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6.23.17 - Gold: World's Best "Freedom Insurance"

Gold last traded at $1,256 an ounce. Silver traded at $16.64 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded at 1-week highs Friday on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks inched higher despite concern over energy weakness as oil prices traded near 10-month lows.

Owning Gold Is The First Step To "Freedom Insurance" -Zero Hedge
"The same pattern has played out again and again around the world and throughout history. The worse a government’s fiscal health gets, the more destructive its policies become....It’s crucial to place some of your savings beyond the easy reach of your home government....International diversification is the ultimate insurance policy against an out-of-control government. Think of it as 'freedom insurance.' It keeps that government from trapping your money if and when it implements capital controls or outright asset seizures. Any government can do either without warning. The ultimate way to diversify your savings is to transfer it out of the immediate reach of your home government and into something tangible. Something that cannot be easily confiscated, nationalized, frozen, or devalued at the drop of a hat or with a couple of taps on the keyboard - while retaining as much privacy as legally possible. Something whose value is recognized around the world and is not controlled by any government. Gold (and silver) fit the bill perfectly."

biz news Why the Stock Market Keeps Going Up, Up, Up -Gasparino/NewYorkPost
"All news is good news, apparently - at least if you judge by the stock market. US economic growth is sluggish, consumer confidence is down and President Trump’s tax reform is stalled. And yet, the market isn’t spooked - it has climbed to historic highs. The question is why. After all, the warning signs aren’t imaginary. The slow uphill trudge of Trump’s health-care reform is holding up his tax cuts because his aides say he needs health-care budget savings to finance them....There’s also the fact that the rally...has been pretty narrow; big names like Apple, Amazon and Facebook are powering much of the S&P index gains. That means many stocks are actually lower or treading water but the overall market performance is being carried by a few heavy hitters....And here’s one factor seemingly out of everyone’s control: There are just fewer stocks to invest in these days thanks to a decline in IPOs and mergers. In 1996, for example, there were about 8,000 stocks listed on major exchanges; today that number has shrunk to around 4,000....It’s often dangerous to make bold predictions about the markets going up; plenty of smart guys looked dumb predicting Dow 30,000 during the various bubbles over the past two decades."

A Cyberattack ‘the World Isn’t Ready For’ -New York Times
"The strike on IDT, a conglomerate with headquarters in a nondescript gray building here with views of the Manhattan skyline 15 miles away, was similar to WannaCry in one way: Hackers locked up IDT data and demanded a ransom to unlock it. But the ransom demand was just a smoke screen for a far more invasive attack that stole employee credentials. With those credentials in hand, hackers could have run free through the company’s computer network, taking confidential information or destroying machines. Worse, the assault, which has never been reported before, was not spotted by some of the nation’s leading cybersecurity products, the top security engineers at its biggest tech companies, government intelligence analysts or the F.B.I., which remains consumed with the WannaCry attack.....'The world is burning about WannaCry, but this is a nuclear bomb compared to WannaCry,' Mr. Ben-Oni said. 'This is different. It’s a lot worse. It steals credentials. You can’t catch it, and it’s happening right under our noses.' And, he added, 'The world isn’t ready for this.'....Both WannaCry and the IDT attack used a hacking tool the agency had code-named EternalBlue....The attack on IDT went a step further with another stolen N.S.A. cyberweapon, called DoublePulsar. The N.S.A. used DoublePulsar to penetrate computer systems without tripping security alarms. It allowed N.S.A. spies to inject their tools into the nerve center of a target’s computer system, called the kernel, which manages communications between a computer’s hardware and its software. In the pecking order of a computer system, the kernel is at the very top, allowing anyone with secret access to it to take full control of a machine....'Time is burning,' Mr. Ben-Oni said. 'Understand, this is really a war - with offense on one side, and institutions, organizations and schools on the other, defending against an unknown adversary.'"

