March 2011 - Page 9 of 10 - Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From

Hidden Inflation: Rising Prices Are Hitting Consumers Harder Than the Fed Will Admit

Any U.S. consumer that goes to the grocery store or the gas station on a regular basis knows that prices are rising.

Unfortunately, those rising prices are set to soar even higher – and their effects on consumers will continue to be ignored by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The United States has had a break from inflation the past couple years, while it exported higher prices to emerging market economies. The Fed's easy money policies created excess money that flowed overseas, and now those countries are seeing prices rise to threatening levels.

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Buy, Sell or Hold: Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) May Be Too Hot to Handle

Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) provides the coal that creates 10% of America's electricity.

In fact, the company's coal creates 2% of the world's electricity.

The stock is up almost 100% from the 12-month lows it set last summer. And after a quick recent pullback, Peabody Energy's shares appear to be on the march once again.

Though this is a high-quality investment, we're in dangerous territory here. It's time to "Hold" Peabody Energy (**) – until a needed pullback gives investors a chance to add more shares.

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Tech Companies Set to Fuel Resurgent U.S. IPO Market

After falling off the radar for three years, the U.S. IPO market is off to its best start since before the financial crisis. And with several high profile technology companies set to go public this year, it's likely to carry that momentum forward.

Companies around the globe have raised more than $26 billion through initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, a 20% increase over last year and the best start on record, according to Dealogic. Globally, 15 IPOs were crammed into the first two weeks of February – a month that last year had seen a total of just four IPOs.

Not since 2007, when 17 companies listed, has the IPO market been so active. By comparison, just three companies listed in February 2009 and four in 2010.

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Cotton Price Forecast: After Our 123% Gain, Here's Our Next Call

Back in late September, in an essay to Money Morning readers, I crowned cotton as the "new king" of the global commodities sector.

At the time, cotton was trading at roughly a dollar a pound – after having traded in a range of 40 cents to 50 cents per pound for decades. I told readers that cotton prices could hit $1.25 a pound anytime within the subsequent six months.

As it turns out, I was correct in being bullish -I just wasn't bullish enough. Just one year ago, cotton was trading at 70 cents a pound. Today it's trading at roughly $2 a pound.

Readers who acted on this call have more than doubled their money. In fact, the exchange-traded note that we recommended in that report has soared more than 120% since I recommended it and is already up 46% year-to-date.

The real question, of course, is: What happens next?

Here's my cotton price forecast. And here's how to play it.

To see what Barnes now expects, please read on...

Mideast Crisis Turns Attention to Saudi Arabia Oil Supply

Libya's political turmoil yesterday (Thursday) continued to rage near the country's important oil patch cities, as Col. Moammar Gadhafi's military fought to secure ports and refineries.

Libya's government tried to portray a sense of security to foreign reporters who toured the Zawiya Oil Refinery Co. yesterday, even as rebel forces remained in place throughout the surrounding city.

Rebels also infiltrated Brega, an oil port in eastern Libya, as government warplanes struck the site, according to the Associated Press.

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The Looming Muni-Bond Meltdown: Profit From the Collapse – And Then Again From the Rebound

Hedge funds are stalking the $2.9 trillion municipal-bond market like an alley cat stalks a mouse.

In their public statements, Wall Street shills continue to dismiss warnings about "deadbeat states" – and the horrific impact that budgetary shortfalls at the state and local level are going to have on this stodgy slice of the debt market. Anyone who tries to buck this Wall Street view is ridiculed and dismissed as a financial Cassandra.

Behind the so-called "velvet rope," however, some hedge funds not only believe that financial catastrophe looms in the muni-bond market – they're positioning themselves for the kill … and for the obscene profits they'll reap when this inevitable disaster strikes.

But why should hedge funds be the only beneficiaries? In this special report, I'm going to outline a strategy that promises at least two very generous hedge-fund-style plays related to municipal bonds. At the very least, you can use these strategies to protect yourself from the approaching collapse of the municipal bond market.

And, if you're so inclined, the strategies could potentially make you a bundle.

For the two strategies that will let you outfox the hedge funds, please read on….

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