Monday, April 29, 2013

Stocks Ramp Higher, But Gold and Silver Outshine

This is one crazy market.

Considering that there are nearly 50 million Americans on food stamps, earnings reports are showing a slowdown in top and bottom-line growth and recent economic indicators suggest the economy is shrinking rather than improving, stocks continue go up regardless of any and all warning signs, today approaching all-time highs on the S&P and the Dow Jones Industrials.

It's obviously all about the Bernanke bucks, risk-free money inserted into the market via the primary dealers with nowhere to go - since the banks haven't increased lending since 2007 - except into speculative investments, or, in a word: stocks.

The data de jure came from the Dallas Fed, which posted a sickening -15.6 on it's monthly manufacturing index, on expectations of a 5.0 reading, down sharply from last month's 7.40 number. Additionally, personal spending and personal income matched up gains of 0.2% each for March, both down sharply from February.

With $85 billion a month coming directly from the central bank, should one expect anything else? Probably not. Data simply doesn't matter any more. The issue is that the Fed's stimulative activity is only helping the top 10%, particularly those invested in stocks. Savers have been beaten nearly to death due to the record-low yields in fixed investments, so the middle class has been effectively short-changed and turned into nothing but debt slaves.

There are alternative, as has been pointed out expressly on this blog for many years. Land, gold, silver, art, and other tangible assets (especially machinery which is capable of producing products which produce income) may not show daily, weekly or quarterly gains like stocks, but neither are they taxed if held closely.

In the cases of gold, silver and real estate - if owned outright without a mortgage - these hard assets can also be used as loan collateral, to purchase even more assets, or, if one is accustomed to a bit of risk, produce leverage. Bottom line, they are preservers of wealth, as has clearly been the case over the last 10-12 years in which the precious metals have tripled, quadrupled or more, depending upon one's entry point.

Today's stock market gains, though solid, were not as good as those in the precious metals. While the major averages were up between 0.72 and 0.85%, gold gained 0.95 and silver outpaced them all with a solid 1.53% gain, not bad for one day.

But, one needs to appreciate gold and silver not for gains or falls in the market. Even with the smash-down two weeks ago, holders of physical metal haven't lost a thing. They still have the same amount of American silver eagles (ASE) or Kruggerrands, bars, coins or jewelry. And they will have them when markets implode, when the currency crisis comes full circle or when paper investments go up in flames, as they always do.

Besides the obvious notion that all of the stock indices are down sharply against gold or silver over the past 12 years, the precious metals remain the ultimate store of value. Why else would central banks - especially China, Russia and other Asian countries - and their citizens be buying in record amounts?

Hold 'em and don't fold 'em.

Dow 14,818.75, +106.20 (0.72%)
NASDAQ 3,307.02, +27.76 (0.85%)
S&P 500 1,593.61, +11.37 (0.72%)
NYSE Composite 9,237.90, +68.00 (0.74%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,458,762,250
NYSE Volume 2,954,210,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4645-1800
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 399-25 (extreme, again)
WTI crude oil: 94.26, +1.26
Gold: 1,467.40, +13.80
Silver: 24.12, +0.364

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