Federal Reserve

Silver Near a 31-Year High

Silver Near a 31-Year High

Filed under: Major Movement , Competitive Strategy , Barrick Gold (ABX) , Commodities , Federal Reserve Back in the late 1970s, the Hunt brothers from Texas tried to corner the silver market . That drove prices to $48 an ounce. Now, 31 years later, silver is shooting higher again. The March silver futures contract closed at $32.296 per ounce , up 72 cents. Since gold is expensive, investors are turning to silver to hedge against inflation. Many fear that the Federal Reserve will not be able to control the spike in commodity prices. The Fed is buying $600 billion of treasuries and keeping interest rates near zero. Continue reading Silver Near a 31-Year High Silver Near a 31-Year High originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Sat, 19 Feb 2011 12:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Gold, Silver, Copper, Nickel and the Slow Death of Money

Gold, Silver, Copper, Nickel and the Slow Death of Money

A huge opportunity to hedge against both inflation and deflation is lying out there in the open. There are no transaction costs and right now there’s even a built-in discount. But most people will never realize any of this. In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal for U.S. citizens to hold gold bullion. Prior to that, the $20 bill was essentially a warehouse receipt for a one-ounce gold coin. Prior to the Federal Reserve Act of 1914, the $20 bill actually told you this. After Executive Order 6102, $20 notes weren’t allowed to be exchanged for gold anymore. Americans couldn’t legally own or trade gold as money and savings, only as jewelry or collectible coins. A year after making monetary gold ownership illegal, FDR revalued gold from $20.67 per ounce to $35 an ounce with the Gold Reserve Act. The Act also required all gold and gold certificates to be turned over to the Treasury. The dollar was debased. A chunk of the gold it used to be good for was legally removed. Instead of  “containing” 1/20 an ounce of gold, each dollar now only contained (or represented) 1/35 an ounce. And of course you couldn’t actually own the gold itself. In 1971 Nixon severed the last official ties between gold and the dollar. The dollar quickly sunk to its real value, which had been debased by years of money supply inflation. By 1975 Americans were allowed to own bullion gold again, but during the roughly 40 years bullion gold ownership had been illegal, the dollar had been drastically debased. At its former lowest point in the summer of 1980, the dollar …

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Inflation in (Mostly) the Wrong Places

It is often claimed that inflation is a benign, even positive, force. People assume that prices, wages, and assets will all rise together… In the real world, inflationary episodes don’t play out that way. Wages don’t keep up, and bubbles form in unexpected (and unwanted) places. In America, compensation is clearly stagnant. And the outlook for future pay raises is not good, as this chart from David Rosenberg shows: Contrast that with this next chart, which shows the percentage of companies planning to raise prices: Combine stagnant wages and slow growth with high unemployment and rising prices, and you get a recipe for stagflation. This scenario is being played out around the world. In the UK, consumer prices rose 4% in 2010. As noted by the Financial Times , wages aren’t keeping up: The prices of everyday goods and services are rising about twice as rapidly as average wages, Tuesday’s inflation figures confirmed — which means that the standard of living of many Britons is already falling. According to the Bank of England, average pay at the end of this year will be able to buy no more than it could in 2005. It is the first time that the purchasing power of earnings has fallen so far since the 1920s. I expect this trend to continue as long as the Fed’s mad experiment is ongoing. The thing about Central Bank “easing” is you never know where inflation will pop up… Easy money will always fuel speculators, who have little skin in the game, to find another bubble to “invest” in. Silver, gold, oil With printing presses switched “on” for the foreseeable future, we remain bullish on precious metals. Silver is holding above $30 today and could hit $37.50 on the next leg up. Coal, oil, and natural gas investments should continue to do well. And as my colleague Nick Hodge of Energy and Capital says, “Buy it if it burns.” If you’re not yet convinced that Fed printing is directly related to rising commodity prices, examine the following chart. (The solid blue line represents the Austrian Money Supply (AMS), and the solid teal line represents commodity prices ( IMF Commodity Index )): Note: The version of money supply shown

