It’s hard to believe, but the Republican campaign circus has been in full swing for almost six months already — remember the Iowa straw poll in August? It’s been wildly entertaining, and has narrowed from ten rings to
four. But in the past two weeks, with the unveiling of the 2013 budget plan, we got a taste of the show that’s really in store for us. Unfortunately, it’s one that we have become all too familiar with after these past few years. When the great and powerful Oz asks “all Americans to shoulder
their fair share”, we can be sure that behind the curtain, there are some frantic efforts going on to keep the public placated. The budget may be political theater, doomed in most particulars to irrelevance or obstruction, but it reveals a divide-and-conquer strategy which is a threat to the U.S. economic recovery, national growth, and the important technological and scientific innovation necessary to meet the needs of the people.
What is Oz really up to behind the curtain? Well, let’s consider this: the much-reviled top 1 percent of earn-ers pay 37 percent of Federal income tax according to U.S. Internal Revenue statistics — about as much as the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent pay about 60 percent of all Federal tax dollars collected. These are the earners President Obama obliquely refers to as Americans who need to shoulder their “fair share”, it seems appropriate to ask what “fair” means in these circumstances. What the man behind the curtain is doing is stoking class resentment for the sake of political gain — nothing more, and nothing less. Ironically, the means he’s chosen to do so — for example, sharply raising capital gains and dividend taxes — will adversely affect a whole lot more Americans than the 1 percent. It’s bad news for anyone who holds income stocks, bonds, income-producing real estate, or a private company that pays dividends. That’s more than half of Americans.
Higher taxes on dividends and capital gains will depress stock prices and hurt seniors disproportionately. And it’s very unlikely that the White House’s rosy predictions of 4 percent GDP growth by 2015 will pan out when the producers and job creators are being penalized for their effectiveness in growing the economy. There’s nothing like an irrational tax structure to distort the efficient allocation of capital. Not to mention the fact that higher taxes will likely cause the prices of goods, services, and rents to move higher as well — an unintended consequence that the 99 percent does not need.
Still, it would be inaccurate to blame President Obama for all of our debt problems as he has had a great deal of help from others. The chart below shows that Republicans, especially George W. Bush, have done their fair share to undermine the financial future of the nation’s children and grandchildren.
Historical data demonstrates that when a nation’s debt reaches 90 percent of GDP, a threshold is crossed where
a punishing drop-off in economic
growth begins to occur. We were at
40 percent in fiscal 2008, and we are at about 74 percent now. President Obama’s budget charts a course to bring us to the 90 percent mark, adding $11.2 trillion in debt during the next decade — and that’s according to the President’s own optimistic assessment. The fiscal 2013 budget does account for cost savings due to the winding down of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the automatic cuts from last year’s debt-ceiling deal but contains no meaningful reforms in entitlement programs and no attempts to rein in spending. How is it all to be paid for? The answer is clear: ever-mounting debt and punitive taxes on the wealthy — which will ultimately crush the 95 percent as well. President Obama may not know how economic growth works, but he certainly knows how to run a re-election campaign.
Yet once we narrow down the field of those seeking the Republican nomination, it doesn’t encourage the faint-hearted. Ron Paul is not popular with
Republican voters polling only 22%. Rick The past 30 years shows that it really doesn’t matter who is in office. Santorum, the darling of the moment and the
newest anti-Romney can hardly be taken seriously when he offers $5 trillion in completely unspecified spending cuts. Clearing the undergrowth of throw-away policy proposals like Santorum’s shows in most cases that the U.S. debt will still increase. Gingrich’s offerings are hardly better, but at least Newt would give us a moon base for our trouble.
A middle-of-the-road Romney scenario shows the U.S. staying under the 90 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in the next decade. Yet, it seems from gaffe after gaffe, Romney is not the man to mount a campaign against Obama’s class warfare strategy in a way that really connects with voters. Is there a credible opposition to the Obama debt machine? Sadly, not one that we can see. In the face of this uncertainty, we remain committed to bringing you information and expertise to preserve and grow your wealth — even if we’re not in Kansas anymore.
We May Not be in Kansas Anymore, but We Have a Plan
This brings us to the current investment juncture. We expect that campaign rhetoric will be larded with class warfare hot-buttons; how the wealthy are in league with the Wicked Witch of the West and how the only way to freedom is to follow the yellow brick road laid out for the citizenry by their all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful leaders.
