How Are You Dealing With High Food and Fuel Prices?
There's no question the staggering rise in food and fuel prices will eat away at U.S. households' income in coming months.
But there is the question of how U.S. consumers will cope with those increased costs – especially when so many are already worried about their jobs, savings, investments and retirement.
With gas prices nearing $4.00 a gallon, and the consumer price index (CPI) in February for food-at-home up 2.8% from 2010, U.S. consumers are facing an economic double whammy. As food and fuel expenses make up a larger slice of household budgets, U.S. consumers have to evaluate just which goods are worth buying.
Montana resident Myriam Garcia some days has to choose between filling up her truck with gas or buying food.
Solar Power Market Emerging as a Sleeper in 2011
Companies that manufacture solar power equipment had a great year in 2010 thanks to generous government subsidies. While 2011 may turn out to be a year of transition, most solar companies should do well and the long-term prospects for the industry are bright indeed.
Solar power installations worldwide increased 120% in 2010 with 16 gigawatts added, up from 7 gigawatts added in 2009. That brought total capacity to 40 gigawatts, still just 0.2% of the world's electricity generation in 2010. That leaves a lot of room for growth.
The rate of growth will slow in 2011 – the world will install 22.2 gigawatts this year, an increase of 39.3% over 2010, according to projections by IHS iSuppli (NYSE: IHS) – but increasing activity in the United States and China should re-ignite the market.
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association said in a report earlier this month that by 2015 it expects global investment in solar panels to roughly double from $46 billion in 2010.
Until recently, most of the growth in solar power installations was coming from Europe, led by Germany. In fact, Germany alone consumed almost half of the world's solar panels in 2010. Europe as a whole accounted for more than 80% of the global solar panel market, $65 billion worth of business.
Of course, that pattern figures to start shifting in 2011.
Buy, Sell or Hold: Brigham Exploration Co. (Nasdaq: BEXP) is in the Midst of a Blue-Sky Breakout
And it's not done yet.
Brigham shot as high as $32.98 on Friday after closing Jan. 24 at $25.33. In the past week alone, the stock is up nearly 11%.
Indeed, this has turned into a blue-sky break out – a phenomenon that occurs when there are high expectations for long-term organic growth.
It's possible that the sharp move up in Brigham's share price will lead to a correction, but when it is a blue-sky break out, the run could last a while.
So let's take any money we have left on the sidelines and look at any smaller, short-term dips as opportunities to increase our stake in Brigham.
Uranium Prices: The Top Three Ways to Play the Nuclear Power Surge
Uranium prices have gained more than 70% from their recession bottom. And that's only the beginning. The element is bracing for a super-surge, and we've found three ways to profit from this uranium bull market that could continue to rise through the rest of the decade and beyond. Uranium is heading back toward its historic [...]
State of the Union: How to Profit From President Obama's New Clean Energy Challenge
In last week's State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a national challenge: Take the 11.5% of the U.S. electricity that emanates from clean-energy sources and boost it to 80% by 2035.
As with any game-changing direction – landing a man on the moon in a decade, bringing an end to the Cold War, curing cancer, or weaning our economy off of coal and crude oil – leaders such as President Obama provide the enticement.
But the market has to figure out how to get it done.
U.S. Clean Energy Investment Puts Upward Pressure on Rising Food Prices
In U.S. President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday, he highlighted clean energy investment as a key component of America's future, one that will be reflected in his budget proposal for fiscal 2012.
"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," the president said in his speech to members of Congress. "[I]nstead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's."
This commitment to clean energy investment increases the importance of biofuels like ethanol, made from corn and other agricultural products. About 40% of U.S. corn is used to make ethanol, and increased ethanol production leads to higher corn and food prices.
Gas Prices are Headed Higher – Here's How to Profit
As Money Morning predicted in its 2011 Outlook for oil prices, crude is poised to surge over $100 a barrel this year. And gas prices are likely to follow suit – perhaps even testing their record high above $4 a gallon.
In fact, one expert – former president of Shell Oil John Hoffmeister – predicts prices at the pump will top $5 a gallon.
The price of benchmark crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) settled at $88.03 a barrel on Friday, after rising as high as $91.53 a barrel earlier in the week.
From there, black gold is set to shoot past the $100 a barrel mark and back toward the record territory it first established in 2008.
Electricity Prices Are Moving Higher Across the Globe
Something is happening internationally that has gone almost unnoticed in the American market – electricity prices in certain regions are increasing… and fast.
The spikes have been particularly noticeable in Australia and the U.K.
Much of Australia has seen rises in power costs of 20% (or more) in less than two years. Prices there are accelerating more than twice as fast as a rising inflation rate and will continue to soar, due to an under-funded electricity infrastructure.
The U.K., along with the rest of Europe, finds itself in the grips of an unusually early and prolonged snow assault carrying frigid temperatures. British consumers are now facing 22-month-high electricity prices, and thousands of homes in northern England and Scotland are facing the serious challenge of losing heat.
On Friday (December 17), the British government announced that it was considering something rarely seen this side of World War II – fuel rationing.
Click here for Kent's take on the situation, plus the advantage he sees for investors…
Alternative Energy Forecast: Why Investors Will Finally Start to Profit in 2011
For a long while now, we've heard a lot of talk about the potential for alternative-energy technology.
Investors take note: In 2011, that potential will start to be realized. And those who want to benefit from this emerging sector's projected long-term growth would do well to climb aboard.
Shale Gas Initiative Brings Morocco to Our Doorstep
Last Friday morning, in my office in Pittsburgh, I met with a delegation from Morocco. The five officials were from Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), the national agency overseeing oil, gas, and mining. They're here in the United States under the provisions of a Department of State (DOS) initiative on the major new energy source – shale gas.
And they gathered in my conference room in Pittsburgh to discuss how to best manage this significant new source of fuel.