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Is Your Vehicle on the "Most Hackable" List?

My first car was a bone-stock 1929 Ford Model A coupe that has been in the family since it was new.

My late grandfather – a machinist on the Lehigh Valley Railroad – drove the car as his everyday vehicle until the late 1940s. My Dad restored the car in his mid-teens and drove it through his high-school years.

And I did the same…

  • Gold Prices

  • This Gold Prices Cycle Shows We're Headed for a Rise The recent slide in gold prices has left investors puzzled over why the metal is not acting in the way it was intended: a safe haven from economic uncertainty.

    But as Martin Grubb, managing director of investment for the World Gold Council, explained in a recent commentary for MarketWatch, it is not all that unusual for gold to experience a delayed reaction to macroeconomic events.

    That's because gold is one of the very few assets that retains its value during tumultuous economic times. It is often the go-to holding investors sell when they need to raise cash, want liquidity, or are faced with margin calls. So events can trigger a gold sell-off and knock down prices before sending them soaring.

    Grubb referenced Black Monday 1987 as a perfect example. The infamous day rocked markets the world over. Many feared it was a "financial Armageddon" as billions of dollars were erased from stock prices during the month of October.

    Gold, instead of rising as market participants looked for safe haven assets, dropped as it was sold to raise cash to bolster accounts. It hit as low as $390 in the months that followed before rising to $484 by the end of 1988.

    An even more extreme example of gold's liquidity role was the 1997-1998 Asian currency crisis. The Korean won was unacceptable in currency markets, so the Korean government stepped in and bought gold from locals in exchange for interest-bearing won-denominated bonds.

    The Korean government sold the 250 tonnes of gold it received in the international market and was able to service its debt with the sales.

    A more recent example of gold's initial sell off in a financial crisis is the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September 2008. Despite the bank's failure marking the credit crunch kick off, gold initially fell for a couple months as investors sold it for cash. Then it started a bull run that ran the price up 156% in three years.

    Grubb wrote that we are currently in the infancy stage of a new crisis and gold's legendary behavioral pattern is repeating itself.

    The precious metal is being liquidated to meet margin calls. In addition, it is believed the yellow metal is being lent into markets to provide ailing European banks with much needed liquidity.

    "As a result, gold is not yet reacting to the worsening euro zone news and its current behavior is much like its behavior prior to and shortly after the Lehman bankruptcy," Grubb wrote.

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  • Higher Gold Prices Triggered by Europe In early trading Friday, it was like old times again - gold prices soared and it was well overdue.

    The yellow metal glistened in early trading, with gold for August delivery rising 3%, propelled above the key $1,600 level. Fueling the strong gains in gold and other markets were encouraging words out of the European Union summit.

    As the pivotal two-day meeting in Brussels wound down, global markets and commodities rallied after EU leaders struck a "breakthrough" deal to ease the recapitalization of banks. The plan was aimed at pulling the Eurozone back from the edge of its debt crisis.

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  • Gold Prices: Begging for QE3 The Fed's Operation Twist announcement Wednesday slammed gold prices, and the yellow metal fell 2.5% Thursday.

    Gold for August delivery ended last week down 3.8% to about $1,570 an ounce, well below its 2011 high of $1,920.30.

    Before the two-day FOMC meeting, gold was up 4% year-to-date. Gold rose at the beginning of the week on hopes that the Fed would announce accommodative moves.

    In the last round of easy-money moves back in January, gold rallied as high as 15% as investors flocked to the asset for protection. Since then, gold has dropped numerous times from a lack of additional news of more easing.

    Gold was once again disappointed last week when the Fed said it would keep twisting, and the lack of a more aggressive maneuver failed to give a needed gold rally.

    "To get gold really moving, you need a definite QE3," Sterling Smith, commodity analyst with Citi Institutional Client Group, told Kitco News. "Operation Twist is not nearly the food for a gold bull that outright QE is."

    Gold Prices and Operation Twist

    On Wednesday morning, the Fed announced the extension of its long-term government bond holdings by $267 billion to decrease borrowing costs while selling an equal figure of short-term securities to keep its $2.9 trillion balance sheet.

    While scheduled to end this month, the Fed extended the Operation Twist program until the end of the year.

    Operation Twist is derived from a Federal Reserve program that "twists" the yield curve or sells short-term securities from its holdings and buys longer-term ones in an effort to drive down longer-term yields.

    Market watchers had been mixed about this happening.

    Barclay's Capital saw Operation Twist as "the most likely outcome," saying it would provide additional time for the Fed to sift through and mull soft data that is "payback" from the additional warm winter hiring or a potentially lengthier prolonged slowdown, reported Kitco.

    But since Operation Twist was considered the least the Fed could do, markets had priced it in already.

