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Reload this page Investing Money - Strategies

Here are my notes on ways to get my money to work harder for me. Here are my notes on the different places where I can get my money to work harder for me.

This is a companion page to my notes about Money & Charitiesanother page on this site Investment Alternativesanother page on this site and Trade Timinganother page on this site


Topics this page:

  • Investment Strategies
  • Market Makers
  • Stock Allocation Criteria
  • Stock Picking
  • Fair Value
  • Your comments???

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    Investment Strategies

    1. Cover the Basics
      • Currency (in case ATMs die after a disaster)
      • Education and (survival?) training
      • Giving to Charitiesanother page on this site
      • Money Market / Certificates of Deposit for liquidity
      • Home and furnishings

    2. Diversify among Different Vehicles of Income Producing Assets
    3. You can get a home loan even if you have bad credit. If mortgage loans are what you need for your next investment property, consider debt consolidation to qualify.

    4. Keep Expenses Low
    5. But read this information from the US government on if your are knee deep in debt.

      You single biggest expense is probably your home loan mortgage. So consider the net savings from this clever no-cost way of paying it off earlier.

      Stock Index futues have a lower transaction cost than ETFs. ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) buy all the stocks of a particular target index. So they don't have the stock-picking expenses of mutual funds.

      Caution! Before you buy index funds from companies such as Ameriprise, compare what you are charged to get in and out of the fund, which can be exorbitant: At many borkerages such as Schwab, you don't have to pay a front load, only a redemption charge to take money out after a few months. Vanguard got big because they charge less for their S&P500 index funds.

      Funds also make money by taking small amounts of money out along the way. (good ratios are less than 0.40).

    6. Manage Tax Liabilities
    7. To avoid taxes, invest the max. amount in employer 401Ks (up to $12,000 - more if you're over 50).

      Current capital-gains tax is 20% (down from 28%).

      Use IRA accounts to invest in high-turnover funds.

      Put taxable liquid money in government bonds. Double tax-free bonds are issued for each state.

    8. Avoid low quality assets
    9. Prefer the best stocks in industries coming off of bottoms.

      Idea Good companies have:

      • a solid financial position (generates free cash at least equal to the sum of current inflation and interest rates),
      • a management that has a stake in the company (buying rather than selling shares).
      • a business that is easy to understand, and
      • good long-term prospects.

      "Value investing" is the startegy of investing in quality assets temporarily underappreciated by the public. But beware -- stock in companies may dip ahead of upcoming nasty announcements.

      Peter Lynch says a growth stock is fairly valued as long as its earnings growth rate is greater than its P/E ratio. Look for companies that have a 1 or lower "PEG" ratio — the company's Price Earnings ratio divided by its annual earnings Growth rate.

    10. Limit Individual Stocks
    11. A small investment in a high-soaring stock (such as Microsoft, Ebay, Google, etc.) early in its life can change your lifestyle. So it makes sense to have some money in such potential.

      But the trick is in picking them.

      Invest in individual stocks for excitement as topics of conversation, pointing to framed stock certificates obtained from oneshare

      Mutual funds are often closed to new investors because each mutual fund by law can't own more than 10% of a company.

      Prefer stocks that have a “Franchise” - a name brand.

      The Arial Fund (ARGBX) buys socially responsible companies — no tobacco companies, casino operators and makers of weapons, beer, and graphic video games. The Vice Fund (VICEX) focuses on them because people continue spending on them regardless of a recession.

      When the price has broken above an old high, there is no unhappy holders who are waiting to dump the stock.

    12. Manage the risk-reward ratio
    13. Go for value. Be careful of going long on a stock with estimated 5-year earnings growth rate of the stock plus dividend that is higher than the P/E based on next year's earnings estimate.

      In the past, markets have peaked around 20 times earnings and hit a trough around 10 times earnings. S&P 500 P/Es average reached 46 near the end of the 1999 prior bull market, 23 since 1988, and 18 since 1963. At the peak of the market in 2000, Nasdaq sold at a multiple of 245 times earnings.

      P/E's have been bid up by baby boomers pumping money into the market hoping to make up for lost time. This will end by 2006 when those born in 1946 begin reaching 70 -- when mandatory withdrawls from IRA accounts begin kicking in.

      It takes about 12 years to obtain a 100% return at 6% per year.

      It is true that over very long periods stocks have returned on average about 10% a year. However, of that 10% return, 4% came from dividends. The dividend yield today is about 1.7%.

      To trade on margin (7-9% compounded daily), Federal Reserve Board "Regulation T" requires a minimum initial deposit of $2,000 and equity percentage of 50%. Each brokers also have a MMR (minimum maintenance requirement) and list of non-marginable (internet & biotech) stocks.

      The RiskMetrics Group (a 1998 spinoff from J.P. Morgan) score of risks in individual stocks, indexes and mutual funds range from 21 for a security that almost never changes in value) to 22,344, out of the universe of U.S. stocks, based on price movements over the last 250 trading days, weighted so the most recent 11 trading days account for 50% of the overall assessment.

    14. Buy low, sell high
    15. “Be greedy when others are fearful. Be fearful when others are greedy.” —Warren Buffet

      Idea Buy fundamentally good assets that are temporarily not of general interest (such as general market gitters that is not related directly to the company).

      Idea Buy after the market bottoms. Sell before the peak. A market is in a bull "rally" mode when current prices are higher than its 20 week average.
      Take advantage of anticipated movements up or down with leveraged funds.

      GTC (Good Til Cancelled) means forever.
      Idea "Fill or Kill" orders minimizes the exposure to slippage — the movement of the actual price away from the price an order is placed.

      A "bear" market occurs when the market is overvalued and inflation and interest rates are rising. Technically, a bear is confirmed when prices move down below its 20 week average. This has occurred on the average once every 39 months, or 3.3 years.

      • make money with inverse short funds.
      • Place limit orders on long positions to protect against price drops.
      • Place stop orders on individual stocks as a safety net to protect against a price rise hurting short positions (borrowed from brokers on margin).
      • Segments doing intrinsically better:
        • Deep Discount retailers gaining market from luxury brands as population ages?
          • NDN - 99 Cents Only
          • FDO - Family Dollar Stores
          • DLTR - Dollar Tree
          • DG - Dollar General
          • WALM - Wal-mart
          • COST - Costco
          • Winn-Dixie
          • DENNYS (DNYY)
        • Rental & moving
        • Auction houses,
          Greg Manning Auctions Inc. (GMAI)
          CCLT - Collector's Universe
        • pawn shops (EXPW - Ezcorp)
        • Casinos & Gaming & other legal vices
        • Drugs for older

      Before sentimentbecomes "recessionary", when prices are feared to rise:

      • Focus on commodities, precious metals, real estate, energy stocks, auctions
      • Financial corps worth less on fear of higher interest rates because demand for loans is lower as rates rise.

      Terrorism has created opportunities in the following:

      • Services to help people avoid travel, such as Liverperson, Webex, ePresence
      • Security systems and protective services, such as Brinks

      When jobs rise, these benefit:

      • Employment Services such as Manpower
      • Retail

    16. Buy High, Sell Low with Short Positions
    17. Avoid Bad Seasons
    18. Date % Drop
      October 28/29, 1929 -25.2%
      October 19, 1987 -22.6%
      October 27, 1997 -7.2%
      August 31, 1998 -6.4%
      August 27, 1998 -4.2%
      September 11, 2001 -14.3%
      3rd Quarter, 2002 -17.9%

      Caution! The biggest one-day drops on the DJIA historically happened in August, September, and October — the worst six months (WSM).

      The best months for stock market gains has historically been in November through March — the best 6 months (BSM).

      Idea Back-testing has found that selling all stocks to cash before the MACD signal crossing after April 30 and buying them again on the MACD signal crossing after October 31st tripled returns while reducing risk (since money is at risk only 49% of the time).

    19. Sell Early in the Day, Buy Late in the Day
    20. Market makers sometimes open a stock higher than orders justify in order to test the market and to make extra money with stock held from earlier trades.

      Traders for large institutions sometimes attempt to kill a stock price at the end of the day in order to make themselves look better with VWAP (pronounced vee-wop) numbers — the Value Weighted Average Price at which the greatest volume of the stock was traded that day.

    21. Don't Go Down With The Boat Don't "catch a falling sword".
    22. To protect profits, put limit orders to automatically sell a stock when prices drop to a pre-specified price (such as at 4% below).

      A "stop order" is a fixed-activation price order that becomes an active market order when the price reaches a specified "stop" price.
      A "buy stop" becomes an active market buy order when the stock rises to the stop price.
      A "sell stop" becomes an active market order when the stock declines to the stop price.

      Better yet, participate in the derivatives market to collar positions.

      New issues (IPO shares) can't be shorted during the first 30 days of public trading.
      Stocks below $5 can't be shorted.

      Reminder To prevent a "snowball or "dogpile" in a downward market, shorts can't be excuted on a downtick when a bid price is lower than the previous price. Shorts can only be executed on individual stocks after an uptick.

      This is why NASDAQ Level II quotes are necessary to see demand drying up.

      On the NYSE, "size" -- the number of shares attempting to be bought at the current price, is shown only on brokerage office screens.

      However, stock futures SPY and QQQ are are not subject to the "uptick" rule. This makes shorting SPY and QQQ just as easy as going long — a factor critical to short term traders.

      Back Test Strategies

      The process of finding patterns by "crunching" history is called "back testing." Use software such as TradeStation Platform or Ultra 7. Note that they do not yet model the effect of transaction fees or use of short funds.

      Charting techniques use historical patterns and statistical analysis to identify predictive indicators of the most likely outcome.


    Scripture Proverbs 21:5
    "The plans of the diligent lead
    to profit as surely as haste
    leads to poverty."

    Authentic Chinese calligraphy of Proverbs 21:5 for your wall

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    Stock Allocations Based on Investor Temperament

      Investor Temperament
      = Portfolio type
      Bond Funds US Stock Funds Non-US
      Intermediate Long
      Large-cap Mid &
      Very conservative 80% 10% 2% 3% 3% 2%
      Conservative 50% 20% 5% 10% 10% 5%
      Passive 25% 30% 5% 15% 15% 10%
      Balanced 15% 30% 5% 20% 20% 10%
      Active 10% 20% 10% 25% 25% 10%
      Aggressive 5% 15% 10% 30% 30% 10%
      Very aggressive 0% 5% 10% 30% 40% 15%

      Idea Put some money (10%) into Pre-IPO Emerging Growth Stocks, where one spectacular gain can change your lifestyle. Get one with a preferred cash return, with a bonus at redemption. This is the reason by investment bankers such as Goldman Sachs make $500,000 a year to start.

      When interest rates rise, bond prices drop because new bonds now pay more.

      John Murphy's Javascript feature PerfChart illustrates the current status of his highly recommended Buy at Amazon Intermarket Technical Analysis

      • An INVERSE relationship between commodities and bonds
      • An INVERSE relationship between the US Dollar and commodities
      • A   POSITIVE relationship between bonds and stocks
      When these relationships occur, the markets are said to be acting "normally" and there is a good probability the current trends will continue. When one or more of these relationships break down, the markets is likely heading for a general trend reversal.

      John Bollinger's school of Rational Analysis uses both Technical and Fundamental analysis.

      Fundamental Analysis (FA) aims to determine the actual value/price of a company — the price which reflects theoretical worth. This is useful to know because this price acts like a magnet to the market price, pulling it back from extremes of overvalue and undervalue.

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    Transfer Agents

      If you buy to hold stocks, you can purchase stock directly from companies through their Transfer Agents:

    • Computershare Investor Services 866-360-5339, charges $6.50 plus $.20 per share for each transaction using ACH transfer. They require a $500 minimum and $10 new account fee. Shares are purchased in dollar amounts (rather than number of shares). at a weighted average price within a 5 day processing window. They don't charge to issue stock certificates. Computershare BYDS, P.O. Box A3309, Chicago, IL 60690.

      Idea (a minimum of $350) Wells Fargo's Shareowner


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      MFS (a division of Sun Life Financial - SLF) is the nation's oldest fund firm


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      tool Get registration, licensing, and legal action information on 850,000 current and former NASD registered individuals and over 6,000 current and former NASD registered brokerage firms.

      Discounting on trades was first allowed on May 1, 1975.

    • Datek guarantees 60second trades on major stocks or no commission.
    • Fidelity and Edward P. Jones had the least legal actions, which average 29.3 per million accounts among all brokerage firms. While other firms told people to buy companies that are about to go bankrupt, Jones was one of the few firms which took initiative to warn its customers of impending troubles. Jones also hired Chung Wu, who was wrongfully fired by UBS for warning his clients about Enron.
    • Brown & Company [CRD 1326] (the discount brokerage arm of J.P. Morgan Chase) charges the lowest fees ($5/market, $10/limit order).
    • At $30 per trade, Schwab is the most expensive, but because they are the first, they're also the #1 U.S. on-line broker (approximately 30% market share, even with $36 trades), offers analysis and reports from Credit Suisse First Boston and Hambrecht & Quist.
    • E*Trade (#2, approximately 11% share) provides reports from BancBoston Robinson Stephens and Morningstar data

    • Discover Brokerage offers analysis from parent company Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
    • DLJ Direct (Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette) offers analysis from Zack's and information services from Lipper, Reuter's News (also provided by Discover), SEC filings, Thomson Investors, and multiple news sources. Discover also sends real-time email alerts to subscribers.

    • lists stocks with no purchase fees.
    • Sharebuilder charges you $4 to buy only on Tuesdays (placed by Monday 2pm). But they charge $16 to sell. They don't trade many stocks, such as Berkshire Hathaway. Not offering auto stop-loss orders is a big reason not to use them. 866.747.2537
    • Citigroup's Solomon Smith Barney has the worst advice track record.
    • AG Edwards research

      NYSE's Rule 405 requires stockbrokers to know their customers' financial situation, risk profile.


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      Position traders buy and hold a stock hoping for long term appreciation from improvements in fundamentals, riding out short term volatility.

      A swing trader is a stock trader who holds onto a position for more than one day, but closes out all trades before the weekend, to reduce vulnerability to events.

      "Day Trading" is an investment position entered into and closed out during the same trading day. It requires the discipline to let go of losers rather than hanging on to hope that the price will turn up soon.

      A momentum trader is a day trader who watches for stocks that are suddenly traded actively as a result of breaking news of events.

      "Scalpers" trade many (50, 100, or more) large blocks during a day, trying to reap small gains (of an eighth or a quarter of a point each).

      Momentum trader work on stocks that are "in play" — responding to news.

      Fundamentalists trade based on the intrinsic underlying value of stocks such as from expected growth in earnings.

      Technicians use charts and graphs to identify buy and sell signals.

      A buyer is "paid up" in a stock if he bought it late in the rally (and will try to get out at a price to avoid losing money).


      The New Investment Superstars : 13 Great Investors and Their Strategies for Superior Returns by Lois Peltz (New York: John Wiley, 2001)

      A website external to this site Pristine supports swing traders

      A website external to this site Day Trading International emails swing traders with picks based on technical analysis, rumors, IPO opportunities, and Zacks & 2 week free trial.

      A website external to this site provides a complete set of resources for the day trader: Quotes, indicators, market analysis, strategies, tactics, advanced strategies, learning tools, chat, interviews, articles, tips, charts, and news. This site seems to have it all. Daily lists of stocks show momentum, breakouts, or other high potential opportunities.

      A website external to this site Avid Trading provides short-sale ideas, stock picks, narratives, market-indicator commentary.

