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Hard Assets Alliance
January 3, 2020

 


By Nomi Prins

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

Dear Reader,
 
Even though it’s on rate-cutting hold, the Fed nonetheless keeps engaging in aggressive oversubscribed repo ops, or as we like to call the process, “QE4R.”
 
QE4R involves offering money to banks in return for short-term U.S. Treasury and mortgage bonds, in shades of 2009.
 
The fact that the Fed is expanding its balance sheet through these repo operations allows it to pretend it is merely auctioning “adjustment-based” policy moves, rather than problem-based ones, to keep rates from rising and money becoming too expensive for banks.
 
This provides the Fed a kind of cover during which it can hold off on rate cuts until it deems that data clearly suggest they do otherwise.
 
Regardless of the reasons for QE4R, this new flow of dark money has the ability to stimulate the stock and bond markets — along with gold. Although gold prices have rallied on the back of the Fed’s recent balance sheet growing exercise, gold has been rising less quickly than it did during the initial phases of QE in the post-financial crisis period from 2009 through 2011.

However, the stock market has been rising steadily (with some bumps along the way) since the start of the Fed’s QE4R operations. There are several reasons for this phenomenon.
 
Computer algorithms, ETF-related trading and asset managers for pensions and other forms of retirement funds seeking yields above those of bonds have pushed the market up. So have corporate stock buybacks. There is also the steadfast (and proven true) belief that the Fed will step in whenever it “has to,” as would other central banks around the world.
 
There’s a reality behind the dark money-infused market euphoria, though. It’s that U.S. economic growth, as well as that of the global economy, has been slowing down and will likely continue to slow.
 
Shrinking corporate profits in conjunction with lower rates and increased debt loads is not a classic recipe for a prolonged bull market. The fact that bulls continue to run is a mark of just how much dark money can keep markets elevated.
 
In the past, slowing profits along with more debt and cheap money has more closely reflected a bear market (consider the U.S. stock market in 2000–02, 2007–09 and the Japanese stock market since 1989). Japan’s stock market would be even lower were it not for various QE and ZIRP moves by the Bank of Japan.
 
U.S. corporate margins may well have already hit a multiyear peak. As we head toward the 2020 U.S. election, it’s hard to see many corporations diverting their debt loads into R&D or investment programs. This could hold true after the elections regardless of which political party wins.
 
Another reason that the Fed began QE4R is the global shortage of U.S. dollars in money markets. This also happened at the start of the financial crisis in 2008.
 
The last thing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell wants under his stewardship is a repeat performance. Repo lending rates spiked in September because of this shortage and liquidity problems at the big banks. This continues to this day, as evidenced by the Fed’s term repo lending facilities being often oversubscribed by the largest Wall Street players.
 
Just recently, the Fed has pumped $97.9 billion into the market in two parts. One was through overnight repurchase agreements of $72.9 billion. The other was through 42-day repos. The result is that the Fed’s balance sheet has topped the $4 trillion mark and looks to rise from there.
 
Also, the Fed again increased the amount of short-term cash loans it plans to offer banks to ensure rates remain stable. It now plans to offer $25 billion in cash loans for the 28-day period ended Jan. 6, up from $15 billion previously.
 
The Fed increased the size of its 42-day facility for the period ended Jan. 13 by $10 billion, too. This was also based on its recent bank supervisory findings that 45% of U.S. banks holding more than $100 billion in assets have supervisory ratings that are less than satisfactory.
 
All of this means that the Fed’s easing this year was very much a defensive maneuver. And it continues to act preemptively against the potential for a dollar funding squeeze as derivative-trading banks close their books into year-end 2019 through its repo operations.
 
Though different from the longer-term QE operations the Fed actioned between 2009–2014 that inflated stock, government and corporate bond prices, the result is the same. An artificial stock market rally. And more debt.
 
The big difference is all of this money manufacturing is now occurring against a backdrop of economic weakness and trade-war and geopolitical uncertainty.
 
For now, and heading into 2020, there remain six key economic trouble spots in the U.S. alone:
1. Trade Wars. China trade talks are still going nowhere specific. President Trump has threatened to “raise the tariffs even higher” on Chinese imports if a trade deal cannot be reached, and went so far as to indicate that he’d be fine if a deal didn’t occur until after the 2020 election. So “phase one,” which was announced over a month ago, has made no real progress…keeping markets knee-jerking on any positive or negative rumors.
 
2. U.S. household debt at a high of $14 trillion — $1.3 trillion higher than its prior peak in Q3 2008. This could eventually hurt consumer appetites and dampen U.S. GDP.
 
3. U.S. GDP is growing but decelerating. In this 11th year of expansion and easy monetary policy, the expansion may be longer, but it’s also shallower that past expansions.
 
4. U.S. $20 trillion national debt is at 104–105% of GDP, having passed 100% in Q3 2012. Though Jerome Powell has stressed to Congress that it must find a way to fix this, the Fed continues to be the largest buyer of U.S. Treasuries, thereby pushing the problem forward of debt growing faster than the economy.
 
5. Money supply (M2) has grown since the 1980s, but money velocity (VM2) has declined since 1997, particularly since the financial crisis. That means that local businesses aren’t working together enough to stimulate the foundation of the U.S. economy.
 
6. Ongoing quest for risky assets could backfire. These problems were created by central banks. The longer rates are low, the more risk asset managers — i.e., investment funds, pensions funds and long-term insurance companies — take on to meet liabilities. This is exacerbated by slowing economies and means more global exposure to credit and liquidity risk. This increases the underlying instability in the international markets.
Given all of this backdrop, I believe that markets will continue to rally on the back of dark-money operations with volatile periods. However, gold is increasingly an attractive safe-haven investment.
 
Thus, it’s only a matter of time before gold has a catch-up rally.
 
Regards,
 
Nomi Prins
 
Nomi Prins is an American author, journalist, and public speaker. She is the editor of Nomi Prins' Dark Money Millionaire and contributor of Jim Rickards' Strategic Intelligence. She has worked as a managing director at Goldman-Sachs and as a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns, as well as a senior strategist at Lehman Brothers and analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

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Hard Assets Alliance
December 11, 2019

In overly simple terms, after 1971 and the death of the U.S. dollar, money became debt. For the economy to expand, you and I had to get into debt. That is why credit cards came in the mail and home equity loans were available to people who had less than stellar credit. That same year, while I was fighting in the Vietnam War, my rich dad warned me that the rules of money have changed. He said, “The dollar is now officially Monopoly money, and the rules of Monopoly are now the world’s new rules of money.” At the time, I had no idea what he meant.

 

A few days after I received his letter, I found a well-worn game of Monopoly in the officers’ lounge. Because I had played the game many times, I never really bothered to look at the rules. But with rich dad’s words about the rules of Monopoly being the new rules of money echoing in my head, I started to thumb through the rulebook and read, “The Bank never ‘goes broke. If the Bank runs out of money, it may issue as much more as may be needed by merely writing on any ordinary piece of paper.”

 

Technically, the money in your wallet is Monopoly money, scribbled on an ordinary piece of paper. It is an IOU. Our money is debt. The reason the current financial crisis is so severe is because the banker’s rules of Monopoly money allowed our biggest banks and Wall Street to package debt and sell it to the world as assets.

 

If we as a people knew that our money was debauched, Monopoly money, we might not be in the financial mess we are in today. If people had a financial education, there would be more than one person in a million who could diagnose our financial problem. If people had more financial education, they would not blindly believe that their house is an asset, that saving money is smart, that diversification would protect them from risk, and that investing for the long term in mutual funds is a smart way to invest. But because of our lack of financial education, the powers-that-be are able to continue with the destructive monetary policies. It is to their benefit that you and I are in the dark.

Why Not Gold?

Some of these so-called experts say gold has no “intrinsic value.” The experts say gold has no intrinsic value because no one really uses gold. Also, gold has no intrinsic value because it pays no interest. Silver, on the other hand, has intrinsic value because it’s used as an industrial metal. And shares of McDonald’s have intrinsic value because people eat Big Macs. For most people, gold is just gold, an expensive piece of metal that they wear or hide in safe places.

 

To me, gold’s intrinsic value is the value of trust. People trust gold and have trusted gold for thousands of years. In today’s world of global incompetence, trust is a valuable commodity. Take a moment to think about how valuable trust is to you. Think about people you trust. What is your trust worth?

 

I’m very bearish on the U.S. dollar and have been for years. That’s why I have so many of them. This sounds like a contradiction but let me explain. The reason I have so many dollars, even though I think they’re worth less and less, is because I don’t hang on to them. In my mind, cash is trash.

 

One of the reasons why we have this enormous gap between the world’s haves and have-nots is because the have-nots value money—they work for it, save it, cling to it, and lose it. So, what’s going to happen? The answer is, I don’t know. If I had a crystal ball, I’d be a much richer man than I am now.

 

What I do know, however, is that the dollar is in trouble. The rich understand that savers are losers, and they’re continually looking for assets into which to move their money.

