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Financial news I consider important, with my opinion, which is worth as much as you paid for it.
Please click HERE to read a synopsis of my view of the financial situation.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Paying off Credit Cards

I love credit cards for cash back, as my post "Credit Card Cash Back" explains.
The key of course is pay on time, in full, and incur no interest or fees.
I have everything on autopay to ensure it is never an issue.

However, if you have some debt you need to pay off, first thing is to stop over-spending.
Second step is to move the debt to lowest interest possible.
Third is to pay off the credit cards in full in a set timeline, payment per month.  In this case, set a goal of 18 monthly payments.

There are credit cards that let you transfer balances to it, with ZERO interest for 18 months.
Pretty incredible actually.
There is a 3% transfer fee, but typically that fee is ignoreble compared to annual rates of 12-30% annual interest.

Here are some cards with 18 month no interest on transfers
CitBank Simplicity - No annual fee, no  late fees, no penalty interest rates.
CitiBank Diamond Preferred - will charge late fees, but like Simplicity
Discover - I like 5% cash back on new purchases (like gas right now), and 1% on all else.

15 month zero interest
Chase Slate

LOW Fixed interest of 8%! and get back 1% on balance transfers!
Barclay card

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time to buy Gold miners, try number 3

With the multi-month blood letting on gold miners, and gold, I think we are close to a bottom if not already passed.

Even if gold and miners reverse from here, how much farther can it fall?
In the 2008 crash GDX hit around 15 for a day or two, and traded around 17-20 for a bit before moving much higher.

Below are the charts for gold and GDX.  If you can stomach it, now is the time to get in.
Actually last two weeks was, and I went in early myself.
I think with Gold gaping above the trend, and GDX and GDXJ heading for the trend reversal, it is looking like a good time. (GDXJ is gold miners/silver miners, smaller cap)

Don't expect a straight line up, both could get a nice punch down after such a good rally.

And to boot, my friend Happy John who hasn't traded in gold miners for years, went in for a decent chunk.

As for overall stock market health, the last two bubbles lasted about 6 in 2000 the .dotcom bubble, then 5 years for housing, now its sovereign debt.  If history repeats the market is reaching the end of this bull run.  Even if the market fell apart tomorrow, again, how much lower can gold and gold miners go?

To the charts!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Municpal Bonds

Back in 2008 I wrote a very short article calling out that Municpal bonds will run into trouble. Since then I had made it part of annual predictions that the municipal bond market would have issues. The city of Detroit has now declared bankruptcy, but this is a first major US city to go bankrupt, and I expect quite a few more to follow.
I won't give timelines, apparently when there is an issue, politics can kick the can much farther than I thought possible. Detroit has been bankrupt for years, but somehow they managed to not go legally bankrupt until now.
Its a pi-polar marketplace right now.  The reality seems grim, but the markets are levating.  If municpal bonds do start to see rising rates, this could be the begining of the phase 2 of this decade journey we are on.  Contagion spreading to the government bonds, the next bubble.  
I do think gold is near a bottom, if bonds start having issues, gold may start moving quick.   I suspect we are finally seeing the gift in gold I predicted back in 2009, quote.

The gist is, I plan to ride this next wave down short the market (not short resources). I'll start looking for rolling into precious metals/resources WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE A GIFT. 

If gold and gold miners don't look like a gift right now, not sure how much lower it must go to be a gift.

Good luck.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The fall of USA

I posted before of the first steps of the downfall of the USA in post "Blame Republicans or Democrats"?.
Specifically around how media was allowed to consolidate.

This video series is excellent, clearly laying out our current sad stae.
I'll file this under corruption

Marty Kaplan on the Weapons of Mass Distraction from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Across the world -- Greece, Spain, Brazil, Egypt -- citizens are turning angrily to their governments to demand economic fair play and equality. But here in America, with few exceptions, the streets and airwaves remain relatively silent. In a country as rich and powerful as America, why is there so little outcry about the ever-increasing, deliberate divide between the very wealthy and everyone else?

Media scholar Marty Kaplan points to a number of forces keeping these issues and affected citizens in the dark -- especially our well-fed appetite for media distraction. An award-winning columnist and head of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, Kaplan also talks about the appropriate role of journalists as advocates for truth.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bring Back Glass-Steagall act

When the Glass-Steagall act was repealed under Clinton, it set the stage for what we are dealing with now.
Take a look at how the total assets in the banking industry was moved to the top 3 banks.

Good video to watch below, see article on this here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Market direction

When you look at all the news, corruption, revolutions, its pretty easy to point to the market and say it has to hit it. One thing that I have learned since 2008, is the market is not a pure report card of economic health. It is an almagum of politics, perception, and financial realities. So as I look at the market, I try to remove my predispotion to the view of problems with corruption, currency wars, problems with labor, and middle class crush. From purely a chart perspective, if the S&P500 traded between 1700 and 1500 for the year ahead, it would be a reasonbly decent outcome.
Aside from general market direction, we have my beaten friend, Gold miners ETF.
Best I can say for this thing is, what is down, probably may go up. Who knows, it can stagnate here or rebound. The spin seems to be the sector is beaten up, and time to buy. What I have, I'll keep, I really don't have the stomach to double down. This maybe a golden opportunity of a lifetime, if your not in, a little here is lower risk. Just take alook at the valuations, it hasn't been this bad since the economic implosion in 2008. Or wait for the red and blue trend lines to cross, that usually indicates its on the rise for a while. Then we have Gold (GLD), just plain ugly!
Best I can say here is, as long as it stays above the longer term trend line, still an upward moving asset. For the USD, it's demise is a tad bit overblown, its held up, although quite flacky in recent months.
So your guess is as good as mine. I do think there is ONE asset above all to watch, the cost of debt. I REALLY do think this is the entire story. Everything above is a sideshow. Why? Because in 2008 I warned (and many others) that the shift was from bank/private risk to government risk. The governments of the world have shouldered the burden of 'stimulous' for 4 year. Most governemnts have been burning the midnight oil on debt creation, and taking on risk assets. The US government buys 85 billion of the worst debt obligations from banks every month, taking them on. In effect, the problems are being buried in the good old faith and credit of currency system. So what we have here is a trend line of 30 year interest rates on the fall since 1981, and recently its been rising. If this trend ever breaks the downward two green lines, its pretty much over folks. I don't think the system can take rising debt costs.
So there you have it, market valuations high, Gold miners eating dirt, USD valuation holding, and US 30 year treasury rates, the foundation of cost of debt spiking in recent weeks. What is next? Tune in for second half of 2013 for the answer.