Commodity Investing – Insurance for your Purchasing Power

I wanted to provide a counterpoint to some recent articles posted on Investorgeeks that have suggested commodities are not a good place to invest. More specifically, that the commodities boom is a high risk area of investing and potentially a giant bubble.

I have a different opinion. I personally feel that investing in commodities is the only way to ensure in the coming years that your portfolio is not decimated by hyper inflation.

The Present State of the US Economy

Before we discuss this further, we need to do a quick summary of the present state of the US (world) economy:

I’m back! (or I’m here!)

Hey Everyone

Long time no post.

However, I do have an excuse! I am now a married man living in North Carolina. That’s right – I am an immigrant (of the legal variety) fresh from the shores of Australia…

We just broke through the March low without blinking…

…the next low (read: the next support level) is 1222 of June 13th, 2006. (!!!) We appear to have bounced back off that level, but that support level is not holding strongly. Don’t be suprised if it falls over. Countrywide is all but gone. That is the last of the non-bank lenders. What is even (more…)

The Bernanke Put

Fingers crossed. He should moderate his language, open the possibility of a rate cut, and send the markets higher. I hope he keeps his mouth closed, talks about inflation and the US dollar, and keeps rates right where they are. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. However, I just have a vibe that he isn’t the soft touch (more…)

Bounce

Hey everyone,

We are seeing a nice bounce in the markets this morning. The S&P500 is at 1485 as I write this(!!!). If you look at the 5 day chart, you will see this could take us back to part way through the crash we saw last week. The market is saved!

To me, this feels like a dead cat bounce – one formed by a pump in liquidity and a jump in premarket futures.

[email protected]$54

Well, I was right (see Wednesday’s post). That at least feels good. However, I thought the market would make a decent recovery. I had raised my limit price to $51.20 (from $50.20) yesterday, realising the recovery was probably not going to be as strong as I wished.

However, when I logged on tonight (it’s after midnight in Australia), SDS had already moved up to $53, and as I watched it shot towards $54. I got out the calculator, changed the volume and bought in just as it crossed $54. As I hit refresh now, it is in the mid $54s, heading back down.

Retreat!

Just a quick note to say I think the market has had its major top.

I am going to wait for a pullback tomorrow (Wednesday 25th July) and have an open order to go short SDS at $51. Hopefully this will get filled in the next day or two.

The Fall of the All Consuming Yankee

The consumer is tapped out. After consistent 25 basis point increases to the Federal Funds Rate, we are finally starting to see the effects on the stock market.

Yesterday morning we saw three headlines that caught my attention. The first detailed Sears’ guidance for this quarter – a reduction from $2.12 to from $1.06 to $1.32 per share. These revisions are, at best, a 30% reduction and, at worst, a 50% reduction from their previous optimistic estimates.

Notably, declines were across all categories. If you follow the theory that the consumer is on thin ice, then it is hardly surprising to find big ticket items are not being purchased. Sears is having trouble selling new stainless steel fridges and widescreen TVs because consumers do not feel confident about their financial situation. The only sector that wasn’t hit as hard was women’s apparel and footwear – suggesting stressed housewives may be engaging in retail therapy.

The Lure of Fundamentally Weighted ETFs

Many of you will have read about the advantages of Exchange Traded Funds over Mutual Funds. However, have you considered beyond the “ETF” moniker to ask: “What ETF index should I be looking for”?

To start with, let’s quickly examine the basics of ETFs. These are generalities, but tend to hold true.

Exchange Traded Funds are managed such that the asset allocation of the fund matches the underlying index the fund is attempting to emulate. The indexes range from well known (e.g. S&P500) to obscure, created specifically for the ETF (e.g. water focused). Management fees are generally less than 0.5%, but can be higher for specialized funds. ETFs trade daily on the stock exchange and can trade at a premium or discount to the underlying assets. Through fancy footwork, ETFs generally retain profits within the fund and make only small distributions each year.