Daily Gains Letter

gold


Gold Prices: Where They’re Headed and How to Profit

By for Daily Gains Letter | Nov 5, 2014

Gold PricesAs far as investment and trading opportunities go, gold is currently the stock market’s poor cousin. No one really craves the yellow ore at this time. The reality is that unless you are looking for jewelry, there’s really no reason to buy the metal right now.

Back in September, when I last discussed the prospects for this precious metal, I wrote that “in the absence of further turmoil in Ukraine, gold prices could deteriorate to below $1,200, possibly even $1,180.”

The precious metal did bounce to the $1,225 level recently on concerns surrounding ISIS and the economic situations in both Europe and China. Since then, it has also collapsed to below $1,200 to $1,170 for the December contract.

Following the Federal Reserve’s recent elimination of its third round of quantitative easing (QE3) and its hinting at higher interest rates coming sometime in 2015, the metal is now at its lowest level since April 2010. The strong advance reading of the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 4.5% and the strong earnings growth in S&P 500 companies are also making us lean towards higher rates. With this, the greenback has been moving higher, which is hurting the demand for gold due to its denomination in U.S. dollars.

In addition, inflation, a supporter of gold, continues to look benign both at this time and as we move forward. The metal is used as a hedge against inflation and risk, so in the absence of these two key variables, I’m not surprised to see prices move lower on the charts. And it could worsen.

Moreover, the so-called positive impact of buying from … Read More


Top Metal for Profits Right Now

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 12, 2014

How to Get In On the Bullish Move in ZincA look at precious metals shows gold and silver are devoid of any momentum at this time, while copper has been steadily retrenching from its recent highs.

Copper is playing off of the global economic growth, but a metal that is surging on the charts and catching the imagination of metal traders on the London Metal Exchange is zinc.

Zinc is used in numerous industrial and consumer applications. Steel companies use zinc as a rust inhibitor, so it’s quite important to manufacturing. The United States Mint also uses zinc to make pennies.

The problem is that the world supply of zinc is contracting.

However, zinc is currently around a three-year high and looks good as an investment opportunity at this time.

An intriguing small-cap zinc play that has been sizzling on the chart and is an investment opportunity in the global economic renewal and supply issues is Horsehead Holding Corp. (NASDAQ/ZINC). The company’s share price is up 62% from its 52-week low and has easily outperformed the S&P 500 over the past year with a 45% advance. But despite the company’s advance, Horsehead seems to still have upside potential, which suggests the company could offer a good investment opportunity.

Operating via its Horsehead Corp. subsidiary, the company produces specialty zinc and zinc-based products that are made from recycled materials.

The company closed an old plant and replaced it with a newer, more advanced facility that will produce better fabricated steel products along with raw materials found in the manufacturing of rubber tires, alkaline batteries, paint, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and stainless steel.

Products include zinc metal used as a protective coating to … Read More


Looking for a Good Gold Play? Here’s What to Watch For

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 8, 2014

Looking for a Good Gold PlayI have not talked about gold for some time, as there has been no reason to get excited about the yellow metal. Yes, it’s shiny, but it doesn’t appear to be sparkling at this time.

After the gold bugs got excited about the opportunities in the precious metal, pushing prices to above $1,300 following the onset of geopolitical issues in both Ukraine and the Middle East, the aftermath has been dull.

As I said back in June, the only reason I would trade gold would be to buy on weakness near $1,200 as the fundamentals, in my view, are irrelevant at this time. Gold still seems to be more of a geopolitical trade. (See “How to Make Quick Profits in Gold at This Time.”)

Look, there’s no big buying from India; China is buying, but it is simply not enough to sway the global supply/demand balance in favor of the yellow precious metal.

Gold Bugs Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Consider the fact that the greenback has been edging higher, with the U.S. dollar index at its highest level in more than a year. This move makes the dollar-denominated gold more expensive for foreigners, who have traditionally been major purchasers. The end result is a letdown in demand for the yellow metal.

In my view, gold is simply a trade on the geopolitical risk, as there’s really no major reason to want to buy at this juncture, given the market’s underlying fundamentals.

The gold bugs clearly don’t want to hear this, but I believe that unless the situation in Ukraine or the Middle East worsens, prices could head lower, towards $1,225 or even … Read More


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 Make Quick Profits in Gold at This Time

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jun 30, 2014

Where the Investment Opportunity Lies in Gold Right NowA few weeks ago, I suggested that gold prices could likely head higher should the situation in Iraq escalate into a bigger conflict that brings in Iran and the United States.

In my view, gold is simply a geopolitical trade at this time, contingent upon what happens in Iraq. There’s also the situation in Ukraine. At this time, though, it appears as though President Putin has no interest in escalating the conflict and making the country vulnerable to more economic sanctions.

When I last wrote on the precious metal, spot gold was trading at $1,276 an ounce. The yellow metal managed to edge higher to $1,324, prior to the current stalling on the chart. If you bought any of the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca/GLD) exchange-traded fund (ETF), I would suggest you take the money at this time.

Gold-Spot Price Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Now, gold could easily surge if Iraq loses control of the country, but I truly don’t believe this will be allowed to happen by the United States and Iran. After spending more than a decade in Iraq and a trillion dollars trying to reform the country, there’s simply too much at stake to lose.

Assuming the advancement by ISIS is eventually eliminated, gold would surely lose its safe haven premium that is priced into the current value. We could, in this case, see prices fall back down below $1,300 an ounce, based on my technical analysis.

I also keep hearing about the massive buying of gold from India and China, yet I truly feel this is overblown at this time. The two countries are the biggest purchasers of the … Read More


Why Now Is the Opportune Time to Invest in Gold

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jun 18, 2014

Two Investments Benefiting from the Geopolitical Tensions in Iraq & UkrainecGold and oil are finally seeing some upward lift, but it has more to do with the geopolitical landscape than inflation and economic growth.

As I said in recent weeks, the price of gold could be headed higher, but only if we see a rise in geopolitical tensions. That’s what we are witnessing at this time, so there could be quick money to be made.

While the Ukraine situation appeared to be settling down, the destruction of a Ukrainian aircraft with soldiers on board will not help the already tense situation. Russia has also halted the flow of oil into Ukraine after failing to reach a compromise on only owing for past oil and the price for future oil. This failure could cause a bottleneck not only in Ukraine, but also in Poland and other European countries that depend on Russian oil. Of course, in the worst-case situation, this could impact growth in the eurozone at this critical time when the region is still fragile, with high unemployment and mixed economic renewal.

We also have the massive uprising in volatile Iraq, where the brutal ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) rebel militia is spreading its control in the country, now marching on Baghdad. The negative implications of ISIS increasing its control over the country could wreak havoc not only on the oil production out of Iraq, but it could also create geopolitical instability in this already volatile region that also includes tensions on Syria and Iran.

The two events will likely drive safe haven buying in gold, which has been moving higher after bouncing off some support around … Read More


How You Could Still Profit from Gold Despite Weakness

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jun 4, 2014

Why You Still Stand to Gain from GoldWith money continuing to flow into the equities market and stocks, the gold market has seen an outflow of capital. The Ukraine situation appears to be under control, and with minimal geopolitical influences, the yellow metal has failed to gain any catalyst to move higher.

The prices paid for goods and services, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, are under wraps, despite rising food and energy prices. The headline reading, including these two volatile items, jumped two percent in April in urban areas, which was the highest reading in 2014, matching the highest readings in 2013. Right now, inflation is not a major issue, but it could become more of a factor as we move forward.

Moreover, we all know that the Federal Reserve is expected to eliminate its entire bond purchases by the year’s end, which will likely drive bond yields, interest rates, and the U.S. dollar higher. The result would be a stronger U.S. dollar and pressure on gold prices.

