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IB Traders' Insight

Global market commentary from IBG traders and market participants.

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2015-03-27 17:08:18

Posted by
Kevin Kastner
Washington Deputy Bureau Chief for Economic Data Operations
MNI News
Contributor

Macro

MNI US DataWatch

The March 30 week will include all of the early-month data, from manufacturing ISM Monday to employment set for release on Good Friday. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 241,000 in March, with private payrolls seen gaining 235,000 and the unemployment rate expected to stay steady at 5.5%. Previous misses in March over the last 10 years have tended to be to the high side so there is a greater chance of an overestimate for the month. Other data for the week will include personal income, vehicle sales, manufacturing ISM and international trade.

Here is a closer look at the key data in the coming week:

NONFARM PAYROLLS FOR MARCH, FRIDAY, APRIL 3, AT 8:30 A.M. ET

Nonfarm payrolls are forecast to increase by 241,000 in March after larger-than-expected gains in the previous four months. The unemployment rate is expected stay steady at 5.5%. Hourly earnings are forecast to gain 0.2%, while the average workweek is expected to hold steady at 34.6 hours for what will be the sixth month in a row. If the payrolls forecast were realized and there was no major revision to the January and February readings, the first quarter average would remain well below the fourth quarter average most recently recorded as a 324,000 gain.

Over the last 10 years of forecasts for March payrolls, there were seven overestimates and three underestimates. The absolute average miss of 47,900 over that 10-year period was larger than the 33,900 average over the same 10-year period for February payrolls. Given the larger size and number of overestimates over the period, and the fact that the February 2015 gain was sharply underestimated, there is a risk of an overestimate for March.

The 295,000 payrolls gain in February marked a fourth straight underestimate, but a downward revision to January payrolls provided some offset. The downward revision to January was only the second one in the last 12 months, along with June 2014. As a result, there is a still a greater risk of an upward revision to the February data than for a downward revision.

PERSONAL INCOME AND PCE FOR FEBRUARY, MONDAY, MARCH 30 AT 8:30 A.M. ET

Personal income is expected to grow 0.3% in February, as payrolls rose 295,000, hourly earnings were up 0.1%, and the average workweek held steady. Nominal PCE is seen increasing by 0.3% on a 0.6% decline in retail sales. Excluding vehicles, retail sales were down 0.1% and were down 0.2% also excluding a rebound in the volatile gasoline component. The core PCE price index is seen gaining 0.1% after a 0.1% rise in January.

MNI CHICAGO REPORT FOR MARCH, TUESDAY, MARCH 31 AT 9:45 A.M. ET

The MNI Chicago report's business barometer is expected to increase to a reading of 52.8 in March after plunging to 45.8 in February. Other regional data already released suggest a slowdown in the pace of growth.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FOR MARCH, TUESDAY, MARCH 31 AT 10:00 A.M. ET

The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence is forecast to fall slightly to 95.5 in March after retracing in February to 96.4 from January's seven-year high. While gasoline price rebounded in some place, they remain extremely low, a positive for confidence.

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING FOR FEBRUARY, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1 AT 10:00 A.M. ET

Construction spending is expected to gain 0.1% in February following January's decline. Housing starts plunged 17.0% in February due to weather, suggesting a pullback in private residential construction after gains in the previous two months.

ISM MANUFACTURING INDEX FOR MARCH, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, AT 10:00 A.M. ET

The ISM manufacturing index is expected to fall to a reading of 52.3 in March after a fourth straight decline in February. Regional conditions were moderately, based on the already released data.

Over the last 20 years, analysts have overestimated manufacturing ISM in March eight times, with an average miss of 1.51. There were 12 underestimates by a slightly smaller 1.39 average. The overall absolute average miss was 1.44, larger than 1.37 in March. When sign is considered, the average miss was -0.23 due to the larger number of underestimates. Looking at just the last 10 years, when there was an even split of fiver overestimates and five underestimates, the absolute average miss was 1.23, smaller than the 1.41 average in March.

WEEKLY JOBLESS CLAIMS FOR MARCH 28 WEEK, THURSDAY, APRIL 2 AT 8:30 A.M. ET

The level of initial jobless claims is expected to climb by 3,000 to 285,000 in the March 28 week after a 9,000 drop in the previous week. The four-week moving average fell by 7,750 to 297,000 in the March 21 week after posting 304,750 in the March 14 week. The February 28 week’s 325,000 level will roll off the four-week average calculation as the current week's is added, which would result in a drop of 10,000 in the moving average if the MNI forecast is realized, all else being equal.

