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Gordon T Long

RESEARCH ANALYTICS for the GLOBAL MACRO

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"SULTANS OF SWAP"

 

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Sultans of Swap: Smoking Guns!

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Sultans of Swap: The Sting!

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Sultans of Swap: The Get Away!

 

 

ALSO

SULTANS OF SWAP: Explaining $605 Trillion in Derivatives!

 

SULTANS OF SWAP: Fearing the Gearing!

 

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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: 07/18/2010 08:02 AM

RED ALERT

AMBER ALERT

ACTIVITY

MONITOR

Click to Enlarge

 

 

POSTS:   WEEKEND 07-17/18-10

 

 

GEO-POLITICAL TENSIONS - ISRAEL / KOREA / IRAN

 

IRAN

 

ISRAEL

 

KOREA 

 

SOVEREIGN DEBT & CREDIT CRISIS

 

GLOBAL LIQUIDITY

Its official, we are pumping again!

 
After allowing liquidity to subside forces in power have addressed the problem and world liquidity is flying towards new highs. There is:

- European QE involved,
- talks of additional stimulus in Japan,
- research stating that due to securitization Chinese loans in H1 2010 were 30% higher than officially acknowledged, and
- FOMC minutes indicating that the Federal Reserve's board is cosily discussing further securities purchase if warranted.

So while the tone was around the end of Q1 that of austerity, letting liquidity facilities expire, and withdrawing "exceptional" accomodation, it appears monetary policy doesn't match fiscal rhetoric .

 

 

GREECE

 

SPAIN / PORTUGAL

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

Crisis forces Berlusconi to cancel summer holiday  FT

 

UK

  

JAPAN

 

CHINA

 

USA

University Of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Plunges  ZH

The UMichigan consumer confidence index dropped from from 76, the best number since January 2008, to 66.5, the lowest since August 2009, on expectation of 74.5. The expectations component came in at 60.6 versus expectations of 68.5, the lowest since March 2009, while the conditions index showed a reading of 75.5 versus expectations of 84.0, lowest since November 2009. The 1 Year inflation expectation rose modestly from 2.8 to 2.9. Altogether another economic data disaster. 

 

ECRI Plunges At 9.8% Rate, Double Dip Recession Virtually Assured  ZH

The ECRI Leading Economic Index just dropped to a fresh reading of 120.6 (flat from a previously revised 121.5 as the Columbia profs scramble to create at least a neutral inflection point): this is now a -9.8 drop, and based on empirical evidence presented previously by David Rosenberg, and also confirming all the macro economic data seen in the past two months, virtually assures that the US economy is now fully in a double dip recession scenario."It is one thing to slip to or fractionally below the zero line, but a -3.5% reading has only sent off two head-fakes in the past, while accurately foreshadowing seven recessions — with a three month lag. Keep your eye on the -10 threshold, for at that level, the economy has gone into recession … only 100% of the time (42 years of data)." We are there.

Weekly Leading Index Almost A Lock For Double Dip Territory  BI

 

 

EU BANKING CRISIS

 

EURIBAR Going  Parabolic??

 

BOND BUBBLEBOND BUBBLE

 

Chinese Treasury Dump of US Bonds Brings Its Total Holdings To One Year Low
We are a rather surprised that this morning's stunning Treasury International Capital report has not gotten far more prominent attention. The reason: in it we read that in May 2010, China dumped $33 billion in Treasuries, bringing its total to the lowest since June 2009. Furthermore, Japan also offloaded $8.8 billion in bonds, as did the Oil Exporters. Yet total foreign Treasury holdings increased from $3,957 billion to $3,964 billion almost exclusively as a result of ongoing exponential UK accumulation.

It is time someone in the mainstream media asked just who is doing all this "UK-based" buying? It is not hedge funds, which operate out of Caribbean Banking Centers, and which saw an increase in holdings from $151.8 billion to $165.5 billion as risk went completely off in the month of May courtesy of the Flash Crash, Greece, and the general insolvency of Europe. It is also not China due to a diverging pattern in Bills accumulation versus disposition. Additionally, May saw a dramatic decline in total foreign purchases of total US assets, dropping from $110.3 billion to just $33 billion, with Corporate Bonds and Corporate Stocks seeing a rare monthly sell off ($9 billion and $432 million).

UK

Yet in what is (and continues to be) the most perverse observation, that proceeds without any questions from the mainstream media, the otherwise broke UK, once "bought: a stunning amount of Bonds, or just over $28 billion in the month of May, consisting of $27 billion in Bonds, and $1.3 billion in Bills. The "UK" accumulation patterns continues growing in an exponential pattern, and the country which owned "just" $180 billion in USTs in December, has doubled its holdings to $350 billion in less than half a year.

And here is the most imporbably chart we have seen in a long time:

This is not hedge fund accumulation, as Caribbean Banking Centers, traditionally the locus of HF accumulation saw a $14 billion increase in May, and if it is China, as is widely rumored, why was there an increase in Bill holdings? This is increasingly appearing as shadow Fed debt monetization operation, operating out of the United Kingdom.

STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 


CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

 

 

HUNGARY

 

BANKING CRISIS II

 

US bank results worry investors  FT

BofA profits hit by weak mortgage revenues  FT

 

It's about the Level of Leverage  BI

Worries are expanding over whether or not the global economic recovery is going to be able to persist with banks not lending to consumers. That lack of lending is a result of individuals, corporations, and banks preferring to pay off old debts rather than take on new debt or provide new loans.

Christopher Laird explains this chart as follows:

The point of emphasizing it's from the end of WW2 is that we are not talking merely about a banking crisis, or whatever. We are talking about the deleveraging of the greatest economic/finance bubble in history. Once the level of leverage reached 60 to 1, it becomes impossible to stay ahead of the deleveraging, even for central banks. The implications are staggering. Every major economy in the world is involved. The outcomes of deleveraging this monster bubble, represented by the green oval, will be what I term Credit Crisis II. At 60 to 1 leverage, a loss of 1 to 2% wipes out the capital.

Laird does not specify what that leverage amounts to, but from our understanding it means total leverage within the world financial system. That means everything from individuals, to corporations, to banks and governments. That means, in this scenario, that the world currently stands at 60 to 1, where we are leveraged 60 to the 1 of real reserves we actually have.

Chart from Econotwist:

chart of the day, usd post-ww2, july 2010

 

DODD FRANK ACT

 

Finreg heralds a Great Escape for bankers  FT

Failures of the Dodd-Frank Act  FT

The financial reform bill  FT

 

The Truth About Financial Reform: It's A Big Fat Failure  
Harvey Pitt
a former chairman of the SEC

Dodd-Frank is a ponderous beast. If Congress were paid by the word or the page, this verbiage might be understandable. But neither of those conditions exists, meaning all we can be certain of is that no one in Congress or the administration has actually read the entire bill.

• Who actually knows what’s in the bill? Passing legislation without understanding its contents is akin to allowing inmates to run the asylum. Only congressional staffers and paid lobbyists know what’s in the bill, and perhaps only specific provisions. In a bill this large, dealing with subjects this complex, all the rest of us know are the sound bites prepared by the shepherding committees.

• The legislation teems with unintended consequences. A case in point is the provision requiring the SEC to establish an investor advocate. Putting to one side the fact that this is the SEC’s mandate, this provision unleashes an SEC adversary—someone who must express unfiltered judgments on the job performance of everyone else at the agency, including the five commissioners, giving this person an unlimited budget and allowing this person to hire outside counsel to sue the SEC or FINRA, if he or she disagrees with their actions!

• The bill sets the SEC up for failure. The SEC is given more rule-making, more studies and more onerous responsibilities than any other financial regulatory body. Worse, the SEC must now regulate 10,000 hedge funds and several thousand private-equity firms, but was denied what many other financial regulators have—the ability to self-fund its operations. The SEC presumably was denied this authority because the members of its Appropriations Committees don’t want to jeopardize campaign contributions from those the SEC regulates. In particular, the SEC won’t be able to inspect tens of thousands of new firms it will oversee—or pay to get the kind of expertise to compete with the private sector.

• The bill doesn’t do what it set out to accomplish. The most important goal of this bill was to fix the regulatory regime that permitted—and even fostered—the last crisis. Viewed from that prism, the ugly truth is this bill will make our system more vulnerable, not less. What was, and is still needed, is a regulatory regime with better flexibility that is more nimble, and able to spot potentially damaging trends before those trends become full-blown crises.

Instead, what we have is a bill that makes government less nimble, and more ponderous. The systemic regulator—the FSOC—can override decisions of individual regulators. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency can bog down any other agency by encumbering agency rules or policies. And worst of all, the bill doesn’t provide the transparency so desperately needed for new products, new services, and new activities. In short, the bill addresses last year’s crisis, but does nothing to prevent the next crisis we’ll surely confront in short order.

