Nov. 28, 2003
MARKET NEW DIGEST
->Gold taps seven-year high above $400 -CBSMW
->Euro hits record high vs. dollar -CBSMW
->STOCKS: Mixed day, mixed month -CNNfn
->Jobless Claims Fell 11,000 Last Week -Bloomberg
->3rd-Quarter GDP Grew 8.2% -Bloomberg
->Top analysts see 20-year record US growth in 2004 -AFP
->Focus on saving, not spending -Dallas Morn. News
->Trouble in toyland: Hot items lacking -USAToday
->Gold Rush May Continue With Tempered Expectations -NYT
->SPECIAL REPORT: 2004 What's in Store?-Craig R. Smith
->GDP "Breathtaking!" they called it -Bill Bonner, DR
->Torn Fabric of Confidence -Stephen Roach, Morg. Stan
->The Illusions of Optimists -David Bradshaw, RMP Editor
->Bras, Steel, TVs and Bush -John Mauldin, FrontlineThoughts
->Silver Boat About To Set Sail -Richard Spohr, SATC
LATEST FEATURE ARTICLES AT SWISSAMERICA.COM
SPECIAL REPORT: 2004: What's In Store? -- "It's better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt," the wise father once told his son. When is comes to predicting financial trends in the 21st century, most economists should have heeded this wise, fatherly advice because the majority of economic pundits have been wrong.
STOCKS: 1999 REVISITED - Richard Spohr, SATC -- Stock valuations...at their 'greatest' P/E ratio madness since 1999. Back then, I felt sorry for the impending financial doom they were about to experience. Well...not this time!
THE ENEMY WITHIN By Michael Savage -- "The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith and Military" takes aim at liberals' increasingly destructive influence on America's most cherished institutions.
THE $400 GOLD RUSH - Craig R. Smith -- High quality U.S. gold pieces ($20 Liberty and $20 St. Gaudens) prices exploded upwards during the last gold rush in 1979. Prices have already quietly creeped up 42% to 80% -- just since January 2001. (See charts)
FORGET STOCKS -Dr. Steve Sjuggerud, Pirateinvestor.com -- So far, we've made triple-digit returns in the REAL ESTATE SECTOR. . .We've made 63% and 46% returns in GOLD PREFERRED STOCKS and GOLD STOCKS. . .We've just gotten involved in GOLD COINS, but they're already up strong out of the gate. . .
QUOTES OF THE WEEK from "GOLD: THE COLOR OF HOPE"
"Join me, as we expose the truth about why red (ink) is the color of bondage -- and why gold is the color of financial hope in the 21st century!"
CRAIG R. SMITH, CEO SATC
* * *
"Gold has proved itself to be the ultimate contrarian bet against the market over the past three years."
STEPHEN SCHURR, TheStreet.com
* * *
"The stock market may go up... for a while. But happy days may not necessarily last -- except perhaps for gold."
PETER BRIMELOW, CBSMarketWatch
* * *
"I continue to believe that a weaker dollar is exactly what a dysfunctional global economy needs."
STEPHEN ROACH, MorganStanley.com
Find out what Swiss America and dozens of respected economists have to say about the economy, stocks the dollar and gold as we look toward 2004 ... Free review copy
MARKET NEWS DIGEST
Euro hits record high vs. dollar -CBSMW
By Emily Church, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Nov. 28, 2003
LONDON (CBS.MW) -- The dollar dropped against its major European rival currencies on Friday as concerns over the growing U.S. trade imbalance continued to overshadow signs of improving U.S. economic growth.
The dollar selling propelled the euro to a record high at $1.2012. The British pound hit a fresh, five-year high at $1.7240. The dollar was also lower against the Swiss franc. However, the dollar was up on the Japanese yen, last at 109.37 yen.
"People are selling dollars across the board (on the European currencies); it's a continuation of the trend," said Gary Noone, currency analyst at MMS International in London. "It's frustrating because there has been great economic news coming out of the States, but the dollar is not gaining on it. The markets may have priced in all the good news already."
The dollar has seen recent declines as investors fret over the impact of the expanding U.S. current account deficit, as well rising global tensions and concerns over terror attacks since the explosions recently in Turkey.
