Friday, July 8, 2016

This 5,000 Year Low Is Ruining Your Retirement

By Justin Spittler

The global banking system, and your financial future, are at serious risk right now. To understand why, just look at what's going on with the government's latest radical policy. Regular Dispatch readers know we're talking about rock bottom interest rates. According to MarketWatch, global interest rates are at the lowest level in 5,000 years. Credit is cheaper right now than at any point since the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt, around the 32nd century BC. Today, we'll explain what this means and how to protect yourself going forward..…

Interest rates didn’t get this low “naturally.” They’re at record lows because central bankers put them there..…
In 2008, the Federal Reserve dropped its key rate to near zero to fight the financial crisis. It’s kept rates there for eight years to encourage borrowing and spending. Other major central banks did the same thing. According to MarketWatch, there have been more than 650 rate cuts since September 2008. Rates in Canada and England are also near zero. In Europe and Japan, rates are below zero.

As we’ve explained before, negative interest rates basically tax your bank account. Instead of earning interest on the money in your bank account, you pay the bank. Not long ago, negative rates were unheard of. Today, more than $12 trillion worth of government bonds pay negative rates, up from $6 trillion in February. 

They’ve even seeped into the corporate debt market. According to Bloomberg Business, more than $300 billion worth of corporate bonds now “tax” bondholders. Central bankers told us low and negative rates would “stimulate” the economy. But, as you’re about to see, they’ve done far more harm than good.

Central bankers made it much harder to retire..…
That’s because rock bottom rates don’t just make it cheap to borrow money. They make it tough to earn a decent return. From 1962 to 2007, a U.S. 10 year Treasury paid an average annual interest rate of 7.0%. Today, a U.S. 10 year Treasury yields just 1.5%, an all time low. It’s the same story around the world. Last week, 10 year bonds in Ireland, England, Germany, France, and Japan all fell to record lows. In Japan, you actually have to pay the government 0.23% every year you own one of its 10 year bonds.

This is a serious problem for hundreds of millions of people. For decades, retirees could earn a safe, decent return owning these bonds. Some folks even lived off the interest they earned from these bonds. These days, you have to own riskier assets like stocks to have any shot at a decent return. Central bankers have effectively forced retirees to gamble with their life savings. Rock bottom rates are a serious threat to major financial institutions too.

According to U.S. banking giant Citigroup (C), low and negative rates are “poison” to the global financial system..…
They could make pension funds, insurance companies, and banks “no longer viable in the long term.” Business Insider reported last week:
As Citi notes: "Viability in its strong sense means profitability (a rate of return on equity at least equal to the cost of capital). In its weak sense, viability means solvency." Basically, Citi is warning that the negative rates may stop institutions being able to make money, which in turn would hit their ability to pay out on things like pensions and insurance policies.
This is a major risk even if you don’t have a pension or life insurance policy. That’s because pension and insurance companies oversee trillions of dollars. They’re pillars of the global financial system…and negative rates are destroying them.

Rock bottom rates could also put some of the world’s biggest banks out of business..…
You see, banks earn most of their money making loans. When rates are high, they make more on each loan. When rates are at record lows, like they are today, banks often lose money. Business Insider explains how today’s record-low rates are starving banks of income:
Citi points out that: "Banks in large part live off the differentials between lending and borrowing rates or between investment returns and funding rates." Persistently low interest rates could hit these differentials, lowering profitability and seriously harming banks in the long run.
Profits at America’s four biggest banks fell by an average of 13% during the first quarter…
This group includes Citigroup, Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC), and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM). European banks are doing even worse. Swiss bank UBS’s (UBS) profits plunged 64% during the first quarter. Profits at Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany’s biggest lender, fell 58%. Spanish banking giant BBVA’s (BBVA) earnings fell 54%. The CEO of Deutsche Bank warned last month:
In the banking world, we are currently struggling with negative interest rates.
We will struggle more as the effect of those negative interest rates plays out into our deposit books.
Dispatch readers know some of Europe’s most important financial institutions are looking for ways to get around negative rates..…
Commerzbank, one of Germany’s largest banks, said last month that it was thinking of pulling money out of Europe’s banking system to avoid paying negative rates. Other banks have started making riskier loans and buying riskier assets to offset rock-bottom rates. The Financial Times reported in March:
Gonzalo Gortázar, chief executive at Spain’s Caixabank, expressed concerns about a build up of risk in the banking system as a whole. “In a world of low or negative interest rates, that is a possible consequence; you could see banks taking more risk,” he said.
Longtime readers know excessive risk-taking by banks contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. As a result, the S&P 500 plunged 57% from 2007 to 2009. And the U.S. entered its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Bank stocks are already trading like a financial crisis has begun..…
Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CS) has plummeted 63% over the past year. Deutsche Bank is down 60%. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is down 59%. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), Japan’s biggest bank, is down 39%. These are huge drops in short periods. Remember, these are some of the most important financial institutions on the planet.

