The Many Uses of Gold
As our loyal readers know, at U.S. Global Investors we carefully monitor the price of gold. We pay close attention to the macro drivers moving the yellow metal, like government policy and cultural affinity spurring demand globally. We also monitor the micro drivers, like company management and quant factors that make one gold stock superior to the next.
The White House has announced a new set of broad tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The measure is surprising in its scope, its targets and its break from the long-prevailing trends of international trade.
The Historic Bull Market Faces Off Against Steel Tariffs
No doubt you’ve heard before that bull markets don’t die of old age. I can’t say for sure what will end this particular business cycle—no one can—but we’re seeing huge shifts in monetary and fiscal policy right now that investors can’t afford to ignore. As I often say, government policy is a precursor to change.
4 Big Reasons Why Short-Term Muni Bonds Should Excite You
Municipal bonds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sexy investment. They don’t typically command news headlines like the stock market or bitcoin. That doesn’t mean investors should disregard short-term munis. In fact, munis play a very important role in any serious portfolio. Below are four big reasons why you should get excited about muni bonds.
Are Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Good for America?
President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff on imported steel and aluminum, at 25 percent and 10 percent, is much more than a shot across the bow. Indeed, this could be the official kickoff of the trade war we all anticipated. The protectionist trade policy, announced this week as the president met with metals executives, raised fresh inflation worries and had an immediate impact on capital markets.
The World's Cobalt Supply Is in Jeopardy
Let’s focus on cobalt for a moment. Global demand for the brittle, bluish-white metal has skyrocketed in recent months, exceeding 100,000 metric tons for the first time last year, according to mining consultant CRU Group. Over the next 10 years, it’s projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6 percent.
5 Things Investors Should Know About China this New Year
Today marks the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, China’s most important holiday. The fire rooster struts off-stage, clearing the way for the loyal earth dog. According to CLSA’s tongue-in-cheek Feng Shui Index, health care, consumer and paper products are favored to outperform early this year, followed by internet, utilities and tech leading into the summer.
Is American Energy on the Verge of a New Golden Age?
The U.S. has been a net importer of energy since 1953, but that’s set to change early next decade, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). In its highly anticipated Annual Energy Outlook 2018, the agency forecasts that the U.S.
Fear Creeps Back into Stocks, Shining a Light on Gold
Monday’s monster stock selloff is exhibit A for why I frequently recommend a 10 percent weighting in gold, with 5 percent in bullion and jewelry, the other 5 percent in high-quality gold stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.
A $1.5 Trillion Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss!
On the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump pledged to invest as much as $1 trillion in U.S. infrastructure if he were elected. This week during his first State of the Union address, now-President Trump added half a trillion dollars more to that figure.
What Do Quincy Jones, Serena Williams and Blockchain Have in Common?
Disruption was definitely top of mind during many of the presentations and interviews at Inside ETFs, including that of producer and composer Quincy Jones, who was at the conference to promote a new stock index that tracks music and entertainment companies
Another Positive Year Ahead for Gold, Says the World Gold Council
In a year when the S&P 500 hit all-time highs, gold also held strong, finishing 2017 up 13.5 percent, according to the World Gold Council. Gold’s annual gain was the largest since 2010, outperforming all major asset classes other than stocks.
You'll Want to Read This Living Legend's Thoughts On Copper
This week the U.S. Global Investors office was visited by a living legend in the junior mining industry, billionaire founder and executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, Robert Friedland. In case you don’t know, back in the mid-1970s, Robert was caretaker of an apple orchard south of Portland that one of his buddies from Reed College would often visit. That buddy’s name was Steve Jobs, who later went on to found a little company he named—what else?—Apple.
Recipe Calls for a Broad Commodities Rally in 2018
At the beginning of every year, we update what’s typically one of our most popular pages, the Periodic Table of Commodity Returns. I encourage you to explore 10 years’ worth of data on basic materials such as aluminum, zinc and everything in between. A word of warning, though—the interactive feature makes the table highly addictive.
2018 Could be Another Knockout Year for Emerging Europe
Domestic stocks were a great place to invest in 2017, but hopefully you didn’t overlook opportunities overseas. Emerging markets had a gangbusters year, surging more than 37.5 percent with dividends reinvested, as measured by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
It’s Time for the Fear Trade to Move Gold Prices
I believe these forces behind the fear trade will only intensify in 2018. With inflation finally showing green shoots and President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax reform law expected to increase deficit spending, this year could provide the right conditions to spur gold prices higher.
