Monday, March 23, 2015

Will Warren Buffett Really Let This Deep Value Slip By?

By Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst

Right now, even the staunchest gold investors are weary of the years-long drubbing the gold price has taken since its $1,921 peak in August 2011. Whether the frustrating experience is the work of a market rigging conspiracy, government manipulation of data to hide inflation, those blindingly loyal Keynesians who keep pounding us with messages that gold is nothing but a “shiny bitcoin,” or the gullibility of mainstream investors who tell themselves that, gee, since Warren Buffett is a billionaire, his “gold has no utility” mantra must be right, it hasn’t been fun. The nasty downcycle has offered no respite.

That’s all about to change.

If there’s one constant in the resource sector, it’s the boom-bust-repeat cycle that over the past 40 years has been almost predictable. This is particularly the case with gold stocks.

We charted every major cycle for gold stocks (producers) from 1975—when gold again became legal to own in the US—to the present. You can easily see that not only do gold stocks cycle up and down repeatedly, but the percentage gains for buyers at a cycle bottom can be downright mouthwatering.


What’s interesting about where we sit today in early 2015 is that gold stocks have now logged the second-deepest bear market since 1975—rougher even than the selloff following the 1980 mania.

This history teaches three “how to get rich” lessons.
  1. For the recent bear market, the bottom for gold stocks is almost certainly in.
  1. The next major cycle in gold stocks will be up.
  1. The profits could be spectacular, because as the patterns show, triple-digit gains have been common.
Gold stocks have finished the bust that tormented investors for more than three years and are now preparing for another boom. All you have to do is hold on and wait for the next cycle to begin. No timing required.

The only thing we don’t know is if Mr. Buffett will see this chart and jump on the in-your-face deep value that gold stocks are showing right now.

Gold stocks will soon go vertical again—just as they have many times in the past—and investors with just a smidgen of patience will see their gold portfolios driven by a hurricane-force bull market. Virtually all gold stocks will go much higher. As in the past, gains for the strongest juniors will be 10-to-1, and you can expect a few superstars to return 100-to-1.

I talk about this rich opportunity with some of the most successful investors in the gold sector—Pierre Lassaonde, Frank Holmes, Rick Rule, Bob Quartermain, Ron Netolitzky, Doug Casey, and Louis James. Check out our free webcast, Going Vertical, a can’t miss one hour event that will show you the life-changing profits waiting just ahead.

And yes, we extend our invitation to Warren Buffett.



Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Crude Oil, Divorce, and Bear Markets

By Tony Sagami


Everybody loves a parade. I sure did when I was a child, but I’m paying attention to a very different type of parade today. The parade that I’m talking about is the long, long parade of businesses in the oil industry that are cutting jobs, laying off staff, and digging deep into economic survival mode. The list of companies chopping staff is long, but two more major players in the oil industry joined the parade last week.

Pink Slip #1: Houston-based Dresser-Rand isn’t a household name, but it is a very important part of the energy food chain. Dresser-Rand makes diesel engines and gas turbines that are used to drill for oil.
Dresser-Rand announced that it's laying off 8% of its 8,100 global workers. Many Wall Street experts were quick to point the blame at German industrial giant Siemens, which is in the process of buying Dresser-Rand for $7.6 billion.

Fat chance! Dresser-Rand was crystal clear that the cutbacks are in response to oil market conditions and not because of the merger with Siemens. The reason Dresser-Rand cited for the workforce reduction was not only lower oil prices but also the strength of the US dollar.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that I believe the strengthening US dollar is the most important economic (and profit-killing) trend of 2015.

Pink Slip #2: Oil exploration company Apache Corporation reported its Q4 results last week, and they were awful. Apache lost a whopping $4.8 billion in the last 90 days of 2014.

No matter how you cut it, losing $4.8 billion in just three months is a monumental feat.

Of course, the “dramatic and almost unprecedented” drop in oil prices was responsible for the gigantic loss, but what really matters is the outlook going forward.


CEO John Christmann, to his credit, is taking tough steps to stem the financial bleeding, and that means:
  • Shutting down 70% of the company's drilling rigs.
  • Slashing it's 2015 capital budget to between $3.6 and $5.0 billion, down from $8.5 billion in 2014.
Those aren’t the actions of an industry insider who expects things to get better anytime soon.

I don’t mean to bag on Dresser-Rand and Apache, because they’re far from alone. Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Weatherford International, and ConocoPhillips have also announced major layoffs. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only people getting laid off are blue-collar roughnecks. These layoffs affect everyone from secretaries to roughnecks to IT professionals.

In fact, according to staffing expert Swift Worldwide Resources, the number of energy jobs lost this year has climbed to well above 100,000 around the world.

From Global to Local


Sometimes it helps to put a local, personal perspective to the big-picture national news.

In my home state of northwest Montana, a huge number of men moved to North Dakota to work in the Bakken gas fields. Montana is a big state; it takes about 14 hours to drive from my corner of northwest Montana to the North Dakota oil fields, so that means those gas workers don’t make it back to their western Montana homes for months.

Moreover, the work was six, sometimes seven days a week and 12 hours a day, so once there, they couldn’t drive back home even if they wanted to. This meant long absences… and a good friend of mine who is a marriage counselor told me that the local divorce rate was spiking because of them.

Now the northwest Montana workers are returning home because the once-lucrative oil/gas jobs are disappearing. That news won’t make the New York Times, but it’s as real as it gets on Main Street USA.

From Local to National


Of course, the oil industry's woes aren’t a carefully guarded Wall Street secret. However, I do think that Wall Street—and perhaps even you—are underestimating the impact that low oil prices are going to have on economic growth and GDP numbers going forward.

Let me explain.

Industrial production for the month of January, which measures the output of US manufacturers, miners, and utilities, came in at a “seasonally adjusted" 0.2%.


A 0.2% gain isn’t much to shout about, but the real key was the impact the mining component (which includes oil/gas producers) had on the industrial-production calculation.

The mining industry is the second-largest component of industrial production, and its output fell by 1.0% in January. It was the biggest drag on the overall index.

However, the Federal Reserve Bank said, “The decline [was] more than accounted for by a substantial drop in the index for oil and gas well drilling and related support activities.”

How much did it account for? The oil and gas component fell by 10.0% in January.

Yup, a double-digit drop in output in just one month. Moreover, it was the fourth monthly decline in a row.
Last week’s weak GDP caught Wall Street off guard, but there are a lot more GDP disappointments to come as the energy industry layoffs percolate through the economy. Here’s how my Rational Bear readers are getting ready for GDP and corporate-earnings disappointments that are sure to rattle the markets.
Can your portfolio, as currently composed, handle a slowing economy and falling corporate profits? For most investors, the answer is “no.” Click above to find out how to protect yourself.

Tony Sagami

Tony Sagami

30 year market expert Tony Sagami leads the Yield Shark and Rational Bear advisories at Mauldin Economics. To learn more about Yield Shark and how it helps you maximize dividend income, click here.

To learn more about Rational Bear and how you can use it to benefit from falling stocks and sectors, click here.




Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Going Vertical.....Our Next Online Event

There are again signs on the horizon that the next gold bull market may not be far off.

On February 11, Bloomberg reported, “Gold producers with cash on hand are on the hunt for cheap mining assets as rising prices drive shares higher.” $2.7 billion in deals have already been announced or completed year to date—compared to a total of $10.5 billion in 2014.

Private equity firms (the “smart money”) are circling the mining industry for great deals. GDX, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, currently has an aggregate price to book ratio of 1.06, while its little brother, the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ), trades at 76% of book value.

A stronger US dollar and falling oil prices are presenting two deflationary forces that are good for gold. The last two times oil dropped more than 50% in one year—1986 and 2008—gold rallied over 25% the following year.

Here's our video primer for this weeks event "Are you Going to Buy Low and Sell High this Time Around"

Investors are waking up to the fact that gold is rallying. Among the top 10 non leveraged ETFs are five gold miners ETFs. As of early February, investors had already poured $885.4 million in new assets into GDX—one of the best results among sector ETFs—and GDXJ attracted nearly $226 million.

No one can say for sure if this is the beginning of the next gold bull market. However, what is clear is that once the bull market does get started, the best of the best gold stocks will go vertical.

Successful gold producers may go up 150-200%. But the top ranked junior miners—the companies with quality management and great assets will take a moonshot. 500%, 1,000%, and more is not out of the question.

Casey Research’s free online event GOING VERTICAL aims to help investors understand where we are in the gold cycle, what to expect, and how to prepare their portfolio so they have a real shot at the jackpot when gold rises again.

Just Click Here to Reserve Your Spot

Eight industry stars discuss the most pressing issues of the day......

Pierre Lassonde, cofounder and chairman of Franco-Nevada
Rick Rule, founder and chairman of Sprott Global Resource Investments
Ron Netolitzky, chairman and director of Aben Resources
Doug Casey, chairman of Casey Research
Frank Holmes, CEO and CIO of U.S. Global Investors
Bob Quartermain, president, CEO, and director of Pretium Resources
and Casey Research precious metals experts Louis James and Jeff Clark.

Topics they will talk about in GOING VERTICAL include: 2015 outlook on the gold market; up, down, or sideways?—What to expect from gold’s next leg up, and how even stocks that have dropped 75% or more can come back with a vengeance—How to make money on junior miners even in the midst of a downturn—Which country may end up controlling the price of gold and what that means for investors—4 signs that a bear market is turning into a bull market—Which types of companies institutional investors will flock to first when gold goes up, and how to “front run” them—3 reasons why the best gold producers might double when the gold sector recovers—and much more.

Also, some of the experts talk about their favorite gold and silver companies, naming names—and Louis James reveals one of his favorite junior mining stock with vertical potential.

Register now to watch the event on Tuesday, March 10, 2:00 p.m. EDT. Even if you know you can’t make it at that time, register anyway that way you’ll get an email with a link to the video recording after the event and can watch it at your leisure.

Click Here to Learn More and Register

See you on Tuesday,
Ray's Stock World


Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Top Hedge Fund Managers Really Think About Gold

By Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst

In the January BIG GOLD, I interviewed a plethora of experts on their views about gold for this year. The issue was so popular that we decided to republish a portion of the edition here.

Given their level of success, these fund managers are worth listening to: James Rickards, Chris Martenson, Steve Henningsen, Grant Williams, and Brent Johnson. Some questions are the same, while others were tailored to their particular expertise.

I hope you find their comments as insightful and useful as I did…...

James Rickards is chief global strategist at the West Shore Funds, editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter, and director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He is the author of the New York Times best  seller The Death of Money and the national best seller Currency Wars.

He’s a portfolio manager, lawyer, and economist, and has held senior positions at Citibank, Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), and Caxton Associates. In 1998, he was the principal negotiator of the rescue of LTCM sponsored by the Federal Reserve. He’s an op-ed contributor to the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, and Washington Post, and has been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, NPR, C-SPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal.

Jeff: Your book The Death of Money does not paint an optimistic economic picture. What will the average citizen experience if events play out as you expect?

James: The end result of current developments in the international monetary system will almost certainly be high inflation or borderline hyperinflation in US dollars, but this process will take a few years to play out, and we may experience mild deflation first. Right now, global markets want to deflate, yet central banks must achieve inflation in order to make sovereign debt loads sustainable. The result is an unstable balance between natural deflation and policy inflation. The more deflation persists in the form of lower prices for oil and other commodities, the more central banks must persist in monetary easing. Eventually inflation will prevail, but it will be through a volatile and unstable process.

Jeff: The gold price has been in a downtrend for three years. Is the case for gold over? If not, what do you think kick-starts a new bull market?

James: The case for gold is not over—in fact, things are just getting interesting. I seldom think about the “price” of gold. I think of gold as money and everything else as a price measured in gold units. When the dollar price of gold is said to be “down,” I think of gold as a constant store of value and that the dollar is simply “up” in the sense that it takes more units of gold to buy one dollar. This perspective is helpful, because gold can be “down” in dollars but “up” in yen at the same time, and often is when the yen is collapsing against the dollar.

The reason gold is thought to be “down” is because the dollar is strong. However, a strong dollar is deflationary at a time when the Fed’s declared policy is to get inflation. Therefore, I expect the Fed will not raise interest rates in 2015 due to US economic weakness and because they do not want a stronger dollar. When that realization sinks in, the dollar should move lower and gold higher when measured in dollar terms.

The looming global shortage of physical gold relative to demand also presages a short squeeze on the paper gold edifice of futures, options, unallocated forward sales, and ETFs. The new bull market will be kick started when markets realize the Fed cannot raise rates in 2015 and when the Fed finds it necessary to do more quantitative easing, probably in early 2016.

Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average retail investor position his or her portfolio?

James: Since risks are balanced between deflation and inflation in the short run, a sound portfolio should be prepared for both. Investors should have gold, silver, land, fine art, and other hard assets as an inflation hedge. They should have cash and US Treasury 10-year notes as a deflation hedge. They should also include some carefully selected alternatives, including global macro hedge funds and venture capital investments for alpha. Investors should avoid emerging markets, junk bonds, and tech stocks.

Steve Henningsen is chief investment strategist and partner at The Wealth Conservancy in Boulder, CO, a firm that specializes in wealth coaching, planning, and investment management for inheritors focused on preservation of capital. He is a lifetime student, traveler, fiduciary, and skeptic.

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought they could. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis?

Steve: I do not believe we are under a new economic paradigm whereupon a nation can resolve its solvency problem via increasing debt. As to how long the central banks’ plate spinning can defer the consequences of the past 30-plus years of excess credit growth, I hesitate to answer, as I never thought they would get this far without breaking a plate. However incorrect my timing has been over the past two years, though, I am beginning to doubt that they can last another 12 months. Twice in the last few months the stock market plates began to wobble, only to have Fed performers step in to steady the display.

With the end of QE, a slowing global economy, a strengthening dollar, and the recent sharp drop in oil prices, deflationary winds are picking up going into 2015, making their balancing act yet more difficult. (Not to mention increasing tension from poking a stick at the Russian bear.)

Jeff: Gold has been in decline for over three years now. What changes that? Should we expect gold to remain weak for several more years?

Steve: I cannot remember an asset more maligned than gold is currently, as to even admit one owns it receives a reflexive look of pity. While most have left our shiny friend bloodied, lying in the ditch by the side of the road, there are signs of resurrection. While I’m doubtful gold will do much in the first half of 2015 due to deflationary winds and could even get dragged down with stocks should global liquidity once again dissipate, I am confident that our central banks would again step in (QE4?) and gold should regain its luster as investors finally realize the Fed is out of bullets.

The wildcard I’m watching is the massive accumulation of gold (and silver) bullion by Russia, China, and India, and the speculation behind it. Should gold be announced as part of a new monetary system via global currency or gold-backed sovereign bond issuance, then gold’s renaissance begins.

Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio?

Steve: Obviously I am holding on to our gold bullion positions, as painful as this has been. I would also maintain equity exposure via investment managers with the flexibility to go long and short. I believe this strategy will finally show its merits vs. long-only passive investments in the years ahead. I believe that for the next 6-12 months, long-term Treasuries will help balance out deflationary risks, but they are definitely not a long-term hold. Maintaining an above average level of cash will allow investors to take advantage of any equity downturns, and I would stay away from industrial commodities until the deflationary winds subside.
Precious metals equities could not be hated more and therefore represent the best value if an investor can stomach their volatility.

Grant Williams is the author of the financial newsletter Things That Make You Go Hmmm and cofounder of Real Vision Television. He has spent the last 30 years in financial markets in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Sydney, and Singapore, and is the portfolio and strategy advisor to Vulpes Investment Management in Singapore.

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis?