READ: GOLD VS. THE DISAPPEARING BUCK - Craig Smith, 6/03
Gold taps seven-year high above $400 -CBSMW
Dollar sinks; copper, metals shares rally to fresh highs
By Myra P. Saefong, CBS.MarketWatch.com, Nov. 26, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Gold futures jumped past $400 an ounce Wednesday, to tap their highest level in more seven years.
Weakness in the U.S. dollar and initial concerns over a scare in the New York subway system Wednesday prompted traders to buy back into the precious metals market ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
An unknown odor put five New York subway workers in the hospital on Wednesday, but it was not terrorism-related, according to police.
With people "on edge" regarding terrorist attacks, the subway incident "certainly is a good excuse" for the gold market to move higher, said Erik Gebhard, president of Altavest Worldwide Trading.
But "the gold rally could not have happened without assistance from a dramatic stab lower in the dollar," Gebhard said.
Gold for December and February delivery each rose to a high at $402 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- the highest intraday level for futures since February 1996.
In recent dealings, prices eased back a bit with the February contract at $399.30, up $6.90, or 1.8 percent. December gold is up $6.90 at $398. In the past two sessions the contracts each lost nearly $5 an ounce.
STOCKS: Mixed day, mixed month -CNNfn
November 28, 2003
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Technology buying gave a lift to the Nasdaq Friday, while the rest of the market stuck close to breakeven, as investors finished out a holiday shortened trading week on an up note.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 2.89 to 9782.46) and the Standard & Poor's 500 (down 0.25 to 1058.20) index both closed a few points above breakeven and the Nasdaq composite (up 6.95 to 1960.26) closed more than 0.3 percent higher.
Markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and many market participants took Friday off as well. The stock markets closed at 1 p.m. ET Friday.
Without any new economic news to sort through and with few participants on hand, the market struggled for direction throughout the session, ending modestly higher.
Jobless Claims Fell 11,000 Last Week -Bloomberg
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment benefits reached the lowest in almost three years as companies retain and add workers in an expanding economy, a government report showed.
Claims in the week that ended Saturday declined to 351,000 from a revised 362,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported in Washington. Last week's total was the lowest since 339,000 in the week ended Jan. 20, 2001.
Third-Quarter Gross Domestic Product Grew 8.2% -Bloomberg
Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy grew at an 8.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, faster than the government initially estimated as companies boosted inventories in September to meet the surge in demand.
The nation's gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, grew from July through September at the fastest pace since the first three months of 1984. The Commerce Department previously reported a 7.2 percent third-quarter growth rate, following a 3.3 percent pace in the second quarter.
Consumer spending increased at a 6.4 percent annual rate last quarter, the fastest pace in six years, and retailers such as Williams-Sonoma Inc. restocked their shelves to help satisfy anticipated sales. Economists had raised their third-quarter estimates after a report this month showed that inventories unexpectedly rose in September for the first time in six months.
Top analysts see 20-year record US growth in 2004 -AFP
Nov. 24, 2003 WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US economy will rush to a 20-year record growth pace in 2004, fast enough finally to shrink the jobless claims, a panel of top business
Investment would boom next year, adding power to an economy jolted to life by huge tax cuts and super-low interest rates, said a panel of 28 economists in the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
The world's number one economy would grow at a pace of 3.0 percent in 2003 and 4.5 percent in 2004, the speediest rate for any year since 1984, the NABE panel said Monday.
In a similar survey in September, NABE analysts had predicted gross domestic product (GDP rowth of 2.6 percent in 2003 and 4.0 percent in 2004.
[Ed. Note: The NABE has been wrong over the last 3 years, calling for robust recovery in 2002-03. Although we hope they are right about "record growth in 2004" ... We cannot ignore important facts such as; the rise in layoffs last month, falling dollar, record $7 Trillion debt and $500 Billion annual deficit.]
Focus on saving, not spending - Dallas Morn. News
Monday, November 24, 2003
By PAMELA YIP / The Dallas Morning News
Here's a nice thought as you get ready to spend big bucks on the holidays:
If you're living paycheck to paycheck, you're not alone.
Fifty-two percent of employees surveyed in MetLife's 2003 Employee Benefits Trend Study say they manage their finances by living paycheck to paycheck.
Even among people who earn $75,000 or more a year, 34 percent live on the edge.
"Clearly, it reflects the economic conditions we've all experienced over the last year, but it also reflects a general lack of planning and some frustration among people not knowing how to plan, where to find information," said Craig Guiffre, vice president for MetLife's institutional national accounts.
Paycheck to paycheck
Paul Richard has a more blunt explanation:
"It's unbridled, uncontrolled spending," said Mr. Richard, executive director of the Institute of Consumer Financial Education in San Diego. "I talk to people every week who are making $75,000, $100,000, who have nothing to show for it."
More 21- to 30-year-olds than 41- to 50-year-olds live paycheck to paycheck. But the scary part is that 51 percent of those nearing or in the traditional retirement age range of 61 to 69 do, too.
Of course, being an insurance company, MetLife says it's important to have the proper risk protection in place.
"Many people push off important financial decisions for a later date and never return to it," said C. Robert Henrikson, president of MetLife's U.S. Insurance and Financial Services business. "They become trapped in a dangerous cycle of financial unpreparedness. Among employees living paycheck to paycheck, it's even more critical to have the right plan and protection products in place."
That's true, but if you're living paycheck to paycheck, your priority should be to get your spending under control.
"Expenses will always rise to meet income, and you have to control what happens to your paycheck," said Lynn McIntire, a certified financial planner at First Horizon in Dallas, a financial services company. "You work so hard, you owe it to yourself to pay yourself first and save it off the top."
Scrutinize your everyday spending and see where you can cut back. All of us have things we can do without or reduce.
"Look for other ways to achieve more value for your dollars," Mr. Richard said. "Determine what you pay others for things or services you may do for yourself, such as self-serve gasoline or a car wash, lawn mowing, laundry."
Especially during the holidays, don't feel you have to go over the top with a fancy gift to show your festive spirit. "Less is more," Ms. McIntire said.
Save, save, save as much as you can, even if it's a small amount. Wealth is best achieved one dollar at a time.
Trouble in toyland: Hot items lacking for retailers -USAT
by Lorrie Grant, USA Today, Nov. 24, 2003
Heading into what's traditionally the hottest season for toys, top retailers are in trouble and no action figure is likely to save them.
Competition from discount stores and consumer electronics chains that sell popular video games is shaking up the $21 billion toy market.
"Combine the fact that discounters are convenient and their pricing better, then it's a hard battle," said Todd Kuhrt, a toy retail analyst at FTN Midwest Research.
• Toys "R" Us lost $38 million in the third quarter, a 35 percent bigger loss than a year ago. It plans to close 182 Kids "R" Us and Imaginarium stores, cutting 3,800 U.S. jobs. Sales were flat at $2.3 billion.
Toys "R" Us is one of the few companies that continued to lose money all year, even "as the retail environment has improved," said Matthew Fassler, toy analyst at Goldman Sachs.
"The outlook change is really because of the deterioration of the U.S. toy business and growing concern that the holiday business in 2003 will not meet Standard & Poor's expectations," said Diane Shand, its retail credit analyst.
• FAO Schwarz, the upscale specialty toy retailer that emerged from bankruptcy protection earlier this year, announced this month that it is now in default with lenders and may shutter stores.
Gold Rush May Continue With Tempered Expectations -NY Times
By JONATHAN FUERBRINGER, November 26, 2003
Gold does not have to break $400 an ounce to prove that it is in a bull market. That has been clear for some time, as the price has surged 52 percent since gold hit bottom in April of 2001.
But $400 has to be breeched to prove that the rally, which many American investors have probably missed, still has legs. And $450 an ounce has to appear to be within reach to offer a nice profit potential to investors who, unfortunately for them, usually don't pay attention to gold until its price is already going up.
For the gold producers and the gold faithful who lived though the dark times — in which gold fell steadily after trading over $800 an ounce in 1980 — there is no problem. Gold, which has been over $390 an ounce for two weeks, is going higher.
Even Ian C. MacDonald, manager of precious metals at the New York branch of Commerzbank and a gold bear for 15 years, said, "The scary thing is we don't know how high this price can go."