Banking on Your Future

You might be asking how you can preserve your assets when our national banking system is so broken. There are many different ways to thrive in today’s economy. You can not only survive but also profit from it. Here are a few ways to not only guard, but also increase your assets in these seemingly precarious times:

  1. Buy Gold and Silver: For most people this is the simplest way to protect your financial future. As long you can purchase gold under $2,000 and silver under $50 an ounce, your chances of surviving the coming crashes are good—if you can afford to accumulate a stockpile of gold and silver. I’ve been a gold and silver bug since 1972, when I witnessed the Vietnamese people panic over paper money. The nice thing about gold and silver is that it’s a good investment, even for financially brain-dead people. It doesn’t take much intelligence to go to buy gold and silver coins, and store them.

 

  1. Invest in Oil and Gas: For doctors, lawyers, and other high-income people, oil and gas production are a great investment. The reasons oil and gas are good investments for high-income people are the tax advantages and monthly passive income, if you invest with a good drilling company. For example, if an investor invests $100,000 in an oil project, the government grants a 70 percent tax break to the investor. And if—and that is a big if—the drilling product strikes oil or gas, the investor receives cash flow from the sale of the oil or gas every month. If an oil well produces oil for 25 years, the investor receives passive income for 25 years. In addition to the passive income, the investor receives a tax break for 25 years on the income. That means that rather than pay taxes on their income, which they’d pay if they saved money in a bank or invested in a retirement plan, the investor gets a tax break.

When the Reality Sets In

The reality of rising inflation will suck the life out of those who save money and reward those who know how to use debt and commodities to increase their wealth. In other words, the hair of the dog will make life harder for the working class and make a few others very rich.

 

If you want to be rich, you also have to think like the rich. What I’m not suggesting is that you invest in gold. Only do so if you do your homework, measure the risk, and feel it’s the right thing to do. What I am suggesting is that you start looking for places to move your dollars. Whether it be real estate, business, technical stock investing, or commodities, it’s important for you to invest in assets that can hedge against inflation—if you want to be rich.

 

Regards,

Robert Kiyosaki

 

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

 

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Hard Assets Alliance
November 13, 2019

 

By Robert Kiyosaki

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.
Dear Reader,

Rather than keep their money moving, most people park their money. They park their money in a bank, a retirement plan, or at their broker’s office. Rich dad taught his son and me to keep our money moving. If we were not investing in our business, we were taught to invest in real estate.

If the real estate market was not favorable, we were taught to move it into a hedge fund or fast-moving stock for short-term gains and liquidity. Rich dad did not like his money sitting idle. He wanted his money working hard, moving fast, and with as much safety as possible. He knew that markets moved, so he wanted to keep his money moving. That is why he spent so much time looking for new investments to move his money into, and eventually out of.

The comment I often hear is, “Real estate is not as liquid as stocks and mutual funds.” I reply, “Every month, Kim and I receive tens of thousands of dollars in rental income as well as income from tax advantages. That is the kind of real liquidity we want.”

John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, once said, “The markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain liquid.” Small real estate properties can provide you liquidity until the market crash is over, regardless of how long the recovery takes.

After August 9, 2007, many homeowners, flippers, and real estate developers with overpriced condos are finding it hard to become liquid again. Instead of selling to get out, all most can do is watch helplessly as the value of their real estate sinks into the sunset. The lesson is the less liquid an investment, the more trend information you need. Many people bought high and now are faced with selling low. An astute investor knows how to follow trends in order to buy low and sell high.

The investment philosophy for Kim and me is the same as it’s always been. We invest in assets that cash flow and hedge against inflation, things like businesses, real estate, oil wells, and more. Additionally, we keep our liquid investments in gold and silver instead of dollars. This is because gold and silver rise when the dollar falls. This has worked well for us over the last decade.

For you, what Kim and I do may not be safe. Our investing takes a high level of financial education. You have to decide for yourself where your safe harbor is.

Below are each asset class and its pros and cons.

Businesses

Advantages:

A business is one of the most powerful assets to own because you can benefit from tax advantages, leverage people to increase your cash flow, and have control of your operations. The richest people in the world build businesses. Examples are Steve Jobs, founder of Apple; Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric; and Sergey Brin, founder of Google.

Disadvantages:

Businesses are “people intense.” By that, I mean that you have to manage employees, clients, and customers. This means it’s illiquid. People skills and leadership skills, as well as talented people who can work as a team, are essential for a business to be a success. In my opinion, of all four asset classes, a business takes the most financial intelligence and experience to be successful.


Real Estate

Advantages:

Real estate can have high returns due to using a bank’s money for leverage via financing and other people’s money (OPM) via investors, capitalizing from tax advantages like depreciation, and collecting steady cash flow if the asset is managed well.

Disadvantages:

Real estate is a management-intensive asset, is illiquid, and if mismanaged can cost you a lot of money. After a business, real estate requires the second-highest level of financial intelligence. Many people lack the proper financial IQ to invest well in real estate. That is why most people who invest in real estate invest in real estate mutual funds called REITs.


Paper Assets: Stocks, Bonds, Savings, and Mutual Funds


Advantages:

The primary reason paper assets are best for the average investor is because paper assets are “liquid” which means you can buy and sell quickly. If you make a mistake, you can sell almost immediately. Paper assets have the advantage of being easy to invest in. Additionally, they are liquidity-scalable, which means investors can start small by buying only a few shares, and thus it takes less money to get into paper investments than some of the other asset types.

Disadvantages:

A major disadvantage of paper assets is that they are very liquid, meaning they are easy to sell. The problem with liquid investments is that once the cash starts flowing out of a market, it is very easy to lose money quickly if you do not sell soon enough. When there is a crash, a panic, mass selling can wipe out an average investor’s portfolio in minutes. Paper assets require continual monitoring.

Since most investors have little financial education, most people invest in paper assets.


Commodities: Gold, Silver, Oil, Etc.


Advantages:

Commodities are a good hedge or protection against inflation—which is important when governments are printing a lot of money, as they are today. The reason they buffer against inflation is that they are tangible assets that are purchased with currency. So when the currency supply increases there are more dollars chasing the same amount of goods. This causes the price of the commodities to rise, or inflate. Good examples of this are oil, gold, and silver, all of which are worth much more than they were a few years ago thanks to the Fed’s printing presses.

Disadvantages:

Because commodities are physical assets, you have to make sure they are stored properly and that they have proper security.

Once you decide which asset class is best for you, and which asset class you are most interested in, then I suggest studying that asset class and investing your time before investing your money. The reason I say this is because it is not the asset itself that makes you rich. You can lose money in any of the asset classes. Rather, it is your knowledge of each asset class that makes you rich. Never forget that your greatest asset is your mind.

No Investment Is Good or Bad

Your investment is only as good as you are.

Business and real estate are the riskiest of all assets because they are the least liquid. If the investor makes a mistake, the asset drags him or her down. That is why businesses and real estate require the most financial education—and the best teams.

Paper assets and commodities such as gold and silver are liquid. If the investor makes a mistake, the investor can cut his or her losses quickly.

Regards,
 
Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

For more postings by Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

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WealthCare Connect may receive a referral fee from Hard Asset Alliance for purchases make through these links.

Hard Assets Alliance
November 7, 2019

 

By Brian Maher

 

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

 

Dear Reader,

 

As a bad penny returns to its sender, or a dog returns to its vomit… investors are returning to the stock market.

 

“All in” these gentlemen and ladies are going (or at least the computer algorithms that set market pace).

 

Lance Roberts of Real Investment Advice:

 

With cash levels at the lowest level since 1997 and equity allocations near the highest levels since 1999 and 2007, it suggests investors are now functionally “all in.”

 

You may recall sharply unpleasant events subsequent to 1999 and 2007 — after investors had become “all in.”

 

Now that they are once again marshalling their poker chips… and shoving them out onto table’s center.

 

Will Mr. Market break them once more — or do they possibly play a lucky hand this time?

 

First this question:

 

Why are these gamesters going “all in” now?

 

We believe we have the answer, revealed anon.

 

We first note the stock market has once again scaled the impossible heights…

 

Is a “Melt-up” Back in Play?

 

All three major indexes have recently established fresh records. And so the market has scaled its cliff face of worry.

 

Trade war, impeachment inquiry, a fading global economy, Brexit, the devil and any number of impediments... it has clawed above them all.

 

Affirms analyst Andrew Brenner of National Alliance:

 

Brexit, impeachment, budget deficit, lack of a budget — none of those things are affecting the market at this point.

 

It is — in the parlance of the trade — “risk on.”

 

Our spies even report fresh speculation about a possible “melt-up.”

 

A melt-up is the glorious terminal phase of a bull market, when stocks reach fever heat — before melting down.

 

Melt-ups have preceded some of history's greatest collapses.

 

In the 18 months prior to the Crash of ’29, for example, the stock market nearly doubled.

 

And the Nasdaq rocketed 200% in the 18 months before the dot-com mania peaked in 2000.

