Wealth Building Strategies

What Are the 15 Most Important Investing Years?

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Posted by Andrew Ruhland

on Monday, 12 March 2018 10:35

Andrew details some of the challenges faced by investors as they enter the MOST important phase of their planning for end-of-work and retirement.



Wealth Building Strategies

Game Plan for Late-Cycle Investing

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Posted by Financial Sense Advisors, Inc

on Thursday, 08 March 2018 06:01

The three key themes in the current market environment - a rise in volatility, inflation, and investor sentiment - are characteristics of a business cycle in its later stages. Taking Warren Buffet's rule #2 "Don't Lose Money" to heart, they make a comprehensive case for a late-cycle investing game plan which includes shifting away from stocks towards cash, % bearing assets and commodities and commodity-related stocks. - Robert Zurrer for Money Talks

Theme # 1 – Rising Volatility

Investors have been spoiled over the last two years with record low levels of volatility in virtually every asset class, causing some investors entering 2018 to throw caution to the wind as euphoric levels of greed crept into the market. The title to our quarterly newsletter was "Records Were Made to Be Broken" and the recent market decline has ended some of those records already. Using S&P 500 data going back to the Great Depression, the US stock market set a new record of going 311 days without a 3% decline and 404 days without a 5% decline. We are unlikely to repeat these feats any time soon as we believe investors should anticipate a more volatile environment going forward as we transition through a major turning point in global monetary policy.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, we saw central banks respond with unprecedented stimulus using zero-interest-rate-policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE) to expand their balance sheets to unimaginable levels. The collective result of these actions was an end to the Great Recession and the beginning of new liquidity-fueled economic expansions and bull markets around the world.

The global liquidity tide of easy money began to slow down first with the US Fed ending its QE program in 2014, eventually raising interest rates in 2015 for the first time since 2006. Along with a steady increase in rates, the Fed is also on track to shrink its balance sheet to the tune of an estimated $420 billion this year and $600 billion next year. Though President Trump has enacted a stimulative tax cut, as Dave Rosenberg recently pointed out (Lunch with Dave, 12/28/17), estimates project $140 billion in stimulus for economy-wide earnings this year with additional gains of $80 billion next year—a small offset to the liquidity drain from monetary policy.

Further adding to the monetary liquidity drain will be the European Central Bank (ECB), which is slated to end its QE program later this year. According to Wells Fargo, the combined purchases of the world’s two biggest central banks—the Fed and ECB—will turn negative beginning this summer and only accelerate in the second half of the year.

02Source: Advisors Perspective

Furthermore, when we look at the annual growth rate of the top seven central banks' balance sheets, we see that it will likely turn negative in 2019 for the first time since 2015. If you can recall, 2015 into 2016 was a very tumultuous period with back-to-back double digit declines and fears over a major market top in the works.

global qe negative

For the better part of the last decade stock prices and central bank balance sheets have been joined at the hip so anything to upset the apple cart should not be dismissed. As the global liquidity tide starts to go out over the next year, we are likely to see who has been swimming naked (as Warren Buffett famously remarked). This should also add to further volatility, a common characteristic seen in the later stages of the business cycle.

Theme # 2 – Rising Inflation



Wealth Building Strategies

The World's Cobalt Supply Is in Jeopardy

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Posted by Frank Holmes - US Global Investors

on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 09:13

Cobalt has soared 180 percent in the past 3 years, driven by demand and a increasing absence of supply. There is lots of cobalt to be mined though and Apple has embarked on a program to buy directly from miners. With an imminent 8 bull market in commodities coming (Jack Crooks: The Next Big 8 Year Bull Market) Frank Holmes outlines the opportunities and describes one of the companies Apple is in negotion with - Robert Zurrer for Money Talks 

COMM-cobalt-produced-globally-batteries-power-consumer-electronics-electric-vehicles-02232017Disney’s Black Panther is in theaters right now, breaking all kinds of box office records and wowing audiences. The film features a fictional, highly-advanced African country known as Wakanda, whose vast wealth and prosperity are derived almost exclusively from the mining of a rare, fantastical metal called vibranium.

