Gold (GC : NASDAQ : US$1415.40), Net Change: 22.30, % Change: 1.60%, Volume: 146,830 Sprott Physical Gold (PHYS : NYSE : US$11.84), Net Change: 0.11, % Change: 0.93%, Volume: 1,469,493
Go for torque, go for quality or go for the physical? Worries about a potential U.S. military strike against Syria sent oil and gold prices higher on Tuesday. After almost a 30% fall in the gold price (peak to through) in H1/13, all gold producers without
exception have had to adjust to the new environment.
Even producers with a better quality asset base have had to improve their working capital management, adapt exploration budgets, and in some cases postpone/suspend lower priority development projects. Higher cost producers, have had to come up with new business models (new mine plans) in order to survive in the world of lower gold prices. Higher leveraged companies have had to go even further by postponing key capital projects and searching for alternative ways to generate cash (non-core asset sale for example).
Over the past month, gold shares have recovered some of their losses following the rebound in the gold price and more clarity on managements’ revised plans. At this stage, it is important to look at gold equities by evaluating a number of key parameters in order to select those companies that are best positioned to weather likely higher gold price volatility in the near term without needing to make significant changes to their growth plans and/or business models.
Investors should more on defensive gold equities with a low-cost asset base, low leverage and the ability to deliver development plans even in a volatile gold price environment. Barron’s published an interesting technical comment on gold this week, “the [gold] market negated its June breakdown and now has its sights set on a much more important feature – the former price floor in the $1,542 an ounce area…If gold can reclaim that level, it would be a 30% gain and a bull market by definition.”
Separately, it is worth noting that Sprott Physical Gold Trust now trades at NAV or at a slight discount. Historically, PHYS’s premium/discount to NAV (since inception on February 25, 2010) has ranged between a discount of 2.49% (May 27, 2013) and premium of 23.68% (May 25, 2010).
Several U.S. retailers reported their November sales numbers with the impact of Hurricane Sandy being a consistent theme.
All in, retail sales increased by 1.6% in the month, less than half the 3.3% increase that analysts were expecting.
Target (TGT) and Macy’s (M) both missed expectations due to weakness from the storm while Kohl’s (KSS)
posted a surprise drop in November sales, sending shares dramatically lower. Additionally, Kohl’s management said the online
strength that it saw in the moth would not be replicated in December.
Limited Brands (LTD), parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Bodyworks and La Senza, reported a 5% increase in sales, beating expectations while all three of Gap Inc’s (GPS) business lines, Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, saw sales improve. Costco (COST), the largest retailer to report results, said that sales rose by a better-than-expected 6%, helping to buoy overall results.
If you are new to gold investing or seeking portfolio ideas, this is the book you want to own. It includes both a look at the dynamics of financial crises, and how individuals can protect and grow wealth in such an environment. Bass’ work provides an excellent overview of gold as a tool for asset preservation and growth. The strategies in the book incorporate the physical commodity and paper instruments like mining stocks and ETFs..
This is an easy to read investment guide following up on The Apprentice MillionairePortfolio.. This book is well written, organized with a wealth of information.. Mr Bass, who has over 30 years experience in investing in gold, gives very good reasons why you may want to invest 10-30% of your portfolio in gold, what form of gold to buy, what to look for as you find a gold firm to purchase from, how gold is a winner during inflationary and deflationary times, etc . There is a lot to know about gold investment, and this book is a very good road map to investing in gold successfully.
Amazon announced on Tuesday will hire 50,000 temporary workers at order-fulfilment centres across the U.S. this holiday season. That’s more than double the 20,000 full-time workers that Amazon usually has manning its 40 fulfillment centers around the U.S. What’s more, many of the seasonal employees may end up joining the permanent Amazon workforce, in which many are paid 30% more than traditional retail workers, the company said.
Each year, retailers boost their ranks to handle the swell in demand from shoppers who swarm into aisles on Black Friday and stay through Christmas.
Macy’s (M) recently said it will enlist 80,000 seasonal workers, up 2.5% from last year. Wal-Mart (WMT) will pick up 50,000 associates while Target (TGT) will hire up to 90,000 while Kohl’s (KSS) said its temporary holiday workforce will boom 10% from last year to 52,700 workers. Overall, the National Retail Federation estimates that American retailers will hire up to 625,000 temporary employees for the holidays
During a recent interview with Investment U, Jim Rogers revealed his favorite place to invest now.
It’s not gold. It’s not technology.
It’s not copper, or oil… or emerging-market stocks.
It’s dirt. More specifically, Rogers likes agriculture.
The sector’s performance is starting to back him up, too.
During one recent 12-month span, the bellwether DB Agriculture Fund (NYSE: DBA) soared 26.4%, outpacing the S&P 500 by 63%.
When the debt downgrade hit U.S. Treasuries in August 2011, DBA dropped 4.42% while the broad market tumbled 16.67%.
Agriculture, right now, is proving more profitable – and safer – than the broad stock market.
Take a look:
Rogers sees the trend continuing for the foreseeable future.
If his latest analysis of the global economy is accurate, “everybody who has a second home in Iowa would be rich,” says Rogers.
Rogers has long been known as the world’s leading commodity investor. (His track record, as you may know, includes co-founding the Quantum Fund, which soared 4,200% in 10 years versus 50% for the S&P. He’s also penned numerous bestsellers, which should be required reading for any serious investor.) And earlier this year he restated his belief that all commodities are in a bull market that has years to run.
But he singled out agriculture as the best sector right now.
Rogers’ Rationale: Why Agriculture Could Soar
This is a man known for doing his homework. And that’s what has led him to this conclusion.
For starters, agriculture has been a backwater sector for decades. That has created value.
“Over the last 25 or 30 years, agriculture’s been a horrible way to make money throughout the world. As a result, we have virtually no farmers,” Rogers pointed out in a recent interview withInvestment U Executive Editor Garrett Baldwin.
“According to the U.S. Government, the average age of farmers in America is 58 years old. In 10 years, they’re going to be 68 years old… if they’re still alive.
The shortage of farmers will lead to a shortage of farm production. And these shortages equal opportunity with commodities.
“If you get out the Department of Education’s numbers for the past 50 years,” says Rogers, “You’ll see a dramatic decline in the number of students studying agriculture, mining and petroleum engineering.”
“We don’t have any new farmers,” Rogers says. “Second of all, the [experts] are pretty old and are going to be going out of business. It’s a huge mess we have that’s developing in the world, and you’re going to see more and more shortages develop.
“We already have very low inventories on a historic basis for agricultural products. And even if we have a great local crop this year or next, so what? It’s going to be consumed very quickly because the inventory levels are already so low.”
In the future, Rogers sees farmers driving Porsches… and Wall Street brokers driving junkers.
He’s very serious about this.
“You know, the stock brokers are going to be broke,” says Rogers, foreshadowing what he sees as an increasingly diminished role for the financial sector. “All the farmers are going to be stunningly rich.”
How to Invest in the Coming Agriculture Boom
The bottom line for investors, Rogers says, is to participate in the coming agriculture boom however you can. That can include investments like stocks, of course.
But for those with flexibility, he suggests more creative ways to build wealth.
“You want to buy a lake house, buy it in Iowa or Oklahoma. Don’t buy it in Massachusetts,” he says.
Rogers continues: “Buy where the people are going to be rich. Open yourself a chain of restaurants in the agriculture area or department stores or hotels. Anything that you want to do in an area where people are making lots of money, you’ll make a lot of money, too… just because they’re rich.”
On a more conventional-investing level, Rogers sees plenty of opportunity, as well. “Certainly, the seed manufacturers and tractor manufacturers, backhoe dealers, everybody who has anything to do with production of raw materials is going to get rich.”
Some ways to invest include…
Deere & Company(NYSE: DE): The maker of John Deere tractors and equipment is the blue chip of the sector.
AGCO(NYSE: AGCO): Another farm-equipment manufacturing powerhouse, but on a smaller scale… AGCO could have plenty of room for growth, holding a large chunk of Brazil’s tractor market.
CNH Global (NYSE: CNH): The second-largest maker of farm equipment on earth, but less than half of Deere’s market cap.
Seeds and Fertilizers:
Potash Corp. (NYSE: POT): Like Deere, a stalwart of the sector, selling fertilizer and seed products across the U.S. and Canada.
Monsanto (NYSE: MON): Produces seeds for global markets, along with proprietary genetics and other products.
Syngenta AG (NYSE: SYT): This seed giant puts the focus on hybrid and synthetic seed technologies.
Plum Creek Timber (NYSE: PCL): This real estate investment trust owns timberland across the U.S. and pays a very healthy dividend.
Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY): For over 110 years, Weyerhaeuser has set the standard for the timber industry.
The history : Last week, the manager of the world’s largest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, compared long-term returns from equities to a “Ponzi scheme” and said returns of 6.6 percent above inflation, known as the Siegel Constant, won’t be seen again. “The cult of equity is dead,” Gross, 68, said in an Aug. 2 interview with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television
The dismissal of a long-held belief among stock pickers highlights the challenge Pimco faces in building an equities business while aligning its managers with an economic philosophy outlined by bond king Gross that predicts diminished returns across asset classes. Since starting its first equity strategy in 2010, Pimco has gathered $3.2 billion in the four main stock funds, less than 1 percent of the firm’s $1.8 trillion, held back by investor aversion to equity funds and subpar performance. The firm’s four main stock funds are trailing a majority of rivals this year.
Neel Kashkari, the former head of the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program who was hired in December 2009 and oversees Pimco’s global equities, said Gross’s comments are consistent with Pimco’s outlook for stocks in a “new normal” environment of below-average economic growth.
“This makes it even more important to invest globally and actively select the companies best-positioned to deliver attractive returns,” Kashkari, 39, said in an e-mail.
Pimco’s first two equity strategies, EqS Pathfinder Fund (PATHX) and EqS Emerging Markets Fund, account for about $2.6 billion of the firm’s stock assets. Neither is beating its benchmark index in 2012, and both lagged behind at least 62 percent of peers as of Aug. 2, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
EqS Emerging Markets Fund, which began in March 2011, and Pimco’s third equity strategy, EqS Dividend Fund, which started in December, have attracted less than $900 million in combined assets. Gross’s Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund (BOND), an ETF variation on his flagship fixed-income mutual fund, has soared to $2.4 billion in assets since it was started five months ago.
Pimco first experimented with stocks in the mid-1980s, a foray that was short-lived when the equity managers quit after about two years. Lessons from that time, when bond traders would shoot down equity managers’ bullish arguments for stocks during strategy meetings, led Gross to try to give the equities team more freedom, he told Bloomberg Markets magazine in its August 2010 issue.
“Those sessions basically said, ‘Hey, we’re a bond shop. This is what we’re going to do. It’s the party line,’” Gross said in the 2010 interview. “If I’ve been a problem, then I can be the solution in terms of allowing equity investments to grow and prosper.”
Another effort was set up in 1999 by Pimco’s then-parent company, which created an equity unit separate from the bond business to take advantage of the Pimco name. Five years later the unit was one of several fund companies accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of allowing a hedge fund to engage in market timing, a practice of making short-term trades to exploit market inefficiencies, and was dissolved after paying fines and repayments to settle the lawsuits. It didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing.
Pimco’s latest stock effort came as Gross anticipated an end to the 30-year bond rally, which helped fuel Pimco’s growth since Gross co-founded the firm in 1971. The prediction was undermined as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis sent investors to the perceived safety of bonds and out of stocks. Stock funds have seen client withdrawals in every year since 2008.
Investors have pulled about $197 billion from stock funds since the start of 2010 through this June, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, a trade group based in Washington.
“No one should be surprised that Pimco equity funds are a stepchild,” said Joshua Brown, vice president of investment for New York-based Fusion Analytics Investment Partners LLC, which has part of its $300 million under management in Pimco bond funds. “What they have against them is distaste for open-end mutual funds, dislike for equities and the fact that it’s a bond shop in everyone’s mind.”
Anne Gudefin and Charles Lahr, former Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN) managers, were brought in to oversee the first stock fund, EqS Pathfinder. The $2.13 billion fund’s managers follow a deep- value strategy of picking stocks they consider to be cheaper than they’re worth. In the 12 months through Aug. 2, it declined 0.2 percent, putting it ahead of 66 percent of similarly managed funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This year the fund returned 4.1 percent, trailing 62 percent of peers.
The Pathfinder fund follows a more conservative strategy and tends to hold more cash so it hasn’t benefited as much from this year’s stock rally, said Karin Anderson, a senior mutual- fund analyst for Morningstar Inc. (MORN) The MSCI ACWI Index of global stocks is up 6.2 percent and the U.S. benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen 11 percent this year through Aug. 3.
Gross’s Total Return Fund returned 7.6 percent this year through Aug. 2 and the ETF version gained about 8.3 percent since it started trading in March. Pimco’s bond funds on average outperformed 59 percent of peers this year through June 30, according to data compiled by Chicago-based Morningstar.
Conclusion : More Time
The firm opened a fourth equity strategy in April, Pimco EqS Long/Short Fund, which lets clients participate in long-term stock ownership while seeking to limit losses when markets turn bearish by holding cash or selectively betting against securities. The strategy is run by Geoffrey Johnson, who joined Pimco in April from Catamount Capital Management LLC, and uses the same investment process as a hedge fund Johnson oversaw since 2003.
“It’s going to take more time to see what these managers can do with these tools at their disposal,” said Anderson of Morningstar. “It could be a hindrance if they’re constantly trying to think about this macro view and force stocks in and out based on it.”