year. The last 4 trading days of October and the first 3 trading days of November have a stellar record the last 25 years. From the tables below: * Dow up 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.4%. * S&P up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.1%, median gain 1.5%. * NASDAQ up 21 of last 25 years, average gain 2.7%, median gain 2.3%. * Russell 2000 19 of last 25 years, average gain 2.2%, median gain 2.5%.
Many refer to our Best Six Months Tactical Seasonal Switching Strategy as the Halloween Indicator or Halloween Strategy and of course “Sell in May”. These catch phrases highlight our discovery that was first published in 1986 in the 1987 Stock Trader’s Almanac that most of the market’s gains are made from October 31 to April 30, while the market goes sideways to down from May through October.
Since 1950 DJIA is up 7.5% November-April and up only 0.6% May-October. We encouraged folks not to fear Octoberphobia early this month and wait for our MACD Buy Signal which came on October 11. We have been positioning more bullishly since in sector and major U.S. market ETFs and with a new basket of stocks. But the next seven days have been a historically bullish trade.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Normally a top month, November has been lackluster in Pre-Election Years

November maintains its status among the top performing months as fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions drive November to lead the best consecutive three-month span November-January. However, the month has taken hits during bear markets and November 2000, down –22.9% (undecided election and a nascent bear), was NASDAQ’s second worst month on record—only October 1987 was worse.
November begins the “Best Six Months” for the DJIA and S&P 500, and the “Best Eight Months” for NASDAQ. Small caps come into favor during November, but don’t really take off until the last two weeks of the year. November is the number-two DJIA (since 1950), NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 2000 (since 1979) month. November is best for S&P 500 (since 1950) and Russell 1000’s (since 1979).
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In pre-election years, November’s performance is noticeably weaker. DJIA has advanced in nine of the last 17 pre-election years since 1950 with an average gain of 0.3%. S&P 500 has been up in 10 of the past 17 pre-election years, also gaining on average a rather paltry 0.3%. Small-caps and techs perform better with Russell 2000 climbing in 6 of the past 10 pre-election years, averaging 1.2%. NASDAQ has been up in 7 of the last 12 pre-election year Novembers with an average 0.9% gain. Contributing to pre-election year November’s weaker performance are nasty declines in 1987, 1991 and 2007.

Q4 Rally Is Real. Don’t Let 2018 Spook You

Understandably folks are apprehensive about the perennial fourth quarter rally this year after the debacle that culminated in the Christmas Eve Crumble in 2018. But the history is clear. The fourth quarter is the best quarter of the year going back to 1949, except for NASDAQ where Q1 leads Q4 by 4.5% to 4.0%, since 1971.
Historically, the “Sweet Spot” of the 4-Year Election Cycle is the three-quarter span from Q4 Midterm Year through Q2 Pre-Election Year, averaging a gain of 19.3% for DJIA and 20.0% for S&P 500 since 1949 and 29.3% for NASDAQ since 1971. Conversely the weakest two-quarter span is Q2-Q3 of the Midterm Year, averaging a loss of -1.2% for DJIA and -1.5% for S&P 500 since 1949 and -5.0% for NASDAQ since 1971.
Market action was impacted by some more powerful forces in 2018 that trumped (no pun intended) seasonality. Q2-Q3 was up 9.8% for DJIA, 10.3% for S&P and 13.9% for NASDAQ. Q4 was horrible, down -11.8% for DJIA, -14.0% for S&P and -17.5% for NASDAQ.Q1-Q2 of pre-election year, especially Q1 gained all that back.
Pre-Election year Q4 is still one of the best quarters of the 4-Year Cycle, ranked 5th, for average gains of 2.6% for DJIA and 3.2% for S&P since 1949 and 5.4% for NASDAQ. Additionally, from the Pre-Election Seasonal Pattern we updated in last Friday’s post, you can see how the market tends to make a high near yearend in the Pre-Election Year. So, save some new unexpected outside event, Q4 Market Magic is expected to impress once again this year.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

