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Gordon T Long

RESEARCH ANALYTICS for the GLOBAL MACRO

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SULTANS OF SWAP: Explaining $605 Trillion in Derivatives!

 

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EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes to an End!

The Dog Ate my Report Card

 

Both came to an end at the same time: the administration’s policy to Extend & Pretend has run out of time as has the patience of the US electorate with the government’s Keynesian economic policy responses. Desperate last gasp attempts are to be fully expected, but any chance of success is rapidly diminishing.

Before we can identify what needs to be done, what the administration is likely to do and how we can preserve and protect our wealth through it, we need to first determine where we are going wrong. Surprisingly, no one has assessed the results of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) which was this administration’s cornerstone program to place the US back on the post financial crisis road to recovery.

We can safely conclude either:

1-    The administration completely under estimated the extent of the economic crisis, even though we were well into it when the ARRA was introduced.

2-    The administration was unable to secure the actually required stimulus amount which was likely 4-5 times that approved.

3-    The administration failed to implement the program in a timely manner.

4-    The administration failed to diagnose the problem correctly and that in fact it is a structural problem versus a cyclical and liquidity problem, as they still insist it to be.

I personally believe it is all four of the above.

READ MORE

 

 

SULTANS OF SWAP: BP Potentially More Devastating then Lehman!

 

As horrific as the gulf environmental catastrophe is, an even more intractable and cataclysmic disaster may be looming. The yet unknowable costs associated with clean-up, litigation and compensation damages due to arguably the world’s worst environmental tragedy, may be in the process of triggering a credit event by British Petroleum (BP) that will be equally devastating to global over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. The potential contagion may eventually show that Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns were simply early warning signals of the devastation lurking and continuing to grow unchecked in the $615T OTC Derivatives market.

 

What is yet unknowable is what the reality is of BP’s off-balance sheet obligations and leverage positions. How many Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) is it operating? Remember, during the Enron debacle Andrew Fastow, the Enron CFO, asserted in testimony nearly 10 years ago that GE had 2500 such entities already in existence. BP has even more physical assets than Enron and GE. Furthermore, no one knows the true size of BP’s OTC derivative contracts such as Interest Rate Swaps and Currency Swaps. Only the major international banks have visibility to what the collateral obligations associated with these instruments are, their credit trigger events and who the counter parties are. They are obviously not talking, but as I will explain, they are aggressively repositioning trillions of dollars in global currency, swap, derivative, options, debt and equity portfolios.

 

READ MORE


READER ROADMAP -  2010 TIPPING POINTS aid to positioning COMMENTARY

 

 

 

1

         

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE

TODAY'S TIPPING POINTS UPDATE

Last Update: 07/12/2010 04:53 AM

RED ALERT

AMBER ALERT

ACTIVITY

MONITOR

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POSTS:   FRIDAY 07-09-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

Legal noose tightens on Europe's monetary union Pritchard

EMU break-up risks global deflation shock that would dwarf Lehman collapse, warns ING Tele

GREECE

Threat to Greek bank securitisation agreements  FT

 

ITALY

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

Spanish haircuts  FT

Spain to allow cajas to sell 50% of equity  FT

 

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

Germans Deaf to U.S. `Nonsense' as Exports Power Growth BL

 

UK

 

JAPAN

Japan's Machinery Orders Slump 9.1%, Most Since 2008 BL

Shutters Come Down on Japan's Provinces in Risk for Deficit  BL

In the block by Mika Nasu’s clothing shop on the main street of Atami, a resort town south of Tokyo, 13 of 19 stores are shuttered, a sign Japan’s economic revival has yet to reach the provinces.

Japan Data Show Fragile Economy   WSJ

 

 

CHINA

China rules out ‘nuclear option’ on T-bills  FT

China buys Japanese bonds at record pace China Daily

Chinese Firms Using 'Back Door' to US Exchanges CNBC

 

USA

IMF warns of contagion threat to US  FT
IMF calls for deficit cuts in US AP
New retail data: Luxury shoppers pull back in June AP
The 3.9 percent decline in luxury spending from a year earlier is particularly worrisome because the well-heeled account for almost 40 percent of overall consumer spending


EU BANKING CRISIS

 

ECB Urges Bank Recapitalizations Merk

 

Europe: The State of the Banking System Stratfor

 

ECB Signals End to Aid Program  WSJ

The ECB's Trichet said strains in European financial markets are easing, suggesting the central bank will continue paring its government bond purchase program.

