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Global Markets

Precious Metals

Why Gold Prices Are Up Today

Gold is down about 17% in 2013, but here's why gold prices are up today – and will continue their rise…

On Monday, as gold inched toward $1,400 an ounce, bulls claimed the yellow metal was entering a third-quarter bull market – and Tuesday's gold-price gains helped it get there.

Comex gold surged $24.40 to $1,417.50 an ounce in mid-morning trading Tuesday, and spot gold soared $13.50 to $1,419, a three-month high.

The precious metal is now up some $200 an ounce, or 20%, from June's three-year low of $1,179.40. A 20% gain equals a bull market.

Propelling gold prices Tuesday was a move from "risk-off" trades into safe haven assets.

All three major U.S. benchmarks were off sharply Tuesday, piggybacking the swoon that began late Monday, as investors grow increasingly concerned the United States and its allies are organizing military action against Syria.

Global Economy

How to Make 46% on My "Australian Independence"

I like Australia's stock market right now. I think it provides you with a ton of upside potential.

Virtually every analyst on Wall Street disagrees, of course. They hate Australia. But they didn't like Chile, either, where we're up 46%. And they weren't crazy about Indonesia – another market that's making us good money.

Independent thinking pays well, plain and simple. And right now, Australia can pay you extremely well.

And there's more than one way you can make money.

trend watch

Intellectual Property: How to Invest in America's Strongest Game

It's hard to overstate the importance of intellectual property, the creative side of industry, to the United States economy – especially in an era when there is a (mistaken) perception that the United States can no longer compete.

It's a complex, interwoven subset of the economy, and it consists of more than just royalties for music and television – although that's part of it. Software, hardware, entertainment, medicine, science, technology – all of these generate immense quantities of intellectual property revenue.

A Hugely Important Segment

You must consider that…

…More than 50% of the world's total intellectual property revenue flows directly into the United States. …Intellectual property rights touch nearly every facet of our immense economy.

…Employment, either direct or indirect, in 313 IP-intensive industries account for some 40 million jobs, nearly 28% of all jobs in our economy.

…And those are good jobs; they pay on average 42% more than non-IP-intensive work.

…IP-intensive industries add $5.06 trillion in value, nearly 35% of the United States' GDP in 2010.

…Nearly 61% of American exports, $775 billion, come from IP-intensive industries.

The figures, from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, more or less speak for themselves.

They point to the United States as possibly the most creative and innovative society on Earth. Even as the overall economy wheezes along, intellectual property continues to grow, playing an ever more vital role.

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Global Economy

How China's One-Child Policy Will Transform the Future Global Economy

In 1979, China implemented a one-child policy in an effort to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in the country.

Government officials indicate that the policy prevented over 250 million births between 1980 and 2000, and 400 million births between 1979 and 2011.

"China was a very different place back then," recalls Money Morning Global Investing & Income Strategist Robert Hsu. "It was very poor and there was overpopulation; they had to do something about it. I'm not saying that it's the best policy, but that's what they did to fix these problems. Nowadays though, the economic situation in China has vastly changed."

And changed it has – China is currently the world's second-largest economy, which is precisely why investors worry about how demographic issues there will play out globally. How will China's shrinking birthrate affect global economic growth?

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Global Economy

Keith Fitz-Gerald Spots Hot Topics in a G20 Meeting Preview

The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important issues of the global economic and financial agenda. Its summit is set for September 5-6 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald appears on CCTV America for a G20 meeting preview.

Keith discusses what he thinks will be the hot topics, including global employment, Abenomics, and the potential for trade wars.

Get ahead of the curve by listening to Keith's full analysis of what will likely unfold in the G20 meeting, in the video below:

G20 Preview

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These Global Construction Stocks Can Make You – and Your Grandchildren – Rich

There are engineering projects and then there are generational engineering projects.

A supertall skyscraper like Dubai's Burj Khalifa or New York City's One World Trade Center may take six or eight years from beginning of construction to topping it out. Contracts to construct buildings like these can bring significant revenues to the companies who land the jobs.

Then there are even bigger projects, huge infrastructure investments that have the tendency to alter the destiny of nations over the course of generations. Some of these projects are designed to be worked on and expanded indefinitely.

The challenges that changing climate and demographics pose will bring about a wave of these mega-projects around the world, most of which will take at least a generation to complete, and in many cases, far beyond that.

When they're finished, the face of the planet will be changed, hundreds of millions of people will be affected – for the better. And investors with the foresight to get in on the ground floor could end up being very rich.

The Delta Works

The Dutch have battled the North Sea and their rivers for centuries, keeping the water out, and claiming living space for their small, densely populated, low-lying country. Much of Western Europe drains into the Netherlands' meandering river system. Between the sea and the rivers, the country is in a watery squeeze, but it's more than holding its own.

Most of the Netherlands' territory has been claimed from the sea, two-thirds of its citizens live below sea level, and more than half the country lies at 1 meter or less below sea level.

