Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Marc Faber: 'Vicious Spiral' Will Hit U.S. Profits

MON 04 JUN 12 | 07:03 AM ET

Marc Faber of "The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report," tells CNBC in this "Squawk Box" excerpt that he thinks Europe is already in a recession and China's growth is much slower than most believe. He expects U.S. corporate profits will be hit by a global slowdown.

Some people just can't be saved

An amazing anti-gold article in the share owners bible The Wall Street Journal. My comments are in italics.

How Much Gold Do Investors Need? Zero Should Suffice

Original Source
After sliding 6% in May, the price of gold jumped 3.7% on Friday. Skeptics say it is a temporary rise in a longer downturn. Fans of the metal say it is the start of another glorious run. (and the S&P500 has made nothing YTD)

Picking a side is pointless. Gold defies efforts to calculate its worth—or even to describe how it behaves as an investment. That means there isn't a clear reason to invest in it. (what just because you can't plug in some variables into an equation to get a mark-to-model price doesn't mean it isn't worth holding. I challenge anyone to "value" a Picasso, but I would still like to own one.)

If you must own some gold to sleep better, stick with a multivitamin approach: A little bit won't hurt. A lot can prove toxic. (how can buying a physical asset that has never fallen to zero, kept it's purchasing power over millenia and cannot be created by man be toxic? Toxic is the 3,800 fiat currencies that have failed since 406BC).

Gold is prone to long booms and busts (yes as priced in fiat dollars, maybe the Gold value never changes and it is the fiat that it is priced in is the item that has booms and busts). Before its latest dip, it multiplied five times in value over a decade, mocking stocks and other investments. (hell yeah, bet you didn't join the ride starting 11 Sep 2001) Before that, it lost money for 20 years (of course, real interest rates were positive, making holding gold expensive relative to cash at risk. We no longer have that situation with zero percent interest rates). Some investors look to gold as a safe haven. (not some, lots. Just ask one of the 92 million Vietnamese).  It is one—but only when it wants to be. Just over two years ago, when investors learned that Greece's deficits were much larger than officials there had reported, the metal followed U.S. Treasurys higher while Greek government bonds crashed.

Yet last month, with Greece's fiscal crisis intensifying, Greek government bonds again tumbled while U.S. Treasurys rose, but this time investors dumped gold. (only brain dead US day traders and weak hands. As mentioned before did Gold fall or did the US fiat rise?)

To study how gold behaves, we asked FactSet Research Systems to analyze the metal's short-term correlation with two other investments: the 10-year Treasury note, representing safe havens, and the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, representing risk.

"Correlation" is a measure of how closely two assets track each other. A reading of 1.0 means they trade in lock-step, while zero means they are independent and a reading of minus-1.0 means they act like opposites.

What did FactSet find? Chaos. The correlation between gold and the 10-year Treasury has jumped above 0.6 at some points over the past five years and has fallen below minus-0.8 during others, changing direction several times. The one between gold and stocks has had similar spasms, with the highs topping 0.9.

In other words, gold might suffer from a multiple personality disorder.

Some investors say gold is a hedge against inflation. That is true of any good or service that consumers can be counted on to want in coming years, such as oil or poultry farms. Gold's wild swings have made it a poor proxy for the consumer-price index, a key inflation measure. (and the price of Oil hasn't moved wildly? - Much easier to hold an 1oz of gold than 20 barrels of crude oil)

Perhaps that is because only 12% of gold's demand comes from industrial applications, according to the World Gold Council, a trade group. The rest comes from jewelry and investment (and the divide between those two isn't always clear).

Still others view gold as "real money"—the one thing that will hold its value if governments create so much new currency that those currencies lose their value. Taken to its logical conclusion, this means governments would eventually agree to once again use gold as the basis for their currencies, says James Swanson, chief investment strategist at MFS, a mutual-fund company.

That is a fantasy, he argues, because some powerful nations have relatively little gold and some gold-rich nations have little power. (really, gee the US has lots of Gold, the most in fact, and they are still the no. 1 economy).

So how much is gold really worth? With stocks, bonds, rental houses and Laundromats, one way to answer that question is to compare the purchase price with expected cash flow. But gold doesn't generate any cash. Indeed, it costs something to store it. (and your point is? Berkshire Hathaway shares pay no dividends but some people are willing to pay $119,183 per share)

Investors sometimes use the cost of producing the world's next ounce of gold as an approximate floor for its price. That cost is between $1,200 and $1,400 now, depending on the efficiency of the mine, reckons Michael Dudas, a mining-stock analyst at investment bank Sterne Agee. Gold sold for $1,620.50 an ounce on Friday.

There is a catch, however: The cost of mining gold has followed the price of gold higher, as mining firms have bid up machine prices and countries with plenty of gold underground have raised the royalties they charge to miners, Mr. Dudas says. If production costs are a floor for gold's price, the floor is made of straw, not concrete. (um your are sure that the Oil price has had nothing to do with it? A typical Gold mine burns 100 litres of diesel per ounce of Gold mined).

Of course, gold's price is ultimately based on supply and demand, and demand has surely soared over the past decade. Exchange-traded funds such as SPDR Gold Shares and iShares Gold Trust have made gold investing easier than ever. Gold-coin pitchmen have played off the angst and distrust left by a global financial crisis. (yes, demand has soured over the past decade, and is set to continue).

