With so much uncertainty in the U.S. stock market - not to mention the debt-contagion concerns emanating from Greece and other European Union (EU) countries - it's more important than ever for investors to hold "hard assets," such as gold and other commodities.
In my view, what's happening in Europe is particularly important for investors to be aware of and understand. The so-called " shock-and-awe" bailout strategy undertaken by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - which establishes a $1 trillion rescue package for member-countries facing financial crisis - will not be the answer.
To see how gold and other hard assets are becoming "must-have" investments, please read on...
Bankster Gangsters: Global Commodities Grab Causes Major Bank Profits to Soar
Major bank profits are up. Way up.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) just reported that its first-quarter earnings nearly doubled to $3.46 billion, the investment-banking giant's second-most-profitable quarter since going public a decade ago.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) recently said its first-quarter earnings came in at $3.3 billion, up 55% from a year ago.
And Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) reported that its earnings for the first three months of the year rang in at $2.83 billion.
For all three of these banking giants, the first-quarter results blew past analyst expectations. Their stock prices? Approaching levels not seen since the start of the financial crisis. In fact, JPMorgan's stock is within 10% of its five-year high.
Major bank profits are zooming - despite the fact that U.S. consumers are struggling to repay loans.
So how are these guys pulling this off? Well, if you dig, you'll find that the bulk of major bank profits are coming from stronger trading revenue and other segments that are enabling the largest banks to overcome weakness in the lending area, which decades ago was the banking sector's bread-and-butter business.
If you dig deeper still, as I've done, you unearth one of the key reasons these banking behemoths are booking such massive profits. They've been moving enormous amounts of capital into one area of the market.
I'm talking about commodities.
For an inside look at how banks can reap 15-fold returns on their physical-commodities stakes, please read on...
Here's What a Veteran Trader Sees for Gold Prices…
Gold has made some dramatic moves in the last 18 months and we expect it will undergo some equally dramatic moves in the future.
But not right now.
While I recognize that gold is one of the few "commodity" markets that people are really passionate about, the purpose of this article is not to take sides either with the gold bugs or those who reject the argument that gold is "forever." Rather, I want to discuss my interpretation of the market's cycle.
After spot gold made an all-time high against the dollar at $1,226.37 on Dec. 2, gold has been in "retreat" mode. For the past several months, gold has been in a broad trading range, seemingly unable to move one way or another. This process has created frustration among bulls and bears alike.
Here is the dirty little secret about the gold market: It can be a horrible investment and here's why...
It's Time to Invest in Canada
This isn't the first time that I've written about Canada, a well-run country that has avoided many of the mistakes made by the United States. Its budget deficit is moderate, its balance-of-payments deficit is also small, its banking system is in pretty good shape and it faces very little inflation risk, since the country has maintained a reasonable monetary policy.
At this point, you might well be asking: Well, if you've said this all before, why does it bear repeating now?
The answer is simple: As I've hunted for attractive investments recently, I have noticed that a very high percentage of those companies are domiciled north of the border.
In short, it's time to invest in Canada.
To discover the profit opportunities available just north of the border, please read on...
The Scramble for Africa: Profiting From World's Largest Cache of Commodities
In the quarter century stretching from the late-1880s to the First World War, there was a mad rush by the world's leading powers to occupy and annex African territory. Now, 100 years later, the world's elite again are scrambling to make their respective marks on the continent.
The methods of extraction have changed, but the end goal remains the same - to gain access to Africa's coveted bounty of commodities.
Most notably, Chinese interests have swarmed Africa, constructing roads, rail lines, municipal buildings, schools, ports, and pipelines in exchange for access to natural resources.
Plummeting British Pound Leads to Worries of Another Currency Market "Black Wednesday"
Outside of the earthquake rescue efforts in Chile and the Greek-rescue efforts in Brussels, the big news in the world economy last week occurred in currencies.
As you can see in the chart below, the plummeting British pound sterling has dropped even more than the beleaguered euro in the past month and a half, while the good old U.S. dollar has been as good as gold. (That last bit was a bit of currency irony; the dollar has actually been much better than gold, which has flat-lined in the past six weeks.)
How the Looming "Debt Bomb" Will Crush the Dollar
The U.S. dollar has staged a short term rally against other currencies. But the U.S. is already gripped by hidden inflation and must refinance a mountain of short-term debt in just months.
Here's how to protect - and grow - your money, even as the debt bomb explodes...
Soaring Lumber Prices and Strong D.R. Horton Report May Not Signal an Immediate Rebound in Housing Stocks
Crude oil, gold, steel and commodity stocks have all taken it on the chin to varying degrees so far this year.
But not every commodity has suffered this same tough fate. In fact, there's even been a major standout. It's a commodity that most investors rarely think about.
I'm talking about lumber.