Table of Contents
The current fund liquidations we have been discussing for the last three weeks have not slowed. Anything with value is being sold or shorted to raise cash to cover redemptions. Anything stock/sector that was in favor over the last 9 months is now being sold ruthlessly and buyers who jump in on the dips are getting run over by the stampeding bears.
Exxon and Chevron were both down over $20 at one point last week as the last blue chip ports in the storm were buried under the selling hysteria. Exxon has $38 billion in cash and earns $10 billion a quarter. There is no fundamental reason to dump Exxon in that volume. Exxon traded 113 million shares on Friday. That is nearly $8 billion in Exxon stock alone. Add in the same dump of all the other majors and minors in the sector and this was a cash raise of historic proportions.
Reporters blamed it on falling global demand as predicted by the IEA. On Friday the IEA said the world is on the breink of a global recession and cut their demand estimates by 360,000 bpd for OECD nations. For 2009 the OECD demand was expected to be 600,000 bpd less than in 2008. This may sound grim but the IEA is all about making headlines.
What reporters failed to pick up on was the overall picture. The IEA also raised demand estimates by 80,000 bpd for countries outside the OECD. Overall non-OECD demand for 2008 is still expected to rise by 1.5 mbpd over 2007 levels and rise again by 1.3 mbpd in 2009. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing in the IEA statement that suggested global oil demand was falling off a cliff other than the headline of the report "When Storms Collide." That referenced the hurricanes and the financial crisis.
The price drop in crude on Friday was purely a liquidity crisis. When the markets opened there was a large seller dumping huge numbers of contracts in the electronic markets for 20 minutes. Volume was 10 times normal for that 20 min period. The rest of the day was only less a liquidity raise but still concentrated selling by funds. The CFTC said open interest in crude futures was at a 2.5 year low.
OPEC announced an emergency meeting for Nov-18th to discuss cutting production. You can bet the decision has already been made and the meeting is simply to define whose quotas get cut the most.
The current price drop is very painful for producing nations that depend on oil for their survival. Hurt the most will be Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Since his oil is heavy crude bordering on sludge it will sell at the lowest price in the market. Since he depends on oil revenue to remain in power this could be the straw that breaks his political back.
Russia is undergoing its own political and financial problems as well as falling oil production. The Russian markets were closed on Wednesday on fears of a collapse after their worst ever trading day on Monday. They reopened on Thursday. Russia is suffering from investor flight after its attacks on Georgia. Investors have pulled tens of billions out of its markets and cancelled numerous projects inside Russia. The country is seriously suffering from its military venture. Russian oil production has fallen for nine straight months as it goes into decline. This comes at a time when Russia needs every dollar from its oil revenue to cover shortages in other areas. Russia has announced more than $200 billion in loans and relief since the crisis began in September. Russia needs higher oil prices but can't afford to cut back on production to provide price support.
The sell off in the energy sector has hit big investors as well as small. The massive drop in stock prices has caused massive margin calls for even big name investors. The CEO of XTO was forced to sell over $100 million in stock due to margin calls. The CEO of Chesapeake and the third largest shareholder in CHK was forced to sell his entire 33.5 million share stake last week when he was hit with a margin call he could not meet. His stake was worth more than $2.35 billion four months ago and was worth only $500 million when he was closed out on Friday. That had to be some serious pain.
The drop in natural gas prices has collapsed the gas sector. The sudden boom in shale gas discoveries and production has increased gas supplies by 6-8% after three years of declining North American production. Gas closed at $6.50 on Friday.
The forced liquidation in the oil majors has created some major buying opportunities. Many are now selling for a PE that equals their dividend yield. This is extremely rare. It also does not mean that they cannot go lower until the forced liquidations end.
TrimTabs said equity funds saw outflows of $72 billion in September. That was a historic record. In the first week of October outflows were more than $50 billion with $7 billion of that coming out of bond funds. If the bear market does not let up soon we could see another record for outflows in October. Since normal funds are leveraged from 2-8 times and hedge funds sometimes over 20:1 this was a monster amount of buying power leaving the market.
