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Two Ways to Go Big on Gold Stocks Right Now

There are plenty of reasons for you to have some gold stocks in your portfolio.

Governments are stockpiling record amounts of the shiny metal. Mints are pumping out new coins as fast as they can. And the Fed under "Helicopter" Ben Bernanke is wallpapering the world with greenbacks, pumping out $85 billion a month until...well, who knows when?

But there's more.

The Europeans have joined the party by bailing out their weak sisters with hundreds of billions of euros.

And the Bank of Japan just announced a $1.2 trillion bond purchase program for 2013 and $150 billion per month after that - almost twice the size of the Fed's folly.

Now the yahoos in Washington are threatening to spill more blood over the debt ceiling.

All this spells big upside for gold prices in 2013...and the companies that produce gold.

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Investing in Gold: Don't Ignore this Central Bank Buying Frenzy

2014 Gold Commodity Prices

Anyone investing in gold should recall that before the financial crisis in 2008 central banks were dumping the yellow metal - when it was trading for less than half of where gold prices are today.

But that certainly has changed in recent years.

In 2012, the world's central banks added the most gold to their reserves since 1964. Net official gold purchases added up to 536 metric tons, a gain of 17.4% from the previous year according to a report from Thomson Reuters GFMS. The estimate from the World Gold Council for such purchases is similar at 500 metric tons.

Central banks are forecast by GFMS to purchase 280 metric tons in the first half of 2013 alone.

That's good news for anyone investing in gold.

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Four Sensational Facts About Gold Investing That You Might Not Know

Gold Price Drivers 2014

When it comes to gold and gold miners, many investors leave "the driving" to active money managers, who are supposed to understand these specialized assets and the global trends affecting them. But with these charts, you can know what they know right now. Check it out.

How Will the Debt Ceiling Debate Affect Gold Prices?

If you're wondering how the debt ceiling debate will affect gold prices, you need to check out a new report from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).

Investment powerhouse Goldman believes gold prices will log impressive gains over the next three months as the debt ceiling debate takes center stage on Capitol Hill. The bank is advising investors to position portfolios ahead of upward moves in the precious metal.

"We see current prices as a good entry point to re-establish fresh longs," Goldman analysts Damien Courvalin and Alec Phillips wrote in a Jan. 18 report.

The bank reaffirmed its three-month price target for gold of $1,825 an ounce. (Gold was trading at $1,695.20 in New York Tuesday.)

"The uncertainty associated with these (debt-ceiling) issues, combined with our economists' forecast for weak U.S. GDP growth in the first half of 2013 following the negative impact of higher taxes, will push gold" to the three-month target, the report stated.

The Goldman strategists pointed out six instances between 1996 and 2007 when the country hit the debt ceiling and the Treasury responded by using its muscle to execute "extraordinary measures" to keep the country afloat and running.

Gold prices rallied some 10% in half of these instances in the month prior to the debt-limit increase.

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Gold Prices: Don’t Let Faber Scare You

The Future of Gold Prices

After hitting its 12th straight year of new highs, gold prices got off to a bumpy start in 2013.

"Dr. Doom" Marc Faber even came out Tuesday with a reduced price prediction for gold.

In a CNBC "Squawk Box" interview, Faber said, "I don't think [gold] will go up right away, and we maybe have a correction of 10 percent or so on the downside."

Faber had also estimated a gold price range in his JanuaryMarket Commentary of "... perhaps down to between $1550 and $1600."

But any gold price correction would be a short-term move. Even Faber admitted central bank action is a reason to bet on higher gold prices for the long term.

That's why investors should look at any price correction in gold as an opportunity to stock up.

By Thursday, the yellow metal jumped 1% after the European Central Bank left interest rates the same and the euro rose against the dollar. The February gold contract jumped $20.90 (1.3%) to $1,676.40 per troy ounce.

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Why The Fiscal Cliff "Deal" is Spelled P-O-R-K

Savings piggy bank

Behind the scenes of the Fiscal Cliff debate, there was plenty of f-bombing, poison pilling, and grandstanding leading up to the deal - and that was before the members of Congress and the Senate actually got serious with their usual ultimatums, followed by earnest- looking sound bites and posturing. But what gets me really riled up is the amount of "pork" contained in the bill...

