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In 1983, my friends and early mentors Seymour Schulich and Pierre Lassonde founded Franco-Nevada Mining, the worlda€™s first gold royalty company.
Fast forward more than 30 years, and Franco-Nevada now has a market cap of over $8.2 billion, making it the worlda€™s largest and most successful gold royalty company. Franco-Nevada was my first initial public offering (IPO) to work on as a young analyst at Toronto-based, boutique investment firm Merit Investment Corp. Ever since its second IPOa€”Newmont spun it off in 2007a€”Franco-Nevadaa€™s stock has outperformed both gold bullion and global gold miners.
But beyond that, theya€™re just exceptional human beings, both of them loving husbands and fathers. The colorful interior of the Pavillons Lassonde de I'Ecole polytechnique MontrealBoth are among the most generous philanthropists alive today, responsible fordonating hundreds of millions of dollars to various causes in Canada as well as abroad. In December 2015, Pierre received Mining Journala€™s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mines and Money conference in London.
Similarly, Seymour is a benefactor of several schools and organizations, including the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, which offers the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA programa€”ranked #1 in the world by The Economista€”as well as the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University. In 2000, Seymour was awarded the Order of Canada, the highest honor a Canadian citizen can receive. I still remember being invited by Seymour to accompany him during one of his famous Sunday morning, two-hour walks. Similarly, many resource investors right now might feel discouraged by low commodity prices. As a refresher, royalty companies basically serve as specialized financiers that help fund cash-strapped producersa€™ exploration and production projects. Royalty companies have a history of rewarding their investors handsomely, even during economic downturns.
Like other royalty companies, including the new kid on the block, Osisko Gold Royalties, Franco-Nevada has a much lower total cash cost than miners do.
Theya€™re just better allocators of capital and very aware of the risks of dilution and value factors on a per share basis. Take a look at how Franco-Nevada, Silver Wheaton and Royal Gold stack up against Newmont, the only gold company in the S&P 500 Index, and Goldman Sachs. Ita€™s also worth pointing out that Franco-Nevada has a broader portfolio of royalties than its peers and pays its fair share of Canadian income taxes.
This is whata€™s known as a€?blue sky.a€? At the time of the deal, only the documented reserves and some portion of the defined resources are generally part of the valuation proposition.
Royalty companies avoid many of the industrya€™s most common challenges, including huge operating expenses, unions, liabilities and legal hurdles.
Nor must they worry about mining in a country that operates under a completely different legal system.
In civil law countries, the government has eminent domain over all mineral wealth of the country. When gold soared to $1,900 per ounce in 2011, many producers, expecting the good times to last, spent like crazy.
Many analysts call Franco-Nevada and the other two major royalty companies the a€?smart moneya€? of the gold industry. Investment dealer Paradigm Capital reports that the top three royalty companies have spent a collective $3.8 billion over the past half year of 2015.
For more on gold and other hard assets, be sure to follow our award-winning newsletter, the Investor Alert. I remember accompanying my mum, who was a social worker in downtown Toronto, as she delivered what we call a€?Star boxesa€? to needy children on Christmas Eve. The experience also showed me that love, family and friends should all be cherished much more highly than any material things.
Only a day after President Barack Obama signed the spending deal Tuesday that lifted the oil export restriction thata€™s been in place since the mid-1970s, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rallied $2 and is now trading higher than its European counterpart, Brent, oil for the first time since 2010. Time and again, when regulations are rolled back and markets are allowed to act freely, we see constructive moves such as the WTI rally. Along with $1.1 trillion, the bipartisan deal includes $680 billion in tax cuts over the next decade, which should help accelerate the velocity of money and lead to thecreation of new jobs. Ita€™s important for investors to follow the money in this case, just as it was important in February 2009 when the $800 billion stimulus package was signed into law.
As we head into the final days of 2015, I want to share with you the 10 most popular Frank Talks of the year. A growing trend among chief executives of successful companies is to be compensated in company stock rather than cash. One of the most significant news stories to come out of 2015 was the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by 12 participating Pacific Rim nations, the United States among them. Part of the reasoning behind Chinaa€™s creation of the bank was to firm up the renminbi as a preferred global reserve currency on par with the U.S.
July 2015 was the seventh-worst-performing month for commodities going back to January 1970. After Switzerland unexpectedly unpegged its currency from the euro in mid-January, it became clear that 2015 would be the year of the central banks. One reason gold royalty companies have outperformed over the years is because, simply put, theya€™re not the ones getting their hands dirty. In late July, gold experienced its first a€?flash crasha€? in 18 months after five tonnes of the metal appeared on the Shanghai market. Ita€™s almost impossible to believe now, but Cuba was once a wealthier nation than Singapore. Yew, who passed away in March 2015, emphasizes free trade and competitive tax rates, which helped transform Singapore from an impoverished third world country into a bustling metropolis and leading global financial hub. More surprising is that if golda€”at its June 2015 price levela€”backed total global debt 100 percent, it would be valued at $33,900 per ounce.
To all of our readers around the world, to our investors and shareholders, and to our friends and family, I wish you happiness and good health in the new year!
Thata€™s when the Federal Reserve last raised interest rates, just a year after the last Star Wars flick hit theaters. If June 2006 doesna€™t seem that long ago, consider this: Up to a third of asset managers working today have never experienced a rate hike professionally. On Wednesday, Chair Yellen announced that, for the first time in seven years, easy money will become slightly less easy.
Rising rates, of course, have a noticeable effect on mortgages, car loans and other forms of credit.
The question on investorsa€™ minds, though, is what effect they might have on their investments. As for equities, they traded up for 60 trading days following the initial rate hike, 70 percent of the time. Again, many other factors besides interest rates contributed to market behavior in each instance. I cana€™t say whether the same trajectory will be taken this time as before, but what CLSA, Barrona€™s and others have found should be encouraging news for commodities and stocks. I should also point out that according to the presidential election cycle theory developed by market historian Yale Hirsh, markets do well in a presidential election year.
The consumer price index came out this week and, with an inflation rate of 2 percent, the 5-year Treasury yield is now negative. In 2008, the Fed trimmed rates to historically-low levels in response to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.
But low rates were also partially responsible for driving many investors into riskier investments over the last few yearsa€”corporate junk bonds among thema€”as they sought higher yields. Junk bonds, or high-yield bonds, are known as such because they have some of the lowest ratings from agencies such as Moodya€™s and Standard & Poora€™s.
The week before last, it was announced that a high-yield bond funda€”whose assets under management were worth $2.5 billion as recently as 2013a€”would be closing after suffering nearly $1 billion in outflows this year. To make matters worse, high-yield bonds have fallen into negative territory, giving investors little reward for the risk. Energy companies, highly leveraged since oil began to spill value in the summer of 2014, top the default list for the year.
With rates now on the rise, many investors have turned to investment-grade, short-term municipal bonds, which have seen inflows at the fastest pace since January.
Savvy investors know that bond prices move in the opposite direction of interest rates, but shorter-term munis are less sensitive to rate fluctuations than longer-term bonds. Over the past seven years, low rates certainly contributed to one of the strongest bull markets in U.S.
Everyone knows there are winners and losers in any bear market, including the recent commodity rout. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global airlines trade group, the industry is set to post a collective $33 billion in net profits this yeara€”a recorda€”on fuel cost savings and stronger passenger flight demand. This, coupled with improved fuel efficiency, is expected to contribute toward the group ending next year with estimated total net profits of $36.3 billion. You can see below that global airline stocks have soared in recent years, especially in response to flagging oil, airlinesa€™ largest expense. In the past, airlines were notorious for their inefficiency and tendency to destroy capital.
Former US Airways CEO Ed Colodny explained in 2013 that after Buffetta€™s shares didna€™t appreciate, he wrote down his investment and got out when he could. In any case, airlines are now going into their third year of the present secular bull market. Indeed, 2015 was not kind to oil and other commodities, with many of them slumping to multiyear and, in some cases, multi-decade lows. Back in August, the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek featured a whole gaggle of bears, which delighted bulls. Crude oil is presently testing financial crisis support levels, making many investors wonder whether the bottom for black gold has been reacheda€”or if more pain is to be expected. Therea€™s no shortage of analysts and experts right now sharing their (wildly divergent) predictions of where oil might be headed from here. One of the main reasons why prices are so depressed, of course, is that the world is awash in the stuff.
Crude slipped below $37 per barrel on the news, a seven-year low, which is about as low as prices can go for most American companies to stay profitable. As expected, OPEC announced after its last meeting that it would keep oil production levels the same in its bid to force higher-cost producers (re: American frackers) to trim their own operations. Five OPEC membersa€”Venezuela, Nigeria, Libya, Iran and Ecuadora€”are now in open opposition to the Saudi policy of unchanged production.
Ita€™s estimated that OPEC is already pumping about 900,000 barrels a day more than is needed next year. In the recent parliamentary elections, rightfully fed-up Venezuelans responded by ousting members of Hugo Chaveza€™s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), giving the opposition party, the more-centrist Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), a supermajority that could challenge President NicolA?s Maduro.
This countrywide rejection of failed, far-left leadership is an encouraging sign that Latin Americaa€™s political ideology is finally shifting away from European-style socialist economic models of no growth.
But just last month we saw Argentina elect its first business-friendly president, Mauricio Macri, in decades.
Also in the hard-to-believe category is Alaskaa€™s plan to institute an income tax for the first time in 35 years to a€?close a $3.5 billion dollar deficit the state is carrying,a€? according to Zero Hedge. But since oil revenue has been cut in half, hard measures must be taken to keep the dividend running, Alaska Governor Bill Walker argues.
Casha€™s demise appears to be orchestrated by Swedena€™s central bank, which of course stands to benefit from the switch. Since July, interest rates in Sweden have lingered in negative territory, at -0.35 percent, forcing accountholders to spend their money or else see their balances slowly melt away. Over the years, wea€™ve seen corrupt, unbalanced fiscal and monetary policies wreak havoc in socialist countries all around the globe where governments often feel entitled to restrict and even confiscate their citizensa€™ assets. In example after example, peoplea€™s rights to save and freely hold cash have been disrupted, with tragic resultsa€”and today wea€™re seeing these disruptions in first-world countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark. I have faith that the dynamic American political system will not allow these things to happen, but we need to be aware of events in other countries and be vigilant in protecting our assets. And a recent flood of new regulations passed down from the federal government continues to suffocate small businesses.
A 2014 study conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers found that these regulations came with a hefty price tag of $2 trillion in 2012 alone, an amount equal to 12 percent of GDP. In December 2013, USGI made the decision to exit the expensive money market fund business because of the increasing regulatory cost of anti-money laundering laws and FATCA.
American consumers recognize golda€™s resilience and took advantage of lower prices in November. I always recommend having 10 percent of your portfolio in the yellow metala€”5 percent in gold stocks, the other 5 percent in coins and bullion. The Love Trade is associated with traditional gift-giving during the Indian festival and wedding seasons, Christmas and the Chinese New Year. Speaking of currencies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as expected, moved to include the Chinese renminbi in its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket last week, a decision that solidifies the Asian gianta€™s prominence in the global financial system. This is indeed an historic milestone, not just for China but also emerging markets in general. But according to BCA, among the long-term implications of IMF inclusion is that the a€?renminbi should eventually claim over 5 percent of global official reserves, or $400 billion, up from about 1 percent.a€? Currently, the renminbi ranks seventh worldwide as a percentage of global reserves, behind the Australian dollar and Canadian dollar. To have the renminbi recognized as a reserve currency has been an important fiscal priority for Chinese leadership in recent years. Just as we head into the new year, global growth bounced back a bit, alleviating investorsa€™ fears that we were sliding into a recession. Over the summer the Chinese market experienced a major hiccup, causing concern that many Asian industries would be slow, or unable to recover.
Hopes for the reform include decreased corruption and increased professionalism within the sport of soccer, or a€?footballa€? as ita€™s called in China. The Chinese education ministry has also played a role in this a€?soccer revival.a€? The ministry signed a three-year deal with sportswear brand Adidas to help promote soccer in schools, a€?with the hope of creating interest in the sport,a€? according to Barclays luxury goods analyst Julian Easthope.
Anta Sports, the worlda€™s fourth-largest sportswear brand (that just launched its soccer line in November), is one of the direct beneficiaries of such reforms, in addition to better-known names like Adidas, Nike and Puma.
Perhaps another reason the people of China are paying more attention to soccer now is current leader Xi Jinpinga€™s love for the sport. Similarly, Deng Xiaoping, paramount leader of China from 1978 to 1992, was remembered for playing bridge, a card game also enjoyed by Warren Buffett and that Deng learned in France as a young student and revolutionary. Past game preferences aside, ita€™s clear that Xia€™s ongoing spirit for soccer, paired with the opportunities presented by recent reform, is transforming Chinaa€™s outlook on sports as well as consumer habits.
Although America still beats China when it comes to sportswear spending per capita, China is catching up.
As a more health-conscious, sports-oriented society continues to emerge, Chinese luxury shoppers could also find new interest in sportswear brands that fit their active lifestyles a bit differently than say, Louis Vuitton and Gucci would.

No matter how you look at it, the industry is changing and sportswear brands continue to score, while other sectors have come up short. Ten days ago, 129 lives were brutally cut short when assailants affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, stormed Paris in a series of coordinated attacks.
For us, the atrocity struck especially close to home, as one of our portfolio managers, Xian Liang, was in the city at the time of the attacks. As money managers, ita€™s our duty and responsibility to be cognizant of such geopolitical eventsa€”large and small, good and bada€”and to consider all of the possible ramifications.
Early last year, for instance, we were quick to adjust asset allocations when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea.
Against these challenges, Ia€™m impressed by how strongly Russian stocks have performed lately. It should come as a surprise to no one that, following the tragedy in Paris, defense spending will likely increase. As early as last Monday, stocks of companies that manufacture weapons and fighter jets traded up.
Understandably so, the terrorist attacks will have an impact on international travel, immigration and border security.
