Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

Copper

This metal has been mined for thousands of years. Copper has a very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and has a reddish-orange color. Most copper is mined from large, open-pit mines. Chile is the top mine producer of the metal, followed by the U.S. Copper is used in electrical wires, plumbing, roofing, and various industrial uses in machines. In many instances, copper is used in place of aluminum because it is a better electrical conductor. Since it is waterproof, it has been used as roofing material. The green color of copper occurs when it is oxidized over a long period of time.

Significant Divergence Between Copper Prices and Stock Market Not to Be Ignored

By for Profit Confidential

Two Leading Indicators Warn of a Stock Market TopIn the midst of all the optimism we see towards key stock indices these days, there are two leading indicators that are flashing warning signals. They say, “Be careful, and don’t get caught up in the euphoria.”

Let’s start with the amount of money investors are borrowing to buy stocks…

Margin debt, the amount of money borrowed to purchase stocks, is one of the leading indicators of where key stock market indices will go. Historically, the higher margin debt gets, the more risk for key stock indices. This indicator predicted the top of the stock market in 2007 and the Tech Boom top of 2000.

As it stands, margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is at its highest point ever recorded—$451 billion. (Source: New York Stock Exchange web site, last accessed March 25, 2014.) Sadly, this fact continues to be ignored by stock advisors. Yes, investors have borrowed almost half a trillion dollars to buy NYSE-listed stocks!

Another key indicator that suggests key stock indices are stretched is copper prices.

Since the beginning of the year, copper prices have plunged lower. What’s interesting about this is that copper prices usually top before the key stock market indices do; they usually bottom before stocks as well. In the chart below, I have plotted copper prices (black line) over the S&P 500 and circled areas where copper has acted as a leading indicator of key stock indices.

SPX S&P 500 Large Cap ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Copper prices topped in 2007 before key stock indices did. Then in 2009, they bottomed out well before the S&P 500, about three months earlier. Then in 2011, … Read More

What the Breakout in the Gold-to-Copper Ratio Is Telling Us

By for Profit Confidential

Copper Flashing a Buy Signal for GoldCopper is considered an industrial metal, used in industries across the board. When copper prices fall, it’s usually an indicator of a slowdown in the global economy. On the contrary, gold bullion isn’t much of an industrial metal; rather, it is used as a hedge against uncertainty in the global economy.

When you look at these two metals together, often referred to as the gold-to-copper ratio, they tell us something very important: the ratio of how many pounds of copper it takes to buy one ounce of gold bullion has long been an indicator of sentiment in the global economy.

If the gold-to-copper ratio is in a downtrend, it means investors are betting on the global economy to grow. In contrast, if it is increasing (if the number of pounds of copper it costs to buy an ounce of gold is rising), it tells us investors are concerned about protecting their wealth in a slowing global economy.

Below, you’ll find a chart of the gold-to-copper ratio.

GOLD - Spot (EOD) Copeer ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Looking at the chart above, it is clear something happened at the beginning of 2014. Investors became very worried. Since the beginning of the year, the gold-to-copper ratio has increased more than 28%—the steepest increase in more than two years.

And the weekly chart of copper prices looks terrible too:

Copper - Spot Proce (EOD) CME ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Copper prices have been trending downward since 2011. In 2013, these prices broke below their 200-day moving average and recently, they broke below a very critical support level at $3.00. While all of this was happening, on the chart, there was also a formation of a … Read More

What the Collapse in Copper Prices Means for Investors

By for Profit Confidential

Why Are Copper Prices CollapsingAlmost daily, there’s a new piece of information coming out about the Chinese economy that suggests economic conditions there are worsening. We see China’s manufacturing sector is contracting and there’s a credit crunch in the making.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last Friday on the state of the Chinese economy and its rapid decline in growth. It cited Premier Li Keqlang’s warning to investors that China was “likely to see some corporate defaults in debts.” (Source: “China Reports Broad Economic Slowdown,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2014.)

The economic slowdown in the Chinese economy is another reason why the U.S. economy will slow down in 2014.

Too often investors forget that China is one of our major trading partners and a significant number of American companies operate in China. If the economic slowdown in the Chinese economy gains strength, then those American companies selling goods to China and those operating there will see their profits shrink.