We encourage you to take action now..…
Our first recommendation is to avoid bank stocks. Low and negative rates are eating these companies alive right now. And it could be years before governments abandon these failed policies. According to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, low interest rates are the “new normal.” We also encourage you to own physical gold. As we like to remind readers, gold is real money. It’s preserved wealth for centuries because it has a rare set of characteristics: It’s durable, easy to transport, and easily divisible. A gold coin is valuable anywhere in the world.

This year, gold has jumped 26%. It’s trading at its highest price in two years. But Casey Research founder Doug Casey says this rally is just getting started. According to Doug, gold could soar 500% or more in the coming years. If you’re nervous that central bankers will take this interest rate experiment too far, own gold. It’s the best way to protect yourself from desperate governments.

We also encourage you to watch this short presentation. It explains how these failed monetary policies could spark something much worse than a banking crisis. As you’ll see, this is a threat to you even if you don’t a have a single penny in the stock market. Click here to watch this free video.

Chart of the Day

Deutsche Bank is trading like a financial crisis has begun. Today’s chart shows the performance of the German banking giant. You can see its stock is down more than 50% over the past year. Last Thursday, it hit it a new record low. Like other European lenders, low rates are killing Deutsche Bank. Last year, the company lost $7.5 billion. It was its first annual loss since the 2008 financial crisis. And yet, its plunging stock suggests more bad results are on the way.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Deutsche Bank is the world’s riskiest financial institution. That’s a problem even if you don’t keep money with Deutsche Bank or own its shares. The Wall Street Journal reported last week:
The IMF also said the German banking system poses a higher degree of possible outward contagion compared with the risks it poses internally. “In particular, Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. have the highest degree of outward spillovers as measured by the average percentage of capital loss of other banking systems due to banking sector shock in the source country,” the IMF added.
In other words, problems at Deutsche Bank could spread to other banks around the world. It’s another reason why you should avoid bank stocks and own gold right now.




The article This 5,000-Year Low Is Ruining Your Retirement was originally published at caseyresearch.com.


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Stock & ETF Trading Signals

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Warning: This Could Be the Start of a Global Banking Crisis

By Justin Spittler

Europe’s banking system is collapsing. Over the past year, shares of Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany’s biggest bank, have plunged 56%. Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse (CS) is down 62% over the same period. Yesterday, both stocks hit record lows.

Dozens of other European bank stocks have also crashed. The Euro STOXX Banks, which tracks 48 of Europe’s largest banks, is down 48% over the past year. This is a major issue. That's because banks are the cornerstone of the financial system. They keep money flowing through the economy. If they’re struggling, it often means the economy is having major problems. Right now, European banks are flashing bright warning signs. That’s not just bad news for Europe—it’s also a serious threat to the rest of the world.

In today’s Dispatch, we’ll show you why Europe’s banking crisis could turn into a global banking crisis. You’ll also learn how to transform this threat into a chance to make big gains.

European banks are struggling to make money..…
Spanish banking giant BBVA’s (BBVA) profits fell 54% last quarter. First quarter profits at Deutsche Bank were down 58%. Swiss bank UBS’s (UBS) profits plunged 64%. European banks are hurting for a couple reasons. One, Europe is growing at the slowest pace in decades. Banks are making fewer loans as a result.

Two, negative interest rates are eating European banks alive. If you’ve been reading the Dispatch, you know negative rates are the latest radical government policy. They basically flip your bank account upside down. Instead of earning interest for keeping money in the bank, you pay the bank to hold your money.

Negative rates are clearly bad for savers. They’re also hurting Europe's biggest banks. That’s because these huge institutions have to pay their “bank,” the European Central Bank (ECB). Today, European banks pay £4 for every £1,000 they store at the ECB for a year. That might not sound like a lot. But it adds up quick when you manage trillions of euros like these banks do.

Last week, investors got another reason to avoid European banks..…
On Thursday, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), which it’s been in since 1973.
The “Brexit,” as the media is calling it, blindsided investors. As we explained yesterday, the market was expecting Great Britain to stay in EU. The unexpected outcome triggered a global stock market crash.

U.S. stocks had their worst day since August. Japanese stocks had their worst day in five years. European stocks had their biggest decline since the 2008 financial crisis. Friday’s global selloff erased $2.1 trillion in value from global stocks. It was the global stock market’s worst day in history. The panic didn’t die down much over the weekend. By the end of Monday, another $930 billion had disappeared from the global stock market.

European bank stocks were hit the hardest..…
Deutsche Bank plunged 22% between Friday and Monday. Credit Suisse fell 23%. UBS fell 20%. Barclays (BCS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) each plunged 37%. Both stocks are down more than 57% over the past year. These are gigantic moves in a matter of days. Remember, we’re not talking about small biotech stocks. These are some of the most important financial institutions on the planet.

Government officials are scrambling to contain the crisis..…
Today, the Bank of England (BoE) injected £3.1 billion into Britain’s banking system. It’s pledged to inject as much as £250 billion to stabilize its financial system. The BoE made its cash injection hours after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) pumped $1.5 billion into its banking system. As we'll show you in a second, we don't believe this will end well. That's because this excessive money printing (sometimes called "quantitative easing") doesn't stimulate the economy like governments intend it to.