The yellow metal has traditionally been seen as a safe haven in times of war, but so far wea€™ve seen little movement. Even so, the yellow metal has performed better than other select world currencies for the year, including the Russian ruble (-10 percent), Australian dollar (-11 percent), euro (-12 percent) and Canadian dollar (-13 percent). Diamonds have likewise struggled over the past four years, but with the recent news that Canadian miner Lucara discovered the largest diamond in 100 years, investors might show renewed interest. These declines over the past three and four years have been good for jewelry companies such as Tiffany, which I wrote about last December. Many analysts expect to see crude oil prices tick up on mounting tension in the Middle East. But a€?absent a similar move this year, those sharp price declines will drop out of the year-over-year data, resulting in a rapid, technical acceleration in overall inflation measure,a€? Matus says.
If such inflation occursa€”possibly as soon as January or February, Matus points outa€”real rates could have a better chance of dipping into negative territory, which would be constructive for gold prices.
Thanksgiving is this week, and in light of recent events, I think we all have ample reason to express gratitude to friends and loved ones.
The odds of being struck by lightning are an insignificant 0.03 percent, yet many people still worry it might happen to them.
These cases can sometimes lead to splashy headlines, which contributes to the misperception that they happen much more often than they actually do. What municipal bond investors need to know is that, though therea€™s risk involved with any investment, municipal defaults are rare, and significantly rarer than their corporate counterparts. So far this year, only three local governments have filed, a 75 percent decline compared to 2012. One of the main reasons why municipal bankruptcies are so rare is because the hurdles are set exceedingly high. Currently, only 12 states authorize municipalities to file for bankruptcy without conditionsa€”Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Washington State. Closely related, default rates for high-quality municipal bondsa€”the kind our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) heavily invests ina€”remain close to zero. Out of 25,000 equity and bond funds, only 30 have managed to deliver 20 straight years of positive returns, according to Lipper. Thata€™s a rare achievement indeed and represents the kind of track record most investment firms envy. The recipient of glowing acknowledgements by popular financial and investment newsletter writers, NEARX is also highly-rated by Morningstar.
Start taking advantage of our fixed-income expertise by requesting more information on NEARX today.
Many short sellers of Weight Watchers no doubt felt too down to look in the mirror this week after company stock unexpectedly ballooned nearly 170 percent. This is hardly the first time one of Opraha€™s endorsements, whether verbal or monetary, has lifted a struggling business or product. No matter your opinion of Opraha€”her politics, her tastesa€”you have to admit that shea€™s a phenomenally savvy businesswoman, whose rags-to-riches success has helped make her one of the most powerful women in not just the U.S. Quite a lot, actually, from widespread doubts of a 2015 interest rate hike, to strong seasonal demand in India and China, to Russiaa€™s military action in Syria.
But as I discuss in a previous Frank Talk, perhaps the most significant mover of gold right now is the weakening of the strong U.S. Now that the dollar is showing signs that ita€™s starting to turn, however, gold is starting to turn heads. After its stellar performance last week, gold might do something it hasna€™t done since 2012a€”that is, end the year in positive territory. Back in August I shared with you that legendary hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, whoa€™s made some mythic calls over his long career, invested $323 million of his own money in gold, now the largest position in his family funds. The big news last week was that Walmart took a massive hit after the retail giant said it expected a profit slump in 2016. As ominous as this sounds, ita€™s good news for gold and other metals and commodities, not to mention emerging markets and American exports.
Our China Region Fund (USCOX) and Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX) have responded well to the dollara€™s drop, both of them crossing above their 50-day moving averages.
Gold has also likely benefited in the short term by the Fear Trade, specifically global geopolitical events such as Russiaa€™s involvement in Syria.
In a recent piece titled a€?The New Cold War Battlefielda€¦ and How It Will Affect Oil Prices,a€? Dr. Speaking of Marin, his Katusa Research and Cambridge House International will be co-producing the Silver Summit and Resource Expo in San Francisco November 23 and 24. The Fear Trade also includes monetary and fiscal policies such as money supply and real interest rates. As a reminder, real interest rates are what you get when you deduct the rate of inflation from the 10-year Treasury yield. When gold hit its all-time high of $1,900 per ounce in August 2011, real interest rates were sitting at -3 percent.
Our office was visited last week by Barry Bannister, CFA, the chief equity strategist for investment firm Stifel, who gave us buckets of useful macroeconomic research, much of which validated what wea€™ve been saying for a long time regarding the relationship between the price of gold and real interest rates. Even with gold prices off around 38 percent since the August 2011 high, our Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) has done well, outperforming the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and PowerShares Global Gold & Precious Metals ETF (PSAU).
Speaking to Investora€™s Business Daily, portfolio manager Ralph Aldis pointed out that one of the reasons why our fund has outperformed is because wea€™re able to apply our tacit knowledge of company executives and management teams, as well as anticipate and act on political risks in countries we invest in.
November 4, 2012 by Alexis Anderson 3 Comments Rugs can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a room, especially in small spaces like our main public space upstairs. The last two things on my list for this space are bright throw pillows to spice up the dark leather couch and a colored or lucite tray to hold magazines on the coffee table.
Any opinions on throw pillows, trays or other accessories I haven’t thought of are welcomed!
It was originally Seymoura€”then an oil analyst at the Canadian investment firm Beutel, Goodman & Company, where he and Pierre meta€”who recognized that the royalty model used in the oil and gas industry had some of the highest returns on capital. Its uniqueness allows the company and its royalty peers to generate high gross margins and ever-expanding dividends.
Pierre is a benefactor of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, which pairs faculty members with business, engineering and science students and helps them write business plans. In 2004, these buildings received the coveted Pilier da€™ora€”Canadaa€™s highest award for philanthropy in the French-Canadian communitya€”for their a€?respect for the environment, efficiency objectives with a focus on sustainable development, technological innovation and innovative energy use,a€? according to the university. Hea€™s also benefactor to the Schulich Heart Centre at Sunnybrook and Womena€™s College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, the Library of Science and Engineering at McGill University and many others across Canada and the U.S. As we strode along, he shared with me the topic of a book he was reading, a€?Learned Optimisma€? by University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman.
In return, they receive either royalties on whatever the project produces or rights to a a€?stream,a€? a commitment to an agreed-upon amount of the commodity per year. Between 2007 and 2014, Franco-Nevada, Silver Wheaton and Royal Golda€”the a€?Three Amigosa€?a€”had a combined dividend growth rate of 14 percent. Whata€™s even more amazing is that ita€™s managed to do this even as spot gold has declined 38 percent. Dundee Capital Markets estimates that whereas gold miners produce at a breakeven cost of $1,087 per ounce, royalty companies get by with a materially lower cost of just $441 per ounce. The mining companies, on the other hand, have diluted the value of their reserves and cash flow on a per share basis with poor acquisitions.
One of the few risks involved with Silver Wheaton is its dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency, the a€?IRSa€? of Canada, which hopefully will be resolved sometime this year. Royalty companies get an option on all future exploration and potential growth at no additional cost. They dona€™t build the minea€™s infrastructure, experience capital cost inflation or have teams of miners and other personnel on their payrolls. Securing rights and permits is therefore much more bureacratic and arduous, and at any time, the government can attempt to revoke them. We probably all agree that 2015 had more than its fair share of pain and tragedy around the world. It helped me keep my own familya€™s financial struggles in perspective and encouraged me to count my blessings. Having money is important, but real happiness can be found only in helping to spread happiness to others.
Everyone is talking about interest rates and monetary policy right now, but the role fiscal policy plays is just as importanta€”if not more so.
This is a positive development that wouldna€™t have happened without the much-needed leadership of the new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. House Speaker Ryan was able to negotiate a reasonable extension to government spending and usher in a substantive tax incentive program as we head into 2016, an election year.
Among other things, they tell the story that gold, despite being oversold, managed to hold its value better than many other investments deemed a€?safe.a€? Ia€™m optimistic to see what 2016 has in store for the yellow metal. Many analysts believe that Vietnam is poised to see the biggest upside potential, as precipitously high tariffs on its important textiles, apparel and footwear exports will vanish. In what many called a a€?bear raid,a€? gold fell through its key support of around $1,150 and began to look extremely oversold. But in 1959, Fidel Castro and Lee Kuan Yew both assumed power and took their countries in very different ideological and economic directions. Barrona€™s records S&P 500 returns 250 and 500 days following the initial rate hike in six monetary tightening cycles going back to 1983.
And this time is especially different, as the market was given an unusually long runway, allowing it to price in the full effects of the liftoff before it finally happened.
Because they carry a higher default risk than investment-grade bonds, they offer higher yields.
This sent the junk bond market into panic mode, with several similar funds experiencing near-record outflows.
JPMorgan estimates that the industrya€™s overall default rate might hit 10 percent next year. Put another way, bonds that are more sensitive to changes in the interest rate environment will have greater price fluctuations than those with less sensitivity. And with oil likely to stay relatively low, the group forecasts that airlines will spend $135 billion on fuel in 2016, down nearly a quarter from $180 billion in 2015. These claims were probably exaggerated, especially by Warren Buffett, who has repeatedly decried the industry as a money-loser. Ita€™s worth pointing out, though, that crude has pretty closely followed its five-year trading pattern, with 52-week lows reached in late November, early December.
The following heat map shows that, in the last five years, the oil price historically popped in February after months of losses. Right now crude is down 1.2 standard deviationsa€”already signaling a buy, but it might have further to fall, based on past incidences.
Absent the outlier of a geopolitical event that impacts supply, more subdued rises are in order.
