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Investing Standard and Poors
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the financial services company that downgraded the U.S. credit rating for its faulty rating of mortgage securities that played a major role in the country's 2008 recession. Is there something shady going on that we don't know about?
Watch the video as the experts breakdown what the investigation is all about and what will happen if Standard and Poors is found guilty of wrong doing.
There is a major disconnect from reality. While the long term outlook for the US and the world remains dismal, the near term outlook really isn't as bad as the media has been making it out to be.
We can't ignore numbers and forecasts - even if they are being changed week after week. Just when we thought we were in the clear for a short term rally, we get slammed with more negative forecasts and numbers.
Take a look:
The S&P 500 is down 15% for the quarter, losing 2.5 trillion in market value - the largest loss of wealth since the height of the financial crisis in 2008. On a global scale, more than 6 trillion of equity has been erased in August.
10 year yields in the US dipped below 2% for the first time ever as investors snapped up the government bonds on fears of a global economic slowdown.
Existing home sales in the U.S. are down and is on pace this year to be the worst in 14 years for home sales. Foreclosures and short sales - when a lender agrees to sell for less than what is owed on a mortgage - made up about 29 per cent of all home sales last month. That's not including the wave of foreclosures by backlogged courts or lenders awaiting state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices.
Jobless claims remain high as the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose back above 400,000 last week. While the report suggests that the economy is creating jobs, it's not nearly enough to lower the high unemployment rate. We'll need to see something below 375,000 to signal any sort of healthy job growth.
Consumer prices rose 0.5 per cent from June, the largest monthly increase since March. That leaves consumer prices 3.6 per cent higher than they were a year earlier, which is far above the U.S. central bank's informal target of 2 per cent.
Of all the disappointing U.S. economic news released last week, it was a drop in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region that most unnerved investors. Data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, (viewed as a forward-looking gauge of U.S. manufacturing) dropped to minus 30.7 - the lowest level since March 2009. According to Bloomberg data, each time the Philadelphia Fed's gauge has stood at minus 30 or lower, the economy has been in a recession or was about to tip into one.
So does that mean a recession is coming and should you run for the hills?
I don't think so. Not yet, anyway.
First of all, the Philly Fed Poll was conducted from Aug. 8 to 16, when we experienced one of the wildest periods of stock market volatility...ever (see The Big Signal). Unemployment numbers are bad, but they're not getting worse. Inflation, measured through the CPI, should be lower as the price of oil, gas, and other commodities have dropped significantly over the last month.
I wouldn't run for the hills just yet. I still feel that the true trend of our short term markets will be revealed after U.S.' Labour Day (see Before It's Too Late). At which point, I expect the markets to truly rally absent of any cataclysmic event.
Even with the market tanking, that doesn't mean everything has been going down. If you have been reading the Equedia Letters over the past years, you would know that I continue to remain bullish on the precious metals sector despite the uncertainties.
Last week, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) surged 4 out of 5 days, ending up nearly 6% while its little brother, the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ), soared over 7%.
This week, they did the same. The GDX is up another 4% while the GDXJ managed to stay in the green. Despite the volatility and the impact of the recently released forecasts, the miners still found a way to make gains as gold and silver prices continued to climb. Silver closed up to nearly $43.
The Glory of Precious Metals
Gold prices soared to new highs Friday, hitting as high as $1,881.40 US an ounce before closing at $1,852.20. That's the seventh consecutive week of gains and the longest string of advances in almost four and half years.
In October 2007, gold sold for about $740 an ounce. A little over a year later, it rose above $1,000 for the first time. It's up more than 25 per cent since July, and has risen by seven per cent this week alone.
The price of gold has steadily risen for 11 straight years.
Everyone who owns gold asks me if they should sell. Everyone who doesn't, asks me if they should buy. For those who continue to teeter-totter and worry about buying gold, it's still not too late. Not even close.
Gold is undoubtedly in an extremely strong decade-long bull market and while it seems very much like a bubble, it's nowhere close to popping. Bull market bubbles usually end with extreme speculation characterized by three to five distribution days occurring within a relatively short period of time (distribution is a decline in price with higher volume than the preceding session) and a mass entrance by the retail public. So far, we have seen neither of these events.
While gold is trading significantly over its 150-day moving average, the factors contributing to gold's rise remain strong and consistent. I have written too many letters to count on why gold will continue its climb, |yet every week there are even more reasons as to why.
