How The Slowing Shipping Industry Could Spark A Banking Crash In Germany

BY ANTONIA COLIBASANU : In geopolitics, events rarely occur in isolation. Several stories about German exports, banks, and the shipping industry recently appeared in the media. But these stories do not gain their full significance unless taken as part of a bigger picture.
The Market Oracle

Precious Metals Little Changed; US Mint Bullion Sales Rise

Precious metals futures ended from flat to nearly unchanged in their start to the new trading week on Tuesday. U.S. markets closed Monday for Presidents Day. Gold for April delivery dipped 20 cents,…

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Coin News

3 Ways to Quantify Risk in Today’s Murky Markets

Credit Indicators One way to calculate market risk is through bond yields. As risk and return are directly correlated when a bond’s yield rises, it implies the risk of owning it has increased. The main vehicle for measuring risk through yield is the US 10-year Treasury. The 10-year is the bellwether for global bonds as it’s considered a “risk-free” instrument. Since hitting all-time lows in July 2016, its yield has shot up 50%.
The Market Oracle

Penny Costs 1.5 Cents to Make in 2016, Nickel Costs 6.32 Cents; US Mint Realizes $578.7M in Seigniorage

The overall price of producing U.S. circulating coins fell for a fifth straight year even as the cost of making cents and nickels remained above their face values for an eleventh year in a row, the…

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Coin News

Batboy Teaches Buffett a Lesson

This article originally was published here:

You’ve never heard of Eddie Bennett before today.

But I’m going to fill you in on a little secret of his that you can use to take advantage of Wall Street, then spend the rest of your free time working on your golf game.

I’m not kidding.

And if you think Eddie was an investment guru, think again.

Truth is, he probably couldn’t have told you the difference between a stock certificate and a diploma. He didn’t attend an Ivy League college, and he probably never had more than a grade-school education.

Instead, Eddie was smart — street smart — and it was directly connected to Major League Baseball.

No, he never played the field or even stepped up to the plate, yet the teams he was on went to win league titles and even the World Series. Eddie was attributed a share of the winnings when the New York Yankees won the World Series in 1927.

You see, Eddie was a batboy… the kid who lugged around the bats, picked up gloves, and did everything the players asked him to do.

Eddie’s genius, however, was that he was able to spot winners and stick with them.

And it’s easy for you to do the same right now…

In his 2002 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett wrote about Eddie Bennett, who started as a batboy for the Chicago White Sox in 1919, the year they went to the World Series.

Eddie then switched to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and they too went on to win their league title. He then moved on to the New York Yankees in 1921.

Over the next seven years, the Yankees won five American League titles. In 1927, players such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig voted for him to receive a share of their World Series winnings.

Buffett said that the lesson is not how Eddie lugged bats, but “what counted instead was hooking up with the cream of those on the playing field. It’s simple — to be a winner, work with winners.”

Hooking Up with Winners

Imagine it’s 1956 and you heard about this guy in Omaha, Nebraska who works out of a tiny study that can only be entered by passing through his bedroom. He stays home all day and works in socks.

But this guy is smart — really smart.

Since a few of your friends already vouched for him, you give him $ 10,000… and then go back to do whatever you were doing five minutes before you heard of him.

Now, fast forward to 2016…

Your $ 10,000 investment would now be worth more than $ 300 million.

The “odd guy” from Omaha was Warren Buffett, and if you met him in the early days of his career, you would’ve hit the jackpot.

And yet, there are a whole bunch of “Berkshire Billionaires” living in Omaha, Nebraska who did invest with Buffett.

Now, the biggest decisions they make are whether they should donate $ 100 million to a hospital, fund medical research, build a new wing for a local college… or do all of those things!

Investors such as Buffett come around once in a lifetime, but there are a handful of great investors who are knocking the lights out right now.

In order to take advantage of the “Bennett Investment Approach,” you don’t have to know much about financial statements, interest rates, or the annual GDP — all you need to do is:

  1. Find an excellent manager…
  2. Invest in their companies…
  3. Reap the rewards…
  4. Repeat.

That’s it… Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

One of the best-kept secrets on Wall Street is that it’s actually simple to beat the market, or even the insiders who prey off of individual investors.

And my readers and I have seen it work hundreds of times with our own eyes!

Look, let me boil it down like this…

You want to find an investment that fits into the time-tested principle of putting your money on a highly successful “jockey” rather than a horse.

History has shown us that these “jockey” investments — think of legendary managers at the helm of mammoth companies like Walmart and Amazon — can result in unprecedented payoffs.

