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Have Natural Gas Prices Hit Bottom?

It's been a summer of open windows and dormant air conditioners in the Eastern U.S. as the mercury has failed to break 85 degrees on most days and night-time lows fall down to the mid-50s in much of New England.

And that partially explains why natural gas prices are plunging to seven-month lows. Gas-fueled power plants are operating at a low hum as electricity demand has been unusually tepid. When you consider that late July typically represents a turning point for summer temperatures, this may turn out to be a year without any major heat waves. Good news indeed for residents in the Eastern U.S. after enduring an unusually dispiriting frigid winter.

As demand for gas remains subpar, gas storage facilities are re-filling at a rapid rate, turning gas back into a buyer's market. That's a quick change from six months ago when gas was being consumed at a faster-than-normal rate. And the resulting price collapse has left many to wonder: Will gas prices keep plunging, or have they hit bottom?

The answer to that question: Gas prices are likely to keep falling. [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30469387

Miners Must Control Costs to Improve Share Prices: Byron King

The Gold Report: Byron, gold is above $1,300/ounce ($1,300/oz)although not by much and silver topped $20/oz. What was holding their prices down, and what are the fundamentals that will move the prices going forward?

Byron King: The short answer is that, for all its faults, the dollar has strengthened, which holds down gold and silver prices. The longer answer is that gold and silver are manipulated metals. That is, the world's central banks have an aversion to things they can't control, and one of the things that they can't control is elemental metals like gold and silver.

Let's ask why the dollar has strengthened. The U.S. is probably in its weakest geopolitical situation in decades. The Wall Street Journal on July 17 had a front-page story about the confluence of crises across the world Ukraine, Middle East, Southeast Asiaall of which are profound challenges to American power militarily, diplomatically and economically. But the dollar is still holding up. Why?

I believe the dramatic recent increase in U.S. energy production is what's behind the stronger dollar. With more oil and natural gas from fracking, the U.S. is the world's largest energy producer. In addition, we're importing far less oil and exporting a lot more refined product. It helps the dollar.

Still, when I look at the big picture for gold, I see a resource whose production is challenged on the best of days. Output is declining in the major traditional sources: South Africa is in decline; Australia is challenged; some of the big plays in Nevada are getting long in the tooth. [Read more...]

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/theaureport/Ajgh/~3/_yeyIe_CETs/16143

The Greatest Risk To Investors Today

By: Jody Chudley of Investing Answers

We've seen this set-up before...

All through 2006 and 2007, I heard some of the smartest minds in the investment game warning about the massive housing bubble that was about to pop. For a long time, these smart folks looked wrong, as housing prices kept going up and up.

Then things changed in a hurry, and we suffered through the worst credit crisis in our country's history and a housing bubble collapse. Anyone that didn't heed the warnings got crushed.

I see the same thing happening today. There have been warnings that we could be in for severe inflation ever since the Federal Reserve rolled out the printing presses back in 2008 with its "quantitative easing" program.

So far, not much has happened. However, similar to the housing bubble, that "nothing" could turn into something very quickly.

After years of easy money policy by countries around the globe, the inflation pump could be primed. [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.investinganswers.com/investment-ideas/growth-investing/greatest-risk-investors-today-22097

INO Sponsors 5 Nepalese Students - INO Cares


I wanted to share an incredible story with you in the spirit of our INO Cares campaign. It is amazing how one person can make such a tremendous impact and how a chance encounter can turn into something so wonderful!

INO Cares - Nepal SchoolAfter graduating from college in January of 2005, Maryland resident, Mikey Church, decided to take a bicycle ride with his friends from Amsterdam to Cairo and then from India to China. They day they entered Nepal, the King dissolved the government and declared martial law. This caused Maoist Rebels to declare a strike across the country resulting in a halt in travel and commerce. Mikey and his friends happen to cross paths with local village residents and brothers, Ujjwal and Bol Bhat.

Ujjwal encouraged Mikey and his friends to stay with his family until political tensions eased. During this stay, the American boys spoke often with Ujjwal about the poor access to education in Nepal, especially for girls and the desperately poor, and also about Ujjwal’s dream to open a school. Mikey safely returned home, but did not forget the conversations he had with the Nepalese brothers.

Mikey and Ujjwal kept in touch for a few years. When Mikey married his wife in 2008, he asked his guests to make donations in lieu of wedding gifts. Mikey was able to send this money to Ujjwal to open the doors of the Mikey Medium English School, a three room school house in Bauniyan, Kailali to 40 students, 20 of which were girls.

In a letter sent to family and friends, Mikey said, "I am a firm believer in the parable, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' The benefits of basic education need not be reiterated here. They are plentiful and convincing. Never the less, here is a refresher. Girls who are educated are better able to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, marry later in life, have healthier children and have work opportunities beyond the home. Boys who are educated may be able to break a family cycle of hard labor and typically earn more than their non-educated counterparts."

Read the full story about Mikey's journey and the Mikey Medium English School.

Today, the Mikey Medium English School enrolls 100 students and employs 5 teachers. Fifty percent of the students are females and fifty percent are desperately poor. Class size does not exceed 20 students. For only $200, Grassroots Education Nepal provides a student at the Mikey Medium English School year-round education, textbooks and supplies, two student uniforms (including socks and shoes), a backpack and sweater.

For our June INO Cares campaign, we are proud to offer scholarships to 5 students so they can attend the Mikey Medium English School for 1 year!

This is such a wonderful story and we could not be more honored to give the gift of education to a handful of Nepalese youth, as well as continue the dream of an American kid and a pair of Nepalese brothers!

To contribute to Grassroots Education Nepal or sponsor a student of your own, please visit Mikey Medium English School’s page.

I hope you enjoyed this story. If you have any ideas for a future INO Cares campaign, please send them our way!


The INO Cares Team

Sean Rakhimov: Upward Trend a Silver Investor's Friend

The Gold Report: The Washington D.C.-based Silver Institute reports that net silver demand has exceeded net silver supply each year since 2004, with a supply deficit of 113 million ounces (113 Moz) reported in 2013. Why hasn't that trend translated into dramatically higher silver prices?

Sean Rakhimov: First, I don't put much faith in these numbers. For instance, CPM Group has somewhat different numbers. Either way, silver supply and demand have been roughly in equilibrium, in my opinion, over the past decade or so. Second, silver manifests itself as a precious metal in times of crisis or uncertainty. When it's business as usual, silver acts more like a base metal and trades more on supply and demand numbers. Silver prices will respond during a crisis as its perception changes from an industrial to precious metal. That's when you will see more of what we saw in 2011 when in the space of about six months silver went up three times. Another period like that is coming.

"Excellon Resources Inc. has a handle on its deposit's cost structure and grade."

TGR: In early June we started to see stronger precious metals prices and that has carried through. Is this a trend?

SR: It is the beginning of a trend. Precious metals characteristically start going up after a prolonged decline, yet early in the reversal they rarely inspire any confidence because the last dozen or so similar moves fizzled after a 1020% move. This could be one of those. Silver is at $21 per ounce ($21/oz) now, maybe next week it will test $18/oz again. It's anybody's guess but I believe that toward the end of the year we'll probably see higher numbersmaybe substantially higher.

TGR: Is there a telltale sign that shows investors that this upturn is real? [Read more...]

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/theaureport/Ajgh/~3/gl8kpOUWCFs/16141

After The World Cup, Nothing Can Save Brazil

By: Joseph Hogue of Street Authority

Shares of Brazilian companies listed on U.S. exchanges have made a remarkable comeback since March. The reasons given in the financial press would be comical if they were not so ridiculous.

For instance, one pundit says the World Cup, though well over budget and a spectacular failure for the home team, will mean faster economic growth in the second half of the year.

That's just a sample from a list that goes on and on... but nobody's acknowledging the economic reality that is poised to bring stocks down again.

Stocks Bounce -- But Not For Long
In November, I examined the country's deep fiscal problems and predicted lower economic growth on higher rates. Since then, analysts have downgraded estimated 2014 economic growth to just 1.2%, down from expectations well above 2% last year. In March, the country's debt was downgraded to BBB- (one level above junk) by Standard Poor's, and the government will likely miss budget targets this year.

Shortly after my article came out, Brazilian stocks plummeted, with the iShares MSCI Brazil Fund (NYSE: EWZ) falling 18% in just three months. Shares of Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), forecast to be the hardest-hit for its role as state-controlled piggy bank, fell almost 38% over the period.

While Rousseff's approval ratings have been dropping, investors are underestimating the power of her political base and the government's ability to manipulate the electorate with social programs. The government has boosted cash transfers to the poor and increased tax exemptions. Price controls have lowered electricity by 30% and bus fares by 20% over the past year. [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30467969

The Absolute Best Way To Choose The Right ETFs

By: David Sterman of Street Authority

The rapid proliferation of the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry has been a boon for investors.

Many folks now simply focus on a key sector or trend, and buy the most suitable ETF to hit their target. For these folks, the time and energy of individual stock research just isn't worth it. Yet the process of picking the right ETF can be downright confusing.

Let's say you want to own an ETF that focuses on industrial companies. Do you choose the SPDR Industrial Select Sector ETF (NYSE: XLI), the Vanguard Industrials Index ETF (NYSE: VIS) or the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index ETF (NYSE: IYJ)? Before you answer that question, know that there are also more than a dozen other industrial ETFs, with a niche focus on China, multinationals, small caps... the list goes on.

Frankly, we may have reached a point of too many ETFs, and some funds will simply wither away from a lack of interest. According to XTF.com, investors can now choose from more than 1,600 ETFs that collectively control more than $150 billion in assets. In just the month of June, 24 new ETFs were launched. It's getting hard to keep score.

Many new ETFs are falling under the category of "smart beta," which I discussed a few months ago. These funds tend to be pricier than traditional passive ETFs, which have less portfolio turnover and, typically, much lower expense ratios. [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30467490

Here's Your Market Roadmap For The Rest Of 2014

By: David Sterman of Street Authority

When the Federal Reserve first suggested a gradual tightening of its monetary policy in May 2013, investors began to wonder if the long-running bull market would come to an abrupt end.

A quick spike in interest rates at the time gave a sense that times were indeed changing. Yet investors end up shrugging off that noise: The SP 500 rose an impressive 22% between July 1 of last year and June 30 of this year. Toss in dividends and investors garnered a 25% total return -- roughly the amount investors should expect to garner over a three year period in normal times.

But these are not normal times. The stunning 191% gain for the SP 500 since bottoming out in March 2009 is remarkable in light of the fact that the subsequent economic rebound after the Great Recession has been quite tepid. Low interest rates, a huge amount of global liquidity and very high corporate profit margins all get credit for the bull market that has exceeded the wildest expectations of even the most aggressive market strategists.

At this point, it might seem the wisest path to sit back and enjoy the ride, waiting for another 20% gain over the next 12 months.

Yet before you grow too complacent, you need to take a closer look at factors driving the market higher and assess what kind of backdrop we should expect in the six months ahead. Here are key events and factors you should be tracking.

The Economy

At this point, there are really only two points of economic interest: unemployment and inflation.

The former is falling and the latter may be rising. We now know that the U.S. economy created at least 200,000 jobs for the fifth straight month. That's the first time that has happened in more than a decade. The next payroll report comes on Aug. 8, and if that report also highlights a gain of at least 200,000 jobs, then it's hard to see how the Fed will stick by its "no rate hikes in the near future" policy. [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30466491

Why The Bull Market May Not Be Finished Yet

By: John Kosar of Street Authority

The major U.S. indices were mixed last week, closing on Friday just slightly on either side of unchanged. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 and small-cap Russell 2000 were the strongest performers. As long as the May trend of relative outperformance by these two market-leading indices continues, so should the current broad market advance.

The two strongest market sectors last week were consumer discretionary and utilities. My own asset-flow based metric shows that the biggest increase in sector bet-related assets over the past one-week and one-month periods was in utilities, which supports more upcoming strength in this sector.

A strengthening utilities sector is often driven by declining long-term U.S. interest rates, which we saw last week as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined by 9 basis points to 2.53%. This encourages yield-seeking investors to accept more credit risk (via utility stocks) in exchange for potentially higher returns. Therefore, as long as long-term interest rates continue to decline, it should drive more investor assets into utilities and buoy Treasury prices, which move inversely to yields.

Small Caps, Tech Should Continue Leading the Way [Read more...]

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30466205

Tesla Gigafactory Could Be Boon for Graphite, Lithium, Cobalt: Simon Moores

The Gold Report: Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:NASDAQ) is planning to build a $5-billion "Gigafactory" in the southwestern U.S. that would produce batteries for its high-end electric cars. You seem excited about it. Tell investors why they should be.

Simon Moores: This one plant would essentially double the world's output of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. That's 500,000 batteries a year at capacity. The idea is to drive down the cost of EV batteries by 30% or more. Tesla is focusing on the supply chain to build the lowest-cost batteries possible. If it can make the cost of its cars much cheaper, it should spark mass uptake of electric vehicles. It's a plan to turn the world electric, in a sense, and Tesla begins in 2017 with the Gigafactory and the launch of its third generation and first mass-market model.

"Syrah Resources Ltd. has been active in 2014, announcing two MOUs for offtakes with China and Europe."

TGR: Would Tesla be building batteries solely for Tesla or would it be leasing its technology to other vehicle manufacturers? [Read more...]

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/theaureport/Ajgh/~3/HHIn07DIxe4/16090

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