 

 

STRESS TESTS

Stress tests must be less mysterious  FT

European bank regulators should be more open with investors

Lenders braced for stress test results  FT

Stress guidance  FT

EU stress tests   FT

Tests risk adding to headache  FT

 

Europe Stress Tests May Underestimate Probable Losses BL

EU 'Stress' Tests Shrouded in Secrecy  WSJ

 

 

 

BOND BUBBLEBOND BUBBLE

 

The Rising Threat of Deflation AEI (Makin)
By later this year, persistent excess capacity will probably create actual deflation in the United States and Europe

Mind the gap: why the bond markets are signalling a depression Warner

 

 

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT


U.S. state and local finances in big double-dip risk Hutchinson

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

 

HUNGARYY

 

BANKING CRISIS III

 

Consumer borrowing down sharply in May AP FED

 

The Ugly Picture Of Consumer Credit   BI

The numbers came out earlier in the day, but here's a nice look at the shrinkage in consumer credit, courtesy of Calculated Risk.

credit

 

Consumer Credit Plunges In May, April Revised Much Lower, As Government Only Marginal Lender For Two Months In A Row  ZH
The latest consumer credit number continues the decline we have seen in recent months, plunging from $2424.4 billion in April to $2415.3 billion in May, a $9.1 billion decline, or 4.5% annualized, on consensus of $2.3 billion. Yet the biggest stunner was the April revision which was whacked from +$1 billion to a revised -$14.9 billion! In other words, there has been a $24 billion decline in consumer credit in the past two months. The biggest hit was, as usual, experienced by revolving credit accounts, which fell by a 10.5 annualized rate to $830.8 billion, from $838.2 billion in April, and just north of $910 billion a year earlier. The bottom line is that consumers continue to retrench as the deflationary wave gets ever bigger. And the only lender, for the second month, running, is guess who... Yet stocks, which confirm again they are now completely decoupled from facts, statistics, or reality in general, jump on this very negative development.

 

Consumer Credit Drops Whopping $24 Billion in 2 Months  Financial Sense
Consumer credit has fallen an unprecedented 7 consecutive quarters. Moreover, credit is poised to plunge further as consumer spending plans are falling through the floor.

 

Fed weighs steps to offset slowdown in economic recovery WP Baker
Bullard: “I think there's plenty more we could do if we had to."
Rosengren: “I think we do have a variety of tools available...”

 

DODD FRANK ACT

Flawed Financial Bill Contains Huge Surprise BL

RATING AGENCIESRATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

Bulk Condo Sales Reveal A Gut-Wrenching Property Price Collapse  BI

 

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

Cutting through the fog to clearly understand the housing crisis Fabius Maximus

Luxury Vacation-Home Sales in U.S. Fade  Along With Strength of Recovery BL
Beware Subprime Mark II: Asset Manager

 

Canada’s Housing Bubble About To Pop? Trumpet

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS



CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 


GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

BBP - British Petroleum

 

Taleb on BP oil spill

My expl of BP spill in The Black Swan II : “don’t give the manager of a nuclear plant an incentive bonus based on cost savings”.

I spoke with Nassim and asked him to expound upon his tweet. Here is what Nassim wrote me:

Because security analysts and investment “experts” don’t understand robustness and redundancy, managers have an incentive to hide risks of blowups, Black Swan exposures, by cutting corners they get better numbers and appear cosmetically to be profitable while sitting on dynamite. This is not too different from banks stashing their portfolios with more and more hidden risks. So this condition of increased fragility over time comes from the incentive system and the bogus risk measures and empirically invalid business school techniques used by analysts. A manager collects annual bonuses, and does not pay back his past compensation in the event of a blowup. There is a mismatch between the bonus frequency and the time to eventual blowup.

The tragedy is that, in this case, as with banks, there are externalities and shareholders are not the ones footing the bill, but society at large

Judges Reject Drilling Ban Request  WSJ

 

BP Stages a Comeback in Credit Markets  BL

BP Plc is staging a comeback in credit markets as investors, who three weeks ago priced in more than 40 percent odds the energy company would be forced into bankruptcy, speculate that mounting costs from the biggest oil spill in U.S. history will be contained.