But ultimately, as Mr. Swanson puts it, you need a psychology book rather than a calculator to decide how to trade gold, and that means you shouldn't rely on it to do anything specific. (sure just like investing in shares, bonds and Real Estate).

Investors who are determined to stock up on gold following May's dip might wish to give gold stocks a look instead. Year to date, gold's price is up 3.5%, but the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF has fallen 9.4%. (cause they are shares, not Gold - shares like fiat currency can be created by man and fall to zero).

Adrian Day, an Annapolis, Md., money manager overseeing $170 million, says gold miners look unusually cheap relative to the size of their gold reserves. Joseph Foster, manager of the Van Eck International Investors Gold fund, can place fund assets in either gold or mining shares. He says he heavily favors the latter now.

Mr. Foster's top holdings include Randgold Resources and New Gold. Sterne Agee's Mr. Dudas issued buy recommendations on Newmont Mining and Gold Resource last month.

For investors who won't feel comfortable without having some physical gold within easy reach, one last piece of advice: Forget about Krugerrands. Buy your spouse something expensive, lovely and high-carat. (yeah great move, don't buy something that has 1% premium over spot but buy a diamond ring at 100% over spot - let me know how that goes come the time you want to sell your "investment" ring).

That way, even if gold disappoints, at least someone will be happy.Jack Hough is a columnist at SmartMoney.com. Email: jack.hough@dowjones.com

International Coverage of RBA rate cut

June 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to the lowest since 2009 as Europe’s debt crisis and slower Chinese growth overshadowed a stronger domestic labor market.

Has a `Lehman' Type Event Already Happened?

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Michael A. Gayed, chief investment strategist at Pension Partners LLC and Bloomberg's Matt Miller talk about how the market is behaving as if a "Lehman" type event has already occurred. They speak on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart."

RBA cuts rates by 0.25%

Original Source

The Reserve Bank has cut its cash rate by 25 basis points, marking the biggest back-to-back monthly reductions since the depth of the global financial crisis.

The central bank today dropped its key lending rate from 3.75 per cent to 3.5 per cent - its lowest level since November 2009. The onus will now fall on commercial lenders to pass the reduction on to borrowers.

Today’s cut was expected by 13 of 27 economists polled by Bloomberg, with four of them tipping the RBA would repeat May’s surprise 50 basis-point reduction. The rest predicted no change.
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In the accompanying statement, RBA governor Glenn Stevens said "financial market sentiment has deteriorated over the past month".

"At today's meeting, the Board judged that, with modest domestic growth and a weaker and more uncertain international environment, the outlook for inflation afforded scope for a more accommodative stance of monetary policy," he said.

The central bank has now lowered its lending rate four times in its past seven meetings as slowing economic growth gives it more room to spur demand without risking a surge in inflation.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/rba-cuts-rates-to-35-20120605-1ztil.html#ixzz1wtJN7LrB

Nigerian plane crash

Amazing a plane crashes into a reinforced concrete building yet you can still see bits of plane everywhere.
Obviously the cleanup crew they have on call for the Pentagon is much more efficient, than the one in Lagos.

Jun 4, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

'Banks rob us!' Canadian girl becomes Internet sensation after exposing banksters

Jun 4, 2012 by RTAmerica

Economists around the world are struggling to break free of the clutches of the financial crisis. But a twelve-year-old Canadian knows what needs to be done. Victoria Grant took the Internet by storm overnight, after a video of her slamming Canada's banks for robbing the people went viral. RT talks to internet sensation Victoria Grant and her mother Marcia Grant.

Robert Prechter on the Bullishness of an EU Breakup and the coming Global Deflation

Jun 4, 2012 by CapitalAccount

Welcome to Capital Account. Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros says the EU is like a bubble and authorities will not be able to meet the demands of the market coming up. It doesn't keep Eurocrats from pushing for new master integration plans. But are they doomed to fail when the mood is this negative? Was the very formation of the EU made possible by a secular bull market and the psychology that accompanies it? We are talking about bull market mania. RobertPrechter, founder of Elliot Wave International, joins us to explain.

Egan Jones Downgrades The UK From AA To AA-

When one is expected to go down for missing a comma in their NRSRO application, one at least should go down swinging. Sure enough, Egan-Jones, the only rating agency with any credibility left, is at it again, this time cutting the big momma itself - the UK - from AA to AA-.
6/4/2012: United Kingdom: EJR lowered AA to AA- (Neg.) Projected A+ (S&P: AAA) (6152Z LN)

Synopsis: On the balance of payment side, imports have exceeded exports by an average of approximately 500B pounds annually over the past several years. The major problems for the UK is that Europe's banking crisis does not appear to be abating as evidenced by the miserable results of most EU banks. On the fiscal side, the deficit to GDP has declined over the past three years from 11.5% to 8.3%, which is a respectable decline, but the bulk of the reduction was the result of increased taxes since GDP growth was weak. The over-riding concern is whether the country will be able to continue to cut its deficit in the face of weaker economic conditions and a possible deterioration in the country's financial sector. Unfortunately, we expect that the UK's debt/GDP will continue to rise and the country will remain pressed.
Full report here.
This chart may have something to do Egan-Jones decision: