Swiss America Blog Archive


12.11.18 - Slower Fed Rate Hikes May Buoy Gold

Gold last traded at $1,250 an ounce. Silver at $14.80 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Tuesday despite a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks attempted a rebound amid signs that U.S.-China trade relations could be improving.

Gold buoyed by prospects of slower Fed hikes -Marketwatch
"Gold edged higher Tuesday...as investors scaled back expectations about the pace of future interest-rate increases by the U.S. Federal Reserve. 'Gold prices, a barometer of economic and political news, are awaiting [the] Fed meeting Dec. 18-19 on rate hikes, which could have more dovish language and cautious approach to future hikes,' said George Gero, managing director in the senior consulting group at RBC Wealth Management. 'Brexit turmoil now also may be helping gold as a haven as postponing the vote is a sign of more headaches and headlines,' he added in a daily update. On Tuesday, global currencies were driven by news on the trade front. The U.S. and China have kicked off a new round of trade talks. That helped to lift some risk-sensitive currencies against the U.S. dollar."

Fed Jerome Powell Is Between A Rock And A Hard Place -Daily Reckoning
"Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has recently indicated again that he planned to go ahead with another 0.25 rate hike when the Fed meets Dec. 19, which would be the fourth increase this year....What has emerged is a growing fear that the future could be gloomier than many analysts, governments and central bank leaders anticipated. There are now two major factors that could curtail growth in the U.S. One is the Federal Reserve itself. If the Fed were to continue raising rates too quickly, it would cause government, corporate and consumer debt payments to increase. Second, while President Trump's estimated $1.5 trillion in tax cuts have contributed to boosting U.S. GDP this year, the same impact is unlikely to carry on into next year....The Wall Street Journal reported the Fed is mulling whether to 'signal a new wait-and-see mentality' on interest rates at their upcoming meeting in less than two weeks...The fact is that markets remain addicted to low interest rates and central bank credit. But that just keeps the Fed trapped in a catch-22. It wants to 'normalize' rates as much as possible after years of heavy support to the markets, but it’s now seeing how markets react without that support. The Fed can tolerate weakness in the stock market, but it fears a complete collapse, which is a very real possibility. So Jerome Powell is between a rock and a hard place."

The Debt Threat to the Economy -Wall Street Journal
"If the economy continues to grow at the normal postwar rate, growth-driven federal revenues will overwhelm the costs of the tax cut, paying for virtually all of its originally projected 10-year revenue losses in just five years. But if Treasury borrowing cost normalizes to 3.2% over the next five years, the cost of servicing the federal debt will more than double, from $316 billion this year to $666 billion in 2023. If borrowing costs rose to 4.8% over the next five years, federal debt-servicing costs would more than triple, reaching $1.1 trillion in 2023. In that scenario, the cost of servicing the $7.5 trillion increase in the public debt incurred during the 2009-16 period alone would cost $362 billion - more than the current cost of servicing the entire federal debt....Every dollar the federal government doesn't spend is a dollar it doesn't have to borrow. The caps on discretionary spending should not be lifted in 2019, and any new spending program should require a real spending offset....It’s time to make peace on trade and wage war on the deficit."

Follow the money behind climate alarmism and carbon tax proposals -Washington Examiner
"Media coverage of the recently released National Climate Assessment suggests that unless policymakers intervene to restrict the use of fossil fuels, catastrophic climate change could extract a hefty cost from the economy...But the report rests on several faulty assumptions that fail to account for technological innovations, the impact of robust natural gas development, and the costs associated with climate change policies....Updated scientific research demonstrates there is no firm consensus on the role human activity plays in climate change and that natural influences are largely responsible for warming and cooling trends. The NCA relies on theoretical climate trajectories known as 'representative concentration pathways' that are developed by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposed a carbon tax of between $135 and $5,500 by the year 2030. An energy tax of that magnitude would bankrupt families and businesses, and undoubtedly catapult the world into economic despair....There ought to be an open and vigorous debate about the merits of carbon tax, how much it will cost, and what kind of benefits could accrue to the environment. But it's important to know that the funding standing behind the groups, organizations, and studies that make the case for a carbon tax have common denominators in the form of left-leaning foundations."

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12.10.18 - Over Half The World in a Bear Market

Gold last traded at $1,251 an ounce. Silver at $14.67 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied near 5-month highs on a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks traded sharply lower in a volatile session as banks and Apple led the decline.

"Bear Markets Everywhere": Over Half The World Is Now Down 20% Or More -Zero Hedge
"SocGen's Kit Juckes writes this morning that 'a week ago, market sentiment was optimistic after the G20 meetings in Buenos Aires. That's a reminder not to read TOO much into Monday morning markets!' Picking up on this, another SocGen strategist, Andrew Lapthorne, writes that 'having bounced back strongly post-Powell, equity markets slumped last week as the mood turned decisively bearish.'....Putting the ongoing carnage in context, stock-wise 52% of MSCI World companies are down by more than 20% from their 52-week high, but only 38% of the market cap....As 2008 taught us, when faced with a liquidity crunch, asset managers will paradoxically hold on to their losers in hopes of getting better prices, while dumping winners. Which is why all those traders who have stoically waited for the past ten years for a renaissance in value stocks may finally enjoy a moment in the spotlight, only to suffer an even bigger hit in the coming months if the global economy is indeed about to sink into a market-crushing recession or worse."

Time To Give Silver A Second Look -Seeking Alpha
"Silver prices have been battered on the backdrop of a higher US dollar, higher US Treasury yields and Fed rate hikes. The key question one might ponder would be where silver prices will be heading going forward? A more dovish tone from the Fed will presumably lead to limited upside potential for the US dollar coupled with the fact the net speculators are already heavily long US dollar. Furthermore, considering the tailwinds from fiscal stimulus fades, US growth is likely to slow into 2019 and the comeback of twin deficit worries suggest that US dollar currency appreciation will likely to reverse. Hence, given the inverse relationship between the US dollar and precious metals prices. A weaker USD will bode well for precious metals specifically silver bullion moving forward....From a Gold/Silver Ratio perspective, silver at present looks attractive with the ratio currently standing at 86.93 all-time high as shown below. The ratio between the two metals shows how many ounces of silver it would take to buy one ounce of gold, currently standing at 86.93 all-time high. The all-time low ratio was 13.76 back in the Jan 1980. As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. Hence, the upside potential for the Gold/Silver Ratio seems limited and the bottom line is that the current ratio signals that silver remains significantly undervalued which deserves a second look from investors."

gold silver chart

We agree! Based on historical evidence, silver is poised for a big upward move. The extreme gold-to-silver ratios in 2003, 2009 and 2016 all signaled a major rally in gold and silver prices within a few months. Although past performance is no guarantee of future performance, most experts agree that adding some silver to your portfolio right now, in addition to gold, has a higher than average probability of growth in the coming year.

French "Yellow Jackets" Protest Macron and Gas Tax Hikes -Fox Business
Swiss America Chairman Craig R. Smith was a guest on Fox Business today discussing French President Emmanuel Macron's upcoming speech. The speech is expected to address measures to reduce taxes and boost purchasing power for France’s working classes who feel Macron's presidency has favored the rich. Mr. Smith believes French unrest is a preview of what other EU nations and the U.S. may face unless fiscal changes are made to curb higher taxes and rising government spending. Watch Fox interview

Would Democrats wreck America to win in 2020? -Ponte/WND
"Democratic analysts are frightened for their party’s future. Prior to the 2018 midterm election, voters had denied Democrats control of the House of Representatives, Senate and White House – which spells disaster for a party that buys its voters with taxpayer dollars and government favors. Democrats predicted a 'blue wave' in the 2018 midterms, but won only about 25 seats to barely claim control of the House of Representatives. More than 40 Republican members of Congress refused to seek reelection; without those GOP dropouts, Republicans almost certainly would have kept Democrats a minority in the House....So what must Democrats do to win in 2020? '[The] way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So, please, bring on the recession,' says leftist HBO comic Bill Maher. 'Sorry if that hurts people … [but] a recession is a survivable event; what Trump is doing to this country is not.' If a prosperous economy could make Trump successful and get him re-elected, do not doubt that anti-capitalist Democrats will do everything in their power to economically ruin an America they cannot rule. Democrats have already made it clear they hate our capitalism, individualism, independence and our government-limiting Constitution. As globalists who favor world government, most Democrats would gleefully erase our borders, bankrupt our government with a giant tidal wave of illegal immigrants who vote Democratic, and cheer as our country disappears from their new brave new politically correct world."

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12.7.18 - Gold Hits Five-month Peak as Dollar Slips

Gold last traded at $1,249 an ounce. Silver at $14.65 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Friday on bullish sentiment and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell sharply amid weaker-than-expected jobs report and rising China-U.S. trade tensions.

Gold hits 5-month peak as dollar slips after US jobs data -CNBC
"Gold prices hit a five-month peak on Friday and continued to trade close to that level as the dollar slid following weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data that raised the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve might go slow on interest rate hikes next year. Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,244.31 per ounce, having hit $1,245.60 per ounce earlier, its highest since July 13. With a rise of nearly 1.7 percent this week, gold looked set to clock its best gain since at least the week of Aug. 24....Gold, which is considered a safe investment during times of financial, economic and geopolitical uncertainty, has recovered about 7 percent from 19-month lows hit in mid-August. 'With increased volatility and geopolitical risk, macro asset allocation is becoming more gold-positive again while we believe much of the dollar's upward move is now behind us with rate hike expectations dropping,' analysts at BMO Capital Markets said in a note."

bullgold What the smart money is buying as the market tanks -CNN Money
"The Dow and S&P 500 are now both in the red for 2018, and investors have few places to hide as the stock market tanks. But savvy people are finding some pockets of safety. Gold, an investment that often shines during times of financial stress, is up nearly 4% so far in the fourth quarter while the S&P 500 and Dow have both plunged nearly 10% and the Nasdaq has plummeted almost 13%. The rise in gold prices has been good news for miners too. Newmont, which is in the S&P 500, is up nearly 10% since the end of September. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF has gained about 7%....Another clear sign investors are craving anything that can guarantee them a bit of a return: Investors keep rushing into bonds, despite the yield on the 10-Year Treasury falling to just 2.85%. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF has gained nearly 2.5% this year....Another area of the market has held up noticeably better as of late too: food and beverage stocks...So it looks like in these uncertain times for the markets and economy, eat, drink and be merry is one way for investors to profit."

Bear Markets March Across the Globe -Wall Street Journal
"In a sign of the breadth of the global selloff in stocks, Germany's main stock index fell into a bear market Thursday, the latest benchmark to have tumbled 20% or more from its recent peak. There is one thing some of global bear markets have in common: They have been caught up in global trade disputes....Other markets already in bear territory are home to companies exposed to recent trade fights between the U.S. and China. The Shanghai Composite Index, China's main stock benchmark, headed into a bear market in June, followed by Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index in September and South Korea’s Kospi in October. Domestic political uncertainty has hit European stocks hard. Italy's FTSE MIB Index fell into a bear market in October as the Italian government is trying to end a standoff with Brussels over the country's budget."

Are You Ready for the 'Inevitable' Clampdown on Tech and the Media? -Reason
"When Apple's CEO Tim Cook says 'the free market is not working,' bad things are coming. 'I am not a big fan of regulation,' Cook told Axios in an interview. 'I'm a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn't worked here. I think it's inevitable that there will be some level of regulation... I think the Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.' Holy hell! Regulation of the tech industry and the larger economy (both of which are already pretty heavily regulated, if we're being honest) is inevitable? The free market isn't working? Well, maybe not quite as well as it used to for Apple, which has been a little droopy over the past several years in terms of killer new devices and mega-hits....I worry less about the market power of the FAANG companies than I do about the rise of a new industrial state in which powerful companies and powerful politicians team up to decide how best to run the world in which you and I live. As bad and stupid as Facebook's, Twitter's, and YouTube's attempts at policing themselves have been, I don't see things getting better if Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) or Charles Grassley (R–Iowa) get involved, do you? Maybe instead of freaking out all the time about how stupid media consumers are, we can start focusing on how to become more critical readers and listeners."

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12.6.18 - U.S. Stocks Slide Into Bear Market

Gold last traded at $1,240 an ounce. Silver at $14.44 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks skidded further into bear market territory as investors bailed out of stocks amid growing negative sentiment.

Why buy gold now? Because I don't know -Black/Sovereign Man
"From 2000 through 2012, the price of gold increased every year, rising from around $280 an ounce to nearly $1,700. It was an unprecedented run. Then, in 2013, gold took a nose dive, losing over 27% of its value. It was widely reported that the Swiss National Bank, the former bastion of monetary conservatism, lost $10 billion that year just on its gold holdings. As you probably know, central banks hold a portion of their reserves in gold. So that begs the question, did the Swiss National Bank actually lose $10 billion? It still had every ounce of gold in its vaults. And gold, after all, is money. Plus, the SNB wasn't holding gold to speculate...Right now, banks are buying up gold hand over fist. Central banks currently hold 20% of all the gold ever mined—33,000 metric tons. Why? Gold is for the I don’t knows. And right now, there are a LOT of I don’t knows....The day of reckoning is close....What do you do for the I don’t knows? You get some cheap gold while you still can."

bullbear Dow falls around 600 points as arrest of Huawei exec reignites trade worries -Marketwatch
"U.S. stocks were down sharply Thursday, after the arrest of a Huawei executive reignited trade worries, and as continued weakness in oil markets underscored concerns over global growth ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA fell 628 points, while the S&P 500 Index was down 57 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 105 points. Investors have been rattled by news that the Canadian authorities had arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, at the request of U.S. authorities for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran. The arrest, which was made on Dec. 1, comes as the U.S. has taken several steps to restrict the Chinese technology giant, trying to persuade international allies to do the same....China authorities reacted furiously, with the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Canada demanding the release of the Huawei executive....The latest development comes amid an already shaky backdrop for trade relations between the U.S. and China. Doubts surrounding the weekend trade moratorium at the G-20 summit between the two sides and ominous developments in the bond market drove sharp losses for stocks Tuesday."

