With interest rates continuing to creep up, there’s a changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve. In my travels and during conferences, I’ve spoken with many fixed-income investors who wonder how they can best prepare for the uncertainty these changes might bring.
You can be forgiven, for missing what I believe is the most significant development of the past few days. On Wednesday, the Senate, in a bipartisan vote, quietly approved plans to roll back key banking rules in 2010’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank).
As our loyal readers know, at U.S. Global Investors we carefully monitor the price of gold. We pay close attention to the macro drivers moving the yellow metal, like government policy and cultural affinity spurring demand globally. We also monitor the micro drivers, like company management and quant factors that make one gold stock superior to the next.
No doubt you’ve heard before that bull markets don’t die of old age. I can’t say for sure what will end this particular business cycle—no one can—but we’re seeing huge shifts in monetary and fiscal policy right now that investors can’t afford to ignore. As I often say, government policy is a precursor to change.
There’s a curious anomaly in the US stock market. Shares of highly profitable companies have risen more slowly than their earnings growth has in recent years. This is an important signpost for investors in today’s complex market conditions.
Municipal bonds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sexy investment. They don’t typically command news headlines like the stock market or bitcoin. That doesn’t mean investors should disregard short-term munis. In fact, munis play a very important role in any serious portfolio. Below are four big reasons why you should get excited about muni bonds.
President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff on imported steel and aluminum, at 25 percent and 10 percent, is much more than a shot across the bow. Indeed, this could be the official kickoff of the trade war we all anticipated. The protectionist trade policy, announced this week as the president met with metals executives, raised fresh inflation worries and had an immediate impact on capital markets.
Let’s focus on cobalt for a moment. Global demand for the brittle, bluish-white metal has skyrocketed in recent months, exceeding 100,000 metric tons for the first time last year, according to mining consultant CRU Group. Over the next 10 years, it’s projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6 percent.
Looking long-term, there are mounting risks involving debt that make gold appear very attractive right now as a safe haven and portfolio diversifier.
Today marks the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, China’s most important holiday. The fire rooster struts off-stage, clearing the way for the loyal earth dog. According to CLSA’s tongue-in-cheek Feng Shui Index, health care, consumer and paper products are favored to outperform early this year, followed by internet, utilities and tech leading into the summer.