    Jeffrey Wright, managing director and research analyst with Global Hunter Securities, said to Kitco he expected limited gains for gold on the heels of the "Twist," possibly to the $1,650 range, as the market has already been adding in the possibility for Fed action.

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  • How Shorts on Gold ETFs are Nearing a Big Squeeze There has been an increasing number of investors taking short positions on gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) - but they better watch out for what's ahead this summer.

    In fact, each day that passes brings us closer to what could be the day of reckoning for those holding massive short positions on the ETFs for gold, silver, copper and related investments.

    You see, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in late August will host an economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, WY. Speaking at the conference, as he did in August of 2010 when he introduced the second round of quantitative easing, will be Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    There is much to believe that QE3 - if not declared sooner - could be announced at Jackson Hole. Should this happen, the prices of gold, silver and copper will likely soar like back in 2010.

    That means anyone holding shorts on gold ETFs or similar investments could find themselves scrambling to cover their positions.

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  • Why Gold Prices are Ready to Rally Gold prices hit a four-week high last week as the market waited for the highly-anticipated congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    But gold bulls were pushed aside Thursday after Bernanke, in a speech to Congress, failed to deliver a definitive answer on monetary easing.

    Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a Friday research note via Dow Jones, "The past week has demonstrated how expectations [toward] quantitative easing can have a powerful effect on the gold price."

    Now investors need to wait for the June 19-20 FOMC meeting for more clarity on what the Fed could do this year and how metals prices will be affected.

    Gold prices have recovered since then, and on Tuesday the yellow metal pushed above the $1,600 an ounce mark. The weekend's news about the Spanish bank bailout and lingering concerns over the Eurozone debt crisis has increased alarm about the global economy, making gold more attractive.

    But news from Europe and Fed policies aren't the only factors that can move gold prices. Here's what else is affecting the metals market now.

    The Biggest Factors Moving Gold Prices

    #1: Central Bankers are Buying Gold

    For the first time since 1965, central bankers are purchasing gold.

    According to World Gold Council, the central banks have increased their gold collections by 400 metric tons or almost 2,205 pounds in the last 12 months through March 31.

    This is a rise from the previous year's 156 tons.

    Look for this to continue from the central bank as the council noted it "is now confident that central banks will continue to buy gold and has added official-sector purchases as a new element of gold demand," according to Austin Kiddle in a Sharps Pixley report.

    Jeff Christian, founder of New York-based commodities consulting firm CPM Group, told Barron's that central banks "will probably be continuous buyers of small volumes of gold for the foreseeable future," accounting for roughly 10% of the gold supply.

    Christian noted that central bankers will avoid buying any quantity that dramatically affects the price of gold. Yet steady buying of 10% of annual supply is certain to help buoy gold prices.

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  • Gold Prices: Central Banks See Shine in Yellow Metal When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke failed to hint at more monetary stimulus last week, gold prices took a small hit.

    But the picture for gold investors just brightened again thanks to increased activity from central banks.

    Central banks are buying the yellow metal in copious amounts, marking the first time since 1965 that bankers have been such steady buyers.

    Central banks amplified their gold stores by 400 metric tons, the equivalent of almost 2,205 pounds, in the 12 months through March 31. That was an increase from 156 tons in the same period a year ago, according to data from the World Gold Council.

    Barron's reported Saturday that the World Gold Council "is now confident that central banks will continue to buy gold and has added official sector purchases as a new element of gold demand," according to a report from London-based bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.

    The fresh facts indicate that central bank purchasing will continue for the foreseeable future.

    That is quite a turnaround from the heavy selling the banks made from 1966 through 2007. During that time central bankers engaged in substantial selling, with only short periods of meager buying.

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  • Gold News: Why the Yellow Metal is Glistening Comex gold futures surged Friday and soared to a bright three-week high following a very dismal U.S. jobs report.

    The rally in gold came after the Labor Department reported employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, well below the anticipated 150,000. The data also pushed the unemployment level up a tick to 8.2% from 8.1%, stoking worries that the U.S. economy is still ailing and a recovery is far from certain.

    The lackluster jobs report ignited hopes that a fresh round of quantitative easing may be in the near future. Gold prices climbed on the prospect.

    Market participants returned to gold pushing the front month contract up some $59, nearly 3%, in early afternoon trading to $1,619.10 a troy ounce.

    Silver rose in concert, gaining 96 cents to $28.67.

    Trading was heavy and volatile in precious metals Friday, as traders moved quickly to cover short positions.

    To date in 2012, gold has been experiencing its worst showing since the 2008 financial crisis. But the catalysts may be aligning to turn the trend upward.

    "It's very likely that the economic data today and what's come out of Europe has convinced the market that there will be further government monetary stimulus," Robert Lutts, chief investment officer of Cabot Money Management, told Reuters. "Larger institutions will commit money to gold in ways they never had before."

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  • Here’s the Deal with Gold Prices Gold prices have slipped, and investors keep wondering how low they’ll go. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald joined Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.” to discuss the factors keeping gold down. Fitz-Gerald said these two reasons are the main drivers behind lower gold prices. In this video he explains if those factors are long-term or not. He also discusses with host Stuart Varney how Europe may handle its debt crisis, how the strategies will further affect gold – and how the current market and economic statistics could influence election 2012. Read More...
  • Gold Mining Stocks: Now is the Time to Buy There are lots of reasons you should own some gold. Despite taking a recent breather, gold prices are still up by 139% in the last five years.

    Even so, shares of gold mining stocks have suffered lately, hurt mainly by higher energy and exploration costs.

    In fact, the stocks of the large gold miners have become nearly as undervalued as they were during the 2008 financial crisis.

    The last time shares of these big gold producers were this cheap, they rallied by 283%.

    At these levels, that means it's time to take a closer look at shares of big gold miners - while they are still a bargain.

    Here's what you need to know...

    The Gold Bull Market is Not Over

    A number of factors point to higher prices for gold:

    • Real interest rates remain in negative territory. Sitting in cash right now is a losing proposition.
    • The austerity movement in Europe is being replaced with more fiscal easing. The European Central Bank may have to print trillions of euros of debt to keep the Eurozone intact.
    • The odds of more fiscal stimulus in China and the U.S. have increased, as two of the world's largest economies struggle to gain traction.
    • Despite healthy demand and rising prices, global production of the metal rose just 0.7% annually from 1999 through 2011.
    Combined with aggressive gold-buying binges by China and other foreign governments moving away from the U.S. dollar, the stage is set for the price of gold to rally.

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  • Gold Prices: Making Sense of the "Death Cross" Gold prices have tumbled 16% since last summer and, more recently, suffered a "death cross" leading many investors to question whether or not gold's bubble has popped.

    If you're not familiar with the term, a death cross is what it's called when the 50-day moving average of the price of a traded instrument - in this case gold - crosses the 200-day moving average from above.

    I disagree.

    I think that the 16% drop since last September is simply based on a corresponding decrease in speculative interest at a time when the dollar has become the best looking horse in the glue factory.

    Traders are simply moving currencies as the euro comes apart.

    This isn't hard to understand when you consider that the dollar and gold have an inverse relationship. If one rises, the other traditionally falls.

    I don't expect that to last much longer.

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  • Europe Drives Gold Prices This Week, But Don't Lose Sight of Long-Term Gold prices managed to eke out a slight gain Friday to move back above the $1,560 a troy ounce mark - but the precious metal has had a less-than-stellar run this week, on track for a 1.9% loss.

    In London trading Friday, the spot gold price was up 0.4% at $1,563.71, bouncing from as low as $1,533.41 earlier this week.

    The upward move in gold came as the euro rebounded some from two-year lows against the dollar. The euro inched up from early lows against the dollar Friday, although sentiment around the troubled currency remains guarded.

    Gold's rise Friday also was attributed to bargain hunting, calmer markets and short covering ahead of the three-day holiday weekend.

    This week continues gold's eleven-week downward trend as the state of Greece and the entire Eurozone region has kept world markets on edge and investors jittery.

    Worries over Greece exiting the Eurozone prompted heavy selling in the currency this week as the ailing Mediterranean country, operating without a government, faces imminent default.

    "Gold's direction seems to be driven more by the level of market risk aversion and the euro currently," BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay told Reuters. "Market sentiment on gold is fragile at the moment. There have been tentative rebounds, but so far bullish momentum has yet to materialize."

    As always, however, there's another side to this story.

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  • Good News for Gold Prices: Commodities are Wounded, But Far From Dead Greece is frozen in a political stalemate. Youth unemployment is running at over 50%. And there has been a $1 billion run on Greek banks.

    From near and afar, there appears to be no easy way out, especially now that the Eurozone is heading back into a recession.

    It's times like these when investors pour into the U.S. dollar for its "perceived safety."

    With commodities priced in U.S. dollars, this spike in the greenback has sent commodities-including gold prices-into a tailspin since early March.

    That has many doubters asking: "Has the commodities super-cycle ended?"

    It's a reasonable question considering the Continuous Commodity Index (CCI) is back down to levels it last saw in September 2010.

    What's more, gold prices have backed off to near $1,500/oz., and oil prices have fallen from $110 to $90/barrel.

    But as you'll see, the commodities coin does have another side.

    The Other Side of the Commodities Story

    In fact, a recent article by Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer at U.S. Global Investors, pointed out how China and other emerging nations are in better fiscal shape than much of the West.

    Even if China is slowing somewhat, it is still growing at an enviable 8% per year, with only 42% debt to GDP ratio. So rather than go for more outright stimulus, it's expected that China will target new loan growth and its M2-money supply growth to around 14%.

    Meanwhile, India and Australia have just lowered interest rates while other central banks are basically refusing to raise rates.

    It means the world will keep turning, people will keep consuming and annual demand of raw materials is likely to remain elevated.

    As for gold prices, let's cut right to the chase.

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  • Gold Prices and the "Grexit" Effect Lately gold prices have been affected by a strengthening dollar resulting from troubles overseas.

    On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told Dow Jones Newswires that considerations were being made for a potential exit by Greece from the euro. He also warned that such an exit would be "catastrophic" for the country and that fallout across the entire Eurozone would be severe.

    Concerns over what will happen to Greece and the Eurozone if Greece leaves have caused the euro to drop to $1.255, its lowest level against the dollar since July 2010.

    These issues have led to a rising dollar as investors continue to move out of gold and into the dollar.

    "Not surprisingly, Greece is the biggest single factor behind the move [out of gold and into dollars]," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald on May 11. "Traders are concerned that the nation will summarily go its own way, shatter the EU's bailout and potentially sink the euro itself."

    Constant worries loom of a "Grexit" as European leaders met in an informal summit in Brussels today (Wednesday) to talk about the debt crisis and how best to spur growth in the struggling Eurozone.

    The meeting comes a day after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a warning that the 17 countries that use the euro risk falling into a "severe recession."

    "The crisis in the Eurozone remains the single biggest downside risk facing the global outlook," said Pier Carlo Padoan, chief economist for the OECD.

    So just how low can gold prices go?

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  • Everything You Need to Know About Gold Prices Gold's hot. Then it's not. Now what?

    Where did the love for the shiny metal go?

    Now the gold bugs are crying, and the "I told you so crowd" is warming up in the wings.

    After a stunning rally to $1,895/oz., gold prices are down hard, falling below $1,600/oz. That's a 16.11% drop that has the gold bears drooling for more-but probably not for long.

    Let's start with gold prices themselves. Right now they're down three months in a row and many gold investors fear there's no bottom in sight.

    What they don't realize is that the fall in gold prices is as rare as proverbial hen's teeth. This is the first time we've seen gold prices tumble three months in a row since March of 2001.

    In fact, since 1957 we've only seen gold prices fall three months in a row 65 times out of a total of 661 three-month periods, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Standard and Poor's.

    But here's the thing about gold prices...

    Gold could fall all the way through May, turning what it already a rare occurrence into an ultra-rare occurrence.

    Would that be a bad thing? In the bigger scheme of things, not really.

    People forget that gold prices fell by more than half from 1975 to 1976, and were down 17 out of 24 months. At the same time, gold prices also recorded 10 three-month declines during the period.

    That was, incidentally, right before gold rose 721.25% to $850.00/oz.-- a peak gold hit on January 21, 1980.

    The point is, bear tracks always precede bull market runs. So I am not especially concerned by this pullback in gold.

    In fact, as you can see from an earlier forecast, we're right on target with my expectations for gold this year.

    Take a look at what I shared with my readers on January 2, 2012:

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  • Gold Prices to Break $2,000: Here's How You Can Profit Gold prices are still far from last year's record $1,920.30 an ounce.

    Given the economic volatility in 2011, last year was a banner year for gold prices. Fears of global market turmoil helped push the yellow metal to record highs.

    While the long-term bullish outlook for gold remains, short-term pressures have halted its steady climb.

    "Gold has found more support recently, but it doesn't have all of the catalysts in place to be driven substantially higher yet," Suki Cooper, an analyst at Barclays Capital, told Reuters.

    Here's why this dip isn't the start of a bearish gold year. Instead, it's a chance to stock up before gold prices head to $2,000 an ounce. (Want to know the best way to profit from soaring gold prices this year? Take a look at our latest special report today. It shows you how to get daily market information and specific recommendations in gold... silver... penny stocks... Asia... and biotech, to name just a few. Find the report right here.)

    The Fed, India, and Gold Prices

    For the next three months, the U.S. Federal Reserve is focused on a stabilizing U.S. economy and low inflation. In fact, the Fed's most recent forecast cooled talk of more monetary stimulus (or "quantitative easing").

    The Fed expects U.S. economic growth to progress at a steady pace throughout the quarter. With moderate expansion rather than rapid growth or deflation, there's no need to curb borrowing, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke plans to keep interest rates near zero.

    This bodes well for the U.S. dollar, and what's good for the dollar is often bad for gold prices.

    It's no secret that a weakened dollar sends investors running to the real value of hard commodities. A stronger dollar does the inverse: It causes the big investors to be less cautious with regard to investments in liquid capital, creating a dip in gold prices.

    Lagging Indian imports have also contributed to lower gold prices at the beginning of this quarter...