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  • 2013 Natural Gas Price Forecast: Higher Prices Mean an End to the Bear Market

    After a sustained plunge, the 2013 natural gas price forecast shows the six-and-a-half year bear market may be finally coming to an end.

    In all, over the course of the current downturn, natural gas prices declined from a high of $15.78 per million btus (mmbtu) in Dec 2005 to a low of $1.90 in April 2012 — a breath-taking nosedive of 88%.

    The reason was an enormous supply glut driven largely by major new unconventional shale plays like the Marcellus and the Bakken where hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has revolutionized the industry.

    In fact, fracking helped drillers to produce over 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year, with over 70 billion cubic feet coming from the Bakken Shale alone.

    These new finds meant the U.S. natural-gas market was flooded with an average of three billion cubic feet more natural gas every day than the United States consumed.

    But those days are coming to an end as supply and demand begin to balance out, setting the stage for rising natural gas prices.

    In fact, natural gas prices have already rallied to $3.40 per mmbtu, up 79% in just six months

    But regardless the day-to-day movements, the long-term outlook for natural gas prices remains bullish, particularly in light of a steady increase in demand.

    Here's how investors can profit on the coming rally in natural gas prices.

  • "It's Like Gold On Steroids"

    Gold remains the favorite of precious metal investors, but silver is the metal you want to double down on right now.

    After wallowing around in the mid-20s for months, silver prices have shot back over $30 an ounce.

    And thanks to some wildly misguided government policies, silver could soon blow through its 2011 high of $50 an ounce, giving investors an easy double.

    Even better, thanks to three huge catalysts, silver is primed to make a huge run-up over the next 12-24 months. It will be like investing in "gold on steroids."

    Are you ready for $250 silver? Or more to the point, are you ready to profit from it?

    In a moment, you'll see how a simple move can help you reap extraordinary profit from silver.

    But first, let me show you the three catalysts that will propel silver much, much higher over the coming months and years…

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  • Investing in Emerging Markets: Don't Miss this Reliable Choice

    South America, broadly speaking, is a dichotomy for investors.

    On one hand, the continent's history is hard to forget. The Argentine currency crisis and Colombia's reputation for nefarious exports are just two black marks on South America's past. A third is a rap sheet littered with leftist, socialist governments with penchants for chasing away foreign investment.

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  • A Liberty Investor's Guide to Latin America

    Words, indeed, are powerful things. As an Englishman in America, my personal favorite is freedom.

    It's embodied by those words penned so long ago by a young Thomas Jefferson…

    It's the idea that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

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  • Investing in Emerging Markets with U.S.-Traded ADRs

    For most of the past decade, the name of the game in worldwide equities has been investing in emerging markets.

    If you don't believe me, just take a look at the performance of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSEArca: EEM).

    To continue reading, please click here…

  • T. Boone Pickens Loses "Big" in Alternative Energy

    No, he didn't lose a donkey.

    But T. Boone Pickens lost a synonym for the animal and a whole lot of money in the wind industry.

    "I'm in the wind business…" said Pickens yesterday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "I've lost my ass in the business."

    Pickens didn't blame his own investment for the current situation. He acknowledged that the technological shift in shale oil and gas development has greatly changed the game for American energy, and has made drilling more practical and affordable.

    But the statement was just a precursor to his observations that Washington has little priority to setting a national energy policy that is both sustainable and affordable to Americans.

    On the show, Pickens hammered home the point that the current administration not only lacks an intelligent energy policy. "They don't have an energy policy."

    Why this statement is shocking to anyone, especially the hosts, shouldn't confuse anyone.

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  • Investing in Emerging Markets: Is it Time to Invest In Thailand?

    There is a good reason investors have been clamoring to invest in emerging markets.

    With the West spinning its wheels, the truth is there's a good deal of money to be made in these markets in 2012.

    One emerging market I like is Thailand.

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  • The Hunt for Higher Yield: Investors Pour into Emerging Market Debt

    The never-ending hunt for higher yield is leading investors to bet record amounts on emerging market debt.

    In just the first two weeks of 2012, governments of undeveloped economies from Asia to Africa sold more than $30.6 billion in dollar-denominated bonds according to Bloomberg News.

    That's up from roughly $19.9 billion in the same period last year and the most since 1999, when Bloomberg began collecting data.

    Typically, investors shun emerging market bonds during times of uncertainty in favor of "safer" assets like gold and U.S. Treasuries.

    But that has started to change.

    The Big Move Into Emerging Market Debt

    In fact, investor demand is overwhelming supplies as orders have outstripped the amount of bonds being sold.