As the Chinese economy boomed over the past 10 years, the prices of copper and other base metals needed in the building of the country’s infrastructure skyrocketed. Now, with an economic slowdown looming in the air for the Chinese economy, base metal prices, especially copper prices, are sliding lower.

The chart below shows how copper prices have declined significantly since the beginning of 2014.

Copper - Spot Price (EOD) CME ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

How will lower copper prices affect North American investors? Those companies in the U.S. economy that deal with base metals, such as copper, will see their profitability decline; thus, their stock prices will decline.

On a macro scale, the sharp decline in copper … Read More

Why Copper Prices Are Collapsing

By for Profit Confidential

Economic Growth Falls to 2009 LevelCopper prices are collapsing, a sign that manufacturing activity in the global economy is slowing.

The chart below shows copper prices are down more than five percent so far this year. Notice the steep decline in copper prices starting this January.

Copper is a major commodity used as a material ingredient in a wide variety of manufactured goods. If copper prices are declining, which means demand is falling, we get an early indication that manufacturers are producing less because customer demand is soft.

At the same time, in another startling development, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), the next chart below, has collapsed 50% from the beginning of the year.

Copper - Spot Price (EOD) Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The BDI basically tracks shipping prices of raw materials in the global economy. When the BDI declines, it means fewer goods are being shipped in the global economy, a sign that the worldwide economy is slowing.

Baltic Dry Index (EOD) Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Last but not least, as we have been hearing in the news, the emerging markets in the global economy are in trouble.

Manufacturers in the global economy, not being able to sell enough to developed countries like the U.S. and Europe, were hoping to sell more of their goods to once “fast”-growing emerging markets. But now, economic growth in these countries is slowing, too.

Russia, one of the major emerging markets in the global economy, reported its 2013 economic growth rate was the lowest since 2009! The Russian Federal Statistics Service said the economy grew by 1.3% in 2013 compared to 3.4% in 2012. (Source: Bloomberg, January 31, 2014.)

Other emerging markets like India and China have … Read More

My Early Insights on the Big Stock Market Winners in 2014

By for Profit Confidential

Reviewing the Year in StocksThis past year will be forgettable for those investors who stayed loyal to the metals: gold, silver, and copper.

Gold lost its luster with very little as far as global inflation, no major uprising in the Middle East, and the stock market delivering impressive returns. At this juncture, despite gold’s recent bounce to the $1,240-an-ounce range, I continue to advise looking elsewhere at this time, as I doubt gains will be sustainable. Traders could buy on weakness down to $1,200 and sell on rallies towards $1,240. That’s the only way you’re going to make money in gold at this time. (Read “Should Investors Hold Out for $1,300-an-Ounce Gold Before Investing?”)

Silver followed gold lower, but could rally should the economic renewal continue to pick up steam. Trade silver if you feel the global economy is recovering. The same goes for copper.

In contrast, the big winner in the stock market this year was the solar sector, which surged about 164%, according to data from Barchart.com. Yet while the gains have been impressive, you don’t want to be chasing the gains higher, due to the extreme volatility of solar stocks in the stock market at this time.

If you are looking for solar opportunities in the stock market, stick with companies in the United States and Canada. The “Best of Breed” in this sector is probably large-cap First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ/FSLR), a developer of solar hardware that converts the sun’s rays into electricity. But if you are searching for smaller companies, consider checking out SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ/SPWR) on the mid-cap side and Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ/CSIQ) on the small-cap … Read More

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Significant Divergence Between Copper Prices and Stock Market Not to Be Ignored

By for Profit Confidential

Two Leading Indicators Warn of a Stock Market TopIn the midst of all the optimism we see towards key stock indices these days, there are two leading indicators that are flashing warning signals. They say, “Be careful, and don’t get caught up in the euphoria.”

Let’s start with the amount of money investors are borrowing to buy stocks…

Margin debt, the amount of money borrowed to purchase stocks, is one of the leading indicators of where key stock market indices will go. Historically, the higher margin debt gets, the more risk for key stock indices. This indicator predicted the top of the stock market in 2007 and the Tech Boom top of 2000.

As it stands, margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is at its highest point ever recorded—$451 billion. (Source: New York Stock Exchange web site, last accessed March 25, 2014.) Sadly, this fact continues to be ignored by stock advisors. Yes, investors have borrowed almost half a trillion dollars to buy NYSE-listed stocks!