The chief argument for gold recently has been the weakness of the dollar. Pierre Lassonde, the president of the Newmont Mining Corp., a major gold producer, argued that the price of gold is 80 percent dependent on the value of the dollar, which has fallen 11 percent this year against the euro, 7.9 percent against the Japanese yen and 7 percent against a broad trade weighted index that includes all of the United States' main trading partners. Others agree. An analyst at a big hedge fund, who insisted that he not be named, put the argument bluntly: "I don't think supply and demand matter," he said. "What matters is the esteem people have for paper money and what we are seeing here is a flight to hard assets — gold."
This inverse relationship of gold to the value of the dollar has worked well sometimes in the past, but not always. It has done pretty well, however, during gold's new bull market. The dollar has been in a steady decline against the euro since July of 2001 while the dollar has been falling against the yen since February of 2002.
Gold aficionados believe that the dollar will continue to fall. They argue that the Bush administration wants a weaker dollar and that confidence in the dollar is being hurt by American foreign policy. The current account deficit, which measures the balance of trade in goods and services with the rest of the world, is nearing $500 billion, and that is also a drag on the dollar.
Yet if the economy does manage to continue to grow modestly — after the stunning 8.2 percent growth at an annual rate in the third quarter that was announced on Tuesday — the dollar might not fall all that much more, limiting the upside for gold from here.
Another factor often cited as a positive for gold — political instability and global terrorism — has not given a boost to gold recently. In fact, it was quite striking that after the truck-bombing of two synagogues in Instanbul on Nov. 15, a Saturday, the price of gold dropped $6.50 an ounce in trading the following Monday. And after the truck-bombing of the British Consulate and a British bank in Istanbul on Nov. 20, the price of gold fell $1.20.
A third force of note is speculators. They have been betting heavily that gold will rise. Look at the net of the futures contracts to buy and sell gold outstanding on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange on Sept. 2. The net equaled almost 123,000 contracts to buy about 12.3 million ounces of gold, the biggest weekly position by far in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission data going back to 1983.
Another positive for gold that has been tempered is the proposal for a so-called exchange traded fund for gold. Sponsored by the World Gold Council, this exchange traded fund would allow retail investors to buy gold easily through their brokers in amounts as small as a tenth of an ounce. Some analysts argue that the price of gold may already have run up in anticipation of this buying. But the Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet approved the proposal. "I am sure getting tired of waiting," lamented John Hathaway, a gold fund portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management.
All this stuttering around the $400-an-ounce level does not mean that gold will not go higher. But it is a warning to investors who are getting in now not to expect gold to repeat its recent history and rise another 50 percent. They should temper their expectations.
It is also not a bad idea to listen to analysts who argue that a small amount of gold in a portfolio, something under 5 percent, can be an effective way to diversify one's investments, regardless the outlook for gold.
SPECIAL REPORT: 2004: What's In Store...more of the same or a whole new game?
By Craig R. Smith, CEO Swiss America
Nov 26, 2003
"It's better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt," a wise father once told his son.
When is comes to predicting financial trends in the 21st century, most economists should have heeded this wise, fatherly advice because the majority of economic pundits have been wrong.
->The job recovery did not begin in 2002-03 ...
->The dollar did not stay "strong" ...
->Oil is still about $30 a barrel ...
->Stocks are not in a new bull market ...
->Gold is up over 50% ... and has every reason to rise again in 2004.
How will you remember 2003?
As the year ...
->America went to war with Iraq (and stayed)?
->Greenspan fought bears with rate cuts?
->Wall Street scandals became a daily event?
->Unemployment discredited "the recovery"?
->Global Islamic terrorism increased?
->U.S. debt reached $7 trillion?
->The dollar dropped to historic lows against the euro?
->Gold touched 7-yr. highs of $400/oz.?
->ALL OF THE ABOVE?
Last December, we published our annual financial recommmendations for 2003, entitled, "2003: NOT JUST STOCKS, GOLD!" It turns out that we were mostly right.
In January 2003, I told WSJ ... "Gold prices topped $370 today, next stop $400, or perhaps $350, which appears to be the new base price for 2003," in a taped radio interview. But how can you be sure that you are getting value for your money when buying U.S. gold coins ... at any price? Read: "IS THE PRICE RIGHT?"