Seasonal adjustment factors expect unadjusted claims to post a modest rise in the March 28 week after a 4,371 drop in the previous week. In the comparable week a year ago, unadjusted claim rose by 20,790. Seasonal factors had expected only a modest rise, so claims rose by 22,000 that week.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE FOR FEBRUARY, THURSDAY, APRIL 2, AT 8:30 A.M. ET

The international trade gap is expected to fall to $41.0 billion in February following a sharp movements in the previous two month. Boeing reported a slight rise in aircraft deliveries to foreign buyers while manufacturing industrial production was down slightly and flat excluding motor vehicles, suggesting that exports were still soft after declines in the previous two months. At the same time, import prices rose 0.4%, but were down 0.4% excluding a sharp rebound in the price of imported petroleum products.

FACTORY ORDERS FOR FEBRUARY, THURSDAY, APRIL 2 AT 10:00 A.M. ET

Factory orders are expected to hold steady in February, as durable goods orders were already reported down 1.4% and nondurable goods orders are forecast to increase.

 

MNI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Börse Group.

This article is from Market News International (MNI) and is being posted with MNI’s permission. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and/or MNI and IB is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the article. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

 

2015-03-27 16:24:12

Posted by
Andrew Wilkinson
Chief Market Analyst
Interactive Brokers
Contributor

Options

Altera surges on INTC bid story

Altera (Ticker: ALTR) doesn’t have a ton of open interest in its options – just 106,000 contracts at last count. However, a late-Friday breaking news story suggesting Intel would make its largest takeout to date with an acquisition of Altera, left some call buyers sitting pretty. Calls with a 36.0 strike in the April expiration saw volume of around 3,158 contracts as the story broke, where speculators paid no higher than 35-cents per contract. Open interest at the April 36.0 strike was a meager 499 contracts as of Thursday’s close. All 36.0 strike calls in play today traded at 3:32:38 pm ET, with the exception of around 200 lots that traded this morning and earlier in the afternoon for 25- to 35-cents. With shares in Altera jumping from $34.58 to $43.65 today, those calls have moved in-to-the-money and briefly traded at $4.00 per contract. Heading into the close the call options were bid $7.60 with the best offer at $9.30, without trading any further. An approximate $110,000 outlay to purchase 3,158 of the 36.0 strike calls at 35-cents soared to a value of roughly $2.5 million in a matter of minutes given the closing bid of the day of $8.10 per contract. Implied volatility in the name surged by 135% to 60% during hectic afternoon trading for the underlying.

Chart – Implied volatility surges on Intel news

2015-03-27 15:45:37

Posted by
Barron's

Contributor

Options

Biotech Bubble? Traders Betting It's About to Burst

Investors have been unusually aggressive in buying options that will pay off if the biotech index tanks.

 

Trade aggressively and carry a big stick.

That’s the approach some investors are taking in the hot biotechnology sector. They are using options to reduce the risk of owning a hot sector, even as some investors worry that biotechnology stock prices are at, or approaching, bubble levels.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index is up about 240% since the beginning of 2012, compared to an 82% gain for the Nasdaq-100 Technology Index.

Hence, investors are buying puts that would increase in value if the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology exchange-traded fund (ticker: IBB), recently trading around $339, tanks.

Over the past 10 trading sessions, investors have aggressively bought defensive puts to lock in gains and profit from declines. The most actively traded contracts included April $340 puts, April $355 puts, April $350 puts, April $330 puts, and June $360 puts.

Puts increase in value when stock prices decline. The put trading shows investors are turning cautious as some investors publicly express concerns that the biotechnology sector has risen too far, too fast.

Overall trading patterns show a wall of worry exists in the sector. The 10 most widely held IBB contracts are defensive puts. This indicates extreme pessimism. The usual options heat map includes a mix of puts and calls. Investors rarely agree, and trading patterns reflect that differing opinion. Yet, IBB’s options heat map is entirely dominated by bearish puts. The prognosis, as indicated by strike prices and expirations, is not rosy.

Investors have largely built positions that would increase in value if IBB falls as low as $240 by April. Hedging patterns show this concern extends into June, and even into January.

With IBB at $337, investors can hedge the biotechnology sector, or wager on its continued decline, by buying the September $330 put for $23.30, and selling the September $305 put for $12.40. The put spread — buying a put with a higher strike price and selling another with a lower strike price but identical expiration — positions investors to profit if IBB declines.

The spread costs $10.90. The maximum profit is $25 if IBB is at $305 at expiration.

 

Get investing analysis that moves stocks and markets—Subscribe to Barron’s for just $1 a week.

This article is from Barron’s and is being posted with Barron’s permission. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and/or Barron’s and IB is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the article. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

2015-03-27 14:32:39

Posted by
Steven Levine
Fixed Income Reporter
MNI News
Contributor

Fixed Income

MNI's U.S. Risk-O-Meter

Investment-grade debt sales this past week continued at a moderate pace from the previous week. However, banks and other financial institutions dominated issuance, including supply from Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Turkey’s Akbank T.A.S., and The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Credit quality was more evenly distributed across ‘AAA’, ‘A’ and ‘BBB”-rated categories compared to the prior week, and average deal size rose to more than $1.05 billion from around $688.21 million, due in part to large-sized offerings from KfW, UBS and Credit Suisse. Also, the amount of U.S. based issuers plunged 16% week-over-week as firms begin to contend with earnings season blackouts. 

 

Keep pace with the latest corporate news with MNI's US Risk-O-Meter, a weekly recap of credit risk appetite! For more information and a full version of the US Risk-O-Meter, email Steven Levine. Click here for more About MNI.

 

This article is from Market News International (MNI) and is being posted with MNI’s permission. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and/or MNI and IB is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the article. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

2015-03-27 13:12:55

Posted by
John Carter
President
Simpler Stocks
Contributor

Stocks

Simpler Stocks: Thursday Movers

Stocks lost ground for the fourth straight session on Thursday, as the S&P 500 index slipped 20 bps for the day. Nonetheless, equities finished the day off of intra-session lows. That relatively quiet decline was also a brief respite from recent profit taking, especially in the biotech arena. Oil futures were up nearly 5% on the day. 

Cree Inc. (Ticker: CREE)

The lighting company has had a rough go of it lately, given disappointing results, and margin pressure alongside a retail LED rollout. The 31% earnings growth consensus expected through the next fiscal year (ends June 2016) should get notice, especially measured against the 24x forward ratio. On a cash-adjusted basis, that number drops to 19x. The short interest is roughly 19% of the float, indicating a squeeze could come alongside any new margin traction or retail accounts.

Polycom Inc. (Ticker: PLCM)

Shares in Polycom were up 1% on an otherwise flat day, and last week’s news that the company is expanding its relationship with MSFT may draw greater investor scrutiny. Operating margins are growing and are now at the 6% level, while EV/EBITDA is a decent 8x. 

Diplomat Pharmacy Inc. (Ticker: DPLO)

After pricing an offering at $29.00 a share, DPLO shares soared 12% Thursday to more than $34.00, and could be worth watching for a pullback. Pharma services will remain much in demand given demographics here in the US. Sales growth is solidly in double digits, and the P/S ratio is still 0.7x even with this week’s jump.     

Pegasystems Inc. (Ticker: PEGA)

Key earnings and growth initiatives may come from the targeting of smaller enterprises for Pegasystems, a business practice software vendor.  The company also notched15% growth in cloud-based service backlog, and PEGA’s PEG ratio is still below 1x a despite a post-earnings recovery in its share price.

Red Hat Inc. (Ticker: RHT)

Nearly half a dozen price target increases for Red Hat brought shares to a new high following the release of earnings. Movement beyond the core Linux business helped boost results, as analysts and investors cheered what is becoming a multifaceted business. The stock may be expensive on many metrics, but shares should get a boost on virtualization and other businesses.

Home Depot Inc. (Ticker: HD)

Home Depot said in an SEC filing that it reached an agreement with a third party to buy back as much as $850 million in stock. Housing starts data, showing February down 17% from a year ago, may be depressed artificially by weather. Existing home sales were up 3%, and that indicates that home improvement activity should pick up near term. 

 

About the author: John Carter has been a full time trader for 15 years, serving over 100,000 subscribers in over 100 countries.  For more analysis on high growth stocks visit www.SimplerStocks.com.

 

This article is from Simpler Stocks and is being posted with Simpler Stocks’ permission. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and/or Simpler Stocks and IB is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the article. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

2015-03-27 12:31:25

Posted by
Waverly Advisors, LLC
Technical/Quantitative Market Research
Contributor

Technical Analysis

Waverly Advisors Summary Stats

%Chg: percent change from the previous day’s close

SigmaSpike: the day’s change expressed as a standard deviation of the last 20 trading days. Values inside +/- 1.0σ are generally insignificant, +/- 2.5σ are large (for the volatility of the particularly instrument), and +/-4.0σ are very large.

C/DayRng: the current price as the pipe “|” within the day’s range. Can easily see at a glance if trading near high or low of the day. The day’s open is “:”. You can read more about this indicator in my book.

For sectors: analysis is done using the State Street Sector SPDRs (XLE, XLF, etc.) %Chg is the day’s change for the SPDR, and Excess is the Excess Return for the day (the SPDR’s return – the S&P 500 return).

 

For more information about Waverly Advisors please click here.

2015-03-27 12:29:54

Posted by
Waverly Advisors, LLC
Technical/Quantitative Market Research
Contributor

Technical Analysis

Waverly Advisors Update: Largest Advances / Declines

The individual stock tables are simply ticker lists showing the largest values for the following criteria:

SigmaSpike: Largest volatility-adjusted moves. (Note that this measure, though we might call it a “standard deviation spike”, does not assume that anything is normally distributed. You’ll see a handful of +/-4.0σ moves on many days, and +/- 10σ do happen.)

GapOpen: The stock’s opening gap, expressed as a SigmaSpike.

FromOpen: Stocks often reveal stronger trending character by their relationship to their opening print, rather than to the previous day’s close. This screen evaluates the move off the open as a SigmaSpike.
 

For more information about Waverly Advisors please click here.

2015-03-27 12:27:41

Posted by
Waverly Advisors, LLC
Technical/Quantitative Market Research
Contributor

Technical Analysis

Waverly Advisors Afternoon Update

Largest Rel Volume: Stocks with the largest multiple of their 20 day average volume. Note that the “average” value for this number will change as the trading day progresses, but the relative position of a stock within this list should show some persistence. These are likely stocks in the news, or stocks experiencing a sharp flow of new information.

Largest Rel Ranges: First, we express each stock’s daily range as a % of the 20 day average range, and then choose the 10 with the largest values of that measure. These are the stocks with the largest daily ranges, relative to their own typical daily ranges.

Gap Analysis shows stocks with open gaps (today’s high < yesterday’s low or today’s low > yesterday’s high) remaining.

Stocks with Open Gaps (for the Day): ALB, ASHR, ATW, BBD, BBL, BHP, BMRN, CCL, CNX, CONN, CVA, CVE, DE, DOW, FCX, FLR, GLOG, GPOR, HES, INFN, JOY, LH, MRO, MUR, NCLH, NUE, OHI, PANW, PBR, PBR.A, PCAR, RCL, RDC, RDS.A, RDS.B, RIG, RIO, SCCO, SDRL, SNE, SWKS, TCK, TSLA, TSM, UAL, WFT, XOM, YHOO

 

For more information about Waverly Advisors please click here.

2015-03-27 11:56:25

Posted by
Barron's

Contributor

Options

Cheap Call Options Are a Better Buy Than Stocks

An options quirk lets bulls averse to paying high share prices sell pricey puts to buy cheap calls.

 

Investors nervous about paying up for expensive equities now have an arguably superior alternative: cheap call options.

With calls on the Standard & Poor’s 500 trading near the lowest levels in almost five years, it is possible to buy the large-capitalization benchmark index cost relatively inexpensively even as the equity market trades at historically high prices.

Moreover, nervousness about the major indexes’ hovering near record levels simultaneously has boosted the price of put options. That has set up an unusual opportunity in the options market for bulls who might be averse to paying up for elevated stocks.

By selling one S&P 500 put with a three-month expiration and a strike price 10% below the current market, it is possible to buy 11 calls with similar specifications, Credit Suisse is telling clients.

This opportunity exists because of a quirk in the implied-volatility chain that connects the stock and options market.

As the stock market has edged higher, options pricing models have been mathematically forced to price call implied volatility—the critical part of options prices—at unusually low levels.

This happens because realized volatility has consistently declined as stocks advanced. Since realized volatility, which reflects the past, largely determines implied volatility, which reflects expectations about the future, pricing models conclude the future will be like the past.

Hence, call options SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ticker: SPY) that expire in 90 days are near the lowest level of the past five years, notes Susquehanna Financial strategist Chris Jacobson. Conversely, puts, which increase in value if stocks decline, are largely expensive because stock prices are high and there is natural demand to hedge stocks.