The Everything Bubble -MauldinEconomics
"In 2000, we had the dot-com bubble. In 2007, we had the housing bubble. In 2017, we have the everything bubble....First, let’s define what a bubble is. A bubble is not simply a matter of overvaluation. It has to be accompanied by an obsession or preoccupation with an asset class. When you see people making haystacks of cash all out of proportion to their intelligence or work ethic? Bubble!....That is kind of what is happening right now in cryptocurrencies. People are comparing bitcoin to tulip bulbs. I think those comparisons are apt. But at least with tulips, you had something tangible - a plant....If we get a bear market in stocks, we get a bear market in bitcoin (or vice versa). And if we get a bear market in stocks or bitcoin, we are probably getting a bear market in credit. And if we get a bear market in credit, we are probably getting a bear market in real estate. It is all connected. Basically, in the age of peak indexing, the only thing left is systematic risk....I think we’re very close to a downturn. I will be surprised if this doesn’t come to pass within 6-12 months...it will probably be the fastest downturn in history, owing to the degree of leverage and speculation. Proper preparation prevents poor performance."

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6.22.17 - Americans Living as Large as Ever

Gold last traded at $1,249 an ounce. Silver traded at $16.50 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on safe-haven demand and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks inched higher on rising healthcare stocks following the release of the Senate's version of an Obamacare replacement bill.

Gold basks in the glow of safe-haven demand -BusinessDay
"Gold rose on Thursday, benefiting from risk aversion as weaker oil prices dented stocks while the dollar retreated. 'The weakness on the equity market is a factor providing support to gold,' said Carsten Menke, an analyst at Julius Baer. Gold is often seen as a safe-haven option at times of volatility in riskier markets such as stocks. European equities took a battering as oil prices hovered near seven-month lows on concern about a supply glut. 'The uncontrolled oil price spill in the futures markets may have seen some traders pushing the risk aversion button and buying gold,' said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda."

shopping Plunging toward Our Fast-Unfolding Future -Will/NationalReview
"Last week, the Kroger grocery chain’s lowered earnings forecast caused a 19 percent drop in share prices, which had already declined 12 percent in 2017. This was before Amazon announced that it is buying the Whole Foods grocery chain...Whole Foods, like Kroger, had been experiencing difficulties from competitors and expanding consumer options. The Wall Street Journal reports: 'Consumers are buying more of their groceries outside of traditional supermarkets. Online merchants, discounters and meal-kit delivery services are all grabbing market share.' In the accelerated churning of today’s capitalism, changing tastes and expanding choices destroy some jobs and create others, with net gains in price and quality. But disruption is never restful, and America now faces a decision unique in its history: Is it tired - tired of the turmoil of creative destruction? If so, it had better be ready to do without creativity. And ready to stop being what it has always been: restless....This is a profound truth: The interacting processes that propel the world produce outcomes that no one intends....Soon America will be 241. It is too young to flinch from the frictions - and the more than compensating blessings - of a fast-unfolding future."

Data Says Fed Is Making A Mistake -RealInvestmentAdvice
"Economic data has continued to remain extremely soft given the rise in confidence. We addressed previously that while the 'soft data' was hitting the highest levels seen since the 'Great Recession,' actual economic activity had failed to catch up. As noted on last week: 'For the 13th straight week, US economic data disappointed (already downgraded) expectations, sending Citi’s US Macro Surprise Index to its weakest since August 2011. The last time, Us economic data disappointed this much, Ben Bernanke immediately unleashed Operation Twist… but this time Janet Yellen is hiking rates and unwinding the balance sheet?'....While the Federal Reserve may hike interest rates simply to 'save face,' there is indeed little real support for them doing so....In fact, there have been absolutely ZERO times in history that the Federal Reserve has begun an interest-rate hiking campaign that has not eventually led to a negative outcome....While raising rates will accelerate a potential recession and a significant market correction, from the Fed’s perspective it might be the ‘lesser of two evils. Being caught near the 'zero bound' at the onset of a recession leaves few options for the Federal Reserve to stabilize an economic decline."