We are happy to announce that there is an alternative tried-and-true path out of OZ
Don’t worry, it is all figured out…just need to print a few more treasury bonds and into financial well-being. The path can be easily traversed using the investment vehicles that have carried many a young girl, tin man, scarecrow, and cowardly lion to greater financial security and freedom. With each passing day more of the U.S. citizenry are understanding that regardless of which political party wins in November, they are going to be more responsible for ensuring their own well-being. What are these investment vehicles that can shepherd investors through uncertain times? Gold, well-managed foreign currencies, U.S. and foreign stocks, real estate, and other commodities.
The best and most durable of these vehicles over the millennia has been gold. We see gold continuing its role in the current revival of the play. Our readers know well of our enduring respect for gold as a store of value, a protection from confiscatory governments, and a beacon of rationality in an otherwise fantasy-based political world.
We measure the potential of every investment on three criteria: the global macro attraction, the industry and company fundamentals, and the technical outlook. Let’s quickly look at gold from three perspectives.
Gold’s Macro Outlook — Very Positive
One nation after another continues to add gold to their treasury reserves as a core holding and as a buffer against their holdings of depreciating U.S. dollars and Euros in their mix of assets. The trend toward adding gold to national reserves has been steadily accelerating for years. While government acquisitions have been continuing, no major sales of gold holdings by central banks have taken place in recent years, and none are expected.
Major increases in gold consumption by individuals and investment managers continue as people want to use gold to keep pace with the declining purchasing power of their money. Consumer demand has also remained strong in spite of gold’s higher prices, which have had no negative effect on demand for gold jewelry. Increasing wealth has stimulated demand for gold jewelry in spite of higher prices especially among the newly rich Indians, Chinese, Turks, etc.
Industry & Company Fundamentals Outlook — Positive
The gold mining industry continues to produce about 2,600 tonnes of gold per year, which is about 2 percent of the existing supply. The total above-ground supply of gold is estimated to be 120,000 to 140,000 tonnes. In the last 30 years, the gold mining industry has increased world gold production from about 1,250 tonnes per year to about 2,650 tonnes per year (2010) — about 2.5 percent annually. Industry economics have been benefitted and increases in production have been stimulated by higher prices and new technologies. These factors allow smaller and more widely-diversified deposits to be successfully mined. However, world gold production has stalled in the last decade. It is obvious that not enough new mines are planned to increase production as old mines play out. Because supply is growing slowly and demand to continue to increase, supply and demand fundamentals support higher gold prices.
In our August 3, 2011 Global Market Commentary, we discussed why we did not believe gold was a bubble. The growth in the world’s above-ground gold stores has paled in comparison to the proliferation of other assets that are used to store wealth, such as currency, stocks, bonds, and derivatives over the past few decades. To see what we wrote in August, click here.
Annual global gold production has grown over the years, but it has stalled in recent years.
Within the last 30 years, new gold mining regions in Africa, Latin America, and Asia have been developed. China is reported to be the world’s largest producer of gold, and their major acquisitions of prospective gold mining areas on the African continent indicate to us that Africa may be the largest gold mining region in coming decades.
For investment, we favor mining companies that have strong balance sheets and good controls over their mining
costs. Additionally, we prefer those that are: 1) located in politically safe regions and enjoy current and growing gold production, and 2) located in politically safe regions which may not yet be producing gold, but have verifiable assets including large mineable gold deposits. Those companies which are not yet producing might make good acquisition candidates for companies which want to grow their production. See below for more, including a new gold mining recommendation.
Technical Outlook — Short-Term Correction, Long-Term Positive
Beginning yesterday gold began a price correction. This correction will probably prove to be fairly short lived
but gold will need to build a base before attempting to breakout above recent highs. We greatly respect the
work of trader Dan Norcini who publishes his technical views on www.traderdannorcini.blogspot.com. We
agree with Dan that gold looks good technically over the long term. Gold is currently correcting in the low
$1,700 region and many wise gold investors will see the current pull back as a buying opportunity. We believe
that much higher price levels are probable after a base building period has taken place. Over the last decade
declines in price have been a good time to add to long term positions.
Comex Gold – Last 30 years
Gold Shares are Underpriced — New Recommendation
In our opinion, gold shares are underpriced and we believe that they will outperform the price of gold bullion over time. Gold shares are at an unreasonably low valuation when compared to the price of gold. Gold mines which have current production or legitimately provable ounces waiting to be produced are stores of value.