In other words: Congress has labored mightily, and brought forth a mouse!

 

US consumer regulation faces seismic shifts  FT

All eyes on Warren as possible watchdog chief

 

RATING AGENCIES

 

RISK REVERSAL

 

 

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

 

 

RRESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE - PHASE II

 

Why Do The Rich Default on Their Mortgages- Because In California and Arizona, They Can  ZH

Of America’s 11 million homeowners with negative equity, a majority live in the four sand states where the real estate bubble was concentrated--California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Over three million live in California and Arizona, where a borrower can hand over the keys to the lender and walk away. These are two antideficiency states, where the lender has no recourse beyond the collateral property. So of course it makes sense that wealthy homeowners would default on their mortgage loans. They live where in places home prices were the highest and the fell the steepest, and where the consequences of default are the least onerous.

The wealthy are also less dependent on consumer credit. They can buy cars for cash; and charge expenses on their debit cards. So for them, it’s easy to make a fresh start. But the mortgage debt doesn’t go away. It’s simply pushed off to the banks insured by the Federal government. The rest of us pick up the pieces.

 

EXPIRATION FINANCIAL CRISIS PROGRAM/font>

 

 

PENSION & ENTITLEMENTS CRISIS



CHRONIC UNEMPLOYMENT

 

Cato@Liberty:

The White House is claiming that the so-called stimulus created between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs even though total employment has dropped by more than 2.3 million since Obama took office. The Administration justifies this legerdemain by asserting that the economy actually would have lost about 5 million jobs without the new government spending.


GOVERNMENT BACKSTOP INSURANCE

 

 

CORPORATE BANKRUPTCIES

 

BBP - British Petroleum

 

Cameron to fight BP’s corner in US FT

The political attacks on BP in the US Congress have continued this week, with allegations over the company’s role in the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, and a threat to stop it securing any more offshore exploration leases.

BP is concerned that the pressure from US politicians could cripple the company, leaving it vulnerable to a bid from ExxonMobil, the largest US oil group.

Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s chairman, met Mr Cameron on Friday to urge him to help counter the attacks being directed against BP from Capitol Hill.

Mr Cameron told Mr Svanberg that he did not want to inflame the row but that he would deliver a firm reminder to Barack Obama, US president, and congressional leaders of the importance of BP to the UK economy.

“The prime minister will be keen to make clear how important the company is as a UK employer and how important it is for pension funds,” one official said, speaking after the 45-minute meeting with Mr Svanberg.

Cameron admits ‘special relationship’ unequal  FT

 



 

OTHER TIPPING POINT CATEGORIES NOT LISTED ABOVE

Why US savers remain the ‘silent majority’  FT

FLASH CRASH - HFT - DARK POOLS

Decoding the psychology of trading  FT

Finance wakes up to the power of behavioural study

 

MARKET WARNINGS

 

Goldman- "As In Mid-June The S&P Looks Very Overvalued Relative To Yields"  ZH

"As in mid-June, the S&P looks very overvalued relative to yields. Yields are also beginning to decline again as equities stall." Sure enough the reverse is also true, and bonds may be rich to stocks, but either way, we reiterate our observation that the short stocks-short bonds trade will eventually converge (luckily with the yield on the 10 Y so low, the carry is marginal and the repo rate will likely be a greater burden until the spread recouples).

Here are some additional observations from Noyce.

  • This is an update on a correlation chart we’ve looked at a number of times over the last few weeks.
  • It shows U.S. 10-year yields in green overlaid with the S&P in blue.
  • The correlation between the two has turned increasingly positive over the last couple of months.
  • At this point a similar setup appears to be developing to that which came together during the second half of June (the numbering below refers to the stages highlighted on the chart opposite):

 

The rise in equities stalls and yields again begin to turn lower

Yields continue to drop, and eventually equities also turn down, re-coupling with yields

 

  • Overall, the S&P now sits just below significant resistance centred on 1,093-1,112, and a similar yield/equity divergence is developing to that seen during mid-June. We should begin to watch very closely for signs of equities peaking and again turning lower.

