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2.14.20 - U.S. Military Prepping for Coronavirus

Gold last traded at $1,586 an ounce. Silver at $17.73 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices extended gains Friday on safe-haven buying amid rising economic uncertainty. U.S. stocks traded near flatline as Wall Street digested the release of disappointing consumer data.

Gold price consolidation coming to an end, watch for rally to $1,800 -Analyst/Kitco
"Gold's consolidation period could soon come to an end as one research firm sees prices pushing to $1,800 by the spring. In a report published Wednesday, Florian Grummes, market analyst at Midas Touch Consulting, said that the precious metal needs a little bit more time to build up enough momentum to break above $1,600, but added that gold bulls are currently in control of the marketplace. 'Every dip is quickly being bought and the surprises are always happening to the upside,' he said. 'Even though gold has already increased by over US$450 from the low at US$1,160 in August 2018, the bulls remain in control and are not showing any weakness.' Looking at gold's near-term technical picture, Grummes said that he is watching and waiting for a breakout above $1,590 to signal a move to his first-quarter target of $1,800 an ounce....But it's not just gold's technical picture, Grummes said that he is also bullish on gold as sentiment in the marketplace has still not reached the 'euphoric phase,' even after the strong performance in 2019. He added that the break above $1,600 could be the factor that ignites the parabolic move he forecasts."

heart World's oldest married couple celebrates 80th Valentine's Day together -MSN/Today
"In the same year that 'Gone With the Wind' first hit theaters, another timeless love story from the South was also beginning. Texas couple John and Charlotte Henderson will celebrate their 80th Valentine's Day together on Friday after having already been recognized by Guinness World Records last year as the oldest living couple on Earth. John, 107, and Charlotte, 105, celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary in November. They have actually been Valentine's Day sweethearts for 85 years if you count the time they were together before they were married in 1939. 'It doesn't seem like it's been that long,' John told Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY Friday. 'Time does fly.'....After eight decades as a married couple, Valentine's Day remains a special time to renew their love. 'I make a homemade valentine for her every year,' John said. 'Oh yes, a little love note on it, yes,' Charlotte said. 'He's pretty romantic, when you get down to it.'....They still exercise every day and enjoy a glass of wine together most nights. The Hendersons are routinely asked about their secret to their record-setting longevity together. 'Never go to bed at night with a chip on your shoulder, and be glad you're with each other,' John said."

US military prepping for coronavirus pandemic -Military Times
"U.S. Northern Command is executing plans to prepare for a potential pandemic of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID19, according to Navy and Marine Corps service-wide messages issued this week. An executive order issued by the Joint Staff and approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper this month directed Northern Command and geographic combatant commanders to initiate pandemic plans, which include ordering commanders to prepare for widespread outbreaks and confining service members with a history of travel to China....The document serves as the Pentagon's blueprint for planning and preparing for widespread dispersion of influenza and previously unknown diseases....Also earlier this month, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command restricted all Defense Department travel to mainland China and recalled all travelers to the country home."

China’s Huawei Charged With Racketeering -Wall Street Journal
"Huawei Technologies Co. and two of its U.S. subsidiaries were charged with racketeering conspiracy to steal trade secrets in a new federal indictment unsealed Thursday, opening another front in the Trump administration’s battle with the Chinese telecommunications firm. The new charges amp up pressure on Huawei from the U.S., where Trump administration officials say the company poses a national security risk as it competes fiercely with American rivals around the world....Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the new charges related to a decadeslong effort by Huawei and its subsidiaries, both in the U.S. and China, to steal intellectual property, including from six U.S. technology companies. Prosecutors said Huawei's efforts were successful and resulted in the company obtaining nonpublic intellectual property about robotics, cellular-antenna technology and internet router source code. Because the company stole technology and intellectual property, it was able to cut costs and research-and-development delays, giving it an unfair competitive advantage, according to prosecutors....Huawei is the world's biggest telecommunications manufacturer and a leader in next-generation 5G networks. The Trump administration has threatened to cut Huawei off from American suppliers and pressured European allies to stop doing business with it."

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2.13.20 - COVID-19: Bigger Threat Than Terrorism

Gold last traded at $1,578 an ounce. Silver at $17.61 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose sharply Thursday amid rising coronavirus fears. U.S. stocks fell as a jump in reported coronavirus cases fueled worries over the impact on economic activity.