And as I previously mentioned, there’s still broad interest in the stock market, which will impact the buying in the yellow metal. Investors are continuing to look for returns, and at this time, that isn’t gold.

The gold story is a non-factor at this moment, and I think the best gains are behind us for the time being, as the precious metal traded at around $300.00 in 2002 and reached its highs in 2011. The long-term chart below shows the yellow metal in a decline.

Gold - Spot Price (EOD) Chart Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The reality is that there’s simply no attraction in buying the yellow metal at this point, in spite … Read More


Three Ways to Profit from an Exhausted Stock Market

By for Daily Gains Letter | May 1, 2014

How Play Uneasy Market ProfitWhen I’m looking at the screens each day, I notice there’s some selling capitulation occurring that makes me think back to 2000, when the technology stocks imploded.

Now, while I doubt we are seeing a repeat of 14 years ago, you have to wonder about the mad dash to the exits for many of the high-momentum technology stocks along with small-cap stocks. The small-caps are under threat, with the Russell 2000 down nearly eight percent in 2014 so far and close to five percent in April alone. Watch as the index is just above its 200-day moving average (MA).

 Russells 2000 Small Cap Index ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

As I said last week, the fact that the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 have failed to recover their respective 50-day MAs is a red flag, based on my technical analysis. Moreover, the presence of a possible bearish head-and-shoulders formation on the NASDAQ chart is concerning for technology stocks.

The lack of any leadership from technology stocks now, which was so prevalent in 2013, has also hurt the broader stock market.

On the charts, only the S&P 500 is positive in 2014, with a slight advance. All of the key stock indices were negative in April—a month that has historically been positive.

To make matters worse, we are heading into traditionally the worst six-month period for the stock market, from May to October, so it’s not going to get easier anytime soon.

The fact that numerous technology stocks have produced some strong earnings results is encouraging, but the lack of strong follow-through buying is a concern and suggests some exhaustion towards technology stocks.

We also have the uncertainty … Read More


How Last Week’s Mini Rally Is Reshaping My Investment Strategy

By for Daily Gains Letter | Apr 21, 2014

Mini Rally Means for Your Investment StrategyThe stock market staged a minor rally last week, but don’t get too excited yet; the buying support was largely triggered by a technically oversold market, rather than solid fundamentals or a fresh catalyst.

What I can say is that investors need to be careful with the high-beta stocks that are extremely volatile at this time and vulnerable to downside selling.

Just because momentum surfaces, it doesn’t mean the risk is dissipating. It’s simply an oversold bounce that could continue or falter again.

The fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 recovered their 50-day moving averages (MAs) last Tuesday is positive, but it doesn’t mean the worst is over.

I see the NASDAQ and Russell 2000 were still down more than seven percent as of last Wednesday and below their respective 50-day MAs. In fact, the Russell 2000 is within reach of testing support at its 200-day MA. This time around, we could see a bigger stock market correction, based on my technical analysis.

Until we see some sustained calm return, there could be continued selling pressure in the stock market, especially with the smaller high-beta stocks and large-cap momentum plays.

The most critical point to understand is that you need to preserve your capital base. The reality is that avoiding a loss is just as good as making profits. Imagine letting a losing trade run and before you realize it, the position is down 20%, 30%, or more.

This is especially true with the small-cap stocks. Making up ground following a major downside move is not easy. For instance, say you have a $10.00 stock and … Read More


Three Variables to Consider Before Investing in Gold

By for Daily Gains Letter | Apr 16, 2014

Three Reasons I Believe Gold Is Only for Traders Right NowWhile there continue to be many gold bugs out there, I’m not one of them—but I do see gold as a trading opportunity.

Given what we have seen so far and looking ahead, I just don’t see gold as a buy-and-hold strategy at this time. Yes, there’s money to be made, but it’s going to be for traders only.

The recent break below $1,300 an ounce and the subsequent rally to the current $1,325 level is an example of such a trade, not a new trend that’s developing on the charts, based on my technical analysis. The chart below shows the potential declines in the metal towards $1,200 and $1,100 an ounce.

Gold Spot Price ChartChart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Many gold supporters will counter that China is hoarding gold and India will soon pick up its buying. While I don’t argue against this, I just don’t see the yellow metal retaining its luster at this point unless a war breaks out in Ukraine and Russia intensifies its threat. If this should happen, it would drive Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth lower and could result in the fragile eurozone and European economies retrenching back into a recession that just ended.

I wrote about gold several weeks back as a trading opportunity on dips below $1,300. I continue to hold on to that belief, but longer-term, the yellow metal could fade and fall back towards $1,200 or less.

My thinking is that inflation is nowhere to be seen in the United States, China, or Europe. (In fact, deflation may be more of a concern here.) And unless inflation picks up, the yellow metal isn’t … Read More


Global Risks Creating Opportunities in This Precious Metal

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 27, 2014

Precious MetalWhile the stock market has been struggling this year, under the radar, gold has been moving higher.

The tense stand-off in Crimea is clearly adding some support to gold, as an outbreak there could drive the precious metal much higher in the short term.

The geopolitical risk also includes the tensions between Israel and Iran in the Middle East.

On the fundamental side, we have China continuing to amass significant positions in physical gold, as the country looks to diversify its massive $3.0 trillion in reserves away from U.S. bonds. Buying in India has stalled, but the country continues to be the world’s largest market for the precious metal.

The one major supportive variable that’s missing is inflation, which is a proven driver of gold prices. The reality is that inflation is benign in the United States, along with much of Europe and Asia.

With gold currently holding just above $1,300 an ounce, the precious metal is at a crux. Stabilization in Crimea would remove some of the risk discounted into the price, but I doubt this will happen in the immediate future, as Russia has set the process to annex Crimea from Ukraine.

We know that the contested move by Russia doesn’t sit well with the United States or the United Nations, yet I really do not see Russia backing away for now. That is unless the economic sanctions put forth on Russia intensify and begin to send the Russian economy into a downward spiral.

But until we see a resolution in the stand-off, I expect gold prices will continue to incorporate some risk discounted into the price.

In … Read More


Depressed Copper Prices Presenting Perfect Buy-Low, Sell-High Opportunity?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 26, 2014

Copper Prices PresentingBy now, you have probably noticed one phenomenon: the speculations regarding China’s growth are increasing each day. Turning on the TV or flipping through the pages of the newspaper, you’ll likely hear and read all about how the second-biggest economic hub in the global economy will tumble.

No doubt, the arguments backing this argument are very credible. The Chinese economy is seeing an economic slowdown and troubles in that country continue to gain strength. For example, the Chinese manufacturing sector is stalling. In March, the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Mangers’ Index (PMI) declined to its lowest level in eight months. The output index declined to an 18-month low. (Source: “HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index Press Release; Output contract at quickest pace in 18 months during March,” Markit, March 24, 2014.)

We have seen a few companies in the Chinese economy default on their bonds, and there are fears that more will soon fall. The widespread speculation is that the government might not come to the aid of those companies that are in trouble.

With this, investors are panicking. One of the hardest-hit asset classes due to this panic is copper. Please take a look at the chart of copper prices below.

Copper - Spot Price Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

Since the beginning of the year, copper prices are down more than 13% and investors believe demand for the red metal will continue to decrease due to the decline in manufacturing. During the past decade, China was building massive infrastructure and a significant amount of copper was needed as a result. This is not the case anymore.

Copper prices have broken below a key level—$3.00—and … Read More


Geopolitical Events Boosting These American Stocks

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 19, 2014

American StocksWhen it comes to Wall Street, oil isn’t the only commodity investors are seeking stable supplies of—you can add platinum to the list.