Gold Will Rally 22% in 2019 and Outperform Everything -The Street
"2019 will see the start of a new bull cycle for gold and push the metal up to $1,500 an ounce, said E.B. Tucker, director of Metalla Royalty & Streaming. 'To make big money in this market, you have to see the cycles. Nothing changes. We've had three big cycles in gold since 2000 and we're about to have another one,' Tucker told Kitco News. 'We're calling for $1,500 next year, that's a 22% increase in the price of gold, it'll be one of the best performing markets in a very, very volatile year for equities,' he said. On sentiment, Tucker said that low investor interest in gold could be good, as it signals that gold is not at overvalued levels like bitcoin and cannabis stocks were. 'You've seen things blow up. The cannabis bubble has popped and the stocks are declining. The bitcoin bubble has definitely popped, we called that last year, it's down 70% this year,' he said."

Big-money investors see the bull market ending in 2019 -CNBC
"The longest bull market run in history is coming to an end in 2019, according to the pros who handle Wall Street's big-money clientele. A survey of institutional investors show that 65 percent see a change coming, with the biggest threats being geopolitical tensions and rising interest rates, according to Natixis, which surveyed 500 managers of pension funds, endowments, foundations and the like. In addition to seeing the bull market stopping, they also anticipate the next financial crisis coming in one to five years....Institutional investors have been preparing for the end of the bull market for several years, David Goodsell, executive director of the Natixis Center for Investor Insight, said in an interview. 'The market is catching up to what they've been thinking about. I think they've been positioned for this for quite a while,' he said....'With wildcards everywhere (trade, geopolitics, deficits, protectionism), we have decided to focus on the macro scenarios that seem most likely and most relevant for equity market performance: (1) more Fed tightening, and (2) an upward bias to volatility,' Savita Subramanian, BofAML's equity and quant strategist, said in a research note."

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12.5.18 - 2019: Less Growth and More Uncertainty

Gold last traded at $1,241 an ounce. Silver at $14.56 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Wednesday on a flat dollar. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq are closed today as the nation remembers George Herbert Walker Bush.

Ignore Stocks, Bonds Are SCREAMING "Danger!" -Zero Hedge
"The single most important market in the world is the bond market. Bonds are what permit Governments to remain solvent. When stock markets collapse, countries can experience recessions. When BOND markets collapse countries go BROKE. Which is why anyone who wants to protect his or her capital going forward should take note that the US bond market is inverting for the first time since 2007. This is a MAJOR warning that there is BIG trouble in the shadow banking system. Again, the last time this hit was in late 2006-early 2007, right before the world moved into the worst financial crisis in 80 years. Indeed, while everyone is celebrating the rally on Monday our Crash trigger remains in a critical 'sell.' The last time this triggered was right before the October meltdown. If you are not already preparing for this, NOW is the time to do so."

umbrella This Holiday Season, Make It Silver and Gold -Holmes/Forbes
"Monday evening marked the beginning of Hanukkah. The Jewish festival of lights commemorates the reclamation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian-Greeks in the second century. Among many of the holiday’s well-known traditions, at least here in the U.S., is to give children chocolate coins. This arose from the centuries-old practice of parents giving real coins, or Hanukkah gelt, to their kids, who in turn were expected to give them to their teachers. I believe this is a beautiful custom. Whether you observe Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid al-Fitr, Diwali or any number of other religious holidays around the world, gifting your children and grandchildren coins of precious metals such as gold or silver could be made into a tradition in your own family. Take a look at silver. The white metal is on sale right now, trading at a little more than $14 an ounce. That’s the most affordable it’s been in three years....Bloomberg Intelligence Commodity Strategist Mike McGlone believes that the 'trade-weighted broad dollar is near a peak and silver a bottom… and the potential for mean reversion should outweigh continuing-the-trend risks. Silver, among the most negatively correlated to the dollar and positively to industrial metals, appears ready for a potential longer-term recovery.'....Gold is admittedly more expensive, trading just under $1,240 as of today. But there again, if you’re already planning to go all out on gift shopping this holiday season, you might as well make it something that’s truly memorable, holds it value and lasts forever."

The Economic Forecast for 2019: Less Growth and More Uncertainty -Wall Street Journal
"Most private economists expect U.S. growth to slow in 2019, in part because the initial impetus of fiscal stimulus is set to wane, meaning slower profit growth and more calls for a pause in Fed interest-rate increases. A growth slowdown is unlikely to please a president who made much of the growth pickup in 2018. President Trump has blamed his choice to run the Fed - Jerome Powell - for working against his policies to charge up the economy....The Fed’s decisions in 2019 will hinge on what happens next for inflation, rather than the pressure coming from the White House. If the Fed believes inflation has stabilized at 2%, it will pause the rate increases. Two big uncertainties hang over the domestic economic outlook. The first is fiscal policy. Don’t expect Mr. Trump’s tax cuts to be extended or widened in a divided Congress, but the outlook for spending policy is a big unknown....The second economic uncertainty involves business investment. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory reductions were meant to encourage businesses to invest more in the U.S."

Charts suggest housing 'bubble trouble' with a tech meltdown 'yet to come' -Marketwatch
"Finding an affordable place to live in the tech-rich Bay Area isn’t easy these days, but it sure seems to be getting easier - a lot easier. That is assuming Wolf Richter of the Wolf Street blog has it right. 'It’s high time to unload houses and condos in Silicon Valley and San Francisco,' Richter wrote. 'Sellers are now flooding the market with properties.' In fact, according to data provided by the National Association of Realtors, he points out inventory has more than doubled from a year ago....The number of active listings has risen in each of the past three months, and now we’re at levels not seen since 2014...signaling 'bubble trouble' in the housing market, says Richter....The number of properties for sale with price cuts has exploded by over 400% year over year....The median asking price peaked in May was at $1,369,200 and has since fallen by nearly 10%, to $1,237,100....'Though share prices of local companies such as Google-parent Alphabet Inc., Apple, Facebook FB, and many others have taken a big hit since the summer, we’re still far from a classic tech meltdown,' Richter said. 'That is yet to come.' And then what happens to the housing market?"

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12.4.18 - Life, Liberty & Levin: Capitalism vs. Socialism

Gold last traded at $1,246 an ounce. Silver at $14.64 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Tuesday on safe-haven buying and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell as investors worried about a possible 2019 economic slowdown amid lingering worries about U.S.-China trade tariffs.

Gold Extends Climb With Dollar Sliding -Wall Street Journal
"Gold prices rose 0.6% to $1,246.70 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange....The dollar and longer-term Treasury yields have fallen lately as investors weigh the possibility of a less aggressive path of interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve and trade optimism from the U.S. and China. On Tuesday, the WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 other currencies, slipped 0.3%....Elsewhere in precious metals, most-active silver futures rose 1.3% to $14.695 a troy ounce. Platinum fell 0.6% to $805.60 and palladium added 1% to $1,177.50."

bull trap Is The Bull Back, Or Is It A "Bull Trap"? -Zero Hedge
"With smiles and much back-patting to go around, the G-20 meeting ended with a 'roar of applause but the accomplishment of nothing.' Nonetheless, as I also pointed out, the market did reach extremely oversold levels during the October/November correction which provided the necessary 'fuel' for a short-term rally. All the market needed was a 'reason' and Trump’s weakened stance with China over trade provided just that....The good news is that on Monday the market cleared the 50- and 200-day moving averages...However, in order to be validated, it must hold through the end of the trading week....If this rally fails sit will result in a continuation of the correction back to recent lows...Despite the recent oversold surge from lows, the primary backdrop of the markets has not changed markedly. The 'trade truce' was nothing more than that. China is not going to back off its position on 'Technology Transfers' as that is the key to their long-term economic future....The Federal Reserve is still reducing their balance sheet by $50 billion per month which has removed a primary buyer of U.S. Treasuries....Valuation remains extremely elevated despite the recent correction. The deterioration in credit is accelerating. Economic growth has likely peaked....There is little doubt the 'bullish bias' persists currently, and the volatility this past year has made managing money more difficult than usual. But that is the nature of markets and how topping processes work."

The Global Carbon Tax Revolt -Wall Street Journal
"France’s violent Yellow Vest protests are now about many domestic concerns, but it’s no accident that the trigger was a fuel-tax hike. Nothing reveals the disconnect between ordinary voters and an aloof political class more than carbon taxation. The fault line runs between anti-carbon policies and economic growth, and France is a test for the political future of emissions restrictions. France already is a relatively low-carbon economy, with per-capita emissions half Germany’s as of 2014. French governments have nonetheless pursued an 'ecological transition' to further squeeze carbon emissions from every corner of the French economy. The results are visible in the Paris streets....Undeterred, Mr. Macron pushed ahead with a series of punitive tax hikes to discourage driving. The protesters in Paris will be expected to pay much of the up to €8 billion annual tab for a minuscule global benefit - that’s how much tax revenue Mr. Macron thinks his levies will raise. This is preposterous in an economy that still has an 8.9% jobless rate (21.5% for the young) and will struggle to hit 2% annual GDP growth. Yellow Vests from less prosperous rural areas, who depend on cars for daily life, know it....The carbon tax revolt is world-wide. Voters in Washington state last month rejected a carbon tax that would have started at $15 per ton of emissions and climbed $2 a year indefinitely....After decades of global conferences, forests of reports, dire television documentaries, celebrity appeals, school-curriculum overhauls and media bludgeoning, voters don’t believe that climate change justifies policies that would raise their cost of living and hurt the economy."

Capitalism vs. socialism: economist George Gilder weighs in -Life, Liberty & Levin/Fox News
"MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello America, I'm Mark Levin. This is 'Life, Liberty & Levin.' We have a great guest, George Gilder, how are you? GEORGE GILDER, CO-FOUNDER, DISCOVERY INSTITUTE: Great to see you, Mark.
LEVIN: You pioneered the formulation of supply side economics when you served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute's Economic Roundtable. Program Director for the Manhattan Institute, you're the author of 'Men in Marriage,' 'Visible Man,' 'Wealth and Poverty,' which was a big book that had a big influence on me. 'The Spirit of Enterprise,' 'Microcosm,' 'Telecosm' and 'The Silicon Eye.' And now your newest book, 'Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy.' All right, there's a lot to unravel here, but let's get started this way. Capitalism versus socialism. Explain.
GILDER: Well, capitalism derives from the Latin word for head, caput, and capitalism is the mind-based system and the key characteristic of the human mind is that we're creative, and as Albert Hirschman, the Princeton economist once put it, creativity always comes as a surprise to us, and if it didn't, planning would prevail and socialism would work. Creativity is the foundation of capitalism. And this is -- and socialism is based on planning. It's based on the assumption that we'd already know all we need to know in order to plan our future, and so it leads to tyranny, and that's really the difference. Liberty versus tyranny as someone once put it.
LEVIN: Isn't this the general problem with progressivism, across the board. That is they think they know all they need to know, and now it's just a matter of redistributing ideas, redistributing wealth, redistributing -- it isn't part of the problem, that's easy for people to understand whereas the future is difficult for people to understand.
GILDER: Learning is the heart of capitalism. Learning is finding out things you don't already know. And that depends on openness to creativity, to surprise, and surprise is really crucial to capitalism. You can't predict the products of a really creative process.
....LEVIN: Isn't that not grand irony, then, that the progressive mind-set claims that their decisions are based on science and knowledge, when in fact, it's not based on science or knowledge, it's based on an ideology?
GILDER: It's definitely based on doctrine and dogma. It's really -- in my new book, 'Life After Google,' I do a criticism of what I call Google Marxism.
LEVIN: What is Google Marxism.
GILDER: Well, Marx, his great error, his real mistake, was to imagine that the industrial revolution of the 19th Century, all those railways and dark satanic mills and factories and turbines and the beginning of electricity represented the final human achievement in productivity. So in the future, what would matter is not the creation of wealth, but the redistribution of wealth. Well, Google comes back today and says that it's search engines, it's machine learning, it's artificial intelligence, it's robotics, it's biotech is the ultimate human attainment, and in the future, most of us will be able to retire to beaches while Sergei Brynn and Larry Page of Google fly off to remote planets with Elon Musk in a winner-take all universe. Full program transcript

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12.3.18 - American Exceptionalism May Be Ending

Gold last traded at $1,234 an ounce. Silver at $14.37 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices shot up Monday on bullish sentiment and dollar weakness. U.S. stocks rose after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day ceasefire in the trade war.

Economists doubt trade cease-fire will lead to actual deal -CNBC
"Wall Street traders may be exuberant on Monday over the decision to postpone the trade war between the U.S. and China, but economists across the marketplace aren't convinced the delay lead to a permanent solution. It will still be 'challenging' to find a compromise that all parties like, Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips wrote in a note to clients Sunday. 'We would expect an initial positive market reaction, the 'pause' prolongs the period of uncertainty around the eventual structure of trade relations between the two countries,' Phillips wrote. 'The specter of higher and broader U.S. tariffs remains, and the underlying issues clouding the trade relationship are deferred to further negotiations...we think the chance of a comprehensive deal that involves rollback of tariffs is slightly higher than before, but still not our base case - perhaps a 20 percent probability over the next three months,' the economist wrote."

gold teeth As Fed Rethinks Path for Rates, Gold’s Poised to Jump in 2019 -Bloomberg
"Gold may be poised to rally as speculation mounts that the Federal Reserve will hit the pause button on interest rate hikes in 2019. After lift-off in late 2015 followed by a rise a year later, the central bank has since steadily raised benchmark rates and is widely expected to do so again this month. But the path after that is clouded after Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday rates are 'just below' estimates of the so-called neutral level, which markets took to mean a softer stance than previous comments. It was 'getting pretty obvious that at some point Powell would have to flinch,' said Trey Reik, senior money manager at the U.S. unit of Sprott Inc., which oversees $7.6 billion. 'Once you get to the consensus view that the Fed may be done, the dollar may come under severe pressure. Gold will erupt.' Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommends an outright long gold position into next year. 'If U.S. growth slows down next year, as expected, gold would benefit from higher demand,' analysts including Jeffrey Currie said in a Nov. 26 note. 'If people get a sense that unemployment’s going up, heaven forbid, we’re going to see great volatility in 2019, that’s going to be a cue to sell the dollar, and that’s going to be a cue to buy gold in much bigger size.'"

FAANG Bubble Warning, And The Subsequent Trillion Dollar Wipeout -Vident Financial
"We all knew that bears had big fangs, but few people anticipated how much the FAANGs would end up having such a big bear market. The collapse of those companies has been sudden and dramatic. Sudden, dramatic… and surprising, though it should not have been. For five years US growth stocks outperformed value stocks. This means that for half a decade the bull market depended on expensive stocks getting more expensive. During this time period, FAANG stocks were the driver of growth stocks, which means that the bull market depended on the most expensive of the expensive, continuing to get more expensive....The point of having principles is to help you remember something when everyone else seems to have forgotten it. The other point of principles is to get you to do something when all emotional pressure is against it....Looking at the FAANGs alone, the loss from recent peak to current (as of this writing), those five companies alone have wiped out almost one trillion dollars in value. That's bad news for investors who chose to invest in those stocks. But it's also bad news for almost everyone who simply decided to invest in a 'diversified' index, since the big money indices were heavily concentrated in these stocks. That's the problem when you don't consciously invest according to set principles, you generally end up drifting with the currents, which is really easy to do, right up until you reach the waterfall."

American Exceptionalism May Be Ending - at Least in Stocks -Wall Street Journal
"Recent choppy trading in U.S. stocks has revived a years long debate: Are the best days of the U.S. bull market over?....Worries about rising interest rates, trade tensions with China, slumping oil prices and peaking corporate earnings have slammed U.S. stocks over the past two months....'The highest priority for the Chinese authorities at the moment is to stabilize their economy,' said Aninda Mitra, Singapore-based senior sovereign analyst at BNY Mellon Investment Management...'My concern is that at the end of 90 days, the U.S. will go back to feeling aggrieved,' Mr. Mitra said....'We do not own U.S. domestic stocks, as the market is significantly overvalued' compared with other countries, said Jacob Mitchell, portfolio manager of the Australia-based Antipodes Global Fund...Mr. Mitchell said he was considering shorting, or betting against, stocks closely tied to the health of the U.S. economy, like retailers and transportation companies, without naming specific targets."

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11.30.18 - Marriott Says 500 Million Guests Hacked

Gold last traded at $1,226 an ounce. Silver at $14.24 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Friday on a firmer dollar as G20 meetings began. U.S. stocks traded mixed as investors looked ahead to a key meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Will G20 Meetings Affect Price Of Gold? -Kitco
"The G20 meetings have begun, and traders and investors are sweating what will happen next to the price of gold. Metals are churning in a range but are trying to break out to the upside. Gold is in a tight trading range and is going to break out big one way or the other; we expect it to be to the upside. Many markets are in the throes of the most miserable trading pattern we can imagine. The pattern is known as consolidation. Out of this pattern will be a dramatic breakout, which we saw in the beginning of October. All signs point to higher prices - the tight range of $1,225-$1,235 in February gold are a sign the market is starting to compress and getting ready to launch. Although gold can go either way, we suspect the odds are greater for a breakout to the upside."

China China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain U.S. Technology -New York Times
"Soon after President Trump took office, China’s cyberespionage picked up again and, according to intelligence officials and analysts, accelerated in the last year as trade conflicts and other tensions began to poison relations between the world’s two largest economies. The nature of China’s espionage has also changed. The hackers of the People’s Liberation Army were forced to stand down, some of them indicted by the United States. But now, the officials and analysts say, they have begun to be replaced by stealthier operatives in the country’s intelligence agencies. The new operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial and industrial prowess, and on technologies that the Chinese believe can give them a military advantage. That, in turn, has prompted a flurry of criminal cases, including the extraordinary arrest and extradition from Belgium of a Chinese intelligence official in October. Trump administration officials said the arrest reflected a more determined counterattack against a threat that has infuriated some of the country’s most powerful corporations....The stealing of industrial designs and intellectual property - from blueprints for power plants or high-efficiency solar panels, or the F-35 fighter - is a long-running problem. But as Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi prepare to meet at the Group of 20 gathering in Argentina this weekend, China’s corporate espionage has once again emerged as a core American grievance."

Marriott says its Starwood database was hacked for approximately 500 million guests -CNBC
"Marriott International said on Friday that hackers illegally accessed its Starwood Hotels brand's reservation database since 2014, potentially exposing personal information on about 500 million guests. Shares of the company fell nearly 6 percent to about $115 in trading before the bell. The company said for 327 million guests, personal information compromised could include passport details, phone numbers and email addresses. For some others, it could include credit card information. The company said it learned about the breach after an internal security tool sent an alert on Sept. 8. On further investigation, the hotel chain learned data had been hacked long before. Marriott said it would send emails to affected guests, starting Friday."

For the U.S. Economy, Storm Clouds on the Horizon -New York Times
"Emerging signs of weakness in major economic sectors, including auto manufacturing, agriculture and home building, are prompting some forecasters to warn that one of the longest periods of economic growth in U.S. history may be approaching the end of its run....'We’re in the 10th year of the expansion, and there are some soft points,' said Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, a former chief economist at Ford Motor Co. and the Commerce Department. 'The auto sales cycle has peaked, and the housing cycle also has peaked.' If interest rates continue to rise, she said, 'I don’t really see how the economy can keep powering ahead.'....The basic cause for concern is a widening gap between the evident strength of the economy this year and weakness in economic indicators that look ahead to coming years. Investors are showing signs of concern about the ability of the corporate sector to maintain sky-high levels of profitability. Major stock indexes are roughly flat for the year. Some businesses are starting to worry, too. Farmers are facing large losses because they cannot sell crops to China during a trade war between Washington and Beijing. Sales of new and existing homes have declined in recent months as interest rates rise. Auto sales, also vulnerable to higher rates, have been falling since 2016....'It wouldn’t take much to go wrong to put us into a recession,' Kelly said."

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11.29.18 - FAANG Bloodletting Just Starting

Gold last traded at $1,230 an ounce. Silver at $14.37 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on dovish Fed comments and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks fell as investors' hopes of a trade deal between China and the U.S. dimmed.

Why the bloodletting in FAANG stocks is just getting started -Marketwatch
"A burning question for investors is whether the bloodletting has stopped for shooting-star growth names - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet - which have been shoved into bear territory after helping to drive a nearly decade-long bull market....'We expect the real pain will come when a clear rotation occurs. This rotation should get under way when it becomes clear that earnings growth for FAANGs and other technology names in 2019 do not live up to expectations,' said the Canaccord analysts. And that second wave of selling should start in January when fourth-quarter results start rolling out, they say. Last word goes to hedge-fund manager Mark Yusko, who likens this year’s stock pullback to a 'melting ice cube.' 'I think next year, with the economic slowdown, it gets worse - probably double-digit drawdown. The big year is 2020, when the credit bubble starts to blow up,' as companies that have been binging on cheap debt will have to pay the piper,the founder and CEO of Morgan Creek Capital told CNBC."

elephant This 'elephant in the room' could send stocks into a tailspin -Rosenburg/CNBC
"David Rosenberg says he's worried about a serious risk that investors are largely overlooking. The Gluskin Sheff chief economist and strategist warns that the Federal Reserve's balance sheet reduction - not rising interest rates - could have drastic implications for stocks. 'This is the elephant in the room,' he said Wednesday on CNBC's 'Trading Nation.' 'The Fed doesn't really have to do anything on rates. Just the balance sheet alone is going to create quite a significant liquidity squeeze next year.'....'It's uncertain as to whether that causes an outright recession,' he said. 'But it's certainly going to trigger, I think, a significant slowdown that we're already starting to see in a lot of the credit-sensitive data.'....'We're going to be seeing with no fiscal stimulus next year, the peak impact of Fed tightening, the lagged impact, hit the economy and the markets more forcefully in 2019,' Rosenberg said."

Gold gains on Fed comments, palladium hits record -Reuters
"Gold rose on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments boosted perception the central bank would go slow on interest rate hikes next year, while palladium was trading at record levels due to a shortage in supply. 'The hint from the Fed that they are closer to ending the current rate hike cycle caught the markets somewhat by surprise. We saw a good lift up in gold price close to the highs we’ve seen over the past few weeks,' Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. 'Treasury yields and dollar dropped back, and that was quite supportive of gold,' he said....Palladium hit a record high of $1,186.50. 'This is a very fundamental story of demand outstripping the supply. It’s been six or seven years of sustained market deficit, which has kept the market exceedingly tight,' Mitsubishi’s Butler said."

US Fed chairman hints at higher rates following Trump attack -Yahoo News
"A day after President Donald Trump's latest attack on the US central bank, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell hinted that the key lending rate would move higher but said there was no preset course. Powell said in a speech in New York that interest rates remained 'low by historical standards' and still provided stimulus to the economy. But he said the Fed's gradual increases balanced the risks between raising too much and not enough....Trump on Tuesday again blasted his hand-picked chief of the US central bank, saying he was 'not even a little bit happy' with his selection of Powell. The Federal Reserve chairman has presided over three interest rate increases this year and is widely expected to hike again in December....Powell and other officials have dismissed the sustained political attacks from Trump, saying they have no influence on deliberations of the independent central bank. But many economists warn that by attacking the Fed for raising rates, Trump is actually putting pressure on the central bank to raise rates to demonstrate its independence from political considerations."

Putin: "We Aren't Aiming To Ditch The Dollar, The Dollar Is Ditching Us" -Zero Hedge
"With a number of volatile trends in multiple conflict theaters and geopolitical hot spots now coming to a head this week (Ukraine-Russia, China-US, Iran-US, Turkey-Syria-Russia, Saudi Arabia-Europe), and with Presidents Putin and Trump set to meet at the G20 summit in Argentina in just days, Putin has again signaled Russia will move away from the U.S. dollar....He said, according to Bloomberg, 'We aren't aiming to ditch the dollar. The dollar is ditching us.' Making the case that aggressive US punitive measures against its rivals is undermining confidence in the dollar....To underscore that Russia is not alone in moving toward de-dollarization, Putin added, 'We're not the only ones doing it, believe me.'....Explaining that Washington sanctions will only result in blowblack, citing '400,000 lost jobs' in Europe, Putin said 'key trade partners' were helping Russia on setting up alternate payment systems which would circumvent the SWIFT network."

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11.28.18 - Fed Warns of 'Large' Market Price Plunge

Gold last traded at $1,223 an ounce. Silver at $14.45 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Wednesday on a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks rose as investors awaited a key speech from Fed chairman Jerome Powell amid hopes of a U.S.-China trade truce.

Fed warns that a 'particularly large' plunge in market prices is possible if risks materialize -CNBC
"The Federal Reserve issued a cautionary note Wednesday about risks to financial stability, saying trade tensions, geopolitical uncertainty and a buildup in corporate debt among firms with weak balance sheets pose strong threats. In what is often a boiler plate report on conditions in the banking system and corporate and business debt, the Fed instead warned of 'generally elevated' asset prices that 'appear high relative to their historical ranges.' In addition, the central bank said ongoing trade tensions, which are running high between the U.S. and China, coupled with an uncertain geopolitical environment could combine with the high asset prices to provide a notable shock....'The resulting drop in asset prices might be particularly large, given that valuations appear elevated relative to historical levels,' the report said."

cycle peak The Best Stock Investors: Dead People -Bonner/Bonner And Partners
"The stock market got a healthy bounce yesterday. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. But you don’t have to guess. Because you don’t make money in the stock market from short-term moves...It’s the big, long-term moves that make a difference...Our 'Timing for Dummies' model calls for buying stocks when you can get the Dow for less than five ounces of gold (it’s currently about 20)… and selling stocks when the price goes over 15 ounces of gold. Otherwise, you just wait. In gold. Over the last hundred years, you would have multiplied your real wealth – measured in gold – more than 58 times (three round trips from five to 15)....Over the last 20 years, readers, colleagues, analysts, and family members have criticized us for 'missing out' on the biggest stock boom in history. But guess what. During that period, gold has done better than the S&P 500, even when you account for dividend reinvestment - without the risk....People think they need to invest. They see ads with couples smiling approvingly at their statements...But a study carried out a few years ago showed that the best investors were, in fact, those who were least on top of the situation. What was their secret?...the secret was that the best investors were dead. Their accounts just sat there, still open but inactive, accumulating and reinvesting gains....Even before the yield on the 10-year T-bond reaches 4%, we predict investors will wish they had sold stocks and bonds… and bought gold."

Stock market correction could bring gold trade back from the dead -CNBC
"Gold, the classic bear-market investment, has been ignored by investors this year...But as more investors fear that the end of the bull market in stocks is near and volatility in stocks continues, gold may get some attention. The largest gold ETF, the SPDR Gold (GLD), has taken in $600 million in assets over the past month, according to XTF.com data through Nov. 21. It is a notable one-month movement into gold by investors....'A lot of the factors that led to gold seeing little interest from investors are going to be reversing,' said Bart Melek, director and head of commodity strategy at TD Securities. He expects a steady upward trend for the spot price of gold as central banks pump the break on quantitative easing and tighten monetary policy....Milling-Stanley also sees the dollar headwind easing. 'The dollar is looking a bit wobbly and so are equities, so the things that have been against gold for the past few months are turning,' he said. 'I think the broad trend in equities will be flat to downward with occasional rallies, and I think gold will benefit from that as it has so often in the past,' he said. Milling-Stanley said the price of gold could also now see support from a non-market factor: consumer buying, especially in emerging markets, which account for 50 percent of annual consumption."

The U.S. Housing Boom Is Coming to an End, Starting in Dallas -Wall Street Journal
"Dallas’s once vibrant housing market is sputtering. In the high-end subdivisions in the suburb of Frisco, builders are cutting prices on new homes by up to $150,000. On one street alone, $4 million of new homes sat empty on a visit earlier this month. Some home builders are so desperate to attract interest they are offering agents the chance to win Louis Vuitton handbags or Super Bowl tickets with round-trip airfare, if their clients buy a home. Yet fresh-baked cookies sit uneaten at sparsely attended open houses....Along with a recent swoon in the stock market, the housing market - which makes up a sixth of the U.S. economy - has been a troubling weak spot. U.S. existing home sales have declined on an annual basis for eight straight months, the longest slump in more than four years, according to the National Association of Realtors report Wednesday....'We have this huge affordability crisis,' said Ted Wilson, principal at Residential Strategies, a Dallas consulting firm. 'With mortgage rates going higher, we’re hitting a ceiling.'....Dallas has been the 'canary in the mine shaft' this housing cycle, said Paige Shipp, regional director for Metrostudy, a consultant to home builders."