Abandoned oil wells make Gulf of Mexico 'environmental minefield' AP

 

Samples Confirm Corexit Ingredients In Gulf Spill Area Far Above Toxic Concentrations  ZH

Yet another data point on why the Obama administration and BP are both so concerned about media access to spill areas comes courtesy of this youtube video by jamescfox. In his own words: "Oil and water samples were taken from both the Shores of Grand Isle and from 20 miles out. The preliminary analysis was done at an academic analytical chemistry laboratory. Looking for the likely pollutants from the deep water Horizon Oil spill. It was focused on the detection of benzene and propylene glycol. Benzene and other highly toxic contaminants were very low however the concentration of propylene glycol was between 360 and 440 parts per million. Just 25 parts per million is know to kill most fish and propylene glycol is just one of many ingredients found in Corexit. In short, the Gulf is being poisoned by BP's usage of the dispersants even after the EPA asked them to stop back in May. We are willing to provide ANY respected/known laboratory these samples or provide them with more. This is very serious to all people and marine life in and around the Gulf."
 


 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVEp style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0">  

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

 

MARKET WARNINGS

U.S. Crash Looms Without Roadmap Directions Baum

 

 

Stocks Surge In Week When Lipper Reports $11.6 Billion In Equity Fund Outflows ???? ZH

 
Today's Lipper/AMG fund flow data confirmed the ICI data disclosed earlier: in the week ended July 7, in which stocks have rallied by who knows how many percent - nobody without Gallium Arsenide logic gates really keeps track of the market anymore, equities saw outflows of $11.6 billion. We'll repeat it because it bears repeating: stocks have surged as mutual funds have seen one of their biggest weekly outflows in 2010.

 

Detached From Reality Market Hits Escape Velocity On No Volume Whatsoever  ZH

The latest market trampoline action on horrendous consumer credit news should be sufficient to get every last sane person out of this illegal, yet fully government endorsed, backdoor gambling operation, or at least those that are stupid enough not to be trading with other people's money. Today marks the most recent long white candlestick on almost record low volume for a ramp day. Note the straight line higher immediately following the consumer credit collapse and the leak that QE2 is coming any minute. Our only question is how bad is the news coming this weekend for the primary dealers to need to surge the market so high on nothing. Well, that, and also we wonder if after the circus rang the closing bell on the Nasdaq two days ago, whether today the Sicilian mafia will be at the NYSE close.

 

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

Paper Gold vs the Dollar? Interview with James Rickards IRA

Some BIStoric gold swaps

 

By David Galland Via Casey's Daily Dispatch via ZH
The good folks over at numismaster.com report that, starting on January 1st in 2012, U.S. federal law will require coin and bullion dealers to report to the Internal Revenue Service all gold and silver coin purchases and sales greater than $600. The report is written by David L. Ganz and is headlined "$600 Sale? Get Ready for Tax Form." Apparently this little jewel was an add-on to the national health care legislation. But there’s a new bill being introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren (H.R. 5141), which has gathered over 80 members of Congress as co-sponsors to repeal this section... so we'll see how that turns out. According to the author of the article Ed references, the rationale for the new regulations is that the taxocrats believe that people conducting off-book trading in precious metals are chiseling them out of $17 billion in lost revenue annually. The net result, however, will be that the government will soon know who’s got the gold. We reached out to another well-informed source who confirmed that the new regs would apply to all businesses. For example, under the new regime a plumber who does work for you in excess of the $600 threshold would be required to file a 1099 report. The implications of this move transcend just the precious metals. Rather, this is a deliberate step in the direction of implementing a VAT – once the government has everyone reporting essentially every transaction, taking the next step is a snap.

VIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

INTERESTING ARTICLES - GENERAL

Taming Finance in an Age of Austerity Stiglitz

U.S. Plans Cyber Shield 'Perfect Citizen'  WSJ

 

Must Read Reflections From GMO's Edward Chancellor On The Sovereign Debt Crisis  ZH
GMO's Edward Chancellor has written what is arguably the coup de grace of papers analyzing the dynamics of soveriegn default, together with the conditions required to succumb to this terminal condition, and is the functional equivalent of months of research and combing through all the recent literature on the topic. By initially highlighting the reasons for government default, which include i) a reversal of capital flows, ii) unwise lending, iii) excessive foreign debts, iv) a poor credit history, v) unproductive lending, vi) rollover risk, vii) weak revenues, and viii) rising interest rates, Chancellor presents the frame of reference in which every potential sovereign default situation should be analyzed. Chancellor also highlights several examples where a sovereign default was all but assured (Britain post the Napoleonic wars, Sweden in the 1990s), analyzes the opportunity cost of hyperinflating instead of pursuing default (when inflation is more convenient, when it resolves political conflicts, when avoiding inflation is a low priority, and when there has been a public credit flameout), and makes an exhaustive analysis using historical parallels of today's sovereign debt crisis. He summarizes the different view of the current sovereign fiasco as follows: i) this time is (really) different, ii) we are not all Greek, iii) posits that the US is not on the verge of a default, iv) that inflation is more likely than default. He concludes by analyzing potential tipping points, which in a herd mentality market such as ours, are all that matters, and suggests that Japan is precisely on the verge of such a tipping point. Yet his two most critical conclusions, in our opinion, are the following: "public finance is a ponzi scheme" and, for all those who are fans of Rosie's thesis that bonds are the go to investment currently, "Current yields on government bonds in most advanced economist are at very low levels. Under only one condition - that the world follows Japan's experience of prolonged deflation - do they offer any chance of a reasonable return. But this is not the only possible future. For other outcomes, long-dated government bonds offer a limited upside with a potentially uncapped downside. As investors, such asymmetric pay-off profiles don't appeal to us." Must read for everyone who wants to have an intelligent opinion on the matter.

 
Reflections on the Sovereign Debt Crisis  

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEKQUOTE OF THE WEEK

Rick Santelli Uncut (And GE Turbofan Commercial Free)  Zero Hedge

Having rapidly become the only person worth listening to on CNBC, Rick Santelli's insights on the economy are now far more valuable than any other guest's on the Jeff Immelt propaganda station. Which is why we were very happy to find that Eric King's latest interview was with none other than Mr. Santelli. The topics discussed are numerous, varied and and very critical to our economy, covering such concepts as deflation, deficit spending, bailouts, government spending multipliers, Fed transparency, spending cuts, austerity, the folly of Keynesianism, strategic defaults, direct bidders and treasury auctions, and lastly, tea party dynamics, making this a must hear interview for anyone still on either side of the economic fence, and who enjoys listening to Rick for longer than the 45 second segments the CNBC producers will allow.