Best of the Year: Top 5 Frank Talk Posts of 2017
As we head into the New Year, I want to share with you the five most popular Frank Talk posts of 2017. One common theme you’ll see in these posts is they all center on the topic of gold. Although we specialize in educating investors about gold and managing gold funds, it’s worth noting that our gold posts garnered more interest than our bitcoin and blockchain posts in this year of cryptocurrency craze.
10 Charts That Show Why Gold Is Undervalued Right Now
With the year quickly coming to a close, it might be time to start thinking about rebalancing the gold holdings in your portfolio. That includes bullion, jewelry, gold stocks and well-managed gold funds—all of which I recommend giving a collective 10 percent weighting. Because it’s been such a strong year for stocks—they’ve advanced more than 20 percent as of today—it’s likely that most investors will need to add to their gold exposure to meet that 10 percent weighting as we head into 2018.
Coming Housing Boom Could Mean It's Time to Add Raw Materials
In its November report, mortgage security firm Freddie Mac called 2017 the “best year in a decade” for the housing market by a variety of measures. These include low inflation, strong job growth and historically-low mortgage rates. This assessment is very encouraging, not just for homebuyers and builders and the U.S. economy in general, but also for commodities, resources and raw materials as we head into 2018.
Visit the Top Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Power Hubs of the World
The revolution might not be televised, but it will most certainly be digitized. That’s the message, at least, of my friend Jonathan Roth’s short film on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, titled “Cryptocurrency Revolution: On the Frontlines of the World’s Hottest Tech Opportunity.”
This Week in Bitcoin: The IRS Targets Coinbase, Venezuela to Mint Its Own Cryptocurrency
Writing about blockchain and bitcoin right now is a little like buying a new computer in the 1990s. The tech was advancing so fast in those days that as soon as you brought the thing home, it was sorely outdated. Similarly, the cryptocurrency world is changing so rapidly at the moment that even before “the ink dries” on one of my posts, some important new development has already surfaced.
Gold Looks Like a Bargain Just in Time for Christmas
“Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is,” Warren Buffett famously said. “The time to get interested is when no one else is.” The same logic applies to Christmas decorations, gold and mining stocks.
Move Over, Tesla! China Holds the Keys to Electric Vehicles
Earlier this month, I shared with you a quote from Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer of BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world. In a September interview with Reuters, Balhuizen called 2017 the “revolution year [for electric vehicles], and copper is the metal of the future.”
Gobble, Gobble: Thanksgiving Dinners Stuffed with Savings Despite Rising Fuel Costs
A helpful way to look at inflation is the changing cost of a typical Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people. For the second straight year, the cost actually declined from the previous year’s holiday, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). This year’s feast, including staples such as turkey, rolls, sweet potatoes and more, fell $0.75 to a five-year low of $49.12. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that’s down more than $10 from 30 years ago. The turkey alone cost about 1.6 percent less than last year.
Synchronized Global Growth May Have Arrived
Nearly 10 years after the financial crisis brought the global economy to its knees, conditions have finally improved enough to crystallize my conviction that synchronized global growth is currently underway. Revenue and earnings growth are up year-over-year, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. Despite President Donald Trump threatening to raise tariffs and tear up trade deals, global trade is accelerating. World manufacturing activity expanded to a 78-month high of 53.5 in October, with faster rates recorded in new orders, exports, employment and input prices.
My Conviction in Gold Royalty Companies and Bitcoin
It should be clear by now that something is changing in financial markets, and this is what inspired me to allocate part of our capital in a company with first-mover advantage in the cryptocurrency space, just as we did with Silver Wheaton years ago. As the “Parable of the Talents” teaches us, no reward can come to you without some risk-taking. Doing nothing is not an option.
Oil at Two-Year Highs as Saudi Arabia Engages in Its Own “Game of Thrones”
Recently I identified five agents of change that I believe investors should know about right now. I’d like to add one more to the list: Mohammad bin Salman. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, 32, was little known outside the region before this past weekend when he jailed members of the royal family, presumably in an attempt to consolidate power ahead of taking the throne.
5 Agents of Change Investors Need to Know About Now
The world is changing fast right now in ways that many investors might not easily recognize or want to admit. This could end up being a costly mistake. If you’re not paying attention, you could be letting opportunities pass you by without even realizing it. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of five agents of change that I think investors need to be aware of and possibly factor into their decision-making process.