Grant: I have repeatedly referred to a singular phenomenon over the past several years and it bears repeating as we head into 2015: for a long time, things can seem to matter to nobody until the one day when they suddenly matter to everybody. It feels as though we have never been closer to a series of such moments, any one of which has the potential to derail the narrative that central bankers and politicians have been working so hard to drive.

Whether it be Russia, Greece, the plummeting crude oil price, or a loss of control in Japan, there are a seemingly never-ending series of situations, any one (or more) of which could suddenly erupt and matter to a lot of people at the same time. Throw in the possibility that a Black Swan comes out of nowhere that nobody has thought about (even something as seemingly trivial as the recent hack of Sony Pictures by the North Koreans could set in motion events which can cascade very quickly in a geopolitical world which has so many fissures running through it), and you have the possibility that fear will replace greed overnight in the market’s collective psyche. When that happens, people will want gold.

The issue then becomes where they are going to get it from. Physical gold has been moving steadily from West to East despite the weak paper prices we have seen for the last couple of years, and this can continue until there is a sudden wider need for gold as insurance or as a currency. When that day comes, the price will move sharply from being set in the paper market—where there is essentially infinite supply—to being set in the physical markets where there is very inelastic supply and the existing stock has been moving into strong hands for several years. Materially higher prices will be the only way to resolve the imbalance.

Jeff: You’ve written a lot about the gold market over the past few years. In your view, what are the most important factors gold investors should keep in mind right now?

Grant: I think the key focus should be on two things: first, the difference between paper and physical gold; and second, on the continuing drive by national banks to repatriate gold supplies. The former is something many people who are keen followers of the gold markets understand, but it is the latter which could potentially spark what would, in effect, be a run on the gold “bank.” Because of the mass leasing and rehypothecation programs by central banks, there are multiple claims on thousands of bars of gold. The movement to repatriate gold supplies runs the risk of causing a panic by central banks.

We have already seen the beginnings of monetary policy divergence as each central bank begins to realize it is every man for himself, but if that sentiment spreads further into the gold markets, it could cause mayhem.
Keep a close eye on stories of further central bank repatriation—there is a tipping point somewhere that, once reached, will light a fire under the physical gold market the likes of which we haven’t seen before, and that tipping point could well come in 2015.

Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position his or her portfolio?

Grant: Right now I think there are two essentials in any portfolio: cash and gold. The risk/reward skew of being in equity markets in most places around the world is just not attractive at these levels. With such anemic growth everywhere we turn, and while it looks for all the world that bond yields are set to continue falling, I think the chances of equities continuing their stellar run are remote enough to make me want out of equity markets altogether.

There are pockets of value, but they are in countries where the average investor is either disadvantaged due to a lack of local knowledge and a lack of liquidity, or there is a requirement for deep due diligence of the kind not always available to the average investor.

The other problem is the ETF phenomenon. The thirst for ETFs in order to simplify complex investing decisions, as well as to throw a blanket over an idea in order to be sure to get the “winner” within a specific theme or sector, is not a problem in a rising market (though it does tend to cause severe value dislocations amongst stocks that are included in ETFs versus those that are not). In a falling market, however, when liquidity is paramount, any sudden upsurge of selling in the ETF space will require the underlying equities be sold into what may very well be a very thin market.

In a rising market, there is always an offer. In a falling market, bids can be hard to come by and in many cases, nonexistent, so anybody expecting to divest themselves of ETF positions in a 2008 like market could well find themselves with their own personal Flash Crash on their hands.

Unlevered physical gold has no counterparty risk and has sustained a bid for 6,000 straight years (and counting). Though sometimes, in the wee small hours, those bids can be both a little sparse and yet strangely attractive to certain sellers of size.

Meanwhile, a healthy allocation to cash offers a supply of dry powder that can be used to gain entry points which will hugely amplify both the chances of outperformance and the level of that performance in the coming years.

Remember, you make your money when you buy an asset, not when you sell it.

Caveat emptor.

Chris Martenson, PhD (Duke), MBA (Cornell), is an economic researcher and futurist who specializes in energy and resource depletion, and is cofounder of Peak Prosperity. As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar, The Crash Course, which has also been published in book form.

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis?

Chris: Well, if people were being rational, all of this would have stopped a very long time ago. There’s no possibility of paying off current debts, let alone liabilities, and yet “investors” are snapping up Italian 10 year debt at 2.0%! Or Japanese government bonds at nearly 0% when the total debt load in Japan is already around $1 million per rapidly aging person and growing. I cannot say how much longer so called investors are willing to remain irrational, but if pressed I would be very surprised if we make it past 2016 without a major financial crisis happening.

Of course, this bubble is really a bubble of faith, and its main derivative is faith based currency. And it’s global. Bubbles take time to burst roughly proportional to their size, and these nested bubbles the Fed and other central banks have engineered are by far the largest ever in human history.

As always, bubbles are always in search of a pin, and we cannot know exactly when that will be or what will finally be blamed. All we can do is be prepared.

Jeff: If deflationary forces pick up, how do you expect gold to perform?

Chris: Badly at first, and then spectacularly well. It’s like why the dollar is rising right now. Not because it’s a vastly superior currency, but because it’s the mathematical outcome of trillions of dollars’ worth of US dollar carry trades being unwound. So the first act in a global deflation is for the dollar to rise. Similarly, the first act is for gold to get sold by all of the speculators that are long and need to raise cash to unwind other parts of their trade books.

But the second act is for people to realize that the institutions and even whole nation states involved in the deflationary mess are not to be trusted. With opaque accounting and massive derivative positions, nobody will really know who is solvent and who isn’t. This is when gold gets “rediscovered” by everyone as the monetary asset that is free of counterparty risk—assuming you own and possess physical bullion, of course, not paper claims that purport to be the same thing but are not.

Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio?

Chris: Away from paper and toward real things. If the outstanding claims are too large, or too pricey, or both, then history is clear; the perceived value of those paper claims will fall.

My preferences are for land, precious metals, select real estate, and solid enterprises that produce real things. Our view at Peak Prosperity is that deflation is now winning the game, despite everything the central banks have attempted, and that the very last place you want to be is simply long a bunch of paper claims.

However, before the destruction of the currency systems involved, there will be a final act of desperation by the central banks that will involve printing money that goes directly to consumers. Perhaps it will be tax breaks or even rebates for prior years, or even the direct deposit of money into bank accounts.

When this last act of desperation arrives, you’ll want to be out of anything that looks or smells like currency and into anything you can get your hot little hands on. This may include equities and other forms of paper wealth—just not the currency itself. You’ll want to run, not walk, with a well-curated list of things to buy and spend all your currency on before the next guy does.

We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way. Expect the big deflation to happen first and then be alert for the inevitable central bank print a thon response.

Because of this view, we believe that having a very well balanced portfolio is key, with the idea that now is the time to either begin navigating toward real things, or to at least have that plan in place so that after the deflationary impulse works its destructive magic, you are ready to pounce.

Brent Johnson is CEO of Santiago Capital, a gold fund for accredited investors to gain exposure to gold and silver bullion stored outside the United States and outside of the banking system, in addition to precious metals mining equities. Brent is also a managing director at Baker Avenue Asset Management, where he specializes in creating comprehensive wealth management strategies for the individual portfolios of high-net-worth clients. He’s also worked at Credit Suisse as vice president in its private client group, and at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) in New York City.

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than some thought possible. How much longer do you envision them being able to do so? Or has the Fed really staved off crisis?

Brent: As much as I dislike the central planners, from a Machiavellian perspective you really have to give them credit for extending their influence for as long as they have. I wasn’t surprised they could engineer a short-term recovery, and that’s why, even though I manage a precious metals fund, I don’t recommend clients put all their money in gold. But I must admit that I have been surprised by the duration of the bull market in equities and the bear market in gold. And while I probably shouldn’t be, I’m continually surprised by the willingness of the investing public to just accept as fact everything the central planners tell them. The recovery is by no means permanent and is ultimately going to end very, very badly.