Ia€™m not interested in adding my own forecast to the ever-lengthening list so much as I am in finding ways to make money at current prices.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), responsible for about 40 percent of global supply, just had its most productive month since 2012, pumping 31.7 million barrels in November. Solidarity among its members has weakened further, however, as it becomes clearer and clearer to them that they underestimated the resilience of American oil producers.
That the cartel as a whole exceeded its production ceiling last month suggests that each member-nation is making its own rules up anyway, regardless of what was decided. And with international sanctions against Iran about to be lifteda€”in exchange for an agreement to halt its nuclear programa€”the country has promised to increase its own production from 3.3 million barrels a day to as many as 4 million barrels a day by the end of 2016. Low oil prices have battered its currency and left its economy in tatters, with food shortages worsening every day.
Wea€™ve seen South American countries tax away growth and impose envy policies on the financial sector.
For the first time, the kingdom will tap international bond markets to make up for lost oil revenues.
The Last Frontier is known, of course, for giving all Alaskan residents an annual dividend based on oil revenue.
Back in June, I shared with you the story of how, in 1661, the Scandinavian monarchy became the first country in the world to issue paper money. In a purely electronic system, every financial transaction is not only charged a fee but can also be tracked and monitored. Negative rates can also be found in Denmark and Switzerland, where theya€™re as low as -1.25 percent.
For example, ita€™s easier to open a credit card account than a savings or investment accounta€”which obviously doesna€™t encourage either of those things. Since 1960, the Code of Federal Regulations has grown from 22,877 pages to a bloated 175,268 pages in 2014. The negative effects of these laws trickle down for years through various businesses and industries, costing jobs and opportunities at wealth creationa€”and ultimately creating a downward multiplier effect on the countrya€™s economy. It had become too costly to bear the expense of subsidizing yields so they didna€™t fall below zero.
One option is to store a portion of it in gold, which, compared to a basket of 24 commodities, has held on to its reputation as a long-term store of value.
The Fear Trade, on the other hand, has to do with what wea€™re seeing in Sweden and elsewhere. The renminbi, also known as the yuan, is the first currency from such a country to join the elite ranks of the U.S. Many analysts are pointing out that it will have little near-term benefit to China, especially since the change will not go into effect until October 2016.

This summer, the countrya€™s central bank announced it had added to its gold reserves substantially, and later it devalued the renminbi 2 percent. Country leaders are now charged with ensuring that the renminbi lives up to its status as a high-quality international reserve currency by maintaining its stability and ease of use. Although the global manufacturing purchasing managera€™s index (PMI) cooled somewhat in November, it stayed above the three-month moving average for the second month in a rowa€”something it hasna€™t done in a year and a half.
Since the June collapse, however, there is one sector that continues to score with investors, both here and overseas a€“ sportswear. Perhaps too, Chinese sports enthusiasts would be able to witness their mena€™s soccer team regain ground, having only competed in one FIFA World Cup back in 2002.
Anta has seen steady growth since the beginning of this year a€“ keeping pace even throughout the rough summer downfall. Average Chinese citizens look up to their leaders, and often will follow or play their leadersa€™ sport, explains portfolio manager Xian Liang who grew up in Shanghai. Mao played goalie in high school and Deng collateralized his clothes to pay for a soccer game ticket in Paris in his earlier years.
Along with the rest of the world, we were shocked and saddened as the tragic news unfolded, worsening as the night progressed.
The consequences often reach far and wide, and can be felt in the short-term (changes in investor confidence) as well as the long-term (changes in government policy).
French President FranA§ois Hollande has already told Parliament that France is at war and will a€?be mercilessa€? in its pursuit of justice. France immediately tightened its borders, and other European countries quickly followed suit.
Paris has for years been the worlda€™s top tourist destination, but the City of Lights has already seen a huge drop-off in tourists as people have delayed or cancelled travel plans. A good diversifier is any investment thata€™s expected to have a low correlation with the rest of your portfolio, and gold historically has little to no correlation with equities. Year-to-date, gold is down nearly 9 percent, and it could possibly end 2015 in negative territory for the third straight year.
Low prices have hurt South Texas, the Middle East, Russia and Colombia, not to mention drillers and explorers, but theya€™ve been a windfall for the end consumer, including manufacturers and airlines. During past military engagements, oil has typically performed well since a lot is required to fight a war. Bankruptcy Code went into effect, and 2008, approximately 600 municipalities out of 90,000 filed for Chapter 9 protection. Unlike an individual or corporation, a city cana€™t independently arrive at the decision to file. Bankruptcy is never an easy decision, but for local governments, ita€™s often more trouble than ita€™s worth. Between 1970 and 2013, Baa-rated munis historically had similar default rates as Aaa-rated corporate bonds, according to ratings agency Moodya€™s. You can see past returns for yourself in our perennially popular Periodic Table of Commodities Return. Although such a large weighting isna€™t appropriate for all investorsa€”Ia€™ve always recommended 10 percent in gold: 5 percent in gold stocks, 5 percent in bulliona€”it looks as if Druckenmiller made another good call. For the past year, the strong dollar has crushed these assets, something I write and speak about frequently. In India, the worlda€™s largest consumer of the precious metal, the annual wedding and fall festival season has officially begun, which has historically triggered a spike in demand. We should never welcome war, but the truth is that political turmoil very often has had a positive effect on commodity prices and currencies. As opposed to geopolitical events, which might have an immediate effect on gold, these drivers can have a long-term influence. For example, if Treasury yields were at 2 percent and inflation was also at 2 percent, you wouldna€™t really be earning anything.
