Oil prices staged a remarkable rally this year on the back of a weak dollar and a nascent economic recovery. In 2010, it's likely that these same factors will combine with an increase in global energy demand to push oil prices back up over $100 a barrel.
With stockpiles still high and energy demand rebounding sluggishly, most forecasts are calling for the "black gold" to edge up into the low-triple-digit price range. That's 40% higher than where oil is trading right now - but is still well below the record high of nearly $150 a barrel that was established in 2008.
Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald is even more bullish. He believes that a price of $100 a barrel is "easily attainable" and says that some sort of unforeseen market shock could cause crude oil to spike as high as $150 barrel by the end of 2010.
However, bonds could break those laws of financial physics in the New Year - and in a big way. That could inflict some real financial pain on the U.S. recovery, the dollar, the shuddering housing market - and could even ignite a major stock-market reversal.
The U.S. Federal Reserve continues to hold rates on U.S. Treasury securities to artificially low levels - a strategy central bank Chairman Ben S. Bernanke just this week said the Fed intends to adhere to for the foreseeable future.
My research tells me that the answer to that question is a definite "yes."
When it comes to basic materials investments, we've talked a lot about gold and steel, but don't forget the agricultural goods. As you can see in the chart that follows, St. Louis-based seed-producer Monsanto last week broke out of a long downtrend and consolidation.
<br And the records are going to keep on coming.
With the U.S. dollar in a freefall and global gold demand rising, analysts say the precious metal will likely continue its bullish trend through at least the first half of 2010. It could rise as high as $2,000 an ounce, which would represent a 73% gain from current record levels.
The gap grew to $36.5 billion, the highest level since January, from a revised $30.8 billion in August, the Commerce Department said today (Friday). Imports jumped the most in 16 years, overcoming a gain in exports.
U.S. exports and imports were at the highest levels since December 2008, in a sign that the U.S. economy is recovering. Imports grew 5.8% in September, the biggest monthly gain since March 1993, while exports rose 2.9%.
Instead, the North American food giant repeated the terms of its original offer, which Cadbury rejected two months ago. Kraft will now put its bid directly to Cadbury shareholders, setting the stage for a battle that could last months.
Cadbury swiftly rejected the bid, saying the offer is now worth less than the initial proposal, which had already undervalued the company. Kraft's bid is now worth 4% less than the original offer, and 6% below the current stock price, because Kraft shares have lost some of their value.