Today We Recommend Investors Buy the BMO Junior Gold Index ETF (Toronto Stock Exchange: ZJG)
ZJG is a Canadian ETF that trades on the Toronto exchange. Canada is a well-managed and politically safe country. Most of the companies in the index are North American junior gold miners (79 percent are Canadian, and 21 percent are U.S. companies). As junior miners the companies in the index generally are not engaging in large volume gold production, so their current reserves are not depleting at a rapid rate. Additionally, the ETF is diversified both in terms of a diverse group of companies and in terms of the geographic location of the mines owned because its component companies are engaging in exploration and production in many countries.
ZJG in Canada – a way to play undervalued junior gold miners
Derivatives Regulations: A Candle in the Wind
As our readers know, derivatives were a major contributing factor to the banking meltdowns of 2008 in the U.S., and 2011 in Europe. We began to warn about derivatives and their risks to the world banking system
in 2005. We have been watching with more than a little interest the movements toward some increased reigning-in and/or regulation of derivatives activity by the U.S. — in particular the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Most derivatives are created by U.S. financial institutions and have U.S. counterparties to the derivative contracts. Now that some new regulations have been approved, the current and future primary regulator of many derivatives will be the CFTC. It is interesting to note that some of the commission’s officials, including its current head, Gary Gensler, were among those who supported deregulation of derivatives during the Clinton administration. We ask the question: How are those who made massive mistakes that contributed to the banking crises qualified to administer the industry that caused so much damage?
Thus far, the CFTC has not defined the exact universe of swaps dealers and major swaps participants who will be affected by the new rules. A reasonable expectation would be that all major banks, hedge funds, brokerages, and large trading firms would be included within this universe. In any case, the exercise is too late and ineffectual to handle the current level of derivatives risk present in markets. The current size of the derivatives market is reported to be well over 600 trillion dollars. The immense opportunity for gain and loss represented in this market has created moral and financial hazard that far exceeds the ability of any central banks or any govern-ment to manage. The system is healthier than it was, but it is still fragile.
As investors, to protect capital and to grow buying power, we are focusing our investments in areas we have discussed in these commentaries. In this environment we prefer to own gold, well managed foreign currencies, U.S. and foreign stocks of companies that can grow and/or pay big dividends, real estate, and commodities. For many, an alternative would be to invest in yourself through a personal business assuming that it is flexible and adaptable enough to grow and prosper in the current volatile climate. We wish you successful investing.
Remember, the choice of asset custodians must be made carefully. We are pleased to share with our Gold Subscribers the research that our lawyers have done to understand the risks of various
Please click the graphic below
5—116,530 shares of Golar LNG (NYSE: GLNG) was purchased between December 2nd, 2011 and January 11th, 2012 between a price range of $43.5017-$46.1647, there was one sale of 15,000 shares on January 11th, 2012 at $44.1006.
General Disclosures about this Newsletter
The publisher of this newsletter is Guild Investment Management, Inc. (GIM or Guild), an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. GIM manages the accounts of high net worth indi-viduals, investment partnerships, trusts and estates, pension and profit sharing plans, and corporations, among other clients.
Your receipt of this newsletter does not create a personal investment advisory relationship with GIM although some recipients may also be advisory clients of GIM. GIM has written investment advisory agreements with all its personal advisory clients, which sets forth the nature of that relationship.
The newsletter makes general observations about markets and business and financial trends and may provide ad-vice about specific companies and specific investments. It does not give personal investment advice tailored to the needs, objectives, and circumstances of individual readers. Whether investment ideas and recommendations are suitable for individual readers depends substantially on the personal and financial situation of that reader, which GIM, as the publisher of the newsletter, makes no effort to investigate.
GIM attempts to provide accurate content in its newsletters to the extent such content is factual rather than analysis and opinion, but GIM relies primarily on information compiled or reported by third parties and does not generally attempt to independently verify or investigate such information. Moreover, some content and some of the assumptions, formulas, algorithms and other data that affect the content may be inaccurate, outdated, or otherwise flawed. GIM does not guarantee or take responsibility for the accuracy of such information.
Please note that investing in stocks, other securities, and commodities is inherently risky, and you should rely on your personal financial advisors and conduct your own due diligence in connection with any investment decision.
A Special Comment for Guild’s Clients
If you are an investment advisory client of GIM who is receiving this newsletter, please note that the fact that a general recommendation is made of a particular security, commodity, or investment area to its newsletter subscribers does not mean that investment is suitable for you or should be purchased by you. For example, GIM may already have purchased such securities on your behalf or purchased securities in the same industry (and an increase in the position for you may represent too much concentration in one security or industry), or GIM may believe the investment is not suitable for you based on your risk tolerance or other factors. If you have questions about the recommendations in this newsletter in relation to your account at GIM, please contact Monty Guild or Tony Danaher.