In other words, if you bought the 10-year, you essentially lost 3 percent a year on your a€?safea€? Treasury investment.
He argued that the reason the Federal Reserve hasna€™t allowed rates to lift off yet is becausea€”you might want to sit down for thisa€”it already has, in an a€?invisiblea€? interest rate hike of 4 percent.
Ita€™s the funda€™s top weighting, at 17 percenta€”and yet because of its market-cap, it isna€™t included at all in the two ETFs.
It has taken almost 12 months for me to commit to a color, style and texture for the living room side of the space, but I am extremely happy with the result. I am 100% obsessed with Dwell Studio’s throw pillows but cannot bring myself to pay their prices.
But with Seymoura€™s fastidious money management and Pierrea€™s vast mining expertise, the two raised $2 million. For the next 20 years, until it merged with Normandy Mining and Newmont Mining in 2002, I watched the company return an average 38 percent to shareholders annually. Pierrea€™s a€?The Gold Book,a€? published in 1990, is a seminal masterpiece on the topic of gold investing. Whereas the frugal Seymour prefers to drive the same Lincoln for decades, Pierre enjoys the engineering and sleek design of a Ferrari.
In 2011, he donated a massive $25 million to expand the School of Engineering at York University, where the Computer Science & Engineering Building was renamed the Lassonde Building in honor of his generosity over the years. McGill, in fact, renamed its music program the Schulich School of Music in September 2005 in recognition of Seymoura€™s gift of $20 million, the largest such gift in the history of the university. He explained in detail that just as people can learn helplessness, so too can they cultivate optimism. Compare that to 5 percent growth for S&P 500 Index companies and between -3 and 3 percent for precious metals miners. Not all royalties companies are entirely risk-free, but their business model remains superior. In other words, mineral deposits are very often larger than what a royalty company pays for. If anything is found, the royalty company will generally get paid for any future ounces, with some limitations. Yet many American, Canadian and Australian companies produce in civil law countries found mostly in Latin America and parts of Africa. Now that gold is hovering in the $1,085 range, down 38 percent since the all-time high, theya€™ve started deploying their massive reserves to buy streams from desperate sellers. They have huge intellectual capital and employ mining engineers, metallurgists, geologists and financial consultants. But during Christmas, love and charity triumpha€”if only for a daya€”helping us recharge as we approach the new year. As I always say, government policy is a precursor to change, and very recently we saw this firsthand. And indeed, in late November the IMF voted to include the renminbi, also known as the yuan, in its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket. Since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2007, Franco-Nevada, the worlda€™s largest gold royalty company, has torn past both spot gold and most gold equity benchmarks.
At the time, it appeared as if gold might have a chance at doing something it hasna€™t done since 2012a€”end the year in positive territory. If we were to distribute this amount equally to every man, woman and child on the face of the earth, we would each owe around $28,000. Plus, this comes at a time when fellow industrialized nations and economic areas around the globe are considering further monetary easing measures. Ita€™s important to keep in mind that, aside from rising interest rates, a multitude of unique factorsa€”from geopolitics to economic conditions to the weathera€”played roles in influencing the outcomes. This created an agreeable climate for gold and other precious metals and commodities, as their prices typically share an inverse relationship with the dollar. The findings suggest that the market went through an adjustment period, with average returns falling from 14 percent before the rate hike to 2.6 percent 250 days afterward.
The short-term trend shows oil rallying sharply starting in January, according to Moore Research analysis.
But we certainly do not need triple-digit oil to make some nice investment returns, especially in a sector that has been so oversold.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the South American countrya€”which has the largest proven oil reserves in the worlda€”to contract 10 percent this year and has declared it the worst-performing economy in the world right now. Mining and oil executives have seen their cash flow confiscated by value-added taxes, leading to drops in capex and job creation. Thata€™s with a 65 percent decline in rigs in operation from a year ago, a clear indicator of how efficient American producers have become. A little over two years ago, the Cyprus government ransacked citizensa€™ bank accounts to a€?fixa€? its own mistakes and mismanagement.
With zero interest rates and increasing regulatory costs, protecting the integrity of the $1 net asset value (NAV) had cost the money market fund industry nearly $24 billion in waived expenses between 2009 and 2013, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI).
