Daily Gains Letter

central bank


What the World Cup and the Stock Market Have in Common This Year

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 14, 2014

How to Make Some Premium Income This SummerLast Wednesday, I had fun watching the World Cup game between Argentina and the Netherlands. As strange as it may sound, I actually found that the tension and apprehension throughout the match reminded me of the stock market.

Despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently trading above 17,000 and the S&P 500 at another record-high, I still sense the stock market is vulnerable to selling. I think this will be especially true if the second-quarter earnings season pans out as expected, devoid of any major growth in earnings or revenues.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE/AA) offered up a nice report, but I’m not sure how much it counts, as the company really is not a major bellwether as to the health of the global economy.

The reality is that consumer spending drives the economy and the stock market. I would rather look at what’s happening at bellwether global retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE/WMT) than Alcoa. The “Death Star” of the retail sector is struggling for growth around the world—and that cannot be good news. Even discount stores, which tend to be more immune to slowing, are showing signs of weakness.

In other words, while the stock market has edged higher, I still wouldn’t get too comfortable at this time. I think we could see another minor stock market correction should earnings tank. Of course, this would provide us with an investment opportunity to buy shares on weakness in the stock market.

Now there’s some optimism following the Federal Reserve’s dovish remarks from its June meeting, as there’s a sense that interest rates will not ratchet higher until after mid-2015, depending on the … Read More


How to Profit from ECB’s Attempts to End Economic Slowdown

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 31, 2014

Economic SlowdownRemember what happened in the U.S. economy when the financial system was about to collapse? The banks weren’t lending to each other, businesses, or even consumers. The U.S. economy was in a deep economic slowdown. Investment banks like the Lehman Brothers had already collapsed and more would follow. Something had to be done or else it would be a disaster situation.

When all of this was happening, the Federal Reserve stepped in to save the U.S. economy. It started to use a monetary policy tool called quantitative easing. The idea was simple: print money out of thin air and then buy back bad debt from the banks. As a result of this, the banks would have liquidity, which would eventually create more lending, moving the U.S. economy towards the path of economic growth.

You can look at Japan as another example of this. In order to fight the economic slowdown in that country, the Bank of Japan took similar actions to those of the Federal Reserve—I must say, the central bank of Japan has been involved with quantitative easing for a while.

The central bank of Japan wanted economic growth, which was what the Federal Reserve had hoped for in the U.S. economy. Japan’s central bank believed that by introducing quantitative easing, the value of the currency would go down and exports from the country would increase. The Bank of Japan also hoped that the quantitative easing would take the country away from the deflationary period it has been experiencing for some time.

With this in mind, you will come across various arguments. Some will say that quantitative easing has … Read More


How to Profit from This Declining Currency

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 25, 2014

Declining CurrencyProblems in the Canadian economy are growing and whispers of an economic slowdown are looming in the air. If an economic slowdown does occur, the Canadian dollar will be the primary victim—and investors can profit heavily from this scenario.

The central bank of the country isn’t very optimistic about the growth. Commenting on the country’s first-quarter growth, the governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, said, “What we have seen is that the numbers in the first quarter have been a little shy of what we were expecting.” He added, “It’s easy to point to the weather as a qualitative explainer, but it is hard for us to believe that all of that is just that.” (Source: Woodbury, R., “UPDATE 3-Canada’s Poloz sees a future of slower growth, low rates,” Reuters, March 18, 2014.)

The Bank of Canada lowered its growth estimates from what it originally anticipated. It now expects the Canadian economy to grow at an annualized pace of 2.5% in the first quarter compared to the 2.9% it predicted in December.

The Bank of Canada isn’t the only place that is suggesting the Canadian economy is headed towards an economic slowdown.

