To close off the week, I’d like to offer some words of wisdom from my old friend Tony Jasansky, P.Eng. Tony has spent more than 40 years studying and analyzing the markets. He’s one of the best stock market analysts I know. Here’s what he has to say about stocks right now…
“The only obvious difference between Janet Yellen, the incoming Chair [of the Federal Reserve], and the present Chair, Ben Bernanke, is in their gender. Investors who have loved Bernanke’s monetary abandon are already placing their money on Janet being just as energetic in keeping the money pump going. In recent days, both of them emphasized that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low even after the monthly $85.0-billion bond purchases have wound down.
With commodities including gold in a bear market, and the bubble in bonds waiting to be deflated by the Fed’s soon-to-end bond purchases, stocks are still seen as the ‘best game in town.’ The five-year bull market probably won’t end until it reaches a bubble stage, comparable to the 2000 and 2007 tops. Observing the recent changes in indicators measuring the degree of investors’ fear and greed, my wild guess is that 2014 … Read More
When I previously wrote about gold, prices were around $1,316 an ounce and subject to a bearish head and shoulders formation on the charts, as you can see below. (Read “Why Gold Might Only Be Good for Traders Right Now.”) I was bearish on the precious metal then and continue to be so, at least when considering it as a buy-and-hold investment rather than a speculative trading opportunity.
Spot gold has fallen below $1,225 and appears to be set to take a run at the key support level of $1,200, according to my technical analysis. The reality is that even with the 7.5% decline from early October, I would still not be a buyer at the current price, unless I wanted to trade the yellow ore and hope for a possible oversold technical bounce back above $1,250.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Instead, given the attractive buying opportunities in the stock market, I’d advise more conservative investors to invest their dollars in stocks, rather than gold bullion at this time.
Can you believe this?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the U.S. economy experienced deflation in October. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a widely followed government measure of inflation, declined 0.1% in October.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures the change in prices that producers pay, also declined in October—by 0.2%, continuing its slide from September when it declined 0.1%. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics web site, last accessed December 2, 2013.)
But I don’t buy any of this. The government statistics are heavily skewed and do not present the real picture of what’s going on with inflation in the U.S. economy.
Just look at the annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Prices Index. Every year, the firm tracks the prices of the items of the “12 Days of Christmas” through its Christmas Price Index. It looks at prices compared to last year.
Surprise! This year, the cost of all those items will be 7.7% higher than last year. With its finding, the Managing Executive of Investments for PNC Wealth Management, Jim Dunigan, said, “We were surprised to see such a large increase from a year ago, given the overall benign inflation rate in the U.S.” … Read More
This morning we learned sales for this year’s Black Friday weekend declined for the first time since 2009. I have been warning my readers for months that falling consumer confidence would result in a pullback in consumer spending—and that’s exactly what’s happening this holiday shopping season.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent an average of $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down about four percent from what they spent last year. (Source: National Retail Federation press release, December 1, 2013.)
The first decline in holiday spending since 2009 does not bode well for the economy, and as far as I’m concerned, it is an early indication of a weakening economy going into 2014.
But there is one place people are spending. In fact, you can say they’re spending so much here, they’re borrowing to buy more!
Investors have borrowed more money to buy stocks than at any other time in history!
The chart below shows the use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It stands at the record-high level.
Yes, NYSE margin debt stands above the level it stood at just before the peak in stock prices in 2007 and much higher than it … Read More
As gold bullion prices continue to take a beating because of the belief that the easy money policies of the Fed won’t go away anytime soon, silver prices have fallen into the same rut. Just like gold bullion, the silver market has also become a place where bears prevail.
But in the midst of the negativity towards silver, I see that the fundamentals that ultimately drive silver prices higher are getting stronger.
Demand for silver is robust. Sales of one-ounce silver coins at the U.S. Mint have reached a record for the year, and 2013 still isn’t finished! The table below shows how demand for silver (coins in ounces) has increased at the U.S. Mint since 2007.
Yearly Demand for Silver Coins in Ounces at the U.S. Mint
|Year||Sales in Ounces||% Change|
|Total % change since 2007||316%|
* Data as of November 28, 2013
Data Source: U.S. Mint, Sales & Figures, last accessed November 28, 2013.