I wish the same could be said for the victims in Paris that day, the 224 on the Russian jet brought down by an ISIS-built bomb, the hostages in Mali Friday, and many others whose lives have been affected by the global scourge of terrorism. These sanctions, coupled with falling oil prices, contributed to the Russian rublea€™s dramatic breakdown.
The country wasted no time in striking back against ISIS and has begun bombing raids in Syria. Meanwhile, Polanda€™s newly-elected government rejected the European Uniona€™s quotas for accepting refugees from Syria, an attitude thata€™s echoed by more than 30 U.S.
Hotel stocks were up 10 percent in October but will likely face headwinds as a result of Paris and Mali. Although the stone has yet to be assessed, ita€™s worth noting for comparison that a 100-carat diamond sold at Sothebya€™s in April for $22 million. We havena€™t seen prices move just yeta€”oil still sits at $40 per barrela€”but ita€™s something wea€™ll monitor closely. The CPI measures the price of a basket of goods to the price of the same goods a year ago, so inflation fell dramatically between November 2014 and January 2015 as energy prices plunged.
Similarly, some muni bond investors worry about municipal bankruptcies, based on recent high-profile cases, even though such cases occur very infrequently. Today, federal legislators are debating whether to allow debt-strapped Puerto Rico, which owes around $70 billion, to file for bankruptcy, something even U.S. Federal law allows local governments to file, but the municipalitya€™s state government must also permit it. As such, ita€™s important for investors to pay attention to her and other such a€?smart moneya€? influencers.
Gold and the dollar share an inverse relationship, and for the past year, the greenback has been putting pressure on the yellow metal, not to mention other commodities and natural resources. While this news dominated the headlines, ita€™s important to recognize that the total amount of net assets in the SPDR Gold Trust, the worlda€™s largest gold-backed ETF, is just slightly more than Walmarta€™s one-week loss.
If the death cross does indeed indicate the start of a downward trend, gold might have the breathing room it needs to reach the important $1,200 resistance level.
This period is followed by Christmas and the Chinese New Year in February, when gold prices have surged, based on the shorter-term, five-year pattern. If youa€™d like to attend the conference as my guest, send me an email for a complimentary registration. Since gold doesna€™t cost anything to hold, it became more attractive and the metala€™s price soared. This has lately had a negative effect on gold, which means ita€™s even more remarkable that the precious metal has broken above its 200-day moving average. I love the square lacquer trays at West Elm and at $24 a pop, those trays are within reach.
Newmont, by comparison, has around 28,000.) Theya€™re not responsible for cost overruns or maintenance. And although theya€™ve improved since the 1980s, mining duties, income taxes and tax royalties still tend to be steep and unstable.
Franco-Nevada recently agreed to pay $610 million for a portion of silver production from Teck Resourcesa€™ Antamina copper and zinc mine in Peru. Theya€™ve acted as bellwethers in the past, giving investors a good reading of where prices and sentiment could be headed. I was grateful to have lots of love and plenty to eat when so many had neither during the cold, snowy Canadian winters. Today the population hovers just north of 319 million and, as of 2013, the number of registered vehicles has more than doubled to 255 million.
People continue to have babiesa€”Chinese couples even more so now that the one-child policy has been lifteda€”and the global middle class is swelling rapidly. They are using negative interest rates and the a€?War on Casha€? to force you to spend and a€?stimulatea€? the economy. Meanwhile, American Eagle silver coins hit an all-time annual sales record of 44.67 million ounces. It suggests that investors are showing approval of President Vladimir Putina€™s involvement in Syria.
As I said earlier this month, the global purchasing managersa€™ index (PMI) turned up in October after bottoming in September, and in the past this has been followed by a jump in oil prices.
Widely recognized as the start of a bearish trend, a death cross occurs when the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day. The orange tray really catches my eye because the longer we are in our house, the more I realize the need to branch out from browns and beige tones since we have dark wood molding and flooring in every space.
This helps eliminate many of the investment risks faced by operators such as Newmont, which typically have huge capital and operating costs.
Limitations on how much someone can spend and save can be found in many countries, from Italy to Russia to Uruguay.
Nevertheless, Deutsche Bank highlights Chinese sportswear sales at 16 percent, surpassing that of the broader retail market.
The House of Representatives just passed legislation to suspend the admittance of 10,000 Syrian refugees, though ita€™s likely to be vetoed. States dona€™t like it because they fear it might tarnish their reputation and lower their credit ratings. I love our wood and the character it brings to the home, though I do get urges to beg Mike to paint at least some of it white and lighten up the smaller spaces. Franco-Nevadaa€™s balance sheet and gross margins make it a much more attractive buying opportunity. Following Detroita€™s bankruptcy, borrowing costs in surrounding Michigan counties went up.

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