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Three Garbage Stocks

Three Garbage Stocks

The market goes up everyday… This two-year chart represents the thirty varsity players on the U.S. economic court. You might look at this 100% gain in two years and think that this bull market is overdue for a correction. But don’t worry. Uncle Ben, our fair Chairman over at the United States Federal Reserve, has it all in hand. This is not the time to fret over debt, inflation, taxes, or unemployment… Don’t fight the Fed This market is simple. The Fed is pumping liquidity into the market at an unprecedented rate. There is an old Wall Street platitude that says “Don’t Fight the Fed.” It means you buy stocks when interest rates are dropping and sell when they are going up. The current Fed fund rate is at 0.25%. It can’t get much lower, and no one expects them to hike rates in the near future. What are you waiting for… zero percent? People heed the Bernanke It looks like folks just like you and me are putting the hard times behind them… The adjusted retail numbers for December showed $380.9 billion in sales, an increase of 0.6 percent from the previous month, and 7.9 percent above December 2009. Total sales for 2010 were up 6.6 percent. For the fourth quarter, they were up 7.8 percent. Car sales jumped 14.7 percent over last year. For non-store retailers like Amazon, sales jumped 15 percent. The unofficial numbers for January show a 4.1 percent gain from a year ago. This is great stuff. Amazon investors liked it so much that the company now trades at twice the price it did during the dot-com bubble in 1999. Amazing. ~~SIGNUP_WD~~ The screen It’s a good idea to screen for stocks at least once a week. I generally screen for low P/E, small market capitalization, and good dividend. From there, I go through the list and look for red flags and growth potential. I like the companies that are under $250 million in market value, with high future growth and fat margins. I also look at debt ratios. I call these “garbage stocks” because they ain’t for widows and orphans, but they tend to run under the right circumstances. Today, three companies in the retail sector popped up on my screen. All three shared my garbage stock credentials. And they have something else in common: They cater to the petite bourgeois. They are Books-A-Million (NASDAQ: BAMM), Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT), and CPI Corp. (NYSE: CPY). The merchant of Wal-Mart All of these companies sell products to the middle class, but none of their products are necessities… Books-A-Million runs 223 discount bookstores in the Southeastern United States. Collectors Universe provides third-party authentication, grading, and related services for rare collectibles like coins, trading cards, and sports memorabilia. CPI runs Wal-Mart Portrait Studios and PictureMe Portrait Studios. BAMM has a market cap of $92 million and a trailing P/E of 6.62. The company had a negative revenue growth of 5.5% year over year, but it does pay a fat 5.2% dividend. (They could also be a beneficiary of Barnes and Noble going bankrupt.) CLCT has a market cap of $109.34 million, a P/E of 6.6, gross margins of 60%, quarterly revenue growth of 8%, and a dividend yield of 9%. CPY has a market cap of $152 million, a P/E of 8.06, 8% margins, a flat quarterly revenue growth, and a 5.10% dividend yield. …

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Weekend: The Fool Proof Retirement Plan

Welcome to the Wealth Daily Weekend Edition— our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Wealth Daily and sister publication articles. As I wrote earlier in the week, dividend reinvestment plans — or DRIPs — are a great way to secure your financial future. All you need is the time and patience to stick to the blueprint… The best part is these plans are offered by more than 1,100 companies and are available to investors of all stripes, making it possible to purchase shares of stock without using a broker. This allows investors to buy stock directly from the company in very small amounts— something that can be more difficult and costly when compared to buying shares through your broker. In fact most companies don’t charge a fee, and the minimum investment can be as low as $10. Advertisement 60 Minutes Reports on Growing Body Parts Call it what you want: biotechnology, tissue engineering, cell therapy, regenerative medicine. The famous newsmagazine has reported on one doctor about to make multiple medical problems disappear forever. Lucky for you, that same doctor sits on the board of a $3.00 company that will bring these solutions to market— making shareholders rich in the process. Check out the 60 Minutes clip to learn the name. The plans also reinvest all or partial dividends paid into more stock, thus the name “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.” And in this case — since the investment is based on dollar amounts — you can purchase fractional shares. In addition, investors can choose to add a monthly contribution to the plan, boosting the amount of wealth the DRIP can create. That means you can start out with as little…

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How Gold Could Save America from Nazi Theory

Keynesian economics is the root of economic problems for most countries around the world today. So it’s important to understand both what Keynesian economics stands for and what the opposing brand of economic thinking called Classical economics maintains. In a nutshell… Classical Economics: Keynesian Economics: Thrift, hard work, and productivity are virtues. The classical gold standard restrains the state from inflating and provides a stable monetary environment in which the economy can flourish. Government should strive for balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. The state should adopt a general policy of laissez-faire of non-interventionism in economic affairs: low taxes, free trade, and minimal bureaucracy. Production is more important than consumption. Say’s Law: Supply is more important than demand since supply of one good creates the demand for another. An increase in savings can contract income and reduce economic growth. Consumption is more important than production, thus turning Say’s Law upside down. There is no need for a gold standard; fiat currency is preferable. Demand is more important than supply. Teaches that governments and politicians can be trusted. It’s no wonder politicians love Keynesian economics over Classical economics. To control the economy, most governments around the world have been using Keynesian economics for the past 75 years. It is the only economic thought that is taught in the schools and universities. “They” want us to believe they are wise and intelligent souls who know what is best for us. But nothing could be further from the truth throughout most of economic history… Read this quote from Adolf Hitler, who openly embraced Keynesian ideas: Gold is not necessary. I have no interest in gold. We will build a solid state, without an ounce of gold behind it. Anyone who sells above the set prices, let him be marched off to a concentration camp. That’s the bastion of money. The Nazis’ economic success when Hitler first came into power was a result of Hitler cooking the books. The rest of his time in power goes down in history as one of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind. Only two other twisted power-seeking devils in the annals of time are responsible for the killing of more people than Hitler &mdash…

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Market Wrap-Up for Feb.9 (RL, DIS, AGU, IR, CSC, NYX, NOK, AAPL, more)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was on the hot seat today as he gave his annual Washington presentations. With the markets being significantly higher than they were this time last year, he was certainly feeling better about some of the recent data. Some of his statements pointed to increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold. Also, real consumer spending rose at an annual rate of more than 4 percent in the fourth quarter. There is no question that we have been seeing economic stabilization, and the markets have certainly been pricing stocks as if the lift can be sustained. We actually made some ratings changes this morning, removing four names from our recommended list. We continue to see opportunities in the market, but we are also aware that some names may just not have the risk/reward profile we are searching for, so we need to make changes when we see fit. You can check out the post if you did not read the e-mail alert we sent out to Dividend.com Premium members earlier. The markets were moving sideways early on, but some sellers did show up in certain areas, especially the commodity names. Earnings were in play today with buyers jumping at positive news from Polo Ralph Lauren ( RL ), Walt Disney ( DIS ), Syngenta ( SYT ) and Agrium ( AGU ). On the flip side, it wasn’t a great day for shares of Computer Sciences ( CSC ) or Ingersoll-Rand ( IR ) following both companies’ less-than-stellar results. Also, shares of NYSE Euronext ( NYX ) were halted for some time, but then popped higher when the stock was released for trading on reports the exchange was involved in merger talks with the Deutsche Börse. Interesting story making the rounds this morning about Nokia’s ( NOK ) CEO sending out a reality check memo overnight to everyone in the company. The memo details how the company has lost its way, with rivals Apple ( AAPL ) and Google ( GOOG ) eating their lunch. It’s a real admission that change needs to happen quickly or the company’s future could quickly dim further. I couldn’t help but think of how this relates to the many people that still today have not taken the financial steps to safeguard their later years (whether you are 5,10,20,or 30 …

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A Self-Employed Carpenter’s Thoughts on the Future

The world is changing. Currently, as a nation, we have a large and well-trained section of our work force dedicated to residential construction. Unemployment within the construction industry now exceeds 20%. That number takes into account only workers getting unemployment compensation. There are also many self-employed individuals, ineligible for unemployment compensation, who have simply run out of customers and work. That is the bad news. Now the worse news: Not only are those jobs not coming back, but the construction industry will continue to diminish for the foreseeable future. The real estate glut is not on hold; it is over. Waiting for its return is similar to waiting for next the big surge in typewriters, 35mm cameras, and home phones. Why are the construction jobs not coming back? There are three main reasons, the first of which is inflation. Decades of credit expansion and the recent printing of money (quantitative easing) have increased the overall volume of our fiat currency: dollars. Therefore, the value of each dollar unit has been reduced, causing prices to rise. This results in increased costs in construction of new homes. Higher new construction costs make staying in and repairing older structures, or renting, more attractive. The second reason is fuel costs. Living rurally and working in urban areas is becoming very expensive. Reasons one and two will keep an increasing number of younger workers and couples living and renting closer to work. Why take the financial and mobility risks associated with homeownership? The third reason is we are broke. Who are “we”? Western civilization, comprised mainly of the U.S. and Europe. Consider this…there are gold and silver coins and bullion: actual wealth storage vehicles. There are paper dollars: temporary wealth storage vehicles. And there are also trillions of “dollars” represented as pixels on screens in accounting software programs. When I say that we are broke it is because I don’t believe those pixel dollars represent anything. All of the wealth supposedly held in those pixels does not exist. It is a classic Ponzi scheme. If you go today and convert your pixels to actual dollars, everything is just fine. But if 10% of us go today and try to convert our pixels into dollars, the banks will shut down…Why? Because the money doesn’t exist. There is no actual wealth stored in any of those pixels. Spain and Portugal may require financial bailouts in 2011. Part of the fallout from the Greek financial crisis last year was the creation of a eurozone bailout fund of $1.01 trillion. That fund could be used to assist Spain and Portugal if necessary. Where did that $1.01 trillion come from? Was it removed from another sector of Europe’s economy? Supplied in gold bullion to EU headquarters in The Hague? Removed from the savings accounts of earnest Europeans? No, none of those could supply …

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An Egyptian Firebrand Away from $400 Oil

Investors are remarkably sanguine about the events in Tunisia and Egypt… Oil actually fell yesterday to $88.27. The Dow has been on a hot streak and is up again today — as it has been for months — to 12,149. History suggests events in the Middle East go from bad to worse. According to the Democracy Index put out by The Economist , there are no “established democracies” in the region. Israel is listed as a “flawed democracy.” Lebanon and Turkey were listed as “hybrid regime,” along with Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Armenia, and Iraq (Lebanon is now run by Hezbollah). The rest are categorized as “authoritarian regimes.” The last free vote saw Hamas sweep the Palestinian elections in 2006. Hamas started as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. On gaining power, they started lobbing rockets into Israel. In 2007, the Battle of Gaza was fought between Hamas and the Palestinian security forces. Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in most G-20 countries. In the aftermath, Israel and a Hosni Mubarak-ruled Egypt imposed an economic blockade on Gaza that is still in effect. Population and scarcity Jack Andrew Goldstone points out in his book, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World , that all revolutions from the French to the Russian, from China to Japan, occur where there is a rising population and diminishing resources coupled with an inflexible ruling party. (Note: The population in Russian doubled between 1850 and 1913.) Today, the Arab world has the fastest growing population on earth— and the youngest. In Yemen, the average age is 17.9 years with a birth replacement rate of 2.71, which puts it at number 23 in the world. The United Arab Emirates is in fourth place with 3.56, Kuwait is fifth with 3.50, the Gaza strip is six with 3.29. Libya, Chad, Egypt, Oman, Syria, and Iraq all make the top quintile. These young people will be the next rulers of the largest oil-producing region within the next ten years — mostly because all of the current leaders are in their 80s… with the exception of Qaddafi…

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Ben Plans, Food Prices Reach All-Time Highs

Ben Plans, Food Prices Reach All-Time Highs

Don’t you just love the Federal Reserve…? Higher prices have helped to set the world ablaze and Bernanke & Co. continue to insist inflation is a figment of our imagination. You see, despite the obvious fact that commodity prices are skyrocketing……. …the Fed comes out with this nonsense this morning. About inflation the Bernank remarked: “On the inflation front, we have recently seen significant increases in some highly visible prices, notably for gasoline. Indeed, prices of many commodities have risen lately, largely as a result of the very strong demand from fast-growing emerging market economies, coupled, in some cases, with constraints on supply. Nevertheless, overall inflation remains quite low : Over the 12 months ending in December, prices for all the goods and services purchased by households increased by only 1.2 percent, down from 2.4 percent over the prior 12 months. To assess underlying trends in inflation, economists also follow several alternative measures of inflation; one such measure is so-called core inflation, which excludes the more volatile food and energy components and therefore can be a better predictor of where overall inflation is headed. Core inflation was only 0.7 percent in 2010, compared with around 2-1/2 percent in 2007, the year before the recession began.” Meanwhile, the reality is food prices around the world have hit their highest levels EVER… From Breitbart entitled: World food prices hit record high: UN agency “ World food prices reached their highest level ever recorded in January and are set to keep rising for months, the UN food agency said on Thursday, warning that the hardest-hit countries could face turmoil. Rising food prices have been cited among the driving forces behind recent popular revolts in north Africa, including the uprising in Egypt and the toppling …