2019 May Be One of the Best Years Ever

“Everything is awesome, when you’re living out a dream.” The Lego Movie
As the S&P 500 Index continues to flirt with new record highs, something under the surface is taking place that is making 2019 extremely special. Or dare we say, “awesome”.
First, let’s look back at last year. 2018 was the first year since 1969 in which both the S&P 500 (stocks) and the 10-year Treasury bond (bonds) both finished the year with a negative return. Toss in the fact that gold and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil were both down last year, and it was one of the worst years ever for a diversified portfolio.
“As bad as last year was for investors, 2019 is a mirror image, with stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil all potentially finishing the year up double digits for the first time in history,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, it has been a great year for stocks, bonds, gold, and crude oil. Of course, there are still more than two months to go in 2019, but this year is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for these four important assets.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

An Early Look at Earnings

We're now in the thick of the Q3 earnings reporting period with 130 companies reporting since just the close last night. As shown in our Earnings Explorer snapshot below, earnings will be in overdrive for the next two weeks before dying down in mid-November.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Through yesterday's close, 248 companies had reported so far this season, and 75% of them had beaten consensus bottom-line EPS estimates. However, just 63% of stocks have beaten sales estimates, and more companies have lowered guidance than raised guidance. In terms of stock price reaction to reports this season, so far investors have seen earnings as relatively bullish as the average stock that has reported has gained 0.60% on its earnings reaction day. Below we show another snapshot from our Earnings Explorer featuring the aggregate results of this season's reports and a list of the stocks that have reacted the most positively to earnings. Four stocks so far have gained more than 20% on their earnings reaction days -- PETS, BIIB, APHA, and LLNW.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
We provide clients with a beat-rate monitor on our Earnings Explorer page as well. Below is a chart showing the rolling 3-month EPS and sales beat rates for US companies over the last 5 years. After a dip in the EPS beat rate earlier in the year, we've seen it steadily increase over the last few months up to its current level of 64.46%. That's more than five percentage points above the historical average of 59.37%.
In terms of sales, 57.87% of companies have beaten top-line estimates over the last 3 months, which is much closer to the historical average than the bottom-line beat rate.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Banks - On To The Next Test

It has been a pretty monumental two weeks for the KBW Bank index. Since the close on 10/8, the index has rallied just under 9% as earnings reports from some of the largest US banks received a warm welcome from Wall Street. The index is now once again testing the top-end of its range, one which it has unsuccessfully tested multiple times in the last year. If you think the repeated tests of 3,000 for the S&P 500 over the last 18 months have been dramatic, the current go around with 103 for the KBW Bank Index has been the sixth such test in the last year! We would also note that prior to last year's fourth quarter downturn, the same level that has been acting as resistance for the KBW Bank index was previously providing support.
In the case of each prior failed break above 103 for the KBW Bank index, sell-offs of at least 5% (and usually 10%+) followed, but one thing the index has going for it even if the sixth time isn't the charm is that just yesterday it broke above its downtrend that has been in place since early 2018. The group has passed one test at least! From here, if we do see a pullback, that former downtrend line should provide support.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
Turning to the KBW Index's individual components, the table below lists each of the 24 stocks in the index along with how each one has performed since the index's recent low on 10/8 and on a YTD basis (sorted by performance since 10/8). In the slightly more than two weeks since the index's short-term low, every stock in the index is up and up by at least 4%. That's a pretty broad rally!
Leading the way to the upside, State Street (STT) has rallied nearly 20%, while First Republic (FRC), Northern Trust (NTRS), and Bank of America (BAC) have jumped more than 13%. In the case of STT, the rally of the last two-weeks has also moved the stock into the green on a YTD basis.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending October 25th, 2019

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 10.27.19

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $AAPL
  • $AMD
  • $FB
  • $T
  • $SHOP
  • $HEXO
  • $BYND
  • $SPOT
  • $GOOGL
  • $MA
  • $BABA
  • $WBA
  • $GE
  • $SBUX
  • $TWLO
  • $MRK
  • $GRUB
  • $ABBV
  • $ON
  • $PFE
  • $ENPH
  • $QSR
  • $GM
  • $MO
  • $AWI
  • $L
  • $TEX
  • $AMG
  • $BMY
  • $XOM
  • $CHKP
  • $AKAM
  • $CTB
  • $PINS
  • $EXAS
  • $EPD
  • $KHC
  • $ELY
  • $AMGN
  • $CI
  • $X
  • $GLW
  • $LYFT
  • $MCY
  • $DO
  • $AYX
  • $YUM
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST ANTICIPATED EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 5 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 10.28.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Monday 10.28.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Tuesday 10.29.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Wednesday 10.30.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)
(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #4!)