Noyce also has some bearish non-correlated technical observations on the S&P. Specifically, he sees the 1,093-1,112 level as a major resistance in a Right Shoulder formation. Also, a comparable bounce off lows into the 55/200 DMA was last seen in November 2000, when the market proceeded to subsequently drop notably as the tech bubble burst.

  • There are two main points to make with regard to the price action seen on the S&P over the last week;
    1. The market has recovered sharply from the lows of early-July close to 1,000. The bounce has been similar to that seen following the comparable negative 55-/200-dma cross-over in November ’00, as a structural top was in the process of forming. 1,093-1,112 should now act as strong resistance and the easy part of the bounce could well have run its course. An update on the historic comparison chart is shown on the following slide
    2. Assuming the market is currently forming the right shoulder of an H&S topping pattern and that the time period taken to form  the two shoulders should be similar, the current consolidation could run until mid-August, and likely remain within an approximate 1,100-1,000 range.
  • In conclusion, a deep and sharp recovery over the last couple of weeks, but one which is currently within the constraints of what can be considered as part of a larger structural top forming. The topping process could be considered to have another 1  to 1.5 months to run given how long the left-shoulder took to form. The historic comparison with November ‘00 does however argue we should be near the top of the range, with 1,093-1,112 good resistance.

  • The last time a –ve 55/200-dma cross over took place (55-dma falling through an already declining 200-dma) was in November ‘00.
  • It was an important signal from a LT (multi-month) perspective, however, the averages were re-tested as resistance before the market again fell away.
  • So far things are playing out similarly this time around. The negative 55-/200-dma cross over is in place and the market has come back to test the moving averages as resistance (the downtrend from the April highs and 55-/200-dmas being converged 1,093-1,112). While the market need not fall away again immediately, the similarity of the current setup to November ‘00 is quite striking. Another eventual down move does still appear the most likely outcome.

 

Market Loses Nearly Half Of Short Covering Relief Rally In A Few Hours On High Volume  ZH

Once again the actual value of accumulation volume can be seen today: after a 10 days short covering rally on fumes pushed the market higher by nearly 7%, one day alone was sufficient to cut the rally almost in half. The bounce is now back to the half way point of the most recent decline, and just above the half way point of the bounce, at just under 1,060. It appears Goldman's technical charting on the 55/200 DMA cross was spot on.

Note that this chart is just a little date, as stocks closed at 1,062.50

 
WE ARE CONSISTENTLY SEEING LOWER HIGHS & LOWER LOWS

WITH

LOW VOLUMES ON RISE, HIGH VOLUMES ON DROPS (ABOVE)

 

 

GOLD MANIPULATION

 

 

 

VIDEOVIDEO TO WATCH

 

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

 

"In a market, the cumulative expenditure of the modestly endowed easily trumps the expenditure of the rick. And even the rich are ultimately answerable to the market: They became rich by satisfying customers, and will remain rich only so long as they (or their investments) continue to satisfy consumers. Consumer sovereignty is far more powerful a constraint on the rich than political sovereignty. Indeed, even the erosion of the rich by democracy is ultimately self-defeating, for it eliminates that class of men and women in public life who are under no financial pressure to remain at their posts, pursuing policies in which they no longer believe. It is no coincidence that the democratization of politics has been accompanied by a decline in resignations on points of principle or of honor. The vast majority of modern politicians simply needs the money. rong>But even the restoration of a rentier political class would not be enough to restore the blessings of good government. As long as politicians must compete for votes, they cannot govern honestly, or even disinterestedly. They cannot reverse decisions or policies that have proved unworkable. They must persist, even in intellectual error, and cannot escape a certain narrowness of vision. To release politicians from this predicament, a revolution is required. That revolution must be one not of blood, but of constitutional and political ideas. It must put an end to democracy without limits, before the prosperity of the species is destroyed and liberty extinguished...The only lasting solution to the plague of unlimited democracy is to attack democracy at its moral foundation: the political equality of the citizen."

Dominic Hobson

Editor-in-Chief
Global Custodian magazine
 

 
The ECB is barely on speaking terms with the IMF

 IMF - "Inflation Maximizing Fund"

as it was dubbed in a Bundesbank memo.

From:

Deutschland uber alles does not mean a trickledown recovery in EMU Pritchard

 


ZH - Zero Hedge - 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

WEEKEND

07-17/18-10

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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Book Review- Five Thumbs Up for Steve Greenhut's Plunder!  Mish

 

 

 

 

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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.

Copyright and Disclaimer

© 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.