Precious Metals

With the White-Hot Demand for Coins, Why Are Silver Prices Falling?

It's one of the biggest mysteries in finance right now.

I mean, it's a real head-scratcher …

On one hand, demand for silver coins has been off the charts. With so many investors wanting to swap currency for silver, neither the U.S. Mint nor the Royal Canadian Mint has been able to keep up with purchase requests.

In fact, the U.S. Mint actually had to suspend sales of the "Silver Eagles" just a couple of weeks into the New Year – and it still smashed the all-time monthly sales record in January by selling 7.5 million of the hugely popular coins.

And that insane demand carried over into February and March.

The Fed

Why Crime Pays for "Too-Big-To-Fail" Banks

There's a reason why the first few installments of my What Everyone Absolutely Needs to Know About Money series have been about banks.

You need to know the truth about banks.

Why? Because they rob you.

Why? Because they can.

It's the Willie Sutton bank robber quote in reverse. Willie was asked, "Why do you rob banks?"

He famously answered, while in handcuffs, "Because that's where the money is."

But, banks can't keep robbing the public if they keep shooting themselves in their feet. That's where central banks come in.

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Stock Market

Is David Stockman's Stock Market Crash Prediction on Target?

David Stockman, who had been budget director under President Ronald Reagan, created quite a stir when he predicted a stock market crash in an op-ed piece in The New York Times Sunday.

"Over the last 13 years, the stock market has twice crashed and touched off a recession: American households lost $5 trillion in the 2000 dot-com bust and more than $7 trillion in the 2007 housing crash," Stockman, now an investment banker, wrote. "Sooner or later – within a few years, I predict – this latest Wall Street bubble, inflated by an egregious flood of phony money from the Federal Reserve rather than real economic gains, will explode, too."

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Top News

Could Another Go at a Facebook Phone Actually Work?

A Facebook phone could be in the works, serving as the company's latest bold attempt to increase revenue and make money from its one billion users. 

The social media giant sent out invites last week to a press event, "Come See Our Home on Android." Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) will host the event at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters Thursday. 

Rumors state the mobile device will use customized software that's a version of Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android 4.2 OS. The software will dominate a user's home screen. Updates and information from a user's Facebook account will be posted constantly.

Industry insiders believe the company is working on the smartphone in collaboration with Taiwan's HTC. This is the second time the companies have collaborated on a Facebook-focused phone – with the first attempt only lasting a few months.

Could it be that second time's the charm?

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U.S. Economy

How These Companies Get Away with Paying Peanuts in Corporate Taxes

Even though the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, many American companies pay little or nothing in taxes – and some even get refunds.

That doesn't mean that U.S. companies necessarily cheat Uncle Sam, but the steadily falling amount of corporate taxes paid has clearly helped boost profitability.

A recent analysis by The Washington Post showed that it was typical for companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the 1960s and 1970s to pay federal taxes that were between 25% and 50% of their global profits.

Today, most big U.S. companies pay half that.

A study by NerdWallet of the 500 biggest U.S. companies last fall showed that while the statutory corporate tax in the U.S. is 35%, the actual rate paid – not the amount companies set aside for taxes – is down to an average of 13%.

According to the NerdWallet data, 20% of the top 500 U.S. companies paid nothing in corporate taxes in 2011, and 42% paid between 0% and 15%.

The discrepancy has led some in Washington to call for corporate tax reform, which many U.S companies actually support – but mainly because they'd rather pay even less.

"We need to take steps to make our tax system more competitive and better aligned with the rest of the world by undertaking comprehensive tax reform that will reduce the corporate tax rate," Bob McDonald, CEO of The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), said in a statement released before a meeting of top U.S. CEOs with President Barack Obama in November.

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Investing Tips

Why Not All Good Companies Are Among the Best Stocks to Buy

Sometimes it's easy to mislabel fantastic companies as great stocks to buy, but the two attributes don't always go hand in hand.

That's because sometimes these great companies watch their share prices climb faster than the underlying fundamentals.

This is often the case with companies/brands that are a big hit with consumers, like Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG).

Since these companies are overpriced, they are usually most vulnerable to a market correction.

Investors should sweep their portfolios now to make sure they aren't holding any of these "high-risk" stocks.

To identify them, investors should look at the price/earnings ratio and price/earnings/growth ratio of the companies they hold.

High P/E and P/E/G ratios often indicate companies whose share prices have been bid up to a point that is no longer justified by fundamentals. The companies themselves might be good investments, but not at the current share price.

Here are two companies that fall into this category right now.

Stock Market

This Little-Known Indicator Says Stocks Should Double

With the markets breaking all-time highs last week, it begs the question of just how high they can go.

At 1,569 points the bears would say at this point the S&P 500 is completely overdone. With a sluggish economy and a growing federal deficit, you might be prone to believe them.

But there is a little-known indicator that became very fashionable between 1982-2007 that says something else entirely. Noted for its accuracy over that period, it actually suggests that stocks should double.

It's called the "Fed Model."

Buy, Sell or Hold

Buy, Sell or Hold: Is Coca-Cola Still the "Real Thing" For Investors?

Suffice it to say, Coke has been a big part of our culture for over 100 years.

When I was growing up I wasn't shy about shaking a malfunctioning vending machine whenever my craving for an icy cold Coke kicked in. 

But lately, have you noticed you are more likely to grab a Starbucks coffee for your caffeine fix? 

Or maybe you are more inclined to pick up a sports or energy drink when you are on the go.  Better yet, as you become more health conscious, it's a juice or a fruit smoothie that does the trick.

The good news is that the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) has "matured"  right along with you and is trying to use its status as the most recognized brand in the world to deliver new products to its thirsty customers.

That's one of the reasons I'm so bullish about Coke these days. But it's not the only one…

Investing Tips

This Sector Creates More Billionaires than Any Other on Earth

I just read a Page One story in The Wall Street Journal I found so disturbing that I had to send this to you right away.

The story's main message was that millions of Americans can't afford to retire.

One statistic said it all: 57% of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in savings.

To me, that's just nuts…

After all, America isn't just the land of opportunity and democratic freedoms – it is the single greatest wealth machine in the history of the human race.

So why are so many Americans struggling right now?

Well, there' no doubt the Great Recession of 2008 cut a swath through a lot of people's savings. Millions lost their jobs and had to rob from their savings to just make ends meet. I sincerely hope that didn't happen to you…

But here's the thing…

Anyone can learn how to build wealth… And anyone can learn how to turn $25,000 into $250,000.

I'm going to teach you how right here…

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