The massive -18% drop in the markets last week was the worst week on record. I did not add any new plays last week so we were only stopped out on one position. Last week's drop saw our entire watch list of plays triggered with many falling well below our entry points. When stocks are falling $10-$20 a week it is hard to pick an entry point. However, I am happy with everything we bought and will be much happier if we could get an oversold bounce next week. I also added a couple of new plays in MOS and BAC. I believe both are bargains here but we do need the market to cooperate.
I hesitated to add plays last week and again this week but as investors we need to be ready to buy when stocks are cheapest for maximum returns later. I never expected all those watch list entries to be triggered. Some of the targets were $20-$40 below the prior week's close. While nobody could have predicted an 18% drop in the markets, -25% in the energy sector, in only a week that does create a lot of bargains. Eventually common sense will return to the markets and those with the guts to buy with blood in the streets will profit handsomely.
Remember it is not about valuations next week. It is about forced liquidations and global credit crisis. It is not about a sudden surplus of oil production or a 10% drop in demand. Oil has nothing to do with the current market decline. Energy stocks are a market causality and the market has to recover before the energy sector will recover. A helium balloon will always rise above the crowd. However, if that crowd is in a down elevator that balloon will sink as well.
This is the time to be good money managers. If you are scared of the market then wait on the sidelines. There is no harm in being late to a rally. There is more harm to being early to a decline. Unfortunately this is a weekly newsletter and every week I need to plan for a potential rally so those willing to take a chance will be amply rewarded when that rally comes. As an investor you should enter only those plays you are comfortable in risking your own money and whenever you think it is the right entry point.
November Crude Futures Chart - Weekly
November Natural Gas Futures Chart - Daily
Changes in Portfolio
Portfolio Listing & Top Picks
If you are looking to add another position these are my top picks for this week. The target prices listed would be the ideal entry points for these stocks today. There is no assurance any stock will ever return to these support levels and you will need to make your own decision about an entry point above these levels. I believe these stocks have the best potential this week. The list will change from week to week based on technicals, fundamentals, crude prices and market action. The list is not sorted in any particular order.
We could still see oil prices drop further so I limited the oil plays here to only two. I am very comfortable with these four stocks but we are in a bear market.
Most Recent Plays
MOS - Mosaic
Over the last week Monsanto (MON) and Lindsay (LNN) both said the bloom had not left the agricultural sector. Both cited strong reasons why the ag boom would continue even if only at a slower pace. Charts of POT, MOS, CF and TNH suggest all three are trying to form a bottom. Potash fertilizer prices are expected to reach $767 per ton and sharply up from $600 a ton in 2007. Noted investor Jimmy Roberts said on CNBC on Friday that he was investing in the agricultural sector last week because demand for food had not slowed. Monsanto said last quarter sales rose +35% and it raised its guidance for the next four years. CEO Hugh Grant said, "I think people are going to continue to eat. Given the demand for food, feed and fuel - regardless of the trajectory of the curve - we are going to need more yield per acre." I believe MOS should be a core holding for the coming years.
The Mosaic Company (Mosaic) is a producer of phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the agricultural industry. The Company operates its business through three business segments: phosphates, potash and offshore. The Phosphates segment produce phosphate fertilizer and feed phosphate which are used in crop nutrients and animal feed ingredients, respectively. The principal inputs used in crop nutrients production are phosphate rock, sulfur and ammonia. The Potash segment mines ad processes potash in Canada and the United States and sells potash in North America and internationally. The Offshore segment produces and markets fertilizer products and provides other ancillary services to wholesalers, cooperatives, independent retailers, and farmers in South America and the Asia-Pacific regions. As of May 31, 2008, Cargill, Incorporated owned approximately 64.4% of the Companys interest. As of May 31, 2008, the Company had a 50% interest in Saskferco Products Inc.
Buy 2010 $50 LEAP Call LXW-AJ currently $12.80
BAC $20.87 - Bank of America
BAC was hammered last week from $38.50 to $19. This drop came after BAC said it would increase loan losses in its small business lending, posted a -68% drop in Q3 profit, cut its dividend in half and agreed to buy Merrill Lynch. It has been a busy month for BAC.