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11.27.18 - Bitcoin 'Pyramid Scheme' is Collapsing

Gold last traded at $1,216 an ounce. Silver at $14.15 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded mixed Tuesday as trade tensions boosted the buck. U.S. stocks fell amid doubt about a deal being struck on U.S.-China trade at the G-20 Summit this week.

Goldman Predicts Commodities Will Soar in 2019 -Bloomberg
"Commodity bull Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is undaunted by the sell-off in raw materials and is forecasting returns of about 17 percent in the coming months, describing the current situation as unsustainable and touting this week’s G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires as a potential turning point. 'Given the size of dislocations in commodity pricing relative to fundamentals - with oil now having joined metals in pricing below cost support - we believe commodities offer an extremely attractive entry point for longs in oil, gold and base,' analysts including Jeffrey Currie said in a report....Here are some of Goldman’s top ideas for next year, as listed in the report: Oil: Goldman expects an OPEC supply cut and its announcement will lead to a recovery in prices. It advises going long on short-dated Brent....Gold: The market has priced in 10 out of 12 of the Federal Reserve’s hikes that the bank expects, and the strong dollar trend is seen reversing. 'If U.S. growth slows down next year, as expected, gold would benefit from higher demand for defensive assets,' Goldman said, adding that there may be additional support from central bank buying."

housing bubble The Housing Bubble Is Popping Right Now -Jones/Zero Hedge
"Has the Housing Bust 2.0 begun? If so, how bad could things get? And what steps should those looking to pick up values at much lower prices in the future be taking? This week we talk with citizen journalist Ben Jones, property manager and publisher of TheHousingBubbleBlog - where he tracks the latest headlines and developments in the housing market. 'We're going to see a collapse. The housing bubble is in the process of popping right now...What’s happening right now is a lot more suggestive of a bubble bursting much more than it does just a correction or a down cycle. I can’t think of a market in the United States I would buy in right now....If you're looking to purchase housing at better values once this current bubble bursts, you don’t want to buy from Joe Six-Pack. You want to buy from a bank or a lender, that will frequently be Fannie May and Freddie Mac....That’s where we’re headed again. I would be very patient right now about catching a falling knife in the current market. Wait for the coming distressed discounts.'"

"Home value gains have now shrunk to the lowest level since January 2017, as rising mortgage rates cut into affordability," reports CNBC today. Looking forward we can see bubbles forming in housing, tech stocks, bonds and U.S. debt. Some day soon one or more of these market bubbles will hit a sharp pin and investors will panic - trillions could be lost very quickly. Now is the time to hedge your portfolio with physical gold and silver, which are still reasonably priced considering the growing levels of risk. Call Swiss America at 800-289-2646 to discuss re-balancing your portfolio now; before the next market surprise negatively impacts your financial future.

Foreign buyers find U.S. Treasuries less appealing -Reuters
"Some overseas investors appear to be taking a pass on U.S. debt securities just as the administration of President Donald Trump embarks on a record sale of Treasury bills, notes and bonds to pay for its big tax cuts and spending increases. Top foreign holders of Treasuries like China and Japan have shrunk their portfolios of U.S. government bonds this year, and a recent barometer of participation in Treasury auctions suggests overseas buyers have not been showing up in force, according to Treasury Department data....'We do worry about where demand for Treasuries is going to come from, given the ongoing significant increase in supply,' said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. That concern will be on sovereign debt investors’ minds this week with the Treasury scheduled to auction $129 billion in notes with maturities ranging from two to seven years beginning on Monday....A sustained slackening in foreign demand for Treasuries could hurt the U.S. economy. Lower demand means the government must increase the interest it pays out to attract buyers. Those higher federal borrowing costs not only add to the U.S. budget deficit, they also tend to push lending rates higher for consumers and corporations, which could knock the second-longest U.S. economic expansion off track."

The Bitcoin ‘pyramid scheme’ continues to collapse -Crudele/New York Post
"Bitcoin, while not officially a product of traditional Wall Street, is a pyramid scheme. A fraud. But it is best described as a 'confidence game.' I’ve been calling it a 'bitcon' for a long time. And now the pyramid seems to be collapsing because fewer and fewer people have confidence that the price of this inherently worthless 'cryptocurrency' is going to continue to rise....I predicted a number of times that bitcoin would eventually be worth $0...Over this past weekend, the price had fallen to just $3,600, which is still $3,600 too much. Since its peak, bitcoin has lost about $700 billion in value. Think of it this way: The early participants in this pyramid have made a lot of money, but other people have lost $700 billion of their money in less than a year....I discussed this subject with a colleague last week, and she and I agreed that bitcoins are hard to write about. Why? Because bitcoins are the epitome of 'thin air' investments. They represent nothing - not a piece of a company, or an ounce of precious metal or the faith in a country."

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11.26.18 - G20 Summit: Will Trump Win China Trade War?

Gold last traded at $1,223 an ounce. Silver at $14.26 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Monday despite a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks rebounded as shares of beaten-down tech shares bounced after posting steep losses last week.

Turbulent Stock Market Is Flashing a Warning About the Economy -New York Times
"Last week the S&P 500-stock index turned negative for the year, stoking fears that one of the longest bull markets in history could be at risk. Stocks often act as an early warning system, picking up subtle changes before they appear in the economic data. In recent weeks, retail stocks have been hit over concerns of rising costs....Commodities and the companies that depend on them have been pummeled by the prospect of weaker demand should the global economy slow. Five tech giants - Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Netflix - have shed more than $800 billion in market value since the end of August, the fallout from slowing growth and regulatory scrutiny....'I think there are very clear signs that investors are beginning to worry about weaker growth in the coming year or so, and how that's going to feed through to corporate earnings,' said Michael Pearce, senior United States economist with Capital Economics. Disappointing data and earnings updates could ignite periodic panics over the threat of recession. Markets are likely to be much choppier that than they’ve been in recent years. Gains could be lower."

CRS interview G20 Summit: Will Trump Win the China Trade War? -Fox Business
Swiss America Chairman Craig R. Smith discussing the possible impact of the upcoming G-20 Summit. While experts believe most imported products will be more expensive next year due to higher tariffs as corporations pass higher prices on to U.S. consumers; Mr. Smith believes President Trump is going into the G-20 Summit in a position of strength.

Blockbuster Cyber Monday Is Overshadowed by Economic Outlook -Bloomberg
"Shoppers will spend an estimated $7.8 billion on Cyber Monday - a record - boosting a strong holiday shopping season. And Wall Street seems to be mostly shrugging it off. Even a blockbuster holiday won’t divert the market’s attention from rising interest rates next year and the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China that’s expected to slow global economic growth. U.S. President Donald Trump in September imposed 10 percent tariffs on approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and plans to raise the levy to 25 percent in January, which will drive prices higher. Fears about a consumer spending slowdown in 2019 outweigh any positive signs of a strong holiday, said Tom Forte, analyst at DA Davidson & Co. 'Many of the tariffs will likely be borne by consumers in the second half of 2019 in the form of higher prices on products,' he said. 'Higher interest rates may dampen spending on big-ticket items.'....The weekend sales bump doesn’t appear to be enough to help retailers recover from the selloff in their shares last week."

Economists see the Trump economy slowing drastically next year before a possible recession in 2020 -CNBC
"Major firms this week have been releasing forecasts for next year, and both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan see growth slowing to below 2 percent in the second half of 2019. But at the same time, the two firms expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates four times, while other economists believe the Fed may have to move at a slower pace. Economists point to a number of factors for the slower growth, but topping the list of scare factors for markets are those Fed interest rate hikes as well as the impact of tariffs and trade wars, should they continue. Economists do not foresee a recession next year, but by 2020, one seems more likely, some economists said. 'It depends on the Fed. If they continue along the current [interest rate hiking] trajectory they are following ... I think [there's a recession in] the first half of 2020,' said Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist Americas at Natixis....The fear is also feeding on itself with concerns that worsening financial conditions could add to slower growth but possibly hold back the Fed's rate hikes....Economists expect companies to try to pass on the impact of rising tariffs through higher prices."

Bitcoin Falls Below $4,000 as Cryptocurrency Collapse Worsens -Wall Street Journal
"Bitcoin just had the week from hell. The cryptocurrency plunged below $4,000 over the weekend. That means bitcoin has lost nearly a third of its value in seven days, one of its worst weekly selloffs on record. The digital currency has now fallen by about 80% since peaking near $20,000 late last year. Tony Gu, founding partner at NEO Global Capital, said the rout was down to just one thing. 'Panic.' Many speculators have fled the market, as shown by falling trading volumes...Now, another worry has emerged: Cryptocurrency miners, the outfits that solve complex equations to generate new digital coins, seem to be losing interest. The amount of computing effort expended by miners, known as the hash rate, has started falling. 'Bitcoin’s value is always driven by the intensity of demand and supply,' says Edith Yeung, a partner at 500 Startups, an early-stage venture fund. 'If the miners stop mining, bitcoin will not function…and the overall market will lose confidence. If there is no confidence, people will freak out and sell even more.'"

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11.21.18 - The Fed 'Will Blink' on Rates

Gold last traded at $1,228 an ounce. Silver at $14.51 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Wednesday on safe-haven buying and dollar weakness. U.S. stocks attempted to rebound after a brutal sell-off which pushed the tech sector into a bear market.

Why Warren Buffett Would Be Buying Precious Metals Again Today (If He Could) -HedgeEye
"Warren Buffett is famous for many things one of which is his general dislike for precious metals as an investment. But maybe you’re old enough to remember when, just over 20 years ago, he backed up the truck and bought a ton of silver - over 3,000 tons, to be more precise. From the 1997 Berkshire Hathaway letter to shareholders: 'Our second non-traditional commitment is in silver. Last year, we purchased 111.2 million ounces. Marked to market, that position produced a pre-tax gain of $97.4 million for us in 1997. In a way, this is a return to the past for me: Thirty years ago, I bought silver because I anticipated its demonetization by the U.S. Government. Ever since, I have followed the metal’s fundamentals but not owned it. In recent years, bullion inventories have fallen materially, and last summer Charlie and I concluded that a higher price would be needed to establish equilibrium between supply and demand.'....Currently, we have a very similar situation in gold....Thus it appears that a higher price is, 'needed to establish equilibrium between supply and demand.' All in all, it looks like buying gold today fits neatly into the Warren Buffett way of investing in precious metals. He may not be buying precious metals today - but that doesn’t mean investors who understand the simple dynamics of supply and demand shouldn’t be doing so using the very same thesis he has used successfully in the past."

FAANG FAANG: The New “Nifty Fifty” -Bonner/Bonner And Partners
"At Dow 25,000, stocks are too expensive. The Dow-to-gold ratio is now 21. In other words, it takes 21 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. That ratio has only been higher twice in the last 100 years. And each time was followed by an 85%-90% selloff. The FAANG stocks are especially expensive....You buy stocks to make money, not to get rid of it. The whole idea is to buy low and sell high. If you buy high, you’re starting off on the wrong foot....Since things that are out of whack tend to go back into whack, eventually… and since it is extremely unlikely that earnings could rise enough to justify such a high valuation… the price will have to fall to a more reasonable multiple of earnings. In other words, investors will lose money. Even if the FAANGs' technology survives, they probably won’t make much money for investors....That is what happened with the Nifty Fifty stocks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were good companies - including Coca-Cola, Sears, and General Electric....The Nifty Fifty stocks might have been good companies, but at 1972 prices, few of them turned out to be good investments. If you had bought them at their peak in 1972, by 1975 you’d have lost two-thirds of your money. By today, you would have lost much of the rest of it. Will the same happen to the FAANG stocks? Will Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google soon be 'yesterday’s technologies?' We don’t know. But at 2018 prices, there is probably far more downside than upside."

Jim Grant predicts the Fed 'will definitely blink' on interest rates -CNBC
"The Federal Reserve won't end up raising interest rates as aggressively as projected, said Jim Grant, editor and founder of the venerable Grant's Interest Rate Observer newsletter. 'I think the Fed will definitely blink,' Grant told CNBC on Tuesday. 'I don't know when it will reverse course; I suspect sooner rather than later.' Grant said that investors will know the Fed is 'blinking' when they hear it. 'We are going to be data dependent; we are concerned about where growth [is]; we are stepping back from time to time ... and we are watchful waiting. That is what it is going to sound like.' The recent sell-off started after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said early last month that rates were a long way from neutral, sparking questions about whether Fed officials were going to increase the cost of borrowing money more than forecast. The Fed is expected to raise rates again in December, on top of the three moves already on the books in 2018. After its most recent hike, the Fed projected three rate increases for next year."

Americans Turned to Trump to Roll Back the Progressive Tide -Epstein/Wall Street Journal
"What genuinely excites Mr. Trump’s crowds and draws them to him is their shared antiliberalism. By liberalism I do not mean liberalism of the kind that was at the center of our fathers’ Democratic Party - which supported labor unions, civil liberties, racial integration, involvement in international affairs. I refer to the liberalism now metamorphisized into progressivism, at the heart of the thinking of such Democrats as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. This is the progressivism that edges into socialism, that is said to attract the young, that promises a newer, kinder America - the progressivism that exalts identity politics and has no argument with political correctness. As one looks upon the people who attend Mr. Trump's rallies, one sees the faces not of Hillary Clinton's 'deplorables'...these people, despite the progressives’ promises to them of free Medicare, free college tuition, and the rest, want nothing to do with Sens. Warren, Sanders, Booker & Co. Quite the reverse: They loathe them....The pull to the left of the Democratic Party is Donald Trump's greatest hope for re-election....And so things go, two ends without a middle. The shame is that most Americans find themselves in that missing middle...Politics has rarely seemed so dismal."

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11.20.18 - FAANG Stocks Enter Bear Market

Gold last traded at $1,223 an ounce. Silver at $14.28 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Tuesday despite a stronger dollar. U.S. stocks extended their slump into the red for the year as tech stocks entered bear market territory.

Gold Is Just Getting Started -Scotiabank/Kitco
"Analysts at Scotiabank said that they see further potential for the yellow metal as the bank sees a wave of risk-off sentiment sweep through financial markets and inflation pressures rise, according to its November Metals Matters precious metals report. 'Economic data has generally been showing weakness, including some U.S. data, and economic bellwethers such as the base metals have remained under pressure as the U.S. trade disputes have dragged on,' the analysts said. 'Gold has turned more favorable as other markets have started to become more risk-averse. As such, there does seem to be room for more safe-haven demand for gold as money rotates out of equity and bond markets.'....The analysts noted that along with economic uncertainty, geopolitical instability surrounding global trade issues will continue to support inflationary pressures, which could help gold fight against ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar....The analysts said that new momentum in the gold market could also breathe some life into silver...'Should gold prices extend gains and investor interest return, then silver would likely outperform gold’s rebound in percentage terms as it has a history of being more volatile than gold,' the analysts said."

bears Stock-market gains for 2018 vanish -Marketwatch
"U.S. stocks fell sharply at the start of trade Tuesday, extending a pre-Thanksgiving rout that has been fueled mostly by a selling in shares of technology and internet-related companies. Sharp declines in Target and Lowe’s after disappointing earnings also contributed to the tone. U.S. financial markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday and will be see an early close on Friday. U.S. investors continue to be plagued by doubts surrounding slowing global growth, U.S.-China trade relations, and the steady rise in interest rates that can be expected to continue into next year. These doubts have accumulated to induce fears that we are growing nearer to the end of the current economic expansion, strategists say....'Economic data remain strong, but the trend in the trend is deteriorating,' Peter Lazaroff, co-chief investment officer at Plancorp, told MarketWatch. 'Economic conditions are good, but the chances of economic conditions deteriorating over the next year or more is much higher than a surprise on the upside,' Lazaroff said."

Investors' favorite trade is officially dead as each member of tech's 'FAANG' is in a bear market -CNBC
"Each of the five 'FAANG' stocks slipped into a bear market during Monday trading. The FAANG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet – have fallen steadily over the last 6 weeks as the companies delivered disappointing earnings and mixed forecasts. Collectively, the five stocks have lost nearly $1 trillion in value since hitting their respective 52-week highs. Tech stocks are coming off an October which saw the Nasdaq Composite plunge 9.2 percent, its steepest drop in a month since November 2008. Wall Street defines a bear market as a fall of 20 percent or more from a stock's 52-week high."

Goldman Tells Investors "It's Time To Lift Cash Allocations" -Zero Hedge
"It's been difficult year for Goldman's chief equity strategist David Kostin....You have such gloomy analysts as Peter Oppenheimer who two weeks ago said that 'things do not look encouraging' as various market signals suggest that 'equities could be about to enter a sustained bear market.'....First you admit that 'all good things eventually come to an end'...'Our baseline assumption is that both economic and profit growth will be positive in 2019 but decelerate from the robust levels of 2018.'....'Mixed asset investors should maintain equity exposure but lift cash allocations.' The reason - everyone is overweight stocks and underweight cash...'Cash will represent a competitive asset class to stocks for the first time in many years.'"

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11.19.18 - Homebuilder Confidence Plummets

Gold last traded at $1,224 an ounce. Silver at $14.40 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Monday on safe-haven buying and a weakening dollar. U.S. stocks fell as declines in Apple and semiconductor shares put pressure on the broader market indexes.

The Gold Standard Didn't Disappear In 1971, It Just Went Underground -Lewis/Forbes
"Officially, the gold standard is regarded as superstitious nonsense, especially by academics. The fact that it worked very well for centuries, produced results that nobody seems able to achieve today. But unofficially, gold was not only the basis of the global monetary system for centuries until 1971, it has been - in rough form - the basis of the global monetary system for most of the time since 1971 also. Humans apparently cannot live without it, even if they want to....Alan Greenspan stabilized the dollar against gold during the 1990s, the 'Greenspan gold standard.' The dollar then had over a sixfold decline under Ben Bernanke, falling from $300/oz. to a low around $1900/oz. in 2011....A further decline in the dollar's value would not be tolerated. Serious firepower was brought to the task, probably including financial market manipulation at an unprecedented level. The result was the 'Yellen gold standard' from 2013 to the present, in which the dollar’s value vs. gold has been 'strangely' stable between $1150 and $1350/oz., with a midpoint around $1250/oz. The results have been pretty good....Unlike Greenspan, who gave a lot of hints that he was actively stabilizing the dollar vs. gold, Yellen and now Powell have kept mum....The gold standard works even when it is by lucky chance....The effective choice has been either a gold standard or a 'PhD standard,' and the PhD standard hasn’t amounted to much more than overt currency debauchery."

santa Santa rally for stocks? Get out while the getting is good, says this strategist -Marketwatch
"After some brutal selling in October, the last quarter of the year is already stacking up to be the worst since September 2015. Investment advisers are sounding some end-year caution. Our latest and call of the day, from Seema Shah, global investment strategist at Principal Global Investors, says 'take cover, worse has yet to come,' when it comes to equities. Shah says 'rather than a signal of renewed equity market strength - any year-end rally should be considered an opportunity to exit U.S. equities.' Shah's concerns are based on some familiar themes - Fed tightening, a negative economic hit from a strong dollar, POTUS stimulus that is slowly fading, a rout for tech stocks and the U. S-China trade spat. But one of these stands out bigly. 'I should emphasize again that my negative outlook for U.S. equities rests heavily not on assumptions about the trade war, but on the reversal of easy monetary conditions,' Shah says."

Homebuilder confidence plummets to the lowest level in more than two years as 'demand stalls' -CNBC
"Rising mortgage rates and continued home price growth are hurting affordability and fast becoming a toxic cocktail for the nation's homebuilders. Sentiment among homebuilders dropped 8 points in November to 60 in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. That is the lowest reading since August 2016....'Builders report that they continue to see signs of consumer demand for new homes but that customers are taking a pause due to concerns over rising interest rates and home prices,' said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a builder from LaPlace, Louisiana. 'While home price growth accommodated increasing construction costs during this period, rising mortgage interest rates in recent months coupled with the cumulative run-up in pricing has caused housing demand to stall,' said the NAHB's chief economist, Robert Dietz."

Crypto Carnage Continues As Bitcoin Cash Fork Battle Builds -Zero Hedge
"Bitcoin has extended its recent collapse, plunging to $5100 this morning (the lowest since Oct 2017) and down 75% from its record highs in Dec 2017. The latest leg lower seems driven, among other things, by anxiety over the split in Bitcoin Cash. The cryptocurrency industry has now lost more than $660 billion in value from a January peak, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com, with the latest plunge coming as the two Bitcoin Cash software-development factions failed to agree on a way to upgrade the offshoot of the original Bitcoin, leading to a computing power arms race....Bloomberg reports that even Thomas J. Lee, managing partner at Fundstrat Global Advisors and a long-time crypto bull, slashed his year-end price target for Bitcoin to $15,000 from $25,000. The target is based on a fair value multiple of 2.2 times the breakeven cost of mining, which the firm pegs at $7,000, according to a report last week. 'Crypto-specific events have led to greater uncertainty in the crypto market, including the contentious hard fork for Bitcoin Cash,' Lee said in the note. Bitcoin’s break below $6,000 'has lead to a renewed wave of pessimism,' he said."

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11.16.18 - Retirement Dreams Lost for Millions

Gold last traded at $1,223 an ounce. Silver at $14.34 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Friday on a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks traded mostly lower after a strong downturn in technology shares.

Gold Re-Monetization Is Much Closer Than Many Realize -Palisade Research
"February 2018 marked a major turning point for gold - monetary gold to be more specific - when the Swiss National Pension Fund switched out of synthetic gold derivatives into physical gold. Monetary gold is defined as 'physical gold held in their own vaults or in trust.' The Swiss decision complied with the new banking standards regarding capital adequacy as it relates to solvency and viability....Lessons learned from the last liquidity crisis, when Lehman Brothers nearly caused a global financial meltdown, forced a rethink in how assets held on an institution's balance sheet are to be valued. Counter-party risk became extremely important again...The need for liquidity was a key change in the creation of the new standards, and it shone a spotlight on an asset that had largely been ignored for this purpose - physical gold....A point to consider here is that gold is not traded at the commodity desks of large banks. It is traded at the currency desks....Central banks and large institutions will increasingly turn to monetary gold in the coming months and years. They will seek to add the quality that only monetary gold provides. Capital flows into monetary gold will reflect the need for an asset that is liquid, tested and trusted. Gold's re-monetization is now officially a matter of global monetary policy."

amaras law Yes, We Are In Another Tech Bubble -Real Investment Advice
"Technology has touched our lives in so many ways, and especially so for investors. Not only has technology provided ever-better tools by which to research and monitor investments, but tech stocks have also provided outsized opportunities to grow portfolios..Just as glorious as tech can be on the way up, however, it can be absolutely crushing on the way down....The latest fright came from US technology giants Amazon and Alphabet after their revenue misses last week. Both are highly successful companies but the immediate market reaction to their results suggested how wary investors are of any sign that their growth trajectories might be flattening....The technologist and futurist, Roy Amara, captured the essence of that route with a fairly simple statement: 'We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.' Amara’s law/ the hype cycle is illustrated in this graph....Amara's law describes the dotcom boom and bust of the late 1990s and early 2000s to a tee....In sum, tech stocks create unique opportunities and risks for investors. Due to the prominent role of inflated expectations in so many technology investments, however, tech also poses special challenges for long term investors....The only sensible course is to be wary of the initial hype but wary too of the later scepticism."

Paul Tudor Jones says we're in a global debt bubble -CNBC
"Billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones said Thursday that the world has loaded on too much debt which could bring trouble across asset classes. 'From a 50,000-feet viewpoint, we're probably in a global debt bubble,' Jones said at the Greenwich Economic Forum in Connecticut. 'Global debt to GDP is at an all-time high.'....Jones is famous for making big macro calls. One of his biggest predictions came when he correctly called the 1987 crash. His hedge fund, Tudor Investment, reportedly manages $7 billion in assets....Global debt hit a record high earlier in 2018, reaching $247 trillion. 'I think this time it's going to be corporate credit and I think the breakdowns are something that we have to pay attention to in the last day or two,' he said. 'And they're really scary because, one thing about this credit bubble [is] we've had liquidity absolutely dry up in so many markets.'....'Zero rates and negative rates encourage excess lending. That's of course why we're in such a perilous time,' he said adding stocks are probably in the 70th percentile of overvaluation."

‘I Was Hoping to Be Retired’: The Cost of Supporting Parents and Adult Children -Wall Street Journal
"There is a growing number of baby boomers who find themselves caring for both their elderly parents and their adult children, rather than kicking back at retirement age. They face the strain of constant caregiving and derailed dreams, as well as added expenses. It’s one more reason why many Americans are entering their retirement years as unprepared financially as any generation in years. A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center found 52% of U.S. residents in their 60s - 17.4 million people - are financially supporting either a parent or an adult child, up from 45% in 2005. Among them, about 1.2 million support both a parent and a child, more than double the number a decade earlier. The squeeze is coming from both ends. With lifespans growing longer, the number of 60-somethings with living parents has more than doubled since 1998, to about 10 million, according to an Urban Institute analysis of University of Michigan data, and they are increasingly expensive to care for. At the same time, many boomers are helping their children deal with career or health problems, or are sharing the heavy burden of student loans....More than a third of people in their 60s who are caring for parents reported a 'moderate-to-high level of financial strain' as a result, a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found. "You have to finally get to the attitude that whatever will be will be. You don’t abandon family because something’s inconvenient," said Barb Strickert, who cares for her 83-year-old mother and 34-year-old daughter."

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11.15.18 - Here’s What’s Really Troubling the Market

Gold last traded at $1,215 an ounce. Silver at $14.26 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Thursday on safe-haven buying despite a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks traded mixed as J.P. Morgan led banks higher, while declines in Walmart and Amazon added to losses in consumer discretionary stocks.

Apple falls into bear market territory -CNBC
"Shares of Apple, a bellwether for the technology sector, dipped into a bear market on Wednesday as the decline from its recent all-time high briefly totaled more than 20 percent. Apple, which fell more than 2.5 percent Wednesday, closed at $186.80 per share. The shares finished 19.99 percent off their record high of $233.47, clinched on Oct. 3; Apple's value has dropped to about $886 billion from $1.13 trillion at those October highs. Investors have grown concerned that the company will suffer declines in iPhone unit sales over the next couple of years. Apple began the month by reporting that iPhone shipments missed Wall Street expectations for the quarter and said that it will no longer report how many iPhones it sells...Daniel Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, told CNBC on Wednesday, 'As there's less transparency in the story, investors have feared that Apple's trying to hide decelerating unit growth. When you see general nervousness across the tech space, combined with expectations that Apple was going to carry the weight of the FANG names ... it's kind of been a perfect storm."....Analysts at both Guggenheim Partners and UBS on Wednesday cut their price forecasts for Apple shares and blamed lower phone sales expectations for a dimmer outlook."

apple Apple's fall is just a symptom - here's what's really troubling the market -Moneyweek
"Markets are rattled again. This time, fear has coalesced around smartphone giant Apple. The world's first trillion-dollar company is no longer a trillion-dollar company, and yesterday it fell even further from regaining its crown....Apple keeps selling more expensive versions of the iPhone. So sales might be flat, but revenues keep going up....The problem is that the tone of the market has changed. Things it would have brushed off in the recent past are now bothering it. Apple is not the only one. Goldman Sachs, for example, had a terrible day yesterday, falling by 7.5%....Investors are now so nervous that they are paying attention to any news that is less than perfect. You can point to all sorts of bad news, but what it fundamentally comes down to is that central banks globally are tightening up, and the Federal Reserve is in the lead, which makes things even worse, because it means a stronger dollar....I reckon it's going to take some serious good news - or at least a hint of a pause from the Fed - to pull the market decisively out of this particular glum mood."

Gold prices rise, shake off pressure from a stronger dollar as stock market slips -Marketwatch
"Gold prices inched higher on Thursday, shaking off pressure from a stronger dollar to hold on to a week-to-date gain as U.S. and European equities declined. 'Gold appears to have rejected the $1,200 level, as it probed below there on Tuesday and Wednesday but managed to close back above it each of those days,' analysts at Zaner Precious Metals said in a daily note. 'The rate-hike theme may have played itself out.'....The dollar strengthened against the pound as Brexit uncertainty boiled up anew as more senior members of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet resigned, signaling more turmoil and ahead....Declines in benchmark U.S. and European stock indexes week to date have also helped to boost the precious metal’s investment appeal."

The looming threat to Trump's booming economy -Politico
"President Donald Trump faces a growing list of economic problems that could irritate him even more next year. Chief among them is a withdrawal from the economy's sugar high. Fiscal stimulus from the GOP tax cuts is likely to start running out. The Federal Reserve is expected to keep bumping up interest rates. And few analysts expect a divided Congress - facing soaring deficits and with its eyes on 2020 - to join hands and pass a big infrastructure package or sweeping middle-class tax cuts to keep the fiscal juice flowing. The collection of all these factors, coupled with jittery investors already worried about trade wars and a global slowdown, could deny Trump the kind of big economic growth numbers he loves to celebrate....The decline in fiscal stimulus will come as the Fed, much to Trump's displeasure, is likely to keep raising interest rates in 2019. The Fed is expected to hike rates again next month and several more times next year....Concern over waning stimulus and rising rates has some of Trump's advisers, including Kudlow, scrambling to avoid a round of auto tariffs on Europe and a trade war with China next year. Those concerns helped turn October into the worst month for the stock market since 2011."

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11.14.18 - Gold: ‘Best House in Bad Neighborhood’

Gold last traded at $1,210 an ounce. Silver at $14.08 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Wednesday on a flat dollar. U.S. stocks traded lower as shares of Apple rolled over and a decline in bank shares pressured the broader market.

In a chaotic 2019, gold will be the 'best house in bad neighborhood' -Marketwatch
"Are greater risks stacking up for investors in 2019?....'Equities appear to be in no-man's-land,' says Sean Darby, Jefferies' chief global equity strategist, who writes that Jerome Powell and co.’s intentions is the big thing keeping his clients up at night. And they aren't far off with those worries, according to our call of the day, which predicts 2019 will be a doozy for investors and advises they seek shelter in a much-neglected, glittering port. 'Being long gold has been a tough investment since 2012, and so often, when we see the yellow metal gaining traction, the [U.S. dollar] regains its mojo, and we see the inevitable reversal,' writes Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group. 'However, emerging warning signs can be seen that suggest 2019 could be the year where gold bulls finally get their day in the sun.' He predicts a 'capital preservation trade' will grip the world in 2019, reviving currency wars, which will boost gold’s safe-haven allure. From there, 'risk aversion will take hold, with a rampant flattening of the U.S. yield curve and a [dollar] flight will be in play.'"

gold Ray Dalio’s Faith in Gold Is Unshaken -Bloomberg
"Not even gold's second quarterly straight decline was enough to shake billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio's confidence in gold. Dalio's Bridgewater Associates maintained its holdings in SPDR Gold Shares, the largest bullion-backed ETF, at 3.9 million shares, and its stake in iShares Gold Trust, the second-largest, at 11.3 million shares in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Dalio recommends gold as a hedge against rising political risk. The hedge fund also added to its holdings in Barrick Gold Corp., Franco-Nevada Corp., Newmont Mining Corp. and Kinross Gold Corp. in the third quarter."

Recent Data Suggest What Could Be the Last Nail in This Bull’s Coffin -Mauldin Economics
"All good things come to an end, even economic growth cycles. The present one is getting long in the tooth...There's no doubt - none, zero, zip - this will happen. The main question is when....A new Bank for International Settlements study examined a database of 32,000 listed companies in 14 advanced economies to identify 'zombie' businesses...Looking only at US listed companies, about 16% qualify as zombies. So, we are actually more zombie-friendly than our average global peers....Worse, once you become a zombie company, you'll likely remain one....Keeping zombies alive hurts healthy companies....Many (possibly most) of these zombie companies should fail. And they will - either suddenly in a crisis, or in slow motion....That, my friends, is how recessions begin. If we're lucky, it will occur gradually and give us time to adapt. But more likely, it will spark another crisis given high leverage and interconnected markets. Not long before the last crisis, Ben Bernanke assured us the subprime 'problem' was contained. It reminds me of the old Hemingway line, 'How does one go bankrupt?' The answer: 'Slowly, and then all at once.'"

Midterms Signal It's Not the Economy, Stupid! -Samuelson/Real Clear Markets
"One lesson of the midterm elections is that economic growth is losing its power to unite the country and to reduce explosive conflicts over race, religion, ethnicity, immigrant status and sexuality. This is unfamiliar. Economic progress has been a routine part of our election narratives. The presumption is that a strong economy favors the incumbent party and a weak economy does the opposite....In a new book, 'Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America,' political scientists John Sides of George Washington University, Michael Tesler of the University of California, Irvine, and Lynn Vavreck of the University of California, Los Angeles, argue that the last presidential campaign was a clash of identities....Political scientists Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster of Emory University have coined the useful term 'negative partisanship,' by which they seem to mean that many Americans are more fearful of what the other party might do rather than enacting their own agenda....Of course, the economy hasn't permanently disappeared from political life. Given another recession (which, at some point, is inevitable) or financial crisis, its role would undoubtedly rebound. But meanwhile, it takes a back seat to today's hateful partisanship. One purpose of politics is to conciliate and to cooperate. On that score, we are in a bad place."

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11.13.18 - "Most Overvalued Market in History"

Gold last traded at $1,201 an ounce. Silver at $13.97 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Tuesday on bargain-hunting and a weaker dollar. U.S. stocks zig-zagged in volatile trading as a bounce in Apple shares helped lift the broader technology sector.

Is the US the most overvalued stock market in history? -Fox Business
"Volatility remains a headwind for U.S. stocks in November after October wrapped one of the worst months for stocks since about 2008. And the worst may lie ahead, according to perma-bear and longtime StockMarket Cycles Editor Peter Eliades, who says U.S. stocks are facing 'one hell of a bear market.' 'We are facing what I would consider, and a lot of good value people consider, to be the most overvalued market in history,' Eliades told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto on Monday adding that it could last well into 2022....'I’m looking for at least as bad of a decline as we saw from 2007 to 2009 which was in the minus 55% category,' he said. 'I think we are facing that realistically and perhaps even worse than that.' Eliades clarified he isn't making predictions but rather is basing his outlook on the 20-year market cycle."

lame duck 'Lame-duck' Congress returns, facing budget, Mueller, border wall issues -Reuters
"The U.S. Congress returns on Tuesday for a post-election 'lame-duck' session, facing a funding deadline to prevent a partial government shutdown, as well as demands for protections for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and money for a proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. Those issues, plus leadership contests among both Democrats and Republicans, promise to dominate the brief session of Congress wedged in between last week’s congressional elections and the start of the 2019-2020 Congress in January. In the elections, voters ended the Republicans’ majority control of the House of Representatives and gave it to the Democrats, while leaving the Senate in Republican hands. But nothing will actually change until January. For now, Republicans will retain their dominance in both chambers, although Democrats are already ramping up challenges to their partisan rivals and Republican President Donald Trump....The main legislative project for the lame-duck session will be a spending bill, said aides and lawmakers. Passage is needed to keep the Department of Homeland Security and some other agencies operating beyond Dec. 7, when the money runs out."

A Gold Price Forecast For 2019 -Investing Haven
"The gold price started the year quite bullish only to turn bearish around summer time. What does this mean for 2019? We look at our leading indicators in this article in order to do our gold price forecast for 2019. Sometimes gold can rise because of fear, but for gold to rise on the gold long term there must be some rising real rates....We do not recommend to get caught up in the endless stream of headlines. It will only confuse investors....Our leading indicator analysis suggests the following for our gold price forecast for 2019: the COT report says gold is near a major bottom and that gold will not dip below $1200 in the next few months going into 2019, the real inflation rate is mildly bullish, the Euro is not showing signs of wild moves....We tend to believe that the price of gold will go up to the $1300 area in 2019...Gold is setting a range... the $1200 to $1375 range....Our most bullish gold price forecast for 2019 is that gold will hit $1550 in 2019 (20% probability), but only if it succeeds breaking through the $1375."

Amazon Picks New York City, Northern Virginia for Its HQ2 Locations -Wall Street Journal
"New York City and Northern Virginia will be the homes for Amazon.com Inc.'s second and third headquarters, according to people familiar with the matter, ending a more than yearlong public contest that started with 238 candidates and ended with a surprise split of its so-called HQ2. Amazon is dividing the second headquarters evenly between New York’s Long Island City and Arlington County’s Crystal City neighborhoods, which are both located directly across from the major city centers. The company plans to evenly split the operations with as many as 25,000 employees in each location. The decision effectively gives Amazon a major presence in three coastal hubs that politically lean left, at a time when tech companies are under scrutiny for their perceived elitism and liberal social views....Amazon’s move to New York pits it against rival Google, which is gearing up for its own expansion in the city."

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11.12.18 - Job Help: Military Veterans' Top Request

Gold last traded at $1,204 an ounce. Silver at $14.02 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices fell as the dollar touched 2018 highs. U.S. stocks traded sharply lower as Apple shares declined and a strong dollar increased worries about global trade.

Next Market Crash Will Put October Meltdown to Shame -Hussman/Business Insider
"If you thought the stock market correction in October was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. So says John Hussman, the former economics professor and current president of the Hussman Investment Trust....'Speculative psychology has always allowed valuations to run well beyond historical norms over portions of the market cycle,' Hussman wrote in a recent blog post....'Despite its discomfort, the market decline we observed in October is only a drop in the bucket toward normalizing valuations,' Hussman said. 'Over the completion of the current market cycle, I fully expect the S&P 500 to lose close to two-thirds of its value from the recent peak.'....In the end, the more evidence Hussman unearths around the stock market's unsustainable conditions, the more worried investors should get. Sure, there may still be returns to be realized in this market cycle, but at what point does the mounting risk of a crash become too unbearable?"

recession Understanding The Global Recession Of 2019 -Charles Hugh Smith/Zero Hedge
"2019 is shaping up to be the year in which all the policies that worked in the past will no longer work. As we all know, the Global Financial Meltdown / recession of 2008-09 was halted by the coordinated policies of the major central banks, which lowered interest rates to near-zero, bought trillions of dollars of bonds and iffy assets such as mortgage-backed securities, and issued unlimited lines of credit to insolvent banks, i.e. unlimited liquidity....The success of these policies has created a dangerous confidence that they'll work in the next global recession, currently scheduled for 2019....Unprecedented asset purchases, low rates of interest and unlimited liquidity have inflated gargantuan credit / asset bubbles around the world, the so-called everything bubble....So how do central banks normalize their unprecedented policies without popping the asset bubbles they've created? The short answer is: they can't....Now that central banks have inflated assets into the stratosphere, there's $300 trillion in global financial assets sloshing around seeking higher yields and capital gains. How much of this $300 trillion can central banks buy before they destabilize currencies?"

U.S. on a Course to Spend More on Debt Than Defense -Wall Street Journal
"In the past decade, U.S. debt held by the public has risen to $15.9 trillion from $5.1 trillion, but financing all of that debt hasn't been a problem. Low inflation and strong global demand for safe U.S. Treasury bonds held the government's interest costs down. That's in the process of changing....In 2017, interest costs on federal debt of $263 billion accounted for 6.6% of all government spending and 1.4% of gross domestic product, well below averages of the previous 50 years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates interest spending will rise to $915 billion by 2028, or 13% of all outlays and 3.1% of gross domestic product....Debt as a share of gross domestic product is projected to climb over the next decade, from 78% at the end of this year - the highest it has been since the end of World War II - to 96.2% in 2028, according to CBO projections. At the same time, the Federal Reserve is in the process of gradually raising short-term interest rates."

Job help is US military veterans' top request after serving -Fox Business
"After leaving the military life, the transition into the civilian workforce can often be difficult for many veterans who don’t have the proper skills to get a good job. But one nonprofit aims to help the thousands of military veterans transitioning to succeed in the workforce. 'What we are really trying to do is empower the veterans to find a great civilian job,' said Hire Heroes CEO Christopher Plamp to FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo. 'There's 190,000 that transition every year and they really don't have the skills, they really don't know how to get into a great civilian job.' Plamp said employment Opens a New Window. Help is the No. 1 thing veterans ask for after getting out. And despite some assistance from corporate America, most aren't familiar with the employment process....'One of the main things is that spouse unemployment right now is three to four times the national average for somebody else who would the same education or the same skill level,' he said."

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11.9.18 - Investors Unprepared For Next Downturn

Gold last traded at $1,208 an ounce. Silver at $14.14 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices fell Friday on profit-taking and firmer dollar. U.S. stocks dropped as losses in oil prices sparked fears of a global economic slowdown.

The End of a Supercycle -Gold Switzerland
"In a world based on fake paper and fake electronic money as well as fake asset values, the real significance of gold has got lost. With endless credit expansion and money printing, all asset prices have exploded and investors have made fake profits that seem real. But the imminent secular downturn of debt and asset markets as well as the world economy will reveal how unreal these profits were as 90% or more of all the paper wealth in the world will go up in smoke. So investors should now prepare for the biggest wealth destruction in history and also the biggest wealth transfer....As wealth preservation investors we are not really concerned that the market takes its time to reveal the real truth. We know it will come. So we can afford to wait patiently. But it now looks like our patience will soon be rewarded. The gold market correction bottomed between 2013 and 2015 depending on which currency you measure it in. Since then it has spent a long time gathering the energy for the next leg up in this long term bull market. Technically it now looks like that the waiting is finally over and the explosive phase of this market is about to start. If this analysis is correct, we will soon see a quick move to $1,350 and then straight on to above $1,650....Whether markets start a major secular bear market in the next few weeks or months, it is irrelevant. What is clear is that we are at the end of a supercycle of several hundred years. Once it turns, the down cycle is likely to last for decades and be devastating for the world."

panic 'Smart money' not buying stock bounce could mean a test of October lows -Marketwatch
"Stocks may have ripped higher Wednesday in a bout of post-midterm relief, but the 'smart money' doesn’t appear to be buying into the November bounce, noted one analyst, who argued that equities, as a result, could yet retest their October lows and that any sustained rally may be especially reliant on corporate share buybacks. In a Thursday note, analyst Brian Reynolds of Canaccord Genuity focused on the so-called smart index, which remains weak despite a stock market rebound that’s produced a 3.2% rise for the S&P 500 since the end of October and a 3.7% rally for the Dow Jones Industrial. Reynolds argued that the continued bearishness of investors despite the bounce in stock prices indicates that debt-fueled buybacks will be even more important in bringing stocks back up to trend than they have been following other corrections during the current bull market. And since many small-cap companies can’t access the credit market, large-cap companies are more likely to lead the way higher, he said."

How Worldpay Is Winning In The War On Cash -Forbes
"The Economic Times of India reported in August that Berkshire Hathaway was in talks to invest $286 million to $357 million in One97 Communications. That's the company behind India's largest mobile-payment platform. This is potentially the Oracle of Omaha's first direct investment in India. And it's a wake-up call for investors...There is a war on cash. Winners are emerging. One 97 Communications is the parent to Paytm, a high-flying Indian startup. It rose to prominence two years ago when the Indian government pulled 86% of its cash from circulation in an effort to thwart tax cheats. Digital wallets were the logical beneficiaries. You don’t need a degree in rocket science to see what is happening: Eliminating cash makes financial transactions less opaque. It makes them trackable by corporations and governments. Worldpay Inc. is at the center of this assault on cash. The Ohio company provides card-processing machines, integrated point-of-sale and virtual terminals, accounting integration software and ATM services."

For the latest developments in the ongoing war by governments worldwide upon your freedom, your privacy and your cash; request a FREE copy of our 2018 White Paper, THE SECRET WAR, PART II: Weapons of Cash Destruction.

The Average Investor Unprepared For the Next Market Downturn -Real Clear Markets
"The last month has been a particularly choppy one for markets, with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiking more than 80% during October. It’s apparent that the combination of rising interest rates, mounting trade tensions and early-stage recession fears are setting in. But what's more unsettling is how unprepared the average client is to navigate the next market downturn....The harsh reality is that the investible universe is radically different today than it was during the 2008 crisis. It’s increasingly difficult for investors to achieve true diversification in a world where asset classes and investment styles are highly correlated....This absence of a safety net means the destruction of capital may be permanent when a bear market wreaks havoc....Although today's euphoric environment has led many to forget the pain caused by the Great Recession, we must remember cycles have beginnings and ends. A truly modern portfolio should be built to navigate every step of that journey. Investors will need accessible alternative investments to help protect precious capital, generate income and smooth out returns over a full cycle."

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11.8.18 - Will Fed Statement Heighten Volatility?

Gold last traded at $1,225 an ounce. Silver at $14.43 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded steady Thursday on a flat dollar ahead of today's Fed statement. U.S. stocks retreated following big gains in the previous session as investors focused on the latest monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

Volatility Heightens Focus on Fed Statement -Wall Street Journal
"Few people expect the central bank to raise its key policy rate above its current target of 2% to 2.25% when the Fed concludes its two-day meeting Thursday. There is also no press conference after the meeting, limiting officials' ability to communicate their outlook. Officials will, however, release a statement that analysts say could potentially tip in a dovish or a hawkish direction. A glancing reference to recent market volatility or tightening financial conditions could be interpreted as a sign that officials are taking that volatility seriously, and proceeding cautiously about raising interest rates should it continue. At the same time, a reference to rising wages or other forms of inflation pressure could send the opposite signal: that officials are more concerned about inflation than skittish markets and are prepared to raise rates even faster than investors are anticipating. Either move could send ripples through markets while many investors remain uncertain about the economic outlook....If Fed officials lean harder in a hawkish direction - suggesting they'll keep raising rates to the point where it curtails economic activity - investors can expect more volatility, said Priya Misra, head of global rates strategy TD Securities in New York."

star wars Bitcoin Will Burn the Planet Down. The Question: How Fast? -Wired
"Max Krause was thinking of buying some bitcoin, as one does. But Krause is an engineer - mostly he works on modeling greenhouse gas emissions from landfills - so his first step was to run the numbers....'I thought, man, this is a lot of energy,' Krause says. 'I thought, it can’t be true that people are using this much energy. But it is.'....Krause's paper tries to make the link between metaphorical bitcoin mining and actual, mining mining by comparing the energy it takes to get the equivalent of $1 worth of cryptocurrency and $1 worth of various valuable metals - gold, platinum, some rare-earths, and so on. The answer: It takes more energy to get a buck’s worth of bits. It was 17 megajoules for a dollar's worth of bitcoin but just 4 MJ for a dollar's worth of copper....Krause's numbers show that bitcoin produces a lot more CO2 than the other currencies, but also that a bitcoin mined in China emits four times the CO2 than a Canadian-grown bitcoin....Everyone knows cryptocurrencies are a planet-burner....'And if the government of China or the US decide bitcoin is a threat to civil society with its electricity usage, it's not going to survive,' says Joseph Bonneau, a cryptocurrency researcher at New York University....You should probably be asking if Krause started mining bitcoin. 'I did not,' he says. 'I was better off buying the coins and holding them than trying to build a rig.' In other words, it was the bad outcome: cryptocurrency not as a mechanism for government-free, secure commerce but merely as a speculative instrument."

So the truth is, Bitcoin is not even in the running to replace our present currency system, let alone Gold; the foundation of all sound money. That is exactly what we told our readers last January in our 2018 Real Money Perspectives newsletter, The Future of Money as a speculative fever temporarily pushed Bitcoin prices above $20,000 each!

How Gold Outshone Bitcoin In October -Constable/Forbes
"When investing in alternative assets gold remains the king. The yellow metal performed far better than the world's best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, during October's market volatility. When investors buy alternative assets, they typically look for two things. First, they want to know how the asset will perform as a safe-haven asset during times of market volatility....While stocks fell, gold prices gained. Prices for the yellow metal started the month at $1,189 a troy ounce and were recently trading at $1,220, according to data from Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Bitcoin, which has been much heralded as a new alternative asset, lost value. The price of one Bitcoin started the month fetching $6,573 and was recently trading for $6,271. That's a drop of more than 4% in October....The second thing that investors usually want from an alternative asset is diversification. When one asset price zigs, the hope is that another asset price will zag. Gold performed that function admirably during October. While stocks slid, gold rallied...There was a zig for the zag."

Can Dems Reverse Trumponomics After Winning Back The House? -Investors
"As the election results show, the Senate will be Republican. The House will be Democratic....There will be no Trump-friendly economic legislation to emerge from the House. Trumponomics won't come to an end, but it will be hard to enlarge its scope....A Pelosi-led party, with leftists in key power posts, will try to stymie Trump's economic initiatives. A Tax Reform 2.0, making this year's tax cuts permanent? Forget about it. Build a wall? Might be tough. A hard line on illegal immigration? The House will do what it can to block any Trump initiatives. A Democratic House might try to roll back Trump's tariffs, too. They may even try to reverse some of Trump's other unquestionably successful growth-oriented policies....What would Democrats be halting? The last two quarters GDP growth has averaged roughly 3.8%. Unemployment is now at a 50-year low of 3.7%, while nearly 157 million people now are working. That's an all-time record. And unemployment for minorities and teenagers is at or near all-time low levels....Americans have voted for gridlocked government because, in their wisdom, they don't seem to want either party to have an upper hand. Fair enough. But it will be up to the Republican-led Senate to make the case that Trumponomics beats the increasingly far-left economics of the Democrats."

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11.7.18 - East Trusts Gold, West 'Mindless Optimism'

Gold last traded at $1,231 an ounce. Silver at $14.64 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices inched higher Wednesday on dollar weakness. U.S. stocks cheered midterm election results.

East trusts physical gold while West prefers 'mindless optimism' -Claudio Grass/RT
"The latest data from the World Gold Council (WGC) shows that central banks in Eastern Europe and Asia significantly boosted their gold holdings. RT talked to Claudio Grass, an independent precious metal advisory based out in Switzerland to find out why....RT: For years, Russia, China, India as well as many Asian countries have been stockpiling gold. More recently, countries like Poland and Hungary have begun to increase national gold reserves. What's behind the move? Claudio Grass: Whoever buys physical precious metals, be it an institution, an individual or as we see now, central banks from different countries, largely have the same reasons for doing so: They all want to regain independence and sovereignty. This is achieved by decoupling from a financial system that is unsustainable, overstretched and founded on nothing but faith in government....RT: Are these countries bracing for a potential currency crisis? CG: Of course. It is impossible to create wealth out of nothing, and even though that is an eternal and universal truth, it hasn't stopped states from trying to do exactly that. Unfortunately, if history teaches anything, it is that we don't learn from it...We are sitting on a gigantic bubble in terms of illusionary financial 'wealth', at the end of a long-term debt cycle and the bill for the massive credit spending of the past decade is about to come in....I think complacency and overconfidence are the key markers of the western approach to the future at the moment...The same, arguably, applies when opting for paper gold over physical. Realism has lost over mindless optimism, placing the East at a significant advantage during the next economic crash....people who buy gold understand that it is their personal insurance when the illusion fades and the trust in the current institutions crumbles."

highway 'Welcome to gridlock': Stock traders cheer, dollar investors jeer US midterm results -Business Insider
"Global markets were broadly higher Wednesday, but reaction to news overnight that the Democratic Party had taken control of the US House of Representatives seemed to have little major impact on sentiment....'Welcome to gridlock,' Paul Donovan, the chief economist at UBS Wealth Management, said on Wednesday morning. 'Trump may now fall back on policy areas that do not require Congress, like trade.' 'As this outcome was widely anticipated, we see little immediate market impact,' UBS Wealth Management said in a note issued by its chief investment office....'Without common ground on areas to cut spending, the budget deficit is likely to remain higher than usual, keeping upward pressure on long-term government bond yields,' they said. The prospect of gridlock seems to have affected the US dollar, with the dollar index dropping by about 0.6%. 'The USD has edged gradually lower against many of its counterparts over the course of this week, with this related to expectations that the Democrats winning some influence could provide some legislative resistance towards Trump further pushing forward pro-America policies,' FXTM's Jameel Ahmad said in an email."

"Democratic Socialist" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Becomes Youngest Woman Elected To Congress -Zero Hedge
"While Democratic Congressional candidates in key battleground districts struggled to defeat a host of surprisingly resilient Republican incumbents, self-described 'Democratic socialist' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cruised to victory in New York's 14th Congressional district, which straddles parts of the Bronx and Queens, becoming - at the tender age of 29 - the youngest woman ever elected to Congress....Prior to becoming involved in politics, the 'girl from the Bronx' (who spent most of her childhood in a comfortable home in suburban Westchester County) and daughter of Puerto Rican parents had been working as a bartender and Bernie Sanders organizer in NYC after graduating from Boston University when she was plucked from obscurity by progressive groups like 'Our Revolution.'.... Alexandria, who was championed by the Democratic Socialists of America, an insurgent socialist organization, will now bring her inchoate policy agenda, which includes a 'jobs guarantee', free college tuition, medicare for all, abolishing ICE and 'housing as a human right', to Washington, where she will no doubt find a niche on the far-left of an increasingly progressive Democratic Party."

Record Number of Markets Now in the Red in Worst Year Since 1901 -Bloomberg
"2018 is going down as the worst year for markets ever, by at least one measure. A whopping 89 percent of assets have handed investors losses in U.S. dollar terms, more than any previous year going back more than a century. The metric comes courtesy of Deutsche Bank AG....The October stock rout has delivered a wake-up call to money managers searching for shelter this year. Swelling dollar-funding costs, equity volatility and fissures in the synchronized growth story are punishing assets across the globe. A month ago, U.S. stocks were one of just a handful of markets that had doled out a decent return in 2018 - before $2 trillion was wiped off their value in the space of a few weeks....European shares are in worse shape. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index has shed over 10 percent this year in dollar terms....Life is bleaker for multi-asset investors in real terms. By that metric, 2018 was already on track to deliver the lowest share of positive returns across 17 asset classes since 2008, according to Morgan Stanley data last month."

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11.6.18 - Midterms: Do Financial Markets Care?

Gold last traded at $1,226 an ounce. Silver at $14.51 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Tuesday on profit-taking and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks rose as investors awaited the results of the midterm elections which may have implications for investors.

The Folding, Spindling & Mutilating of America's Money System -Craig R. Smith/Rediscovering Gold
"Gold is one of the few common values that has united mankind throughout the millennia, transcending race, religion and geography - a rarely noted fact but significant in light of today's growing cultural convergence and emerging global economy....The folding, spindling and mutilating of America's monetary system became legitimized in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was formed. Long ago bankers discovered a nasty little secret referred to as 'fractional-reserve banking' which is fueled by credit and debt creation out of thin air....As difficult as it is for honest, hard-working Americans to fathom, the lifeblood of the American political and economic system is legal plunder. The 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat summed up the tendency of central governments to embrace economic plunder in this way: 'There are two ways to acquire the niceties of life: to produce them or to plunder them. When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.'....Gold and silver coins represent true economic value because they have integrity by design and content."

voted Will we vote to destroy ourselves? - Ponte/WND
"Elections have consequences, said Barack Obama. He was right. Among the unexpected consequences of voting for him were eight years of economic stagnation, an almost-destroyed American Dream, and a 50-year setback in race relations caused by his relentless divide-and-conquer politics of polarization. These problems reversed in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump, who in less than two years has restored our economy to 4.2 percent growth, reduced unemployment for all groups to the lowest levels ever measured, and in the single month of October alone created an average salary increase of 3.1 percent. But polls show the leftist media and other Democratic comrades have waged such a one-sided campaign of hate against him that Republicans might lose one, or even both, Houses of Congress. If this happens, the Trump economic miracle could be stymied and destroyed. Millennials whipped into irrational frenzy against the President will be tricked into voting to ruin their own future prosperity. Democrats eager to reverse America’s economic success will become the Grinchocrats who steal Christmas."

Do financial markets care about a blue wave, red wall or gridlock? -Financial Times
"A blue wave that sweeps away Republicans from both the House and the Senate would no doubt impact financial markets, but when it comes to equity returns, the economic backdrop also matters. According to Nomura's George Goncalves, a blue wave is 'the biggest tail risk facing the markets'. With Democrats in control, the threat of impeachment proceedings or a future debt ceiling showdown rises substantially....The most 'market-friendly' scenario, says UBS's Justin Waring, is a red wall, whereby Republicans retain both chambers and set the stage for a Trump win in 2020....Beyond another fiscal boost, further deregulation and cuts to social security, Medicare and Medicaid could also come. These measures are likely to be a boon for the financial and industrial sectors, Waring says. At this point, markets have largely priced in the most probable outcome: Democrats nabbing the House and Republicans holding onto the Senate. Still, the ensuing political gridlock would likely stymie any sizeable legislative overhaul and sow the seeds for an altercation when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling, as was the case in 2011 and 2013. Whatever the outcome, history shows that around the midterms, stock markets tend to do well."