In my advisory service, Hidden Values Alert, I find companies that have excellent jockeys… and are selling for pennies on the dollar.

I recently found a group of “blue collar” investors who have made millions by using this same approach.

Click here to see how, working in their spare time, and off their kitchen tables, they’ve been able to amass huge fortunes investing with great jockeys.

All my best,

Charles Mizrahi signature

Charles Mizrahi

Twitter: @IWPeditor

Charles cut his chops on the trading floor of the New York Futures Exchange before moving on to become a wildly successful money manager on Wall Street.

And with more than 30 years of recommending stocks under his belt, Charles has knocked the cover off the ball, compiling an amazing record of success and posting gain after gain for his loyal readers. He is the editor of Hidden Values Alert and the Inevitable Wealth Portfolio newsletters.

Charles is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Getting Started in Value Investing.

This article originally was published here:

Batboy Teaches Buffett a Lesson originally appeared in Wealth Daily. Fortune Favors the Bold

Wealth Daily

The Gold and Silver Mine: 2017 coins celebrate Lions Club, Boys Town, American diversity – Shore News Today

Shore News Today

The Gold and Silver Mine: 2017 coins celebrate Lions Club, Boys Town, American diversity
Shore News Today
As usual the is no shortage of products being offered, and although I have cautioned about buying from the mint from an investment standpoint, if you are a collector who just wants some special coins for your collection, this is the way to go. It's

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“Unimaginable Radiation Levels”: Robot Probing Melted Core at Fukushima Shuts Down Under Pressure RSS Feed – 24hGold Editorials and commentaries

US Dollar and Gold Battle of the Cycles

Nothing has changed from my last post on this pair. I mentioned we should expect some backtesting and that is what I am seeing on the charts. This should be expected, IMO as both are at a key inflection point in their longer Intermediate Cycles and the battle is on.
The Market Oracle

Checking his change since 1955

I received an email the other day from someone who says he has been a collector since 1955.

That is a long time. I hope he has enjoyed it.

The contents of the email give me the opportunity to stand on my soapbox again to make a point that applies to everyone.

He writes, “I have been collecting coins since 1955, especially pennies. I have pennies from 1940 to present. Looking for the best way to sell  the coins, but I do not have an idea who and where to go. If you could give me some advice, I’ll appreciate it.”

The date he chooses, 1940, just happened to be the end date of one of the first Whitman albums I had as a kid. My very first one was for cents 1941 to date.

Obviously, more than 50 years later, a large number of new dates and mintmark have been added to the Lincoln series.

I sent him a reply including the name of a dealer who should be willing to speak with him or communicate with him by email.

However, I did not beat about the bush with the bad news.

“I do not have good news for you. Unless these pennies are in Mint-State-60 and higher grades and are slabbed, they are probably worth mostly face value. The exceptions would be if you have the doubled dies, 1955, 1972, 1983, 1984 and 1995. Even in circulated grades the doubled  dies are valuable.”

Because he did not tell me what else he might have collected in the last 62 years, I added this:

“Circulated modern silver coins are worth about 12 times face value with scarce dates and Mint State coins worth more.

I hope he has more and will be satisfied with their value.

It is certainly an unhappy possibility that he will be told simply to take his cents to the bank.

But that brings me to  my other point.

Every collector, and I do mean every collector, needs to make contact with dealers from time to time.

Collectors need to learn what they will pay for their coins and how to go about selling them.

Sell off some duplicates from time to time, or a set that you’ve lost interest in.

Do not wait until you need to sell before you begin looking around.

Numismatics is a beautiful hobby. But learn how to end it beautifully before you absolutely have to.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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The post Checking his change since 1955 appeared first on Numismatic News.

Buzz – Numismatic News

Gold and Silver in 63 languages RSS Feed – 24hGold Editorials and commentaries

Here’s How to Stay Ahead of Machines and AI

BY PATRICK WATSON : The Great American Jobs Apocalypse continues to tear our social fabric, and no one really knows what to do about it. If you’re not unemployed or underemployed now, then you know someone who is… and you could always be next. I keep coming back to this theme in Connecting the Dots (subscribe here for free). That’s because it’s a monumental, paradigm-changing problem, and it affects all of us.
The Market Oracle

Trumps ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion? RSS Feed – 24hGold Editorials and commentaries

2 Stocks to Consider to Invest in a Renewable Energy Future … –

2 Stocks to Consider to Invest in a Renewable Energy Future …
Industry Focus: Financials host Gaby Lapera's resolution for the New Year was to buy at least five stocks this year, one from each sector on the Industry Focus …

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Brent Crude Oil Price Technical Update: Low Volatility Leads to High Volatility

