Wednesday, February 25, 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.

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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.

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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!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Free Webinar: How You Generate Consistent Trading Results in Today's Markets

Our trading partner John Carter is back with another one of his wildly popular free trading webinars. This time John will be covering his trading strategy using "premium decay".

If you have attended one of John's free webinars you know that he has a unique ability to give traders that "over his shoulder" view of how he performs these trades making it very easy to understand.

Best thing of all though, he shows us how this can be done in any size account. Limiting brokerage fees so we can make money even in small accounts.

Watch the Free Replay of this Webinar now....Just Click Here

In this free 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….

We had 8,909 traders register for this webinar on the Tuesday evening that it was live and we did not have room for everyone. Here’s the replay and of course it’s still free. John did another game changer for sure.....

Follow this link to watch this webinar at your convenience.....Sign Up Now

John has provided a great free video primer for this webinar.....Watch it Now

See you in the markets!
Ray C Parrish
aka the Crude Oil Trader



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


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mike Seerys Weekly Crude Oil and Gold Market Summary

We've asked our trading partner Michael Seery to give our readers a weekly recap of the futures market. He has been a senior analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets.

Here's Mikes call on crude oil and gold. Read more of his calls for this week by visiting here.

Crude oil futures are trading above their 20 but still below their 100 day moving average telling you that the trend is mixed as I have been advising clients to sit on the sidelines until volatility slows down which could take some time. Crude oil futures settled last Friday at 53.67 a barrel while currently trading around 51.20 in the April contract down around $2.50 for the trading week.

The chart structure is starting to improve as prices have been trading between 50-55 in the last 2 weeks looking to breakout soon so keep a close eye on this market as a breakout above $55 could be in the cards but be patient as the trend is still choppy with no short term trend which does not meet my criteria to enter.

The API report came out yesterday stating that we had 14 million barrels in storage versus the 3 million estimate sending prices down over $2 as the fundamentals still remain bearish as currently there is still an oversupply issue in the short term.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: OK

Get your spot reserved for this weeks free trading webinar "How You Generate Consistent Trading Results in Today's Market.....Just Click Here!

Gold futures in the April contract settled last Friday at 1,227 while currently at 1,207 down about $20 for the trading week still trading below their 20 & 100 moving average telling you that the trend is to the downside as prices have hit a 6 week low. I am currently sitting on the sidelines awaiting better chart structure to develop as investors continue to put money into the equity market as gold seems to be entering into a bearish trend once again in my opinion.

The next level of major support is around the 1,180 level and if that level is broken I would have think that a retest of the contract low which was hit in early November 2014 could be in the cards so keep a close eye on this trade because a trade could be coming if chart structure improves and that could happen next week.

Problems around the world seem to be out of the lime light at the current time as I don’t see any real reason to own gold as I remain bullish the S&P 500 as the U.S dollar continues to hover around 11 year highs as I think the dollar is in a secular bull market for some time to come as Europe’s economy is not as strong as the United States as that’s also a negative fundamental influence on gold prices.
Trend: Lower
Chart Structure: Poor

Watch this weeks new video "Why I Trade Options for Consistent Account Growth".....Just Click Here!



Wednesday, February 18, 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!

Chris' New Video Reveals Why 2015 is Going to be Big

The S&P 500 stock market has been under heavy rotation since mid 2014. Rotation in the stock market is when the trend sharply changes direction from an uptrend to a downtrend or vice versa. Depending how the price moves during these rotations this algorithmic trading system which Chris Vermeulen runs can generate large profits if the price action is favorable for the trading algorithm.

Unfortunately the second half of 2014 the stock market rotation moved in a way that was very difficult for the trading algorithm to generate trades but no trades are better than losing trades so its not the end of the world. But what Chris wants to show you in this video is how the current price action we have experienced since mid-2014 till now is the same price action and has similar characteristics that we saw in 2010 and again in 2011.

2015 is going to be a stellar year for his trading system!

This price pattern has led to substantial rallies in the stock market of 20% to 35% gains over a six-month period and its looks like it may happen again.

Chris' AlgoTrades algorithmic trading system does struggles during these rotational periods but so do CTA's and other money managers. There is not doubt that it has been hard to profit with the swings in the market because of the way they happened. When this phase of the market completes and a new trend emerges the trading algorithm will excel and pull substantial gains out of the stock market on autopilot just like it did in the first half of 2014.

Both times the stock market has formed these formations the algorithmic trading system pulled 64% ROI in 2010 and pulled 78% ROI 2012. 


Watch the video to learn more.....

Algorithmic Trading System


Visit Chris Vermeulen's Website to Learn more Algo Trades


Sincerely,
Ray C. Parrish
The Crude Oil Trader


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

Doug Casey on ISIS, Gold, Crude Oil, and What to Expect in 2015

By Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist

Today's feature is a special treat: a peek into the brain of one of the most successful speculators of all time. In what follows, Doug Casey talks to Louis James about what to expect in 2015. Doug weighs in on today's most important issues, including ISIS, oil, Putin, and the stock market. He even sticks his nose out to make a bold call on gold.

This (usually subscriber only) content originally appeared in The Casey Report.......Enjoy!

Louis James: It’s been a long, eventful quarter since we last spoke, Doug. What’s most on your mind as 2014 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2015?

Doug Casey: Let’s start with gold, since that’s the main focus we’ve had for so long. The Swiss gold reserve referendum just went down in flames, of course, and that was a big disappointment to many.

L: Really? I don’t know anyone who was surprised.

Doug: Well, surprise and disappointment aren’t the same thing. I’m constantly disappointed by how stupid people are, but I’m never surprised by it. There were early signs of support for the measure, but the powers that be mounted an immense propaganda campaign against it, and they succeeded. I hear that the balance sheet of the Swiss central bank has expanded faster than that of any other central bank in the world—

L: Whoa—that would explain a lot.

Doug: Yes. Relying on the Swiss franc to preserve your capital today is like relying on Swiss banks to preserve your privacy. Only fools would trust in either at this point. Despite that, Switzerland may still be sounder than any other country in Europe—which is really saying something about how bad things have gotten in Europe.

L: I’ve learned from you, Doug, not to pay too much attention to gold’s daily fluctuations, but I have to say that it was a singular day the Monday after the Swiss referendum failed. Gold dropped like a rock the moment it started trading, but quickly reversed and kept rising and rising all day long, making an $80/ounce swing from trough to peak. Did you notice that, and what do you make of it?

Doug: I suspect short covering; too many people were short because they expected the referendum to fail and then had to cover. Those inclined toward conspiracy theories may say that the initial retreat was “da boys” hitting the paper gold market with thousands of gold contracts in the middle of the New York night—timed perfectly to coincide with the Swiss vote. If there were any truth to that, the people promoting the notion would all be billionaires. But they’re not.

L: I understand your position that it could have been private players doing the same thing for profit, but let’s suppose for a moment that the government conspiracy is real. If so, the fact that gold buyers swamped the selling and pushed the price higher that day shows that the conspirators can at most influence gold, not control its price, and there’s hope in that.

Doug: I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories regarding gold price suppression. There’s zero credible evidence for it, and I’m embarrassed having to discuss the subject with outsiders who have heard it; for them it’s more evidence that gold investors all wear tinfoil hats. The fact is the government doesn’t care about gold; they really do think it’s a barbarous relic that should be used to plate urinals, as Lenin supposedly suggested. They don’t care about its price, and even less about that of silver. That said, I’ll stick my nose out and say that I think the bottom for gold has come and gone, with that spike downward.

L: I haven’t made a formal call, but my gut take is the same, and I said so in the current edition of the International Speculator. I published a chart showing one of those days—and there have been quite a few recently—in which gold sold off sharply during a time of light trading volume, only to rebound and close the day higher. To me, this is evidence that there’s a large pool of deep-pocketed buyers out there for whom the current gold trading range is attractive and who back up the truck for more every time it gets cheaper.

Doug: At least two of those buyers are the Chinese and the Russians. The Russians at least appear to disclose their gold holdings every month, and they keep rising and rising. China is less transparent, but they have become the world’s largest gold producer—and they not only don’t export any gold, they import more than anyone else, with the occasional exception of India.

This is important because at the end of the day, the paper market must eventually follow what’s happening in the real world of physical trade in a physical thing like gold. And the reality in the physical market for gold is that global demand is very strong. If any genius is actually suppressing the gold price in Western dominated paper markets, they are simply doing the Russians and Chinese a huge favor, helping them move gold from West to East cheaply. That’s all anyone really needs to know.

L: Understood. But of course, for many gold investors out there, it’s once bitten, twice shy.

Doug: There’s no question that gold has had a severe retracement since its high in September of 2011. I understand their feelings. But we’re not talking about feelings here; we’re talking about markets. Markets cycle. This one has cycled about as low as any gold market in past corrections, and now I think it’s time for it to cycle up again.

L: Now there’s a “forward-looking statement.”

Doug: It’s just my opinion. Everyone’s got one.

L: Heh—well, as Captain Kirk once said to Mr. Spock, “I trust your guesses more than I trust most people’s so-called facts.” But enough on that: what else are you seeing in the markets today?

Doug: The big retreat in oil prices is obviously important.

L: It’s certainly capturing a lot of headlines. What do you think: is this new US oil boom the beginning of the end for OPEC, as so many would love to believe?

Doug: OPEC works fine in a bull market, when everyone is a rich genius. But half the governments in OPEC are broke, they’re all run by morons, and they all cheat on quotas as suits them. OPEC is really just a public relations gimmick at this point—one that allows a bunch of corrupt ministers a chance to live high off the hog and feel important at their meetings.

But there’s no denying that there’s been a sea change in the global energy markets. Fracking and horizontal drilling have created a major surge in US oil production—a big deal in a fungible commodity that has impacted the whole world. The technology will spread everywhere, and costs will drop. But decline curves are steep. You probably need $70-$80 oil to make it work.

Meanwhile, countries like Venezuela, Iraq, and Iran live off of oil revenue and will sell all they can produce at any price they can get. Besides, I think the world economy is slowing down—just look at Europe and China. All of this just means that the energy market went through an entirely predictable down cycle.

L: Any sense of where that bottom is?

Doug: Not a clear one, but we’re probably approaching it, if it hasn’t come and gone as well. Remember that most commodities move roughly together in cycles. Grains, metals, energy—a lot of commodities have fallen significantly in price. And the next step is down for the world economy. Way down.

L: That reminds me of what Rick Rule likes to say: the cure for low prices is low prices. People aren’t going to suddenly decide they don’t need metals, energy, or food. If high oil prices made expensive shale oil production profitable, lower prices will cut back on that supply, driving the price back up again, starting a new cycle.

Doug: Yes, though in the long run, oil supply will simply not be a problem. Oil is just a hydrocarbon, and all you need to make it is CO2, water, and energy. I really don’t worry about future supplies of energy. We’ll have to go through the wringer to get there, but things will eventually get better—not only better than most people imagine, but better than most can imagine.

L: So with that big picture in mind, do developments like the Russians canceling their South Stream pipeline idea in favor of a new route through Turkey matter?