If Republicans Sweep The Midterms, Here Is What Happens Next -Zero Hedge
"The odds that the Republicans hold both chambers is around 30%, and the odds that the Democrats take both chambers is a piddling 10%. So, what are the implications for policy and markets if Republicans hold the House and expand their majority in the Senate? It's a scenario that ING is calling 'Trump Unbound'...In short, expect Trump to 'double down' on his 'America First' policies, including more hard-line immigration and trade policies, more tax cuts and expanded fiscal spending....If Republicans hold on to both chambers, Trump will take all the credit and he would deserve it...He still would have both houses of Congress, but more than that, would say his unorthodox approach worked. He and his advisers will feel ever freer to 'let Trump be Trump.' Democratic despair could not be overstated: Why can’t we stop this guy?....If the Republicans win despite the best efforts of grassroots Democrats, expect an explosion of political unrest as leftists around the country take to the streets in protest - potentially triggering a wave of political violence."

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11.5.18 - Epic Downturn: Brace for 40% Market Plunge

Gold last traded at $1,232 an ounce. Silver at $14.66 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Monday ahead of midterm elections. U.S. stocks traded mixed on political angst while Apple and Amazon led a broad decline in tech-related shares.

Both Parties Brace for Midterm Surprises -Bloomberg
"The most expensive midterm campaign in U.S. history raced to a finish ahead of Tuesday’s election, as both sides braced for a possible split decision that would hand the House to Democrats and leave Republicans holding onto or expanding their Senate majority. Partisans were preparing for the unexpected, though, two years after Donald Trump stunned the nation with his surprise win. As candidates, surrogates, outside groups and the two parties frantically worked to turn out their voters, strategists for each party agreed the outcome will be determined by the composition of an electorate that’s showing signs of being larger than normal for a midterm year. The verdict could dramatically alter the second half of Trump’s first term. If they win at least one chamber, Democrats have pledged to stifle the president’s agenda and start investigations into his finances, administration, and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election....A CBS poll released on Sunday projected that Democrats may win 225 seats, more than enough for a majority, but the margin of error of plus or minus 13 seats showed the outcome’s far from set....Much of the national focus has been on the fight for Congress, but 36 states will also elect governors on Tuesday, including high-profile contests in Florida and Georgia."

wall street plane Epic downturn is here, brace for 40% market plunge -Stockman/CNBC
"David Stockman warns a 40 percent stock market plunge is closing in on Wall Street. Stockman, who served as President Reagan's Office of Management and Budget director, has long warned of a deep downturn that would shake Wall Street's most bullish investors. He believes the early rumblings of that epic downturn are finally here....'No one has outlawed recessions. We're within a year or two of one,' he said Thursday on CNBC's 'Futures Now.' He added that: 'fair value of the S&P going into the next recession is well below 2000, 1500 - way below where we are today.' 'If you're a rational investor, you need only two words in your vocabulary: Trump and sell,' said Stockman, in a reference to President Donald Trump. 'He's playing with fire at the very top of an aging expansion.' According to Stockman, Trump's efforts to get the Federal Reserve to put the brakes on hiking interest rates from historical lows is misdirected. 'He's attacking the Fed for going too quick when it's been dithering for eight years. The funds rate at 2.13 percent is still below inflation,' he said. Stockman cited the trade war as another major reason why investors should brace for a prolonged sell-off."

Is it legal for banks to refuse cash? -Crudele/New York Post
"Dear John: Could you please tell me why it’s legal for Citibank to prevent people from using cash to pay their credit card bills at the tellers’ windows? And why no one seems to have noticed or cares about it? C.T. Dear C.T. Citi told credit card holders earlier this year that its branches would no longer accept cash payments on credit cards. You can still make cash payments up to $3,000 per account per month at the bank’s automatic teller machines....Like other banks, Citi is changing with the times. More and more people are doing banking online. It says customers prefer this and that it’s a way to make the branches more efficient. I suspect it’s also a way to eliminate some teller jobs and force people like you to adopt online banking. There is, of course, a simple solution to your problem: Do your business with another bank. If enough people change banks I’m sure Citi will decide the change was ill advised."

The Cryptocosm: How Blockchain Will Transform Your World -Benko/Townhall
"Blockchain technology has been the talk of the tech world for the last several years. That said, it is also something of a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma....George Gilder, in the most important recent book on blockchain, is here to say it. He not only dazzles but demystifies the blockchain, making vivid exactly how it is going to transform the internet and our lives....George Gilder has unequivocally established his bona fides as an economic and technology guru. He now extends his hitting streak with a book about what he calls the Cryptocosm: 'Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy.'....What really makes Life After Google invaluable is how Gilder, clearly and definitively, shows 'how' blockchain is transforming the world....Google makes billions of dollars in profits a year by advertising to you (and me!). But what if Google had to - by the power of competition, not regulation - share a big chunk of that revenue with us? Gilder introduces us to Brendon Eich (former Master of Mozilla) who created the Brave Browser. This keeps your web searches from being tracked by browsers such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. And Eich has created a blockchain called Basic Attention Tokens (BATs), which will allow you to be paid for your attention, meaning for seeing ads. Don’t quit your day job yet but… BATs will make users a partner rather a product of companies such as Google."

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11.2.18 - Physical Gold is Back in Favor

Gold last traded at $1,233 an ounce. Silver at $14.75 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Friday despite a stronger dollar. U.S. stocks fell on China trade talk disappointment despite upbeat jobs data.

Physical Gold Back in Favor -Bonner And Partners
"Bill Bonner’s advice today is to buy gold. Somebody must be listening…Demand for physical gold far outweighed demand for gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) this past quarter…This data comes from the World Gold Council's quarterly report on gold demand trends...Total gold demand during the third quarter was 964.3 tons - equating to $41.6 billion at today's price. And most of that demand was for jewelry and physical bars and coins....This is the first time we've seen quarterly outflows from gold ETFs since Q4 2016… And North America accounted for 73% of those outflows as investors focused on rising equities. The big takeaway here is that falling demand for gold-backed ETFs does not necessarily mean that gold is falling out of favor. Demand for physical gold far exceeds demand for gold ETFs. And because you largely can't sell jewelry, gold bars, and gold coins with the click of a button, investors who buy these assets tend to hoard them. As Bill outlined, that might turn out to be a wise decision."

debt clock Time to Worry -James Grant/Weekly Standard
"America's deteriorating public credit is the cold-button issue of the 2018 midterms. With rare bipartisanship, Democrats and Republicans compete to pretend that the country isn't going broke. In 1992, the third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot likened the widening gap between federal receipts and federal spending to 'the crazy aunt tucked away in the room upstairs nobody talks about.' The old gal's dottier than ever. It took the United States 193 years to accumulate its first trillion dollars of federal debt - the gross debt, as it's called. We will add that much in the current fiscal year alone. All told, the government owes $21.5 trillion...that works out to $65,885 for each American. The remote political cause of this predicament is the ideology of statism. In Washington, this takes the form of tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect; on Wall Street, it's found in too-big-to-fail, a virtually socialized mortgage market, and an overreaching, manipulative central bank. The remote monetary cause of our troubles is the closing of the gold-standard era in 1971, or what little remained of it by then. It was the breakdown of the fixed monetary order that opened the floodgates. From Alexander Hamilton to Richard Nixon, the dollar was an IOU, a promise to pay gold or silver at a fixed rate. It subsequently became a thing unto itself, an IOU nothing....Long-term solutions to the problem exist...We could - arguably, we must - replace the Ph.D. standard with a 21st-century variant on the classical gold standard...We would continue to pay with our plastic, and our phones, but the money on which we draw would finally be convertible into grams of that tangible, ductile, eternal precious metal." Full story

IRS increases retirement contribution limits for 2019 -Fox Business
"For anyone saving for retirement, you can now sock away even more cash. The IRS has increased the contribution limits for various retirement accounts for 2019. New contribution limits: Contribution limit for employees who participate in a 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans, as well as the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan, is increased from $18,500 to $19,000. The limit on annual contributions to an IRA, which hadn't increased since 2013, were raised to $6,000 from $5,500. Catch-up contribution limit, which is a higher threshold for employees 50 years or older using these accounts, remains unchanged at $6,000. The changes were among several inflation adjustments announced by the IRS Thursday....The changes come at a crucial time. As FOX Business recently reported, many Americans are not prepared for retirement. In fact, nearly half of Americans (48 percent) don’t think their retirement savings will ever reach $1 million, according to a recent study by Fidelity."

Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide -Freedman/Wall Street Journal
"We are careening toward a future with a lot more older people, and for a country that's always thought of itself as young, it comes as a shock to the system. Next year, for the first time ever, there will be more Americans over 60 than under 18, a shift that will become even more pronounced in the coming decades. With that transformation to a more-old-than-young society comes the seeming prospect of scarcity, conflict and isolation. Many see a looming zero-sum fight between 'kids and canes,' competing for diminishing resources in a society split along generational lines. Without discounting these challenges, I believe there is reason for optimism and the possibility of a far better outcome - one that could help us to avoid conflict and solve problems such as child care and loneliness, while also generating a good deal of personal happiness along the way...The fact is, for all the hand-wringing about the graying of America, the needs and assets of the generations fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Just ask any grandparent. There is significant evidence from evolutionary anthropology and developmental psychology that old and young are built for each other. The old, as they move into the latter phases of life, are driven by a deep desire to be needed by the next generation and to nurture it; the young have a need to be nurtured. It’s a complementary relationship that goes back to the beginning of human history. The two loneliest groups in the country, according to a 2018 survey, are younger people and older people, in that order....Of all the things that divide us, the gap between old and young is arguably the most bridgeable. Connecting across generations is not only pragmatic, it's an essential part of the human experience and a key to the cycle of life. After all, the young will soon be the old - likely faster than they ever imagined." Full story

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11.1.18 - More Stock Market Cheats Are Getting Caught

Gold last traded at $1,238 an ounce. Silver at $14.77 an ounce.

NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose sharply Thursday on bargain-hunting and dollar weakness. U.S. stocks rose following comments from President Donald Trump which indicated potential progress in U.S.-China trade relations.

October’s Market Rout Leaves Investors With No Place to Hide -Wall Street Journal
"A brutal October selloff across stocks and bonds has tested investors' resolve and the durability of the more than nine-year-old bull market....Stocks around the world lost about $5 trillion in value, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, as shares in Europe and Asia also tumbled. The tumult left the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 clinging to slim gains for the year as a whole. The indexes finished the month down 5.1% and 6.9%, respectively. It was the worst October for the S&P 500 since 2008. Adding to the stock market's anxieties has been a rare simultaneous drop in bond prices that has pushed yields near their highest levels in years. The dual breakdown in stock and bond prices has upended investors' traditional safety tool kit of buying Treasurys during periods of volatility, leaving many with losses....'There's no real place where investors can hide,' Mr. Paolini said. 'This is one of the worst years in a long time for diversification.' A laundry list of problems sent stocks reeling in October, erasing the hefty gains major indexes notched over the summer. Concerns that the U.S. economy is on the verge of overheating sent bond yields up, inducing the stock market’s first bout of volatility earlier this month as investors were forced to re-evaluate the rich valuations in some pockets of the market....'The market is convinced we're at the end of the cycle,' said Steve Chiavarone, who runs Federated Investments’ global allocation fund....'This isn’t going to end tomorrow. If an investor can stomach another 5% to 10% drawdown, hang tight,' said Liz Young, a senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management."

chart Does This Bounce Mean The Sell-Off Is Over? -Zero Hedge
"The Dow was up 241 points yesterday and the Bubble Heads already think it's 'back to the races again.' I'm still cautioning 'not so fast!,' however. Nothing has changed technically since last week's major technical breakdown that caused the bellwether S&P 500 to close below a very important uptrend line that started in early-2016. The 'Godfather' of chart analysis Ralph Acampora feels the same way as me and said that the 'damage done to the stock market is much, much worse' than anyone is talking about. According to the chart, the S&P 500 is still below its uptrend line, which means that the breakdown is still intact...As I've been saying, the S&P 500 is likely to continue testing its 2,550 to 2,600 support zone before its able to stage a decent bounce. If the index closes below this zone, it would likely signal further declines ahead. Despite the bounce of the past two days, the Nasdaq Composite index is also below its uptrend line that it broke last week, which means that the breakdown is still intact....As I explained yesterday, I am watching if a bearish head and shoulders pattern is forming in the S&P 500 and other major U.S. stock indices....What this analysis clearly suggests is an environment of mounting risks in the markets which our entire portfolio management team at Real Investment Advice and Clarity Financial have been keenly focused on."

Gold rallies as dollar retreats from multi-month highs -Reuters
"Gold rose more than 1 percent on Thursday, rebounding from a three-week low touched in the previous session, and spurred by the dollar's retreat from multi-month highs....The dollar index, which measures the U.S. unit against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.7 percent, dropping from a 16-month high hit in the previous session on the back of continued U.S. economic strength....'$1,250 gold price will be the level to watch for, should the dollar weaken further or equities disappoint,' Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said. Global stocks started the new month on firmer ground after a brutal October, while sterling rallied on reports that Britain and the European Union are close to a post-Brexit deal on financial services. Attention is turning to the U.S. congressional elections on Nov. 6, which will determine whether the Republican or Democratic party controls the U.S. Congress, with some predicting increased market volatility on the outcome."

Market Cheats Getting Caught in Record Numbers -Wall Street Journal
"Federal regulators have ramped up their pursuit of traders who use a bluffing tactic known as spoofing to manipulate market prices, enforcement officials said, leading to a record number of manipulation cases. As part of the push, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission earlier this year quietly began receiving daily sets of market data from the world's largest futures exchange, CME Group Inc. CME handles around 85% of total U.S. futures-markets trading by volume. Regulators for the first time now have access to daily trading data with a one-day delay, giving them a much broader window into trading activity - and possible manipulation. Previously, the CFTC largely relied on CME staff and whistleblowers to spot spoofing....'Policing the market for disruptive trading practices continues to be a huge part of our regulatory investment and effort,' Thomas LaSala, CME’s chief regulatory officer, said in an email."

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