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Increased Fiscal Spending Could Spell Trouble for 2017
Increased Fiscal Spending Could Spell Trouble for 2017

Over the past 30 years, America’s economic growth and boom-bust market cycles have been fueled with abundant sources of cheap debt. Whether emerging markets or commodity-rich countries, there’s been no shortage of buyers of US debt.

This has allowed the US—and by extension its consumers—to borrow huge sums of capital to spend on fiscal items or for personal consumption. It was a rather symbiotic relationship from which both parties would benefit, even if longer term prosperity was being jeopardized.

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What’s Behind the Recent Rally in Stocks?
What’s Behind the Recent Rally in Stocks?

With the bull market in US stocks approaching its seventh anniversay in March 2017 and the indexes just hitting all-time highs, many investors are wondering how long the party can continue.

Only time will tell how long this trend will last, but we do know that eventually, there’s always a downturn. Looking at several key metrics can bring clarity to the overall health and sustainability of the rally and reveal what investors can do now to prepare for a slumping stock market in the future.

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Trump’s Agenda Stacks the Odds in Gold’s Favor
Trump’s Agenda Stacks the Odds in Gold’s Favor

"It's the economy, stupid."

This was the catch-phrase Bill Clinton’s campaign used in 1992 to help defeat George H.W. Bush. In this year’s presidential race, the slogan “Make America Great Again” branded the Trump campaign as a referendum against the economic policies of the current administration.

No matter the race—be it in local or national politics—the economy plays a crucial role in determining whether the incumbent party will retain office or relinquish it to another group.

On Election Day, America voted for change amid years of tepid economic growth and declining wage growth. 

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Here’s a Smarter Way to Buy Precious Metals in Volatile Times
Here’s a Smarter Way to Buy Precious Metals in Volatile Times

Volatility in gold and silver has been on full display the past 24 hours. As the US presidential election approached this week, gold declined $30 to $1275/oz on the prospect of a Clinton victory.

However, as initial poll results came in and were favorable for Trump, gold reversed course and rocketed higher through overnight trading. Shortly after 12 AM EST when most polling had closed, gold was up a staggering $60, to $1335/oz. Stock markets around the world were plummeting with circuit breakers triggered on US equity futures markets.

As the dust settles and Trump’s victory is being digested, a sense of “normalcy” is returning to markets. Gold and silver have given back gains, and US stock markets have moved into positive territory… although bond yields remain elevated, perhaps indicating higher inflation and interest rates are on the horizon.

Two steps forward, one step back.

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What’s Behind the Recent Surge in Volatility?
What’s Behind the Recent Surge in Volatility?

It’s no secret that people don’t like uncertainty. By nature, humans are generally creatures of habit—preferring stability and safe outcomes. This is especially true when it comes to financial matters.

However, financial markets are almost always facing some type of uncertainty, be it corporate earnings, interest rates, or geopolitical events. The issues are often benign and the outcomes are non-events, but as we know, there are always surprises causing markets to react.

The volatility index, commonly referred to as the VIX, is a measure of investor uncertainty and fear of the unknown. The VIX can go months at a time meandering along without much direction and impact on the markets. Other times, it will react on a relatively mundane piece of news, then gain momentum on each subsequent development.

Case in point: the past seven trading days.

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Gold’s Recent Correction Is a Big Buying Opportunity
Gold’s Recent Correction Is a Big Buying Opportunity

Since the Federal Reserve raised its target interest rate last December, every dovish or hawkish comment from Janet Yellen and other voting members of the Fed has sent stock, bond, and commodity markets into flux.

Most notably, gold rallied 30% and silver 40% since the December 2015 rate hike, as likelihood of the Fed’s four planned interest rate increases dwindled.

The Fed has been on hold this year due to a myriad of reasons, including subpar economic growth, sluggish job and wage growth, low inflation, and the unexpected exit of the UK from the European Union.

But another year-end rate hike could be on the horizon, evidenced by the relatively strong jobs reports we’ve seen since July. In fact, the Federal Funds futures market is currently predicting a 70% chance of a rate hike in December.

As those odds have increased over the past month, gold and silver have experienced declines of 10% and 15%, respectively.

If you’re considering precious metals for your portfolio, it’s a good time to buy.

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How Safe Is the Gold in Your Retirement Account?
How Safe Is the Gold in Your Retirement Account?

You know that gold can protect your retirement savings in ways traditional investments can’t. But are you buying the right type of gold for your IRA?

Not all gold investments are created equal—and if you sink your hard-earned savings into the wrong thing, you could wind up losing big.

The majority of investors adding gold to their IRA tend to purchase SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world’s largest gold ETF. And while GLD can make gaining exposure to gold a lot simpler, it has some significant drawbacks.

The biggest is insurance—or lack thereof. All gold ETFs carry counterparty risk.

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Why Your Prime Money Market Funds Have Become Riskier
Why Your Prime Money Market Funds Have Become Riskier

Money market funds are regarded as the safest, most conservative investment. It’s where cash in most checking, savings, and brokerage accounts resides. The invested amounts are readily converted into cash when we need to settle transactions and make payments.

During Lehman’s collapse in 2008, however, investors holding positions in these funds faced a serious risk of loss. The decline in value of Lehman Brother’s debt securities pushed the Reserve Primary money market fund’s Net Asset Value (NAV) below $1 per share.

That was a watershed event in the financial industry. In response, the SEC passed a series of amendments in an effort to make money market funds more resistant to market stress.

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Gold Is the Answer for European Investors Battered by the Banking System
Gold Is the Answer for European Investors Battered by the Banking System

The European banking sector is having a rough year.

With Deutsche Bank facing a $14 billion fine from the US Department of Justice, things just got worse.

Shares of Deutsch Bank have lost more than 60% over the past year. Barclays, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank, and Royal Bank of Scotland are all down at least 40% since September 2015.

Several years of weak growth, low interest rates, and more and more non-performing loans have gutted European bank profitability.  

Overall the sector, represented by the EURO Stoxx Bank index, has lost more than a third of its value over the past 12 months.

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Why the Smart Money Is Rushing into Gold
Why the Smart Money Is Rushing into Gold

If you were to set up an investing Hall of Fame, it would be filled with names like Stan Druckenmiller, George Soros, Carl Icahn, and David Einhorn.

These experts have shown an uncanny ability to surpass the market over long periods of time. They stay a step ahead of retail investors through better macro-economic analysis.

There’s no secret formula to their success. But their investments hint at both the risks and prospects they see in the markets.

Over the past year, these experts, among other well-known investors such as Paul Singer (Elliott Management), John Paulson (Paulson & Co), and David Rosenberg (Gluskin Sheff), have all made large buys and bullish predictions in one asset: gold.

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