As Real as it Gets
For the first time in more than a decade, South Korea's central bank purchased gold for the first time since the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
The gold portion of South Korea's official foreign reserves surged to $1.32 billion at the end of July from a measly $80 million at the end of June.
While South Korea's central bank seems a little late to the party, gold investors should continue to expect price support as central bankers around the world are underinvested in the yellow stuff and are looking to increase their holdings:
- Mexico just ramped up its gold reserves by almost 100 tons -- boosting what were previously minimal holdings to around 106 tons.
- Russia purchased 26 tons during the second quarter, taking its total gold holdings to around 837 tons, equivalent to almost 8% of the country's reserve assets.
- Thailand's gold reserves rose by 15.5% in the two months and rose to about 4.07 million ounces in June, from about 3.523 million ounces in May.
Central banks around the world are topping up their gold reserves and have quadrupled their total purchases from the market in the last quarter buying 69.4 metric tons of gold, up from 14.1 tons reported a year earlier.
During the first half of the year, central bank gold purchases totalled 192.3 tons, more than 2 1/2 times the 72.9 tons bought in the first six months of 2010.
Since 2009, central banks have been net buyers of gold. Before that, they have been net sellers of gold for nearly two decades.
Hoard Your Gold
Earlier in the week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that he plans to nationalize the gold sector, including extraction and processing, and use the production to boost the country's international reserves:
"I have here the laws allowing the state to exploit gold and all related activities. That is to say, we're going to nationalize the gold and we're going to convert it, among other things, into international reserves because gold continues to increase in value" - Hugo Chavez
He's also ordered the repatriation of 90 percent of Venezuela's gold reserves held abroad, returning the country's gold reserves back to Caracas:
"We've managed to increase the international reserves. We have close to 12 or 13 billion of dollars in gold reserves. We can't allow it to continue to be taken away" - Hugo Chavez
Hedge Fund Participation
Despite the ramblings months ago that some of the world's most powerful hedge fund managers were exiting their gold positions (who have since missed out on some serious gains), other hedge funds are now loading up.
SAC Capital Advisors L.P., the powerhouse hedge fund run by Steven Cohen, disclosed a new position in options on the gold exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust. The investment, which are options that allow SAC Capital to buy shares of the gold ETF at a defined point in time, is valued at $628 million. It is the single largest value of equity positions disclosed by SAC Capital, As of March 31, 2011, the fund had no positions of the gold ETF.
As Real as it Gets
The shift to gold is real. This is not your tech bubble. This is not your real estate bubble. This is real. Central banks are buying. Hedge funds are buying. And the world is watching. Don't remain on the sidelines of one of the greatest bull markets of our time.
The Week Ahead
Next week, we're going to be standing on our toes as Ben Bernanke makes his famous Jackson Hole speech on Friday.
It was at the Fed's Jackson Hole meeting last year where Bernanke first suggested "QE2" (see Beware the April Fool) which sparked a 25% rally in the S&P 500 in the following months.
This time around the world will be watching even closer. Will he say anything about QE3 or will he just tell everyone that he's got some tricks up his sleeves if the economy moves further into recession territory?
A lot will be riding on his speech next week, so be prepared. I would most certainly not swan dive into any particular stocks next week but adding to the precious metals sector on dips could prove smart.
It's all up to you, Ben.
Disclosure: I added to my gold and silver long positions earlier in the week and I am long on both gold majors and juniors.
Until next week,
Call Us Toll Free: 1-888-EQUEDIA (378-3342)
The Zen of Resource Speculation
By Louis James, Casey International Speculator
Whenever gold and silver hit a correction, those are the times that try men's souls. But they are also a classic case of making volatility our friend.
And there should be terrific bargains ahead on great stocks, if the market corrects from recent highs. It enables you to go long at prices as low as, or sometimes even lower than, those paid by speculators who picked winning plays early - but with the advantage of hindsight about the results of those companies' exploration and development efforts. You get a combination of lower risk and lower prices.
How cool is that? (As my children say.)
This is exactly the kind of environment in which we were able to scoop up shares in companies like Osisko, International Tower Hill and Detour Gold for tiny fractions of their current prices, back in the crash of 2008. I'm not saying we'll see another crash like 2008 this year - but we might, and eventually will, if Doug Casey is right about what's in store for the economy. But making money in our market is all about buying when prices are low, taking profits when prices are high, and building your portfolio for the eventual Mania Phase that will signal our exit and shift to other markets for a time.