Thursday 10.31.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #3!)

Thursday 10.31.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES LINK #2!)

Friday 11.1.19 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Friday 11.1.19 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Apple, Inc. $246.58

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:30 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.84 per share on revenue of $62.57 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.93 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 72% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $2.59 to $2.93 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 2.41% with revenue decreasing by 0.52%. Short interest has increased by 13.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 13.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.3% above its 200 day moving average of $196.73. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, October 14, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,061 contracts of the $220.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. $32.71

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:20 PM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.18 per share on revenue of $1.80 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.18 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 64% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 80.00% with revenue increasing by 8.89%. Short interest has increased by 21.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.4% above its 200 day moving average of $28.35. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 17, 2019 there was some notable buying of 28,665 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Friday, December 20, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 12.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Facebook Inc. $187.89

Facebook Inc. (FB) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.90 per share on revenue of $17.33 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.02 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 79% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 7.95% with revenue increasing by 26.25%. Short interest has decreased by 0.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 9.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% above its 200 day moving average of $178.54. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 20,043 contracts of the $325.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 5.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.

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AT&T Corp. $36.91

AT&T Corp. (T) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:20 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.93 per share on revenue of $45.52 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 3.33% with revenue decreasing by 0.48%. The stock has drifted higher by 14.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.1% above its 200 day moving average of $33.21. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 there was some notable buying of 308,450 contracts of the $30.00 call expiring on Friday, January 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.1% move in recent quarters.

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Shopify Inc. $317.45

Shopify Inc. (SHOP) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.11 per share on revenue of $381.46 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.16 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 74% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $377.00 million to $382.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 41.25%. Short interest has decreased by 19.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 5.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 17.7% above its 200 day moving average of $269.78. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, October 22, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,505 contracts of the $360.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 9.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.6% move in recent quarters.

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HEXO Corp. $2.38

HEXO Corp. (HEXO) is confirmed to report earnings after the market closes on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.05 per share on revenue of $19.30 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 49% expecting an earnings beat. Short interest has increased by 107.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 61.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 56.7% below its 200 day moving average of $5.50. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, October 10, 2019 there was some notable buying of 4,144 contracts of the $4.00 call expiring on Friday, February 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 23.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.5% move in recent quarters.

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Beyond Meat, Inc. $100.81

Beyond Meat, Inc. (BYND) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $77.10 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 43% expecting an earnings beat. The stock has drifted lower by 45.9% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 25.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.

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Spotify Technology S.A. $120.69

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:00 AM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.92 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.36) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 51% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 186.49% with revenue increasing by 22.15%. Short interest has decreased by 13.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 11.7% below its 200 day moving average of $136.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 16, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,974 contracts of the $109.00 put expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 7.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.1% move in recent quarters.

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Alphabet, Inc. -

Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, October 28, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $12.57 per share on revenue of $32.71 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $12.94 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 3.75% with revenue decreasing by 3.05%. Short interest has decreased by 4.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 3.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.3% above its 200 day moving average of $1,167.05. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, October 18, 2019 there was some notable buying of 1,578 contracts of the $1,200.00 put expiring on Friday, November 15, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.8% move in recent quarters.

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Mastercard Inc $270.19

Mastercard Inc (MA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:50 AM ET on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.01 per share on revenue of $4.42 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.06 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 12.92% with revenue increasing by 13.39%. Short interest has increased by 11.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 3.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $250.57. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019 there was some notable buying of 8,143 contracts of the $260.00 call expiring on Friday, November 1, 2019. Option traders are pricing in a 3.9% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.

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DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead StockMarket.
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