But I don’t have a crystal ball that tells me how much longer this movie will last. My guess is that we are much closer to the end than the beginning. So while they could potentially draw this out another year, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it all blow up tomorrow, because this is all very much contrived. That’s why I continue to hold gold. It is the ultimate form of payment and cannot be destroyed by either inflation, deflation, central bank arrogance, or whatever other shock exerts itself into the markets.

Jeff: As a gold fund manager, you’ve watched gold decline for over three years now. What changes that? And when? Should we expect gold to remain weak for several more years?

Gold has been in one of its longest bear markets in history. Many of us in the gold world must face up to this. We have been wrong on the direction of gold for three years now. Is this due to bullion banks trying to maximize their quarterly bonuses by fleecing the retail investor? Is it due to coordination at the central bank level to prolong the life of fiat currency? Is it due to the Western world not truly understanding the power of gold and surrendering our bullion to the East? I don’t know… maybe it’s a combination of all three. Or maybe it’s something else altogether.

What I do know is that gold is still down. Now the good news is… that’s okay. It’s okay because it isn’t going to stay down. The whole point of investing is to arbitrage the difference between price and value. And right now there remains a huge arbitrage to exploit. As Jim Grant said, “Investing is about having people agree with you… later.”

Now all that said, I realize it hasn’t been a fun three years. This isn’t a game for little boys, and I’ve felt as much pain as anyone. I think the trend is likely to change when the public’s belief in the central banks starts coming into question. We are starting to see the cracks in their omnipotence. For the most part, however, investors still believe that not only will the central banks try to bail out the markets if it comes to that, but they also still believe the central banks will be successful when they try. In my opinion, they are wrong.

And there are several catalysts that could spark this change—oil, Russia, other emerging markets, or the ECB and Japan monetizing the debt. This “recovery” has gone on for a long time. But from a mathematical perspective, it simply can’t go on forever. So as I’ve said before, if you believe in math, buy gold.

Jeff: Given what you see coming, how should the average investor position her or his portfolio?

Brent: The answer to this depends on several factors. It depends on the investor’s age, asset level, income level, goals, tolerance for volatility, etc. But in general, I’m a big believer in the idea of the “permanent portfolio.” If you held equal parts fixed income, equities, real estate, and gold over the last 40 years, your return is equal to that of the S&P 500 with substantially less volatility. And this portfolio will perform through inflation, deflation, hyperinflation, collapse, etc.

So if you are someone who is looking to protect your wealth without a lot of volatility, this is a very strong solution. If you are younger, are trying to create wealth, and have some years to ride out potential volatility, I would skew this more toward a higher allocation to gold and gold shares and less on fixed income, for example.

Because while I generally view gold as insurance, this space also has the ability to generate phenomenal returns and not just protect wealth, but create it. But whatever the case, regardless of your age, level of wealth, or world view, the correct allocation to gold in your portfolio is absolutely not zero. Gold will do phenomenally well in the years ahead, and those investors who are willing to take a contrarian stance stand to benefit not only from gold’s safety, but also its ability to generate wealth.

One other thing to remember about gold is that while it may be volatile, it’s not risky. Volatility is the fluctuation in an asset’s daily/weekly price. Risk is the likelihood of a permanent loss of capital. And with gold (in bullion form), there is essentially no chance of a permanent loss of capital. It is the one asset that has held its value not just over the years, but over the centuries. I for one do not hold myself out as being smarter than thousands of years of collective global wisdom. If you do, I wish you the best of luck!

Of course, bullish signs for gold have been mounting, which begs the question: could the breakthrough for the gold market be near?

Well, no one knows for sure. But what we do know is that when the market recovers, the handful of superb mining stocks that have survived the slaughter won’t just go up—they’ll go vertical.

Which is why we're hosting a free online event called, GOING VERTICAL, headlined by a panel of eight top players in the precious metals sector, names you'll no doubt recognize. Each of our guests give their assessment on where the gold market is right now, how long it will take to recovery, and what practical steps you need to take to prepare including - which stocks you should own now.

This free video event will air March 10th, 2pm Eastern time. To make sure you don't miss it, click here to register now.



Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Are you a Brain Dead Trader or Just Lucky?

Were you one of the lucky ones? Were you one of 8,909 traders that registered for this weeks fantastic free webinar from John Carter? If not, not to worry. John has made the webinar available as a replay and of course it's still free to watch. This was another game changer as John found a way to make trading options on premium decay understandable by anyone no matter their trading skill level.

Watch the Free Webinar Replay Here

Why did so many traders fight for a spot at this webinar? I think it has a lot to do with the video primer John send us earlier in the week giving us just a taste of what John would show us in more detail at the webinar.

Watch that Free Video Here

In this video John shows us a simple and effective strategy for using premium decay, but he also shows us his strategy to make money on a stock if it's going up or down.

In this webinar John will discuss....

  *  Why trading options are perfect for newbies, retirees, part time traders, and full time traders

  *  Why options are safer than trading stocks, futures or forex while holding on for bigger winners

  *  One strategy he uses for consistent trading results that you can use the next trading day

  *  The brain dead rules to follow so you can know exactly how to trade this one set up for consistency

  *  How traders get sucked into buying the wrong stocks at the wrong price so you never get suckered into a trade again

       And much more….

And John doesn't stop there.....

Get his latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

Nobody did more in 2014 to change the way traders, investors and fund managers looks at trading options than John did with this one eBook. Get yours right now while it's still available.

See you in the markets!
Ray's Stock World


Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Math Free Guide to Higher and Safer Returns

By Andrey Dashkov

I can make you instantly richer, and safely, by explaining a finance concept with a story about a dog.

There’s a hole in your pocket you probably don’t know about. You may feel instinctively that something is wrong, but unless you look in the right place, you won’t find the problem. The money you’re losing doesn’t appear in the minus column on your account statements, but you’re losing it nevertheless.

Frustrated? Don’t be. I’m going to tell you where to look and how to stop the drainage.

Volatility is every investor’s worst enemy. Over time, it poisons your returns. Unlike a 2008 style market drop, though, volatility poisons them slowly. There’s no obvious ailment to discuss with friends or hear about on CNBC. You only see it when you compare how much you lost to how much you could have earned—and looking back at your own mistakes is not a pleasant thing to do.

Here's the Replay of Last Nights Free Webinar....."Options and Premium Decay"

So instead let’s imagine two fictional companies: X-Cite, Inc., an amusement park operator with a volatile stock price that adventurous investors love; and Glacial Corp., a dull, defensive sloth of a corporation whose stock returns are consistent but often lower than those of its more glamorous counterpart.

Average return on both companies’ stocks was 5% for the past five years, but Glacial’s was less volatile. Safety is comfortable, but doesn’t higher volatility mean higher potential returns? Sometimes, but not always. When you accept high volatility, your returns might be higher at times, but they also might be lower. In other words, higher volatility generally means greater risk.

Nothing new so far, but the oft-overlooked point is that boring stocks make you richer over time.
The chart below shows each stock’s annual return over a five year period.


At first glance, Glacial Corp. appears to be the loser. It underperformed X-Cite in four out of five years. Both stocks returned 5% on average during these years, and X-Cite was almost always voted the prettiest girl in town. But for Year 3, it would be easy to persuade investors to buy X-Cite stock. Few would give Glacial a second glance.

Hold for the punchline: X-Cite, the stock your broker would have a much easier time selling you (before you read this article), would actually make you poorer. Let me explain.

I won’t get into any supercharged math here. Glacial is better because it makes you richer eventually. After five years, the total return on X-Cite is 25%. Not bad. Glacial? 27%. If you invested $10,000 in both (assuming no brokerage fees or taxes), at the end of Year 5 you would have earned $2,507 on X-Cite or $2,701 on Glacial.

Year-End Account Balance
X-Cite, Inc.
Glacial Corp.
Year 1
$10,500
$10,300
Year 2
$11,550
$11,021
Year 3
$10,164
$10,801
Year 4
$10,875
$11,341
Year 5
$12,507
$12,701
Total return
25%
27%


Where does the extra $194 come from? It comes from lower volatility. Although X-Cite looks like a winner most of the time, it has a higher standard deviation of returns. Note that X-Cite’s stock price dropped 12% in Year 3. The following year it increased 7%, while Glacial Corp.’s stock price only increased 5%—yet Glacial is still worth more from Year 3 onward. Why? X-Cite’s 7% jump is based on the previous year’s low.