Is Coronavirus the Black Swan That Takes Gold To-Da-Moon? -Yahoo Finance
"The fact that the yield curve has inverted again after the October 2019 normalization, is of great importance. It shows that the underlying forces behind all the 2019 inversions are still in force. It shows that the Fed's easing of monetary policy did not heal the economy....But now it should be clear that the Fed just postponed the inevitable. We mean here, of course, recession...The recessionary fears are still justified, despite the temporary calming down...Investors worry about the prospects of the global growth amid the coronavirus outbreak...After all, the impact on the global economy from the SARS epidemic reached up to $40 billion, according to this research, but as coronavirus is more contagious, its economic costs may be higher....The inversion of the yield curve is positive for the gold prices. Investors expect that the growth will slow down or/and that the Fed will cut the federal funds rate again later this year."

Time Magazine Coronavirus is a bigger threat than terrorism: World Health Organization -New York Post
"Coronavirus should be treated as 'public enemy number one' - posing a bigger threat than terrorism, the World Health Organization has warned. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted Tuesday that the virus - now formally named COVID-19 - is 'a very grave threat' well beyond China, where it originated and has killed at least 1,113 people. The world needs to 'wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one,' Tedros warned. 'A virus is more powerful in creating political, social and economic upheaval than any terrorist attack,' Tedros told reporters in Geneva. 'It's the worst enemy you can imagine.' So far, the virus has infected over 45,000 people worldwide - although 99 percent of the cases have occurred within China....His alert follows other warnings that 60 to 80 percent of the world's population could be sickened by the virus, resulting in a massive global death toll."

The War on Judy Shelton -Editors/Wall Street Journal
"Judy Shelton finally gets her day in the Senate on Thursday, and if anyone has a coherent argument for denying her confirmation to a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors we haven't heard it. The caterwauling over her nomination confirms why her intellectual diversity is needed at the Fed. Ms. Shelton, a long-time contributor to these pages, was bound to be controversial after a career challenging conventional monetary wisdom. Opposition to her nomination has congealed into two complaints. One is that Ms. Shelton has long supported a return to the gold standard. The other is that she has more recently abandoned that belief in monetary discipline for political reasons....'The consequences of currency chaos affect the personal fortunes of millions of individual citizens; once unleashed, it can spawn social resentments and political upheavals that change the destiny of whole nations,' she wrote in a separate piece for us in 2008. Careful study of eras in which economies backed their currencies with gold, as Ms. Shelton has conducted, offers insights into the truth of this assessment, and also revealing contrasts with the catastrophic misfires of our era of floating rates. Her critics claim this is revolutionary, but the late Fed Chairman Paul Volcker also recognized the benefits of stable exchange rates....The inconvenient truth is that central bankers seem to have no clear idea these days about when they should raise or cut rates....Ms. Shelton is clearly qualified for the Fed role. The question for Senators is how much they trust Mr. Powell, or the academics and journalists who are trying to tank her nomination....If Senators harbor even a sliver of doubt over whether Ms. Shelton's critics know what they're doing, that's all the more reason to confirm her as a distinctive voice in such crucial debates."

Where are the Midlife Rites of Passage? -Conley/Wisdom Well
"Societies have historically celebrated the movement of an individual from one part of life to another by creating festivities or formalities that mark that rite of passage. This rite of passage could be birth, puberty, marriage, having children, or death. Regardless of the event, the intent is to strip the person from their most recent role and prepare them for their new role and status. Unfortunately, rites of passage are almost non-existent in midlife or the workplace. Yes, some companies celebrate employee anniversary dates, and, in the past, you might have earned a gold watch at 65, or some other reminder that your time has expired. I have friends who curated an empty nester party when their kids left home (imagine Ferris Bueller's parents throwing a shindig)...And as long as we're throwing out ideas, what about a menopause weekend with midlife girlfriends or a graduation ceremony for someone in their 50s who went back to school to find a new career path? The only limit is your imagination. Be creative and create your own rites of passage. You deserve it."

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2.12.20 - $2,000 Gold by Election Night Possible

Gold last traded at $1,572 an ounce. Silver at $17.51 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Wednesday on a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks rose as investors shook off concerns over how the coronavirus would impact corporate profits and the global economy.

$2,000 gold price by election night is possible -Kitco
"Political changes from the U.S. presidential election in November could see gold prices soar, this according to Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital. 'I think if Trump is not re-elected, if we get President Sanders, gold should go above $2,000 this year, and if it's not above $2,000 by election, it should be $2,000 election night once we get the results,' Schiff told Kitco News on the sidelines of the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference. The Phase One deal signed with China earlier in the year has no real long-term impact on the economy, Schiff said. 'I don’t think there's going to be a Phase Two, this is pretty much it. The government isn't even really getting rid of the tariffs, the tariffs are still here. So there's still a problem. This is not a game changer for the U.S. economy at all,' he noted."

boat Why the Fed needs Trump nominee Judy Shelton -Washington Times
"President Trump has nominated distinguished economist, Judy Shelton, to be a member of the Federal Reserve’s seven-person board of governors. Mrs. Shelton is under attack for her alleged 'unorthodox views.'....As a result of her hard work, expertise and rational intelligence, she was able to predict both the path and the timing of the Soviet collapse - and she turned out to be spot on....Many of the great economists of the last century, like Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek (both Nobel laureates), believed that government fiat currencies - that is currency without the backing of a hard asset like gold - would ultimately fail. The failure would occur because politicians like to spend more money than the tax system produces, leading to higher and higher levels of debt until the private sector refuses to buy any more of it. Look at the record. The United States and all the major nations were on the gold standard before the Fed was created in 1914. The Fed is mandated to provide 'price stability.' In the 120 years before the creation of the Fed, the United States experienced no persistent inflation...The price of gold was $18.93-18.99 per ounce from 1833 until 1913. The price of gold on Feb. 7, 2020, was $1,571 per ounce. So much for price stability under the Fed....Mrs. Shelton is accused of being unorthodox and out of the mainstream because she is closer to Hayek and Friedman in her views about the desirability of a monetary anchor like gold. If the United States is going to have a Fed, it is important that the governors be diverse in their views as a way of minimizing mistakes. In terms of experience, education, a track record of predicting policy outcomes and understanding economic reality, I can think of no better person to serve on the Fed board than Judy Shelton."

The Crash Party -Zero Hedge
"Since 1900 markets have had their fair share of crashes. Mind you crashes don't happen that often, in fact crashes are very rare. You know what's also very rare? A particular party being in power preceding crashes. Every single time, making them the crash party. First off, what were the big crashes since 1900? In chronological order: The panic of 1907. This is what ultimately resulted in the formation of the Fed to not to let something like this happen again. Of course it did, as the next crash came in 1929. Then we went on to various recessions, ups and downs and stagnation in markets for decades. The next famous crash came in 1987. Black Monday. Over 20% in a swift flush. Then of course came the Nasdaq tech crash in 2000 and then of course the great financial crisis in 2008/2009. All of these periods came on the heels of market excess, massive rallies, vast optimism, and then the busts came. But here's the weird thing: ALL of these crashes happened following more than 2 years of GOP control of the Senate, or combined with control of the presidency and in one case the House and the Senate but not the presidency. To appreciate how historical this is: These are also the ONLY times the GOP has had such control....I don't think any fair minded person can blame the GOP solely for market crashes and I'm not doing that....I suggest that all these elements are again at play: We've had massive tax cuts, have trillion dollars deficits, massive optimism and massively stretched valuations and guess what else: Republicans in charge for over 2 years of the Senate and the presidency. The crash party? Don't go around saying I'm calling for a crash. I'm not. History is."

Coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked' -The Guardian
"The coronavirus epidemic could spread to about two-thirds of the world's population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong's leading public health epidemiologist. His warning came after the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said recent cases of coronavirus patients who had never visited China could be the 'tip of the iceberg'. Prof Gabriel Leung, the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, said the overriding question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg. Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to about 2.5 other people. That gave an 'attack rate' of 60-80%. 'Sixty per cent of the world's population is an awfully big number,' Leung told the Guardian in London, en route to an expert meeting at the WHO in Geneva on Tuesday....Scientists still do not know for sure whether transmission is through droplets from coughs or possibly airborne particles. 'It's rather difficult to do that kind of careful detailed work when everything is raging. And unless it is raging you are unlikely to get enough confirmed cases,' he said."