Doug: Not really. The devil can be in the details, but these are just details. More important, as Marin points out in his new book, The Colder War, Putin is the smartest and toughest politician on the international scene today. Whether or not we like him isn’t relevant; we should expect his decisions to be intelligent, given his goals.

For example, as we’ve discussed before, from the Russian perspective, his actions helping Russian populations break their provinces away from Ukraine make perfect sense. The actions of the US-installed puppet government in Kiev are criminal and insane, trying to recapture those people who want independence in eastern Ukraine by force.

So even though he’s not a “nice guy,” I’m a Putin fan.

L: We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I fear the man wants to be Tsar of the World—and he may be ruthless enough to pull it off. And I don’t understand why you’re so quick to dismiss US/EU propaganda but buy into Russian propaganda. You haven’t been to Ukraine to determine the facts for yourself. Neither have I, but I have friends there, and I believe you’re misinformed. That said, I know that you’re basically in favor of all secession movements regardless of the particulars. You’d ultimately like to see every person on earth secede from any and all governments, and with that I agree.

Doug: I don’t think a visit would help. And just because the Russians say something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You simply have to support breakaway provinces, whether they’re in Spain, Italy, Ukraine, or wherever. It’s logical the Russians would try to help them secede and extremely provocative of the US government to arm the bankrupt regime in Kiev to prevent it.

L: Okay then—what else is on your mind?

Doug: The ISIS phenomenon in the Middle East. Everyone sees these people as the latest devil incarnate, but to me this turn of events is perfectly predictable—

L: It’s not just predictable, Doug: you did predict it. You’ve been saying for years—decades—that all these lines on the maps of Africa and the Middle East were drawn up in boardrooms in Europe with no regard for the historical, tribal, linguistic, religious, and economic groups they cut apart or the different and often mutually hostile peoples they forced together. I’ve heard you say many times that those lines would change, and now it’s happening.

Doug: Well, okay, that’s true. But the point is that as distasteful as these ISIS people may be to Western sensibilities, they speak for a large number of people who see the world their way, so it’s no surprise to see them gaining ground, cutting across borders they never believed in to begin with. What’s happening with ISIS is natural and inevitable.

The fact that they execute people by beheading is picturesque in a way many Westerners find offensive—but it is by nature no more offensive than state executions in the US. Strapping a guy to a chair and running electricity through him or strapping him to a table and injecting poisons into him is equally barbaric. The public executions are a distraction, however; the Saudis execute scores of people the same way for much the same reasons every year, and they’re supposed to be our bosom buddies.

What matters is that this movement has a great deal of support and it’s growing. It’s actually a good thing from the perspective of the people in that part of the world who want that kind of society. That means it will dig in and have staying power. I don’t think it’s going to dry up and blow away. I would not, however, rely on the media for an accurate description or interpretation of events.

And we should expect similar disintegrations of nonsense countries and reorganization of peoples into more natural groupings to spread across the Middle East and throughout Africa. You’d think some heads would roll, at least metaphorically, in Washington after the Iraqi Army—which was the recipient of scores of billions of wasted US taxpayer funds—collapsed totally. They fled and left their weapons for the insurgents. The neocons have absolutely no shame—which, incidentally, is a hallmark of a real sociopath. I’m much more afraid of the people in control of the US government than I am of ISIS.

L: What I don’t understand about this ISIS thing is that they seem to be setting up a “real” government—this new caliphate they want recognized—with defined and accepted territory. That makes them vulnerable to straightforward military action; they become a country that can be warred upon, not just a terrorist group that can disappear in the desert. So, if they are the Bad Guys, why don’t those governments that oppose them wage real war on them and wipe them out?

Doug: Well, what stupidity doesn’t explain, incompetence often does. None of the state armies in the Middle East is worth the powder it would take to blow it to hell; they’re nothing but vehicles for graft and oppressing the people. Half the soldiers are likely sympathetic with the jihadists, if only because they hate their corrupt officers. In warfare, Napoleon said, the psychological is to the physical as three is to one. So don’t bet against ISIS.

And don’t call them terrorists. The word has become a meaningless pejorative. I’m a freedom fighter, you’re a rebel, he’s a terrorist. Entirely apart from the fact that terrorism is just a tactic or sometimes a strategy, like artillery barrages or cavalry charges. We’ll see if they succeed in staking out a territory. Maybe they won’t bother; maybe they’ll become a phyle.

I suggest people analyze the situation in a value-free manner. If you involve your emotions, you’re unlikely to arrive at the most rational conclusions. ISIS is not a friend, but rest assured its members see themselves as good and just people who are fighting evil.

L: It occurs to me that ISIS may be more useful to the powers that be, beheading journalists on YouTube—a great distraction from the woes affecting people’s daily lives in the West.

Doug: Exactly. The worse the economy gets, the more governments look for someone else to blame or some danger somewhere that makes for a good distraction. There needs to be a dog to wag.
I suspect that there are a lot of neocons out there who wish they’d left Saddam alone, rather than whacking the hornet’s nest. Now that the cat is out of the bag, to mix metaphors, I think the phenomenon is really going to spread. And most neocons will learn absolutely nothing from it, since their views aren’t influenced by facts but set by a psychological aberration.

L: So the Forever War intensifies in 2015?

Doug: Yes. I think it’s inevitable. For a bunch of reasons.

L: Speaking of economic woes that people need to be distracted from, have you seen that there’s a national movement building steam in the US, advocating a $15 per hour minimum wage?

Doug: Yes. What these people don’t realize or want to face is that rote labor is not worth $15 per hour, and the only thing they will succeed in achieving is their own unemployment—and unemployability. This movement will only encourage companies like Amazon—which uses thousands and thousands of robots to do work people once did—to automate even more.

So maybe it’s a good thing; it will spur innovation and progress. It might even cost us less for those who lack value-adding skills to go on welfare than for business to be forced to pay them to do work machines can do better and faster. Let me hasten to add that welfare in all its aspects should be abolished. But that’s not going to happen until the present system actually collapses. Which, incidentally, will happen. Nothing overcomes the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

L: Perhaps it’s a form of poetic justice. People see that the government prints all the money it wants to bail out its friends on Wall Street—and itself—why not just print more for them directly? If governments can print, borrow, and spend an economy into prosperity, why indeed can’t societies print money for all to spend as they please? We can all be Zimbabwe—rejoice!

Doug: Looking at this from a historical point of view, you realize that 100 years ago, there were only five central banks in the world. Now every country in the world has a central bank, and they’re all doing exactly the same thing: creating currency units out of thin air as fast as they think they can get away with.

More broadly, a century ago, governments were very limited in their power to regulate the day-to-day lives of citizens. They were actually quite weak. The whole world has transformed tremendously since then, starting with the mega-disaster of World War I, and governments now have unprecedented power over people’s lives—made possible not only by laws, but by the power of central banks… and by the fact the average person has been programmed to believe that’s the way it ought to be.

The good news, I think, is that this situation has already crossed the point of no return; it’s unsustainable. It must and will fall apart. There’s going to be a gigantic reset within the next decade. Within 10 years, I’m sure we’re going to see something that’s going to be not just the biggest thing since World War II, but the biggest thing since the Industrial Revolution. I remain an optimist for the future, but the next big historical turning point is coming, and it’s going to be very unpleasant for most people.

L: That brings to mind how bad things have gotten already, with waves of protest wracking the US over excessive use of force by the police. I don’t know if Obama’s idea of putting cameras on cops will really help—does anyone really trust the watchers to watch themselves?

Doug: It’s all related. Look, rather than discuss the details of the day, I think that at heart, we should remember that cops are people, albeit people who generally have an extra Y chromosome and are loyal first to other cops. Their actions should not only be judged and responded to in the same way we would for any other people, but more severely. If, for example, a citizen kills someone, there’s a grand jury convened and a trial. The same should be the case for cops—every time and in all cases. In fact, cops should not be scrutinized less for the sake of expedience, but more—for the sakes of justice and freedom.

I think it’s unconscionable that cops have gotten away with shakedowns, murder, and other crimes for so long because of the mistaken belief—both theirs and among people in general—that the rules must be different for them. I’m not a fan of today’s cops in general; they’re no longer peace officers concerned with protecting the people, but law enforcement officers concerned with protecting themselves and strong-arming the people as directed by their masters. Maybe people are finally getting fed up. I don’t know how this will end, but it’s hard to see much change before things get worse—something like they were in the movie V for Vendetta.

L: So, pulling back to look at the big picture and looking ahead to 2015, it seems to me that there is something deeply and disturbingly wrong with the global picture. Everyone desperately focuses on whatever good news they can even as the bad news continues unabated. China, which now has the world’s largest economy, is failing to hit even its reduced GDP growth targets, and the EU has fallen and can’t get up. But no one wants to admit that the emperor has no clothes—it’s time to go holiday shopping.

Doug: Good point about China. I see an economic collapse as an almost sure thing for them; the collapse of iron ore prices in 2014 is clear evidence of this, with so much of global iron production having been gobbled up by China until recently. Their banks are broke, which will be a huge problem for the average Chinese worker, who still saves 25%-30% of his or her income. If those people can’t get their money out of their banks or if the money they get is worthless, there won’t just be riots and civil unrest, there will be a revolution.

Japan is destroying the yen and will wipe out the savings of the Japanese people. Europe is a socialist basket case at this point. And I have to say: the US isn’t far behind. Next year and 2016 are really going to be something to behold.

L: Grim. So… how to invest?

Doug: I have no desire to be in the mainstream stock market for the duration. Even less to be in the bond market—the bubble there has gotten bigger and bigger over the last few years, to the point that it has reached a truly unholy size. Real estate is holding on, but it’s floating on a sea of debt, so when the bond bubble breaks, real estate—certainly in the Anglo-Saxon world—is in for big trouble. (And real estate is the most obvious thing for cash-strapped local governments to tax, as things turn down.) So, as we’ve said before, I really don’t see any way out of this thing, other than through the wringer we’re now caught in. However long they last, I do think we’re in the last moments of calm before the storm breaks.

L: I see it as maybe a last chance to back up the truck on the best speculative picks in various sectors poised to surge whenever the storm does break. I don’t know when the balloon pops, but it’s growing and growing in a room full of pins, and our readers will want to be prepared when it blows. The best way I can think of is to subscribe to our various publications, both for strategic guidance and for potentially life-changing—or saving—stock picks.

Fortunately for those late to the game or who wish to diversify into new sectors, we're opening up subscription to our most exclusive and comprehensive service, Casey’s Club, through February 20. I do encourage everyone reading this conversation to take advantage of this opportunity, and prepare for what’s coming—perhaps faster than anyone imagines.

Doug: Yes. It will affect us all, everywhere, but I’m happy to be down here in the peaceful and productive wine country of Cafayate, Argentina.

L: I look forward to my next visit—and hope you’ll visit me soon here in Puerto Rico.

Doug: I’ll be interested to see what the actual change in your taxes turns out to be, net of all your costs.

L: Me too. Well, thanks for another very thought-provoking, if not exactly cheerful conversation. I don’t think I need to ask you to spell out the details of what to do as a result of your projections; it’s all here in these pages and in the International Speculator, of course.

Doug: Just so. Until next time, keep some powder dry; I think you’re going to see some spectacular buying opportunities, and I think those who stick with the program are going to achieve fantastic returns.

L: Hear, hear!



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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Weekly Crude Oil and Gold Recap with Mike Seery

It's time for our weekly commodity futures recap with our trading partner Mike Seery. He has been Senior Analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets. And frequently appears on multiple business networks including Bloomberg news, Fox Business, CNBC Worldwide, CNN Business, and Bloomberg TV. He is also a guest on First Business, which is a national and internationally syndicated business show.

Crude oil futures in the March contract are trading above their 20 but still below their 100 day moving average settling last Friday at 51.69 a barrel while trading up $1.80 this Friday afternoon currently trading at $53 a barrel right near a 6 week high as the chart structure is starting to improve. I have been advising traders to sit on the sidelines and avoid this market as volatility is extremely high but it does look to me that prices are bottoming here in the short term still waiting for a breakout to occur while maintaining the proper risk management as I do need to see better chart structure as volatility is too high for my blood at the current time.

The U.S dollar is still right near 11 year highs as that market is also trending sideways giving little direction for crude oil as prices look to consolidate that massive move down in my opinion over the next several months as I think volatility is going to remain extremely high but avoid this market and look for another trend that’s just beginning. Crude oil has been the leader in recent months to the downside so when you start to see a bottoming formation possibly occur now you’re starting to see many of the other commodities like grains and metals move higher but only time will tell to see if this is a dead cat bounce or the long term bottom being created
Trend: Higher
Chart Structure: Improving

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Gold futures in the April contract are up $13 this afternoon in New York currently trading at $1,233 an ounce after settling last Friday around $1,235 basically unchanged for the trading week still right near 4 week lows is I’m recommending investors to sit on the sidelines in this market as the trend is currently mixed. Gold futures are trading below their 20 but just barely above their 100 day moving average as the S&P 500 had a terrific week as the Dow Jones cracked 18,000 to the upside as that’s where the interest lies currently as the next major level of support is between $1,180 – $1,220 but sit on the sidelines as the chart structure is absolutely terrible at the current time.

If you have followed any of my previous blogs I constantly stress the fact to avoid markets that are choppy as I think the success rate is very low unless you are some type of day trader but I hold positions overnight so look for another market that is beginning to trend and keep an eye on gold as I don’t think we will be trading this market for quite some time. The U.S dollar is still right near 11 year high and that’s always pessimistic commodities in general especially the precious metals but at the current time I just don’t have an opinion on this market as I think we will chop around in the short term.
Trend: Mixed
Chart Structure: Poor

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Jim Rogers on Opportunities in Russia and Other Hated Markets

By Nick Giambruno

Nick Giambruno: Welcome, Jim. As you know, Doug Casey and I travel the world surveying crisis markets, and we always like to get your take on things. Today I want to talk to you about Russia, which is a very hated market right now. What are your thoughts on Russia in general and on Russian stocks in particular?

Jim Rogers: Well, I’m optimistic about the future of Russia. I was optimistic before this war started in Ukraine, which was instigated by the US, of course. But in any case, I bought more Russia during the Crimea incident, and I’m looking to buy still more.

Unfortunately, what’s happening is certainly not good for the United States. It’s driving Russia and Asia together, which means we’re going to suffer in the long run—the US and Europe. Another of the big four Chinese banks opened a branch in Moscow recently. The Iranians are getting closer to the Russians. The Russians recently finished a railroad into North Korea down to the Port Rason, which is the northernmost ice-free port in Asia. The Russians have put a lot of money into the Trans-Siberian railroad to update it and upgrade it, all of which goes right by China.

Usually, people who do a lot of business together wind up doing other things together, such as fighting wars, but this isn’t any kind of immediate development. I don’t think the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians are about to invade America.

Nick: So because of these economic ties to Asia, the Russians are not as dependent on the West. Is that why you’re optimistic about Russia?

Jim: I first went to the Soviet Union in 1966, and I came away very pessimistic. And I was pessimistic for the next 47 years, because I didn’t see how it could possibly work. But then I started noticing, a year or two ago, that now everybody hates Russia—the market is not at all interesting to anybody anymore.

You may remember in the 1990s, and even the first decade of this century, everybody was enthusiastic about Russia. Lots of people had periodic bouts of huge enthusiasm. I was short the ruble in 1998, but other than that, I had never invested in Russia, certainly not on the long side. But a year or two ago I started noticing that things are changing in Russia… something is going on in the Kremlin. They understand they can’t just shoot people, confiscate people’s assets. They have to play by the rules if they want to develop their economy.

Now Russia has a convertible currency—and most countries don’t have convertible currencies, but the Russians do. They have fairly large foreign currency reserves and are building up more assets. Having driven across Russia a couple of times, I know they have vast natural resources. And now that the Trans-Siberian Railway has been rebuilt, it’s a huge asset as well.

So I see all these things. I knew the market was depressed, knew nobody liked it, so I started looking for and finding a few investments in Russia.

Nick: Yeah, that definitely seems to make sense when you look at the sentiment and long-term fundamentals. So where do you see the conflict with Ukraine and the tensions with the West going?

Jim: Well, the tensions are going to continue to grow, at least as long as you have the same bureaucrats in Washington. You know, they all have a professional stake in making sure that things don’t calm down in the former Soviet Union—so I don’t see things getting better any time soon.

I do notice that some companies and even countries have started pulling back from the sanctions. Many companies and people are starting to say, “Wait a minute, what is all this about?”

People are starting to reexamine the propaganda that comes out of Washington. Even the Germans are starting to reassess the situation. I suspect that things will cool off eventually, because the U.S. doesn’t have much support and they’ve got plenty of other wars they want to fight or are keen to get started.

