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  • The Greatest Episodes of Market Manipulation…Is Silver Next? Market manipulation has a long and storied history.

    From the Tulip Mania of the 1600s all the way to the recent housing bubble, market manipulators have employed a wide range of tactics to lighten the wallets of unsuspecting investors.

    And even though market manipulation is prohibited in the U.S. under a section of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 - it's as American as apple pie.

    Everyone from high-ranking government officials to investment bankers have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    The list includes scofflaws like Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and Jack Abramoff.

    Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC's "Mad Money," said he regularly manipulated the market when he ran his hedge fund, calling it "a fun...and lucrative game."

    Not surprisingly, a recent study found that those closest to the information loop -corporate insiders, brokers, underwriters, large shareholders and market makers - are most likely to be the perpetrators.

    To give you an idea of how things work, here are three notorious examples of market manipulation.

    To continue reading please click here... Read More...
  • Five Savvy Ways to Conquer the Wall of Worry
    If you like extreme risk and consider living on the edge to be "normal," today's column isn't for you.

    Today I'm writing to the millions of investors who are completely terrified by the prospect of what's next and who simply want their faith restored - not to mention their investments.

    To all of them I would say: You are not alone and you're not wrong to be apprehensive.

    Our political situation is an embarrassing train wreck, our national debt looks like a one way trip to financial hell, housing remains in the dungeon, unemployment is unacceptably high and Europe...oh Europe.

    It's nothing short of a gigantic wall of worry.

    Plus, there have been so many attempts to "fix" things that I've lost count. Throwing good money after bad is a fool's game and one that will have very real and inevitable consequences.

    So what should investors do?

    The Fed's War on Capitalism

    Here's how I see things. The "Whitewash Ministry" has basically five options:

    1. Repression
    2. Devaluation
    3. Austerity
    4. Deflation
    5. Inflation
    You can forget the double "d's" - devaluation and deflation.

    Even though both would be the proper way for free markets to bleed out the excesses of the past, they are essentially political nukes and nobody has the willpower to touch either one of them.

    The third, austerity, is being tried but only halfheartedly. Our leaders have no idea what this actually means. Since they remain completely unaccountable, there is no true incentive.

    Besides, large numbers of people have figured out it's easier to be on the dole than it is to actually work, so this is another disincentive for meaningful cuts in spending.

    As for inflation, this too is officially a non-starter as long as interest rates are held near zero. Unofficially, it's a different story. Most investors I know are feeling the heat of 12% to 15% a year in their wallets.

    That leaves option number one - repression.

    You can call it what you want, but repression is really a fancy way of saying that our government is conducting punitive monetary policy.

    While they mouth off about how they want to create jobs and take care of the middle class, in reality they're eviscerating it.

    How?
    To continue reading, please click here....
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  • Why I’m Taking Gold Double-Eagles on My Next Trip to Utah Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may think he has everything under control, but the truth is the monetary ground is literally shifting beneath our feet.

    That's why his loose monetary policy has some U.S. states looking to get into the gold coin business.

    As I'll explain later, it's why my Gold Double-Eagles are becoming even more valuable.

    Because while the U.S. Constitution bans states from printing their own paper money, it does allow states to make "gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts."

    Now no fewer than 13 states are seeking approval from their state legislatures, either to issue their own currency or to explore it as an option as the Fed's printing presses spin out of control.

    So why is there this big rush by states to move into gold as an alternative currency?

    It's simple really.

    The Trouble with Fiat Money

    Fiat money, created by central banks, possesses no intrinsic value. Paper money only works as long as governments don't create too much of it.

    For pieces of paper to have value, we all have to believe there won't be too many of them and that the authority creating them has the preservation of their value as its top priority.

    When that confidence vanishes, the fiat currency returns to being just paper - as it did famously in Weimar Germany in 1923. Or even more catastrophically in post-war Hungary, where the last stable symbol of value, the 1931 gold pengo, became worth 1.5 octillion 1946 paper pengos.

    Of course, central banks do occasionally compete for foreign depositors by offering paper currencies with more stability.

    In fact, before 2000, the U.S. dollar benefited from these flows that came from all over the world, including Europe.

    Now, apart from the eccentrics who swear by the Japanese yen or the Chinese yuan, flight capital is largely confined to the Swiss Franc.

    Since Switzerland is a small economy, the Swiss National Bank has drawn a hard line. It refuses to allow the franc to rise above 1.20 against the euro, so even that refuge has been made less attractive.

    The Attractiveness of Gold

    As you would expect, the private sector and some governments have begun to look further afield, and are beginning to focus on gold in particular.

    To continue reading, please click here... Read More...
  • We're Closing In On a 70% Dividend Lately, it seems billionaire precious metals investor Eric Sprott is grabbing headlines almost daily.

    Sprott believes in silver and gold as money, and he has little faith in paper currencies.

    That explains his recent acquisition of a chain of currency exchange outlets, which he aims to gradually build into the safest kind of bank - one that makes no loans, and could eventually offer gold- and silver-backed checking accounts.

    Leave it to Sprott to flip a long established business model on its head.

    And now he's at it again.

    Ever the investing activist, Sprott's latest move involves a "call to action" for silver producers, challenging a business practice typical of most - saving in cash.

    Sprott has sent a letter to silver producers, suggesting that they reinvest some 25% of their earnings back into silver, rather than in cash at the bank.

    On the surface, it doesn't look like such a dramatic step.

    But after deeper analysis, it's clear such a move will accomplish two significant things for shareholders:

    • It will heighten exposure to a commodity that the investor initially bought those shares for.
    • And it will protect the investor from the risk of devaluing currencies the company would have held instead.
    In fact, the move is brilliant.

    And as I keep digging, I realize that the implications go well beyond these two shareholder advantages.

    To continue reading, please click here...

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  • Will Silver Hit $50 an Ounce? ... Read More...
  • Silver Shines With it's price at 21%, silver outshines gold for investors. Keith Fitz-Gerald, Chief Investment Strategist for Money Map Press joins Fox Business' Varney & Co. to explain whether everyday investors should put their money into this precious metal, and what choices are available. Read More...
  • Gilani's Views on Silver, Stocks and Gold Is now the time to buy stocks? What's driving the stock rally? Is silver a better investment than gold? Money Morning's Contributing editor, Shah Gilani, joins Fox Business Varney & Co. to answer these questions.
     
    Loading the player ... jwplayer("container").setup({ autostart: true, controlbar: "bottom", flashplayer: "http://s3.amazonaws.com/moneymappress/player.swf", file: "2011/Mar/20110303-shahfox-buystocks.mp4", height: 360, width: 600, provider: "rtmp", streamer: "rtmp://s20mlppiazmugb.cloudfront.net/cfx/st", });... Read More...
  • 2011 Investing Strategies: Readers Turn to Silver, Avoid U.S. Dollar in the New Year After a year of rocky economic recovery and a mixed bag of U.S. data, market strategists are waxing optimistic about the profit prospects in 2011.

    "There is still an awful lot of pain out there for sure, but if you get this creeping confidence to accelerate a little bit, it's surprising how fast things can turn," Sandy Lincoln, chief investment strategist at M&I Investment Management, told MarketWatch.

    A year plagued by Europe's debt contagion, the May 6 market "flash crash" and constant fears of a double-dip recession caused many investors to keep money parked on the sidelines.

    Read More...
  • You Heard it Here First: Silver's 30-Year High is Just the Beginning The price of silver today (Monday) surged above $30 an ounce for the first time since 1980, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that further quantitative easing (QE) could be on the way.

    Silver futures have gained almost 70% since August, when expectations of more QE were first discussed. Since then, the Federal Reserve has set about purchasing $600 billion of U.S. Treasuries and the Fed Chairman said on Sunday that more debt purchases are "certainly possible."

    The result was a rally in precious metals, which played host to investors looking to preserve their wealth against further depreciation. The price of silver topped $30 for the first time since 1980, soaring as high as $30.09 an ounce in afternoon trading.

    But that's just the beginning.

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  • Money Morning Mailbag: Soaring Gold and Silver Prices Point to Profits in Equipment & Drilling Industries Gold yesterday (Thursday) continued a four-day rise soaring as high as $1,399.70 an ounce as the dollar fell for a second consecutive day.

    "Gold is up primarily on dollar weakness and economic optimism," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist for Lind-Waldock, told Bloomberg. "This is very positive for gold on the future inflation front."

    This week Money Morning Contributing Editor Peter Krauth showed why gold and silver are still headed for gains in the New Year, following a 2010 surge.

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  • Question of the Week: Midterm Elections Leave Investors Wary, Turning to Silver and Gold The hotly contested midterm elections ended last week, and now U.S. voters will watch to see if newly elected officials will deliver on promises to lift the nation out of its economic morass.

    Many voters made their decisions out of frustration with current economic conditions, such as excessive government spending, ineffective stimulus measures and stubborn unemployment. And given the potential for change in U.S. economic policy, investors will likely be eager to see what the stock-and-bond markets will do in the months to come.

    Although there is unlikely to be any quick decision making in Washington, investors will hope for the status quo in at least one area - a continued market rally, which is the norm for midterm election years.

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  • CFTC Investigates JPMorgan, HSBC as Firms Sued for Silver Market Manipulation JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE ADR: HBC) were hit with two lawsuits Wednesday by investors alleging the companies conspired to drive down silver prices and gain hundreds of millions of dollars on short positions.

    Two traders, Brian Beatty and Peter Laskaris, are accusing the big banks of attempting to manipulate the market for silver futures and options contracts since 2008. The complaints allege the defendants gained millions "if not billions of dollars in profits" by suppressing silver futures and making their short positions on the metal more lucrative.

    The plaintiffs said they traded COMEX silver futures and options contracts and lost money due to the manipulation. Laskaris alleges that the banks informed each other of large trades and flooded the market with a disproportionate number of orders, according to Forbes.

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  • Money Morning Mailbag: When Investing in Precious Metals, 'Physical Metal' Isn't Always Better If there's one thing that I've discovered in my careers as a hedge-fund manager, investment advisor and financial columnist, it's this: Whenever you pitch a stock that has something to do with mining or metals, you'll always hear the argument that "physical metal is better."

    As my experience has demonstrated, however, that's not necessarily true.

    Wealth protection in hard economic times is driven by asset diversification. In good times, an investor should concentrate their investment bets on profitable enterprises, in hard times you want to diversify your assets across different asset classes. You will lose some money, but if you choose wisely, you will have real assets and value on the other side.

    That's not always the case when you concentrate your assets during a period in which there's substantial market risk.

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  • Three Ways to Play the Silver Rally – While Limiting Your Risks with Options With the global economy struggling to sustain even a modest recovery, the U.S. Federal Reserve pledging further quantitative easing if needed, and the dollar and several other leading currencies showing unrelenting weakness, there have been plenty of reasons for precious metals to rally of late - and gold and silver have done just that.

    Gold has set a series of all-time record highs over the past five weeks, topping $1,350 an ounce for the first time ever as the dollar slipped to its lowest level since early January. Silver, while still well short of the $50-plus-per-ounce record it set when the Hunt brothers tried to corner the market in 1979, spiked to its highest price in 30 years and almost five times the sub-$5.00 levels it traded at from late 2000 to 2003.

    The combination of bullish fundamentals, strong technical patterns and the persistent price advance has pushed coverage of gold and silver from the pages of specialty metals newsletters and Web sites to headline status in the mainstream media, stoking soaring investor interest in the process.

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  • Buy, Sell or Hold: Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW) Is Poised to Profit from the White Metal's Rally

    Have you ever wanted to invest in a company that owned the supply of a product at a nice fixed rate of cost, but was able to leverage the upside, but not have to take any risk in actually making the product? How about if it's something inherently dangerous and expensive with bad margins like mining?

    In the case of Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW) we have a very interesting investment vehicle, because the company does not have to take additional risks to grow its production numbers. Silver Wheaton owns the rights to silver production from mines that produce it as a bi-product. This allows the company to enjoy a growing supply curve, while protecting its balance sheet.

    It has already purchased these rights upfront for cash, helping some miners with their capital costs to open a new mine. As these mines ramp up production in whatever primary product they are producing, Silver Wheaton gets access to the silver produced as a bi-product.

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