The companies traded on Canadian stock exchanges are warning about an economic slowdown, too. We can tell this by looking at their corporate earnings. If their profits start to show troubles, then it means the overall economy may be slowing. Consider this: in the fourth quarter of 2013, 60% of all the companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) missed their earnings expectations. (Source: Shmuel, J., “Why is the TSX rallying even as Canadian companies suffer?” … Read More


Can This Precious Metal Save Your Portfolio from the Rising Tensions in Crimea?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 5, 2014

key stock indicesThese days, we have been hearing a significant amount of news out of Ukraine. “Pro-Russian troops” are now in control of the security and administrative systems in the Crimea region, which is the mainly Russian-speaking area of the country. World leaders are saying that this is nothing but an act of aggression by Russia, saying that at the very least, the situation is worsening each day and it’s very unpredictable what could happen next.

As a result of the uncertainty, key stock indices here in the U.S. are sliding lower—mind you, the Ukraine is neither a major trading partner with the U.S. nor is it a country in which a lot of American-based companies operate. Considering this, one must wonder why key stock indices are seeing selling then at all.

Here’s what investors really need to know…

It all comes down to this: the Ukraine/Russia issue is a problem for the global economy, with which the key stock indices are highly correlated. If the global economy as a whole faces an issue, then the key stock indices slide lower. This is something investors have to keep in mind.

Ukraine is just one of the issues for the global economy that we see in the news; there are others, which investors need to know about, that may have even more gruesome consequences on the key stock indices than now.

For example, the Chinese economy isn’t getting much attention these days, but we see manufacturing activity in the country is continuously declining. This shows that the demand is slowing down and it will impact the bottom-line of companies on the key stock … Read More


Two Reasons to Consider Gold Investments Right Now

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 12, 2014

Gold Investments“Why would someone be bullish on gold right now? Stocks have the momentum. Let me warn: you will be better off buying stocks than buying gold bullion.” These were the “wise” words of my good old friend Mr. Speculator, when I met him over the weekend.

Not too long ago, he was afraid about what would happen to his stock position. Now, his opinion has changed. Mr. Speculator thinks key stock indices will hit new highs and gold bullion—which provides safety against the backdrop of a weak economy—will go down further. He said, “It will be a bad year for gold investors.”

Mr. Speculator may be right about the key stock indices. The momentum on the stock market is significantly noticeable. We see buyers come in and buy after every decline. This can continue, but you have to keep in mind that the fundamentals are becoming weak. This can be troublesome and could create a massive sell-off very quickly.

On gold, however, I completely disagree.

I have been bullish on gold bullion for some time, and my main argument has to do with the demand and supply of the precious metal. I see demand for gold bullion increasing, while the supply side is being threatened due to low prices.

We are seeing China become the biggest consumer of gold bullion. It was India before, but the government and the central bank of the country are working very hard to curb the demand for the yellow shiny metal. According to the China Gold Association, in 2013, the total precious metal consumption in the country increased by 41% to 1,176.4 tonnes. This … Read More


How the Trend Is Changing for Silver

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 12, 2014

Trend Is Changing for SilverOne of the interesting things about investors is how so many become complacent over time. When precious metals like silver were rising steadily, more and more people jumped on the bandwagon. But times have changed.

With few people in the media talking about precious metals, I think it’s a good time to take a look at silver, as 2014 could potentially be a very strong year for the metal.

Obviously, we know that 2013 was a tough year for most of the precious metals, as investors began to believe that economic growth was going to accelerate globally. Over the last couple of months, it is clear that global economic growth is far from certain.

Uncertainty is an important component for the precious metals market, and we have seen silver react much more sharply than the other commodities, both to the upside and the downside.

As people become more uncertain, they look to assets that they believe can help protect their wealth. The emerging markets are getting hit badly, including Turkey hiking rates massively in one day, Argentina and Venezuela having serious issues, the Ukraine experiencing riots, and China now exhibiting signs of a slowdown in economic growth. Considering all of this, it’s no surprise that many people in nations around the world continue to accumulate precious metals, including silver.

An interesting note from last week made by the European Central Bank (ECB) president, Mario Draghi, in his comments following the central bank meeting is the possibility that there could be additional monetary stimulus (money printing) coming shortly.

With economic growth nowhere in sight in Europe, to have yet another central … Read More


Why Gold Looks Good to Me in 2014

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 29, 2014

Gold Looks Good to Me in 2014Just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine who seemed extremely cheerful. I asked why, and he said that his investments have performed well over the past few months and he saw no reasons to worry.

This is a common problem with investor sentiment; people tend to become complacent and only look to the recent past as an indication of what tomorrow will bring.

This is quite dangerous. Investor sentiment is often wrong and can be used as a contrary indicator, buying when others are dumping their stocks and taking profits when others are blissfully unaware of the changing landscape around them.

Americans need to be careful of becoming too complacent in their bullish investor sentiment, because the U.S. is not isolated from the rest of the world.

When the real estate bust and financial crash occurred here in America several years ago, the effects spread to many nations around the world, including the emerging markets.

With the Federal Reserve pushing the gas pedal on money printing here in the U.S., it has created a shock absorber to some extent, temporarily keeping global pressures at bay, especially in relation to the emerging markets.

However, investors do need to be aware that there is much uncertainty around the world. Investor sentiment for global institutions has been aware of these potential issues and is now running for the exits.

Last week this began in Asia, as economic growth appears to be slowing and reports of a financial crisis in China are beginning to grow. With the Chinese shadow-banking sector showing signs of cracking, this is creating negative investor … Read More


Update: My 2014 Gold Outlook

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 7, 2014

Gold OutlookIn 2013, gold prices saw the worst tumble in a few decades. This decline in prices caused many to panic, and the negativity towards the yellow metal increased significantly. As we begin 2014, this sentiment seems to be holding on. It’s not uncommon to hear analysts or investors say how gold bullion isn’t worth holding and that there are better opportunities.

However, I’ve been bullish on gold for some time, and I stand by my bullishness. The main reason for my take on the precious metal comes down to the most basic factors that determine price—supply and demand. I continue to see a declining supply and increasing demand. Keeping all else the same, this is the perfect recipe for higher prices ahead.

On the demand side, we are seeing buying from countries across the globe. This was something that was said to have slowed when the gold bullion prices were going down back in April of 2013 and then again in June of 2013.

Australia’s Perth Mint reported sales of gold bullion coins and bars increased by 41% in 2013 compared to a year ago. The Mint sold 754,635 ounces of gold bullion in 2013 compared to 533,333 ounces in 2012. (Source: Sedgman, P., “Perth Mint Gold Sales Surge 41% in 2013 on Worst Rout Since 1981,” Bloomberg, January 2, 2013.)

At the U.S. Mint, the increase in sales of gold bullion coins has been similar to that of Australia’s. The U.S. Mint, for the entire year of 2013, sold 856,500 ounces of gold bullion in American Eagle coins. This was 13% higher compared to the same period a year … Read More


Bitcoin: The Next Hot Trade or a Scam?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Dec 19, 2013

BitcoinA friend of mine recently asked if he should invest in Bitcoin. He was astonished with its growth; he said, “I can’t believe it. You could get one Bitcoin for $100.00 not too long ago, and now that looks cheap!”

He asked if there will be growth in the digital currency in the long run, and if he will be able to make money for his portfolio. My response was simple: “I don’t know.” He didn’t like my answer at first, but when I explained further, his perspective toward Bitcoin changed.

You see, I am a big believer in investing in what I know. For example, I like to look at companies whose business I understand—I understand how they make sales and generate their profits. When it comes to foreign exchange, I look at currencies of countries that I know I can learn more about and the data sources are reliable.

But when it comes to Bitcoin, I am still uncertain about how it is priced. With stocks, you can get a general idea about where the stock prices might be headed. You can look at analysts’ expectations and the like. With Bitcoin, it isn’t mainstream just yet. There are some analysts who are saying the digital currency will skyrocket, while on the other side, there are those who are saying it will die as quickly as it became famous. At the very core, there’s too much noise.

