Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stocks Up; Silver at 30-Year High

All attempts to slander, deride or talk down the precious metals as the ultimate store of value have failed. Trillions of Benji Bucks, delivered to market participants by the Federal Reserve and sparking an equity and commodity boom the likes of which the world has never seen has finally defeated the forces holding down the value of gold and silver.

In what can only be characterized as a massive short squeeze, silver spiked to fresh 30-year highs, while gold surge to a one-month high. There is little to hold them back now save the massive short silver positions held by JP Morgan Chase, and they are being buried under frenzied buying.

Uprisings in Middle Eastern countries from Bahrain to Syria to Lybia to Algeria to Saudi Arabia, in the aftermath of the Egyptian triumph over tyranny, have been set off by upward global food price price pressure, the lack of stable employment and corruption in government. If those themes sound familiar to people in the more "developed" world such as the USA and Europe, it is because we are beset on all sides by corruption and inflation, a deadly combination for anyone who seeks to hold positions of political power.

Thus, the Federal Reserve has sparked rebellions overseas and maybe tipped the flobal community past the point of no return. Only the dole in England, food stamps in America and deeply-ingrained socialism in most of the EU has kept the people of these countries from "going Egyptian" on their political masters.

The Westernized nations certainly have a great deal to gripe about, though the impact of the Fed's policies of zero interest rate and quantitative easing are being felt first in the rest of the world. They will no doubt be visiting the shores of Europe and the United States at some as yet determined date. Runaway inflation, high unemployment, dissatisfaction with government policies and widespread fraud should result in tumult of the highest order just in time for the presidential elections in 2012, should the nation still be intact by then.

But, I digress. The most important signpost of the day was the spike in silver, without a doubt. It was, in warrior terminology, a shot across the bows of the ships of states printing fiat money, backed, laughably, by "good faith and cradit" of the issuer. In the case of the United States, unbeknownst to the rulers-at-large, all faith has been shattered and our national credit card has been tapped out. We loan mostly to ourselves, from ourselves, by ourselves, in a Ponzi scheme so deliciously evil that it would make Bernie Madoff look like a boy scout.

Dow 12,318.14, +29.97 (0.24%)
NASDAQ 2,831.58, +6.02 (0.21%)
S&P 500 1,340.43, +4.11 (0.31%)
NYSE Composite 8,497.41, +43.65 (0.52%)

Advancing issues beat decliners, 4118-2402. NASDAQ recorded 212 new highs and 22 new lows. On the NYSE, new highs topped new lows, 361-9, a number so ridiculously out of balance that only Ben Bernanke could love it. There is no downside risk to owning stocks and until there is, one should load up with tight stops on the underside. Volume was back into the abyss of the past two years.

NASDAQ Volume 1,952,032,375
NYSE Volume 4,178,143,000

Oil was up another $1.37, to $86.36 on conflicting reports that Iran was about to send warships through the Suez Canal. Israel is worried and called the act "provocative," while countries all around it are undergoing spasms of freedom and expressions of liberty. The smart money has already left Zion. A couple of Palestinaians were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers on the border of the Gaza strip.

Gold gained $10.00, to $1,385.10, and silver was up more than 2% at the close in New York, higher by 94 cents, to $31.57. Silver, said to be rarer than gold by some accounts, has jumped $5 dollars US in just over a month. Today's final push to new highs marks the beginning of a second phase in the bull rally that has slowly limped behind gold, but has recently outstripped nearly every other asset class, gaining 87% in 2010 alone.

Estimates for how high silver can go and in what time frame range from the reasoned to the impossible, though in today's upside-down economic world, the impossible - such as the S&P 500 doubling in just the past two years - is now possible. A reasonable guess is that silver will reach $50 by the end of the year, which would be "only" a 67% gain in an asset that has no counterparty risk if one holds physical metal and is deeply undervalued by almost every metric.

Now that buying stocks is a risk-less play, expect some surprises in the next downturn, such as it coming out of nowhere, for no particular reason and to be deep and quick. The sheep will surely get sheared once again as gold bugs and silver sleuths sit back and gloat.

Yes, and real estate in selected markets is cheap, but will be cheaper later this year, even cheaper in 2012 and practically fire-sale prices in 2013. Save your silver. In three years time, you'll be able to buy a reasonable three-bedroom home in a decent community for about 200 ounces of silver. I would not kid you about that. Of course, you may not be able to afford the property taxes, especially if the house is in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or California.

And, BTW, the banks are dead. They just won't admit it.

No comments: