market outlook 2013
He confided to me that many of his clients had been asking for gold and gold-related investments over the past few years. I can't say that I was surprised.
But what he told me next simply shocked me.
"Gold's much too volatile, it's too risky", he said. "Sure it's up, but I try to discourage my clients from investing in it."
It simply floored me that he thought gold was too volatile. Gold is only up 580% since it bottomed in 2001, without a single losing year to date.
That's not something you can say about the stock market or any other type of investment.
I can hardly imagine what he must think of silver, as silver prices are up by 725% since 2001.
Today, silver is trading around $34, but our 2013 silver price forecast now has the shiny metal going much, much higher.
What will power that rise?
Since it's slaved to its richer cousin, all the fundamentals for higher gold would apply.
I wrote about them yesterday in my 2013 gold price forecast.
As history has shown, silver moves almost in sync with gold, but exaggerates its movements, both on the up and down sides. That's why I like to think of silver as "gold on steroids".
During the last secular gold bull market in the 1970s, gold rose from $35 in 1968 all the way to $200 by late 1974.
Then the unthinkable happened. Between late 1974 and mid-1976, gold prices were cut in half, dropping from about $200 to $100.
At the time, many gold investors sold out in disgust, never to return.
But then a funny thing occurred. Gold prices started to climb again, rising from $100 in mid-1976 all the way to $800 by January 1980.
And anyone who was fortunate enough to own gold at $35 earned better than 20 times their investment in just 12 years.
Twenty-one years later, a new bull market began. Since 2001, gold has consistently performed in what now appears to be a record-setting run.
In fact, since 2001 the average return on gold is now just shy of 18% annually over the last 11 years.
I know of no other major asset that has turned in this kind of performance -- ever. This rise in gold prices is simply unmatched.
This is what a stealth bull market looks like, one that I fully expect will keep powering on.
Now, let's have a look at where gold prices might be headed in 2013...
There's only one problem with this scary story: It isn't true.
Of course, I'll be the first one to tell you I'm not in favor of higher taxes on dividends.
And it is true that if we fall off the "fiscal cliff" taxes on dividends will revert to the full income tax rate of each individual taxpayer.
For the top taxpayers that means the top rate on dividends will rise from 15% to 43.4% if dividends become fully taxable again.
However, that's not as bad as it sounds, which is why I believe dividend stocks will remain the place to be in 2013.
First institutional holders of dividend stocks are taxed at their own rate so they did not benefit from the 2003 cut in dividend taxes. That means they won't suffer from a new increase.
And even among individual investors, many have their investments in IRAs or 401(k )s or other tax- deferred accounts. These holders will continue to receive dividends that won't be immediately taxed.
As for those on more modest incomes, perhaps being retired and living mostly on their dividend income, they will pay taxes only at 15%, 25% or 28%.
These are the thresholds which have been indexed for inflation since 2001, meaning the vast majority of tax payers will never get close to the 43.4% figure that makes for great scary headlines.
But it's not just all about tax rates. There are other reasons why savvy investors should continue to invest in dividend stocks in 2013.
One of them is Barack Obama...
Believe it or not the world doesn't revolve around the United States-or the Western world.
Sure, gold remains the favorite of most precious metal investors, but THIS is the metal you really want to double down on right now. Three catalysts will propel the price much, much higher over the coming months and years.