    During a recent auction, the Philippines received $12.5 billion of orders for $1.5 billion of 25-year bonds, pushing the yield down to a record-low 5%. Indonesia sold 30-year bonds at a record-low yield of 5.375% and Colombia sold $1.5 billion of 29-year bonds at 4.964%.

    Analysts say the debt crisis in Europe, along with record low yields on U.S Treasuries, has investors on the hunt.

    They are now buying the debt of undeveloped nations like Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil, even though credit-rating firms rank them as more risky than their European counterparts

    "What we're seeing is a re-evaluation of sovereign-credit risk, increasingly being driven more by fundamentals than by classifications," Eric Stein, a portfolio manager at Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE: EV) told The Wall Street Journal.

    According to the J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index, investment-grade sovereign emerging-market bonds are yielding an average of 4.7%.

    By contrast, Italian 30-year debt yields 7%, while Spanish 30-year debt yields 6.1%.

    One reason emerging market bonds are attracting interest is…

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  • Emerging Markets Forecast 2012: Forget the BRICs! Here Are the Best Emerging Markets of 2012

    Don't let the headlines fool you, there's lots of money to be made in global investing in 2012.

    You're just going to have to be careful – more so than in years past – because right now the line drawn between successful markets and markets that are in danger of collapse is treacherously thin.

    Take the fashionable growth markets, the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China – for example.

    It's been 10 years since Goldman Sachs Group's Chairman of Asset Management Jim O'Neill coined the BRIC acronym. His recommendation was certainly effective – one of the best of all time, even. But today, all four BRIC countries face problems, and their troubles illustrate the dangers of following investment fashions.

  • The BRICs Will Be Dead Weight in 2012 – Invest in These Five Emerging Markets Instead

    Don't let the headlines fool you, there's lots of money to be made in global investing in 2012.

    You're just going to have to be careful – more so than in years past – because right now the line drawn between successful markets and markets that are in danger of collapse is treacherously thin.

    Take the fashionable growth markets, the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China – for example.

    Dead Weight

    It's been 10 years since Chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) Asset Management Jim O'Neill coined the BRIC acronym. His recommendation was certainly effective – one of the best of all time, even. But today, all four BRIC countries face problems, and their troubles illustrate the dangers of following investment fashions.

    Just take a look:

    • China appears the least troubled of the four BRICs. However, it looks to be facing a recession, inflation is approaching double digits and there is a massive bad debt problem in the banking system. Too much money has been invested in uneconomic rubbish – "malinvestment" as the Austrian school of economics calls it. My own guess is that China will do fine long-term but you probably don't want to invest until the size and shape of its problems is clear.
    • India has a government that can't stop spending, inflation over 10% and huge corruption. Furthermore, its stock market is still pretty inflated. I wouldn't put much money there until the government changes. Contrary to what you read in the media, almost all the real liberalization progress came under the Vajpayee government of 1998-2004, which the Indian electorate then ungratefully threw out. I'd want an Indian government without the corrupt socialist Congress Party before I'd invest; only then could I be sure that Indian gains would not be poured down a rat hole.
    • Brazil has been run by big-spending socialists since 2002 and has been immensely lucky to benefit from the commodities boom. Now the boom has topped out (probably temporarily) but its government is still overspending and has begun to harass foreign investors. Brazil is in big trouble if commodities prices fall.
    • In Russia, Vladimir Putin will become President again next March. Need I say more? Like Brazil, Russia has benefited immensely from the commodities boom (in its case, primarily the run-up in oil prices). However, it treats foreign investors even worse than Brazil does, it is even more corrupt and it appears to be running out of money.

    MM Outlook 2012
    If the BRIC's prospects are bad, those of much of Europe are even worse.

    The Eurozone's debt problem could have been solved early on by throwing Greece out of the euro (a much deserved punishment). However European authorities have now thrown so much money about in such unproductive ways that it's doubtful whether the euro is even salvageable anymore.

    A recession in 2012 seems unavoidable, although Germany may benefit from the problems of its trading partners (if it is not forced to bail them out). Well-run European Union (EU) members that are not part of the Eurozone, such as Poland, may also benefit from the chaos, although Poland's current foreign minister Radek Sikorski doesn't seem to think so.

    Japan has done so badly for so long that it may be impossible to revive. If public debt were still at the level of a decade ago, Japanese shares would be a screaming buy, as the market is at a quarter of its 1990 peak. However, with debt around 220% of gross domestic product (GDP) and no sign of the country's budget problems being solved, it may be nearing the point of no return and eventual debt default. On the whole, it's best avoided.

    Apart from the United States, that leaves one obvious rich-country market, [To continue reading, please click here...]