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Gold Jewelry Demand in India Improves
August 26, 2014

Those who root for gold root for India. Despite a welcome June rally, it’s been a rocky second quarter for the world’s second-largest consumer of the metal, with demand down 18 percent compared to last year.

But consumer appetite seems to be on the upswing following a tepid July. Gold premiums rose to between $10 and $13 a troy ounce this month, compared to zero last month. Such premiums are good indicators that buyers are willing to spend more on gold jewelry and other forms of bullion.

That premiums have risen also suggests that Indians are making their gold purchases ahead of Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, a traditional time to participate in what I call the Love Trade. This year Diwali begins on October 23.

Other global celebrations and events that trigger the Love Trade include the Indian wedding season, the Chinese New Year, Ramadan and, of course, Christmas.

Gold: Annual Seasonal Cycle
click to enlarge

Challenges Affecting Demand

Government policy and temperamental weather are mostly to blame for gold’s less-than-satisfactory performance in India.

The recent election of Narendra Modi, who rules the pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party, had the global market hoping he would remove gold import duties. Unfortunately, the duty remained unchanged in the new government’s July budget. It’s my hope that the Modi administration will rethink this policy and ease the restrictions.

Ft-Pankaj Parakh, an Indian businessman showing off his 45th birthday present gift a $210,600 18 carat gold shirt

A slow start to the annual four-month monsoon season, beginning in June, also affected sales. Much of the country’s gold demand comes from rural households, especially farmers, whose summer crops depend on monsoon rains. Rural Indian households typically devote between 7 and 8 percent of their income on gold, but disappointing crop yields have no doubt cost them earnings.

A Golden Heritage

As it does in many other cultures, gold has a rich tradition in India, where people have been wearing gold jewelry for about 4,000 years. In ancient Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, gold is associated with godliness and kingliness, a sentiment millions of Indians still harbor to this day.

A 2012 World Gold Council survey, the results of which are shown below, stresses the high level of importance Indians place on the metal—as a financial asset, fashion accessory and cultural identifier.

Attitudes to GOld Jewelry in India
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The rupee gold price might have risen 320 percent in the last 10 years, but because gold plays such a vital role in the country’s heritage, appetite for the yellow metal remains robust.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

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Managing Expectations Part III
August 25, 2014

Part III of III: Picking Mining Stocks in a Bear Market

In the first part of this three-part series, I discussed the importance of cycles such as four-year presidential elections and the life of a gold mine, and how they play into our investment strategy here at U.S. Global Investors. Part II dealt with statistical diagnostic tools, in which I strived to simplify the definitions of standard deviation and mean reversion and explain how they’re applied.

The third part of this series on managing expectations is devoted to fundamental resource stock evaluation. I’ll discuss some of the statistical tools we use to pick quality stocks during a treacherous bear market, such as what we’ve seen in gold stocks the last three years.

Let it be known, however, that, though our approach might vary slightly depending on the condition of the market, we fervently seek to pick the best stocks at the best price and execution.

How I Learned to Respect the Bear

The traditional definition of a bear market is when broad stock market indices fall more than 20 percent from a previous high—which sounds like a catastrophe, but is in fact “normal” market behavior. According to self-professed “investing nut” Ryan Barnes, a contributor for Investopedia, “bear markets… are a natural way to regulate the occasional imbalances that sprout up between corporate earnings, consumer demand and combined legislative and regulatory changes in the marketplace.”

No need for alarm, folks. This is all part of the natural order of things.Think of bear markets, then, as the gradual transition from warm summers into frozen winters. Trees lose their leaves, snow and ice blanket the ground, many animals—the bear the most notable—hibernate for the season. All life seems to take a breather. But just as you can always count on spring to emerge and, with it, new life, you as an investor can count on the market to rebound with fresh vigor.

As you might have known, the tail end of “winter” is when you want to take part in the inevitable recovery. If the market never had a winter season, if it were perpetually trapped in an endless summer, investors would be hard-pressed to find an ideal entry point.

It’s easy to determine when winter becomes spring. But what about the end of a bear market? How do you know when it’s bottomed and the optimal buying time has been reached?

CLSA consultant Russell Napier, in his now-classic 2009 book Anatomy of the Bear, describes the determinants of the end of a bear market:

The bottom is preceded by a period in which the market declines on low volumes and rises on high volumes. The end of a bear market is characterized by a final slump of prices on low trading volumes. Confirmation that the bear trend is over will be rising volumes at the new higher levels after the first rebound in equity prices.

Look at the chart below. You’ll see that, in three decades, the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) has never had a losing streak for more than three years.

In 30 Years, the XAU Never Experienced a Losing Streak of More Than 3 Years
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Historical precedent suggests that gold stocks were due for a jump in 2014, and just as expected, the XAU has returned close to 20 percent year-to-date (YTD) after an abysmal 2013, the “final slump of prices on low trading volumes.”

The following line graph illustrates just how dramatically gold and silver stock performance has rebounded. As you might remember from our discussion last week, what we see here is an example of mean reversion, which occurs when the price of a security reverts back to its historic average.