Credit Suisse says other central banks could soon print more money too. Bloomberg Business reported on Friday:
“Market liquidity and overall liquidity in the U.K. is drying up as we speak in a very rapid way,” said John Woods, chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse Private Banking, told Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong. “It’s highly likely that we see monetary easing in a coordinated response” from central banks across the world, he said.
Great Britain is headed for a recession..…
A recession is when an economy shrinks two quarters in a row. Goldman Sachs (GS) says Britain could be in a recession by early 2017. But here’s the thing. We don’t think the BoE will let this happen. That’s because central bankers will do anything, including using reckless, unproven monetary policies, to avoid a recession these days.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s agrees with us. Reuters reported today:
"Brexit is likely to represent a drag of about 1.2 percent of GDP for the UK in 2017," Jean-Michel Six, S&P's chief economist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa told a conference call for investors on Tuesday. "We have a significant slowdown but growth remains positive although obviously in a much more disappointing way. That is because we anticipate a very strong monetary response on the part of the Bank of England, in the form of additional quantitative easing, in the form of a further cut in interest rates," he added.
Bank of America (BAC) and Deutsche Bank also expect the BoE to fire up the printing press again. Bank of America says it could happen as soon as August.

QE won’t help Great Britain’s economy..…
As we told you above, QE doesn’t work. As regular readers know, the Federal Reserve pumped $3.5 trillion into the U.S financial system after the 2008 financial crisis. This massive money printing effort was supposed to juice the economy. But the U.S. is growing at its slowest pace since World War II. QE also failed to jumpstart Japan’s economy, which hasn’t grown in two decades. There’s no reason to think it will work this time.

If you’re nervous about the global financial system, we encourage you to take action today.…
The first thing you should do is own physical gold. Gold is real money. It’s held its value for thousands of years because it has a unique set of attributes: It’s easy to transport, easily divisible, and durable. You can take a gold coin anywhere in the world and folks will immediately recognize its value.

Unlike paper money, central bankers cannot create gold from nothing. It’s the ultimate antidote to crumbling paper currencies. That’s why the price of gold often soars when governments print money. This year, gold is up 24%. It’s trading at the highest price in two years. But it could go much higher as governments continue to run reckless monetary experiments.

If you want big profits from rising gold prices, own gold stocks..…
Dispatch readers know gold miners are leveraged to the price of gold. A small jump in the price of gold can cause gold stocks to surge. Gold’s 24% jump this year has caused GDX, a fund that tracks large gold stocks, to soar 96%. We believe this gold stock rally is just getting started. During the 2000 and 2003 gold bull market, the average gold stock gained 602%. The best ones soared 1,000% or more.

Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, has recommended two gold stocks this year..…
He already closed out one of them for a quick double. It surged 103% in 14 months. Nick’s other gold stock is up 30% since March and is still dirt cheap at today's levels. Nick currently rates this stock a "Buy"…and says it could soon start paying a double digit dividend yield if gold keeps rising.

You can learn more about Nick’s gold stock by taking advantage of our special 60%-off sale for Crisis Investing. If you sign up today, you’ll be enrolled in a trial membership, which gives you 90 days risk-free to decide if the service is for you. But we encourage you to act soon. This special offer ends soon, and we likely won’t open this offer again for a long time.

You can learn more about this incredible offer by watching this video presentation. You’ll also learn about an even bigger threat to your wealth than Europe’s banking crisis. As you’ll see, almost no one is talking about this coming crisis. Yet, it could cause millions of Americans to lose their entire life savings. By the end of this video, you’ll know how to protect yourself. And just as importantly, you’ll know how to profit from this coming crisis. Click here to watch this free video.

Chart of the Day

U.S. bank stocks are also headed lower. Today’s chart shows the performance of the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) over the past year. XLF holds 94 major U.S. financial companies including behemoths JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of America (BAC). You can see XLF is down 11% since last June. While that's not as severe as the near 50% drop in European banks over the same period, it's still a clear sign to stay away.

U.S. banks have many of the same problems as European banks. Like Europe, the U.S. economy is growing at the slowest pace in decades. And while the U.S. economy doesn’t have negative rates yet, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said they aren’t “off the table” if the U.S. economy runs into trouble. The arrival of negative rates to the U.S. could tip bank stocks into a crisis, just like they have in Europe.




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Stock & ETF Trading Signals

Monday, June 13, 2016

Precious Metals Take Center Stage....Let's Follow the Yellow Brick Road

By Jeff Thomas

For over a hundred years, it’s been theorised that author L. Frank Baum wrote his 1900 book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, as a fanciful way to explain the economic situation at the time and that the Yellow Brick Road was a reference to the path created by gold ownership. Whether or not the theory is correct, for many people today, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” might serve as a mantra for alleviating economic woes.

What will happen is that one day, gold will suddenly be up $100 per ounce, then the next day, $200 per ounce. At first the pundits will be claiming that it’s an anomaly, but as it continues rising, a point will be reached when the average person says to himself, “This seems to be a trend. I’d better buy some gold.” 

Unfortunately, once the trend is underway, the price that day will have no bearing on whether gold is available. Your local coin shop may be sold out. If you go online, the mints may say that demand is exceeding supply. Large entities will be buying all they can get and the smaller buyers will be way down on the order list, unlikely to take delivery of even a single ounce.


These Are the Good Old Days

Gold has experienced a four year bear market and only recently has begun to rise again. But is it in reality a barbarous relic? Not by a long shot. For over 5,000 years, whenever people have experienced erratic economic periods, they’ve bought gold in order to stabilise their economic position. This has particularly been true whenever fiat currencies have been on the rise and were in danger of hyper-inflating, as in recent years. Most currencies are in decline against the U.S. dollar—a currency which, itself, is very much in danger of collapse in the not-too-distant future.

In the ’70s, I was buying gold in London, as it rose from $35. It reached a high of $850 in January, 1980, then crashed. When gold dropped below $400, I began buying Krugerrands. Sounds like a bargain, and yet, word on the street was that gold was headed further south. But I was buying long. I was not playing the market; I was building my economic insurance policy. I wasn’t too fussed over price fluctuations, as my gold holdings were meant to cover me if my other investments proved to be a mistake.

At present, gold is well above the high of 1989, but, if we adjust for inflation, we see that gold is actually a bargain at present. This excellent Casey Research chart from 2014 explains it better than mere words:



This tells us that $8,800 would not be an unreasonable level for gold today, if conditions were as dire as they were in 1980. However, conditions are far more dire—debt levels are far beyond any historical levels and markets are in a bubble, just waiting for the arrival of a pin.

A decade ago, when gold topped $700, I predicted $1,500 at some point and even my closest colleagues wondered what I’d been smoking. But it turned out that my prediction was, if anything, conservative. Over the last four years, some of the world’s most informed prognosticators—Eric Sprott, Peter Schiff, Jim Rickards, and Jim Sinclair—have all predicted gold to rise to between $5,000 and $7,000, and some have suggested numbers as high as $50,000. But this hasn’t happened. Are they wrong? No, it just hasn’t happened as of yet.

Conversely, Harry Dent has predicted a drop to $750. So, who’s right? Well, actually, they may all be right. After a crash in the markets, deflation is a certainty, as brokers and investors dump investments of every type in order to cover margin losses. This panic sell off will most assuredly include gold, even though the holders will not wish to sell their gold. This panic promises to create an immediate and possibly very dramatic downward spike in gold.

However, large numbers of long term investors already have their orders in for any price below $1,000. If the spike drops below that number, it will therefore be brief, as every ounce that hits the market at $999 is scooped up. In addition, the Federal Reserve will make good on its decades-long promise to roll the printing presses to counter any sudden deflation. That very act will light the fuse on the gold rocket and send it skyward.

Will the Sun Rise in the Morning or Set in the Evening?

The argument over whether gold will drop to $750 or rise to $5,000 is a pointless one. Any understanding of basic economics assures us that we shall see both sudden deflation and dramatic inflation. It’s as natural and inevitable as sunrise and sunset. (By the way, several of the above individuals have standing bets with each other as to the $750 number. The prize? An ounce of gold.)

But it matters little who will win the bets. What matters is the overview. Rickety economic times are now upon us and they will soon morph into crisis times. In such times, precious metals always return to centre stage, as paper currencies and electronic currencies return to their intrinsic worth of zero. Gold does not so much rise against fiat currencies, as fiat currencies collapse against gold.

Most assuredly, we shall see a dramatic rise in gold, but, just as in the ‘70s, the average person will fail to understand why and will simply chase the upward trend. When gold hits $2,000, but no one is willing to sell for under, say, $2,500, those who are chasing the trend will pay the $2,500 and that will become the new price across the board. Then it will leap higher—again and again, as monetary panic grips the investment world. The inflation-adjusted 1980 price of $8,800 should not be a surprise at all—in fact it would be low, as, in the coming years, conditions will be far more dire than in 1980. Gold may well blow through $10,000. Even the $50,000 figure is not impossible, as we shall be seeing a runaway bull market where those chasing the trend carry gold beyond any rational value.

But gold has an intrinsic value. 2,000 years ago, an ounce of gold could buy you a good suit of clothes. That’s still true today. A gold mania will fuel the gold price beyond anything logical, but a correction will be equally inevitable, dropping it to its intrinsic value. We shall see a gold rise for the record books. The wise investor should already have stocked up his supply of physical gold and gotten rid of gold ETFs. He should already have his seat belt fastened and ready for take off. We’re off to see the wizard.

Editor’s Note: Owning gold is the first step to protecting your wealth from stock market crashes, currency collapses or destructive government policies. But there are many other steps you can take to protect yourself during an economic collapse. We put together a free video to show you exactly how. 

Click here to watch this video now.


The article Follow the Yellow Brick Road was originally published at caseyresearch.com.


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Stock & ETF Trading Signals

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The 83 Best Stocks to Trade Weekly Options

Why download the 83 best stocks for weekly options? Our trading partner Don Kaufman will tell us why and he is sharing with us the 877 stocks and ETFs that offer weekly options, and the 83 that are the only ones you should trade.