Since our last update on oil two months ago (Dec. 22, 2016) Brent Crude has not gone far, rising approximately 2.4% from 54.82 to 56.16 today. During this time it has traded within a relatively tight range (low volatility), from around a low of 53.61 to a high of 58.35. The chart pattern that has formed in the past two months is either a bullish symmetrical triangle trend continuation pattern or a bearish head and shoulders top. Whichever way the breakout goes should confirm the next direction, either a continuation higher of the 13-month uptrend, or a deeper retracement off the 58.35 high.
The Market Oracle

Stock Market Lindsay’s 107-day Interval

George Lindsay wrote of a 107-day interval which he used as a confirming tool for finding highs in the Dow. Like all of Lindsay’s models, this one was not to be used in isolation – a common mistake made by those familiar with his most popular model – Three Peaks and a Domed House.
The Market Oracle

Trump’s Tax System Could Spark The Wave Of Self-Employment

Government is necessary. That means we have to pay for the things government does. Hence, we have taxes. The goal of tax policy should be simple: raise the required revenue to pay for whatever government actually—minimally—needs to do. And government should do those things as fairly and neutrally as possible.
The Market Oracle

Will California Screw Cannabis Investors?

This article originally was published here:

There’s a rumor going around that the state of California may not be ready to collect taxes from adult-use cannabis next year.

Last week, state Senator Mike McGuire said that when it comes to the state’s cultivation tax collection system, they will not be ready on day one.

I can think of no better example of the ineffectiveness of the state than this.

The government makes money, primarily, through theft (crossout) taxation.

Now, new taxes that will end up helping the Golden State generate revenues in excess of $ 1 billion, may not be properly collected because the state may not be ready to collect those taxes.

kdftLet me tell you something …

In the private sector, if you have a company that’s about to generate more than $ 1 billion in revenue, rest assured, procedures would be in place to get that money from day one.

Nothing good can come from this

Don’t get me wrong. I’m pleased that voters in California decided that prohibition is a fool’s errand.

With adult-use cannabis prohibition lifted, the good people of California are about to have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen local economies and generate thousands of new jobs. But I have to say, this idea that the state is not ready to properly profit from legalization is absurd and frustrating.

You see, I love the idea that the state could be unable to collect its tribute from day one. But I don’t love the scenario where officials are going to have to chase down their cash. Nothing good can come from this. It’s going to cause confusion and mistakes that I can assure you will not benefit the hard-working folks of this industry.

The people of California overwhelmingly voted to lift the folly of prohibition. Now it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that this happens within a reasonable time, and without placing further burdens on the industry.

A lot of money is at stake here. Not just for the state, but for investors that are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into this industry.

Of course, as a legal cannabis investor, I’m not particularly deterred by this recent announcement. Truth is, even if the state does fumble the ball early on, rest-assured, it will find a way to get its money. No institution is better at collecting cash than the government.

So if you’re investing in the California cannabis industry, don’t let this minor hiccup dissuade you from what’s at stake here: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to profit from what will prove to be one of the greatest investment opportunities of the 21st century.

This article originally was published here:

Will California Screw Cannabis Investors? originally appeared in Wealth Daily. Fortune Favors the Bold

Wealth Daily

New five pound note: Check which serial numbers are most valuable – The Week UK

The Week UK

New five pound note: Check which serial numbers are most valuable
The Week UK
Those who want to make money on their coin collection will need to invest in truly rare coins, including some minted by mistake. "The most valuable British coin is the Gold Double Leopard from the reign of Edward III in 1344," says the website. "Only

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View full post on coin collecting investment – Google News

The Eurozone isn’t Working … Warns Greenspan, Buy Gold

“The eurozone isn’t working …” warns Greenspan “I view gold as the primary global currency” said Greenspan “Significant increases in inflation will ultimately increase the price of gold” “Investment in gold now is insurance…”

Alan Greenspan, the former head of the Federal Reserve has warned that the euro may collapse, saying that he has “grave concerns” about its future.

The imbalances in the economic strength of euro area countries make the continued function of the single currency area a primary concern, said former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan in an interview (February issue of “Gold Investor”) with the World Gold Council.

He suggests the inequality is largely down to a north/south geographical divide which means the division between the northern and southern EU countries is too big. The bloc’s more prosperous nations such as Germany consistently fund the deficits of those in the south, and that simply can’t go on, said Greenspan.

“The European Central Bank (ECB) has greater problems than the Federal Reserve. The asset side of the ECB’s balance sheet is larger than ever before, having grown steadily since Mario Draghi said he would do whatever it took to preserve the euro,” he said.

“And I have grave concerns about the future of the euro itself… The eurozone is not working”, added Greenspan.

Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 and 2006 has consistently been critical of the eurozone and the European Monetary Union (EMU). He has long maintained that the eurozone was doomed to fail because the impact of the divergent cultures and economies in the bloc has been grossly underestimated.

Greece is currently in the midst of yet another financial crisis with withdrawals from bank accounts and new bank runs indicating the public is preparing for a crash. Meanwhile Europe’s oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, in Italy is on the verge of bankruptcy and needs another bail out to survive.

Even Germany’s largest lender Deutsche Bank is facing a crisis of gargantuan proportions as it struggles with its shadow banking assets book which is plagued with non performing loans (NPLs).

Ireland, Spain and Portugal face their own economic challenges and many are doubtful whether there can be any meaningful recovery given the scale of the national debt and total debt burden in the periphery euro nations.

Mr Greenspan said Brexit will almost certainly trigger a collapse of the ECB despite the UK not having adopted the euro:

“Brexit is not the end of the set of problems, which I always thought were going to start with the euro because the euro is a very serious problem.”

Mr Greenspan says that investors are diversifying into precious metals and increasingly seeking to buy gold, because there is a deepening lack of trust in the euro and in the banking system.

The former Fed chair, correctly pointed out that investment in gold now is insurance; and it’s not for short-term gain, but for long-term protection:

“Significant increases in inflation will ultimately increase the price of gold. Investment in gold now is insurance…” advised Greenspan.

Given the increasing uncertainty regarding the economic outlook, many investors internationally are now considering how to buy gold for the first time. A prudent diversification into non bank, non digital, physical gold will protect and grow their wealth in the coming years.

“Gold Investor” with the World Gold Council can be accessed here

The Market Oracle

Is a Structured Capital Strategy Right for You?

I received a question from Wealth Daily reader Garland W.:

What can you tell us about Structured Capital Strategies (
Wealth adviser ask me to look at:
A) Structured investment option
B) Variable investment option

Seems to be something that allows you protection with an upside and downside margin.
Please comment.

It seems retirement saving just gets more and more complex. Firms continue to come up with new products to sell to people saving for retirement.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty here, please understand that I use the words “product” and “sell” deliberately. Because this isn’t a case where you’re putting your money with a manager whose job is to grow it over time. With annuities (and a Structured Capital Strategy is a type of annuity), you are buying a product. And the company is trying to make money from selling the product.

Now, any time a company is selling a product, it’s going to try to make it sound as good as possible. This is Marketing 101.

And please note that annuities are sold by insurance companies. And I think we all know the insurance company business model: They take in money on the promise of some sort of payment in the future. Their goal is to invest in that money and make more on it than they will have to pay out.

So when you buy car insurance, you give them a steady stream of cash that they invest. Insurance companies are very good with statistics. They know exactly what the probabilities are that you will get in a wreck.

These probabilities don’t really change. So they know what their potential liabilities are. And they know what they can make by investing in bonds. All they have to do is make sure their investment returns more than they pay out, and they make money.

Warren Buffett’s first investment was a textile company called Berkshire Hathaway in 1965. Two years later he bought an insurance company. In the mid-1990s, he bought GEICO.

Buffett loves insurance because, as he’s said, the “cost of capital is practically zero.” As I said earlier, insurance companies take in money for the promise that they will pay it out again later. Then they invest that money, all the while taking in more money.

Buffett’s big secret is that he used the cash coming in to buy more businesses, instead of simply buying Treasury bonds like most insurance companies do. Insurance premiums from policyholders have provided a steady stream of investment capital that has helped Buffett build an empire.

Anyway, enough with the history lesson…

Is It Right for You? 

My point in explaining all this is so we can be perfectly clear that an annuity, or a Structured Capital Strategy, is basically no different than any insurance policy. The people who will sell you these products are not economists, or stock analysts, or fund managers. They might be Registered Investment Advisors, which means they act as fiduciaries, obligated to put your interests above their own.

But they may simply be wealth advisors, which is just another way of saying broker or salesman. These folks are NOT required to place your interests above their own. They can basically sell you whatever they can convince you to buy. I strongly advise you to find out whether you are talking to a fiduciary or a salesman. Google the name, or ask the individual directly. You might save yourself a bundle in commissions.

I know, nearly 600 words and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what a Structured Capital Strategy is. So let’s get to that…

A Structured Capital Strategy is a type of annuity that promises you some stock market exposure, while at the same time offering you some guaranteed protection against losses. We hear this and we think, “Oh great, I get the upside, but not the downside! Sign me up!”