So Russia will become more and more dominant in Ukraine. The east is more or less Russian. Crimea was always Russian until Khrushchev got drunk one night and gave it away. So I suspect you will see more and more disintegration of Ukraine, which by the way is good for Ukraine and good for the world.

We don’t complain when the Scots have an election as to whether they want to leave the UK or not. People in Spain want to leave. We say we’re in favor of self-determination. We let Czechoslovakia break up, Yugoslavia break up, Ethiopia break up. These things are usually good. Many borders that exist are historic anomalies, and they should break up. Just because something happened after the First World War or Second World War and some bureaucrats drew a border doesn’t mean it’s logical or should survive.

So I suspect you will see more of eastern Ukraine becoming more and more Russian. I don’t see America going to war, I certainly don’t see Europe going to war over Ukraine, and so America will just sort of slowly slide away and have to admit another miscalculation.

Nick: I agree. Would you also say that Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy limits how far the sanctions can go? There’s been speculation that the Europeans are going to cut Russia out of the SWIFT system, like they did with Iran.

Jim: Well, anything can happen. I noticed SWIFT’s reaction when America tried to force them to do that: they were not very happy at all. I’m an American citizen like you, and unfortunately the bigger picture is forcing the Russians, the Chinese, and others to accelerate in finding an alternative. That is not good for the US.

The Americans have a monopoly, because everyone who uses dollars has to get them cleared through New York. People were already starting to worry in the past few years about the American dominance of the system and its ability to just close everything down.

So now the Russians and Chinese and others are accelerating their efforts to find an alternative to SWIFT and to the American dollar and the dominance of the US financial system. As I said earlier, none of this is good for the US. We think we’re hurting the Russians. We are actually hurting ourselves very badly in the long term.

Nick: I think one area where you can really see this is that the US essentially kicked Russia out of Visa and MasterCard. And what did Russia do? They turned to China UnionPay, which is China’s payment processor.

Jim: We could go on and on. There are things that have happened, and everything is underway now because Putin has told everybody, “Okay, we’ve got to reexamine our whole way of life that has evolved since the Berlin Wall fell,” and that’s one of the things. By the way, the Chinese love all of this. It’s certainly good for China. It’s not good for the US in the end, but it’s great for China and some Asian countries, such as Iran.

Nothing we have done has been good for America since this whole thing started—nothing. Everything we’ve done has been good for the Chinese.

Nick: So why are they doing it?

Jim: You know as well as I do: these are bureaucrats who shouldn’t be there in the first place. Power corrupts, and it has. You look at the beginning of the First World War, the Emperor, who was 85 years old at the time, made nine demands on the Serbians. Serbia met eight of his demands. For whatever reason they couldn’t meet the ninth. And so they said, “Okay, that’s it… war.” And then everybody was at war.

The bureaucrats everywhere piled in with great enthusiasm—great headlines about how the war will be over by Christmas. By the way, whenever wars start, the headlines always say the war will be over by Christmas, at least in Christian nations. But six months after that war started, everybody looked around and said, “What the hell are we doing?” This is madness. Millions of people are being killed. Billions of dollars are being lost.

This is not good for anybody. And why did it start? Nobody could even tell you why it started, but unfortunately it went on for four years with massive amounts of destruction, all because a few bureaucrats and an old man couldn’t get their acts together. None of that was necessary. Nearly all wars start like that. If you examine the beginning of any war, years later you ask, “How did it happen? Why did it happen?” And usually there’s not much explanation. The winners write history, so the winners always have a good explanation, but more objective people are usually confused.

Nick: Excellent points that you make, Jim. I want to shift gears a little bit. I know you’re a fan of agriculture, and parts of Russia and Ukraine are among the most fertile regions in the world. Investing there is a nice way to get into agriculture and also Russia at the same time. What do you think about companies and stocks that own and operate farmland in that region?

Jim: Well, historically you’re right. Ukraine was one of the major breadbaskets of the world, and some of those vast Russian lands were great breadbaskets at times in history. Communism can and does ruin everything it touches. It ruined Soviet agriculture, but many of those places have great potential and will revive.

I haven’t actually gone and examined the soil myself to see that it’s still fertile, but I assume it is because you see the production numbers. That part of the world should be and will be great agricultural producers again. It’s just a question of when and who.

By the way, I have recently become a director of a large Russian phosphorous/fertilizer company, partly for the reasons you’re discussing.

(Editor’s Note: We recently discussed how investors can access agricultural investment opportunities in Russia. There's an accessible stock that makes it easy to do just that. For all the details, you may want to check out Crisis Speculator.)

Nick: We were talking about Russia and Iran. I’ve had the chance to travel to Iran. It has a remarkably vibrant stock market, all things considered. It’s not heavily dependent on natural resources. They have consumer goods companies, tech companies, and so forth.

Do you see the potential for Iran to open up anytime soon, maybe a Nixon-goes-to-China moment?

Jim: I bought Iranian shares in 1993, and over the next few years it went up something like 47 times, so it was an astonishing success. I got a lot of my money out, but some of it is still trapped there. I don’t know if I could ever find it, but I took so much out it didn’t really matter.

Yes, I know that there’s an interesting market there. I know there’s a vibrant society there. I know huge numbers of Iranians who are under 30, and they want to live a different life. It is changing slowly, but it’s in the process.

Part of it, of course, is because the West has characterized them as demons and evil, which makes it harder. I was never very keen on things like that. Throughout history and in my own experience, engagement is usually a better way to change things than ignoring people and forcing them to close in and get bitter about the outside world.

So I don’t particularly approve of our approach or anybody’s approach to Iran. I certainly don’t approve of old man Khamenei’s approach to Iran either. There were mistakes made in the early days on both sides. But that’s all changing now. I see great opportunities in Iran. If they don’t open to the West, they’re going to open to Asia and to Russia.

There are fabulous opportunities in Iran, with over 70 million people, vast assets, lots of entrepreneur-type people, smart people, and educated people. Iran is Persia. Persia was one of the great nations of world history for many centuries.

So it’s not as though they were a bunch of backward people sitting over there who can’t read or find other people on the map. Persia has enormous potential, and they will develop it again.

Nick: I completely agree, and we’re looking at Iran closely, too. If the West doesn’t open up to Iran, it’s going to lose out to the Chinese and the Russians, who are going to gobble up that opportunity and really eat the Americans’ lunch.

Of course with the sanctions, it’s pretty much illegal for Americans to invest in Iran right now.

Jim: That wasn’t always the case. Years ago, if the investment was less than a certain amount of money, and some other things, there were no problems. I don’t know the details of the current law.

Nick: It’s difficult to keep up with, because the story is constantly changing.

Jim: Well, that’s the brilliance of bureaucrats; they always have something to do. It gives them ongoing job security.

Nick: Exactly.

Nick: Another place we have on our list is Kurdistan.

Jim: The Kurds have been a pretty powerful group of people for a long time. I hope they can pull it together. An independent Kurdistan would be good for Turkey and good for everybody else. Unfortunately, again, you have all these bureaucrats who don’t like change.

I’ve certainly got it on my radar, and maybe I’ll bump into you in Iran, or Russia, or Kurdistan, or who knows where.

Nick: Sounds good Jim, we’ll be in touch.

Editor’s Note: This was an excerpt from Crisis Speculator, which uncovers the deep value investment opportunities waiting behind the news that frightens others away.
The article was originally published at internationalman.com.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wall Street Double Talk and Double Opportunity of Falling Oil Price

By Tony Sagami

The stock market has developed a new type of love-hate relationship with the price of oil. In the past, falling oil prices were treated as an economic positive because they freed up more money for Americans to spend on other things, such as dining out or clothing. However, the steep plunge in oil prices has triggered a reverse psychology reaction on Wall Street: falling oil prices are bad because they signal a slowing global economy.

An even bigger head scratcher is the convoluted reaction that rising oil prices are good for the economy. Go figure.

Wall Street’s collective reaction, silly or not, is important because oil prices are what is currently driving the ups and downs of the stock market. And if you can divine the future direction of oil prices… you’ll find yourself on the right side of the stock market roller coaster.

What do I see when I connect the dots? That oil prices will fall even further.

Connecting the Dots #1: Helmerich & Payne. Helmerich & Payne is the largest lessor of oil rig drilling platforms in the US and recently announced that it would lay off up to 2,000 workers and chop its rig construction pace from four to two new oil rigs a month.


Moreover, Helmerich & Payne said that its active rig count has slid from 297 at the end of Q3 2014 to less than 200 today. “The rig count reduction thus far has been more swift than many expected,” said CEO John Lindsay.

And the price that H&P is receiving on that smaller amount of working rigs is falling. The daily revenue per rig is expected to average $27,000 to $27,500 this quarter, well below the $29,457 it received last quarter.

Connecting the Dots #2: Oil Pros Take Flight. For the week ending January 27, noncommercial traders increased their bets for oil prices to fall even more by adding 22,771 short contracts.


NOTE: Investors who use futures as hedges are called “commercial traders” while those who trade for speculation are called “noncommercial traders.”

The professional traders in the commodities pits make mistakes like the rest of us… but they’re right enough to make a living at it, so it’s dangerous to bet against them.

Connecting the Dots #3: Baker Hughes. In the last week of January, U.S. oil producers shut down 94 drilling rigs, which is the largest one week shutdown in 28 years!


That leaves 1,233 active rigs in North America—a three-year low.


Connecting the Dots #4: Supply Glut. The US Department of Energy reported that crude-oil stockpiles reached 406.7 million barrels in January, the highest level since the government started keeping records in 1982.


Higher supplies wouldn’t be an issue if demand were keeping pace, but thanks to improved drilling technology (fracking), the US is now awash in oil.

Connecting the Dots #5: USW Strike. Adding to the oil-patch pain, the strike of 3,800 members of the United Steelworkers union from nine refineries and chemical plants that process roughly 10% of US gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel.

There are many ways to profit from falling oil prices, such as airlines and trucking stocks, but the most profitable is by betting against the companies that supply oil drilling equipment.

The Philadelphia Oil Services Index (OSX) is a price-weighted index composed of 15 companies that provide oil drilling and production services, oil field equipment, and support services.


If you’re confident that oil prices are headed lower, you can buy put options on the OSX index. And if you’re right… you’ll make a bundle. For example, my Rational Bear subscribers made over 200% in a few short weeks.

I’m not suggesting that you rush out and make big bets on oil prices tomorrow morning. As always, timing is everything, so wait for my next signal; but I am very confident that the profits of oil services companies are headed for the toilet.

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.



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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Weekly Crude Oil and Gold Futures Recap with Mike Seery

It's time for our weekly commodity futures recap with our trading partner Mike Seery. He has been Senior Analyst for close to 15 years and has extensive knowledge of all of the commodity and option markets. And frequently appears on multiple business networks including Bloomberg news, Fox Business, CNBC Worldwide, CNN Business, and Bloomberg TV. He is also a guest on First Business, which is a national and internationally syndicated business show.

Crude oil futures in the March contract finished up around $1.50 a barrel closing around 52.00 after settling last Friday at 48.24 experiencing one of the best rallies we’ve seen it many months as prices are trading far above their 20 day moving average as I have not been able to say that in 6 months but still below their 100 day moving average which stands at $64 a barrel as I am neutral this market as I was recommending anybody who was short to place your stop at the 10 day high which was 49.20 as that stop was very beneficial as prices have rallied over $3 since that level was hit.