Buying in Tranches
As we keep emphasizing; we're speculators, not gamblers. We almost never go all in or cash out completely. We seek to balance risk and reward. The primary tool we have for doing that is our strategy of buying in tranches. Generally, that means buying 20% of your desired position in a first tranche, 20% more in a second tranche, and 60% via stink bid when the market fluctuates wildly - which our market often does.
Yes, this strategy can be frustrating while the market is rising, because it can leave you with only 20% of your desired position while a stock takes off. However, it also means that you're never exposed more than 40% of your ideal position unless you're given a dirt-cheap chance to buy. It takes patience and discipline to only buy large blocks when they are on the deep-discount rack.
Consider this scenario: You buy 20% of your ideal position in a gold stock you like, and it keeps rising: 10%, 20%... Hard not to wish you hadn't taken a much larger tranche! Now there's a big market fluctuation: gold drops 10%, your stock drops 40%. You buy a second tranche 10% below your first tranche. Now you have a more substantial 40% of your ideal position averaging 95% of what you originally paid. The market recovers, and the next time the shares are 20% over your original entry point, you have greater profits on a larger block. If you'd bought 100% of your ideal position, you'd only be up 20%, and you'd likely have sweat bullets when prices were falling.
At this point, if the company makes a major discovery, or the stock goes vertical with the market for other reasons, you have substantial exposure to that upside - chalk up another win. Maybe it could have been bigger, but it's still a win, and one executed in a way that exposed you to much less insomnia along the way.
But suppose, instead of the market shifting into the Mania Phase, there's another major market meltdown of 2008 proportions. Gold drops 30% (which, it's worth noting, would still be above $1,000, a level at which the better projects still make a ton of money), and our gold stock, because it's a good company, drops 75% - shakier companies drop more than 90%. From 120% of our original entry point, our shares are now at 30%. Nothing wrong with the company, so we buy a larger block, 60% of our ideal position. Maybe we buy even more, if we really believe in the story and the company is cashed up enough to weather the storm - at 30% of our original entry point, why not?
Let's say the shares initially cost $1, and our ideal position is 10,000 shares, to keep things simple. We now have:
1st Tranche: 2,000 shares (20%) at $1.00
2nd Tranche: 2,000 shares at $0.90
3rd Tranche 6,000 shares at $0.30
Average cost basis ($2,000 + $1,800 +$1,800 / 10,000 shares): $0.56
Now the broader market realizes that gold is the one safe haven it can count on, and the real Mania Phase of this bull cycle kicks in. Our good company delivers on its discovery potential, or achieves production at record-low costs, and joins our "Ten-Bagger Club" shooting up to 1,000% of our entry point. With our cost basis of just over half of our original entry point, we're actually looking at a much larger win: $5,600/$100,000 = 1,685.7% gains.
That's more than half again what we would have gotten had we gone all in at the original entry point, and with an incomparably smaller amount of heartburn before payday. Though, in reality, people who went all in and saw those positions decline by 75% would be more likely to be forced to sell by margin calls. Or they would sell out of sheer panic as share prices plummeted - and then would miss the rebound, chalking up losses instead of 17-baggers.
Could this really happen?
Click Here to Continue Reading
More Casey Research Articles
> Economically Sleepwalking
> Recent Gold Hedging Activity - a Warning Sign?
> Too Much of a Good Thing Is Not a Good Thing
> When Buying Gold Becomes a Life-or-Death Question
S&P 500 Under the Death Cross
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The market has been wild. With all of the ups-and-downs, what is an investor to do and what should he expect?
This week, we're going to zero in on the price chart of the S&P 500 and find out what Zack's tactical trader Kevin Cook sees for the market over the next couple of months.
Watch the video as Kevin Cook in this episode of Tactical Trading, which covers tactical trading techniques covering topics such as marco market trends, stock selections, ETF's, and options trading.
More Zacks Videos:
> Bull & Bear of the Week - August 18, 2011
> Stock Screening Strategy for Companies with New Highs
> Momentum Stock Picks for August 15, 2011
> Aggressive Growth Stock Picks for August 16, 2011
> Where Are Stocks Headed Now?
|Featured BNN Clip:
High-Frequency Trading - Click to Read
|Technical Trading with Harry Boxer
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Harry has more than 40 years of Wall Street investment and technical analysis experience, including eight years on Wall Street as chief technical analyst with three brokerage firms.
Watch the video as he walks you through histechnical analysis on a whole bunch of stocks he thinks you should be watching from last week. To see more videos, Click Here.
Like his analysis?
Click Here to receive a Free 15-Day Trial to Harry Boxer's Real-Time Technical Trading Diary for Equedia members.