In its own colorful way, Black Panther does an excellent job dramatizing mining’s important role in supplying the world with much-needed raw materials. Vibranium is the basis for everything in the film, from the title character’s flashy superhero suit to Wakanda’s otherworldly infrastructure and vehicles, to its futuristic medicine and weaponry.

Like Wakanda, the real Africa is rich in minerals and metals, many of them extremely valuable. Think platinum and palladium in South Africa, diamonds in Botswana, copper in Zambia and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Unfortunately, many African countries have not been managed as well as the one depicted in the film. Corruption and fiscal instability, coupled with inconsistencies in taxation and mining policies, make operating on the continent challenging for foreign producers, to say the least. Three years ago, I argued that Africa could mine its way to prosperity if only it addressed the hindrances that keep explorers and producers away. I stand by those words today.

Consider Congo, which produces roughly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, an essential component in lithium-ion batteries. Lawmakers there recently voted to raise taxes and royalties on profits and metals produced. That includes cobalt, whose price has soared 180 percent in the past three years on red-hot electric vehicle (EV) demand. The country’s state-owned mining company, Gécamines SA, is also pushing the government to renationalize the entire mining industry.

CObalt prices continue to surge on electric car demand
click to enlarge

Admittedly, the fictional Wakanda appears to have a nationalized metals and mining sector. But because the country is so advanced and self-sustaining, it has no need for outside investment. That’s not the case with many real-life African nations, which are literally, in some cases, sitting on a gold mine.

Cobalt Supply Shortage Could Boost Prices Even More



Wealth Building Strategies

Benjamin Graham's Timeless Advice

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Posted by GuruFocus.com

on Thursday, 22 February 2018 06:00

Born in 1894, Graham, author of the Intelligent Investor worked in managerial economics and investing which led to value investing within mutual funds, hedge funds, diversified holding companies. Throughout his career, Graham had many notable disciples who went on to receive substantial success in the world of investment, including Warren Buffett who described him as "the most influential person in his life after my own father" - Robert Zurrer for Money Talks

bjOf all the well-known investors out there today, none has a reputation that comes anywhere near that of Benjamin Graham. Even though this godfather of investing has been dead for many years, he still shapes the investment ideas and styles of thousands of investors alive today thanks to his timeless advice.

Indeed, despite the fact that the financial world has changed tremendously since Graham’s death, his advice is still highly relevant as, as he once said, “The underlying principles of sound investment should not alter from decade to decade, but the application of these principles must be adapted to significant changes in the financial mechanisms and climate.”

Below I’ve gathered some more quotes from Graham, which provide an insight into his way of thinking, and when taken together, offer a sort of guide for investors of all experiences on how to invest and think about the markets. I guarantee you’ll take something away from the below. Even if you’ve been an investor for many decades, it’s always sensible to remind yourself of the principles of sound investment, so you don’t stray into bad habits.

Benjamin Graham's timeless advice 

“The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator. This means... that he should be able to justify every purchase he makes and each price he pays by impersonal, objective reasoning that satisfies him that he is getting more than his money's worth for his purchase.”

“The stock investor is neither right or wrong because others agreed or disagreed with him; he is right because his facts and



Wealth Building Strategies

The Equity Market Is Giving You A Huge Opportunity

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Posted by Avi Gilburt - ElliottwaveTrader.net

on Thursday, 08 February 2018 07:11

Over a week ago, in my analysis to my members, I noted that, ideally, I was looking for the market to pullback and test the 2800SPX region. And, the market certainly dropped down to the 2800 region, but also broke the 2796SPX support upon which I was focused. That had me begin to focus on the 2700SPX region of support. And, today, we dropped and broke my next level of support at 2700SPX. But, this is the pullback I have been looking for over the last several months which had not materialized. Now, it has come in with a bang.

While this pullback took many by surprise, the common reason attributed to the decline last week was the rise in interest rates. I need help understanding this “reason.” Allow me to explain.

Back on June 27th, 2016, we published analysis to our members entitled “Beware of Bonds Blowing Up.” That was the first long term top call we made on bonds in the 5 years we had been open to that point. And, as we now know, the bond market topped a little less than two weeks later. 

So, since July of 2016, rates have been rising. Most interestingly, the heart of the strongest segment of the drop in the bond market in 2016 coincided with the bottoming of the equity market at the time of the election, which began an extraordinarily strong rally in the equity market. Therefore, it is quite clear that the market rallied quite strongly while rates were rallying strongly at the same time.

Today, with the market dropping even stronger than last week, rates went down. Now, isn’t that a head scratcher?

So, shall we now review the common reason we read about the “cause” of the decline in the stock market last week? When we shine the light of facts on these reasons, do they really hold water? Of course not. Yet, that does not stop almost every analyst and their mother from making their specious claims.

Do you know why they make these claims? It is because they see the market dropping, and then look for what else is happening at the same time for what they can blame as the obvious cause. First, they saw good jobs numbers Friday morning, so that clearly cannot be the reason for the market dropping almost 2%. Then, they see rates rising on the same day, so they assume that this must be the cause since there is no other reason they can come up with. In truth, one could claim that the drop was due to the good jobs report, and it would make just as much as sense as blaming it on the rise in rates.

And, if rates were not rising, I can assure you they would have blamed the decline on Friday to the release of the Congressional memo (and I even heard some make this ridiculous claim). Maybe they will now claim that the drop was due to the release of the GOP memo, and then we rally when the Dems release their Memo?

In fact, why not claim that today’s drop was due to the Eagles win? 

Is this really an intellectually honest way to analyze the markets? Clearly, it is not. So, how accurate do you think prognostication can be based upon the common manner in which these people view the market? Yet, this is what you look to read day in and day out to make your assessment about market direction?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I clearly missed the market’s direct move to 2800SPX this early in the cycle, as I did not expect us to strike 2800 until the end of 2018. Rather, I expected we would only reach 2611SPX from the 1800 region based upon my market call back in 2015, after which I expected a pullback before we head up to the 2800+ region. However, because I miss an extension which resides in the category of a probabilistic anomaly does not suggest that the methodology I use is intellectually dishonest. Yet, I think it is quite clear that these common perspectives on what moves the market is clearly intellectually dishonest.

Now, when the market provides us with an upside move which is a statistical anomaly, it puts itself in a very dangerous posture. And, today, we saw the result of the unwinding of that dangerous posture. In fact, we saw another statistic anomaly, but on the way down.

ewb-01-spy5I am certain you will now hear constant talk about how this is the end to the bull market. But, I think the probability of that potential is still quite low. Rather, this is the wave (4) pullback for which I have been awaiting. And, as you saw in my last article on the market, I provided you with a chart showing that we were completing wave (3) of v of 3 off the 2009 lows. That meant we were expecting a wave (4) to be overdue. As you can see on my attached chart updated below, we are looking for the market to hold support between 2424-2539SPX, and then start a rally into year end which will target at least the 3011 region, but with strong potential to extend to the 3223SPX region.

So, while you will undoubtedly hear about how this bull market has now come to an end, I am still thinking we are going to set up another rally over 3000 into the end of the year. But, once we complete this next rally, that will likely set us up for a 20% (maybe more) correction taking us into 2019.

See chart illustrating the wave counts on the S&P 500.

Avi Gilburt is a widely followed Elliott Wave technical analyst and author of ElliottWaveTrader.net (www.elliottwavetrader.net), a live Trading Room featuring his intraday market analysis (including emini S&P 500, metals, oil, USD & VXX), interactive member-analyst forum, and detailed library of Elliott Wave education.



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