The Best Bet in Town—Resources—Getting Ready for the Big Squeeze

By Mitchell Clark, B.Comm.

The key in this bear market with stocks is to stick with resource stocks if you’re a speculator. I like large, blue-chip companies that pay high dividends for long-term investors. For risk-capital equity traders, the best action remains with gold stocks, and some of the best value now is in oil.

There isn’t much wind at your back in this market. Lately, the shorts have been winners. The trading action is choppy and trendless, reflecting investor sentiment that doesn’t have high expectations for the future. The current stock market malaise should be with us for a while longer, but the market is developing some decent values and the earnings outlook remains solid.

I’d be a buyer of new gold investments as the spot price corrects. There’s just too much strength in the fundamentals for gold for it to be ignored. In a world without growth, producing gold mines are some of the best businesses around. If you have a mining company with growing production and unhedged exposure to the spot price of gold, you have the makings of a very profitable enterprise…and the kicker is that business will just get better and better as the underlying spot price of the commodity rises.

We’ve been harping on gold for a number of years now and the trade has worked big-time. But, I also think it’s fair to conclude that the trade will keep on working with the growing likelihood of increased price inflation around the world. Global investors, even central banks, are looking for a store of value and there isn’t much in the way of anything that pays a decent return. Treasury yields are very low. The returns on cash are negative if you factor in the rate of inflation. The gold sector remains one of the best for speculators. The trading action in technology, biotech and most other stock market sectors just isn’t as good.

I mentioned oil because I like to consider investments when prices are down. Oil and natural gas are now trading at levels that I think are highly stimulative to the economy. Some exposure to this sector is warranted. And, as we see the commodity price cycle migrate into agricultural commodities, a couple of positions in this sector should also do well over the coming years.

As I say, I think equity speculators should have solid exposure to real resources going forward. Economic growth in most of the world’s mature economies is at a standstill. But emerging economies like China and India still have burgeoning appetites for raw materials. When mature economies start to accelerate, there is going to be a big squeeze on commodities and prices should skyrocket. Think of the state of the domestic economy now and consider the current prices for gold, copper, oil, corn, soybeans and sugar. Then consider the demand side of the commodity price equation when things get better. The supply side is quite stagnant. In my mind, the resource bet makes a lot of sense.

Inflation at Almost 5%…Is It Any Wonder Dollars Buy Less and Less?

Gold prices rising for 10 years straight…the money supply greatly expanded…the printing press for dollars running overtime…am I the only one concerned about rapid inflation?

I rarely read or hear a report talking about today’s rising prices or the hyperinflation we may sustain in the years ahead. We all know prices are rising—only housing prices have remained low. Inflation is real and it is here now.

The U.S. consumer-price index (CPI) increased 0.4% in August. That’s an annual inflation rate of 4.8%! Why are we not hearing and reading more about this? The only vocal entity on inflation has been gold bullion. The rise in the price of gold is shouting, “Inflation ahead!”

By keeping interest rates so low, by increasing the money supply, the Fed is spurring inflation. And that’s what we all want: inflation, not deflation. So the Fed has us pointed in the right direction. The trick for the Fed will be eventually bringing interest rates up ever so gently when inflation starts to get out of control.

Unfortunately, consumers are suffering from inflation today. Retirees who will not accept risk with their investments are stuck with 10-year Treasuries paying a measly two percent. With inflation at 4.8%, consumers’ money is losing 2.8% of its value over 12 months.

Inflation is a problem today, my dear readers, and it will be a bigger problem tomorrow. Keep the gold investments. They’ll be even more valuable as time passes and inflation really takes hold in this country.

Michael’s Personal Notes:

Jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 428,000 last week—the highest level since June, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Wow! Jobs continue to be a big economic problem in this country. Bank of America (NYSE/BAC) is the latest large company to announce major layoffs plans.