Two days later BAC received an upgrade from Robert Baird & Co to outperform from neutral saying "the banks long term earnings power remains strong and the recent capital raise and dividend cut should mitigate the need for future capital raises." Ladenburg Thalmann's noted bank analyst Richard Bove retained his "Buy" rating on the stock because of their strong deposit base and focus on the current market. Bove said, "BAC is concentrating on what it can buy in today's market at distressed prices rather than focusing on near-term earnings issues." BAC received over $20 billion in new deposits in the third quarter.
Bank of America Corporation is a bank holding company. Through its banking subsidiaries (the Banks) and various non-banking subsidiaries throughout the United States and in selected international markets, Bank of America provides a diversified range of banking and non-banking financial services and products through three business segments: Global Consumer and Small Business Banking, Global Corporate and Investment Banking, and Global Wealth and Investment Management. The Company operates in 32 states, the District of Columbia and 30 foreign countries. In the United States, it serves 59 million consumer and small business relationships with 6,100 retail banking offices, 18,500 automated teller machines (ATMs) and 24 million active online users. It offers services in 13 states. In October 2007, it acquired ABN AMRO North America Holding Company. In July 2007, it acquired U.S. Trust Corporation. In July 2008, Bank of America acquired Countrywide Financial Corp.
Buy 2010 $25 LEAP Call WBA-AE currently $5.90
NE - Noble
Noble fell off the cliff on 9/26 after reporting they would take a $10 million charge for hurricane damage in the gulf. They fell from $26 to $25 over the last two weeks. Other than that charge nothing has changed. Business is still booming, rig rates are going up and offshore drilling is increasing.
Earnings Oct 23rd
Noble Corporation (Noble) is engaged in contract drilling services worldwide. It performs contract drilling services with its fleet of 62 offshore drilling units located worldwide. This fleet consists of 13 semi-submersibles, three drillships, 43 jackups and three submersibles. The fleet count includes two F&G JU-2000E jackups and three deepwater dynamically positioned semisubmersibles under construction. As of December 31, 2007, approximately 85% of its fleet was deployed internationally. Its other operations include labor contract drilling services, and through November 2007, engineering and consulting services. Its operations are conducted principally in the Middle East, India, United States, Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil, West Africa and Canada. During the year ended December 31, 2007, Noble completed the rationalization of its technology services division with the sale of the rotary steerable system assets of its Noble Downhole Technology Ltd. subsidiary.
Breakdown Trigger: $35, hit 10.6
Position: 2010 $40 LEAP Call YVJ-AJ @ $5.20
MDR - McDermott
McDermott is one of the most successful engineering firms in the world. MDR builds offshore oilrigs and power generation systems. Neither of these areas are experiencing any decline in demand. McDermott's business is booming and they have an 11-year backlog. There is no fundamental reason for the current decline. MDR has fallen from $67 in June to $17 last week. They will present at the Natixis Bleichroeder conference on Oct 14th.
McDermott International, Inc. is an engineering and construction company with specialty manufacturing and service capabilities and is the parent company of the McDermott group of companies, including J. Ray McDermott, S.A. (JRMSA) and The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W). The Company operates in three business segments: Offshore Oil and Gas Construction, Government Operations and Power Generation Systems. On July 27, 2007, the Company acquired Secunda International Limited. On May 1, 2007, it acquired Marine Mechanical Corporation.
Breakdown trigger: $18, hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $25 LEAP Call YAE-AE @ $3.90
FLR - Fluor
Fluor is a premium engineering firm that we have played several times before. Like MDR it operates in several areas of which oil and gas is only one. Fluor has fallen from $100 to $35 over the last three months on fears of a global slowdown. The areas Fluor is involved in are not slowing. The need for more power plants and government contracting will never decline at least in my lifetime.