  • Deflation: "deflation is the most disingenuous argument especially in the current conditions. [When the bubble process ends prices have to come down to reality] the process really is deleveraging, but what happens when prices go down you get the economists call it deflation. Deflation is always the biggest bogeyman in a central banker's closet. It also allows them to use the only tool in their toolbox, which is to spend money, and usually money they haven't collected yet, so it's usually a deficit form of spending. Think about what economists are trying to do: we go up too high in leverage, prices are too high, we try to correct that process, it's called deflation, and they try to put money in to prop it up at an artificial price-deleveraging is the word we should stick to"
  • Deficit spending: "the only thing that works is across the board tax cuts because it fuels the type of small business that does the bulk of the hiring"
  • Bailouts: "the only regulation that will ever work is failure. If you don't allow failure what you end up with is regulators trying to serve when it's time to take punch bowls away. Regulators never go against the grain. Back in 03-04 many in the fixed income markets saw it coming but nobody wants to pull that punch bowl away. Businesses should fail, that's the way the system was designed"
  • The Multiplier of Government spending: "Larry Summers on many occasions has said that the multiplier of government spending is greater than 1. If that was true, we'd never have another recession ever again, and I would be advocating to spend a trillion dollars every hour. It would be like a perpetual motion machine and all physicists know those are impossible. Every dollar the government spends comes from somebody's pocket"
  • Fed Transparency: "It seems to me we are making some progress on the financial audit. I absolutely agree that on all of the issues that take taxpayers' money and end up being distributed or put on the balance sheet and in any way used by the Fed, there should be an audit that should be fully transparent. I am worried about the financial accounting"
  • On Spending Cuts: "Listeners, this is going to be the most important thing I am going to say: we need to maintain the focus on spending, the politicians in my lifetime always spend. If we end up spending way more than we can take in, in essence the deficit panel becomes a tax panel. We must stop spending before we talk about VAT taxes or taxing Americans more, we need to get spending under control. The retings of congress are the lowest they have been in history." 
  • On Austerity: "Nobody wants that. But there is a silver lining - the UK have conditions in their economy worse than the US, but they came up with an austerity plan, and we see that their currency has been rewarded. The GBP has risen about 10% in a very short period of time."
  • On Keynesianism: "The Keynesians are both right and wrong. I don't think Keynes advocated the kind of helicopter-Ben spending  that many say he promoted. He promoted the kind of stimulus that created jobs, that's more the medicine for a cyclical downturn, we have a structural issue because of the bubble credit scenario."
  • On the ECB's Debt Monetization: "I think that the ECB has a huge issue and they are behind the ball. They don't have a constitution in the eurozone, they have cultural and monetary cultural issues to deal with. I think that buying securities or monetizing or QE is always a bad idea. Once there is a subsidy in the marketplace, it becomes the normal pricing mechanism. For the Fed or the ECB to unload these securities, becomes a destabilizing force and in the long run does more harm than good."
  • On Strategic Defaults: "I have feelings on this that go both ways. I think morally I would have an issue doing that, but people who did the mortgage, or the second mortgage, or took a HELOC to pay for cars, pay for the vacations, I think it is reprehensible that we end up reshuffling wealth to pay some of that off. But I think the dynamic is from the government side - I think contracts between banks and homeowners - if it's unsecured, it's unsecured, I don't have an issue with that."
  • On Direct Bidders being a proxy for the Fed (a much debated topic on Zero Hedge) and Treasury Auctions in general: "That's the best question anyone has asked me in a long time. I think there is a recycling quid pro quo going on: the Fed is making banking obsolete because a lot of the programs that they have is to take the cheap end of the curve and invest it in Treasuries. Well the Treasury needs as many buyers as it can get. I think the financial institutions are recycling easy money that should be going into John Q Public's pocket, to those that deserve credit, all this money is ending up in the forms of purchases of 10, 7, and 5-Year Notes, and I don't like that way that's working. That's why I think that raising rates would be a good thing. Why? Because it would take some of the easy ways the banks recycle the Fed's cheap money and put it back in the hands of the public and actually make banking a relationship between banks and Americans that need it whether it is for funding a mortgage or funding a small business."
  • And on Tea Party dynamics: "I think November 2 is going to be a watershed of Americans letting Washington know they're the boss."


ZZH - Zero Hedge, BI/strong> - Business Insider, WSJ - Wall Street Journal, BL - Bloomberg, FT - Financial Times

 

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Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, he recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

 

© Copyright 2010 Gordon T Long. The information herein was obtained from sources which Mr. Long believes reliable, but he does not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that Mr. Long may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Mr. Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from him.

 

         

TODAY'S NEWS

FRIDAY

07-09-10

JULY
S M T W T F S
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18
19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

ARCHIVAL

SOVEREIGN DEBT PIIGS

EU BANKING CRISIS
BOND BUBBLE

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
BANKING CRISIS II
RISK REVERSAL

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

CREDIT CONTRACTION II

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II
EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM
US FISCAL IMBALANCES
PENSION CRISIS
CHINA BUBBLE
CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT
INTEREST PAYMENTS
US PUBLIC POLICY MISCUES
JAPAN DEBT DEFLATION SPIRAL
US RESERVE CURRENCY.
GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE
SHRINKING REVENUE GROWTH RATE
FINANCE & INSURANCE WRITE-DOWNS
RETAIL SALES
CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES
US DOLLAR WEAKNESS
GLOBAL OUTPUT GAP
CONFIDENCE - SOCIAL UNREST
ENTITLEMENT CRISIS
IRAN NUCLEAR THREAT
OIL PRICE PRESSURES
FOOD PRICE PRESSURES
US STOCK MARKET VALUATIONS
PANDEMIC
US$ RESERVE CURRENCY
TERRORIST EVENT
NATURAL DISASTER

 

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Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, we recommend that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

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© Copyright 2010, Gordon T Long. The information herein was obtained from sources which the Gordon T Long. believes reliable, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that the Gordon T Long. or its principals may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Gordon T Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from us.