Conflicts of Interest
As of the date of this newsletter, GIM’s investment advisory clients or GIM’s principals owned positions in areas that are the subject of current recommendations, commentary, analysis, opinions, or advice, contained in this newsletter. GIM’s advisory clients or principals are currently long U.S. and foreign equities. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) and/or Guild’s principals, purchased 116,530 shares of Golar LNG (NYSE: GLNG) between December 2, 2011 and January 11, 2012 at prices between $43.49 and $46.17. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) also sold 15,000 shares of GLNG on January 11, 2012 at $44.1006. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) and/or Guild’s principals, purchased 116,300 shares of iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (NYSE: EWZ) between February 1, 2012 and February 7, 2012 at prices between $67.10 and $68.80. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) also sold 55,530 shares of EWZ on February 29, 2012 at prices between $69.35 and $69.48. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) and/or Guild’s principals, purchased 122,900 shares of Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSE: XLK) between February 6, 2012 and February 9, 2012 at prices between $27.66 and $28.28. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) also sold 122,900 shares of XLK between February 22, 2012 and February 23, 2012 at a price of $28.59. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) and/or Guild’s principals, purchased 118,400 shares of Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP (NYSE: RNF) between November 4, 2011 and February 22, 2012 at prices between $18.86 and $25.67. Guild Investment Management (acting for its clients) also sold 24,000 shares of RNF on November 11, 2011 at $20.1463. They also hold positions in U.S. and for-eign market ETFs, emerging market ETFs, gold ETFs and gold mining ETFs, precious metal mining shares, and foreign currencies.
GIM and its principals have certain conflicts of interest in its relations with its investment advisory clients and its newsletter subscribers resulting from GIM or its principals holding positions for its clients or themselves which are also recommended to its clients. GIM may change the positions of its clients or GIM’s principals may change their positions (increasing, decreasing, and eliminating them) based on GIM’s best judgment at any given time, including the time of publication of the newsletter. Factors that lead GIM to change or eliminate its positions may include general market developments, factors specific to the issuer, or the needs of GIM or its advisory clients. From time to time GIM’s investing goals on behalf of its investment advisory clients or the personal investing goals of GIM’s principals and their risk tolerance may be different from those discussed in the newsletter, and the investment decisions made by GIM for its advisory clients or the investment decisions of its principals may vary from (and may even be contrary to) the advice and recommendations in the newsletter.
In addition, GIM or its principals may reduce or eliminate their positions in an investment that is recommended in the newsletter prior to notifying the newsletter subscribers of such a reduction or elimination. The publication by GIM of a “target price” or “stop loss” for a particular security or other asset does not necessarily represent the price at which GIM intends to sell or will sell any such assets for its advisory clients or the price at which GIM’s principals intend to sell any such assets.
As a consequence of the conflict of interest, GIM’s clients or principals may benefit if newsletter subscribers purchase assets recommended by GIM since it could increase the value of the assets already held by GIM’s investment advisory clients or GIM’s principals. On the other hand, GIM’s principals and clients may suffer a detriment if they seek to acquire additional shares in securities that have been recommended and the price of the securities has increased as a result of purchases by newsletter subscribers.
To help mitigate these conflicts, GIM seeks to avoid recommending the securities of individual companies where GIM or its principals have an ownership position and where the issuer is small or its securities are thinly traded−that way sales by GIM in advance of possible sales by newsletter subscribers would not be likely to cause any significant decrease in the sale price to newsletter subscribers. GIM has a fiduciary relationship with its investment advisory clients and cannot agree on behalf of such clients to refrain from purchases or sales of a security mentioned in the newsletter for a period of time before or after recommendations for purchases or sales are made to its newsletter subscribers.
GIM encourages you to do independent research on the securities or other assets discussed or recommended in the newsletter prior to making any investment decisions and to be especially cautious of investments in small, thinly-traded companies, which are usually the most risky investments that you can make.
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GIM disclaims any liability for investment decisions based upon recommendations, information, or opinions in its newsletters. GIM is not soliciting you to execute any trade. Nothing contained in GIM’s newsletters is intended to be, nor shall it be construed as an offer to buy or sell securities or to give individual investment advice. The information in the newsletter is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation, or which would subject GIM to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country.
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