On top of this, there’s too much volatility in Bitcoin’s value. I was watching a live chart of Bitcoin prices compared to the U.S. dollar not too long ago, and in a … Read More


Japan the Next Big Trade for U.S. Investors?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Dec 12, 2013

U.S. InvestorsThe central bank of Japan has taken center stage when it comes to using extraordinary measures to revive growth in an economy. In an effort to boost the Japanese economy, the central bank has resorted to quantitative easing. And unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve, Japan is also involved in buying exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs), not just government bonds and mortgage securities.

Unfortunately, the central bank is outright failing. One of the main goals of the Bank of Japan is to inject inflation into the Japanese economy through money printing, aiming for an inflation rate of two percent. Sadly, this isn’t happening; inflation in the Japanese economy is running far below the targeted level, and there may not even be light at the end of the tunnel.

“A 1 percent inflation rate may be possible, but that’s different to the Bank of Japan target,” said Takahiro Mitani, manager of the Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan (GPIF), the world’s largest pension fund. “We haven’t seen real demand to pull prices up yet. Whether inflation will be stable is questionable.” (Source: Winkler, M., “World’s Biggest Pension Fund Sees Japan Fail on 2% Inflation,” Bloomberg web site, December 4, 2013.)

Consumption is one of the factors that can help bring inflation into an economy. Sadly, the Japanese economy is seeing hardships here as well, as consumer confidence, one of the best indicators of where consumer spending will go, is declining. Between September and November, consumer confidence in the Japanese economy declined more than eight percent. The index tracking consumer confidence stood at 45.7 in September and 41.9 in … Read More


Bitcoin: The New Gold?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Dec 9, 2013

Bitcoin The New GoldBack in March, a Canadian man listed his house for sale in exchange for Bitcoins—5,362 of them. At the time, the digital currency was exchanging hands at US$73.00, which means the house was available for about $395,000. (Source: “Canadian house first on sale for Bitcoin currency,” RT.com, March 25, 2013.)

The listing was considered a risky (and bizarre) idea; after all, the digital currency is experimental, decentralized, and can be transferred to anyone, anywhere in the world. Until recently, it was debatable as to whether or not this currency would even gain traction.

Because it is digital, the currency does not exist in a physical sense. It also isn’t issued by any central bank, and that might be part of the appeal; without a central bank, accounts cannot be seized or frozen. (That’s an attractive point for those in Cyprus who had 10% of all savings and deposits seized by the government.)

The lack of an intervening central bank also means the currency cannot be manipulated. While the digital currency is regularly being “minted,” there is a limit to how much can be created; this is to prevent inflation. There are currently around 12 million Bitcoins in circulation. After the year 2140, no more will be minted, and the total amount available will stand at a maximum 21 million.

Still, the price of a Bitcoin can fluctuate wildly. First introduced in early 2009, the digital currency floundered, coming in at about US$14.00 earlier this year. Now, the digital currency is “worth” around $1,080. Had the above-mentioned house sold for 5,362 Bitcoins, and had the owner held onto those coins, his … Read More


Losing Faith in Gold? Read This Before You Sell

By for Daily Gains Letter | Nov 25, 2013

Faith in Gold“The sky is falling, sell;” “It’s useless, run away;” “There’s going to be deflation, so it won’t serve any purpose to your portfolio”—these are a few of the ways gold bullion is being described these days. The yellow metal is facing scrutiny, and those looking for it are gasping for air.

Looking at all this negativity, should you lose trust in gold and sell, like the mainstream says?

The scrutiny against gold bullion is significant, but I remain bullish on the metal in the long run. As it stands, I don’t see demand declining, and as the prices remain suppressed, I expect the supply to decrease.

When gold bullion prices slid lower, we started to hear that the buyers would run for the exits, but we still don’t see that happening; as a matter of fact, more consumers are jumping in to buy the precious metal.