Earnings Nov 6th
Fluor Corporation is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries, provides engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) and project management services. Fluor serves a number of industries worldwide, including oil and gas, chemical and petrochemicals, transportation, mining and metals, power, life sciences and manufacturing. Fluor is also a primary service provider to the United States Federal Government. It performs operations and maintenance activities for major industrial clients, and also operates and maintains their equipment fleet. The Company is aligned into five principal operating segments: Oil and Gas, Industrial and Infrastructure, Government, Global Services and Power. Fluor Constructors International, Inc., which is organized and operates separately from its business segments, provides unionized management, construction and management services in the United States and Canada, both independently and as a subcontractor on projects to its segments.
Breakdown trigger: $37.50, hit 10/10
Position: 2010 $50 LEAP Call LLF-AX @ $10.70
NOV - National Oilwell
NOV has fallen from $93 to $23 as the oil price bubble burst but their business model has not changed. They should be a core holding in any portfolio for the next decade. The price of oil does not really impact NOV but they are hostage to the decline I the sector.
National Oilwell Varco, Inc. is a provider of equipment and components used in oil and gas drilling and production operations, oilfield services, and supply chain integration services to the upstream oil and gas industry. It has three segments: Rig Technology, Petroleum Services & Supplies, and Distribution Services. The Rig Technology segment designs, manufactures, sells and services systems for the drilling, completion and servicing of oil and gas wells. The Petroleum Services & Supplies segment provides consumable goods and services used to drill, complete, remediate and workover oil and gas wells, service pipelines, flowlines and other oilfield tubular goods. The Distribution Services segment provides maintenance, repair and operating supplies, and spare parts to drill site and production locations worldwide. In July 2007, NOV acquired, through a wholly owned subsidiary, a 76% stake in Sara Services and Engineers Private Limited. In April 2008, it acquired Grant Prideco, Inc.
Breakdown trigger: $28.50, hit 10/8
Position: May 2009 $40 Call NOV-EH @ $6.00
PBR - Petrobras
We were stopped on Petrobras last week at $35 and we now have the opportunity to reenter the play at $25. This is the strongest oil company in the market in terms of discovered reserves and expanding production base. Hardly a week goes by that they don't announce a new discovery. I am shocked PBR has fallen this low even in the current liquidation environment.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras (Petrobras) is a Brazil-based holding company is engaged in the exploration, exploitation and production of oil from reservoir wells, shale and other rocks, and in the refining, processing, trade and transport of oil and oil products, natural gas and other fluid hydrocarbons, in addition to other energy related activities. Petrobras has 109 production platforms and 15 refineries. It operates 31,089 kilometers of pipelines. The Company has various subsidiaries: Petrobras Distribuidora SA - BR, which is involved in the distribution and commercialization of oil products and natural gas, and Petrobras Netherlands BV - PNBV, which is active in the purchase, sale and rent of equipment and platforms for the production of oil and gas. Petrobras operates in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, the United States, Peru and Turkey, among others.
Breakdown trigger: $28.50, hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $40 LEAP Call YMO-AH @ $7.00
PDE - Pride
Pride is a strong takeover candidate as one of the remaining drillers not already consumed by RIG and DO. GE is rumored to be interested in acquiring a driller but the current financial drag on their earnings by financials may keep GE out of the market. That does not mean there are no other bidders. With Pride trading at a PE of 4 and trading at one third of their recent share price they are very attractive.
Pride International, Inc. (Pride) is an offshore drilling contractor operating, as of February 27, 2008, a fleet of 64 rigs, consisting of two deepwater drillships, 12 semisubmersible rigs, 28 jackups, 10 platform rigs, five managed deepwater drilling rigs and seven Eastern Hemisphere-based land drilling rigs. Its customers include integrated oil and natural gas companies, state-owned national oil companies and independent oil and natural gas companies. Prides operations are conducted in oil and natural gas basins, including South America, the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. It provides contract drilling services to oil and natural gas exploration and production companies through the use of mobile offshore drilling rigs in United States and international waters. Pride provides the rigs and drilling crews and is responsible for the payment of operating and maintenance expenses.