After a disastrous flood in 1953 killed thousands and inundated more than 9% of their total farmland, the Dutch realized that a long-term solution was needed.

The Delta Commission, was formed, and afterward conceived of a mega-project under the omnibus Deltaplan, comprising a huge network of dams, bridges, sluices, locks, dikes, and storm surge barriers erected all over the soggy Rijn, Maas, and Scheldt deltas in the northwest of the country.

More than 50 years on, the system has worked with typical Dutch efficiency and effectiveness, but it's not truly "complete" yet.

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Put Politics Aside, Invest in this South American Agriculture Stock

Three weeks ago we mentioned that Morgan Stanley announced that it will close the agriculture segment of its commodities business.

The move was just another sign of hedge funds and banks electing to shift away from soft commodities, and place greater emphasis on the oil and gas markets.

Over the last two years, a number of banks have struggled in the agricultural sector. As they continue to show impatience for the long-term, many on Wall Street have picked up the ball and gone home.

Still, from our research and conversations with investors like Jim Rogers, the agricultural sector provides one of the best investment opportunities over the long term.

With demand outpacing supply and global food stocks hovering near record lows, the fundamentals are clear. It's is why Rogers told Money Morning this year "the price of agriculture has to go up a lot, or we're not going to have any food at any price."

But there's another important investor out there who is long South American agriculture. And he's using an entirely different strategy than the big banks in New York.

The investor is George Soros, Jim Rogers' former co-founder of the Quantum Fund.

Even though many Money Morning readers might not agree with Soros' politics, there's one thing you can't deny: Like Rogers, he too is a legendary investor.

And sometimes you have to put politics aside and find the right investment. And sure enough, he's long one stock that is ripe given the need for more food development in South America.

More than One Way to Invest

Wall Street banks are pulling out of the agricultural sector for two reasons: One, the short-term focus on profitability clouds their ability to see the long-term value of agricultural holdings. Second, soft commodities are a very difficult to master.

There are many different ways to invest in agriculture, but most are subject to short-term volatility given the global supply and demand picture, and the factors impacting prices such as planting cycles, weather variations, energy and shipping costs, and political uncertainty.

While animal technology continues to be our favorite way to invest in the sector, the Soros strategy has centered on a valuable investment vehicle that remains popular with hedge funds around the world: farmland.

Farmland continues to rise in price as investors attempt to cash in on the growing need for food in a world that will have nine billion mouths to feed in 2050.

And it's a solid hedge against rising prices. Over the past 70 years, farmland real estate appreciation has easily outpaced the annual inflation rate.

But farmland isn't just spiking in price here in the United States. It's also becoming a very hot commodity down in South America and portions of Africa.

And one stock provides an opportunity to get in on the development and ownership of farmland south of the equator.

Land Opportunities Abound in South America

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Corporate Taxes

Corporate Tax Avoidance in the Crosshairs of OECD Plan

Fed up with corporate tax avoidance that keeps their fingers off of billions of dollars in potential revenue to feed their spendthrift ways each year, governments in the world's richest economies soon hope to have a plan to do something about it.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will present a preliminary version of such a plan at the meeting of G20 finance minister in Moscow on July 17.

Getting the world's major governments to cooperate on anything is never easy, but in corporate tax avoidance they have an issue that politicians of almost any culture or political stripe can agree on.

"This is a very challenging piece of work," said OECD secretary general Angel Gurria at the organization's annual conference in May. "We have created a regime where it is legal to pay no or little taxes. But I'm very confident we can find a formula that provides a level playing field."

In government speak, this level playing field means hiking corporate taxes.

Most of the world's developed economies also happen to have severe debt problems and are looking for revenue wherever they can find it. Getting more money out of multinational corporations would be a big help.

And several high profile examples of corporate tax avoidance over the past year have also put the issue on the public's radar screen, adding to the political pressure to "do something."

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Global Economy

G8 Plan to Invest in Africa Agriculture Smacks of Colonial Land Grab

A G8 initiative intended to get corporations to invest in Africa with the goal of alleviating hunger on that continent is – surprise, surprise – not working out as planned.

President Barack Obama launched the "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition" in 2012 when the United States held the presidency of the G8 (the Group of Eight, a forum of eight of the world's major economies).

By encouraging partnerships between governments and corporations to invest in Africa, the G8 said it hoped to "lift 50 million people out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by 2022."

Global Economy

Don't Let the Global Economy Wreck Your Investment Strategy

There's trouble all over the global economy, from fresh tremors in the Eurozone debt crisis to unrest in the Middle East and uncertainty over the fate of Obamacare here at home.

With so many threats to the markets coming from so many directions, what's an investor supposed to think?

Fortunately it's the job of Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald to figure out which issues investors need to watch and which ones they don't.

On Fox Business Keith spells out what he thinks are the biggest threats to the global economy now and what investors need to be doing about them.

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Want to know more? Here's what Keith thinks would be The Worst Investing Mistake You Could Make Right Now.

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