The nations that are known as the biggest consumers of gold bullion are still buying. According to the World Gold Council, in the third quarter of 2013, gold bullion jewelry demand in China was 164 tonnes, an increase of 29% from the same period in 2012. In India, the demand for gold bullion remains robust; for the first nine months of this year, the demand for gold bullion was higher than the previous year by 19%, despite the government and central bank working together to curb the demand. (Source: “Gold continues its journey from West to East as buoyant consumer markets balance investment outflows,” World Gold Council web site, November 14, 2013.)

“Consistent with the first two quarters of 2013, the global gold market … Read More


How Investors Are Profiting as the Eurozone Crisis Makes a Comeback

By for Daily Gains Letter | Nov 21, 2013

Investors Are Profiting as the Eurozone CrisisMajor economic hubs in the global economy are in outright trouble, and each passing day there’s more economic data suggesting the slowdown is holding its own. Investors need to be wary about what’s happening, because it can affect their portfolio significantly.

The eurozone crisis, which sent ripple effects into the global economy, is rising again. In the early days of the eurozone crisis, we heard how the economies of such nations like Greece, Spain, and Portugal were suffering. Now, the bigger nations in the euro region are showing signs of stress. Consider France, the second-biggest economy in the eurozone, for example. This major economic hub in the global economy witnessed contraction in the third quarter. On top of this, France’s unemployment rate continues to increase.

Germany, the biggest economy in the eurozone and the fourth-biggest economic hub in the global economy, slowed in the third quarter. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the country increased just 0.3% in the third quarter. In the second quarter, Germany’s GDP increased by 0.7%. (Source: “Gross domestic product up 0.3% in 3rd quarter of 2013,” Destatis, November 14, 2013.)

Similarly, Japan, the third-biggest nation in the global economy, continues to struggle, despite the extraordinary measures the central bank and Japanese government have taken to boost the economy. In the third quarter, the growth rate of the Japanese economy slowed down. The GDP grew 0.5% from the previous quarter. The annual GDP growth rate of the Japanese economy was 1.9% in the third quarter. (Source: “Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2013,” Cabinet Office, Government of Japan web site, November 14, 2013.)

Adding more to the … Read More


How Japan’s Failure Can Be a Boon for Smart Investors

By for Daily Gains Letter | Oct 25, 2013

Smart InvestorsThe Japanese economy has been in trouble for some time. The central bank of the country and the government of Japan have tried many different tactics to revive the economy. They have been struggling, with the interest rates in the Japanese economy being kept low to induce growth. Japan’s central bank has tried many different rounds of quantitative easing and failed, deflation became a problem, and growth isn’t there.

Not too long ago, a very aggressive quantitative easing policy was introduced into the Japanese economy. The goal was very simple: to increase both exports and inflation in the country. Exports would give a boost to the Japanese economy, and inflation would take the country from the deflationary rut it has been in for many years.

Now one must ask: what did Japan’s central bank and government anticipate actually happening in the Japanese economy? Is there inflation, and are they exporting to the global economy?

Well, it turns out they are failing at both.

Their goal of exporting more to the global economy isn’t panning out as they expected. According to the Japanese Ministry of Finance’s customs data, the trade deficit (more imports than exports) of the Japanese economy in September was 33% higher than the previous month, standing at 1.09 trillion yen, compared to 820 billion yen in August. (Source: “Seasonally adjusted Values for September 2013 [Provisional],” Ministry of Finance Japan web site, last accessed October 21, 2013.)

So what’s happening on the inflation front?

Not too long ago, the central bank of Japan stated that it wants inflation to be around two percent in the Japanese economy. In August, … Read More


A Bullish Case for the “Other” Precious Metal

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 20, 2013

Precious MetalSilver has been one of my favorite precious metals. One of the reasons I like the white metal is because not only is it used as a store of value, but it also has industrial uses. With that said, this shouldn’t suggest that I don’t like gold. The yellow metal has its own place; it provides a hedge against inflation and uncertainty. Silver, however, I see as having much more potential than gold when it comes to percentage change.