Seven Ways to Tell if Your Gold Is Counterfeit

Gold bars I had just finished a walking tour of the Royal Canadian Mint when I saw it. Right there, out in the open, was a 400-ounce bar of pure gold.

It was chained to a display table and kept safe by an armed guard. At the time, in 2005, the bar was worth $220,000.

Today, the same bar is worth $549,200. In just eight years, gold prices have jumped by 150% -- and that's even with a 27% drop from the peak of $1,900 in 2011.

But it's not the eternal fascination with gold that has boosted the price. With growing levels of worldwide uncertainties, mounting inflation risks, and government distrust, people are clamoring for gold primarily as insurance.

According to the World Gold Council, 2011 saw gold bars and coins reach nearly $77 billion in sales, versus 2002's $3.5 billion. And in November alone, the U.S. Mint's sales of the popular American Eagle coins jumped 131% in the wake of the election.

Editor's Note: Right now, four separate indicators are saying gold is set to surge. Any one of them is bullish on its own. But when all four signals flash at once...

With the market for gold growing at a feverish pace, it's now more important than ever to know that your gold is the real deal - especially now that gold has begun to show signs of a strong rebound.

Here's why...

Gold counterfeiting is nothing new. In fact, just recently there were reports of fake gold bars from China turning up in New York. Instead of gold, their centers were stuffed with tungsten.

But rest assured there are a number of methods you can use to mitigate the risks of ending up with counterfeit gold. Some are simple, quick, and inexpensive. Others are more elaborate, detailed, and not so readily accessible.

Here are seven ways to find out if the gold you own is real:

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Your 2013 Guide to Investing in Gold

Gold bullion, gold stocks or no gold at all?

I put that question to Real Asset Returns Editor Peter Krauth last week.

You see, there's a lot of interest in investing in gold right now. Or perhaps I should say that there's a lot of interest in what gold might do.

And you can certainly understand why.

From its November 2008 market lows, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) - the No. 1 proxy for the "yellow metal" - rose as much as 158%, reaching its peak in September 2011. But it's down about 13% since that time (though it's up 5% year to date), and a lot of folks are wondering what gold is worth, and how they should play it.

Wall Street has grown more tepid on gold, with many of the investment banks ratcheting back just a bit on their target prices. But most also see prices heading up to and beyond the $2,000 level in 2013, meaning they see a potential gain of 22% or better.

Peter's target price is a bit more aggressive: He sees gold trading as high as $2,200 an ounce - 34% above current prices in the $1,640 range.

I've worked with Peter for several years now, and admire the way he works.

He based himself in resource-rich Canada in order to be closer to the many companies that he covers. And he's made a number of truly superb market calls: In September 2010, for instance, when silver was trading at $19 an ounce, Peter told investors the metal was a "Buy" - and we then watched it soar to a high of $48 (a 153% windfall).

So when I decided to bring you the latest insights on gold - and some recommendations, as well - I went to Peter.

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Why Japan's "Lost Decades" Are Headed to America in 2016

It's only been a little more than a week since Shinzo Abe won election as Japan's latest Prime Minister in a landslide-election victory and the pundits are already lining up telling investors to "buy Japan" because it's "dirt cheap."

The hope is that Abe's promises of fresh stimulus, unlimited spending and placing a priority on domestic infrastructure will be the elixir that restores Japan's global muscle.

As a veteran global trader who actually lives in Japan part time each year, and who has for the last 20+ years, let me make a counterpoint with particular force - don't fall for it.

I've heard this mantra eight times since Japan's market collapsed in 1990 - each time a new stimulus plan was launched - and six times since 2006 as each of the six former "newly elected" Prime Ministers came to power.

The bottom line: The Nikkei is still down 73.89% from its December 29, 1989 peak. That means it's going to have to rebound a staggering 283% just to break even.

Now here's the thing. What's happening in Japan is not "someone else's" problem. Nor is it something you should gloss over.

In fact, the pain Japan continues to suffer should scare the hell out of you.

And here's why ...

The so-called "Lost Decade" that's now more than 20 years long in Japan is a portrait of precisely what's to come for us here in the United States.

Perhaps not for a few years yet, but it will happen just as we have already followed in Japan's footsteps with a "lost decade" of our own.

The parallels are staggering.

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Why Are Gold Prices Down?

Gold prices plunged Thursday, hitting lows not seen since August, after the U.S. Commerce Department reported an unexpectedly robust reading on third quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

After the surprising strong report, February gold tumbled $14.50 an ounce to $1,653.50 and spot gold sank $22.80 to $1,643.10.

Silver prices fell as well, losing $1.13 to $29.95 shortly before noon. Prior to the report, the yellow and white metals were little changed.

The fresh report revealed GDP in the third quarter expanded at an annual rate of 3.1%, the fastest growth since late 2011. That was up from the 2.7% pace logged last month, and better than economists' expected 2.8% rate.

Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago told Bloomberg News, "The GDP number was better than forecast, so the thinking is that improving conditions in the economy might mean a light at the end of the tunnel on when the Fed will end QE3."

Gold and silver have been big beneficiaries of the FOMC's generous QE3 programs.

But there's more than the end of QE measures as to why gold prices are down.

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Gold Prices: What Happened to the Rise?

One of the more confusing things for investors right now is why gold prices aren't going through the roof. As the Fed, European banks, China and Japan pump massive amounts of money into global markets, investors are scratching their heads when they look at the price of gold. Since reaching the $1,800 an ounce level […]

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Gold Prices: Where to Now After the Sell Off

After the final Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting decision of the year Wednesday, gold prices got good news: the Fed will institute a new bond-buying program. February Comex gold increased $8.30 (0.5%) Wednesday and settled at $1,717.90 an ounce. And then the sell-off started. Gold fell 1.2% in the next session to $1,696.80, for […]

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How Gold Miners Can Effectively Leverage Gold Prices

Gazing into their crystal balls last week, Wall Street firms interpreted differing futures for gold next year.

Morgan Stanley awarded gold the "best commodity for 2013" while Goldman Sachs called the end of the metal's hot streak.

After seeing 11 consecutive years of positive performance from gold price, one needs to be wary of research analysts' price forecasts, as they have consistently underestimated the shifting dynamics driving the precious metal higher.

Take a look at analysts' annual predictions of gold prices, which is "a telling picture," CEO Nick Holland of Gold Fields told the crowd at a mining conference last summer.

From 2006 through 2011, Bloomberg's contributing analysts have forecasted that future gold prices would be lower. "The analysts who keep telling us the gold price is going down have been wrong seven years out of seven. That's a remarkable track record!" says Holland.

Take a look at the chart...

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Will the Government Confiscate Your Gold?

The Roosevelt Administration Executive Order of 1933 required U.S. citizens to turn over most of their gold coins, gold bullion and gold certificates in return for paper currency. Is the government eyeing your gold again?

Investing in Gold: What to Expect from Prices Before 2013

It's been a down week for gold prices, reaching one-month lows, but on Thursday, things began to turn around for the precious metal.

Due to short-covering in anticipation of Friday's employment numbers and comments from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi raising expectations for an interest rate cut, Comex February gold rose $8 an ounce to $1,701.80.

Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) also had a good day on Thursday as they hit record highs of 76.133 million ounces.

Peter Spina, president of said to Investor's Business Daily of Thursday's levels, "If gold does remain around these levels for the near term (several months), this remains a very healthy gold market, which will set the tone for the next move up."

After the November U.S. jobs report, which had been expected to be skewed from Superstorm Sandy, came out better-than-expected on Friday, gold went above $1,700 again. Expectations for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) easing fell a bit.

Until the Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 FOMC meeting ends, investors are expected to hit the sidelines.

At next week's meeting, FOMC members will decide what to do with "Operation Twist" as it comes to an end. Many think they will extend it, plus implement a "QE4."

This would be good for the precious metals markets. But gold prices are affected by much more than the FOMC.

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