But I promised to keep this note math-free, so imagine a person walking a dog instead. The shorter the leash, the less space the dog has to run around. The longer the leash, the more erratic the dog’s path will be. Standard deviation measures how much data tend to scatter around its mean—the path. As we just saw, low standard deviation also pays you money.

I could stop right here and hope that you take this lesson to heart, but I won’t. As much as I love describing finance concepts using clever company names and dogs, I want you to start making money right now.

I said this advice could make you instantly richer, and “instantly” doesn’t mean “maybe sometime in the future.” In the latest issue of Money Forever, we shared an opportunity to invest into a vehicle built to outperform the market by managing volatility. I was extremely excited to present it to our paid subscribers because I knew they’d love to earn more by risking less. Who wouldn’t?

So please pardon my blatant self-promotion. I work in an industry where 80% of the time the market is obsessed with the wrong stock, and the noise drowns out the right idea. I can silence the cacophony for you, though, and show you where to find the right ideas. And that goes beyond our most recent pick, although you do need it in your portfolio. Money Forever’s mission is to make your money last—plain and simple.

We think this pick will go a long way toward doing just that.

You can check it out and access our full portfolio immediately by subscribing risk free to Money Forever.

It’s about the price of Netflix, but unlike Netflix we won’t bother you if you decide to cancel. In fact, we’re so confident that the Money Forever portfolio can help you “earn more by risking less” that we’ll refund 100% of the cost if you decide to cancel within the first three months.

And we’ll even prorate your refund after that—it’s a no lose proposition. Click here to start earning more by risking less now.

The article A Math-Free Guide to Higher and Safer Returns was originally published at millersmoney.com.


Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Simple Strategy Alert: Premium Decay

We all think we know what premium decay is right? Well, I thought I knew how it worked until I watched this new video from our trading partner John Carter of Simpler Options. I never knew just how powerful and simple it was to apply knowledge of the decay principal to trading options.

Basically it's a way to insure the health of your portfolio even in an unhealthy market.

In this free video John shows us a simple and effective strategy for using premium decay, but he also shows you his strategy to make money on a stock whether it's going up or down.


Here's a sample of what John will share with us.....

  *  How to “control” stocks for a fraction of the price so you don’t risk all your capital - How you can
      generate consistent returns being dead wrong

  *  What “premium decay” is and how you can use to it to give yourself an edge in trading

  *  How you can set up occasional home run trades while generating consistent returns

  *  A handful of the key stocks I look at every day so you don’t go bug eyed looking for stocks to trade


Don't miss the game changing video "Simple Strategy Alert: Premium Decay"....Watch Video Now


John Carter has become well known for his wildly popular free options trading webinars and his free options trading eBook that changed the way traders looked at options trading in 2014.

Download the free eBook HereWhile you still can!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

2015 Outlook: What You Really Need to Know

By Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst

In the January issue of BIG GOLD, I interviewed 17 analysts, economists, and authors on what they expect for gold in 2015. Some of those included what we affectionately call our Casey Brain Trust—Doug Casey, Olivier Garret, Bud Conrad, David Galland, Marin Katusa, Louis James, and Terry Coxon. The issue was so popular that we decided to reprint this portion.

I think you’ll find some very insightful and useful reading here (click on a link to read his bio)…..

Doug Casey, Chairman

Jeff: The Fed and other central banks have kept the economy and markets propped up longer than you thought they could. Has the Fed succeeded in staving off crisis?

Doug: I’m genuinely surprised things have held together over the last year. The trillions of currency units created since 2007 have mostly inflated financial assets, creating bubbles everywhere. There’s an excellent chance that the bubble will burst this year. I don’t know whether it will result in a catastrophic deflation, extreme inflation, or both in sequence. I’m only sure it will result in chaos and extreme unpleasantness.

Jeff: Are we still going to get rich from gold stocks? Or should we face reality and start exiting?

Doug: The fact so many people are discouraged with gold and mining stocks is just another indicator that we’re at the bottom. Gold and silver are now, once more, superb speculations. And I think we’ll see some 10-to-1 shots in gold stocks—if not this year, then 2016. I can afford to wait with those kinds of returns in prospect.

Olivier Garret, CEO

Jeff: The crash in the general markets we warned about didn’t materialize. Have those risks dissipated, or should we still expect to see a major correction?

Olivier: Last October the risk of a very severe market correction was indeed very serious; hence our call to subscribers to batten down the hatches, tighten their portfolios, and have cash and gold on hand. We warned of further downturn across all commodities, including oil. We also highlighted the dollar would be strong and that an excellent short term speculation was to be long 10 to 30 year Treasuries, as they would be considered a safe haven.

Let’s look at where we are today. Clearly, the S&P did not extend its correction after its initial dip in mid-October. In light of the possibility of a perfect storm coming, the Fed announced that it may not end QE in early 2015 as anticipated if the economy failed to continue to pick up. Then the Bank of Japan announced its version of QE infinity, followed by the largest Japanese pension fund’s decision to invest in equities worldwide.

The bulls were reassured and came back with a vengeance; the crash was averted. That said, fundamentals are still very weak, and market growth is concentrated within the largest-cap stocks. Mid- and small-caps are hurting, and many economic indicators are still concerning.

Jeff: What about lower energy prices—aren’t these good for the economy?

Olivier: In theory, yes. In practice, there is another crisis brewing. Most of the development of new shale resources in the US has been financed by debt based on oil prices of $80 and above. This easy debt was immediately securitized, just like home mortgages were in 2003-2006, and we have a monstrous bubble about to pop with oil around $55. The potential risk of another derivative crisis is as high or higher than in 2007.

Jeff: Does that mean the inevitable is imminent?

Maybe, maybe not. We know central bankers will do whatever it takes to provide liquidity to the markets. That said, I do not believe central bankers are wizards endowed with supernatural powers that enable them to stem all crises. Bernanke told us in 2007 and 2008 that there was no real estate crisis and that he had everything under control—will Janet Yellen be better?

My view is that our subscribers should be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Sacrifice a bit of performance for safety, and use money you can afford to lose to speculate on opportunities that could bring outsized upside. I believe subscribers should continue to hold cash (in dollars), gold (the ultimate hedge against crisis), and stocks in best-of-breed companies that are unlikely to collapse during a financial meltdown.

For speculations, I still believe that we should be invested in the best gold producers, in well-managed explorers with good management and first-class resources, in long-term Treasuries, and top-quality tech companies.

Jeff: As a former turnaround professional, what would signal to you that the gold market is about to turn around?

Olivier: Two things: market capitulation, and valuations for the best companies not seen in decades. The cure for low prices is low prices.

Cyclical markets do turn around, and I would rather buy low and hold on until the market turns around than buy in the later stage of a bull market. At this point, the gold market presents amazing value for the patient investor. In my opinion, that is all that matters. The gold market may take longer than I want to turn around, but I know I am near an all time low.

Bud Conrad, Chief Economist

Jeff: What role do big banks and government currently play in gold’s behavior? Is this role here to stay?

Bud: I’ve looked at the huge demand for gold from China, Russia, India, and private investors and been surprised the price has eroded over the last three years. My explanation is that the “paper gold futures market” sets the price of gold, with very little physical gold being traded. There are two parts of futures market trading: one is the minute by minute trading of only paper contracts that dominate 99% of the trading, in which every long position is matched by a short position. That is why the futures market is called “paper gold.”

Almost all trades are unwound and rolled over to another contract. Only a few thousand contracts are held into the second process, called the “delivery process.” Just a handful of big banks dominate that delivery process, so they are in a position to affect the market. There is surprisingly little physical gold used in the delivery process compared to the 200,000 ongoing paper trading of the contracts not yet in delivery every day, where no physical gold is used.

Big players can place huge orders to move the “paper price” for a short term, but eventually 99% of these paper positions are unwound before delivery, so their effect in the longer term is canceled. The delivery process is the only time where physical gold is actually sold (delivered) or purchased (stopped). The gold price can be influenced in one direction in this process by bringing gold to the market from their own account (or the reverse).

Big banks gain a big benefit from the Fed driving their borrowing rate to zero with the QE policy. Banks lend that money at higher rates and have become very profitable. If gold were soaring, then the Fed would be less inclined to keep rates low, as it would be concerned that the dollar is purchasing less and inflation is returning. So banks are happy to have the gold price contained so the Fed is more likely to keep rates low.


The above chart shows that in the delivery process for the December 2014 contract, only three banks—JP Morgan, Bank of Nova Scotia, and HSBC—handled most of the transactions. Big banks can act as either traders for other customers or as trading for the banks themselves in their in-house account. In the December contract, 90% of the gold was purchased by HSBC and JP Morgan for themselves, and Bank of Nova Scotia provided over half of the gold from its in house account. With so few players, the delivery market is prone to being dominated and price being set.

Jeff: So if the big players influence the market, why should we own gold?

Bud: I see the regulators issuing big fines to banks who have been caught manipulating foreign exchange, LIBOR, and even the London Gold Fix (which is being changed) as evidence that the methods used to influence the futures market will be curtailed by the regulators. So gold will become the recognized alternative to paper money issued in excessive amounts to fix whatever problems the governments want.

I also see the collapse of the petrodollar as leaving all currencies in limbo, which will lead to big swings in the currency wars, where ultimately gold will be the winner. Governments themselves are recognizing the value of gold, as I’m sure Russia does after the ruble collapsed in half since last summer.

David Galland, Partner

Jeff: What personal benefits have you achieved from living in Argentina?

David: Most important, my stress levels have fallen significantly. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a high stress type, I used to be on meds for moderately high blood pressure and for acid reflux… both of which I take as signs of stress. After a few months back in Cafayate, I am med-free.

Second, living in the Argentine outback provides perspective on what actually matters in life. Life in Cafayate is very laid back, with time for siestas, leisurely meals, and any number of enjoyable activities with agreeable company. There is none of the ceaseless dosing of bad news that permeates Western cultures. After a week of unplugging, you realize that most of what passes as important or urgent back in the US is really just a charade.

Finally, my personal sense of freedom soars, as life in rural Argentina is very much live and let live.
In sharp contrast, returning to the USA for even a short visit reveals the national moniker “land of the free” as blatant hypocrisy. There are laws against pretty much everything, and worse, a no-strikes willingness to enforce them. That a person can get mugged by a group of police over selling loose cigarettes tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

Jeff: Gold and gold stocks have been hammered. What would you say to those precious metals investors sitting on losses?

David: I doubt anything anyone can say will prove a panacea for the pain some have suffered, but I do have some thoughts. Like many of our readers, I have taken big losses as well, but because I have long believed in moderation in most things, especially the juniors, I have taken those losses only on smallish positions.

Specifically, about 20% of our family portfolio is in resource investments, with about half in the stocks and the rest held as an insurance position in the physical metals, diversified internationally. So a 70% loss on 10% of our portfolio, while painful, is not the end of the world.

I guess my primary message would be to continue to view the sector for what it is: physical metals for insurance, and moderate positions in the stocks—big and small—as speculative investments.

I remain convinced the massive government manipulations that extend into all the major markets must eventually begin to fail, at which time investors will come back into the resource sector in droves. When the worm begins to turn, I anticipate the physical metals will recover first—and $1,200 gold is starting to look like a fairly solid foundation. The BIG GOLD companies, which I’m starting to personally get interested in, will rally soon thereafter.

When the producers decisively break through resistance levels on the upside, it will be time to refocus on the best juniors.

But regardless, per my first comment, while these stocks can offer life-changing returns, being highly selective and moderate in the size of your positions is the right approach. Then you can sit tight and wait for the market to prove you right.

Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist

Jeff: I loved your book The Colder War. And I liked your concluding recommendation to buy gold. Are events playing out as you expected? And does the fall in the oil price change the game at all?

Marin: First off, thank you. A lot of personal time was spent completing the book. And yes, most of the events are playing out as expected in the book. I expect this trend to continue over the next decade, as the Colder War will take many years to play out.

As I stated to all our energy subscribers and to attendees at the last Casey Conference in San Antonio, we expected a significant drop in oil prices, but it has happened a lot faster than I expected. I think we will continue to see volatility in oil; we’ll probably get a rally to the mid-$60s for WTI, but I think it will hit $45 before January 1, 2016.

This definitely makes Putin’s strategy harder to implement—but we are in the Colder War, not the Colder Battle, and wars are made of many battles. Putin’s strategy is still being implemented, and it will play out over many years.

Jeff: You’re calling for the end of the petrodollar system. This is very bullish for gold, but won’t that process take many years? Or should investors buy gold now?

Marin: The process is well underway, and yes, as I point out in the book, the demise of the petrodollar will take many years—but it will happen.

Each investor must evaluate his position and situation, but I don’t believe anyone knows when the bottom in gold will happen, and I see gold as insurance. You never know exactly when you need health insurance, but speaking from personal experience, it’s good to have, and good to have as much as you can afford, because when you need it, trust me, you won’t regret it.

Resources are in the “valley of darkness” right now—but this is part of the cycle. The key is portfolio survival. If you can get to the other side, the riches will be much greater than you can fathom. I’m speaking from personal experience. I’ve been through this before, and while it was stressful, what happened on the other side blew away my own expectations. We are in a cyclical business, and this bottom trend has been nasty—longer and lower than most have expected—but I am excited, because this is what I have been waiting for and what will take my net worth to a new level.

I see no difference in the outcome for yourself, Louis James, and all of those who follow you and survive to the other side. I believe there will be significant upside in gold stocks, especially certain junior gold explorers and developers. Subscribers are in good hands with you and Louis in that regard, and I always read my BIG GOLD and International Speculator when I get the email, regardless of where I am—the most recent being in an airport in Mexico. Keep up the great work, Jeff; even though it’s a difficult market, you’re doing the right things. It will pay off—maybe not on our desired schedules, but it will pay off.

Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist

Jeff: The junior resource sector tends to progress in cycles. Is the current down cycle about over, or should investors expect the recovery to drag out for several more years?

L: That’s essentially a market timing question—literally the million-dollar question we all wish we could answer definitively. That’s not an option, and I’m sure your readers know better than to listen to anyone who claims to be able to time the market with any precision or reliability.

That said, I don’t want to dodge the question; for what it’s worth, Doug Casey and I both feel that gold has likely bottomed. Yes, it’s true that I felt that December 2013 was the bottom—but it’s also true that most of our stocks are up since then. So, gold may have put in a double bottom, but our stocks outperformed the metal and the market.

Either way, if we’re right, the next big move should be upward, and that’s as good for BIG GOLD readers as it is for International Speculator readers.

I should also add that precious metals are not just “resources”—gold is money, not a regular commodity like pork bellies or corn. It’s the world’s most tested and trusted means of preserving wealth. So even though resource commodities tend to move as a group in cycles, gold and silver can be expected to act differently during times of crisis.

And 2015 looks fraught with crises to me… I am cautiously quite bullish for this year.

Jeff: Where will gold speculators get the biggest bang for their buck in 2015?

L: If you mean when, statistically the first and fourth quarters of the year tend to be the strongest for gold, making now a good time to buy.

As to what to buy, it depends on whether you want to maximize potential gains or minimize risk. The most conservative move is to stick with bullion, which is not a speculation at all, but a sort of forex deal in search of safety. For more leverage with the least amount of added risk, there’s the best of the larger, more stable producers that you recommend in BIG GOLD. For greater wealth-creation potential, as opposed to wealth preservation, there are the junior stocks I follow in the International Speculator.