Holidays Come Early for Investors as Consumer Spending Surges from Previous Year
American consumers were more willing to open their wallets in September, an encouraging sign of what Santa might bring for investors this year. According to the latest Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data, consumer spending in the U.S. rose a robust 1 percent between August and September, the largest month-to-month gain since 2009.
The World Is Running out of Gold Mines—Here’s How Investors Can Play It
So few new large mines are being discovered today, mostly because companies have had to slash exploration budgets in response to lower gold prices. Earlier this year, S&P reported that total exploration budgets for companies involved in mining nonferrous metals fell for the fourth straight year in 2016. Budgets dropped to $6.9 billion, the lowest point in 11 years. Although we’ve seen an increase in spending so far this year, it still dramatically trails the 2012 heyday.
Are ICOs Replacing IPOs?
My keynote address on Tuesday focused on quant investing in gold mining and the booming initial coin offering (ICO) market. I’m thrilled to share with you that the presentation was voted the best, for which I was awarded an ounce of gold. I want to thank the London Bullion Market Association, its members and conference attendees for this honor.
Car Manufacturers Are Electrifying Copper, “The Metal of the Future”
As many of you know, copper is often seen as an indicator of economic health, historically falling when overall manufacturing and construction is in contraction mode, rising in times of expansion. That appears to be the case today. Currently trading above $3 a pound, “Doctor Copper” is up close to 24 percent year-to-date and far outperforming its five-year average from 2012 to 2016.
Germans Have Quietly Become the World’s Biggest Buyers of Gold
When I talk about Indians’ well-known affinity for gold, I tend to focus on Diwali and the wedding season late in the year. Giving gifts of beautiful gold jewelry during these festivals is considered auspicious in India, and historically we’ve been able to count on prices being supported by increased demand.
Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily
I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.
Manufacturers Just Had a Gangbuster Month
American manufacturers grew at their fastest pace since May 2004 in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Manufacturing activity, as measured by the ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), expanded for the 100th straight month, climbing to a 13-year high of 60.8. The higher above 50, the more rapid the acceleration.
This Could Be a No-Brainer Gold Buying Opportunity
Last week I was pleased to be the keynote speaker at the Denver Gold Show in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. Attendance was strong, sentiment was up and my presentation on quant gold investing was very well received.
The Biggest Global Tax Break Ever Bubbles Up from Texas Oil Industry
Oil prices continue to remain low, however, thanks in large part to the ingenuity of Texas fracking companies. As I told Liz, this has served as a multibillion-dollar “peace dividend” that has mostly helped net importing markets, including “Chindia”—China and India combined, where 40 percent of the world’s population lives—Japan and the European Union.
The Blockchain Could Potentially Be as Disruptive as Amazon Was in the 1990s
With its ability to validate all transactions in an immutable electronic ledger, the blockchain has the potential to be as disruptive as Amazon was in the late 1990s. When the company went public in 1997, there were serious doubts whether people would willingly give up their credit card information just to buy a book. Since then, Amazon stock is up 8,000 percent, and founder Jeff Bezos briefly overtook Bill Gates in July to become the world’s wealthiest person.
Natural Disasters Have Not Caused a Single Muni Default: Moody’s
For the first time since we’ve been keeping track, two separate Category 4 hurricanes struck the mainland U.S. in the same year. It should come as no surprise, then, that the combined recovery cost of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is expected to set a new all-time high for natural disasters.
The (Investing) World According to Geoffrey Caveney
The best call financial writer Geoffrey Caveney ever made was in December 2015. Gold hit a multiyear low of $1,050 an ounce, and he was convinced that the metal had found a bottom. It was time to make a trade, he thought, not just in bullion but precious metal miners, specifically the juniors and some micro-cap names.
Got a Bully Problem? Send in a Bully
Here’s a news flash for you: Donald Trump is controversial and caustic. He says exactly what’s on his mind, no matter how incendiary, and he’s not afraid to make enemies, even with members of his party. ‘Bully’ is a word many people use to describe the 45th U.S. president.
Are You Prepared for These Potentially Disruptive Economic Storms?
I hope investors have taken steps to prepare for some potentially disruptive economic storms, including this weekend’s central bank symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the possibility of a contentious battle in Congress next month over the budget and debt ceiling.