      The Momentum Trader has an active chat room monitored by founder Ken Wolff. Realtime recommendations and calls for bottoms and tops are entered for traders to see and discuss.

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      Ratings by investment bankers such as Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Chase, Merill Lynch are "tainted" because they need to be self serving since bad ratings hurt the underwriting side of the firm.

      Analyst Fred Hickey, editor of the fiercely independent $120/yr High-Tech Strategist newsletter from Nashua, NH, is called the "king salmon" among "Live fish" (Uncorrupted analysts who do their homework) by short hedge fund manager Bill Fleckenstein in his Contrian Chronicles.

      As part of the recent settlement, brokers must now supply investors with second opinions: analysis purchased from outside research firms.

      But more than ever, the most pioneering, market-moving research is going exclusively to big mutual funds and the private investment pools known as hedge funds, not to the small investor for whom regulators waged their campaign.

      stock-analysis boutique, Majestic Research LLC

    • Institutional Shareholder Services is the world's leading provider of proxy voting and corporate governance services for institutions holding corporate stocks.

    • Edgar Online provides corporate SEC Financial Reports
    • Hoover's Online provides a starting point for information on more than 10,000 companies.
    • First call consensus


      Independent Stock Rating Agencies

    • $495/year Weiss Ratings on a stock's fundamentals, valuation , momentum, and risk are the most accurate, reliable, and conservative.
    • $109/year Morningstar identify undervalued and overvalued stocks.
    • $298/year Standard & Poors provides quantitative analysis and analysts' personal opinions.
    • $598/year Value Line rates 1,700 stocks on safety and timeliness
    • Schwab $25 per company
    • Fitch Ratings

      Capital Market Risk Advisors (CMRA), is the preeminent financial advisory firm specializing in risk management, hedge funds and derivatives.

      International Association of Financial Engineers (IAFE)

      Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA)

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      For $69, Select Information Exchange enables you to get 5 months of 4 newsletters from a list of 169, of which 37 focus on market timing.

      The Hulbert Financial Digest tracks 165 investment newsletters

      CBS Marketwatch Directory of Newsletters

      Jim Schmidt's $175/yr Timer Digest rates the performance of S&P 500 & gold market timing newsletters relative to consensus signals. Those consistently among the top 10:

    • Christopher Cadbury, Cadbury Timing Service
    • Dan Turov, Turov on Timing
    • Tom McClellan, The McClellan Market Report (of Oscillator fame)
    • Mark Leibovit,
    • Jim Tillman, Cycletrend
    • Doug Jimerson, National Trendlines
    • Steve Todd, The Todd Market Forecast
    • Craig Corcoran, Craig Corcoran Futures
    • Joseph Granville, $250/yr monthly The Granville Market Letter since 1963 (he's 78 now) labeled a parenial pessimist for missing the bull market rise from August 16, 1982.
    • Arch Crawford, Crawford Perspectives
    • Michael Gibbons, Gibbons' Trading
    • Myron Greene, Mutual Fund Timing Guide

      $40 Predict Market Swings With Technical Analysis by Michael McDonald (New York: John Wiley, 2002) credits

    • The Stock Market Profile-How to Invest with the Primary Trend by Jacobs. "gave me my first lesson in the subject of technical analysis."
    • Why Most Investors Are Mostly Wrong Most of the Time by William X. Scheinman "gave me a firm grounding in the theory of contrary opinion."
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    Brokers and Planners


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      IBD's Relative price strength (RPS) presents the percentile of the stock within its market during the last 12 months.

      IBD's Relative industry strength (RIS) grades the performance of a company's industry against other industries.

      IBD's A/D (Accumulation/Distribution) grade A shows a stock accumulating on the buy rather than distributing ask (sells).


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    Events That Move Stock Pricess

    • change in revenue forecasts
    • regulatory actions (such as FDA approval of a drug or medical device)
    • top management changes (such as Martha Stewart getting sent to jail).


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    Stock Valuations

      The more liquid a stock, the less of a spread it will have between buy and sell prices. Less liquid stocks have spreads of a 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 or more.

      A figure is trading slang for the nearest whole dollar price. Since 1997, exchanges began allowing trades in teenies — Stock-market slang for 1/16 -- a sixteenth of a point (cash value of 6.25 cents per share). This narrowed spreads and thus market makers' profits.

      To use the "Fed model" to value an index of stocks against the 10 year treasury bond yield (0.042 for 4.2%), divide it into the total of expected annual earnings forecast from a consensus of analysts (e.g., $56 for the S&P 500),

      The direction of futures price from ending price to the opening bell is a good indicator of where the marketing is headed that day.

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    Stock Pickers

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    Stock Picking Criteria

      Company Basics Market Capitalization
      Shares Outstanding
      Number of Employees
      Dow Jones Membership
      S&P Index Membership
      Investment Return Return on Invested Cap.
      ROE: 5-Year Avg
      ROI: 5-Year Avg
      ROA: 5 Year Avg.
      Current Financials Latest Fiscal EPS --
      Return on Equity vs. Industry Avg. ROE
      Price Ratios Revenue/Share
      Book Value/Share
      P/E Ratio: Current
      P/E Ratio: 1 Month Ago
      P/E Ratio: 1 Year Ago
      P/E Ratio: 5-Year High
      P/E Ratio: 5-Year Low
      P/E Ratio: 5-Year Avg
      Industry Avg. P/E Ratio: Current
      S&P 500 Avg. P/E Ratio: Current
      Price/Book Value Industry Avg. Price/Book Value
      Price/Cash Flow Ratio Industry Avg. Price/Cash Flow Ratio
      Price/Sales Ratio Industry Avg Price/Sales Ratio
      Mgmt. Efficiency Revenue Per Employee
      Receivable Turnover
      Asset Turnover
      Revenue Per Employee
      Income Per Employee
      Industry Avg Income Per Emp
      Revenue Per Employee
      Inventory Turnover
      Industry Avg. Inventory Turnover
      Risk Data Beta [W] --
      Financial Condition Debt to Equity Ratio Indus Avg.
      Current Ratio Industry Avg. Current Ratio
      Quick Ratio Industry Avg.
      Interest Coverage
      Leverage Ratio
      Dividends Latest Dividend Rate --
      Current Divident Yield --
      Payout: Latest Fiscal Year Indus Avg
      Payout: 5-Year Avg.
      Div. Yield: 5-Year Avg.
      Trading & Volume --
      Growth Rates Annual EPS Growth Rate
      5-Year Dividend Growth
      5-Year Revenue Growth
      Rev Growth YTD vs. YTD
      Rev Growth Qtr. vs Qtr.
      EPS Growth YTD vs. YTD
      EPS Growth Qtr. vs. Qtr.
      EPS Growth Yr vs. Yr S&P 500 Avg. EPS Growth Yr. vs. Yr.
      Stock Price History --
      Profit Margins Net Profit Margin Indus Avg
      Gross Margin
      Pre-Tax Margin
      Net Profit: 5-Year Avg.
      Gross Margin: 5-Year Avg.
      Pre-Tax Margin: 5-Year Avg. Indus. Avg
      5-Year Operating Profit
      5-Year Capital Spending
      Analyst Projections --
      Analyst Ratings Advisor FYI --
      StockScouter Rating --
      Ownership % Insider Ownership [W]
      % Institutional Ownership [W]

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    Fair Value

      To obtain a fair value, multiply P, the probability that the money will be paid in the future, by the Present Value of a stock given it's interest rate (I) over time (T).

        $1 / (1 + I)T

      In an ideal world, the price of a stock would equal the present value (PV) from adding up the expected dividends from each year in the stock's future.

      Because of expected future impact, when interest rate rises 1%, a stock's price (PV) drops by more than that percentage. Thus, stock prices and interest rates have an inverse relationship.

      Interest rates usually come down at the end of a normal business cycle, which is also the beginning of the next cycle.


      Stock valuation based on PV was first published in John Burr Williams' 1938 The Theory of Investment Value

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