Your Portfolio Deserves More Than a 50/50 Chance
It has been shown statistically, over the long run, that most traders lose money when only buying monthly options. Today there is more volume on weekly options than on the monthly options. Never before has there been a way to generate positive returns in the market using weekly options. Why flip a coin when you can use the 50 best stocks to trade weekly options on?

Diversification is Dead
As a Wall Street saying goes, "When they raid the house they take everyone." Professionals consider diversification as a hedge for people who don’t know how to hedge. Think about it - would you protect the value of your own home against a potential fire by diversifying, that is, buying two houses so if one burns down, the appreciation in the other offsets your loss? Of course not! You insure your home so if it burns down, the insurance covers most of the loss. Welcome to using weekly options. Real professionals know how to use weekly options to protect their portfolio from weekly news events, earnings reports, or surprise upgrades and downgrades.

Be The House
Today, investing in the stock market is a big gamble, almost like going to Vegas and playing the slots. And we all know what happens with slot machines. The House always wins. It may take a loss occasionally, but the overall strategy assures that the House will always come out on top. Weekly options let's you turn the tide and be the house every single week! Download the 50 best stocks to trade weekly options on so you can put the odds in your favor.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why the Current Volatile Conditions are a Trader’s Paradise


Our trading partners at Simpler Options are back with another free webinar. This time it's "Precise Short Term Options Setups for Low Risk Profits in Volatile Markets" hosted by John Carter and Chris Belcher.

As always John and Chris have provided a free video to give you some hints as to what we will be covering....Watch that video now!

It all starts this Tuesday June 7th at 7:00 pm central.

Just visit this link to reserve your seat for this game changing webinar right now since all of these webinars get over subscribed.

Watch Todays Video and Sign Up for the Webinar Right Here

These two highly respected traders (with more than 50 years of combined experience) reveal low risk option strategies designed to catch quick explosive moves in volatile stocks. Get ready to take notes because we’re going to review results from actual live trades executed in real time during current market conditions.

Red Thumb Trades: Stop wasting time (and precious capital) on dud stocks. Discover how to find the right options to trade on the right stocks today.

Precision Exit Strategies: Finally know when to take fast profits intraday and when to let your position turn into a swing trade so you can get maximum gains.

Simple Option Setups: Cut through all the jargon and ‘Greek’ mumbo jumbo and learn how to follow a step by step process to create consistent income trading stock options.

The Ultimate Timing Secret: How to know in advance which stocks are likely to explode (in any time frame) and when to jump in with confidence

Miracle Grow Positions: Simple rapid growth strategies for small accounts. Discover why it’s possible to make a whole lot more money with options than you can with trading stocks. The key is to follow a few precise option setups.

Massive Mistakes Exposed: Learn why most traders will never be consistently profitable and discover how to actually profit from the most common (and costly) mistakes.

The Perfect Storm: Why the current volatile conditions are a trader’s paradise, and key catalysts to watch for in the coming months.

Case Study: Review one of John's live trades on TSLA that brought in $17k in 1 day (along with several other recent real money examples so you can see these setups in action).

As always, make sure you get your reserved seat now while you and make sure you log in early on Tuesday so you don't lose your spot.

Reserve Seat Right Here and Now

See you Tuesday evening,
The Stock Market Club


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Hundreds of Oil Stocks Could Go to Zero…Will You Still Be Owning One of Them?

By Justin Spittler

The largest shale oil bankruptcy in years just happened. If you own oil stocks, you'll want to read today's essay very closely. Because there's a good chance hundreds more oil companies will go bankrupt soon. As you probably know, the oil market is a disaster. The price of oil has plunged 75% since 2014. In February, oil hit its lowest level since 2003.

Oil crashed for a simple reason: There’s too much of it. New methods like “fracking” have led to a huge spike in global oil production. Today, oil companies pump about 1 million more barrels a day than the world uses.

Last year, America’s biggest oil companies lost $67 billion..…

To offset low prices, oil companies have slashed spending by 60% over the past two years. They’ve laid off more than 120,000 workers. They’ve sold assets and abandoned projects. Some have even cut their prized dividends.

For many oil companies, deep spending cuts weren’t enough…

The number of bankruptcies in the oil industry has skyrocketed….

Bloomberg Business reported earlier this month:
Since the start of 2015, 130 North American oil and gas producers and service companies have filed for bankruptcy owing almost $44 billion, according to law firm Haynes & Boone.
And that doesn’t even include two “big name” bankruptcies in the last couple weeks. Two weeks ago, Linn Energy filed for bankruptcy, making it the largest shale oil bankruptcy since 2014. It owes lenders $8.3 billion.

A week later, SandRidge Energy declared bankruptcy. It became the second biggest shale oil company to go bankrupt. The company owes its lenders about $4.1 billion. Ultra Petroleum, Penn Virginia, Breitburn Energy, and Halcón Resources also filed for bankruptcy in the past couple weeks.

Hundreds more oil companies could go bankrupt this year..…

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:
This year, 175 oil and gas producers around the world are in danger of declaring bankruptcy, and the situation is nearly as dire for another 160 companies, many in the U.S., according to a report from Deloitte’s energy consultants.
Defaults by oil and gas companies are already skyrocketing. The Wall Street Journal continues:
Oil and gas companies this year have defaulted on $26 billion, according to Fitch Ratings data. That figure already surpasses the total for 2015, $17.5 billion.
Fitch, one of the nation’s largest credit agencies, expects 11% of U.S. energy bonds to default this year. That would be the highest default rate for the energy sector since 1999.