Of course, it’s not that simple. Two things to cover here: the upside/downside provisions, and exactly what stock market exposure means.

When we hear “stock market exposure,” we tend to think that some or all of the money is invested into actual stocks. That is not what’s going on here. With a Structured Capital Strategy, your money is put into various investments that seek to replicate a benchmark that the insurance company also creates. It’s a little like indexing. So, you can link your performance to gold. Or to the S&P 500. Or small-cap stocks or oil.

I know, it sounds misleading and complicated. But it’s not really that big of a deal. If the S&P 500 goes up 10%, and their benchmark goes up 9.5%, it’s hard to get too upset about that.

The bigger issue is how the upside potential and downside protection work…

Give a Little, Get a Little 

With a Structured Capital Strategy, you get to choose, or structure, how you want your protection and upside to be. And here’s the thing: to get more upside potential, you have to give up downside protection. And vice versa.

Now, some of these Structured Capital Strategy products will offer you downside protection of 10%, 20%, or 30%. Say you take 30%. The benchmark you choose to track falls 30%. You lose nothing. You get all your principle back when the annuity matures. But if you choose the max downside protection, you certainly aren’t going to be allowed to take the max upside, too. You have to give something to get something.

So let’s say that, along with the 30% downside protection, you’re only allowed to get 10% upside. If whatever your benchmark is goes up 8%, you get the 8%. If you’re benchmark goes up 20%, you’re capped at 10%.

So far so good, right? 10% is pretty good. 30% downside protection is really good…

Unfortunately, we haven’t talked about time yet. And time happens to always be the single most important aspect of any investment. The insurance company knows this. You need to know it, too…

I checked out the AXA website and read up on their Structured Capital Strategy products. Let’s have a look at some fine print:

Keep in mind, once your money is invested in a segment, you cannot transfer from the segment into another investment option until segment maturity.

The segment start date is also the same day the segment’s performance cap rate is set by AXA. The performance cap rate is the ceiling on the segment’s rate of return. For example, if the index rate of return is 22% and the performance cap rate is 20%, your actual segment rate of return would be 20%.

Because the performance cap rate will not be known until your money is transferred into a segment, which means you will not know in advance the upper limit on the return, you may set a performance cap threshold. Simply stated, the performance cap threshold is the minimum cap you require of a segment before investing in it. If your performance cap threshold is higher than the segment’s performance cap rate, your money will continue to be held in the segment type holding account until it is met or the entire account value is transferred out of the Segment Type Holding Account.

Segment means the same thing as benchmark. But please note: once your money is in one of these segments, you cannot move it to another segment. You can withdraw it, and there will be penalties. But you can’t move it. So if you’re in the S&P 500 and the market tanks, you suck it up or pay the penalty.

I don’t really like that. If you simply own an index fund, you can buy or sell it whenever you want. Still, there’s an even bigger problem…

Is Time on Your Side?

So, that fine print is pretty tricky. AXA offers Structured Capital Strategy products in one-year, three-year, and five-year time frames. You can choose your downside protection, but you don’t know what the upside is until your money is in there. That’s kind of crappy. So is the blind auction of setting your performance cap and then finding out later which segment/benchmark your money went into.

Let’s assume a best-case scenario, where you get into the five-year S&P 500 benchmark. You take your 30% protection, and they give you a 20% performance cap. I think it’s highly unlikely that you’d get 20% while also being protected from 30% losses, but what the heck, this is an example.

That’s a solid 20% gain — over five years. You know what that works out to? 4.4% a year. That’s really not so great. Especially when you consider that a simple S&P 500 index fund averages about twice that. And even more so when you consider how well stocks have performed since 2009. (Of course, just because stocks have done so well doesn’t mean they will continue to do well. My point is, there is opportunity cost if you’re locked in at 4.4%, when you could be making 10%, and, well, that hurts.)

Now, I understand that the downside protection is an attractive feature. Nobody wants to lose money. And if you’re already retired, it’s even more important. And it’s for that reason that I can’t tell you to simply avoid this type of investment product. It would be irresponsible of me to advise you on your investment decisions without knowing the whole story.

My point with all this has been to sift through the marketing language and get to the meat of what a Structured Capital Strategy product really is, and why insurance companies created them.

On a personal level, I will tell you that I prefer index funds and dividend funds because of the flexibility they give you. I do not like the idea of having my money basically stuck with one company for five years. I am also not clear on what the fees for Structured Capital Strategy products are. This is also a huge concern. If you can only earn 4.4% a year, and fees are 1%, you’re barely beating inflation.

Wealth Daily

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