Gold

Commodities Are Key as China Continues to Call the Shots

China ended up being the big story this month, as investors looked past Europe to the Far East for clues about what shape the global recovery - if you can even call it that - is taking.

Markets around the globe tanked yesterday (Tuesday) after the Conference Board revised its leading economic index for China to show the smallest gain in five months in April. The index rose just 0.3% in April, which was a significant reduction from the 1.7% gain the Board reported on June 19.

The news of the error contributed to the biggest sell-off in Chinese stocks in more than a month, and sent U.S. indices into a dizzying downward spiral. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 268.22 points, or 2.65%, to close at 9,870.30 and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index tumbled 33.33 points, or 3.10%, to close at 1,041.24.

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GOP Takes Hardline on Federal Deficit By Killing Unemployment Benefits Extension

Drawing a line in the sand over the federal deficit, Senate Republicans on Thursday killed a spending bill that included an extension of unemployment benefits and increased taxes on bonuses paid to executives at private equity firms.

The collapse of the comprehensive legislation spells the end of assistance for a total of 1.3 million unemployed Americans who were scheduled to lose their benefits at the end of last week. It also will leave a number of states with large budget holes they had expected to fill with federal cash to help with Medicaid.

Even though lawmakers voted 57-41 in favor of the measure, Democrats failed to secure the 60 votes needed to end a GOP-led filibuster. The legislators split along party lines with the exception of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE, who voted with the Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, said this third vote on the matter would be the last, and that the Senate needed to move on to legislation cutting taxes for small businesses.

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Is it Time to Bet Against the U.S. Dollar?

The U.S. dollar has been one of the world's strongest currencies in the first part of 2010. But, is the greenback really the bet choice for safety, quality and security? Read this report to find out why it's time to bet against the dollar...

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George Soros: "We Have Just Entered Act II" of the Global Financial Crisis

George Soros gained global recognition when he co-founded the Quantum Fund with Jim Rogers in 1970. That fund generated an average annual return of more than 30% while he was at the helm.

Soros hasn't quit making timely market calls since: From his $10 billion bet against the British pound sterling in 1992 to his April 2008 prediction that we had not "seen the full effect" of the recession and that the situation was "more serious than the authorities admit or recognize."

In February, Soros called the euro's viability into question, and the currency has plunged some 10% since that time.

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Taipan Daily: If They Don't Own Gold, Don't Trust Their Opinion on Gold

As an asset class, gold stirs the passions. Some folks love it, and others despise it. Be wary of those who will never own gold.

As I write this note to you on Friday, fingers flying over keys like the flickering quotes on my screens, Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly" is playing on my speakers.

It's an appropriate tune, because gold is once again "learning to fly" now. After one or two scrapped take-off attempts, the yellow precious metal has broken out to fresh all-time highs. (Well... nominal highs at least. To break inflation-adjusted highs - which will happen sooner or later - gold will have to trade above $2,000 per ounce.)

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Question of the Week: Readers Respond to Money Morning's Afghanistan Mineral Wealth Query

The news that there is $1 trillion of Afghanistan mineral wealth hiding in the country's scarred and deserted landscape has global investors calculating how likely it would be for this incredibly poor country to transform itself into a natural-resources powerhouse.

It has also spawned debates about which nations should be given a piece of this vast apparent fortune.

The discovery - and its transformational potential - is mind-boggling: At $1 trillion, the estimated value of the mineral reserves is 100 times the size of Afghanistan's entire economy, estimated at $12 billion. And it's not just the dollar figures that could bring about change. Much of Afghanistan's economic activities involve drug-trafficking and terrorism. About 40% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, and 70% lives on $2 a day.

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Money Morning's Krauth Cited by Kitco.com For $5,000-An-Ounce Gold Prediction

When top commodities Website Kitco.com set out to chronicle the Top 10 experts who were projecting that gold could reach $5,000 to $10,000 an ounce, one of those 10 gurus was Money Morning's Peter Krauth. The Kitco story – "GoldWatch: Why Many Respected Analysts See Gold Going Up to $10,000" – was published on Thursday, […]

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We Want to Hear From You: Is Afghanistan's Mineral Wealth a Blessing or a Curse?

The news that there is $1 trillion of Afghanistan mineral wealth hiding in the country's scarred and deserted landscape has global investors calculating how likely it would be for this incredibly poor country to transform itself into a major global exporter.

It has also spawned debates about which nations should be given a piece of this potential fortune.

At $1 trillion, the estimated value of the mineral reserves is 100 times the size of Afghanistan's $12 billion economy. And it's not just the dollar figures that could bring about change. Much of Afghanistan's economic activities involve drug trafficking and terrorism. About 40% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, and 70% lives on $2 a day.

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Will Afghanistan's Mineral Wealth Bring the Nation's Rebirth or a Commodities Curse?

Overnight, Afghanistan has gone from being a political pariah to one of the most significant, and potentially richest, countries on the globe. But can the rocky, war-torn desert - known mostly for harboring terrorists and exporting opium - be reborn as a major commodities exporter?

U.S. geologists have found some $1 trillion of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Sunday. Afghanistan's mineral wealth includes large caches of iron, copper, gold and lithium that could turn the country into one of the most important mining centers in the world.

Think of Australia, Canada, and Latin America. That is the league into which these geographical revelations have thrust Afghanistan.

"There is stunning potential here," General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, told The Times. "There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant."

Those "ifs" include ongoing warfare, a lack of infrastructure, and more than a little political corruption. But the upside for the country is enormous.

While U.S. officials estimate the potential value of Afghanistan's mineral wealth at $1 trillion, President Hamid Karzai said last month during a visit to Washington that his country's deposits could be worth three times as much.

So why did it take so long for this information to surface?

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Buy, Sell or Hold: A Copper-Price Rebound Could Mean a 50% Gain For Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX)

It's time to play "the metal of the economists"- copper. And that brings us to one stock: The publicly traded king of copper - Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX).

Let me explain ...

Last week, I provided a solid "defensive-investing" pick for readers who wanted to balance their portfolios - and wait for the latest global-financial storm to pass.

During the past week, we got very strong indications that strong hands see value in the market:

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From Leader to Laggard: Is it Time to Bet Against the U.S. Dollar?

The U.S. dollar has been one of the world's strongest currencies in the first part of 2010, posting double-digit gains through the end of May.

And little wonder. The Greek debt crisis continues to threaten Europe's overall health, and could unleash an entirely new contagion on the rest of the global economy. Then there's China, - the engine of world growth during much of the financial crisis - which now appears to face the near-term triple threat of slowing growth, accelerating inflation and workplace unrest. Add in concerns about commodity prices and global debt levels and it's easy to see why currency investors have sought the safe haven of the U.S. dollar.

In short, it appears that "everybody" knows the greenback is the best choice for safety, quality and security.

But is that really the case? To me, the dollar is looking more and more like a colossal short that could wind up being one of the biggest moneymakers of the year for traders gutsy enough to take a stand.

To see why the dollar could roll over - and to see how to play it - please read on ...

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Is the Plunge in Commodities a Bear Market Signal for Stocks?

The biggest slump in commodity prices since 2008 is undermining confidence on Wall Street and fueling speculation that a new bear market has been born.

Despite forecasts for accelerating economic growth and higher prices, commodities, with the notable exception of gold, are taking a big hit.

The Journal of Commerce (JOC) Commodity Index that tracks the growth rate of steel, cattle hides, tallow and burlap plunged 57% in May, the most since October 2008 - something that gave analysts a sense of déjà vu.

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These Five Inflation Plays Will Provide Protection and Profits

Inflation hawks have been warning since 2008 that the spurt of U.S. money creation that began at the end of that year would spark a surge in consumer-price inflation.

And yet the consumer price index (CPI) statistics remain quiet - not giving ammunition to the deflationary camp, but making "inflationists" look silly, as well. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that inflation will soon arrive. But this time it is sneaking in through the back door - courtesy of our emerging-market trading partners.

Fortunately, there are some very clear steps that investors can take to protect themselves from this expected inflationary surge.

To learn about five investments that can battle inflation even as they fatten your portfolio, please read on...

The Case for $5,000 Gold: And How to Profit

The gold bug is unstoppable. Prices are up four-fold since 2001... and they're not stopping anytime soon. Could $5,000 per ounce be in our future? Read this report to find out why gold is being pushed through the roof - and four ways to profit from gold's rise.

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Money Morning Mailbag: Investors Show Growing Concerns Over Deflation

The threat of deflation has been making its rounds as inflationary measures like the consumer price index (CPI) fell for the first time in 13 months in April, dropping 0.1%. Core CPI - which excludes food and energy prices - rose only 0.9%, its smallest gain since 1966. The producer price index (PPI) also dipped 0.1%.

"The recent trend in inflation has been swiftly to the downside," Eric Green, chief U.S. rates strategist at TD Securities, told Reuters. "All measures of inflation are decelerating."

Investment behavior has shown an anxious but mixed sentiment of hedging against both inflation and deflation: Demand for gold metal is outstripping supply by more than 1% per year and has pushed gold prices to record highs, while others have sought out both corporate bonds and U.S. Treasuries for safety.

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