What Investors Can Expect in the Present Business Cycle

In my last Profit Confidential commentary, I parted with you, dear reader, with some advice that ignoring developments on the macroeconomic level could filter all the way down to your portfolios, potentially hurting your returns, or, at the very least, limiting your potential gains. Today, I would like to talk about what to expect on a microeconomic level at this point in the business cycle.

Let’s start with the fossil fuel arena, as it was perhaps the most talked-about sector in 2006. The Street consensus is that oil is likely to linger around the low $50.00 a barrel mark for the first six months of 2007, with the recovery ensuing in the second half.

Analysts, however, believe that the exciting part of the show is over and that we are not likely to see prices over $70.00 per barrel again, at least not this year. Bear in mind that this expected price moderation should hold provided there are no supply shocks on the macroeconomic level.

Moving on to metals mining, expect gold to offer you an interesting ride. Your timing decisions may depend on pieces of macroeconomic data, such as, for example, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which rose in January by 0.2%, pushing core inflation to increase by 0.3%.

As you know, there is nothing better for the price of gold than inflation jitters, and there seem to be plenty of those among U.S. investors of late. On the other hand, gold’s current “enemy,” so to speak, is the strengthening U.S. dollar, which recently sent bullion to its lowest level in the past two weeks or so.

As far as less “sexy,” base metals are concerned, look to spice up your portfolio with a few uranium and zinc stocks. In Lombardi Financial’s Explosive Mine Stocks portfolio, uranium stocks have always offered very generous returns.

Currently, the nuclear power sector is gaining momentum, resulting in demand shocks across the board and the creation of temporary price rallies. Similar demand contraction is happening with zinc, as inventories are getting tighter and tighter trying to appease the demand from emerging markets, predominantly in China.

I also wanted to talk to you about the technology sector. On the macroeconomic level, there are three factors that may cause the long-run aggregate supply curve to shift to the right, causing an increase in the real GDP.

Those three factors are people, the quality of their labor, and technological improvements. In the 21st Century, most corporations have finally figured out that hiring more people, educating them, and improving their skills and work conditions is a good way to go. They have also figured out that spending more money on technology is going to increase productivity and fatten corporations’ bottom lines in the process, which is why the technology sector is likely to get a chance to justify its high P/E multiples.

I’ll give you more areas to watch in the current business cycle in my commentary on Monday. In the meantime, start thinking about whether fossil fuels, metals, or technology may have a new place in your portfolio, considering the present environment.