Breakdown trigger: $20, hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $25 LEAP Call YAD-AE @ $5.00
FLS - Flowserve
This is a screaming buy because nothing in the current global conditions should mean a significant drop in the use of valves and seals. $50 is strong multi-year support. Two years of gains have been wiped out and this should be a great buying opportunity. The only drawback is the stock price at $56 still represents a cash generation opportunity for funds still suffering liquidation problems.
Flowserve Corporation (Flowserve) is a manufacturer and aftermarket service provider of flow control systems. The Company develops and manufactures precision-engineered flow control equipment, such as pumps, valves and seals, for critical service applications. Flowserve offers a range of aftermarket equipment services, such as installation, advanced diagnostics, repair and retrofitting. The Company sells its products and services to more than 10,000 companies, including engineering and construction firms, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors and end users. The Company operates through three business segments: Flowserve Pump Division (FPD) for engineered pumps, industrial pumps and related services; Flow Control Division (FCD) for engineered and industrial valves, control valves, actuators and controls and related services, and Flow Solutions Division (FSD) for precision mechanical seals and related products and services.
Breakdown trigger: $555
Buy April $70 Call FLS-DN, $8.50, 10/08
RIG - Transocean
RIG is the leading deepwater driller and the majority of new discoveries are in deep water. The future drilling in the OCS will benefit RIG but that is still years away. They have a multiyear backlog that is only going to grow larger as companies plan for OCS activity. The only drawback for RIG today is the $70 stock price. They could still be a target for fund liquidations.
Transocean Inc. (Transocean) is an international provider of offshore contract drilling services for oil and gas wells. As of February 20, 2008, the Company owned, had partial ownership interests in or operated 139 mobile offshore drilling units. Its fleet included 39 high-specification floaters (ultra-deepwater, deepwater and harsh environment semisubmersibles, and drillships), 29 midwater floaters, 10 high-specification jackups, 57 standard jackups and four other rigs. As of February 20, 2008, the Company also has eight ultra-deepwater floaters contracted for or under construction. The Companys primary business is to contract these drilling rigs, related equipment and work crews primarily on a day rate basis to drill oil and gas wells. In November 2007, the Company completed its merger transaction with GlobalSantaFe Corporation (GlobalSantaFe).
Breakdown trigger: $80, hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $100 LEAP Call YDR-AZ @ 13.40
GS - Goldman Sachs
Moody's did us no favor when they warned after the close on Thursday that they may cut ratings on Goldman and Morgan Stanley. Our entry point on Thursday at $100 was the closing print. On Friday Goldman dropped to $74 at the open as a result of the downgrade notice. Goldman rebounded to close at $90 after the Lehman auction concluded successfully. Goldman had over $100 billion in Lehman CDS debt that was auctioned on Friday. They will receive their insured proceeds on Oct 21st. Some analysts thought the Lehman debt sale would blow up and were selling Goldman in advance of the sale. Now that the sale is behind us we should see Goldman come back into favor.
Forbes ran an article on Oct-2nd from Nouriel Roubini on how Morgan and Goldman were going to fail or be taken over. This gave us the decline from $140 to our entry point at $100 over the last week. The Moody's warning knocked Goldman under $100. On Friday the Managing director of Goldman, Lucas van Praag wrote a letter to the editor at Forbes debunking Roubini's claims. That should also benefit the stock price next week.
However, this is a strange environment where anything financial is being dumped. If that does not change soon then any holding on a financial stock is doomed.
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (Goldman Sachs) is a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a range of services worldwide to a client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Its activities are divided into three segments: Investment Banking, Trading and Principal Investments, and Asset Management and Securities Services. Investment Banking and Asset Management and Securities Services each represented 16% of net revenues during the fiscal year ended November 30, 2007 (fiscal 2007). Trading and Principal Investments represented 68% of net revenues in fiscal 2007. On December 11, 2007, Credit-Based Asset Servicing and Securitization LLC, a sub-prime mortgage investor, sold its Litton Loan Servicing business to Goldman Sachs. In June 2008, the Companys division, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and Cordova, Smart & Williams, LLC announced the acquisition of H2O Plus, LLC.
