Funny how Wall Street and the media come up with funny acronyms for serious problems. The latest is QE II. Not the cruise ship operated by Cunard, not Queen Elizabeth the second of England, no QE II refers to the second round of dollar debasement. Oh, sorry, did I say that? I meant the second round of Quantitative Easing. Or, as I like to call it, one step closer to Gold $2,000.
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The Federal Reserve and Helicopter Ben, one institution and another in the making are committed to printing as much money as it will take to form another asset bubble. Under the guise of monetary stimulation, we will once again witness more dollars flood into the market at very low interest rates in hope of stimulating growth. The market is betting that this dose of economic heroin will bring the addict back to life. It probably will. But, at what cost?
We can quantify the monetary cost at about another trillion dollars. Of course, a trillion just ain’t what it used to be. Just ask the folks in Zimbabwe (see below). Everyone there is a trillionaire many times over. Don’t worry it will be your turn soon.
The folks in Zimbabwe had no choice in their future. They lived in a dictatorship. Americans do have a choice; they just choose to ignore their fundamental right to vote out those who fail us miserably. Much like the shareholders at most companies fail to vote out stupid CEOs, we choose to believe in the tooth fairies that reside in both houses of Congress and on both sides. Term limits are a great example of how far we are from achieving a government for the people. November is fast approaching and you need to do your part, or you should buy a wheelbarrow to carry your cash around in.
Gold Turns up the Volume
New highs daily. Our bevy of gold stocks is still undervalued. This next round of dollar debasement should add fuel to the fire. The XAU is at new highs and the trend is in place. Look for any pullbacks as opportunities to buy.
Silver also hit new highs recently and may actually present a better opportunity than gold just because it is cheaper than gold. When panic buying sets in, silver will outperform gold – it always has. If you are looking for exposure to silver consider Esperanza Resources out of Canada (EPZ) or Silver Wheaton (SLW-NYSE). Again, I would wait for a pullback before buying. With the current strong move upwards in a straight line, a correction of 10% in the sector is not out of the question. Already I am seeing some anecdotal evidence that the metals are beginning their trek to “main street” which is never a good thing. Just last week a story about ATMs dispensing gold was making the rounds. That scares me a little since when the crowd joins in on a trade, the end is usually close by. But, even if it were to correct, gold is going to bounce back and go higher still – the Federal Reserve has guaranteed that.
Watch out for the VIX
It’s as if everything is just peachy on Wall Street. Bonuses will be higher this year than last and the “buy” recommendations are coming out of the woodworks. Apple (APPL-NASDAQ) shares are trading over $300 per share making the company worth almost $300 billion on paper.
The Volatility Index or VIX is trading below 19. We are just a few points away from being in “complacent” territory. When the VIX trades in the mid teens, it’s historically been an accurate signal that the market is over-valued and investors are paying no attention to risk. The last time the VIX traded down here coincided with the highs in the S&P earlier this year. Historically speaking, the VIX can trade in the mid teens for months. But, there has never been one time in history when the VIX stayed there. There have been many occasions when the VIX reversed course though and made a lot of money for a lot of savvy, patient investors. If the VIX trades below 15, you should start taking protective positions with your portfolio, even consider selling. If you forget…don’t worry…I’ll remind you.
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