Besides being home to great beaches, South Africa is also home to the vast majority of platinum. South Africa produces roughly 80% of the world’s total demand for platinum. Together South Africa and Russia (both geopolitical hotspots) mine 90% of the world’s annual supply of the precious metal, which is around 130 tonnes per year, equivalent to six percent of the world’s annual gold production.

Labor strife that has gripped South Africa over the last two years at the country’s three biggest platinum mines has brought the industry to its knees, with the global output dropping by more than 40% in just a few weeks.

Rising production costs (South African platinum is located in deep subterranean seams) and wage demands have led to a number of labor strikes. The first one to make us sit up and take notice occurred in August 2012, when South African police shot and killed 34 miners. More recently, wage strikes at some of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines are almost into their second month.

With no end to the labor disputes in sight, many are calling on the government to step in and usher miners back to work. The sense of urgency comes with stockpiles of platinum at the largest producers expected to last only until the end of March, after which, platinum prices could move significantly to the upside—or rather, much more than they already have. Platinum prices are up 6.6% since the beginning of February and are currently hovering … Read More


Why I’d Still Stay Away from Bitcoin

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 17, 2014

Stay Away from Bitcoin“I think the stock market is getting into the overbought territory. Gold is due for a pullback. To be honest, I don’t see many opportunities out there other than bitcoins.” These were the words of wisdom from my good old friend Mr. Speculator. While most have forgotten about the virtual currency, Mr. Speculator thinks there’s an opportunity.

His reasoning behind this shows he is very naïve. He said, “The bitcoin prices have come down significantly from their highs. Buy low.”

It seems as if Mr. Speculator has forgotten one of the most basic lessons of investing.

Sure, bitcoin prices have declined—in fact, the word “collapsed” should be used. Just a few months ago, one bitcoin could be purchased for more than $1,100. Now, the price hovers below $700.00.

If you are considering bitcoins to be a good investment opportunity, you have to know what is really happening; there are too many concerns surrounding the currency, and investors should be aware of them.

One of the biggest concerns, among many, is that one of the main exchanges where bitcoins could be bought and sold, called Mt. Gox, filed for bankruptcy. Before the exchange filed for bankruptcy, there were complaints about users not being able to withdraw money. With this, there is also evidence of fraudulent activity. (Source: Finley, K., “Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Files for U.S. Bankruptcy as Death Spiral Continues,” Wired, March 10, 2014.) This is sending out a wave of fear.

Another concern is that usage of the virtual currency is being questioned. Will bitcoin ever get the currency status?

Consider this: a company called Balanced Energy LLC, based … Read More


Why Investors Should Prepare for a Rebound This Spring

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 14, 2014

Should Investors Rebalance Their Portfolios for the Spring ThawThe winter storm that recently tore across the northeastern United States will, no doubt, take the blame for the continuing weak economic news and data that have been coming out of Wall Street.  Having been the economic scapegoat since December, there’s no reason to change tactics.

But the raft of ongoing disappointing economic news and data suggests there’s more to the nation’s weak economic news than cold weather. After all, it’s not as if the U.S. economy had been red-hot and then suddenly hit a brick wall in December. If there’s one thing the U.S. economy has been—it’s consistently weak.

For example, while the S&P 500 and other stock indices have been enjoying prolonged bull runs, the U.S. economy has been stalling.  Since the magical bull market began in 2008, the U.S. unemployment numbers have remained stubbornly high and the underemployment numbers eye-wateringly high. At the same time, wages are stagnant and, not surprisingly, retail sales have disappointed. More and more Americans are saddled with out-of-control debt and a record 20% of American households (one in five) were on food stamps in 2013.

Speaking of 2013, while the S&P 500 notched up a 30% annual gain, each quarter, an increasingly larger percentage of companies revised their earnings guidance lower. Saving the best for last, during the fourth quarter of 2013, a record 88% of S&P 500 companies that provided preannouncements issued negative earnings guidance.

But 2014 didn’t start out that well, either. For the first quarter of 2014 so far, 80% of the S&P 500 companies that have issued guidance revised their earnings lower; this compares to the 78% of … Read More


What’s Happening in the Copper Market Should Alarm You…

By Sasha Cekerevac for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 14, 2014

Plunge in Copper Is a Big Warning SignThere is something going on right now in the copper market that should alarm you. Over the past week, the price of copper has plunged, recently hitting a four-year low.

Why should this matter?

Most investors and analysts are placing bets that economic growth is about to re-accelerate globally. Never before has the world been so interlinked, so we must pay attention to what is occurring internationally.

Copper is an important part of the potential for economic growth, not just because it is used in building and construction, but because it is also a major factor in the Chinese lending market, which is now showing severe strain leading to a potential debt crisis.

Remember, the last financial emergency was led by a debt crisis brought on by a housing bubble that eventually popped. High levels of debt creating a bubble are always dangerous, as the hangover is quite severe.

How does this impact economic growth for us here in America?

To begin with, we all know that the U.S. is doing relatively better than other parts of the world, but we are not exactly running at full speed. Any slowdown in economic growth—especially with a country as large as China—that is brought on by a debt crisis in that nation could severely impact our economy.

In China, the lending market is quite different than in North America, and firms have to rely on what’s called shadow banking.

Many firms in China have trouble borrowing, so they buy copper and use it as collateral. We are not talking about a small amount of money, as a shadow banking system in China … Read More


Are ETFs Really the Best Investment for You?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 7, 2014

Pros and Cons of Indexed InvestingOne of the investment strategies discussed in the mainstream these days is to add exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to your portfolio. It is said that when you do just that, your portfolio has lower risks and you are well diversified.

For investors who are not as advanced, when it comes to investing; this investment strategy makes sense. For those who are advanced, they shouldn’t fall for this investment strategy; they may be better off going the other way—buying individual stocks instead.

Let me explain…

Between March of 2009—when the bull market run started—until February of this year, if you bought the most famous ETF for your portfolio—that is SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca/SPY), which tracks the S&P 500—your returns would be more than 185%. Plus, there would be dividends. Including dividends, your returns would be just over 200%.

But, saying the very least, you could have done better.

If instead of buying the SPY at the time when markets were presenting investors with an opportunity of a lifetime you bought a company from the S&P 500 like General Electric Company (NYSE/GE), your profits would be upwards of 300%. This is including the dividends you would have received.

With all this said, let me make one thing very clear; I am not opposed to adding ETFs to a portfolio. Rather, I believe investors can get better portfolio returns if they are confident enough in making their investment decisions and buying individual companies instead of sticking to indexed investing.

In 2009, stock markets were very uncertain. With companies like GE, there were fears that it may go bankrupt. Buying at that time wouldn’t have … Read More


How to Generate Premium Income in a Stalling Stock Market

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 6, 2014

Premium Income in a Stalling Stock MarketThe S&P 500 recently traded at a record-high, just before tensions in the Ukraine erupted and the global stock market declined as fear of an escalation and war intensified.

While the charts continue to show the stock market wanting to move higher after excellent gains in February, I still sense the upside moves will be more difficult to come by compared to what we saw in 2013. Even at this point, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are still negative this year.

If the stand-off between the Ukraine and Russia doesn’t escalate, I would expect the stock market to advance higher by year-end. If tensions erupt in the Eastern European region, we would likely see major selling across stocks worldwide; commodities such as gold, oil, and grains would edge higher.

If the stock market fails to find its footing—and especially a fresh catalyst—we could see mixed and volatile trading in the months ahead as the market looks for direction.

And if the stock market fails to get any positive leverage heading into the summer months, we could see some stalling in the stock market.

If the stock market does stall, an investment strategy to consider would be to write and sell some covered call options on your stocks in order to generate some premium income. This would also help to lower the average cost base of your positions, while also setting a selling price you would be willing to sell your stocks at. Of course, your goal would be to generate premium income and not look to sell stock, as I believe the stock market will head … 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


Three Ways to Protect Your Wealth from Global Uncertainty

By for Daily Gains Letter | Mar 5, 2014

Crude oilNothing helps create volatility on the stock market like the threat of war. And just a few short days after the close of the bloated $52.0-billion behemoth in Sochi, Russia has embraced its ne’er-do-well Olympic spirit and invaded the Ukraine. Or, according to Putin, “pro-Russian soldiers” have simply moved into the Ukraine to defend Russian interests.

With a growing threat of war/retaliation on the horizon, investors have been pulling their money from riskier assets, like stocks—sending global financial markets reeling. Crude oil and gold prices, on the other hand, have been on the rebound.

While it seems utterly crass to deconstruct the potential for war down to economics, the fact remains—a stand-off or sanctions could both disrupt gas supplies to the European Union and send U.S. crude oil prices higher.

For starters, any issues in the Ukraine could disrupt the flow of natural gas supplies from Russia to the European Union. That’s because the European Union gets about a third of its crude oil and natural gas supply (and a quarter of its coal) from Russia, mostly piped through the Ukraine. Russia, the world’s biggest crude oil producer, generated 10.9 million barrels a day in 2013 and currently exports close to 5.5 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Since the end of the Cold War, no one really worried about relying on Russia for crude oil and coal. All of that has changed. While the notion of war is remote, it’s still on the table. Nations far removed from Russia and Ukraine might push for economic sanctions, just as the U.S. has done, threatening visa bans, asset freezes, and … Read More


Two Precious Metal Plays for Waning Consumer Confidence

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 27, 2014

Two Precious Metals PlaysAgainst a backdrop of record-highs for stocks, consumer confidence is waning—seeing its greatest drop in four months. The S&P 500 touched record intra-day territory earlier in the week, suggesting the bull market remains intact and the well-earned and (far too) short-lived mini correction may be over.

Investors and analysts, it seems, have embraced blaming the cold weather for all our economic ills, effectively brushing aside weak U.S. housing numbers, jobs data, and manufacturing and retail sales.

Meanwhile, consumers—those who need jobs, houses, cars, and other items that support the companies that actually make up the S&P 500—seem to have lost faith in the economy. Consumer confidence levels in the U.S. fell more than expected in February, as Americans became more pessimistic about the economy and jobs.

Consumer confidence levels fell to 78.1 in February from a revised 79.4 in January. Economists were expecting consumer confidence levels to increase in February to 80.2, proving, once again, that Wall Street does not have its finger on the pulse of American consumer confidence levels. (Source: “The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Declines Moderately,” The Conference Board web site, February 25, 2014.)

Not to fear though; The Conference Board said the decline in February’s consumer confidence toward business conditions, jobs, and earnings was only “moderate,” meaning, I suppose, that it could be worse.

But not too much…

Those optimistic Americans claiming jobs are plentiful increased slightly to 13.9% from 12.5%. Those who think jobs are hard to get were virtually unchanged at 32.5% from 32.7%. It’s incredible, really, that The Conference Board can, with a straight face, proclaim that our appraisal of current economic … Read More


Extreme Cold Weather Boosting Profits in This Natural Commodity

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 21, 2014

Natural CommodityJust like any other commodity, natural gas prices are affected by supply and demand metrics. If demand increases and supply remains the same (or declines), you have a perfect recipe for higher prices. Since the beginning of the year, this commodity’s prices are up more than 40%!

Before you start judging where the prices will go next, you have to see what kind of factors can affect the demand or supply. Consider gold prices, for example. If the demand for gold increases and, at the same time, there’s a discovery of a major mine—the prices may not move as much as anticipated if the mine wasn’t discovered. The reason behind this is simple: there’s supply to meet the demand.

A few factors that affect the natural gas demand and supply are playing out in favor of those who are bullish on it. For example, the commodity is highly affected by weather.

In extremely cold weather, natural gas is used to heat up homes—cold weather disrupts the short-term supply due to increased demand and causes prices to soar. In extremely hot weather, we see a similar situation occur in the commodity’s prices. Power plants use more natural gas to make electricity to meet the increased use of air conditioning units in homes and buildings. This phenomenon, again, causes a disruption in the short-term supply because power plants consume more. This results in higher prices as well.

What’s happening in natural gas prices these days is the very same problem; the short-term supply is being tormented by extreme weather—in this case, extremely cold weather. We have seen some extreme winter storms and … Read More


As Investors Grow More Skeptical Toward Stocks, Time to Move to Safe Haven ETFs?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 19, 2014

Safe Haven ETFsWe see there’s a significant amount of economic news mounting against the argument that key stock indices will go higher this year. We see major companies on the key stock indices reporting corporate earnings that are dismal to say the very least. We see indicators of prosperity suggesting the opposite is likely going to be true for the U.S. economy. Lastly, we also see troubles developing very quickly in the global economy.

First on the line are the corporate earnings of companies on the key stock indices—which is hands down one of the main factors that drive these indices higher. We see companies showing signs of stress. Consider General Motors Company (NYSE/GM), for example; the company’s corporate earnings declined 22% in 2013 from the previous year. (Source: “GM reports lower-than-expected 4Q earnings,” Yahoo! Finance, February 6, 2014.)

Some might call this a story of the past; we need to look at what the future looks like instead. Sadly, going forward, companies on the key stock indices and analysts look worried as well. Consider this: so far, 57 S&P 500 companies have issued negative corporate earnings guidance, while only 14 have issued positive guidance. At the same time, analysts’ expectations are coming down as well. On December 31, the consensus estimate expected S&P 500 earnings to grow by 4.3%; now, these expectations have come down to 1.5%. (Source: “S&P 500 Earnings Insight,” FactSet, February 7, 2014.)

Looking at the broader U.S. economy, it’s not moving in favor of the key stock indices, either—the economic data isn’t looking very promising.

Industrial production in the U.S. economy declined in January from the previous … Read More


How the Trend Is Changing for Silver

By Sasha Cekerevac 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


Top Strategies for an Economically Engineered Market

By for Daily Gains Letter | Feb 3, 2014

Economically Engineered MarketBack in December, Bernanke decided the U.S. economy was on solid footing and initiated the first round of quantitative easing cutbacks to begin in January. Instead of dumping $85.0 billion into the U.S. economy, the Fed added just $75.0 billion.

Last Wednesday, in his final hurray as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke initiated the second round of tapering. Citing growing strength in the broader U.S. economy, Bernanke slashed the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program to $65.0 billion a month starting in February.

At this pace, the Federal Reserve will be out of the bond buying business by Labor Day. As for interest rates, Bernanke reiterated the Federal Reserve’s guidance; short-term interest rates will remain near zero until the jobless rate hits 6.5%. But not even that is an automatic trigger. When unemployment does hit 6.5%, it will take inflation, the state of the labor market, and the state of the financial markets into consideration.

In light of the current U.S. economic environment, I’m not so sure I’d hang my hat on the so-called “growing strength in the broader economy.”

For starters, U.S. unemployment remains high. It dropped unexpectedly to 6.7% in December, but that number was skewed by a large number of long-term unemployed workers abandoning their search for new jobs. Of those who did find jobs, most were in the retail industry.

Those working in low-salary jobs don’t have much to look forward to. Wages are stagnant. In fact, workers’ wages and salaries are growing at the lowest rate relative to corporate profits in U.S. history.