Putting it simply, for silver to increase 100% in value, it will have to go to $40.00, considering the current price is $20.00. For gold to go up by the same degree, it will have to increase to $2,700; it can get there, but it will be a very rigorous battle.

We are currently seeing the demand for silver increase, just like we did with gold. This shouldn’t go unnoticed by investors.

Since the beginning of this year, we have seen the Indian government working together with the country’s central bank to curb the demand for gold bullion. We were told that “it was impacting the country’s trade accounts.”

India has since imposed higher taxes and tariffs. As a result of this, a new trend emerged, with the demand for white precious metal increasing in the country that prides itself as the biggest consumer of gold. Silver imports from April to July in India increased 258.65% to 857 tonnes, compared to 239 tonnes in the period a year ago. (Source: Mishra, P., “July silver imports highest in 5 years,” The Times of India web site, August 2, 2013.)

Looking at the … Read More


What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from the Global Economic Slowdown

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 1, 2013

Global Slowdown to Disrupt Your PortfolioThe global economy is showing traits that shouldn’t go unnoticed by investors. Instead, investors should keep a close eye on their portfolio and make sure they are managing their risk properly by not being overexposed to a certain region, having their assets allocated in different asset classes, and having stop orders in place for their doubtful positions.

Investors need to know that companies trading on the key stock indices have exposure to the global economy; this means their stock prices can suffer.

The global economy looks to be heading towards a period of stagnant growth or an outright economic slowdown. The reason behind this notion is very simple: countries across the board in the global economy are witnessing anemic growth, and the demand is declining.

For example, consider India, one of the well-known emerging markets in the global economy. The central bank of India expects the country to grow by 5.5% in the fiscal year ending March 2014. This was lower than the central bank’s earlier forecast of 5.7%. (Source: Goyal, K., “India Central Bank Holds Rates in Push to Stem Rupee Plunge,” Bloomberg, July 30, 2013.)

In June, industrial output in the third-biggest hub in the global economy, Japan, fell 3.3% from a month earlier. This was the first time in five months that industrial output in the country fell; it had increased 1.9% in May. (Source: “RPT-Japan June industrial output falls 3.3 pct mth/mth,” Reuters, July 29, 2013.)

In addition to this, in the same month, the country’s retail sales also didn’t register as expected. Retail sales in the Japanese economy increased only 1.6%, compared to the 1.9% … Read More


Changes in This Country’s Economy Have Created Opportunities

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 16, 2013

Economic GrowthSwitzerland is at a crossroads. On one hand, the country, long celebrated for its economic growth, saw its exports

hit hard in May. That’s not a good long-term indicator for a country whose exports account for 50% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

On the other hand, Switzerland recently signed a free trade deal with China. For investors looking to diversify their portfolio, all the pieces are in place for an excellent trading opportunity. (Source: “Switzerland Exports,” TradingEconomics.com, last accessed July 12, 2013.)

When most people think of Switzerland, they think of banking.

That tradition came from Switzerland’s political neutrality (it avoided both World Wars), which has translated into long-term political stability, strong monetary policies, and economic growth, making it an attractive safe haven for investors. In fact, it is estimated that almost 30% of all funds held outside their country of origin are kept in Switzerland.

More recently, Switzerland’s political neutrality meant that it has been able to enjoy economic growth while the rest of Europe was embroiled in economic turmoil. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU), and only became a member of the United Nations (UN) in 2002.

As a result, trade is the foundation of Switzerland’s prosperity. Switzerland’s economic growth hinges on its main exports, including watches and clocks (TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith), medicinal and pharmaceutical products (Novartis, Roche), food processing (Nestle), and electronics and machinery (ABB Ltd., Sika AG).

For years, Switzerland’s economic growth has been helped, in large part, by Germany and the United States, its two largest trade partners. In 2012, Germany accounted for about 25% of Switzerland’s foreign trade. … Read More