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2.11.20 - The S&P 500 is Really Just The S&P 5 - CNN

Gold last traded at $1,568 an ounce. Silver at $17.60 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Tuesday on mild profit-taking. U.S. stocks rose as Wall Street shrugged off concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Gold price could "easily" go to $2,000; QE4 is like counterfeiting -Rick Rule/Kitco
"With bond yields at historical lows, and even negative in some parts of the world, investors are navigating uncharted waters, and gold demand could see a surge, says Rick Rule, CEO of Sprott U.S. 'If you have mean reversion in terms of gold and gold-related equities, you will see between triple to quadruple demand in precious metals and precious-metals related assets,' Rule told Kitco News on the sidelines of the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference. He added that no prudent investor wants his life insurance to pay off because that means someone has died, and this is what gold is all about. Rule noted that there is an excess of liquidity in the monetary system in the form of quantitative easing that will ultimately drive gold prices higher. 'It is interesting to understand what quantitative easing is: it's counterfeiting. If you and I did it, we'd go to jail,' he said. 'Understand that what they're doing is debasing the currency.' Rule said that gold prices, under these conditions, could 'easily' go to $2,000 and beyond, but it may not happen right away."

stocks The S&P 500 is really the S&P 5. -CNN Business
"The S&P 500 is supposed to be a broad representation of the US economy. So if you're plowing money into an index fund, you might think you're doing a good job of diversifying your assets. You'd be wrong. These days, it's basically the S&P 5. The five largest companies in the S&P 500 - all tech companies - account for nearly 20% of the market value of the entire index. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google owner Alphabet and Facebook are collectively worth $4.85 trillion. The S&P 500 has a market value of around $26.7 trillion. This could be a big problem for investors who are planning for retirement or other long-term goals who don't understand the risks of having all their proverbial eggs in one basket. The last time the S&P 500 had such a high weighting in a single sector (tech) was right before the dot com bubble burst in 2000, according to Tocqueville Asset Management portfolio manager John Petrides. 'Diversifying your assets is Investing 101. Spreading investments across various asset classes, stocks, regions, credit, investment type, is the one way investors can compensate for not having a crystal ball to predict the future,' Petrides said in a report....'The current sector concentration is not a forecast of impending doom, but rather a wake-up call for investors to be aware of the potential risk being taken by simply 'owning the market,''Petrides said in the report."

U.S. Charges Four Chinese Military Members Over Equifax Hack -Bloomberg
"The Department of Justice announced charges Monday against four members of China's People's Liberation Army for the 2017 hack of Equifax Inc., a breach that exposed the personal information of about 145 million Americans. The announcement by Attorney General William Barr follows an indictment in Atlanta accusing the Chinese military personnel of conspiring with each other to hack into Equifax's network and stealing sensitive data on nearly half of all U.S. citizens. 'This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people,' Barr said in a statement...Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei, who were members of the PLA's 54th Research Institute, were charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, authorities said....'Chinese spying is over the top increasingly dangerous,' said Jim Lewis, a senior vice president and director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. 'The PLA has more personal data on Americans than anyone else.' It's the second time in a week that Barr has raised criticism of China's behavior on technology issues. Last week he gave a speech warning of the threats he said are posed by Chinese technology, focusing on Huawei Technologies Co.'s 5G networks, and saying the U.S. should consider investing in competitors Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB."

Fixing Inequality Is My Priority -Bloomberg/New York Times
"Every Democrat running for president agrees that income inequality is one of the great problems of our time. And we all agree that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. But only one of us has actually raised taxes on the wealthy by persuading a Republican legislature to vote for them: Me...I persuaded a Republican-led State Senate and a Democratic-led State Assembly to pass the bill, and a Republican governor to sign it. The extra revenue - roughly $400 million per year - allowed us to invest in our future and create jobs and opportunity in the neighborhoods where they were needed most....I'm committed to helping Democrats win control of Congress this year, regardless of the fate of my own campaign. And if, for whatever reasons, our party falls short of controlling both chambers of Congress, the next Democratic president will have to reach across the aisle to end the Republican obstructionism that has gripped Washington for so long. That's not something that most of my fellow Democratic candidates talk much about....Unlike President Trump, I didn't inherit my wealth, and I genuinely support causes I am passionate about: gun safety, climate change, women's rights, universal health care, education and yes, electing Democrats....I believe America should always be a country where a middle-class kid like me can start a business and succeed beyond her or his wildest dreams....After all, who better to make the argument for raising taxes on the wealthy than me?....I'll use the new tax revenue, an estimated $5 trillion over 10 years, to invest in America in ways that reduce inequality, strengthen the middle class and restore faith in the promise of the American dream."

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