Until employment in this country gets back on track, the housing market will not recover. And until the housing market recovers, the economy will continue to be anemic. That’s simple economic analysis.

I’ve been thinking more and more about Obama’s American Jobs Bill and I don’t believe it’s the answer. It will just add billions to our debt burden.

The answer, my dear reader, the answer to creating old-fashioned jobs in this country, is capitalism and entrepreneurship. That’s what created this great country in the first place.

Drastically lowering taxes will create jobs. A flat tax across the board—say 20% or 25%—with a valued-added sales tax on the purchase of items, like they have in countries such as Canada, is the only way to really get the economy going and to create jobs. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has never put forth any such proposal.

Where the Market Stands: Where it’s Headed:

We are in a bear market rally that started in March of 2009. While 30 months’ old and tired, this bear market rally has more life left in it. I believe that the rally will push stock prices even higher, as the bear lures more investors back into the stock market.

What He Said:

“As investors, we need to take a serious look at our investment portfolios and ask, ‘How will my investments be affected by an American-grown recession?’ You should take what precautionary steps you can right now to protect yourself from a recession in 2007. Maybe you need to cut your own spending or maybe you need to sell some stocks that will take a beating during a recession. You know what tidying up you need to do. Don’t procrastinate…get to it now. And please remember: Recessions can happen quickly, stock markets don’t go up during recessions, and the longer the boom before the recession, the longer the recession. Just based on my last point, we have plenty to worry about in 2007.” Michael Lombardi in PROFIT CONFIDENTIAL, November 13, 2006. Michael was one of the first to predict a U.S. recession, long before Wall Street analysts and economists even thought it a possibility.

Oil & Gold-Two Great Commodities

Oil & Gold—Two Great Commodities Whose Prices Reflect the Fear in
Financial Markets

By Mitchell Clark, B.Comm.

The only trading action that seems to be working for long investors is in gold stocks these days. This isn’t a surprise, nor is it unexpected with the spot price of gold so high. Two more junior gold producers, AuRico Gold (NYSE/AUQ) and Northgate Minerals (AMEX/NXG), announced a deal to merge. The two juniors hope to create a new intermediate gold player and the expectation for production growth as a combined company is significant.

In this particular case, AuRico Gold is doing the buying. The company’s share price (which has almost doubled since the beginning of the year) appreciated swiftly to a recent 52-week high of $14.17 per share. Then the company announced the all-share deal to acquire Northgate. It’s a trend that we’re going to see more of over the coming quarters. With share prices lofty and bank accounts full, everyone in the gold mining business wants to bulk up before the party’s over.

The broader stock market’s trading action reflects the overall sentiment in the economy. Add in the fact that the month of September is often not a good one for stocks, and one could easily predict that the next several weeks are going to be difficult. The stock market isn’t expensively priced, but that doesn’t mean that it will be anytime soon. There’s a mini cycle going on in the stock market and it’s all about the revision of expectations for the future. Expected returns from stocks are going down big-time, as current economic data sink in. No doubt the stock market needs a major catalyst in order for it to advance. It’s unclear at this time what that catalyst will be. As is usually the case, the market will need a combination of factors to come together if it’s going to move higher in any sustainable fashion.

The S&P 500 Index did an impressive job of recovering from the 1,120 level. It clawed its way back to 1,200 and is now trying to balance itself out with the fears in the marketplace. The next major move could be anything. What’s likely in my view is that the trading action will very difficult until we get into third-quarter earnings. Any earnings warnings from corporations in this market will not be well received. The same goes for any changes in fourth-quarter visibility come reporting time. Everything now has a fragility to it—the economy, financial markets, and expectations for the future. The only exception is the market for gold; investors still view this specific asset as a haven, even though the spot price has already gone up dramatically.

The best near-term indicator for share prices continues to be the spot price of oil. A weaker oil price is exactly what the economy needs, but it also serves to illustrate declining sentiment about the future. Stocks won’t advance until the economic news shows some major improvement.