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How to Replace Austerity with Freedom, Independence and Prosperity

The Economic Collapse Blog has this list of examples of how European-style “austerity” is already hitting the U.S., including cities closing schools and fire stations, and states eliminating whole state agencies and raising taxes. That includes the state of Illinois whose legislature has passed a “temporary” 66% personal income tax hike that the Democrat governor will sign. Rest assured, this income tax hike will be as “temporary” as the one in Massachusetts , still in place since 1989. Such austerity measures may lead to the same kind of social unrest Europeans have been experiencing. The Economic Collapse Blog concludes, We are entering a time of extreme financial stress in America.  The federal government is broke.  Most of our state and local governments are broke.  Record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt.  Record numbers of Americans are being kicked out of their homes.  Record numbers of Americans are now living in poverty. The debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades came at a cost.  We literally mortgaged the future.  Now nothing will ever be the same again. To say that “nothing will ever be the same again” is just pessimistic and unnecessary. We actually can return to the prosperity of the past, by replacing debt and austerity with freedom and independence. There is no need for Americans to suffer through what European countries are suffering, because nearly all the problems we face are caused by governmental intrusions into many aspects of our personal and economic lives — intrusions by federal, state and local governments. Regardless of the good intentions that the welfare and military socialism statists have in justifying their use of compulsory government powers, what America needs is to cut the shackles of State-imposed dependence, restrictions, regulations, taxation, all those policies of moral relativism that involve violations of the Rule of Law: theft, trespass, denial of Due Process, and other acts of State-initiated criminal aggression. Freeing Americans includes repealing all forms of intrusive presumption-of-guilt regulations and restrictions that are in place having nothing to do with whether any individual is suspected of any crimes against others. Regulations are before-the-fact demands by the government that presume the individual and one’s business guilty, in which one must submit one’s private personal or financial information to the government to prove one’s innocence. Government regulations and arbitrary restrictions are literally searches and seizures by the government of information that is none of anyone else’s business, and effect in the stifling of everyday citizens’ growth and prosperity. Ending all personal income taxes , corporate taxes, estate taxes, and capital gains taxes frees people who own or share in the ownership of businesses — i.e. employers and prospective employers — to invest in their own research and development and in the expansion of their businesses, which is the genuine force behind jobs creation, in both blue collar and white collar sectors. Ending all personal income taxes frees people to explore their own ideas and inventions, and to start their own businesses that will employ more people and advance society further. Also…

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NEWSFLASH: The Meltdown Didn’t Have to Happen

Filed in Alan Greenspan, BP, democrats, Federal Reserve, Gold, Gold Market, lead, Lear, o, Yahoo by on January 28, 2011 0 Comments
NEWSFLASH: The Meltdown Didn’t Have to Happen

Watching the government do practically anything is often akin to watching molasses run down the hill in January. But like that slow running ooze, even the government eventually manages to accomplish its feat. The problem in this case is that they are telling us what we already know. So here’s the newsflash sportfans: the financial meltdown could have been stopped. Gee thanks… From the New York Times by Sewell Chan entitled: Financial Meltdow was ‘Avoidable’, Inquiry Concludes “ The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a Congressional inquiry. The government commission that investigated the financial crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors, and risky bets on securities backed by the loans. “ The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.” The commission’s report finds fault with two Fed chairmen: Alan Greenspan, a skeptic of regulation who led the central bank as the housing bubble expanded, and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who did not foresee the crisis but then played a crucial role in the response to it. It criticizes Mr. Greenspan for advocating financial deregulation and cites a “pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages” under his leadership as “the prime example” of government negligence. It also criticizes the Bush administration’s “inconsistent response” to the crisis — allowing Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt in September 2008 after earlier bailing out another bank, Bear Stearns, with help from the…

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