Many investors thought the oil crisis was over..…

That’s because the price of oil has surged 80% since February. Dispatch readers know better. For months, we’ve been warning there would be more bankruptcies and defaults. We said many oil companies need $50 oil to make money. The price of oil hasn’t topped $50 a barrel since last July. Even after its big rally, oil still trades for about half of what it did two years ago.

Oil prices will stay low as long as there’s too much oil..…

Although the world still has too much oil, the surplus has shrunk in the past few months. In February, the global economy was oversupplied by about 1.7 million barrels a day. Thanks to U.S. production cuts, the surplus is now just 1.0 million barrels a day. The number of rigs actively looking for oil in the U.S. has dropped by 80% since October. This month, the U.S. oil rig count hit its lowest level in 70 years.

However, many other countries aren’t cutting production at all. Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the world’s biggest oil-producing countries, are both pumping near-record amounts of oil. Frankly, these countries don’t have much choice. Oil sales account for 77% of Saudi Arabia’s economy. And oil accounts for 50% of Russia’s exports. If these countries stop pumping oil, their economies could collapse.

Low prices have made it impossible for some oil companies to pay their debts..…

U.S. oil companies borrowed nearly $200 billion between 2010 and 2014. If you’ve been reading the Dispatch, you know the Federal Reserve is mostly to blame for this. It’s held its key interest rate near zero since 2008. This made it incredibly cheap to borrow money. When oil prices were high, the debt wasn’t an issue. Companies made enough money to pay the bills. That’s no longer the case. Today, many oil companies are burning through cash to pay their debts.

To make matters worse, many weak oil companies have been cut off from the credit market..…

Before prices collapsed, oil companies could refinance their debt if they ran into trouble. This could buy them time to sort out their problems. These days, many banks will no longer lend oil companies money. Bloomberg Business reported last month:
Almost two years into the worst oil bust in a generation, lenders including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp. are slashing credit lines for struggling energy companies…
Since the start of 2016 lenders have yanked $5.6 billion of credit from 36 oil and gas producers, a reduction of 12 percent, making this the most severe retreat since crude began tumbling in mid-2014.
Oil stocks are still very risky..…

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid them entirely. As we’ve said before, oil stocks have likely entered a new phase. You see, when oil prices first tanked, investors sold oil stocks indiscriminately. Both strong and weak stocks plunged. In other words, investors “threw the baby out with the bath water.” You often see this behavior during a crisis.

Exxon Mobil (XOM), the world’s biggest oil company, fell 34% since 2014. Chevron (CVX), the world’s second biggest, dropped 48%. Now that oil has stabilized, the stronger companies are separating themselves from the weaker companies. This year, Exxon is up 15%. Chevron is up 11%. The crash in oil prices has given us a chance to buy world class oil companies at deep bargains.

If you want to own oil stocks, stick with the best companies..…

If you're going to invest in the sector, there are four key things to look for: 

Make sure you buy companies that can 1) make money at low oil prices. You should also look for companies with 2) healthy margins 3) plenty of cash and 4) little debt.

In March, Crisis Investing editor Nick Giambruno recommended a company that hits all of these checkmarks. It has a rock-solid balance sheet…some of the industry’s best profit margins…and “trophy assets” in America’s richest oil regions. It can even make money with oil as cheap as $35.

The stock is up 9% in two months. But Nick thinks it could just be getting started. After all, it’s still 30% below its 2014 high. You can get in on Nick’s oil pick by signing up for Crisis Investing. If interested, we encourage you to watch this short presentation. It explains how you can access Nick’s top investing ideas for $1,000 off our regular price.

This incredible deal ends soon. Click here to take advantage while you can.

You’ll also learn about an even bigger “crisis investing” opportunity on Nick’s radar. This coming crisis could radically change the financial future of every American. By watching this video, you’ll learn how to profit from it. Click here to watch.

Chart of the Day

Oil and gas companies are losing billions of dollars, we’re in earnings season right now. This is when companies tell investors if their earnings grew or shrunk last quarter. A good earnings season can send stocks higher. A bad one can drag stocks down.

As of Friday, 95% of the companies in the S&P 500 had shared first quarter results. Based on these results, the S&P 500 is on track to post a 6.8% decline in earnings. That would be the biggest drop in quarterly earnings since the 2009 financial crisis.

Oil and gas companies are a big reason U.S. stocks are having such a horrible earnings season.

As you can see below, first-quarter earnings for energy companies in the S&P 500 have plunged 107% since last year. Keep in mind, this group includes Exxon, Chevron, and other blue chip energy stocks.

Again, if you’re looking to buy oil stocks, make sure you “look under the company’s hood” before you buy it. Steer clear of companies that are losing money and have a lot of debt.