Notice on the table above how demand for silver coins at the U.S. Mint this year has already surpassed the level … Read More
Given the recent further weakness in the price of gold bullion, should investors be running for the exit doors?
Some well-known “gold bugs” have recently turned bearish on the precious metal. But I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum; I see the pullback in gold prices as an opportunity of a lifetime for contrarian investors.
The gold bullion price chart below shows the long-term trend in gold bullion is still intact. Since 2001, the precious metal’s price has marched higher. Note there have been many pullbacks along the way, but in all cases, gold bullion prices recovered and moved higher after their pullback. And I believe we will see gold prices recover again from their current price correction.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
From a fundamental point of view, demand for the precious metal remains robust. Many central banks have become net buyers of gold bullion over the last couple of years, and consumer buying in gold is very strong.
So the question is: with so much negativity towards the precious metal, have we reached peak pessimism on gold bullion? My answer is that I believe we are slowly getting there.
Whether the lofty expectations pan out or not, believe it or not, there is more than one investment opportunity you can take advantage of to make money on the success of The Hunger Games series and other major Hollywood blockbusters.
The company behind the production of The Hunger Games is Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE/LGF), which is already up over 100% from its 52-week low and could head higher if the film sets new records, meaning this production company may be an investment opportunity. In addition to films, Lions Gate also produces 28 television shows over 20 networks.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Fundamentally, Lions Gate has delivered decent results, beating the Thomson Financial consensus earnings-per-share (EPS) estimate in each of the past four quarters, making it a possible investment opportunity. Revenues are estimated to grow 6.4% to $2.93 billion in fiscal 2015 ending in March. Fiscal earnings are estimated to rise 50% to $1.54 per diluted share in fiscal 2015. While the best gains are behind the stock … Read More
Central banks around the global economy are involved in a race that will not end well. Of course, I’m talking about the race to the bottom of currency devaluation, which is being achieved through the printing of more and more paper money backed by nothing.
Almost weekly, I hear news about different central banks in the global economy cranking up the speed of their printing presses; they are fixated on printing money because these central banks believe they can solve their economic problems by printing. They are wrong!
Our own Federal Reserve is creating $85.0 billion a month in money with the hopes of bringing economic growth to the U.S. economy. But this strategy is failing the masses in America. Those who have benefited the most from this exercise have been big banks, Wall Street, and the rich. The poor and middle-class are in a worse situation now than in 2007!
But it’s not just the Federal Reserve that’s printing massive amounts of new money. Other central banks are doing the same under a fancy phrase: “quantitative easing.”
The modification to the current one-child policy, which I recently discussed in these pages, will help create an even bigger middle class in the country that will drive up the demand for goods and services. (Read “China’s Expected Baby Boom a Boon for U.S. Business.”)
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has become more bullish on China, and predicts Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) growth will rise to 8.2% in 2014, driven by a rise in domestic consumer spending. (Source: “OECD sees China growth accelerating in 2014,” China Daily, November 20, 2013.) The OECD even goes as far as to say the Chinese economy could surpass the U.S. economy to become the world’s biggest economy by 2016. While this is faster than I expect, it’s clearly not impossible, given the rise in income levels and spending.
The middle class in China will drive the economic engine of the country, unlike what we are seeing in America with the declining spending prowess of the middle class. In … Read More
Recently, I revisited J. Anthony Boeckh’s book The Great Reflation, which was written in 2010 and is a thorough, well-written analysis of the long-run cycles experienced by the U.S. economy and the affects of financial crises and monetary policy on the stock market.
Back in June, I presented a summary of Boeckh’s conclusions in this column. Many of his points, based on a non-political historical analysis of business and stock market cycles, have come to fruition. (See “Breakdown: U.S. Economy and Its Cycles in 18 Brief Points.”)
Here are Boeckh’s key top-10 conclusions:
1. The global financial system will always remain flawed and subject to price inflation and bubbles, so long as it is based on fiat paper money. All anchorless fiat money systems are destined to suffer inflation and instability.
2. Stock market investors will be playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Federal Reserve for years to come, a problem caused by excessive private and public debt.
3. Deleveraging of the private sector bodes … Read More
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