Another key indicator that suggests key stock indices are stretched is copper prices.

Since the beginning of the year, copper prices have plunged lower. What’s interesting about this is that copper prices usually top before the key stock market indices do; they usually bottom before stocks as well. In the chart below, I have plotted copper prices (black line) over the S&P 500 and circled areas where copper has acted as a leading indicator of key stock indices.

SPX S&P 500 Large Cap ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Copper prices topped in 2007 before key stock indices did. Then in 2009, they bottomed out well before the S&P 500, about three months earlier. Then in 2011, … Read More

What the Breakout in the Gold-to-Copper Ratio Is Telling Us

By for Profit Confidential

Copper Flashing a Buy Signal for GoldCopper is considered an industrial metal, used in industries across the board. When copper prices fall, it’s usually an indicator of a slowdown in the global economy. On the contrary, gold bullion isn’t much of an industrial metal; rather, it is used as a hedge against uncertainty in the global economy.

When you look at these two metals together, often referred to as the gold-to-copper ratio, they tell us something very important: the ratio of how many pounds of copper it takes to buy one ounce of gold bullion has long been an indicator of sentiment in the global economy.

If the gold-to-copper ratio is in a downtrend, it means investors are betting on the global economy to grow. In contrast, if it is increasing (if the number of pounds of copper it costs to buy an ounce of gold is rising), it tells us investors are concerned about protecting their wealth in a slowing global economy.

Below, you’ll find a chart of the gold-to-copper ratio.

GOLD - Spot (EOD) Copeer ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Looking at the chart above, it is clear something happened at the beginning of 2014. Investors became very worried. Since the beginning of the year, the gold-to-copper ratio has increased more than 28%—the steepest increase in more than two years.

And the weekly chart of copper prices looks terrible too:

Copper - Spot Proce (EOD) CME ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Copper prices have been trending downward since 2011. In 2013, these prices broke below their 200-day moving average and recently, they broke below a very critical support level at $3.00. While all of this was happening, on the chart, there was also a formation of a … Read More

What the Collapse in Copper Prices Means for Investors

By for Profit Confidential

Why Are Copper Prices CollapsingAlmost daily, there’s a new piece of information coming out about the Chinese economy that suggests economic conditions there are worsening. We see China’s manufacturing sector is contracting and there’s a credit crunch in the making.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story last Friday on the state of the Chinese economy and its rapid decline in growth. It cited Premier Li Keqlang’s warning to investors that China was “likely to see some corporate defaults in debts.” (Source: “China Reports Broad Economic Slowdown,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2014.)

The economic slowdown in the Chinese economy is another reason why the U.S. economy will slow down in 2014.

Too often investors forget that China is one of our major trading partners and a significant number of American companies operate in China. If the economic slowdown in the Chinese economy gains strength, then those American companies selling goods to China and those operating there will see their profits shrink.

As the Chinese economy boomed over the past 10 years, the prices of copper and other base metals needed in the building of the country’s infrastructure skyrocketed. Now, with an economic slowdown looming in the air for the Chinese economy, base metal prices, especially copper prices, are sliding lower.

The chart below shows how copper prices have declined significantly since the beginning of 2014.

Copper - Spot Price (EOD) CME ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

How will lower copper prices affect North American investors? Those companies in the U.S. economy that deal with base metals, such as copper, will see their profitability decline; thus, their stock prices will decline.

On a macro scale, the sharp decline in copper … Read More

Why Copper Prices Are Collapsing

By for Profit Confidential

Economic Growth Falls to 2009 LevelCopper prices are collapsing, a sign that manufacturing activity in the global economy is slowing.

The chart below shows copper prices are down more than five percent so far this year. Notice the steep decline in copper prices starting this January.

Copper is a major commodity used as a material ingredient in a wide variety of manufactured goods. If copper prices are declining, which means demand is falling, we get an early indication that manufacturers are producing less because customer demand is soft.

At the same time, in another startling development, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), the next chart below, has collapsed 50% from the beginning of the year.

Copper - Spot Price (EOD) Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The BDI basically tracks shipping prices of raw materials in the global economy. When the BDI declines, it means fewer goods are being shipped in the global economy, a sign that the worldwide economy is slowing.

Baltic Dry Index (EOD) Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Last but not least, as we have been hearing in the news, the emerging markets in the global economy are in trouble.

Manufacturers in the global economy, not being able to sell enough to developed countries like the U.S. and Europe, were hoping to sell more of their goods to once “fast”-growing emerging markets. But now, economic growth in these countries is slowing, too.

Russia, one of the major emerging markets in the global economy, reported its 2013 economic growth rate was the lowest since 2009! The Russian Federal Statistics Service said the economy grew by 1.3% in 2013 compared to 3.4% in 2012. (Source: Bloomberg, January 31, 2014.)

Other emerging markets like India and China have … Read More

My Early Insights on the Big Stock Market Winners in 2014

By for Profit Confidential

Reviewing the Year in StocksThis past year will be forgettable for those investors who stayed loyal to the metals: gold, silver, and copper.

Gold lost its luster with very little as far as global inflation, no major uprising in the Middle East, and the stock market delivering impressive returns. At this juncture, despite gold’s recent bounce to the $1,240-an-ounce range, I continue to advise looking elsewhere at this time, as I doubt gains will be sustainable. Traders could buy on weakness down to $1,200 and sell on rallies towards $1,240. That’s the only way you’re going to make money in gold at this time. (Read “Should Investors Hold Out for $1,300-an-Ounce Gold Before Investing?”)

Silver followed gold lower, but could rally should the economic renewal continue to pick up steam. Trade silver if you feel the global economy is recovering. The same goes for copper.

In contrast, the big winner in the stock market this year was the solar sector, which surged about 164%, according to data from Barchart.com. Yet while the gains have been impressive, you don’t want to be chasing the gains higher, due to the extreme volatility of solar stocks in the stock market at this time.

If you are looking for solar opportunities in the stock market, stick with companies in the United States and Canada. The “Best of Breed” in this sector is probably large-cap First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ/FSLR), a developer of solar hardware that converts the sun’s rays into electricity. But if you are searching for smaller companies, consider checking out SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ/SPWR) on the mid-cap side and Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ/CSIQ) on the small-cap … Read More

Three Profitable U.S. Plays on the Lucrative Chinese Auto Market

By for Profit Confidential

Chinese economyIt’s no secret that China is the biggest market for numerous raw materials, such as cement, steel, coal, copper, and oil, along with end-products, such as vehicles and mobile phones.

The growth of the middle class and wages in the country is the vital attraction for companies to go and set up shop there. Credit Suisse estimates the household wealth in the country will double to $35.0 trillion by around 2015, based on achieving sustainable gross domestic product (GDP) growth at or near the current growth rate. Moreover, the government’s strategy to drive domestic consumption will also help to push up the demand for goods and services.

An area in the Chinese economy that I continue to believe has tremendous long-term potential is the auto sector, but the short-term will pose some hurdles due to some buying limits imposed by the government.

The Chinese motor vehicle market is the largest in the world, and it continues to distance itself from the United States. The upward demand for vehicles remains in spite of the government’s efforts to limit vehicle sales in many of China’s largest cities in an attempt to cut pollution.

As a potential market for vehicles, China remains tops. Auto sales surged 16% in November following a 24% jump in October, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. (Source: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers web site, last accessed December 11, 2013.) About 1.7 million vehicles were sold for an annualized growth of 20.4 million. By comparison, sales of autos increased nine percent in the United States in November to an annualized rate of 16.4 million vehicles, according to … Read More

Four “Proofs” Stock Market Rally Will Fall Flat on Its Face

By for Profit Confidential

 key stock indicesHistorically, key stock indices and the price of copper have moved in line with each other. Why? The relationship is very simple: copper is an industrial metal, and when demand for it is increasing (and its price rises), it means companies in the economy are producing and selling more. Investors usually take that as a bullish signal for key stock indices.

But today, we see copper prices and key stock indices moving in the opposite direction of each other.

Below, I’ve put together a chart that shows the action of both the S&P 500 (top of chart) and copper prices (bottom of chart). The chart shows that since 2011, the S&P 500 and copper prices have been moving farther apart.

S&P 500 Large Cap Index Chart Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

But the chart of the S&P 500 above doesn’t just show its relationship with copper; it also shows that volume on the S&P 500 has been declining. Look at the bars just below the rising trend of the S&P 500, and you will see I have drawn a line showing a significant decline in volume on the S&P 500—fewer and fewer shares are being traded despite the index trading near an all-time high.

Historically, and like any asset, prices rise when demand rises. But today, we have the S&P 500 moving higher on declining volume—a historical omen for the markets!

And corporate revenue growth (the mainstream focuses on corporate “earnings”) are worrisome, too.

We are in the midst of the third-quarter earnings season. As of October 18, of the 97 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported, 69% of the companies have reported earnings above … Read More

What Are the Homebuilder Stocks Trying to Tell Us After Falling 20% Since May?

By for Profit Confidential

housing marketThe U.S. housing market is “hot;” home prices are going up and up. At least that’s what the mainstream’s saying.

The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, considered a key indicator of the U.S housing market, increased to 159.18 in July. In June, it stood at 158.20. Since the beginning of the year, the index of home prices in 20 major cities in the U.S. economy has increased by roughly 7.5%. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed September 24, 2013.)

Why isn’t this bullish news pushing up homebuilder stocks? Or more importantly, what are those leading indicator stocks trying to tell us by collapsing 20% since their May high?

As I continue to write in these pages, I am skeptical of the rise in home prices in the U.S. housing market. I believe the rebound in the housing market activity is a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s easy money and nothing else.

To have real growth in the housing market, you need buyers who are going to actually live in the homes they purchase. This analogy can also be used for other commodities. For example, to assess the condition in the copper market, if you see increased buying by companies that make copper products, this suggests there’s demand. On the contrary, if you see speculators, then you can assume they will bail as soon as they make some money on their trade.

The U.S. housing market has accumulated too many speculators. It is well documented in these pages how institutional investors are buying homes, fixing them up, and then renting them out.

For … Read More

Why China Wants Our Raw Materials So Desperately

By for Profit Confidential

090813_PC_leongAmerica has a national debt that is nearing $17.0 trillion. The Chinese own a good portion of this debt. The country also has about $3.5 trillion in foreign exchange reserves at its disposal, according to the South China Morning Post. (Source: “Beijing to create forex investment agency,” China Economic Review, August 7, 2013.)

That’s a lot of money that needs to be invested. But according to the article, the People’s Bank of China (PBC) is looking at the development of a new unit that will help to invest the funds. Currently, investing the reserves is the responsibility of China Investment Corporation, which has invested about $480 billion.

What I see is this: the continued movement of invested capital into foreign countries by China is a strategy for diversification and a means by which the country can get its hands on raw materials and intellectual property. We saw this with the acquisition of mining and oil companies in North America, along with major investments in the oil fields and mines in South Africa.

Call it the “Red Invasion,” but I expect foreign acquisitions to pick up going forward, especially with the creation of another agency by the PBC. Of course, China has its eyes on many companies, but receiving approval for the takeovers is another question.

Even the proposed takeover of pork producer Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE/SFD) by Shuanghui International Holdings Limited was met with some resistance, but now it looks like the deal will go through.

I expect China will focus on acquiring raw materials with its reserves—iron, copper, oil—along with agriculture and industrial outlets. I wouldn’t be … Read More

A Mirage Called the Stock Market

By for Profit Confidential

A Mirage Called the Stock MarketWhile an economic slowdown is looming over the global economy, no one seems to care, as stock markets continue to reach new record-highs—giving investors false hopes of economic growth. But how long can this mirage actually last?

The economic slowdown in the global economy I’m talking about is a worldwide pullback in growth. Take India as the first example. According to India’s Central Statistics Office, the Indian economy is growing at five percent—its slowest pace in a decade! The director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry was quoted late last week as saying, “With no visible pick-up in any key levers of the economy, the situation remains grim.” (Source: Mallet, V., “India records slowest growth in a decade,” Financial Times, May 31, 2013.)

China, the second-biggest economic hub in the global economy, is facing headwinds, as its economy is growing at its slowest pace since 2009. Japan has undergone the largest per-capita quantitative easing program in history (its debt-to-gross domestic product [GDP] is running above 200%), and that country is back in a recession.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone was reported last week at 12.2% for April. It was 12.1% in March. The unemployment rate in Spain stood at 26.8 % and in Portugal, it stood at 17.8%. (Source: Eurostat web site, May 31, 2013.)

And industrial metal prices, which are supposed to be a leading indicator, are all heading downward.

