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

Silver

Silver is a precious metal that is the best conductor of electricity known to man. Silver, for thousands of years, was used a currency, even before gold. Currently, there are numerous new uses for silver being found in biotechnology, solar energy and in technology in general.

A Rational Look at Silver

By for Profit Confidential

Rational Look at SilverAs silver prices started to decline last year, silver mining companies halted projects where costs were too high in relation to the new reality of silver prices.

According to a report produced for the Silver Institute and created by Thomson Reuters GFMS, in 2013, the silver supply fell to 985.1 million ounces, down from 1,005.3 million ounces a year earlier—a two-percent drop in production. (Source: The Silver Institute web site, last accessed October 1, 2014.)

But demand for silver was increasing over the same period.

While silver prices were declining (from the same report), demand for silver in 2013 increased 13% to 1,081 million ounces, compared to 954 million ounces in 2012. Demand for silver coins and bars jumped 76% in 2013 over 2012! As silver prices fell, investors bought more silver.

The chart below compares gold bullion prices (golden line) and silver prices (grey line) over the last year.

Gold - Spot Price Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Looking at this chart, you will make one key observation: while gold bullion prices still remain above their December 2013 lows, silver prices have broken below their 2013 lows and are down more than 10% year-to-date.

Looking at this, I ask: has anything changed for silver? The only change is that the media is telling us the economy is doing better; hence, investors are not buying into the precious metal sector. But the reality of the situation is that the supply of silver in the market is declining, while demand is rising by the double-digits.

Pessimism towards the “poor man’s gold” has gone too far. In fact, I’m expecting silver to provide investors with a better … Read More

The Question Everyone Is Asking This Morning

By for Profit Confidential

Stocks Turn Negative for 2014; Likely to Get WorseYesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 317 points, while the NASDAQ Composite Index fell 93 points—respective losses of about two percent per index. This morning, stock market futures are down again.

As a reader of Profit Confidential, this “rout” we are now in should come as no surprise. I have been writing for months how overpriced the stock market has become, how the stock market has become one big bubble thanks to the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve, and how the bubble would burst.

Yesterday, those who have been riding the stock market’s coattails higher and higher got the first taste of what is being called a “correction” by the mainstream media. But like I just said, to me, this is a stock market bubble that is bursting—very different than a correction. For months, historically proven stock market indicators (many of which I have written about in these pages) have been flashing red…but very few investors paid any attention to them.

The Dow Jones is now down for 2014. Yes, seven months into the year and big-cap stocks have gone nowhere. So far in 2014, investors would have done better owning gold and silver or U.S. Treasuries.

I have been predicting this will be a down year for the stock market and I’m keeping with that forecast. After five consecutive positive years for the stock market, the bounce from the 2008 market low of 6,440 on the Dow Jones could finally be over.

Dear reader, as elementary as it sounds, interest rates are the catalyst for all this.

After falling for 30 years, a time in … Read More

Why I Never Pay for Coffee at Sam’s Bakery

By for Profit Confidential

Grains of coffee and dollarsThere’s a local bakery near my office I try to get to at least once a week. Sam and his wife own the bakery, and Sam is usually the one there serving espressos and cappuccinos to the many small business owners who meet there early in the morning to talk about business and the economy.

My problem is that I never pay for coffee at Sam’s bakery. “Don’t worry Michael, it’s been taken care of” is the standard line Sam usually gives me. Either Sam is giving me free coffee or one person is buying for everyone in the bakery.

But I think my free coffee streak is about to end.

Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (NASDAQ/KRFT) recently raised the prices of its Maxwell House and Yuban coffee brands by 10%. This is after another company called The J.M. Smucker Company increased its prices. (Source: Bloomberg, June 8, 2014.)

But it’s not just coffee prices that are moving up. Even the government itself is now predicting food prices will rise at an accelerated rate this year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, inflation in food prices in the U.S. economy will be between 2.5% and 3.5% in 2014. This is compared to just a 0.9% increase in prices in 2013. Inflation of meat prices is expected to be much higher. Beef and veal prices are expected to increase 5.5% and 6.0% respectively this year. (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture web site, last accessed June 10, 2014.)

I believe food prices will rise much faster than what the government is predicting; I’m talking real inflation of five to eight percent per … Read More

Silver Prices to Double from Here?

By for Profit Confidential

Silver  Better Opportunity Than Gold YearIs silver presenting an even greater investment opportunity than gold bullion?

It’s been well documented in these pages that demand for gold bullion is increasing and supply is declining due to lower prices. The silver market is going through the exact same thing.

Last year, the Indian government decided to curb demand for gold bullion in that country by increasing the duty on gold imports. This resulted in a significant decline in gold bullion imports. But what went unsaid was that silver demand skyrocketed as gold bullion demand fell. In 2013, silver imports into India almost tripled to 5,478 tonnes. (Source: Reuters, March 4, 2014.)

Demand for silver is increasing here in the U.S. as well. The table below shows demand for Silver Eagle coins sold at the U.S. Mint in the first four months of each year since 2011.

U.S. MINT SALES OF SILVER EAGLE COINS

Month 2011 2012 2013 2014
January 6,422,000 6,107,000 7,498,000 4,775,000
February 3,240,000 1,490,000 3,368,500 3,750,000
March 2,767,000 2,542,000 3,356,500 5,354,000
April 2,819,000 1,520,000 4,087,000 4,590,500
Total Sold 15,248,000 11,659,000 18,310,000 18,469,500

Data source: U.S. Mint web site, last accessed May 1, 2014

From the table, you can easily see that the demand for silver coins in the first four months of 2013 and 2014 was greater than it was in 2011 and 2012. 2011 was the year silver prices were reaching $50.00 an ounce. In 2012, silver prices were relatively flat. In 2013 and this year, as silver prices declined, we saw more buying of silver coins; silver prices are bringing more buyers.

On the supply side, there are constraints in the silver … Read More

The Last Group of Burgeoning Stocks

By for Profit Confidential

The Income Stocks Investors Now CraveQuite a bit of speculative fervor has been zapped out of this market, which is helpful for the longer-run trend.

With the exception of biotechnology stocks, trading action has softened in initial public offerings (IPOs), 3D (three-dimensional) printer stocks, cloud software stocks, and even a lot of restaurant stocks that only recently were very hot.

The stock market is just a continuing cycle of fluctuating investor sentiment. Valuations among junior energy producers got really excessive last year and the entire group now seems to be in consolidation.

Gold and silver stocks appear to have been toast for a while. As is always the case in resource investing, even the best growth stories can’t generally get their share prices moving if the underlying commodity price is stagnant. Precious metals stocks have always traded in manias, and this is not likely to change.

In a slow-growth environment, dividend income is key. And after an exceptional year like 2013, it may just be the only rate of return to be had.

But like so many large-cap stocks last year, some of the best dividend payers have already gone up tremendously. There isn’t a lot of value for an equity buyer these days.

One specific sector that continues to be relatively hot is the master limited partnerships (MLP) of energy companies. There is very good yield to be had from this sector in addition to the potential for capital gains. There have been countless new listings of these securities, and the North American production boom is the reason.

One firm that illustrates the combination of capital gains and income that can be found in … Read More

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