GDP "Breathtaking!" they called it -Bill Bonner, DR
Nov. 26, 2003
The news is being heralded on British TV this morning - after jiggling the numbers, the U.S. economy was found to have grown at an 8.2% rate during the 3rd quarter.
"The recovery really caught fire," said an economist with UBS securities. Rejoice. Rejoice. The talking heads on television were practically clinking champagne glasses; the news was greeted with celebration, praise and admiration. But last night, it came toward your editor's face like a lemon pie.
"Didn't you hear the news," asked a bullish fund manager with whom we were enjoying a drink. "The U.S. economy grew at more than 8% last quarter."
You and your fellow gloomsters don't know what you're talking about, he probably wanted to add; you've lost a lot of money.
"I bought Amazon.com a few years ago. It has gone up ever since," he continued.
You see, dear reader, being a cranky 'prophet of doom and gloom' is not always easy work. You have to bear the taunts of young fund managers with more money than you have...and more hair.
The subject inevitably turned to gold:
"If you wanted to invest in a commodity, why not buy something with better prospects, such as copper or tin," he asked. "The problem with gold is that it is not frangible...you can't break it down or use it up. A commodity that never gets used up is not exactly a sure- thing investment, if you know what I mean. Maybe they'll find a commercial use for it some day. Then, it might be a good investment. Until then, well..."
He did not need to complete his sentence. In a few words, he had made the Case Against Gold such as it is. Gold is no longer needed as money; paper works perfectly well. The U.S. economy is growing at more than 8% per annum, for Pete's sake. Who needs gold? And, as a pure commodity, gold is a loser.
And yet, you editor does not buy tin. Nor bauxite. Nor lumps of coal. He buys gold. He buys gold because he suspects that the people controlling paper money today are not as smart as they think they are...and no smarter than those who ran paper money systems of the past (all of which failed...)
And he buys it because he suspects that there is a kind of rough justice in the world - where people cannot get anything they want, anytime they want it...but where people get instead, more or less, what they have coming.
He buys gold because he believes it is more authentic 'money' than a piece of paper proclaimed money by the Bank of England or the Department of the Treasury...and he suspects that his kruggerands and gold Louies will have value long after the Bank of England and the U.S. Treasury cease to exist.
He buys gold because he has no way of knowing what lies ahead. Maybe the dollar and the pound will be around for a long, long time - without any link to gold. But he notices that the longer people are able to borrow money...with no unhappy consequences...the more money they borrow, and the unhappier the consequences become.
Spend, spend, spend vs. produce, produce, produce -Bill Bonner, DR
Nov. 24, 2003
***Alan Greenspan says trade deficits haven't hurt the U.S. economy. He doesn't mention it, but they seem to have done wonders for the Chinese economy...and now the Indian economy, too. Yes, trade deficits are the evidence that the residents of Squanderville are squandering their wealth. But as long as there is something left to squander, the nation's top banker sees no problem. Stephen Roach warns that the trade deficit may rise to $3 billion every working day, by the end of 2004.
*** "UK consumers flock to the shops," says the BBC. All over the world - especially the Anglo-Saxon world - the Dollar Standard System encourages people to spend, spend, spend.
*** China, by contrast, has reacted differently. In Asia, generally, people prefer to produce, produce, produce... The Chinese economy has become so overheated that the government has begun to lie about it. It reports 8% growth; independent observers think GDP is growing at a 13% or 14% rate.
*** Gold rose on Friday, but is still trading below $400. Should you buy now and feel like an idiot for not buying at $350? Or not buy now, and feel like an idiot when it goes over $500? Our guess is that you will feel like slightly less of an idiot by buying now. The bull market in gold is still very young. If it follows previous patterns, in a few years...you will feel like a genius. That will be a good time to sell.
Torn Fabric of Confidence -Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley
Nov. 21, 2003
In the end, it's the only solution that macro can really offer: An unbalanced world needs a realignment in relative prices. As the most important relative price in a US-centric global economy, the dollar had to fall. And that's exactly what has been happening over the past 21 months -- an 11% decline in the "broad" trade-weighted dollar index (in real terms) since February 2002. The risk, in my view, is that there's a good deal more to come on the downside. It's not just economics that drives me to that conclusion. It's also the world's faith or, in this case, lack of faith in its reserve currency. I fear there is a tear in the fabric of confidence that underpins the special role of the dollar -- a tear that is now getting larger under the stresses and strains of an unbalanced world.