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Embedding is simple. Just copy and paste the embed codes from another website ino the main blog section of your post (not the exceprt).
Where do you find these embed codes?
Embed codes for videos are usually right beside a video.
Here is an example of where the code is on Youtube, highlighted in yellow:
So share what you find with everyone! To learn more, feel free to email or call us at 1-888-EQUEDIA
Equedia Tips - The Markets Tab
Using the search function at the top right corner of the website, search for any company. Let's use Research in Motion as an example. Once you reach their profile page, click on the MARKETS TAB. You should now see 12 seperate tabs underneath their logo. Try clicking on them and you will find in-depth information such as:
Detailed Quotes - Depth/Level II - Options - Java Charts - News - Profile - Financials - Insiders trades - Filings - Analyst Consensus - Earnings - Historical Data (Highs/Lows, Volumes, Closing/Opening Prices)
Additional Features (you may not know)
Equedia has many features (you may have overlooked) that will help you manage your investment life and ensure a more enjoyable and useful experience.
Here are just a few of them:
Calendar subscriptions: Keep track of your business events, subscribe to other events, and have access to your online calendar from anywhere in the world. In the near future, we will be working with public companies to add their events to the calendar so that shareholders will never miss an important event again. So call your companies and get them to participate!
Tagging companies to videos and images: Did you know that all of your videos and images can be tagged to public companies? Do you have a video about Google? How about a blog with an image? How about just a blog? Tag it to Google in your blog post, so that anyone searching for Google's quotes and finances can find your coverage!
Buy, Sell, and Hold Ratings: Once you log in, you can submit your buy, sell and hold ratings on the ratings tab so that other shareholders can see what YOU think. You may also access your associates' ratings and see what they think of the shares you hold.
Blog feed subscriptions: Once you add someone as an associate, you will have access to all of their blog posts through your blog feeds. Simply go to your "blog feeds" tab once you log in!
Search function: By far one of the most overlooked but important functions on Equedia. Using the top right hand corner search function, you can find and add any corporations, media users, or investors to your network.
Markets Tab: Under any corporate profile, you will find this tab. Under this tab, you can find the company's news, level 2 depth (delayed), options, charts, profile, financials, insider trades, filings, analyst overviews, earnings, and historical data (these may not be available for all companies)
There are many more useful features on Equedia.com but we think its better if you experience them for yourself. The more associates you have, the more useful Equedia will become for you. So use the new "invite my contacts" function and get started!
Except for the statements of historical fact, the information contained herein is of a forward-looking nature. Such forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievement of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by statements containing forward-looking information.
Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that statements containing forward looking information will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on statements containing forward looking information. Readers should review the risk factors set out in the Company's prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors Concerning Estimates of Inferred Resources
This presentation uses the term "Inferred Resources". U.S. investors are advised that while this term is recognized and required by Canadian regulations, the Securities and Exchange Commission does not recognize it. "Inferred Resources" have a great amount of uncertainty as to their existence, and great uncertainty as to their economic and legal feasibility. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred Resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Under Canadian rules, estimates of "Inferred Resources" may not form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies. U.S. investors are also cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an "Inferred Mineral Resource" exists, or is economically or legally mineable.
Rants and Raves
Inside the mind of Equedia's editor - unrated, uncut, and unedited
Overpaid and under experienced. That's my thought for many of the analysts and economists out there.
Over the past week, the word "recession" has dominated the headlines.
But what really gets me going are the comments the analysts and economists are making.
"there's a 30% chance of a recession...there's a 50% chance of a recession.."
What does that even mean? I'll tell you what it means. It means they have no clue. Absolutely none. All they want to do is draw some headlines and crowds.
Saying there's a 50% chance of a recession is no different than saying theres a 50% chance the market will go up...or down. It means that their predictions will never be wrong.
Let's not forget that the S&P said there was a 50-50 chance of a U.S. downgrade, before they made their downgrade.
It's like me saying, "Buy gold, or don't because it could go up...or down"
And if gold goes up, my prediction came true and I can say I told you so.
And if gold goes down, my prediction came true and I can say I told you so.
I may not always be right, but my calls have been more right than wrong. My stocks may not always win, but I am still more right than I am wrong. That's the problem with today's investors and marketplace - no one has a clue what to do and no one wants to take responsibilty for their actions. That's why we're in this mess and will continue to be in this mess.
I predict that there is a 50% chance QE3 is coming and that there is a 50% chance it won't. Wow, I am a genius.
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