Furthermore, for the first time ever, working-age people make up the … Read More


Top Investor Safe Havens for Protection Against Collapsing Economic Growth

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 29, 2014

Economic GrowthTroubles in the global economy look to be strengthening, suggesting an economic slowdown may be following. Not only are the major economic hubs of the global economy showing signs of stress—something I have mentioned in these pages many times before—but we see demand slowing down as well.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) gives us a general idea about how the demand in the global economy looks. At the very core, this index tracks the shipping price of raw materials. If the shipping prices increase, it suggests there’s increased demand in the global economy. If they decline, it’s not really a good sign. Please look at the chart of the BDI below.

Baltic Dry Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The BDI is outright collapsing. Since the beginning of the year, the BDI has declined more than 42%. This shouldn’t be taken lightly because it suggests demand in the global economy is slowing down very quickly. Looking at the average change in the BDI in January since 2003, this decline in 2014 is the second-biggest on record—in 2012, the BDI collapsed 58% in January.

Another indicator of demand in the global economy I look at is the Chinese economy. It has been known as the manufacturing hub of the world, and the country exports a significant amount of its goods to the world. If we see manufacturing activity in that country slow down, it gives us a hint that a global economic slowdown may be following.

Consider this: In January, the HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—an indicator of manufacturing activity in China—plunged to a six-month low. It was registered at 49.6 in … Read More


Why Gold Looks Good to Me in 2014

By Sasha Cekerevac 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


Why Global Economic Growth Is Falling Apart Again

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 22, 2014

Global Economic GrowthIt seems the global economy is taking a wrong turn. If it continues on the path it’s on now, it will not be a surprise to see a pullback in its growth. As a result of this, U.S.-based global companies may see their revenues and profits fall, which eventually leads to lower stock prices. You have to keep in mind that the U.S. economy is highly correlated with the global economy.

First, it seems that the demand in the global economy is slowing down as we enter into 2014. One of the indicators of demand in the global economy I look at is the Baltic Dry Index (BDI). The BDI is an index that tracks the shipping price of raw materials. If the index declines, it means demand in the global economy is slowing. If the BDI increases, it suggests the global economy may see an influx in demand. Below is the chart of the BDI. Note that since the beginning of this year, the index has collapsed more than 32% (as indicated by the circled area in the chart below).

Baltic Dry Index Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

But that isn’t all. We continue to see dismal economic data out of the major economic hubs of the global economy, too.

China, the second-biggest economic hub in the global economy, is showing signs of slowing down. The Chinese economy in the fourth quarter of 2013 grew at an annual pace of 7.7%. In the third quarter, this growth rate was 7.8%. (Source: “China’s Expansion Loses Momentum in Fourth Quarter,” Bloomberg, January 20, 2014.) Although this growth rate may sound very impressive when compared to … Read More


As Consumer Confidence Wavers, Gold Bugs Come Back from the Sidelines

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 21, 2014

Consumer Confidence Declines, Gold Prices Back from the DeadIf you listen to the Wall Street analysts, January consumer confidence numbers weren’t really all that bad. The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Confidence index came in at 80.4 versus a forecast of 83.4—and down from 82.5 in December. (Source: “Tale of two consumers continues as US consumer sentiment slips,” CNBC, January 17, 2014.)

Some attributed the blip to the polar vortex that swept through most of North America earlier in the month. The warmer winds of February are expected to pick up the disappointing slack in U.S. consumer confidence levels next month.

But I’m not so sure. Friday’s consumer confidence numbers missed expectations by the widest margin in eight years. It also marks the seventh miss in the last eight months. Throughout 2013, consumer confidence numbers only beat projected forecasts three times, which (surprise!) means Wall Street doesn’t really have its finger on the pulse of Main Street America.

What isn’t surprising is that upper-income households have increased consumer confidence, having benefited the most from strong gains in income levels, the stock market, and housing values. On the other hand, low- and middle-income households that are not heavily invested in the stock market are being weighed down by stagnant wages and embarrassingly high unemployment.

And, since there are more middle- and low-income earners than high-income earners in the U.S., and 70% of our gross domestic product (GDP) comes from consumer spending, it’s fair to say that both consumer confidence levels and the economic outlook for the majority of Americans is bleak.

It’s not as if the disappointing consumer confidence levels have come out of a vacuum. A raft of … Read More


Will 2013’s Worst-Performing Metal Rebound in 2014?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 9, 2014

Metal Rebound in 2014The year 2013 was not kind to gold; the yellow metal closed the year down about 28%—its biggest annual drop in three decades. But in spite of the awful year for gold, it wasn’t the worst-performing metal in 2013. That dubious distinction goes to silver.

On the heels of quantitative easing, a devaluation of the dollar, and inflation, safe haven investors were expecting silver prices to trade in the $30.00–$50.00-an-ounce range. Sadly for these investors, that did not come to fruition.

After starting 2013 at $30.00 an ounce, the white metal finished the year around $19.50 an ounce—an annual loss of 36%. The dismal year is even more cringe-worthy when you consider silver recorded an average price of $31.15 in 2012—the second-highest on record.

Silver prices tanked in mid-April on the back of gold’s violent descent. Gold prices plummeted (in part) on the rumored sale of gold reserves in Cyprus. This decline occurred despite the demand for physical gold remaining strong in India and China. This point is important because, together, these two countries account for more than half of the annual demand for gold.

Still, silver prices fell in step with gold and then continued to slip lower over the ensuing months after the Federal Reserve hinted it might begin to taper its $85.0-billion-per-month easy money policy.

While analysts are divided as to how silver will perform in 2014 (some of them are calling for a range of $19.00–$26.00 an ounce and others are suggesting $30.00–$34.00 an ounce), the year will present investors with some solid opportunities.

For starters, the recently announced pullback in quantitative easing from $85.0 billion … Read More


This Cheap Sector Set to Outperform in 2014

By Sasha Cekerevac for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 7, 2014

Outperform in 2014With the new year just beginning, many investors will begin looking at their portfolio and trying to figure out how to shift their investment strategy to include sectors that should outperform in 2014.

One investment strategy I like to use during the beginning of the year is to look for a situation where fundamentals are improving, but market sentiment remains weak.

At year-end, many times you will see tax loss selling occurring. Essentially, investors are selling those holdings that have gone down the most to crystallize the losses for tax purposes. This also presents an opportunity—if the long-term investment strategy is sound.

One sector that has been hit hard is the precious metals sector. This should be no surprise to many readers, as the sell-off in precious metals has gotten a lot of negative media attention. However, I would like to bring to your attention an investment strategy of looking to add industrial precious metals, such as platinum and palladium, to your portfolio.

The vast majority of demand for both platinum and palladium is for industrial purposes, especially for catalytic converters in the automobile industry. These precious metals are crucial for the production of vehicles, and demand in this sector continues to rise.

While total vehicle sales for the full year of 2013 aren’t in yet, it is expected that U.S. auto sales will be the highest in six years, with an approximately 50% jump from the lows experienced in 2009. In 2014, U.S. auto sales will continue to be strong, with an estimated total number of over 16 million units sold.

The investment strategy in these industrial metals is … Read More


The Contrarian: Why I Think Stocks Will Rise in 2014

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jan 6, 2014

Stocks Will Rise in 2014Now that New Year’s has come and gone, as we look forward into 2014, the big question will be how the stock market performs this year, especially following an impressive advance in 2013 that was beyond my estimates.

The past year was seen as the year of the Fed-induced market rally that resulted in some strong gains across the board from blue chips to technology and growth stocks. It was one of the best years to make money on the stock market in recent history.

At this stage, the economy is looking better and will need to strengthen in order for the stock market to advance higher toward more record gains. A strong January would be positive and would suggest an up year for the stock market.

My early view is that the stock market will head higher in 2014, but not at the same rate as we saw in 2013, which was out of whack.

The key will be how fast the Federal Reserve, under Janet Yellen, decides to taper its bond buying. A slower taper is supportive for the stock market. However, the flow of money will depend on the rate of economic renewal and, more specifically, the jobs market and whether job creation continues to move along at a steady pace. If we see growth and more jobs created, the Fed will continue to cut its bond buying, though it has said that it will keep interest rates near record lows until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5% or lower, which could happen sometime in mid- to late 2014.

I see another up year for the stock … Read More


The “For Sale” Sign on Precious Metals

By Sasha Cekerevac for Daily Gains Letter | Dec 13, 2013

Sign on Precious MetalsDo you feel wealthier today compared to last year?

According to the Federal Reserve, you should, as the household net worth of Americans rose 2.5% between the second and third quarters of 2013 for a total of $77.3 trillion. (Source: “Financial Accounts of the United States,” Federal Reserve, December 9, 2013.)

The Federal Reserve calculates household net worth by looking at the value of stocks, homes, and other assets, minus mortgages and debts.

In fact, the nominal total wealth is at a record high. Adjusted for inflation, the current level of net worth is approximately one percent below the peak prior to the Great Recession. On paper, it appears as though economic growth is booming thanks to the Federal Reserve.

But if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably skeptical of this so-called economic “growth,” and rightfully so, since the underlying fundamentals of economic growth really are missing.

While we are seeing some jobs growth, it’s obvious that the current situation is far from ideal. Millions of people remain unemployed, and the jobs being created are of poor quality.

However, because of the Federal Reserve’s easy money printing, asset prices have been boosted upward, creating a significant amount of wealth for the top portion of America’s society.

Over the long term, we cannot have sustainable economic growth if only the top five to 10% of Americans participate. While the Federal Reserve has tried to create economic growth for everyone, the policies are quite clearly tilted toward the very wealthy.

What does this say about the current level in the stock market?

Many people in the mainstream media are stating that the … Read More


Three Indicators to Turn Your Trust Back to Precious Metals

By for Daily Gains Letter | Dec 12, 2013

Trust Back to Precious MetalsDespite the wintry Arctic chill, the economic recovery is in full bloom. Or is it? Wages are stagnant, unemployment remains stubbornly high at seven percent, and consumer confidence remains tepid at best. The average American investor clearly isn’t enjoying the Wall Street perpetual momentum machine.

Are stocks fairly valued (i.e. cheap), and is the current momentum sustainable? If you consider the charts, it looks like well-heeled investors think the market is inexpensive; how else can you explain the current bull market marathon? This is after an increasingly larger number of companies on the S&P 500 warned about revenues and earnings.

In the third quarter, a record 83% of all S&P 500 companies revised their third-quarter earnings guidance lower. So far, 92 of the S&P 500 companies, or 89%, have already issued negative earnings guidance for the fourth quarter. In spite of the warnings, the markets continue to tread higher.

I’m not the first person to say you can’t beat the Fed; but this market proves it every day. Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s $85.0-billion-per-month easy money policy, the markets just go higher and higher.

So, are the markets fairly valued? Not if you think S&P 500 revenues and earnings are important. Over the last few years, companies have been doing a good job at cutting costs; in fact, corporate profits are at an all-time record high at 70% of GDP. (Source: “Corporate Profits Are At An All-Time Record Peak At 70% Of GDP,” Forbes web site, November 30, 2013.)

S&P 500 earnings are also being artificially inflated due to low corporate tax rates. While the top corporate tax rate is … 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


Spot the Next Big Trade in Three Small Steps

By for Daily Gains Letter | Oct 15, 2013

Next Big TradeA while ago, I was given advice about how to manage an investment portfolio for long-term investing. It went something along the lines of “When there’s a gold rush, invest in shovels.” The idea behind this is very simple: during a gold rush, those who are looking for gold will need shovels to dig, regardless of if they find the shiny yellow metal or not. As a result, the shovel sellers will always profit—possibly making more than those who were looking for gold!

This investment advice should not be taken literally, as I doubt many shovel for gold now; however, it can be used across the board in a more general sense. Investors who are looking to grow their portfolio can add companies that provide services to a certain sector that’s hot or witnessing robust growth.

To find those companies, investors have to look at the big picture, and then narrow it down from there using a top-down approach. They can find the “next big thing” for their portfolio by taking the following steps.

Economic Analysis

The first and most important step to grow your portfolio and look for the “rush” is to see what is happening in the overall economy; this can provide an idea of where the next big trade is going to be. For example, since the financial crisis in the U.S. economy ended, we have seen many jobs created in the service sector; one industry that can profit from this trend is the staffing and outsourcing companies.

Identification

Not all shovels are the same. Some are very efficient and easy to use, while others, not so … Read More


Fundamentals & Technicals Pointing to Silver as the Next Big Trade

By for Daily Gains Letter | Oct 10, 2013

Silver as the Next Big TradeI have been a very big advocate of using both fundamental analysis and technical analysis together to get a better idea of what to expect next when it comes to prices, be it for stocks, precious metals, currencies, or other investment instruments. But when I use this strategy to look at silver, I can’t help but be bullish.

First, let’s look at the technical side:

As you can see in the chart below, silver hasn’t performed well since the beginning of the year—it’s down roughly 30% from its peaks in February—but few things have changed since it had sell-offs in April and June. The prices found support at the $19.00 level, and have not seen those levels again; as a matter of fact, the precious metal’s prices have been trending higher since then.

In addition to this, the moving average convergence/divergence (MACD), a momentum indicator, is suggesting that bulls are coming in slowly. Furthermore, silver prices recently crossed above their 50-day moving average, a move considered to be significant and in favor of the bulls.

Silver Spot Price(EOD) Chart

Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

On the fundamental side, there’s a significant amount of information that suggests the price of the white precious metal may increase going forward.

First and foremost is the relationship between gold and silver. I have mentioned in these pages before that we are seeing the fundamentals of gold prices getting better. The central banks are continuously printing, keeping easy monetary policies low, and those in the emerging markets are buying the precious metal. As the gold prices go up, silver prices will follow the same direction.

Secondly, the demand for the … Read More


Debt Ceiling Debates Pushing Central Banks Toward Financial Independence

By for Daily Gains Letter | Oct 10, 2013

Financial IndependenceI realize gold is out of favor right now, but there are just too many technical and fundamental indicators pointing to the upside. With the yellow precious metal currently trading near a three-year-plus low, one has to wonder if now is a good time to get involved.

While gold prices recently dipped below the 50-day moving average, they have been finding support on the back of the U.S. government shutdown and impending debt ceiling showdown.

Gold prices were up earlier this week as the U.S. government shutdown barreled into its second week with no end in sight. Astute investors have turned their backs on the U.S. dollar in favor of the yellow precious metal, a global, borderless currency that acts as a store of value.

Granted, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke claims he doesn’t understand gold prices. But that hasn’t prevented other central banks around the world from adding it to their coffers.

Central banks, which own roughly 18% of the world’s gold supply, are expected to increase their reserves of the precious metal in 2013 by as much as 350 tons, valued at about $15.0 billion. In 2012, central banks from around the world purchased 535 tons of the yellow precious metal, the most since 1964.

Gold may be trading down more than 20% year-to-date, but between July and September, it posted its strongest quarterly gains in a year. Why is the precious metal re-emerging? Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with the Federal Reserve’s $85.0-billion-per -month monetary policy; rather, it’s the idea that the world’s strongest economy and holder of the reserve currency could default on its … Read More


How the Debt Fiasco Will End for Long-Term Investors

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 24, 2013

Long-Term InvestorsThe financial crisis struck the U.S. economy five years ago. Those who remember the collapse of Lehman Brothers know how much uncertainty was actually there. It seemed the U.S. economy was going to halt and the financial system would collapse. Ripples across the global economy were felt. Nothing looked safe—it was a total bloodbath. Investors had many questions, including if they would be able to protect their nest eggs.

As a result of all this, to fight the uncertainty and handle the issues at hand, the U.S. government and the central bank jumped in and started to spend. They bailed out the big banks in the U.S. economy to make sure everything would continue to run smoothly. We passed through that successfully, and the worst didn’t come upon us.

Sadly, as all this happened, we saw troubling trends starting to form in the U.S. economy.

Look at the national debt.

As the government started to rev up its spending spree, it posted a budget deficit and eventually borrowed money. To give you some idea, in January of 2008, when the behemoth was starting to awaken, the national debt of the U.S. economy stood at $9.2 trillion. Fast-forwarding to now, it stands at $16.7 trillion. Simple math suggests this is an increase of more than 81%. (Source: “The Daily History of the Debt Results,” Treasury Direct web site, last accessed September 20, 2013.)

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end here. Not too long ago, Treasury secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to the U.S. government saying that if they don’t increase the national debt limit currently in place by October, the U.S. economy … 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


Natural Gas the Next Big Commodity Trade?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 19, 2013

Natural GasTo put it mildly, natural gas simply doesn’t get as much attention as crude oil, or even gold. Mr. Speculator, my good old friend, once said, “Why would you want to even bother looking at it? The prices have collapsed and have been ranging for years.” It’s certainly true that natural gas prices have come down from where they used to be. Just take a look at the chart below to see what has happened to the price of natural gas in the past few years.

Not very long ago, natural gas prices were trading above $13.00 in 2008. Now, they are below $4.00; that’s a decline of almost 70%. With this, one should really wonder if natural gas has any future. Is this commodity even worth paying any attention to?

As I dig further into the details, I see natural gas prices going higher in the future. When this will happen is very hard to predict, but all the cases are pointing towards that conclusion.

When it comes to evaluating the prices and their direction, the most important factor I look at is the supply and demand, be it for gold, silver, oil, or any other commodity, for that matter. The basic rule of economics suggests when the demand goes up and the supply stays the same or declines, the price increases.

Natural Gas Chart

Chart Courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

 This is exactly what is happening when it comes to natural gas.

Let’s backtrack a little. In the first half of 2013, 39% of electricity in the U.S. economy was created using coal-fired plants. This is troublesome, because the U.S. government is actively … Read More


Silver a More Profitable Investment Than Gold This Year?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Sep 9, 2013

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Gold bullion gets a lot of attention in the financial media and economists talk about it regularly. Sadly, another precious metal, silver, isn’t usually a topic of discussion. This metal moves in line with gold bullion, and for investors, it can serve as an alternative to owning the shiny yellow metal.

When gold bullion prices started to tumble in late April and then declined even further in June, silver prices did the same. Please look at the chart below of silver and gold prices. The golden line represents the spot price of one ounce of gold bullion, and the red and green line represents silver prices per ounce.

Just like gold found support at the $1,175 area, silver prices found support at around the $19.00 level. Since then, they have been on the rise, having roughly increased more than 23%; gold prices are up about 18%.

Where are silver prices headed next?

Looking at it percentage-wise, silver has the ability to outperform gold prices.

Silver Chart
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

To give you some idea about what I mean, consider this: for gold prices to go up 50% from the current level of around $1,400, they will have to increase $700.00; to get there, it can take a long time and a lot of buying. Now, for silver to increase 50%, from the current level of around $23.50, it will have to go up by $11.75 to $35.25. This sounds attainable because the silver prices have seen that level; for gold bullion, $2,100 would be in uncharted territory.

Here’s why I think silver has the potential to increase.

The demand for silver … Read More


Why It Doesn’t Matter Where Gold’s Headed, Opportunities Still Abound

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 20, 2013

Gold’s Up: Should You Add It or Short It?Between September 2012 and July 2013, gold wasn’t so much on a roller coaster ride as a steep descent, losing almost 35% of its value. During the first half of 2013, it fell almost 30%, hitting an intra-day low on June 28 of $1,179.40.

But it’s been a different story since then. Increased demand for physical gold and lower supply have helped the price of gold jump almost 15%, soaring past its 50-day moving average and hitting a two-ish-month high near $1,370 an ounce. Over that same time period, gold miners have gone up 35%.

Basic economics pointed to a rebound in the price of gold. During the second quarter of 2013, consumer demand for physical gold surged 53%, while total supply slipped six percent. Naturally, one would expect the price of gold to increase, but it didn’t; the price fell 35%.

According to the World Gold Council “Gold Demand Trends” report, gold’s second-quarter descent was due to speculators selling paper gold, rather than a decline in demand for actual physical gold. (Source: “Consumer demand for gold up 53% in Q2 2013 led by strong growth in China and India,” World Gold Council web site, August 15, 2013.)

With some analysts predicting the price of gold will head higher, many investors are asking how high. In the near term, some expect gold purchases by the manufacturing trade to increase ahead of the holiday season and harvest festivals.

Economist and gold bug Eric Sprott thinks the price of gold will double from its June 28 bottom, touching $ 2,400 an ounce by next summer. The gold bull market is also expected … Read More


Where the Real Opportunity in the Gold Market Is

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 16, 2013

Real Opportunity in the Gold MarketThe direction the price of gold bullion is headed is heavily debated these days. Those who are bearish continue to say the shiny yellow metal has no space in an investor’s portfolio. They argue that the price action we have seen in the gold bullion market since the beginning of the year, especially the sell-offs in April and June, were just a few minor sell-off episodes. We are headed much lower than $1,000.

When it comes to the price of gold bullion going forward, I have to distance myself from the bears. I cannot predict where gold prices will bottom or where will they top, but what I see is certainly worth noting. Both the fundamentals and the technicals of gold bullion are showing the presence of bullish sentiment.

At the very basic level, the demand for gold bullion is increasing, and it is very evident. Take sales of gold bullion coins at the U.S. Mint, for example. For the first seven months of 2013, the demand was higher by 82% compared to the same period a year ago. The U.S. Mint sold 679,500 gold bullion coins in total, compared to only 374,000 in the previous year. (Source: “Bullion Sales/Mintage Figures,” U.S. Mint, last accessed August 14, 2013.)

Demand for the precious metal in China is robust and continues to increase. Consider this: according to the Chinese Gold Association, in 2012, 460 tonnes of gold bullion were consumed in the Chinese economy; this year, the number has increased to 706.36 tonnes. If the demand remains, China may very well become the biggest consumer of gold bullion in the world (it’s … Read More


Our Top Three Defensive Plays for Falling Commodities Prices

By for Daily Gains Letter | Aug 8, 2013

Top Three DefensiveWhile investors with balanced portfolios have enjoyed great returns provided by the key stock indices thus far, those who were heavily focused on commodities and the basic material sector most likely beg to differ. Commodities prices have come down across the board: precious metals like gold and silver have been trending downward, copper prices are edging lower, and agricultural products like corn and soybeans are outright facing selling pressures.

With these happenings comes a question: what should an investor do in situations like these, when the commodities prices are sliding lower?

One action investors might want to take before falling commodities prices take a further toll on their portfolio is to cut their losses and change their allocation, selling what has gone down significantly. Simple math would suggest this: if a stock has fallen 50% in value, it has to increase 100% for an investor to just break even.

If investors continue to be persistent with a belief that commodities prices have a great future ahead, but are witnessing a minor sell-off now, they may want to look at companies that are involved in making, exploring, or doing business with those commodities and have some sort of income attributes to them.

The idea behind this investment strategy is simple: until the commodities prices settle down, companies can provide investors with income in the form of dividends. For example, if a stock price goes down 10%, but over the year it provides a six-percent dividend, then, in essence, their loss is only four percent for the year.

The following are a few ways investors can be exposed to certain commodities and … Read More


Forget Gold & Silver for Now: This Is the Mineral Investors Should Be Playing

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 26, 2013

Forget Gold & Silver for Now: This Is the Mineral Investors Should Be PlayingThere’s a rush happening in the U.S. economy, but no one seems to have heard much about it. No, it’s not for gold, silver, or oil. This time around, it has to do with rare earth elements, or what are sometimes referred to as rare earth metals.

Before going into further details about how investors may be able to profit from this situation in the making, it is necessary to know what these rare earth elements are and what they are used for.

Rare earth elements, at the very core, have many different uses. They are used in technology like cell phones, televisions, and lighting systems. They are also used in aerospace, automotive, and energy industries. Note that these are just a few of the uses of rare earth elements; there are many other uses for them, as well.

How critical are rare earth elements? According to Ian Ridley, director of the U.S. Geological Survey Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center in Colorado, “without rare earths we’d be back to having black-and-white cellphones again.” (Source: “Gold rush trash is Information Age treasure,” USA Today, July 21, 2013.)

One must ask the question: why call it a rush?

As their name suggests, these elements are rare, found only in certain locations. This leaves them vulnerable to demand and supply shocks.

As a matter of fact, we saw something similar back in 2011. A rare earth element called neodymium, used in the automotive industry, could be purchased for $15.00 a kilogram in 2009. Fast-forward to 2011, and the price of this rare earth element reached $500.00 a kilogram; that’s an increase … Read More


Profit from Oil & Gas No Matter the Commodity Price?

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 25, 2013

Profit from Oil & Gas No Matter the Commodity PriceWhether the price of oil and gas is moving up, down, or sideways, the commodity still needs to get transported somewhere. And with a slowly improving economy, the U.S. oil and gas pipeline infrastructure will be called upon to move more and more liquid gold.

Today, America’s natural gas pipeline network is made up of 210 different systems covering 305,000 miles of interstate. In the United States, 55,000 miles of trunklines move 5.6 million barrels of oil each day. (Sources: “Natural Gas,” U.S. Energy Information Administration web site, last accessed July 23, 2013; Alerian MLP ETF web site, last accessed July 23, 2013.)

But thanks to America’s soaring oil boom, the demand for pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure is expected to climb significantly over the next few years. Pipeline demand in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota is where the majority of demand will come from. The Keystone XL pipeline winning federal approval will also drive North American demand.

There is also a huge demand for liquid natural gas south of the border. Mexican imports of U.S. natural gas have jumped 92% since 2008, and with increased demand, Mexico could be the destination of 10% of U.S. production. To help meet that demand, the U.S. has at least six new pipeline projects aimed at sending gas southward under consideration. (Source: Forest, D., “A surprising source of demand for US natural gas,” The Christian Science Monitor, July 4, 2013.)

As it stands, between now and 2016, the demand for oil and gas infrastructure is expected to climb more than six percent each year, hitting $12.0 billion. In 2011, the … Read More


These Signs Point to a Bullish Season for This Precious Metal

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 22, 2013

Bullish Season for This Precious MetalGold is making a comeback after having lost 21.5% of its value since the beginning of the year. Since the start of July, the precious metal has climbed almost 10%—trading near $1,275 per ounce.

The price of the yellow precious metal began its turnaround in late June after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would consider tapering its monthly $85.0-billion purchase of Treasury and mortgage-backed security bonds by the end of the year. On top of that, the Federal Reserve said it might even completely end its quantitative easing policies in 2014.

On Wednesday, July 17, gold prices edged higher after Bernanke calmed the storm he created, telling investors that the quantitative easing policies could, depending on the economy, stay in place for longer than expected.

Even though the economy has been improving at a moderate rate, Bernanke said, those improvements have been overshadowed by the national unemployment rate, which stands at a stubbornly high 7.6% (along with a 14.3% underemployment rate).

For investors, that means the era of easy money is going to continue into the near future—and money will continue to pour into the markets. On Thursday, the day after the Fed spoke, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose to all-time intraday highs.

Not to be left out of the party, gold climbed more than one percent, hitting a one-month high of $1,299 per ounce.

Even after the Federal Reserve–inspired euphoria on Wall Street fades, there might be additional reasons for investors to keep their eyes on gold equities and related exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

According to Thackray’s 2013 Investor’s Guide: How … Read More


What You Absolutely Need to Know About Gold’s Future

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 11, 2013

Do Have Faith in Higher Gold PricesI have faith that gold prices are just about to go higher. While the current negativity towards gold continues to increase, it goes against the most basic of economic principles—supply and demand.

Since gold prices have begun their recent slump, some in the mainstream media have even said that the bull market in the metal that began in 2002 is over. They are saying gold bullion has no space in their portfolio and that it isn’t really a store of wealth anymore.

But the fundamental reasons for a rise in the value of gold bullion are actually increasing. The demand is going up and supply appears to be slowing—the very recipe for a price increase.

The demand for the metal remains very strong. According to data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, imports of gold bullion to mainland China from Hong Kong increased to 108.781 tonnes in May, compared to 80.101 tonnes in April—a 36% increase in just one month. (Source: Ananthalakshmi, A., “UPDATE 1–China’s net gold imports from Hong Kong jump in May,” Reuters, July 5, 2013.)

And there are major concerns on the supply side. The cost to take gold out of the ground is getting higher than the metal’s current price, making mining gold a losing proposition. Consider that Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE/ABX, TSX/ABX), one of the biggest senior gold bullion miners, is halting its production at one of its biggest mines, the Pascua Lama mine in Chile, due to its costs increasing from $5.0 billion to $8.5 billion. And Barrick isn’t the only one facing a problem in rising production costs; there are others … Read More


How to Manage Your Risk in These Volatile Markets

By for Daily Gains Letter | Jul 1, 2013

Risk Management in Today’s Gold MarketDuring the financial crisis, investors saving for retirement were punished for staying in the stock markets. The key stock indices plummeted and took many investors’ wealth.

After seeing the crash taking a heavy toll on their portfolios, investors moved into safer asset classes. They rushed to bonds, gold, and gold miners because they thought that’s where the value was—and where they could make some of their lost savings back.

Things are different now. If investors are still tied to those asset classes, chances are they are feeling a pinch. Gold prices are down significantly from their peaks and bond prices appear to be in a freefall. Since the beginning of the year, gold has fallen nearly 30% in value, and bond yields—those of 30-year U.S. bonds—have soared more than 20%.

Sadly, even with all the financial innovation, there isn’t an investment instrument that protects an investor’s portfolio completely from market fluctuations. However, investors can minimize their downside risks significantly by managing their risk properly.

Managing risk may sound like an easy concept at first, but it’s far from it. It ultimately consists of three steps and requires a significant amount of research. The three risk-management steps are risk identification, risk evaluation, and risk reduction.

Risk Identification: This is the most important part in risk management. Investors need to find what kind of risks will affect their portfolio. For example, imagine a person heavily invested in one sector; even if he or she is diversified across different companies, troubles can take a chunk out of their portfolio. Take gold as it stands now: even if investors bought different gold miners when … Read More