Take a look at the chart below of the Dow Jones-UBS Industrial Metals Index. This index provides an overall picture of the performance of industrial metals.

$DJAIN Dow Jones-UBS Industrial Metals Index stock chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Since the beginning of the … Read More

How Copper Prices Suggest Stocks Are Priced Too High

By for Profit Confidential

Copper-PricesThe S&P 500 traded at another record high last Thursday, and there appears to be no stopping the bullish investor sentiment that has encapsulated the stock market.

Yet, while the stock market gains are great for the bulls, I still have an issue with the rate of the stock market rally. Simply stated, it’s just a bit too fast, too quick.

I also wonder why the stock market is ignoring the continued fragile state of the global economy in spite of a deep recession in the eurozone and stalling in China.

The reality is that we need to be concerned about how the global economy is faring. The idea of focusing too much on only America doesn’t make sense due to the increased correlation between the global economies. Slowing in Asia and Europe will impact U.S. companies. (Read “Why America Will Struggle if the Eurozone Languishes.”)

Looking at China, while the Chinese economy continues to expand at rates we can only dream of, the country is stalling, as reflected in its demand for commodities.

Copper is a key commodity used in wiring, pipes, electronics, and other areas. When the economy expands, so does the demand for copper.

China imported less copper in February with imports declining to a 20-month low, according to the country’s General Administration of Customs (Source: “China Copper Imports Slump to 20-Month Low on Holidays,” Bloomberg, March 7, 2013, last accessed May 6, 2013.) China is the world’s top importer of copper, so the decline in the import number is important. (Source: “International Trade Centre,” NationMaster.com, last accessed May 6, 2013.)

The lower demand … Read More

Already Fragile Economy Hit with Falling Retail Sales, Rising Business Inventories

By for Profit Confidential

Rising Business InventoriesGross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. economy mainly consists of consumer spending. Hence, the more consumers spend and buy, the better our economic conditions become. In 2012, consumer spending in the U.S. economy accounted for more than $11.1 trillion. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed April 12, 2013.)

Unfortunately, as we finish the first quarter of 2013, economic indicators are suggesting U.S. consumer spending is under severe pressure.

Retail sales in the U.S. economy just took a wrong turn and dropped 0.4% in March from February’s sales. Consumer spending at electronics and appliance stores, health and personal care stores, and general merchandise stores posted a negative growth compared to the same period in 2012. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, April 12, 2013.)

Similarly, a key indicator of future consumer spending, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index declined to the lowest point in nine months in April. The preliminary consumer sentiment index registered at 72.3 in April, down from 78.6 in March. (Source: Reuters, April 12, 2013.) Remember: consumers turning pessimistic means a pullback in consumer spending.

At the other end of the equation, we see businesses in the U.S. economy increasing their inventories. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, manufacturing and trade inventories in February of this year edged up almost five percent from a year ago. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, April 12, 2013.)

Businesses often build up inventories in anticipation of demand, but looking at consumer sentiment and retail sales, I highly doubt that’s the case. It’s actually the opposite; business inventories are increasing because of a lack of demand…. Read More

Base Metal Demand Turning Bleak; Not a Good Sign for Global Economy

By for Profit Confidential

The threat of an economic slowdown in the global economy is increasing each day, but thanks to the optimistic stock markets flaring due to easy money, the threat goes unnoticed.

Copper stockpiles in the London Mercantile Exchange warehouses have reached a 10-year high. Since the beginning of this year, copper inventories have surged 84%. (Source: Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2013.)

According to the World Steel Association, steel demand in Japan is expected to decline (for the second year in a row) by 2.2% in 2013 and a further 0.6% in 2014. Similarly, the use of steel in the U.S. is expected to slow this year compared to 2012. (Source: World Steel Association, April 11, 2013.)

Other base metals, often referred to as “industrial metals,” are witnessing their demise as well. Consider the chart below of the Dow Jones-UBS Industrial Metals Index.

$DJAIN Dow Jones UBS industrial metals chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

This index, comprising different base metal prices, has been declining since February and has shed more than 11% of its price. Base metals are used in many different industries, and if their demand slows and prices decline, then that’s not a great sign for the global economy.

Dear reader, it’s not a hidden fact: major economic hubs in the global economy are slowing down. In the U.S., we have high unemployment. Once-strong nations like Germany and France are being suppressed by an economic slowdown in the eurozone. Japan is in an outright recession. China’s economy is slowing, too.

After the economic slowdown of 2009, central banks in the global economy were able to inject significant amounts of money into their countries. Looking forward, … Read More

What Will It Take for Silver to Snap out of Its Coma?

By for Profit Confidential

Silver to Snap out of Its ComaSilver is in a coma at this time, stuck below $30.00 and both its 50- and 200-day moving averages (MAs). Yet for traders, prices can easily spike on any firm sign of a sustained global economic recovery, since the white metal is used in numerous industrial applications, including in the pharmaceutical, technology, jewelry, and industrial areas. Traders can also watch for buying from India and China. (Read “China: This is Your Time!”)

With signs of a sustained economic renewal in the United States, don’t be surprised to see the demand for silver ratchet higher. The uncertainty is the timing of the move.

Yet with silver currently doing very little, sitting below $30.00, it may be time to begin looking at the white metal as a possible upcoming trade back above $30.00.

Silver has been declining, caught in a sideways trading channel since September 2011, based on my technical analysis. Over the past year, the metal has made a new high only nine times, but in that same timeframe, it managed to make 15 new lows. Shortening the time to six months shows an even worse scenario, with 19 new lows and only two new highs.

As you can see in the chart below, spot silver has absolutely no support at this time; but this will be tested, as it heads toward a key support line, as indicated by the lower horizontal blue line in the chart.

As it has appeared numerous times in the past few years, silver looks set for a bounce back up past $30.00 to the $35.00 level, as it did in 2011 and 2012. … Read More

Warning for Global Economy: Copper Inventories Suddenly Rise 78% in First Quarter

By for Profit Confidential

Global EconomyKey indicators of economic growth in the global economy are turning the wrong way.

The London Mercantile Exchange (LME) has reported that in the first quarter of this year, copper inventories hiked up 78% to 569,775 tons. Copper inventories are a key indicator of industrial production and manufacturing, because the metal is used to make many different goods. Copper inventories increasing to record highs suggest there isn’t a lot of production happening in the global economy.

Likewise, one of the key indicators I often quote in these pages, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), has also been lagging. This key indicator shows the demand in the global economy. If it rises, it means global demand is increasing; if it declines, then the opposite is true. Take a look at the chart below:

 baltic dry index stock market chart

 Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Unfortunately, the five-year chart above clearly shows that the demand in the global economy hasn’t really picked up since the financial crisis. In fact, this key indicator is still in decline despite all the paper money printing by central banks around the world.

To top this off, emerging markets in the global economy, which were the main force driving economic growth after the financial crisis, are now in a rut and are looking for growth.

China, for example, has witnessed an economic slowdown that is causing havoc in the country. In 2013, the Chinese economy is expected to grow at the slowest pace seen in many years.

Likewise, nations like South Korea are struggling. The country lowered its growth targets for 2013 by more than 20%, from three percent to 2.3%, due to poor local … Read More

The Great Crash of 2014

A stock market crash bigger than what happened in 2008 and early 2009 is headed our way.

In fact, we are predicting this crash will be even more devastating than the 1929 crash…

…the ramifications of which will hit the economy and Americans deeper than anything we’ve ever seen.

Our 27-year-old research firm feels so strongly about this, we’ve just produced a video to warn investors called, “The Great Crash of 2014.”

In case you are not familiar with our research work on the stock market:

In late 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11, we told our clients to buy small-cap stocks. They rose about 100% after we made that call.

We were one of the first major advisors to turn bullish on gold.

Throughout 2002, we urged our readers to buy gold stocks; many of which doubled and even tripled in price.

In November of 2007, we started begging our customers to get out of the stock market. Shortly afterwards, it was widely recognized that October 2007 was the top for stocks.

We correctly predicted the crash in the stock market of 2008 and early 2009.

And in March of 2009, we started telling our readers to jump into small caps. The Russell 2000 gained about 175% from when we made that call in 2009 to today.

Many investors will find our next prediction hard to believe until they see all the proof we have to back it up.

Even if you don’t own stocks, what’s about to happen will affect you!

I urge you to be among the first to get our next major prediction.
See it here now in this just-released alarming video.

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