 

Why are investors rushing back in now?

 

4 Possible Reasons Stocks Are Rising

 

Several reasons suggest themselves…

 

Reasons 1: The Federal Reserve sliced interest rates last week — the third occasion this year — and for a total of 75 basis points. And as explains Raymond James:

 

Over the last 30 years, when the Fed has implemented an “insurance” rate cut policy of 75 basis points, the equity market has been “lights out” as the S&P 500 has posted a 12-month forward return of about 23%, on average.

 

Reasons 2: Markets are again hopeful the United States and China will come to terms on trade.

 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced yesterday the combatants were making excellent progress toward a “phase one” trade accord.

 

A successful resolution would lift tariffs on some $156 billion of Chinese exports, presently scheduled to enter force Dec. 15.

 

Reasons 3: Corporate stock buybacks this year — despite recent slackening — should nonetheless turn in their second-largest year on record.

 

Reasons 4: Stocks as a whole are surpassing earnings estimates.

 

These reasons and more we can cite.

 

But do they haul the full cargo of explanation?

 

We are unconvinced.

 

Look to the Federal Reserve

 

Is the primary reason the stock market once again scales record heights… and that poker chips are piling up on the table’s center…

 

Because the Federal Reserve has been slyly hosing in floods of liquidity?

 

The short-term lending market nearly seized in September as liquidity ran dry.

 

The Federal Reserve’s New York command center therefore grabbed the hoses… and gave the “repo” market a good soaking.

 

A temporary expedient, they labeled it

 

But long experience teaches that nothing can be so permanent as a temporary expedient.

 

Our agents inform us the New York Federal Reserve has emptied in some $250 billion since September.

 

We hazard a healthful portion of that $250 billion has gone to funding speculative activity on Wall Street.

 

And the hoses pump yet.

 

Furthermore, this we have on the Federal Reserve’s own word: these same hoses will pump “at least” through next year’s second quarter.

 

Jerome Powell insists these “open market operations” are not quantitative easing.

 

Apologists claim they are merely plugging a leak within the financial plumbing. And in detail, they may well be correct.

 

But these operations have expanded the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet... precisely as if they were quantitative easing.

 

QE4?

 

The balance sheet expanded over $50 billion last week alone and exceeds $4 trillion.

 

“The Fed can deny that they’re doing quantitative easing,” argues permanent bear Peter Schiff — who styles current operations QE4.

 

He adds: “But they can’t hide the numbers. They can’t hide their balance sheet.”

 

Is QE4, as you style it, even larger than QE3, Mr. Schiff?

 

The Fed is expanding its balance sheet right now at about twice the pace that it was expanding its balance sheet when it was doing QE3. So QE4, whether they admit it or not, is much, much bigger than QE3, and it’s going to continue, and it is going to accelerate.

 

And is QE4 responsible for the latest stock market spree?

 

And that is what is driving the stock market… They’re doing quantitative easing, and they’re going to print as much money as they have to keep the markets going up and to keep the economy propped up.

 

Just so.

 

But stocks are vastly expensive by history’s standards. By some measures today’s valuations rise even above 1929’s and 2008’s.

 

Will today’s lemmings make much money in this stock market — as they go hoofing for the cliff?

 

The odds strike us as… slim.

 

That is because the higher things rise, the further they fall.

 

A Losing Bet

 

Assume today’s obscene valuations. From these heights, history argues the Dow Jones may plunge some 35% next time.

 

Meantime, we understand that options traders are lowering their guard of late.

 

These fine folks take out “call” options in anticipation market gains. They conversely take out “put” options to insure against losses.

 

When the number of calls runs too far ahead of puts, it is evidence the guard is down. And a lowered guard invites a blow.

 

That presently appears to be the case.

 

The last occasion the ratio of calls to puts attained current highs was on Jan. 23, 2018 — immediately prior to a market thumping.

 

We must assume investors presently streaming into the stock market will come ultimately to grief… as they did in 2001… and 2008.

 

When precisely, we do not know.

 

But “experience keeps a dear school,” as Benjamin Franklin affirmed two centuries ago — and “fools will learn in no other.”

 

Regards,

 

Brian Maher

 

Managing editor, The Daily Reckoning

We hope you have enjoyed this article by our guest writer.

 

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How Much
November 5, 2019

Stock prices move up and down every day, but the very best companies bring value to their shareholders over the long term. Since 2019 is almost over, we wanted to understand the top 10 stocks so far this century. At least some of the companies making the list might surprise you.

  • Monster’s stock earns the top spot, where an initial investment of $100 would be worth $62,444 today.
  • Netflix ($23,071) and Apple ($7,416), two of the famous FAANG stocks, also make the top ten, but they aren’t nearly as valuable as the energy drink maker.
  • Other notable companies like Walmart and Berkshire Hathaway don’t make the top 10.
  • There’s a significant diversity of industries represented in the top 10, from consumer products and tech companies to retail and financial services.

Business Insider originally created a list of the top 10 best-performing stocks this century. We looked up the stock prices for each one on Yahoo Finance as of December 31, 1999, or the date the company went public, whichever was later. Imagine you invested $100. Our visual shows how much you’d have as of October 22, 2019.

Total Return (%) on $100 Investment

1. Monster Beverage: 62,444%
2. Netflix: 23,071%
3. Equinix: 12,050%
4. Tractor Supply Company: 10,171%
5. Intuitive Surgical: 9,155%
6. Ansys: 7,856%
7. Apple: 7,416%
8. IDEXX Laboratories: 6,822%
9. Mastercard: 6,279%
10. Ross Stores: 6,003%

Monster Beverage, the maker of the famous energy drink, takes the top spot by a landslide. An initial investment of just $100 on 12/31/1999 would be worth an astounding $62,444 today. That is substantially more than any other company in the top 10, including the tech heavyweights of Netflix ($23,071) and Apple ($7,416). Stock in Equinix and the Tractor Supply Company both returned over 10,000% over the last 20 years, quite an impressive accomplishment, but nowhere near Monster’s performance.

It’s also worth mentioning the significant diversity of companies present in the top 10. There’s no single sector that dominates the ranking. Monster is an energy drink company, Netflix is a streaming service, and Equinix provides data services. The other companies on our list are in things like medical supply, financial services and retail. This is more evidence that you shouldn’t invest your entire portfolio in just one industry.

And there are several notable companies missing from our list too. Where are the rest of the FAANG companies, Facebook, Amazon and Google? And what about other famous companies like Walmart, Exxon or Berkshire Hathaway? To be fair, some of these companies didn’t exist at the start of the century, and so perhaps they haven’t had enough time to rack up returns. It’s also worth noting that our methodology favors companies that started out with low share prices that ended very high. A single share of Berkshire Hathaway, for example, is worth well over $300,000. However, it’s still surprising that Walmart and Exxon are nowhere to be found.

And here’s a final question. Imagine you really did invest $100 in a company like Monster or Netflix all those years ago. Would you hold the investment for another 20 years? Or sell the shares immediately? Let us know in the comments.

HowMuch.net is a cost information website 

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Hard Assets Alliance
October 10, 2019

 “There’s a lot of pressure into gold, and we’ve just barely begun this cycle,” says Dan Oliver, founder of Myrmikan Capital. In an interview at Kitco, Mr. Oliver doubled down on his expectations for gold. “Oliver noted that once gold had broken above $1,350 an ounce, institutional investors started to pay more attention, especially once heavyweight fund managers like Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates started publicly advocating for gold.”

 

Something The 5 highlighted over a month ago when we picked up on something Dalio said in a rather long-winded essay at LinkedIn: “It would be both risk-reducing and return-enhancing to consider adding gold to one’s portfolio.” In the aftermath of Dalio’s pronouncement, gold notched its highest finish since May 14, 2013. (As Dave so elegantly said at the time: “[Dalio’s] reasoning doesn’t matter as much as the fact it’s Ray Freakin’ Dalio who’s saying it.”) “None of these institutional guys want to be heroes,” says Oliver. “Once a guy like [Dalio] says it’s OK, then they can all do it…

 

“What’s interesting is that all the institutional money is trying to squeeze into a market that is very small,” Oliver continues, “and it’s hard to figure out how to do it, and that’s what they’re scrambling to figure out. “So I think there’s a lot of momentum behind this move,” he says. Just how much momentum? Well, gold sits at $1,503.00 at the time of writing… and when we say Oliver doubled down, we mean that literally. He forecasts gold $3,000.

 

Another advocate for owning gold — perhaps before Dalio — is Robert Kiyosaki, best-selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Like it or not, Robert says, “Recession fears are spreading. Meanwhile, gold has risen nearly 20% since… December when Trump warned: ‘I am a Tariff Man.’”

 

According to MarketWatch, “During that time, [gold’s] left a lot of other popular investments trailing in the dust. It’s beaten the S&P 500 stock index by a hefty 15 percentage points… It’s crushed popular investments like Apple, Alphabet and Netflix. It’s beaten Tesla by 53 percentage points.”

