Gold soared 3.5% last week after Congress finally reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling -- assuring that the U.S. debt will continue to balloon. But the respite to Washington's budget woes is only temporary, and that has the gold bugs licking their chops.
Looking at a 10-year gold prices or silver prices chart and seeing respective gains of 423% and 650% can get investors pretty excited, and for good reasons.
Whether you enjoyed the previous commodities bull run and are currently adding to your positions, or just initiating one, now is the time to buy gold and silver, as both are expected to continue climbing in value.
According to the latest survey from the Consumer Electronic Association, about 60 percent of adults plan to shop in stores or online during the holiday weekend, with the average person indicating they'll fork over $218 for gifts and merchandise from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
This is a sharp increase from 2011, where shoppers said they'd spend $159.
For the ultimate gold lover on your shopping list, one amazing purchase you can nab is a Christmas tree complete with Disney characters and gold leaf ribbons made of 88 pounds of pure gold from a jewelry store in Tokyo, according to Reuters.
The ornamental tree will set you back $4.2 million, but there's also a smaller version available for $243,000.
But that's not the only thing that has grabbed my attention this holiday season. Here are 5 other amazing consumer trends that are happening around the world.
And two recent columns in particular on gold generated a larger-than-normal response.
The comments were related to the two-parter on gold prices that we published on Nov. 5 ("The Secret Gold Standard") and Nov. 13 ("Why Obama's Victory Means Higher Gold Prices").
Let's take a look at what you had to say.
The comments related to the "Secret Gold Standard" column were especially intriguing because a number of you thought I was advocating a literal return to the "gold standard."
I wasn't, of course. I employed the term as a convenient metaphor to try and help folks understand how the world's central banks were adding gold reserves for the first time in nearly a quarter century.
In fact, a global return to the gold standard isn't possible - there literally isn't enough gold to allow that to happen. It would crimp money-supply growth in such a way that global economic growth would be stymied.
A number of you wrote in to make that same point - including one reader who actually performed all the necessary calculations to make his case.
Al K. wrote in to ask: "Some analysts believe gold will drop further & others believe gold has bottomed out now. What do the experts of Money Morning believe?"
Since Al requested an "expert" opinion - a fair request - I put in a call to Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.
The Outlook For Gold PricesRight now, Keith explained, there are two separate outlooks for gold - one for the near-term and another for the longer-term.
It's a question that's being asked with increasing frequency these days. The United States is struggling with a post-financial-crisis economy that can't seem to get healthy, which has led to a ballooning budget deficit and a staggering national debt.
And don't expect any structural improvements to the country's finances. Near-term stock-market bulls are awaiting an all-but-guaranteed round of "quantitative easing" (known as "QE2") - which will inject money into the U.S. financial system, though it will only add to shortfall even as it weakens the U.S. dollar.
Moreover, because of the tax consequences of ownership, chances are it'll never add up to what those guys hawking gold coins on late night TV lead you to believe.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't invest. With an estimated $202 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities and the global public debt clock ticking higher, I believe gold and other precious metals should be a part of every investor's portfolio.
Fears that the dollar will continue to lose value in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's quantitative easing have boosted the appetite for physical bullion as well as for mining company shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) executive Josef Stadler told the Reuters Global Private Banking Summit.
"They don't only buy ETFs or futures; they buy physical gold," said Stadler, who runs the Swiss bank's services for clients with assets of at least $50 million to invest. "We had a clear example of a couple buying over a ton of gold ... and carrying it to another place," Stadler said.