Volatility in crude oil is absolutely astronomical with prices moving 5/7% on a daily basis so please avoid this market as the volatility and the risk is out of control at the current time so wait for better chart structure to develop allowing you to place tighter stops minimizing risk and that could take some time as I don’t see the volatility slowing down anytime soon.

The U.S dollar was up 120 points today but had no effect on crude oil prices as crude is now trading right near a 4 week high, however the chart structure is terrible as the 10 day low is about a $9,000 risk from today’s price levels as that is too much risk in my opinion, however keep a close eye on this market because in a couple of days that could change as a trader I’m strictly a trend follower and if this market starts going up I will be bullish and if the market starts to go down breaking $44 I will be bearish but right now I can’t stress enough to look at other markets and avoid this market like the plague.
Trend: Mixed
Chart structure: Awful

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Gold futures in the April contract are down $27 on Friday afternoon in New York due to the fact of a very strong U.S monthly unemployment report pushing prices to a 3 week low as I’ve been recommending a long position in gold when prices broke above 1,245 and if you took that trade it’s time to exit today as prices are at a 3 week low as prices now are trading below their 20 but above their 100 day moving average telling you that the trend is mixed. Gold futures settled in the April contract at 1,279 while currently trading at 1,236 down about $43 for the trading week as the Dow Jones was up over 800 points this week as money is flowing out of the precious metals and into equities once again.

Silver futures are also down $.50 as the U.S dollar is up a whopping 100 points this Friday putting pressure on many of the commodities once again as extreme volatility is happening throughout the commodity and stock sectors sosit on the sidelines in this market as I’m disappointed that we gave back our profits and actually ended up losing slightly on this trade but that’s what happens sometimes when you trade a system as you must stick to the rules as this market fizzled out very quickly.

Gold prices have rallied from 1,130 which was around the contract low all the way above 1,300 which happened just a couple weeks ago and now has sold off about $70 as the trend is mixed and I do not like choppy markets as we probably will be sitting on the sidelines in the gold market for at least 4 to 6 weeks waiting for better chart structure to develop because the risk is too high as there is no trend as choppy markets are extremely difficult to trade.
Trend: Mixed
Chart structure: Poor

Get more Mikes calls for this week including silver, wheat, corn and sugar!



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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Procter & Gamble, the Strong Dollar, and Pepto Bismol

By Tony Sagami


Applied Materials. Boeing. Coach. Ford. Intel. McDonald’s. Nike. Pfizer.

What do those household name companies have in common? Not much, other than that a huge part of the sales come from outside the US.

Really, really huge.

Collectively, the 500 companies in the S&P 500 get 46% of their sales and roughly 50% of their profits from outside the US. They are truly multinational giants.

Expanding your customer base is always a good thing, but doing business overseas is not without peril, and one of the under appreciated perils is the impact of currency movements. A stronger dollar can hurt companies that do a large share of their business overseas because sales in other countries translate back into fewer dollars.

Just ask Procter & Gamble, which reported their Q4 results last week.


P&G sold $20.16 billion of toothpaste, laundry detergent, diapers, toilet paper, and razor blades last quarter, but that was a 4% decline from the same period a year ago.

Worse yet, profits plunged by 31% to $1.06 per share, which was not only well below the $1.13 per share Wall Street was expecting but also a horrible 31% year over year drop. That’s bad.

What’s behind those terrible numbers? The U.S. dollar.

“The October-December 2014 quarter was a challenging one with unprecedented currency devaluations,” said CEO A.G. Lafley.

The US Dollar Index was up 13% in 2014 and is now near a 9-year high. That strong dollar is a big millstone around the neck of US exporters, whose products are now more expensive for foreign buyers as well as negatively affecting profits once those foreign sales are converted back into US dollars.


Worse yet, Lafley said the environment will “remain challenging” in 2015.

The US dollar is now at a 9 year high and threatening to go higher. Much, much higher. By historical standards, the US dollar is still cheap and expected to go higher by many observers, including Procter & Gamble.

P&G warned Wall Street that its 2015 sales will fall by another 5% and its 2015 profits will shrink by another 12%.

Think about those two numbers: 5% lower sales and 12% lower profits.

The strong dollar is a big problem for P&G because it gets roughly two thirds of its revenues from outside the US, so it’s more affected by the strong US dollar than most companies, but P&G is far from alone when it comes to currency woes.

The line of companies that have warned that the strong dollar is hurting their profits is getting longer and longer. Microsoft, Pfizer, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, United Technologies, Emerson Electric, 3M, and even Walmart have warned that the rising dollar is depressing their profits.

What does this mean to you? That a LOT more companies are going to report lower than expected sales and profits in 2015 and those that do will see their stock get hammered, just like P&G.

The problem is that Wall Street is blind to this profit-crushing trend.

In 2014, the S&P 500 companies collectively earned $117.02, and the median forecast of Wall Street strategists for 2015 S&P 500 earnings is $126, which is an optimistic 7.6% growth in earnings.

Unless you think that Procter & Gamble is an isolated island of trouble (and it’s not), you should be very worried that Wall Street is grossly underestimating the profit crushing impact of the strong dollar as well as grossly overestimating corporate America’s earnings growth.


That massive disconnect between reality and the Wall Street dream world is going to translate into some very tough times for stock market investors. If you haven’t added some defense to your portfolio… you may need lots and lots of a popular Procter & Gamble product: Pepto Bismol.

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.



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Tuesday, February 3, 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.


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