The implied volatility of options on the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM), the ETF that tracks the small-capitalization benchmark, that expire in one month is at the lowest level in 10 years. Investors who want to hedge U.S. stocks should buy IWM puts, Credit Suisse says, because they are much cheaper than SPY puts.

Into the great divide between puts and calls, notable trading action is being predicated on expectations of stocks’ rising, not falling. Investors are buying large blocks of inexpensive SPY calls as surrogates for stocks that are expensive by many measures.

Recent purchases include some 50,0000 April $218 calls, 20,000 March quarterly $215 calls and 110,000 June $230 calls. Another investor decided to readjust a position in anticipation the stock market surges into April. He closed out a long position of 17,000 April $211 calls that expire April 2 and bought 39,000 April $215 calls.

With SPY now around $208.50, trading patterns in calls on the ETF imply some investors think the stock market will surge into June. The expirations cover some critical events, including the end of the first quarter and associated “window dressing” of portfolios and then earnings reporting season starting next month.

Portfolio managers who are lagging the market—which lately seem to take in the lion’s share of the group—often buy hot stocks at quarter’s end. This could boost prices as institutional investors dump misplaced bets in order to buy hot stocks so clients do not wonder why they missed key market trends.

A more fundamental reason likely explains the recent interest in upside SPY calls: Options prices have cheapened while stocks are largely expensive.

If you are a speculator, SPY calls are inexpensive wagers on a brighter tomorrow. Current conditions enable investors to buy low in one market and sell high in another. The details are more complicated than that hoary maxim but this much is true: Options volatility changes faster than stock prices.

You can think of that as the mutatis mutandis rule of change, which is to say that which needs to be changed will be changed. The trick is to anticipate the change rather than to react after the fact.

 

Get investing analysis that moves stocks and markets—Subscribe to Barron’s for just $1 a week.

This article is from Barron’s and is being posted with Barron’s permission. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and/or Barron’s and IB is not endorsing or recommending any investment or trading discussed in the article. This material is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security. To the extent that this material discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends or other broad based economic or political conditions, it should not be construed as research or investment advice. To the extent that it includes references to specific securities, commodities, currencies, or other instruments, those references do not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell or hold such security. This material does not and is not intended to take into account the particular financial conditions, investment objectives or requirements of individual customers. Before acting on this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.

2015-03-27 09:55:29

Posted by
Andrew Wilkinson
Chief Market Analyst
Interactive Brokers
Contributor

Macro

Weaker growth hurts US corporate profits

Stronger outlays on healthcare helped boost consumer spending, while lower stockpiling than previously recorded forced a downward revision to the pace of growth. The US economy expanded at a 2.2% annualized pace in the final quarter of 2014, adding to a gentle stream of softer data. However, the third revision to the report failed to radically change the picture or the outlook for economic prospects. The recent strength of the labor market appears set to maintain a healthy attitude among consumers, where spending habits account for more than two-thirds of gross domestic product. Despite a 1.4% quarter-over-quarter dip in corporate profits, US corporations continued to drive a healthy bottom-line. The dip does, however, suggest some impact on net income from a stronger dollar. At the end of 2014, profits were lower for the full year for the first time since 2008.

Chart – Quarterly corporate profits fell

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Any trading symbols displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray recommendations.

The material (including articles and commentary) provided on IB Traders' Insight is offered for informational purposes only. The posted material is NOT a recommendation by Interactive Brokers (IB) that you or your clients should contract for the services of or invest with any of the independent advisors or hedge funds or others who may post on IB Traders' Insight or invest with any advisors or hedge funds. The advisors, hedge funds and other analysts who may post on IB Traders' Insight are independent of IB and IB does not make any representations or warranties concerning the past or future performance of these advisors, hedge funds and others or the accuracy of the information they provide. Interactive Brokers does not conduct a "suitability review" to make sure the trading of any advisor or hedge fund or other party is suitable for you.

Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in the material posted are not suitable for all investors. The material posted does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before making any investment or trade, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Any information posted by employees of IB or an affiliated company is based upon information that is believed to be reliable. However, neither IB nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy. IB does not make any representations or warranties concerning the past or future performance of any financial instrument. By posting material on IB Traders' Insight, IB is not representing that any particular financial instrument or trading strategy is appropriate for you.

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