Breakdown Trigger: $100, hit 10/9
PPosition: 2010 $120 LEAP Call WSD-AD @ $23.75
JPM - JP Morgan
JPM stock has been all over the place the last year but it is the only major investment bank that has not posted material declines. It is constantly a go to bank for the Fed when it has a problem bank to sell. JPM gained +13% on Friday in the midst of a financial meltdown. Once the smoke clears from the current financial crisis JPM should be a strong winner.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a financial holding company. JPMorgan Chase's principal bank subsidiaries are JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, a national banking association with branches in 17 states, and Chase Bank USA, National Association, a national bank that is the Company's credit card issuing bank. JPMorgan Chase's principal non-banking subsidiary is J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., its United States investment banking firm. The bank and non-bank subsidiaries of JPMorgan Chase operate nationally, as well as through overseas branches and subsidiaries, representative offices and subsidiary foreign banks. In January 2008, JPMorgan Chase acquired an additional equity interest in Highbridge Capital Management, LLC. On May 30, 2008, the Company acquired The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. In September 2008, JPMorgan Chase acquired all deposits, assets and certain liabilities of Washington Mutual's (WM) banking operations from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Breakdown trigger: $40. Hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $50 LEAP Call WJP-AJ @ $6.00
XLF - Financial SPDR
The XLF crashed through our trigger at $17 as more negative news rocked the financial sector last Tuesday. This is an all time low for the XLF but surely we are nearing an end to the uncertainty in the banking system.
Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (the Fund) seeks to provide investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Financial Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index (the Index). The Index includes financial service firms with diversified business lines ranging from investment management to commercial and investment banking. The Fund utilizes a passive or indexing investment approach to invest in a portfolio of stocks that seek to replicate the Index. The Funds investment advisor is SSgA Funds Management, Inc
Breakdown trigger: $17, hit 10/6
Position: 2010 $20 LEAP Call WFS-AT @ $3.00
PBR $26.10 -10.62 Petrobras *** Stopped ***
Petrobras continued its drop with the energy sector and we were stopped on this entry at $35 on Monday.
Breakdown trigger: $40, hit 9/16
Position: 2010 $50 LEAP Call YMO-AJ @ $4.80, exit 4.00 10/6
Leaps Trader Watch List
Current Watch List
ATI - Allegheny Technologies
Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) is a diversified specialty metals producer. The Companys products include titanium and titanium alloys, nickel-based alloys and superalloys, zirconium, hafnium and niobium, stainless and specialty steel alloys, grain-oriented electrical steel, tungsten-based materials and cutting tools, carbon alloy impression die forgings, and grey and ductile iron castings. ATIs specialty metals are produced in a range of alloys and product forms, and are selected for use in environments that demand metals having hardness, toughness, strength, resistance to heat, corrosion or abrasion, or a combination of these characteristics. The Company focuses its technological and unsurpassed manufacturing capabilities to serve global end use markets with diversified and specialized product offerings. It operates in three business segments: High Performance Metals Segment, Flat-Rolled Products Segment and Engineered Products Segment.
Breakdown trigger: $20
Buy 2010 $30 LEAP Call YFQ-AU
Breakout trigger: $26
Buy 2010 $40 LEAP Call YFQ-AW
FWLT - Foster Wheeler
FWLT looks like it is trying to form a bottom at $25.
Foster Wheeler Limited operates through two business groups, the Global Engineering & Construction Group (Global E&C Group) and the Global Power Group. The Global E&C Group, which operates globally, designs, engineers and constructs onshore and offshore upstream oil and gas processing facilities, natural gas liquefaction facilities and receiving terminals, gas-to-liquids facilities, oil refining, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology facilities and related infrastructure, including power generation and distribution facilities, and gasification facilities. The Global Power Group designs, manufactures and erects steam generating and auxiliary equipment for electric power generating stations and industrial facilities globally. In February 2008, the Company completed the acquisition of Biokinetics. On April 7, 2006, the Company completed the purchase of the remaining 51% interest in MF Power.
Breakdown trigger $25
Buy 2010 $30 LEAP Call LWM-AF
Breakout trigger: $31
Buy 2010 $40 LEAP Call LWM-AH
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