Monday, March 1, 2010

Technically Precious with Merv, Feb 27, 2010

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Preparing for the Inevitable Bursting Bubble

Financial bubbles are a way of life now. They can upend your industry, send your portfolio into spasms and leave you with whiplash. And then, once you’ve recovered, the next one will hit.

Or so you might think, as a veteran of two gut-wrenching market declines and a housing bubble over the last decade.

There’s plenty of reason to expect more surprises, given the number of hedge funds moving large amounts of money quickly around the world and the big banks making their own trades.

Individuals, as always, may be tempted to make their own financial bets, too. Last time, they bought overpriced homes with too much borrowed money. Next time, who knows what the bubble will be? And that’s the problem, as it always is. How do you identify the next thing that will pop? Is it China? Or Greece? Or Treasury bonds? It is difficult to predict and make the right defensive (or offensive) moves at the correct moment to save or make money. (more)

What Does Silver's Recent Weak Performance Mean To PM Investors?

This week the World Gold Council released their 2009 Gold Demand Trends report and embedded in the statistics were a few tidbits we found interesting.

Overall investment in gold was 7% higher in 2009 than 2008. This is significant when you take into account that demand in the fourth quarter of 2008, during one of the worst financial meltdowns we have ever known, was so great that there were global shortages of physical metal. Nevertheless, in 2009, at a time when fears of a global financial disaster have abated somewhat, investors still bought more gold than in 2008. In other words, more gold was purchased at higher prices when the markets were less terrifying, than when the prices were lower and fear was at its zenith.

China was the only non-western country to record positive growth in net retail investment during 2009. ETF demand in 2009 was 85% higher than the previous year, while bar hoarding, largely from the non-western markets, experienced a significant decline. (more)

Soros “Very Cautious” on China’s Economy

With over 10 trillion yuan in Chinese bank loans disbursed in 2009, and more trillions on the way, George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, remains concerned China’s economy is overheated. In a recent Hong Kong interview he explains how a hard landing could be in the making.

From MarketWatch:

“Caixin: What is your attitude toward China now? Positive or negative?

“Soros: I’m very cautious, until the economy cools off a little. When it does, I will be more optimistic again.

“Caixin: In 2009, Chinese banks issued 10 trillion yuan in new loans. The government has said there will be another 7.5 trillion yuan in loans this year, although banks loaned more than 1 trillion yuan in January alone. Do you think this unprecedented credit growth will eventually lead to overheating, inflation and harsher policy tightening? Do you worry about the potential risk of non-performing loans in the medium- to long-term? (more)


Short Selling Restrictions "A Great Indicator of Imminent Market Crashes"

Inquiring minds are investigating Fannie Mae's stunning $72 billion loss for 2009 as well as new short selling curbs. The two are actually related. Let's take a look.

Please consider Fannie Posts $72 Billion Loss for '09

Fannie Mae reported a staggering $72 billion net loss for 2009, underscoring the challenges that still face the nation's largest mortgage financier and offering more grim news for taxpayers who may ultimately pick up the bill.

The Washington-based company posted a $15.2 billion fourth-quarter loss and said it asked the U.S. Treasury for another $15.3 billion to stay afloat, bringing its total bailout tab past $76 billion. The quarterly results were an improvement from the year-ago period, when Fannie reported a $25.2 billion loss, but the annual loss surpassed the year-earlier loss of $58.7 billion. (more)

Stock market update, VIX indicator, Robert Prechter