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May 2, 2018 | Winds of War in the Middle East

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

It’s been a long time since anyone on Wall Street cared about what was going on in the geopolitical world, but that may be about to change. A quiet war has been heating up between Israel and Iran with the potential to send an already weak U.S. stock market into a steep dive. Recently, a bunker-buster bomb reportedly took out hundreds of missiles Iran was hiding on a Syrian base.  Because Hezbollah is likely to possess some of the same weapons, it’s no longer unthinkable that Israel would strike the terrorist group’s base of operations in Lebanon pre-emptively.

Flaming kites from Gaza have been causing major damage to Israeli farms. Add to this volatile mix an impending decision by Trump about whether to extend the nuclear deal with Iran. There are very good reasons why he should not.  Read this New York Times column by Bret Stephens if you think Iran has lived up to its side of the bargain. There is also the planned move, on May 15, of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an event that Israel’s enemies may treat as an opportunity to disrupt the world in some horrific way.  The Middle East is a powder keg. If it is about to explode, the clearest and earliest warning won’t be found on the evening news, but in crude oil’s charts. We should see the price of oil move above $70 a barrel within the next week or so if war is imminent. For your information, NYMEX futures settled Wednesday at $67.68.

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May 2nd, 2018

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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