As to where in the world to invest, I’d say it’s easier to get in on the ground floor investing in an exploration or development company working in less well-known countries—you always pay more of a premium for North American projects where the rule of law is well established. That’s obviously riskier too, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to a kleptocratic regime with a history of nationalization. There are stable places off most investors’ radars, like Ireland and Scandinavia. Africa plays may be oversold in the wake of the Ebola outbreak, but that story isn’t done yet, so even I am waiting before going long there again.

Terry Coxon, Senior Economist

Jeff: In spite of profligate money printing over the past six years, there’s been minimal inflation. Should we give up on this notion that money printing causes inflation?

Terry: No, you shouldn’t. As Milton Friedman put it, the lags between changes in the money supply and changes in prices are “long and variable.” I’m surprised we haven’t yet seen the inflationary effects of a better than 60% increase in the M1 money supply. But the Federal Reserve has essentially guaranteed that those effects are coming, since they are committed to keep printing until price inflation shows up. And when it does appear, the delayed effects of all the money creation that has occurred to date will start to take hold. There won’t be “just a little” inflation.

Jeff: What do you watch to tell you the next gold bull market is about to get underway?

Terry: Beats me. I won’t know it is happening until it’s already started. But because high inflation rates are already baked in the cake, so is another strong period for gold. That’s a reason to own gold now, and the reason is compelling if you believe, as I do, that there’s little downside. At this point, given the metal’s weak performance since 2011, virtually everyone who lacks a clear understanding of the reason for owning it has already sold. So it’s safe to buy.

 10 other analysts were also interviewed, plus Jeff recommended a new stock pick. Tomorrow’s BIG GOLD issue has another new stock recommendation—an exciting company that has the biggest high-grade deposit in the world. Now is the time to buy, before gold enters the next bull market!

Check it Out Here

The article 2015 Outlook: What You Really Need to Know was originally published at caseyresearch.com.


Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Marin Katusa: 199 Days of Hell

By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist

Just after I signed the publishing agreement for my first book, The Colder War, I realized how much research I was going to end up doing, specifically in areas that I never thought would be so integral to my subject area: energy and mining. Along the way, I came across some fascinating events that were completely out of my area of expertise but gave me a better sense for the unintended consequences in an historical perspective of the events that led to where we are today.

One epic event that really stood out for me, which I will discuss today, is the bloodiest battle of all time, to my knowledge. Over 2 million soldiers and civilians died in this one battle that lasted 199 days from start to finish. (If you know of one particular battle—not a war—that had more deaths, I would love to hear about it)

Get our latest FREE eBook "Understanding Options"....Just Click Here!

What was the catalyst for the bloodiest and most horrible battle of all time? Oil. Before I get into why it was, I want to present the events that led up to this epic battle.

In 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Hitler focused on Western Europe and on defeating France by the mid 1940s, he became rattled by Soviet expansion in the East, which by this time included the occupation of the Baltic states (now Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) by the Soviets.

The Day That Changed the World


A critical, often forgotten event (especially by the French) occurred on June 22, 1940. That was the day the French surrendered to the Nazis and signed the armistice. Four days later, the Soviet Union made a decision that ended up becoming one of the critical turning points of WW II.

Initially, the Soviets planned on annexing parts of Romania via full-scale invasion. Sound familiar? I’ll touch on Crimea later in my missive, but for now, stick with me—this gets very interesting.

However, the military masters of the Soviet Union recognized that with the fall of France, out went the French guarantee of security at Romania’s borders.

So rather than actually invading Romania, the Soviets sent an ultimatum to Romania: withdraw from our territories of interest—which were Northern Bukovina and Northern and Southern Bessarabia—and avoid military conflict with the Soviet Union. If not, the Red Army will invade.

Germany via the 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact recognized the Soviet Union’s interest in Bessarabia; thus Hitler became paranoid about the Soviet Union’s expansion from the east to Central Europe. But more specifically, Hitler feared the proximity of the Russians to the Romanian oil fields, which the Nazis depended on.

By early August 1940, these territories that Romania withdrew from made up the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, and they were quickly folded into the Soviet Union.

By late 1940, Hitler made the decision that I believe was a critical turning point of WW II. Initially, Hitler planned on invading the Soviet Union in May 1941, but Yugoslavia and Greece got in his way, and his plans were delayed by five weeks until the Nazis defeated those armies in the Balkans.

The Russian winter came early in 1941, but Hitler believed that the Nazi Germany army was much superior to the Red Army (and they were more superior at the time) and that the Soviets would be defeated before November 1941.

The Nazis sent 3 million soldiers. Stalin met the Nazi offensive with over 5 million Soviet soldiers. I don’t know of a larger invasion in the history of mankind.

To put this battle in perspective, it’s the equivalent of battle lines spanning from Florida to New York (over 1,100 miles). Also, over 90% of all Nazi casualties in WW II were due to their invasion of the Soviet Union.
By late July 1941, the Nazis fought their way within 200 miles of Moscow; by this time, they had progressed over 400 miles into the Soviet Union in less than a month.

Initially, the Germans made incredible progress. However, heavy rains in early July hampered their speed as the terrain became a mud bath, and by this point, Stalin ordered a scorched earth policy, where the Soviet troops destroyed all infrastructure, burned all crops, and dismantled and evacuated all factories and equipment via rail to the east upon the Nazi advance.

As winter set in, the progress of the Nazis came to a standstill. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and subsequently, the United States joined the Allies and entered WW II.

Hitler was well aware that the biggest priority of the Americans upon entering WW II was to defeat the Nazis. He knew he had to bring a quick defeat to the Soviet Union and drastic measures had to be taken.
Hitler believed that rather than attacking Moscow (the heavily fortified capital of the Soviet Union), Germany should go after the Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus. For Hitler, the victory would result in a triple positive for Germany:
  1. Cut off the flow of oil to the Soviet resistance;
  1. Divert the oil produced from the oil fields in Caucasus for the Nazi cause and for future battles against the Americans; and
  1. Cut off Soviet access to the breadbasket areas of Ukraine.
To execute Hitler’s plan, the Nazis would have to control a key industrial city, which happened to be named after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin: Stalingrad (today known as Volgograd). The Nazis invaded, and Stalin threw everything the Red Army had at this battle, even refusing to allow the civilian population to be evacuated. He believed the soldiers would fight to their death if civilians were in the city.

He was right. Stalin’s ruthless orders worked. The Red Army, including civilians who worked in factories made up of men and women of all ages, put up a ferocious resistance doing whatever possible. The Germans had superior weapons, training, and land and air support. To put things in perspective, the average Soviet soldier, upon arriving to Stalingrad, had less than one day’s life expectancy.

The battle eventually evolved into concrete guerilla warfare within the city ruins. The Nazis captured 90% of the city by September 1942 and by this time, they took over 3 million Soviet prisoners of war, most of which never returned alive.

The Soviets’ luck changed on November 19, 1942, when they decided to launch Operation Uranus, which many at the time within the Red Army believed would be their last chance to defeat the Nazis. With 90% of Stalingrad under Nazi command, the Soviet plan was to swing multiple army troops around the Nazis and surround them. It worked.

Up to this point, Hitler publicly made announcements that the Germans would never leave Stalingrad. For most of the German soldiers, this proved to be true. Rather than having the German troops attempt a breakout (and going against Hitler’s promise of Germany never leaving Stalingrad), they were ordered to fight, even though they were running low on ammunition and starvation had set in within the German camp.

On January 31, 1943, German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered to the Soviets. After the Nazi defeat in Stalingrad by the Soviets, it was only a matter of time before Germany lost the war. Hitler never got access to the oil fields, and over 2 million soldiers died.

Déjà Vu and the Butterfly Effect


Let’s reflect back to the events that followed. Hitler became paranoid about the Soviet expansion after the signed 1939 German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact.

Remind you of anything?