From Tariff Man to Tariff Heaven

Robert goes on to say the escalating trade war’s played no small role in gold’s recent breakout: “President Donald Trump announced 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports [and] China let the yuan weaken and rise above seven against the U.S. dollar for the first time in more than a decade.

 

“Trump eased tensions… after announcing he’d delay at least some of the tariffs. But the trade war is still very much alive. Now we have the currency wars to deal with too. “Gold is up because no one knows if the U.S. currency is going to follow in the yuan’s footsteps,” says Robert.  “People are concerned,” says RJO Futures senior market strategist Phillip Streible. “If I had money in the bank, I [would] sell the dollars and use that money to buy gold. You are divesting yourself from your currency by selling it and buying a hard asset.”

 

Why divest dollars?

 

“Most people think of dollars as money,” Robert says, “but the reality is that the dollar is not. An amusing way of looking at this is to realize you can buy $10,000 in cash from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing for only $45. The catch is that they're shredded.” More to the point: “Since Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, it is no longer money.  “Before 1971, there was a relationship between a dollar and how much gold was backing that dollar in the U.S. Treasury,” Robert says. “After 1971, that dollar was not backed by anything other than the full faith and credit of the United States government.

 

“[The dollar] can go up and down in value depending on how other currencies are performing and based on many economic conditions. It is tied to nothing and can move in either direction very quickly. “The good news is you can [use] fake money to buy real money and real assets,” says Robert. And here’s the thing: “When I purchase gold,” says Robert, “I do not expect an ROI because I am not taking a risk. “When I purchase real gold… I purchase [it] forever. I never plan on selling. Just as Warren Buffett holds stocks forever, I will purchase gold… forever. “I use [gold] not as an investment but as a hedge,” Robert says, “and [now] you can easily get started building your wealth through gold…”

 

As for oil, it’s up 75 for a barrel of WTI at $54.39. And, well, we already mentioned the price of gold above…

 

“While other parts of the economy may show some weakening, consumers have remained confident and willing to spend,” says Lynn Franco of the Conference Board that surveys 3,000 U.S. families to track the consumer confidence index. While expectations for the next six months cooled marginally from July, the survey’s results show consumers are as optimistic about the overall current economy as they’ve been since 2000.

 

The Case-Shiller home price index stayed static in June, below consensus, making year-over-year growth now the slowest since 2012. A separate home-price measure from the Federal Housing Finance Agency also clocked in below expectations. Perhaps a sharp decline in mortgage interest rates will put a floor under the housing market…

 

“President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the United States does not bear the costs of [trade war] tariffs,” says an article at The Hill. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, trade tariffs enacted by Trump’s administration will cost each U.S. family $580 by 2020. Doesn’t sound like much? (Although we’re pretty definite you could think of other ways to spend $580.)

 

“That figure — which does not include new tariffs scheduled to go into effect in September and December — amounts to a significant chunk of economic growth. It is the equivalent of roughly $60 billion in lost economic activity,” The Hill reports.  Not only that: “Higher trade barriers — in particular, increases in tariffs — implemented by the United States and other countries since January 2018 are expected to make U.S. GDP about 0.3% smaller than it would have been otherwise by 2020,” says CBO Director Phillip Swagel.

 

But hey, look on the bright side — the CBO calculates trade war tariffs will add $33 billion to the U.S. Treasury. But… that’s a net loss of $27 billion, right?

 

Brilliant.

 

Best regards,

 

Emily Clancy

 

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

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Hard Assets Alliance
October 3, 2019

Wall Street is buying gold again, for the first time in a while. And many analysts, including the author of this piece, believe forces are aligning that could send gold much higher. While momentum is gaining in the gold market, predicting future prices is difficult. So, rather than timing an entry…

After an August rally to multiyear highs above $1,566, gold took a breather. Likewise, silver and mining shares are now in correction territory. But no worries, these pullbacks happen all the time in bull markets — so don’t let this shake your faith. Much higher prices will come. In fact, the case for owning gold has never been stronger!

The $10,000 Case for Gold.

I fully expect gold to reach $5,000 or even $10,000 an ounce over the long run, mainly due to increased global uncertainty, economic slowdown and growing negative interest rates.

Here’s a breakdown of the long-term drivers that will give gold the push it needs to break through this correction to new highs above $2,000 and beyond…

 

The August rally was driven by a surge in demand for gold, triggered by slumping U.S. interest rates — not to mention NEGATIVE interest rates in Europe and Asia. The 10-year U.S. TIPS yield, a measure for long-term rates, turned negative on Aug. 15 for the first time since July 2016 — compared with 0.98% at the start of 2019. Negative interest rates are rocket fuel for precious metals, plain and simple. This shows growing market fears of an economic recession in the U.S., pushing investors toward safer assets like precious metals.

Plus, There’s the Seasonality Factor

Not only has the price of gold been up for five of the past six months, if history is any guide the fall and winter seasonal patterns for gold should help boost prices much higher.  And I expect 2019 to be no different, given the Fed’s plans to lower interest rates even more and rising U.S.-China trade tensions.  Seasonality also shows strong performance from November–February for gold prices.  I fully expect gold to soon resume its rally heading into 2020…

But There’s Another Tail Wind Too

Individual investors aren’t the only ones accumulating gold. The world’s central banks, especially in China and Russia, continue to load up on the yellow metal to diversify away from the U.S. dollar. Russia has actually quadrupled its gold reserves in the past decade, and in the past year alone its gold reserves’ value has jumped 42%, to $109.5 billion.

 

China has also been busy amassing gold stockpiles — the country’s been on a buying spree since the end of 2018, as you can see below:

Bloomberg has been tracking the gold buying, reporting:

China has added almost 100 tons of gold to its reserves since it resumed buying in December, with the consistent run of accumulation coming amid a rally in prices and the drag of the trade war with Washington. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) upped its bullion holdings by 62.45 million ounces in August, versus 62.26 million the month before, according to the central bank’s data.

After the current pullback, precious metals and mining shares will again surge much higher in the next big upside move, fueled by investors and central banks worldwide wary of negative interest rates.

Here’s to growing your wealth,

Mike Burnick

Mike Burnick is the editor of Wealth Watch, Infinite Income, Amplified Income and Spinoff Millionaires. Mike has been bringing his trading strategies to the masses for over 30 years.

 

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Hard Assets Alliance
October 1, 2019

Possibly the greatest plumbing heist in history.

 

It happened just a couple weeks ago, at a palace in Britain. The thieves snuck into the palace early in the morning. Did their business and made off with the loot. Or should I say loo… Since what they stole was the toilet. Which begs the question. Why would they steal a toilet?

 

Because the toilet is made of … 18-karat gold. And it’s valued at more than 5 million dollars.

 

Before the “golden throne” arrived in Britain, it was on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. While there, over 100,000 visitors made functional use of the toilet. The toilet was then sent to Britain’s Blenheim Palace to be part of an art display by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Once the toilet arrived, it was fully installed and plumbed at the Blenheim Palace in Britain which is also the birthplace of the famous leader, Winston Churchill.

 

When reading this story, one couldn’t help but think, if the theives had taken all that effort and energy and just opened a SmartMetals account with Hard Assets Alliance.

 

Because with the Hard Assets Alliance:

 

You don’t have to risk going to jail.

You don’t have to stick your hands in a toilet, even if it is gold.

You don’t even have to leave the house.

 

P.S. As for the thieves, police have reported that one man, 66 years old, has been arrested in connection to the burglary. Unfortunately, they have not recovered the “golden throne” as of this writing.

 

If you want to get gold for yourself, there is a much better way than stealing toilets. Simply click here, open your SmartMetals account and you can buy gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

 

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Hard Assets Alliance
September 23, 2019

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

 

Last month, as the trade war was stealing the headlines, annual summer camp was in session for international central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell remarked that the Fed is committed to continue to do what’s needed to “sustain the expansion.”

 

He noted that the U.S. economy is in a “favorable place,” although it faces “significant risks.”

 

He said that economic slowdown in Germany and China, the possibility of a hard Brexit and tension with Hong Kong contributed to a “complex, turbulent” picture. And he agreed that markets were volatile.

 

As you recall, the Fed decided to cut rates by 25 basis points on July 31. And many were listening to Powell’s speech trying to decipher whether he truly meant the rate cut was just a “midcycle adjustment” or if he was going to strike a more dovish tone.

 

Powell’s speech confirmed the notion that the rate cut did not necessarily signal strong dovish monetary policy to come. He didn’t give those wanting to hear strong dovish talk much to go on.

 

And no one wanted to hear strong dovish talk more than President Trump. This is what Trump tweeted after Powell’s comments from Jackson Hole:

 

As usual, the Fed did NOTHING! It is incredible that they can “speak” without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly. We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work “brilliantly” with both, and the U.S. will do great…

 

Here’s how he capped it off: “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?”

 

Recently, Trump had more to say:

 

The Federal Reserve loves watching our manufacturers struggle with their exports to the benefit of other parts of the world. Has anyone looked at what almost all other countries are doing to take advantage of the good old USA? Our Fed has been calling it wrong for too long!

 

Those are fighting words, calling the chairman of the Fed a downright enemy of the country, maybe worse than the Chinese leader who had just announced anti-U.S. tariffs.

 

Powell’s borne the brunt of President Trump’s repeated accusations that the Fed is what’s holding back the stock market and threatening the economy. Trump has publicly expressed frustration with Powell, believing he has negated the impact of the Trump tax cuts.

 

Presidents have normally refrained from publicly commenting on the Federal Reserve’s policies, allowing it to maintain at least a veneer of independence, as mandated by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

 

But whatever you think of him, you have to admit that Trump is no ordinary president. He’s certainly not one to keep his opinions quiet.

 

And that doesn’t mean presidents haven’t privately leaned on the Fed to help their reelection prospects.

 

Just look at another Republican president – Richard Nixon. When the Fed began raising interest rates during Nixon's term, he also raised objections, although not in public like the current president.

 

Back then, the U.S. had been in the throes of a recession in the beginning of the 1970s. The Fed had cut rates by half to stimulate the economy. There was no quantitative easing (QE) program during that period.That's because it wasn't a banking crisis preceding that recession, so the level of Fed support wasn't anywhere near as expansive as it has been this past decade.

 

Fed Chairman Arthur Burns believed that "awful problems" could occur if the Fed didn't raise rates in tandem with the growing economy. On a somewhat lesser scale, that was the position of Jerome Powell before he backed off the rate hikes at the beginning of the year.

 

But here’s how Trump’s comments can affect Fed policy…

 

Trump is almost forcing Powell to cut rates by carrying on the trade war, which is taking a toll on the stock market and the overall economy. But Powell does not want it to appear like he’s caving into Trump’s demands.

 

The Fed is supposed to be independent of politics, even though it really isn’t. But it at least has to give the appearance that it’s independent of politics. If Powell starts cutting rates aggressively, it would make him look like a puppet.

 

But if he doesn’t cut rates, the economy and the stock market could suffer at a time when they’re most needed. As geopolitical tensions rise, trade wars mount, currency wars spawn and volatility continues to build, it's clear the economy faces increasing pressure that could spiral into recession or worse.

 

The Fed can tolerate weakness in the stock market, but it fears a complete collapse, which is a very real possibility. So Powell’s in a catch-22, damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

 

Powell can look like he’s giving into Trump and keep the bubble going, which will only prolong the ultimate day of reckoning and make it worse, or he can withdraw support and risk a crash.

 

Ironically for President Trump, such friction could incite greater economic uncertainty, which could prove detrimental to the economic strength he desperately wants to maintain heading into the 2020 election.

 

Interestingly, former New York Fed President Bill Dudley is actually calling on Powell not to lower rates. Why not? Because it would help Trump win the election next year. To prove that the Fed isn’t independent of politics at all, Dudley said:

 

Central bank officials face a choice: enable the Trump administration to continue down a disastrous path of trade war escalation, or send a clear signal that if the administration does so, the president, not the Fed, will bear the risks — including the risk of losing the next election.

 

He continued:

 

After all, Trump’s reelection arguably presents a threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed’s independence and its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives. If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.

 

It doesn’t get much more direct than that for a former Federal Reserve official. So the next time someone tries to say the Fed is independent of politics, don’t listen to a word of it.

 

Ultimately, I believe Jerome Powell will be forced to cut rates because of slowing economic conditions.

 

 It might look like he’s caving to Trump, but that’s just something he’ll have to live with. That also means more dark money will be coming to support markets.

 

Regards,

 

Nomi Prins

 

Nomi Prins is a renowned journalist, author and speaker. Her latest book, Collusion: How Central Banks Rigged the World is an expose into the 2007-2008 financial crisis and how the influence of central bankers triggered a massive shift in the world order.

 

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Hard Assets Alliance
September 18, 2019

I recently completed a visit to Australia where I was invited as the keynote speaker at the 2019 National Conference sponsored by ABC Bullion, one of the two largest gold refiners and gold dealers in Australia along with the Perth Mint.

ABC Bullion also kindly invited me to tour their facilities in Sydney. I visited five separate locations (out of a total of 15 in Sydney alone), which included refineries, gold bar casting facilities, jewelry design, trophy fabrication and secure storage. It was an intensive one-day crash course in all things gold outside of actual gold mines.
 
During these tours, I was able to observe state-of-the-art technology for the separation of gold from silver and other metals without the use of chemicals. These processes were invented by Russians, but are obtained under license from third-party intermediaries. Precise melting-point temperatures are combined with high-pressure gas to achieve the separation without the use of cyanide, chlorine or other chemicals.
 
It was also fascinating to observe the final stages of gold and silver bullion bar casting. These were entirely handled by robots without human intervention. Gold or silver beads of pure metal were poured into graphite molds and a top was placed on the mold. The molds were heated to high temperatures, which melted the bullion into the exact shape and size desired. The bars were then cooled and measured by weight before being etched with a unique serial number and the ABC Bullion logo.

I was not surprised to learn that much of the refinery output is sold to China. But, I was surprised to learn that many of the bars make a “round-trip” and end up back in Australia for secure storage. This can be verified by referring to the serial numbers on the bars.
 
In effect, the Chinese are converting dollars to gold and then diverting the gold out of China through various channels. This is easier than sending dollars directly out of China due to Chinese capital controls. The gold leaving China can go to many destinations including Singapore, Canada and Switzerland, but Australia is popular for this purpose.

This round-tripping of gold is one of the reasons China recently imposed a ban on private gold imports (although the ban was eased somewhat for those with special licenses granted by the government).

China’s voracious appetite for gold (despite recent restrictions) is one of many gold market developments I was able to learn more about first-hand during my visit Down Under. The local Australian demand for gold bullion is also at an all-time high, as is true elsewhere in the world.

With a bull market in gold firmly underway, what are the prospects for gold prices in the months and years ahead?

At Project Prophesy, we use third-wave artificial intelligence (AI) to offer readers the most accurate and powerful predictive analytics for capital, commodities and foreign exchange markets available anywhere.

First wave AI involved rules-based processing. Second wave AI involved deep learning as the iteration of rules produced new data that could be incorporated into the original rules. Third wave AI combines deep learning with big data as machines read billions of pages of information in plain language, interpret what they read, and add that to the big data input.

With Project Prophesy, machines are never on their own. Human analysts oversee the output and update algorithms as needed to steer the system on a smart path. Human+Machine processing is at the heart of Project Prophesy predictive analytics.

Project Prophesy relies on four scientific disciplines: complexity theory, Bayes’ Rule (a statistical method from applied mathematics), behavioral psychology, and history. A network of nodes and links is created with specific nodes conveying information from each of those disciplines.

Nodal input comes from data feeds, news services, exchange prices, and machine reading using systems such as IBM’s Watson supercomputer. Nodal input also comes from other nodes in a densely configured neural-type network.

Certain nodes are highlighted as containing actionable price information on stock sectors, fixed income instruments, commodities, currencies, and macroeconomic indicators generally.

Right now, the action nodes are telling us that the new gold bull market is intact and has far to run. To support this estimate, it’s important to take a longer historical perspective than the short-term rallies and dips that most analysts discuss. This longer perspective is illustrated in the chart below.
 

This chart graphs the U.S. dollar price of gold from 1970 until today. It illustrates two major bull markets, 1971-1980 and 1999-2011. It also illustrates two major bear markets, 1980-1999 and 2011-2015. Finally, the chart highlights a new bull market that began in 2015 and should continue for years.
 
It does not make sense to discuss bull and bear markets prior to 1970 because the world was on a gold standard for a century from 1870 to 1971. Prior to 1870, gold was simply money measured by weight and was not typically thought of in terms of currency equivalents. This pre-1971 gold standard went through many variations including the “classic gold standard” (1870-1914), the “gold exchange standard” (1922-1939) and the “Bretton Woods system” (1944-1971).

There were also periods when gold trading and gold shipments were suspended due to war and its aftermath including World War I (1914-1922) and World War II (1939-1944). Gold was occasionally revalued, for example, by France in 1925, the UK in 1931, the U.S. in 1933 and on a global basis in 1944.

However, all of these standards, suspensions and price resets were dictated by governments for policy reasons and were not the direct result of market forces. A true market for gold (albeit with government manipulation) did not emerge until 1971, so that is the appropriate starting point for considering bull and bear dynamics measured in dollars.

The first great bull market lasted from 1971 to 1980 and saw the price of gold go from $35.00 per ounce (the original Bretton Woods price) to $800 per ounce; a 2,100% gain in less than nine years. This rise was fueled by near-hyperinflation in the U.S. as the dollar lost half its purchasing power in a mere five-year period from 1977 to 1981.

The bull market was followed by a slow but persistent bear market that lasted from 1980 to 1999 and saw the price of gold fall 68% from $800 per ounce to $250 per ounce. This bear market was fed by extensive central bank sales including the infamous “Brown’s Bottom” where Gordon Brown, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (later Prime Minister), sold 395 tons of gold (more than half the UK’s gold reserves) in 17 auctions from July 1999 to March 2002 at an average price of $275 per ounce, near the lowest price for gold in the past forty years. Compared to today’s prices, this sale cost the UK over $17 billion in lost profits on gold.

The second great bull market lasted from 1999 to 2011 and saw the price of gold go from $250 per ounce to $1,900 per ounce; a 670% increase. This bull market was fueled by a combination of low interest rates (2001-2005) under Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and flight-to-quality dynamics during the mortgage crisis (2007), global liquidity crisis (2008), zero interest rate policy (2008-2015), and a new currency war, which produced a record low value for the U.S. dollar (2011).

Another bear market arrived in August 2011 just as dollar weakness turned to dollar strength. A persistently stronger dollar starting in 2011 and the promise of monetary tightening by the Fed starting with the “taper tantrum” in May 2013 were among the forces driving the decline.

As prices declined, gold miners struggled, mines were closed and gold mining rights and equipment were sold for cents-on-the-dollar, especially after the gold price crash in April 2013. The IMF added to the selling pressure by dumping 400 tons of gold on the market in 2010; another example of official manipulation of gold prices.

The turning point came on December 15, 2015 when gold bottomed at $1,050 per ounce, a dramatic 45% drop from the all-time high of $1,900. At that point, the third great bull market began. Almost no one saw this at the time because sentiment was completely depressed and many past rallies had been followed by new declines and new lows. Top gold analysts were still calling for $800 per ounce gold prices as late as 2017.

The point is, bull and bear market turning points are usually only seen in hindsight and rarely understood in real time. To our credit, we urged readers to buy gold at the $1,050 per ounce level and have been urging allocations to gold ever since. Gold has rallied almost 50% in less than four years as part of this new bull market.

The purpose of this long-term perspective is to illustrate the huge upside potential still remaining in this new gold bull market. The first bull market rallied over 2,100% in nine years. The second bull market rallied over 670% in twelve years. In both cases, the majority of the gains came toward the end of the bull market in a super-spike blow-off.

The current bull market is still in its early stage. A 50% gain in four years is impressive, but that’s just a down payment on what’s to come. If we simply average the performance of the past two bull markets and extend the new bull market on that basis, we would expect to see prices peak at $14,000 per ounce by 2026. Of course, even greater gains and a longer bull market are possible.

Jim Rickards

James G. Rickards is the editor of Strategic Intelligence. He is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker with 35 years of experience working in capital markets on Wall Street. He was the principal negotiator of the rescue of Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) by the U.S Federal Reserve in 1998. His clients include institutional investors and government directorates.

His work is regularly featured in the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, The Telegraph, and the Washington Post, and he is frequently a guest on BBC, RTE Irish National Radio, CNN, NPR, CSPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and The Wall Street Journal. He has contributed as an advisor on capital markets to the U.S. intelligence community, and at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.Rickards is the author of The New Case for Gold (April 2016), and three New York Times best sellers, The Death of Money (2014), Currency Wars (2011), The Road to Ruin (2016) from Penguin Random House.
 

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

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Hard Assets Alliance
September 16, 2019

 

Hard Assets Alliance was created as a cooperative of investment professionals who believe there's a better way to invest in precious metals. This is a guest perspective on the markets from one of these partners; we hope you enjoy it.

China and the United States are meeting for trade talks, sparking a major market rally that finally broke the averages out of their collective funk.

 
Will the two countries kiss and make up? It’s unlikely. But one thing’s for sure: we are all sick and tired of this trade war.

“Escalating U.S.-China trade tensions have been the biggest equity headwind for months, so a relief rally on news high-level trade talks are planned for early October is no surprise,” said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FTSE Russell, via Bloomberg. “The bottom line is that stocks need earnings growth to move forward, and you can’t get that without progress on U.S.-China trade.”

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce confirmed the talks will happen sometime in October. Chinese media sources are generally optimistic about the outcome of the talks, according to CNBC. The Dow Jones Industrial Averages was equally enthused, jumping more than 370 points Thursday. A rally of less than 2.5% will place the Dow back at all-time highs.

How badly did the recent volatility spook traders? For an answer, we turn to

precious metals…

As stocks ricocheted in a violent range last month, investors turned to precious metals and other safety trades.

I noted in late August how gold and precious metals investments were taking charge as wider price swings afflicted the stock market. In fact, gold flipped the script and began outperforming the S&P 500 on the year as of Aug. 1.

     
But silver was the real tell.

 
The poor man’s precious metal finally caught a bid this summer and started to outpace gold — a surefire sign that speculators are finally finding their way back into the precious metals trade.


“Silver is also gaining 4.0% today which is more than twice as much as gold's 1.3%.” John Murphy noted on his Stockcharts.com blog earlier this week. “That isn't something new. Although gold led the rush into precious metals during May and June, silver took the lead during July and August.”


Murphy’s chart shows the shift perfectly as silver began to catch a bid back in July:

 

 

As you’ve probably guessed, the metals trade became a little frothy as trade-war gloom clouded market outlooks. Now that stocks are settling back into a bullish groove, the safety-seekers and metals speculators are taking profits.  

 

We’ll have to watch to see where buyers step back. Remember, major comeback rallies are typically fraught with violent reversals and shakeouts. Judging by the incredible run we’ve witnessed in the precious metals space this year, the current pullback could continue before finding support.


Sincerely,

 

Greg Guenthner


Greg Guenthner is the editor of Rude Awakening Pro and Seven Figure Signals.

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Hard Assets Alliance
September 13, 2019

The Gold Sellers’ Cartel Is Dead and Now Everyone’s Buying

Not many have ever heard of the Central Bank Gold Agreement, CBGA, also called the Washington Agreement on Gold, but it’s an interesting side note to the history of government manipulation of gold markets.

The agreement was first signed in 1999 and was renewed for five-year terms in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The signatories included central banks in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium and the European Central Bank as well as non-eurozone central banks in Switzerland and Sweden.

The U.S. was never a member of the agreement, but it did supervise the implementation of the agreement closely as did the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The CBGA is a gold seller’s cartel similar to the notorious “London Gold Pool” of the late 1960s.

During the long gold bear market (1980–1999), central banks were active sellers of gold. There was some fear that the selling would spin out of control and hurt the value of remaining reserves more than was already the case.

 
The CBGA set limits on total sales and individual sales by member countries as a way to allow some ongoing sales without sinking the entire market. There was only one problem. The sales had largely dried up by the time the agreement was put in place.


After “Brown’s Bottom,” named after U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who sold about half the U.K.’s gold reserves at an average price of $275 per ounce between 1999 and 2002, there were few significant sales of gold by the CBGA signatories except for 1,000 tons by Switzerland in the early 2000s and 400 tons by the IMF in 2010.


There have been no sales by any signatories since 2010. The agreement is up for renewal in 2019, but it has long been a dead letter. As of now it’s being reported that the agreement is being allowed to lapse.

 
Of course, other central banks, including Russia, China, Vietnam, Turkey and more, have been voracious buyers of gold since 2009. As of now, the age of central bank gold sales is officially dead and the age of central banks as gold buyers has returned. This is just one more reason why gold prices have been on a tear.

Regards,

Jim Rickards

James G. Rickards is the editor of Strategic Intelligence. He is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker with 35 years of experience working in capital markets on Wall Street. He was the principal negotiator of the rescue of Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) by the U.S Federal Reserve in 1998. His clients include institutional investors and government directorates.

His work is regularly featured in the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, The Telegraph, and the Washington Post, and he is frequently a guest on BBC, RTE Irish National Radio, CNN, NPR, CSPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and The Wall Street Journal. He has contributed as an advisor on capital markets to the U.S. intelligence community, and at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.Rickards is the author of The New Case for Gold (April 2016), and three New York Times best sellers, The Death of Money (2014), Currency Wars (2011), The Road to Ruin (2016) from Penguin Random House.

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

Website:  https://www.hardassetsalliance.com/?aff=TWC

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Hard Assets Alliance
August 8, 2019

 

The summer of 2019 has been an exciting time for precious metals.

 

As of this writing, gold is trading at $1,499/oz… its highest mark since 2013.

 

Gold is hot again…

 

Analysts are talking it up on CNBC…

Hedge funds are buying gold…

 

● You might have seen Ray Dalio, who helms the world’s largest hedge fund, pick gold as his top investment just recently. 

 

● Or legendary manager Paul Tudor Jones do the same

 

And gold ETFs… a/k/a paper gold… are seeing record inflows from investors. Global assets in all gold ETFs reached $111 billion in June, the most in six years.

 

Why the sudden demand for gold?

It’s simple. People are worried about their money.

And for good reason…

 

● The trade and currency wars between the US and China have no clear end in sight.

 

● The Federal Reserve has already sounded the alarm and preemptively cut interest rates.

● And negative rate debt… a mind-boggling concept where investors are forced to “pay” for the privilege of holding bonds… has swelled to $14.1 trillion, the highest ever.

 

Meanwhile central banks including China, Russia, and Poland are buying as much gold as they can get… literally putting tons of gold in their vaults.

 

The reasons to own gold at this point in time are numerous and growing.

Gold’s job is to help protect against uncertainty, conflict, and market turmoil. It generally retains its value, and serves as a hedge against inflation and devaluing currencies.

If you think the road ahead looks rough... are you sure you have enough ounces?

The risks continue to grow. And a return to healthy markets, honest economies, stable currencies, and healthy geopolitics may be measured in years, not days or weeks.

The gold you own through this tumultuous period can provide piece of mind like no other investment can.

In times like this, it’s important that you keep on top of the precious metals news.

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

Website:  https://www.hardassetsalliance.com/?aff=TWC

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Hard Asset Alliance for purchases make through links(s) on this website.

Hard Assets Alliance
July 10, 2019


 

Last quarter was incredibly kind to gold investors. For the first time in a long time, gold outpaced stocks. Which is really something considering the S&P 500 posted its strongest June since 1938. Meanwhile, fixed-income continues to hold less and less appeal as a safe haven as the market anticipates a fresh Fed rate-cut cycle. 

To help you make sense of it all, we created this report. It examines the performance of gold and other major asset classes this year so far and highlights the conditions we see which could impact the gold market going forward.

 

Q2-2019: Gold Price Breakout

 

Gold began the second quarter at $1,295 per ounce. The price was flat in April and May, then spiked in June due to the Fed’s increasingly dovish stance, the conflict with Iran, and the ongoing US/China trade war. Gold ended the quarter up 8.8%.

 

Here is the performance of gold and other major asset classes in Q2 and YTD.

Gold outperformed all major asset classes and markets in Q2 except gold stocks and palladium, rising 8.8%. It’s now up 9.9% for the year. (We’ll note that Bitcoin, not shown, spiked 200% last quarter, up 230% YTD.) The US dollar index fell 1.1% last quarter, and is flat for the year.

 

Gold’s performance in other currencies also made headlines.

 

In total, gold is now at or near an all-time high in 72 currencies. To put the importance of this in perspective, the US represents only 4% of the world’s population.

 

Unsurprisingly, gold’s volatility also spiked. The CBOE Gold ETF Volatility Index (GVZ) ended the quarter 61% higher than where it started. However, the current reading of 15.94 remains roughly 25% below the Index’s 10-year average of 20.

 

Silver continues to trail gold, and is down 1.1% on the year. Gold’s stronger relative performance has pushed the gold/silver ratio (gold price divided by the silver price) higher. The ratio began the quarter at 85.8 and ended at 92.1, now a 28-year high. This suggests silver is a better value than gold at present for those looking to add bullion.

 

While our investment thesis is not predicated upon technical analysis, many chartists maintain that the gold price broke above a critical long-term resistance level in June. Gold had not exceeded $1,400 since August 2013, failing to break through the $1,380 level six separate times since then. The momentum demonstrated by a move that has shattered this stubborn six-year ceiling is well worth watching, as it appears gold has moved into a new price range.

 

Catalysts and Barriers

 

A number of potential factors could impact the gold price over the coming quarter.

 

The Fed: The US central bank has made a major dovish pivot, going from a steady rate-raising regime, to pausing those hikes, to now likely cutting them. All in just six months. When discussing the likelihood that the Fed will have to again resort to 0% interest rates and additional rounds of QE in the future, Chairman Jerome Powell said it was inevitable: “There will be a next time.”

 

It’s not just the Fed; other central banks are equally as accommodative, which is generally gold-bullish. As Bloomberg’s Eddie van der Walt said, “With central banks around the world turning more dovish, the latest move may just be the start.”

 

Interest Rates: As the quarter closed out, traders had priced in a near-100% certainty that a rate cut will be made at the Fed’s July meeting, though those odds have since pulled back to about 85%. Interest rate reductions are typically gold-positive, since they diminish gold’s holding cost and lower the competition from Treasuries. Some of gold’s rise may reflect a cut that has already been priced in, though research from the World Gold Council shows that gold tends to perform well when the Fed is neutral or dovish.

 

Negative Interest Rates: The amount of government bonds paying less than 0% continued to make headlines, hitting a new high in late June. Globally, a total of $13 trillion in government debt now offers sub-zero yields, rising by $2 trillion since late May alone. In fact, negative-rate debt now makes up almost 40% of the value of all government bonds outstanding.

 

This trend continues to be particularly prevalent in Europe. Last month, French and Swedish 10-year yields fell below zero for the first time ever. Nearly all debt issued by the Swiss government – from one-month to 20-year maturities – now carries a negative yield. This is closely followed by Sweden (91% of all government debt), Germany (88%), Finland (84%) and the Netherlands (84%).

 

In all, central bank activity around much of the world has become decidedly more accommodative. OECD Secretary-General José Ángel Gurría publicly stated that central bankers “have run out of ammunition.” As always, central bank guidance bears watching.

 

Trade Wars/Currency Wars: President Trump has complained loudly and frequently about trade imbalances and currency manipulations by foreign governments. It is expected that ongoing trade conflicts and overt efforts to weaken the US dollar would be gold-bullish.

 

Geopolitical conflicts: The clash between the US and Iran made geopolitical headlines in June. Iran shot down a US drone over international waters… President Trump imposed sanctions to freeze the assets of Iranian military commanders including the Supreme Leader… Iran claimed US sanctions “closed the door on diplomacy”…  Trump threatened a heavy military response if Iran attacked any US interests. 

 

Ongoing tensions between the two countries could continue to support gold prices, particularly if the conflict escalated. A resolution could dampen this catalyst.

 

Central Bank Gold Purchases: We’ve been highlighting the increase in central-bank buying in our reporting, which reached 45-year highs at the end of 2018. This price support has continued into 2019: Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkey all added to official Reserves last quarter. Through May, China has added to its gold reserves for six consecutive months. There is no evidence that this trend has let up.

 

Recession Watch: The yield curve (as defined by the spread between 10-year and 2-year Treasuries) ended Q2 at a paltry 0.24%. The last six times the yield curve inverted a recession followed shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, the US Manufacturing PMI fell to 10-year lows in May. Gold is typically sought as a safe haven during periods of negative economic output, and tends to be flat or weak when GDP is growing.

 

The Hard Asset Hedge

 

The advantages of gold supersede quarterly price fluctuations. Gold… 

 

  • Has outperformed stocks over the last 20 years
  • Can hedge against systemic risk, stock market pullbacks, and inflation
  • Is a store of wealth
  • Improves the risk-adjusted returns of portfolios, while reducing losses
  • Can provide liquidity to meet liabilities during times of market stress

 

An appropriate balance of gold in a portfolio can serve as a useful hedge, particularly in light of the Fed’s new dovish stance, ongoing geopolitical conflicts, the unrelenting growth in negative interest rates, and trade and currency wars.

 

Now is a good time to check your gold allocation and consider whether you have the amount of bullion you may need or want.
 

Jeff Clark, Senior Analyst

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

Website:  https://www.hardassetsalliance.com/?aff=TWC

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Hard Asset Alliance for purchases make through links(s) on this website.

 

 

Hard Assets Alliance
June 17, 2019


 
And you hear the three worst words in the world:
 
“You have cancer.”
 
But wait there’s hope…
 
Thanks to a new breakthrough test being developed…
 
They may soon be able to catch it early…
 
And your chances of living could improve significantly.
 
As you may know, early detection of cancer saves lives.
 
According to Cancer Research UK:
 
“Cancer that’s diagnosed at an early stage, when it isn’t too large and hasn’t spread, is more likely to be treated successfully.”
 
And thanks to a recent medical breakthrough using something called “gold nano-particles”…
 
We could have the most important early detection system ever created.
 
And this huge leap forward in cancer detection could disrupt the growing cancer treatment industry…
 
Which is predicted to reach $172 billion by 2022.
 
Here’s how the test works:
 

  • Step 1) Just like normal, a doctor takes a sample of blood, and sends it to the lab.

 

  • Step 2) At the lab, scientists put the sample into a test tube along with the gold nano-particles.

 

  • Step 3) They shoot a laser beam into the test tube.

 
The less gold reflected from the laser, the more cancer there is.
 
And the test can be done in a few minutes, for literally $1!
 
It’s quick, safe, and easy.
 
And because it’s so affordable and fast…
 
It means more people could benefit from it when it is commercialized.
 
Which means more lives saved… and more profit made.
 
And now you have the opportunity to invest in this breakthrough early detection system…

By investing in gold.

Simply log in to your SmartMetals account and invest in gold for storage.

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Hard Asset Alliance for purchases make through links(s) on this website.

Hard Assets Alliance
June 13, 2019

 

 

Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos have invested more than $4.5 billion into the future of our species.

I’m talking about space travel!

And as crazy as this might sound…

According to Forbes:

“It appears that we really are less than a year away from commercial space flights.”

But there’s a huge problem for intergalactic tourism.

No, it’s not reusable rockets… or rocket engines… or even funding…

It’s radiation.

This radiation comes from the sun as solar particles…

Or from the galaxy, as cosmic rays.

And it can cause some serious damage to everything we send up into space…

Like the spaceships, the onboard computers, and the people inside.

But it turns out, there’s a simple solution to this universal problem.

GOLD… Yes! The same GOLD you can buy with your SmartMetals Account.

Which is why you’ll find it inside every single galactic gadget there is.

It’s used with:

 

  • Gold in space helmets to protect astronauts’ faces. A thin film of gold fends off the dangerous effects of solar rays...

 

           So it’s an absolute necessity for space travelers.

 

  • Lubrication for mechanical joints. Where oil or grease might freeze or evaporate in space…

    Gold keeps slipping, sliding, and protecting.

 

  • Connectors in spacecraft computer systems. Gold is a dependable conductor and connector…

 

            Meaning it can carry electrical currents without fear of corrosion.

As you can see, the space industry is dependent on gold…

It’s indispensable.

Keep your eye on it…

Because demand is about to explode.

You see...

The space industry is expected to grow from $360 billion to $558 billion by 2026.

And gold is the best metal for protecting space tech from radiation.

This future has arrived.

Now you have an incredible opportunity…

To invest in the future of space travel...

By investing in gold.

If you’d like to hold some of this noble metal in your portfolio…

Click here to buy gold now - and invest in the final frontier!

For information on Hard Asset Alliance, click HERE

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from Hard Asset Alliance for purchases make through the above links(s).

Hard Assets Alliance
June 7, 2019

Right now Apple is the fourth most valuable company in the U.S. by Market Cap...

And according to my research, they’ve got a $77 million secret hidden inside their iPhones.

Once you understand what this secret is…

You’ll see its value to Apple… and how you can potentially profit from it.

So what’s hiding inside each and every iPhone?

It’s silver…
 
An irreplaceable metal that makes the electrical connections inside each iPhone function properly.
 
And each iPhone contains roughly 36 cents worth of silver.
 
Which means the 217 million iPhones sold in 2018 contained more than $77 million worth of silver.
 
That's the equivalent of 4.8 million troy ounces of silver...
 
Which is enough to build the famous statue inside Lincoln Memorial fully in silver…  
 
Enough silver to produce the Super Bowl trophy for the next 42 thousand years…
 
Enough silver to produce 240,000 Silver Medals at the Olympic Games…

And silver isn’t just inside their iPhones…
 
It’s in every single device they make.
 

  • iPads
  • Laptops
  • Desktops

 
All of them NEED silver to function properly.

And it’s not just Apple’s devices that require silver…
 
It’s literally every single smartphone, laptop, and desktop made around the world.
 
Which means every single device shipped by Google, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, and Intel...
 
Billions of devices, each year, all need silver.

And as these companies continue to grow and fight for market share…
 
Their demand for silver will increase with it.
 
Which is why we think it makes perfect sense to bet on everyone by betting on silver.
 
To get started, all you need to do is open up your free SmartMetals account.
 
PLUS! Once you open your free account...

You’ll also get access to a private interview I recently hosted with technology investor and expert Ray Blanco.
 
He’ll be sharing some key insights into how silver is shaping the future of technology… and why you should consider investing in silver today.
 
Sincerely,

Jake

More Info

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from this provider for purchases you make through the above links

Hard Assets Alliance
June 5, 2019

 

Right now, there’s a revolution in the global automotive industry…
 
It’s electric and hybrid cars… what we call “smart cars.”

 

The fact is, silver is used extensively in smart cars…
 
And the auto industry estimates its demand for silver will reach $2 billion a year by 2040.
 
If you want to potentially profit from the growth of smart cars, there’s a great way to get started...
 
Buy silver!
 
Here’s why…
 
Today’s cars use an aggregate of over 36 million ounces of silver each year.
 
As smart cars improve and the market grows, that number’s forecasted to triple in 20 years!
 
Just take a look at this graph:



You can see (in blue and green) the forecasted demand for silver in electric vehicles (EV) and hybrids (HEV) in relation to internal combustion engines (ICE) (in orange).
 
Furthermore, silver in cars is irreplaceable.
 
Already, it’s used in automotive parts and systems...
 

  • Switches
  • Electrical wiring
  • Microchips
  • EV batteries
  • Spark plugs
  • Antifreeze
  • Catalytic converters

 
Still, there will be much more… as the auto industry moves into the future.
 
Now could be the perfect time to add silver to your portfolio.
 
To get started, all you need to do is open up a FREE SmartMetals account.
 
PLUS! Once you open your free account...

You’ll also get access to a private interview I recently hosted with technology investor and expert Ray Blanco.
 
He’ll be sharing some key insights into how silver is shaping the future of technology… and why you should consider investing in silver today.

Hard Assets Alliance
June 3, 2019

 
Last year alone, solar energy accounted for 29% of all new electric generating capacity.
 
In fact, the solar energy industry is expected to hit $60 billion in U.S. sales over the next 10 years.
 
And because of this energy revolution...
 
Silver could become the #1 precious metal to own in 2019.
 
Let’s take a look at the two opportunities where silver plays a big role:
 
#1 ) The Solar Energy Industry
 
Like I mentioned, solar energy is booming in America.
 
But globally… it’s doing even better.
 
The global solar energy industry is expected to reach $422 billion by 2022.
 
That’s a 4,938% increase from 2015.
 
As you may know, solar energy is harvested through solar panels which are made with silver.
 
Which means investing in silver is investing in the raw material powering this energy revolution.
 
But there’s a huge problem right now limiting solar energy’s growth.
 
See, you can’t use it when there’s no sun.
 
Natural gas is still #1 because it’s the only way to power entire countries at night.
 
But not for much longer...
 
Because the solution to this huge problem is the second opportunity...
 
And this solution could make solar the world’s biggest energy source.
 
#2 ) Fuel Cells

The U.S. Department of Energy predicts the fuel cell industry will be worth $43 billion to $139 billion in the next 10-20 years.
 
But as of today, there’s a big problem with making fuel cells.
 
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) offer a stable and efficient way to generate clean electrochemical power...
 
But they’re impractical for use in portable devices because of their high operating temperatures.
 
Not to mention the fact they require platinum to be used as the catalyst… which isn’t exactly the cheapest material to be using.
 
According to Suljo Linic, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, silver could be the answer to this problem.
 

“We have been looking at a silver-based compound and we have known for a long time that silver can form this type of reaction at about 10 to 15 times lower rates than platinum. But what we like about silver is that it’s very cheap, about 50 times cheaper than platinum, and when forming silver nanoparticles it allows for a high density of active sites in the material.”
 

Linic said up until recently silver would have been useless in the acidic environment of fuel cells...
 
But advances in new membrane technologies in the last decade allow for silver to be used in basic fuel cells without being prohibitively expensive.
 
Which means investing in silver could give you exposure to the most promising disruptive force in the energy sector.
 
Interested in investing in silver?
 
So all you have to do is log in to your SmartMetals account and buy silver.
 
PLUS! Once you open your free account...

You’ll also get access to a private interview I recently hosted with technology investor and expert Ray Blanco.
 
He’ll be sharing some key insights into how silver is shaping the future of technology… and why you should consider investing in silver today.
 
Sincerely,
 
Jake

WealthCare Connect may receive compensation from this provider for purchases you make through the above links.

Hard Assets Alliance
May 31, 2019

Amazon has a problem...a BIG problem.
 
Every year, they ship over 5 billion packages…
 
But many of those packages never make it to their destination.
 
You’ve seen this first hand if you’ve ever had a package not show up or go to the wrong address.
 
Frustrating, isn’t it?
 
But they’ve found a solution…
 
Introducing Nano Silver: The Metal of the Future
 
What is nano silver?
 
It’s pretty much the same thing as regular silver but with one major difference...
 
It’s broken down into tiny little particles called nanoparticles…
 
Less than 100 billionths of a meter in size.
 
Having trouble imagining that?
 
I’m right there with you.
 
But don’t worry…
 
Because all you need to know is that these nanoparticles are an important part of RFID chips...
 
And they’ll be part of almost everything in the near future.
 
Think of RFID chips as self-powered micro computers...
 
And Amazon loves them.
 
Why?
 
Because they replace bar codes and turn your lost packages into "smart packages"...
 
And this helps them always find their way back to their owner.
 
Say goodbye to lost packages forever, and say hello to on time deliveries – every time!
 
And it’s all thanks to nano silver.
 
Want to invest in this growing trend?
 
It’s easy!
 
Remember, nano silver is the same as regular silver…
 
So all you have to do is log in to your SmartMetals account and buy silver.