Americans Are Living as Large as Ever -Bloomberg
"New homes are shrinking, but the average American has been stockpiling square footage for more than a century. Are Americans embracing smaller homes? The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that the average size of new-construction homes actually declined slightly, from an all-time high of 2,467 square feet in 2015 to 2,422....Many commentators jumped on the news to argue that at last the U.S. was giving up its addiction to living large....Since the 1890s, household size has declined dramatically. As a consequence, the average square feet of living space for capita has grown. In the 1890s, Americans had an average of 400 square feet of residential space per person. But by the early twenty-first century, that figure had doubled to 800 square feet....If the trends of the past century continue, it’ll be more still in the decades to come. Americans have more space than ever before - though what they are doing with it is a different question altogether."

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6.21.17 - U.S. Anxiety Levels Climbing Fast

Gold last traded at $1,245 an ounce. Silver traded at $16.37 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded mixed Wednesday on safe haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks traded mixed as lower oil price bearishness offset investor bullishness.

Tumbling crude a possible early warning sign -AlmanacTrader
"Typically at this time of the year crude oil would still be enjoying a rally off of its February lows as the North American summer driving season lifts demand and pulls prices higher until sometime in early July....This has not been the situation this year. Crude oil rallied off a November low to an early January peak just above $55 per barrel. It hung out around that level through early-March before entering its current downtrend. Crude’s losses really accelerated at the start of this month and it traded under $43 per barrel earlier today. Using the standard 20% decline from peak as the rule, crude oil is now in a bear market....There are more alternative energy sources available today than any other time in the past and economies are becoming more efficient with crude’s use, but persistent price weakness could be a warning sign that the global economy is not as strong as it appears. The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is also showing signs of growth cooling as it now predicts Q2 GDP at 2.9%, down from 3.2% on June 14 and 4.0% on June 1."

gold chart The ONLY Gold Chart You Need -DailyReckoning
"If you’re thinking about buying gold, pay close attention…A major buying opportunity is about to ignite in everyone’s favorite precious metal....And the window is about to kick off this week....Have a look at an indicator called the Kinetic Composite for GLD, the popular SPDR Gold ETF....You can see how the Kinetic Composite signaled a rally at the start of the year, followed by a volatile sideways period, and then another rally kicking off this summer....Now, gold looks ready to kick off its next major K-Sign buy signal....This dead-simple price chart is all you need to look at to make money in gold in 2017. It shows the next Kinetic Window in gold and the K-Sign date...is June 23 - this Friday."

Daily Reckoning believes this Friday could mark a major turning point for gold prices, which are already up over 8% ytd. If this chart is accurate, now could be the best gold buying opportunity of the year. Learn more about the wisdom of owning gold and silver today by reading our free 2017 Gold and Silver Research Reports.

Illinois careens into financial meltdown – and not even the lottery is safe -FoxNews
"Illinois is grappling with a full-fledged financial crisis and not even the lottery is safe - with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner warning the state is entering 'banana republic' territory. Facing billions in unpaid bills and pension obligations, the state is hitting a cash crunch that is rare even by Illinois standards. A top financial official just warned 100 percent of the state's monthly revenue will be eaten up by court-ordered payments...And Illinois will – literally – lose the lottery if the budget fails....'Illinois is the fiscal model of what not to do,' Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., told Fox News, while not commenting on the bankruptcy question. 'This avoidance in behavior toward dealing with our challenges is what leads to the devastating impacts we are seeing today.'"

U.S. anxiety levels climbing fast -MiamiHerald
"Concerns about war and terrorism topped the list of matters gnawing at Americans, according to the Unisys Security Index, but viruses and hacking, bank-card fraud and identity theft also stoke insecurity. The Unisys index surveyed more than 13,000 people in 13 countries in April, and is considered one of the only recurring global snapshots of citizen perceptions....'It appears that our cloak of security, the impression that we had that we are more secure than the rest of the world, is starting to fade,' said Bill Searcy, vice president for global justice, law enforcement and border security at Unisys, a global information technology company. Levels of U.S. anxiety jumped sharply since the last such survey was conducted in 2014, and came in at the highest levels since the surveys began a decade ago....Topping the list were national security issues, which include war and terrorism as well as natural disaster. Of Americans surveyed, 68 percent said they were extremely or very concerned about those areas. Next came identity theft, which unnerves 61 percent. Bank-card fraud seriously unsettled 58 percent, and viruses or hacking deeply concern 56 percent."

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