As the tide goes out in this post-bubble climate, one flaw after another keeps being exposed in the American system. The confluence of Wall Street misdeeds, an Enron-led accounting scandal, and the damaged credibility of the New York Stock Exchange points to nothing less than a full-blown crisis of corporate governance. Suddenly, serious questions are being raised about some of the most cherished icons of America's free-market system -- the system that has long been held up as the model for other nations to emulate. At the same time, as the election cycle heats up, the politics of protectionism have become Washington's favorite sport. Last year it was steel tariffs. This year, it's China-bashing ...
The Illusions of Optimists -David Bradshaw, RMP Editor
Nov. 24, 2003
"If Things Are So Good … Why Do We Feel So Bad?" asks Fortune magazine. Rising stocks, GDP and tax cuts should have kicked started the economy by now, acknowledge even the most optimistic economists. Yet they haven't. Why?
Could it be... "The $44 Trillion Abyss", muses one Fortune article? Could it be... "Made in the U.S.A. is fading away", states another? OR … Could it be... "A little worry is good for business," acknowledges a third?
Whatever the reasons, the author of "The Power of Negative Thinking" Julia Norem, has discovered that optimists may not be prepared when things go wrong. She maintains that putting on a happy face is a poor strategy for many people.
Norem, a Wellesley College psychology professor calls her alternative "Defensive Pessimism." She says America has always been ruled by optimists. "Optimists tend to live in a world of illusions" and "attribute failures to bad luck."
Noren continues, "Pessimists are prone to distort reality in negative ways. I wouldn't advocate pessimists run everything, but I would advocate that every decision process with important consequences should include a defensive pessimist."
Although Norem's book scarcely sold 10,000 copies, she may be on to something. I would prefer to say the best mix of optimism and defensive pessimism is: "realism" ... as I wrote last summer. Optimist vs. Realist
Bras, Steel, [TVs] and Bush -John Mauldin, FrontlineThoughts.com
November 21, 2003
Whenever I venture from my "assigned" space of economics and investing, and roam into the realm of politics, I am sure to offend more than a few readers. But today, I see the world of economics and politics meshing, as the threat of an international trade war is becoming more and more real.
From Senators proposing insane 30% tariffs on the Chinese, (our new whipping boy, probably to the relief of Japan) to boneheaded steel tariffs, we put the economy of the world at risk. And the reasons are more political than economic, so I weigh in. I am sure I will be able to offend most everyone at some point, but I hope I will give us all a few things to think about as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. For the readers who can't stand political heat, you've been warned.
The Bra Wars
When I was a tad younger (this was the late 60's), it was considered de rigueur for well meaning males to attend a gathering or two where women ceremoniously burned their bras to show their rejection of the male hierarchy. As young college guys, we never quite understood the symbolism, but most of my more boorish friends were all in favor of the removal of bras, cause celebre or not.
And now, we find the Bush Administration once again starting a fight over women's lingerie. Scandalously, it seems we need to protect the jobs of brassiere factories in the US from the Chinese imports. Never mind that, as far as I can research, there are no workers toiling away in the US making brassieres. There are maybe 20,000 jobs which might- maybe- possibly would be affected.
As long time readers know, the thing which most concerns me is the potential for a trade war. It would wreck what fragile recovery is beginning to emerge in the world economy. Nothing could be more disastrous and lead to the actual destruction of more jobs and loss of real wealth, as the markets would simply deflate in the US and abroad.
* * *
U.S. to impose duties on China TV sets - CBS.MW
By Allen Wan, CBS.MarketWatch.com, Nov. 24, 2003
TOKYO (CBS.MW) -- In a move that may further intensify trade frictions between the United States and China, the U.S. Commerce Department has accused Chinese manufacturers of selling color television sets at below market value in the United States and will levy duties of as much as 46 percent on color TV imports.
The Commerce Department said in a preliminary ruling that it has "determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe or suspect" unfair trade action from all of China's color television exporters, Bloomberg reported.
* * * FULL STORY
Silver Boat About To Set Sail - Richard Spohr, SATC
Nov. 21, 2003
The biggest knocks against silver are that it is too bulky, takes up too much space, or weighs too much. As super bull Ted Butler puts it, with silver you get too much for your money.