We see NATO today supplying military troops and land and air force in the Baltics for similar fears about Russian expansion. NATO sees Crimea today as a reminder of the Baltics’ situation in 1940. Ukraine is not in a civil war—let’s make that very clear. A civil war is defined as two or more groups fighting for control of the government. What’s going on in eastern Ukraine is not a civil war, but rather a war of secession; the two breakaway provinces don’t want to go to Kiev. Furthermore, NATO will not stand for a secession.

Putin is facing sanctions from the West and military force by NATO… not to mention that oil has dropped in half from over $100/bbl to under $50 a barrel in the last 12 months. Hitler’s decision, based on actions that essentially involved a small territory (now known as Moldova) sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, resulted in the bloodiest battle of all time.

But behind the scenes there is always tension and momentum building and waiting for a catalyst to release the pressure that has built up. We have seen this many times in the past where an insignificant event on the global stage puts in motion events with shocking results. But there is always more behind the story than a “simple” catalyst or unconnected events.

The Arab Spring eventually brought to the global front a built-up dissatisfaction of many youths and lower-income people of human rights violations, dictatorships, absolute monarchy, extreme poverty, and many other factors. The catalyst for the protests in Tunisia was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in 2010.
I recall a specific event I experienced in Kuwait in December 2010, where a Pakistani taxi driver shared with me his story of anger and contempt with the government of Kuwait. I asked him to be my driver for the week, mainly because he spoke English and had been in Kuwait for 10 years and knew his way around, but I also enjoyed his company.

But I got much more than I expected. He took me around Kuwait, where I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. Every city in the world has those areas you will never see advertised in the travel guidebooks.

Kuwait—a “dry country,” meaning you cannot buy alcohol—wasn’t that difficult to find alcohol in if you really wanted it. Yet at what seemed to me to be every hour on the hour, I heard prayers blasting through the air. My taxi driver wasn’t an extremist; he was Muslim—and no different than any Catholic, Jew, or atheist—working his cab 12-15 hours a day, wanting a better life for his family. He was a good guy, caught up in the momentum that was building, which led to the Arab Spring.

The spread of the Arab Spring was muted by high oil prices. That is fact, though not a popular one. How did Saudi Arabia prevent protests in its kingdom? The House of Saud promised tens of billions of dollars in social programs.

How will the oil producing nations, such as members of OPEC, Russia, Canada, and Mexico, fare at $45 oil in 2015? How will the African petro-states function? How will the investors, who are exposed to billions of dollars of debt in the US energy sector (below is the payment schedule of all public companies’ debt payments due over the next 11 years), going to fare if oil stays below $50 in 2015?


History doesn’t repeat, but human nature has a repeatable pattern. The growth for energy will only increase in the future, even with energy efficiency improvements.

The fact is, the world will consume more oil in five years than it does today… even though I get many emails a day from uninformed individuals telling me why fossil fuels are awful (and yes, to the 100+ people who have emailed stating that Tesla cars will kill the need for oil—keep on dreaming. And by the way, your Tesla is on average powered over 50% by coal and natural gas—so you all are absolute hypocrites).

The world still needs uranium to power its nuclear base-load power, such as the US, which is currently the world’s largest consumer of uranium, using about 25% of the world’s uranium. China won’t be far behind, and it’s catching up quickly.

You Need to Be Brave When Everyone Is Fearful


Investing isn’t easy. If you want to do well in cyclical sectors, such as energy or mining, you must be able to buy when the sector is unloved and beaten down. Unfortunately, from a psychology standpoint, it’s easier to buy when it feels good.

Here is a list of rules of speculation I like to follow:
  1. Never put more than 10% of your speculative portfolio into any one stock. True success in speculation is only achieved with risk mitigation and letting your winners ride. While putting all your eggs in one basket theoretically can pay off in a big way, it rarely does so in reality. If your speculative portfolio is worth $50,000, don’t put more than $5,000 into any one junior.
  1. If, for whatever reason, an investment causes you stress to the point that you cannot sleep or are overly distracted from your daily life, sell enough stock to alleviate the situation. Life is too short. Have fun. If your stress level becomes intolerable, you’re either overinvested or speculating just isn’t for you. That’s okay; you’ve found out more about yourself. Speculation is a journey where the reward is money and the experience, but it’s not for everyone. If your wife, husband, family, or partner is hating you because you lost the family’s vacation money, look back to Rule 1.
  1. Know what you own and why you own it. The Casey Energy Report posts all relevant news about the companies in our portfolio every Monday and Thursday after market close.
  1. Use trailing stops and stop losses. For liquid stocks, they’re important, in my opinion. We work to create for you a balanced portfolio of high-risk speculations along with mid risk and lower risk yield plays, and we lock in gains along the way.

    The current market is exciting but carries a significant level of volatility. We want to be able to capture the upside and hold on to it, which is best accomplished by locking in gains with trailing stops (we did this very well earlier in 2014). Then we can sit patiently on the sidelines and await a general correction that allows us to get back into our favorite stocks, which we are currently doing.

    There’s a big difference between a trailing stop and stop loss. A stop loss limits losses. It’s the price you set to sell your stock in case the trade goes south on you. A standard stop loss is a sell order that’s automatically triggered if the security falls 20% (or whatever you put in for your stop-loss percentage) below your purchase price. For example, if you bought a stock for $10 and you put in a 20% stop loss, it would be $8, at which point you would lose $2. Unfortunately, stop losses (and trailing stops) don’t work for illiquid juniors, so be careful. That’s why Rule 3 above is so important.

    A trailing stop locks in your gains. Let’s say you paid $10 for a stock, and it goes to $14. If you’d be happy to sell at $13 and pocket $3 per share in profit, then that’s where you set your trailing stop, in case the price retreats to that level. Of course, if the stock continues to push higher, you can always move your stop along with it, to capture even more profit.

    Many of our trailing stops were hit in early to mid-2014, a good indicator that we’ve been right to be careful amid this market’s volatility.
  1. Give your speculation some time to play out, as with trends like the European Energy Renaissance. Such speculations demand that the investor wait for the market to catch on to the potential. This one specific rule—be patient—is probably the most difficult of all to stick to. A speculator is his or her own worst enemy.
  1. Risk mitigation. Reduce your risk while preserving profit by using the Casey Free Ride formula when the opportunity arises. It’s prudent speculation.
Getting Your Casey Free Ride
Number of shares to sell =
Purchase price of stock
x Number of shares bought
Stock price when you want to sell
  1. Know that you’ll make mistakes, and that will result in losing money on that trade. Not every trade will be a winner. But if one or two of the junior high-risk speculations work out, they will make the whole journey more than worthwhile. I’m speaking from personal experience.
This is just a short list of many of the rules to speculation.

With oil at $45 per barrel, could there be massive changes that many aren’t expecting?

Definitely.

If you’ve been a subscriber of mine, you know how cautious I’ve been since early to mid-2014 on the price of oil.

What’s Next in the Energy Sector?


In the past four months, I’ve personally invested more cash than I have in the last four years. Could I be wrong? You bet I could, but this is not my first downturn.

I also believe in not owning too many positions, as I don’t have many positions either personally nor in the Casey Energy Report. I follow a very disciplined approach, and my style isn’t for everyone. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that fact.

If you’re looking for a newsletter that recommends a stock every month on the month and has 50 stocks in its portfolio, I’m not your guy.

But if you’re looking for in-depth research, experience, and exposure to my vast network in the resource sector, then you may want to pay attention to what I’m doing.

There’s blood in the streets in the energy sector—and I love that!

Now if you believe that to be successful in the resource sector one must be a contrarian to be rich, as I do, now is the time to become engaged.

Come see what I am doing with my own money. You’ll get access to every Casey Energy Report newsletter I’ve written in the last decade, and my current recommendations with specific price and timing guidance. It’s all available right here.

I can’t make the trade for you, but I can help you help yourself. I’m making big bets—are you ready to step up and join me?

The article 199 Days of Hell was originally published at caseyresearch.com.


Make sure to watch our free video "What’s Behind the BIG Trade, How to Grow a Small Account into a Big Account"...Just Click Here!