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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Obama’s Cuban Ambitions as Seen by Cubans Themselves

By Jeff Thomas

For half a century, Americans have been largely unable to visit Cuba and have had to rely on the US government and media for an understanding of the political, social and economic conditions there. What has been described as the “American Berlin Wall” has been successful in providing Americans with quite an inaccurate view.

Throughout this period, those Cubans who exited the island in 1959 (and their descendants) have maintained a propaganda programme that, rightly or wrongly, reflected their desire to return to Cuba and to once again rule it. Additionally, they’ve contributed regularly to both the primary US political parties in order to assure that the blockade would be maintained and that Americans would be kept out until such time as the island could be re-taken.

This is not to say that all is rosy in Cuba. For the past 25 years or more, I’ve periodically spent time there, observing its developments, beginning with its attempt to recover from the loss of its principle trading partner, the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s. It’s been a rocky road, as Cuba has sought to become an international tourist destination whilst attempting to maintain a closed, communist society. Results have been mixed, to say the least.

Still, the US government embargo remains in place and Americans have little real understanding of Cuba, or how the Cuban people view the US. All Americans can rely on is the “official view”—reports fed to the US media by their government, which, in turn, are influenced by Miami-based Cubans.

Recently, Barrack Obama visited Cuba, gave speeches and even walked the streets of Havana, “meeting the people”. Americans have now had time to digest the official US view of that visit, yet, understandably, have no idea whatsoever as to the Cuban view.

If I could sum up the Cuban people’s perception, based upon discussions with Cubans in Havana after the visit, I’d say that the best word to describe their reaction would be “wary”. Cubans are only too aware that Americans have, for half a century, received a highly one-sided view of anything Cuban and, for the most part, tend to agree with their leaders that any dealings with the US government should be cautious.

As in any country, there are varied viewpoints and, to be sure, the Cubans who oppose the existing regime to the point that they’ve stolen a boat and braved the seas to escape Cuba, would have a far different view from those who are glad to remain in Cuba.

A particular concern that they tend to voice is that Americans leaders are arrogant, seeming to believe that they have all the answers for every country and seem to perceive themselves as magnanimous, in offering to unilaterally change other countries “for the better”. In the present instance, they resent Mister Obama stating in a Havana speech that his country is considering diminishing its economic punishment of Cuba, but that, first, he would need to be assured that the Cuban political structure be altered to reflect the American model more closely. As stated by President Raul Castro in the Havana Reporter, “he should not expect the Cuban people to give up their destiny…for which they have made huge sacrifices.”

A continuing sore in the side of Cuba is the occupation of Guantanamo Bay. Cubans, when confronted with their government’s admitted incarceration of some citizens for political reasons, may respond by reminding Americans that Cubans regard Guantanamo as “the horrible torture center”, housing the US government’s political prisoners. They are bolstered in their view by American presidential candidates who vehemently support the continued violation of the Geneva Convention at Guantanamo. (Most Cubans have television and there’s no restriction on American broadcasts. Cubans therefore know far more about the US than Americans know about Cuba.)

Again, quoting the Havana Reporter, “The Cuban authorities request for the illegally occupied military territory to be returned, although spokespeople for Obama’s administration say that the subject is not on the agenda for discussion.”

Again, the American presidential message, as seen from the Cuban perspective, appears to be, “We’ll decide what we will or won’t do for you, and we’ll decide what you’ll do for us.”

And the discussion is not an isolated one. For many years, the UN has regularly held votes on the legality and morality of the blockade and, in each case, all members except the US and Israel vote for its elimination. Just prior to Mister Obama’s Cuban visit, Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the European Commission, reiterated the UN request for the “rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the US”, which she described as both outdated and illegal.

In his book, “Obama and the Empire”, Fidel Castro comments, “You state…that your country…would not tolerate any intervention in the hemisphere, reiterating that this right must be respected, while demanding the right to intervene anywhere in the world with the aid of hundreds of military bases and naval, air and space forces distributed across the planet. I ask: Is that the way in which the United States expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?”

To be sure, Mister Castro has his own agenda, as do all political leaders, yet his point is well taken. In spite of US pressure, he has outlasted ten US presidents since 1959. Cuba boasts universal literacy and the lowest rate of violent crime in the hemisphere, whereas, in the US, the percentage of those who are functionally illiterate varies between 15% and 35% (depending on the definition of illiteracy). The US also has both the highest number of prison inmates and the highest percentage of inmates per capita. Whether the US or Cuba has the greater claim to the moral high ground is therefore very much an individual assessment.

But, what’s the view on the street in Havana? What’s the reaction of the average Cuban to the Obama visit?

Well, for a start, people in the street, who are accustomed to seeing their leaders with a minimal entourage and few armed guards, were surprised to see a virtual army of suited protectors, making Mister Obama’s stroll through Havana anything but casual. Of course, this has become the norm for any American leader, but what message does this convey, when the visitor displays such a show of force?

In spite of this; however, a young waiter at a bistro in the popular Empedrado Callejón del Chorro commented that, whilst he doubted the sincerity of the visit, anything that brings the two countries closer together can only be an improvement. And, to be sure, younger Cubans are more likely than the previous generations to acknowledge that the inevitable passage out of the Castro’s leadership may be overdue, but that a softening of Cuban distrust of the “American imperialists” can only take place if the American government learns to regard Cuba as a sovereign nation, not as a whipping boy.

And, of course, this is a sentiment that we see worldwide. The more the US positions itself as the world’s policeman, the more it alienates the peoples of other countries. At a time when the US has begun its economic decline, it would do well to soften its approach, yet it is clearly doing the exact opposite. This does not bode well for the US. No one likes a bully. Bullies are typically only tolerated until they weaken. When this occurs, people turn on the bully, whether he is a person, or indeed, a government. What we are observing is the decline of a large nation and, soon, the rebirth of a small one. As events unfold, the comparisons between the two will be fascinating to observe.

Editor’s Note: Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, thinks Cuba is a huge investing opportunity...
Nick is an expert “crisis investor.” He invests in markets that are bombed out, hated, and depressed. This strategy allows Nick to buy world-class companies at bargain prices… and to buy a dollar’s worth of assets for pennies. This sets him up to make big gains, like the 210% gain he made on the Cypriot hospitality business Lordos Hotels in the wake of that country’s banking crisis a few years back.

According to Nick, Cuba has been in a slow motion crisis for decades. The U.S.' ban on trade with Cuba killed any chance of economic growth for the last 60 years. But Nick says the embargo will soon become “a page in the history books.” When this happens, money should pour into Cuba. Nick has a “back door” way to profit from Cuba’s huge untapped potential...

Here’s Nick:
Cuba has over 2,000 miles of pristine coastline and the potential to be a top tourist destination. If Cuba ever opens up, there’s potential to make a fortune.

Nick’s investment is a legal way to profit from the “opening up” of Cuba while the embargo is still in place. It trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange. This investment is up over 25% in the last three months. But Nick expects it to go much higher. We can’t disclose the investment here, because it wouldn’t be fair to paying subscribers. But you can get instant access to Nick’s “back-door” Cuba investment by signing up for a trial subscription to Crisis InvestingClick here to learn more.



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Stock & ETF Trading Signals

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why Are Traders Hiding Their Cash in Their Microwaves?

People in Sweden are pulling cash out of the bank and hiding it in their microwaves. It sounds crazy, but when you hear why they're doing it, you'll instantly see why this could be the beginning of a massive wave of "gold mania."

And why there's 1 thing you can do tomorrow morning that could give you a quick 40% gain -- without making any trades or buying any precious metals.

Have a look.....


See you in the markets,
The Stock Market Club


P.S. Banks in Sweden, France, England and Japan have already started. When banks in Canada and the U.S. jump on board, that's when things will really get ugly.....Full Story Here




Friday, April 8, 2016

Don Kaufman shows us how to "Protect & Profit" in any Market

Today we want to introduce the newest member of our team, Don Kaufman. Don has made quite a mark in the last couple months with the introduction of his new TheoTrade program. Truth is, some of our readers have stated they are getting more from his free videos then some of the more expensive programs they have purchased.

Don will be bringing us a free webinar monthly to keep us on the cutting edge of these extremely volatile markets. Just take advantage of any one of his free items. Getting his free eBook or even just watching his most recent free video will guarantee that you will get notified of the free webinars.

So what's in the "How to Protect & Profit in Any Market" eBook?

This 50 page eBook [visit here for free download] will teach you what you need to know to start playing the markets instead of the markets playing you.

Your Portfolio Deserves More Than a 50/50 Chance 
It has been shown statistically, over the long run, that fundamental and technical analysis is right about 50% of the time. Flipping a coin will give you the same percentage. As the author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Malkiel states, “Technical and Fundamental analysis is a science giving astrology a good name.” Why flip a coin when you can use high probability options strategies?

Diversification is Dead
As a Wall Street saying goes, "When they raid the house they take everyone." Professionals consider diversification as a hedge for people who don’t know how to hedge. Think about it - would you protect the value of your own home against a potential fire by diversifying, that is, buying two houses so if one burns down, the appreciation in the other offsets your loss? Of course not! You insure your home so if it burns down, the insurance covers most of the loss. Welcome to one aspect of using options. Real professionals know how to use options to protect their portfolio from any shock to the markets.

Be The House 
Today, investing in the stock market is a big gamble, almost like going to Vegas and playing the slots. And we all know what happens with slot machines. The House always wins. It may take a loss occasionally, but the overall strategy assures that the House will always come out on top. Options let's you turn the tide and be the house. Find out how you can put the odds in your favor.

Get Don's FREE eBook "The Rebel's Guide to Trading Options"....Just Visit Here!

See you in the markets,
The Stock Market Club

About Don Kaufman 
Don is one of the industry's leading financial strategists and educational authorities with 18 years of financial industry experience. Prior to co-founding TheoTrade, Mr. Kaufman spent 6 years at TD Ameritrade as Director of the Trader Group. At TD Ameritrade Mr. Kaufman handled thinkorswim® content and client education which included the design, build, and execution of what has become the industry standard in financial education. He started his career at thinkorswim® in 2000 (acquired by TD Ameritrade in 2009), where he served as chief derivatives instructor, helping the firm progress into the industry leader in retail options trading and investor education services.