Although silver does have its drawbacks, investors determined to protect their assets from a declining dollar should make silver a part of their portfolios. Historically, silver outperforms gold--on a percentage basis--in precious metals bull markets. Further, an examination of current developments suggests that silver could do even better than in past precious metals bull markets.
Despite what some analysts say, silver is as much a monetary metal as is gold. More people around the globe have used silver for money than have used gold. In at least fourteen languages, the same words are used for silver and for money.
In the US, gold coins were called from circulation in 1933. Standard US 90% silver coins, however, were minted through 1964.
Analysts who relegate silver to the category of “industrial metal” do so because a huge industrial demand has developed for silver over the last half century. Gold, on the other hand, has no such demand. About 90% of the annual production of gold is turned into jewelry. Yet, no one asserts that gold is a “decorative” metal.
Gold is considered a monetary metal because it has been used as money for centuries. But, so has silver. Then why is gold a monetary metal and silver not? In reality, both are monetary metals.
Still, the constant haranging that silver is an industrial metal has diminished its desirability in eyes of many investors. Actually, though, the huge industrial demand for silver is what makes it as good or better investment than gold.
A few decades ago, when the now disposed US Strategic Stockpile stood at more than two billion ounces, one could argue that silver was going nowhere for ample supplies were available to meet the growing industrial demand. However, only a decade after most of the Strategic Stockpile was sold off, which meant that huge supplies were still available but then in private investor hands, silver skyrocketed to $50 in the face of a monetary crisis. Gold went to $850; both responded like the monetary metals that they are. In that crisis, demand as a safe haven trumped the cries that “silver is an industrial metal.”
Instead of disdaining silver, analysts should be saying that silver is the better investment of the two because it is a monetary metal with a staggering industrial demand. When the next (current?) crisis is recognized, diminished silver supplies--because of industrial usage--should cause silver to turn in a better performance than what we saw in 1980. Astute investors should not miss the silver boat.
Rich Spohr's "1999 Revisited"
Thanksgiving 2003: A GRATEFUL HEART
Craig Smith, CEO Swiss America
Nov. 26, 2003
Gratefulness is the cornerstone of the Christian life. Without it, nothing else will satisfy the deepest desires of the heart.
As a Christian family and businessman, I have much to be grateful for this year - despite the tragedies we've all faced during the turbulent 21st century so far.
I'm thankful for my wife and children because they are God's gift to me and a source of joy and challenge. They serve as God's tool to form my life into what He has for me to accomplish. My ultimate purpose.
I'm thankful for my business, Swiss America Trading and every single employee and broker that has is committed to serving our customers, boldly proclaiming that our mission is "Helping America Rediscover Gold in the 21st Century."
I'm thankful that I'm learning that surrender of my own agenda to God's agenda -- which means learning daily that service precedes true leadership -- and that service gives my life meaning.
I'm thankful for my country, which values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with more passion than any other nation on earth.
I'm thankful for government leaders who want restoration of substance to the words; "In God We Trust," which is embossed on every U.S. coin and currency note in circulation.
I'm thankful for my local church, which raises up leadership with a great vision -- and a plan to help us reach God's goals for our life, family and society.
But, most of all, as the popular song declares, I'm thankful that God gave His Son to create a bridge between Himself and "whomsoever shall believe," which for over 20 years now, has included me, a sinner saved by grace.
I'm also thankful for you, dear reader, and pray that this Thanksgiving will bring memories of all that you have to be thankful for as well.
Craig R. Smith, CEO, Swiss America
ABOUT THE EDITOR
David M. Bradshaw is Editor of Real Money Perspectives, publisher of Rediscovering Gold in the 21st Century: The Complete Guide to the Next Gold Rush (7/01) and has been an economic commentator since 1987, when he produced the World Economic Perspectives radio show. In 1997, he produced a one-hour TV documentary, "Preparing Wisely for the Next Millennium," which was distributed free of charge at Blockbuster Video nationally. In 1999, he produced a one-hour radio special, "The Big Picture: The Shape of Things to Come" discussing geopolitical, economic and spiritual trends in the 21st Century. MORE...