2014 Sees Improved Gains in recious Metals Mining Stocks
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These data exemplify the notion that you should remain patient during downturns, avoid getting discouraged and allow the security—in this case, precious metal stocks—to revert back to its long-term mean. When it does, you’ll find that the wind is suddenly at your back instead of in your face.

Spencer Johnson, author of the 2009 book Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You—At Work And In Life, writes, “You cannot always control external events, but you can control your personal peaks and valleys by what you believe and what you do.” Likewise, we might not have any control over how the market behaves, but we can control how we respond to it: with grace, intelligence and levelheadedness.

Value Drivers for Superior Performance

Just the facts, ma'amOne of the tools we use to navigate around volatility, regulate emotion and focus on facts and fundamentals is an invaluable model we call the portfolio manager’s cube. It helps us separate the weak from the strong, evaluate a company’s attractiveness and pick the best GARP-y stocks. “GARP” stands for “growth at a reasonable price,” which is an investment strategy that aims to identify companies with superior growth and value metrics.

The cube allows us to sift, sort and prioritize. It draws attention to the intersections among a resource company’s production, cash flow and reserves (rows) and relative value, momentum and event drivers (columns). Using this model, we compare stocks on a relative basis in production per share to find attractive opportunities and overpriced risks. We also identify events that could increase reserves and/or production per share over the next 12 months.

More than anything else, the cube affords us the framework for conducting relative valuation of a stock. Relative valuation is a method that compares a security’s value to that of others to determine its financial worth.

For example, we evaluate mining stocks in the same way you or I might compare cars on multiple metrics before making a purchase. On this topic, I urge you to check out one of my favorite websites, Dennis Boyko’s GoldMinerPulse, for a look at the type of fundamental analysis and relative evaluation that goes into comparing and contrasting mining stocks.

The following is an example of how we might use the cube. Suppose a young mining company has just discovered a gold deposit. This event might excite potential investors and compel them to enter when the stock is undervalued, expecting it to skyrocket. But it’s important to conduct a cross-sectional analysis of this discovery in terms of production, cash flow and reserves. How much gold does the company expect to produce in relation to others? The average concentration of gold in the earth’s crust is 0.005 parts per million, making a substantial yield very rare. About one in 2,000 companies is lucky enough to stumble across at least a one-million-ounce deposit.

Other questions might include: Does the company have ample cash flow to finance the costly yet necessary infrastructure, equipment, geological analyses and manpower to extract the metal, not to mention pay dividends? Has it kept up with its cash reserves to remain solvent during development of the mine and subsequent excavation? Many years, after all, typically go by before ounce one is plucked from the ground.

Besides using models such as the portfolio manager’s cube to determine a mining company’s or asset’s relative value, we also rely on “boots on the ground” experience. Members of our investment team and I routinely visit domestic and global projects to gain tacit knowledge and ensure that operations are running smoothly and management is knowledgeable and has a firm handle on things.

To see photos of what these visits look like, check out our most recent slideshow, On a Quest for Copper.

The Five Ms

A mine’s lifecycle is the perfect segue into what I call the five Ms to picking the best mines. Most of what follows can be found in the 2008 book I co-wrote with London-based financial writer John Katz, The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investment.

One of the five Ms is Mine Lifecycle, which I cover at length in Part I of this series along with other cycles such as weather patterns, gold seasonality trends and four-year presidential cycles.

The Life Cycle of a Mine
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The other four Ms are Market Cap, Management, Money and Minerals, detailed below.

Market Cap

Market cap is simply the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the stock price. The gold sector is broken down into three sectors by market cap: seniors (market caps >$10 billion), intermediates (between $2 and $10 billion) and juniors ($2 billion).

If a gold company has 10 million shares outstanding at $1 per share, the company is valued at $10 million. The question any investor should ask is, “Is this company really worth $10 million?” If the market pays $25 per ounce of gold in the ground, the company should be valued at $25 million (one million ounces in reserves X $25 an ounce). If the company’s market cap is only $10 million, it may look undervalued. Accordingly, if the company’s market cap is $50 million, it may appear to be overvalued.

For larger gold companies, an investor can measure a company’s market cap against its production level, reserve assets, geographic location and/or other metrics to establish relative valuation. For junior mining companies—an area of focus for our World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX)—we look for balance sheets with ample cash for exploration and development of prospective reserves, but we resist paying more than two times cash per share.

Management

Essentially, management of mining companies must have both explicit and tacit knowledge to be successful. Explicit knowledge is academic. How many PhDs or masters in geology/engineering does company management have?

Tacit knowledge is more personal in nature and much more difficult to obtain. It is acquired over time through first-hand observation, experience and practice. How many years have they worked in the industry? Has management ever successfully completed a project with similar geopolitical/environmental constraints?

Success in the mining sector, especially the juniors, relies on the ability to raise capital and communicate with investors. Often the heads of junior companies are geologists or engineers who have no relationships in the brokerage business. This lack of relationships impedes their ability to generate market support. Historically, companies with the highest number of retail shareholders have the highest price-to-book ratios and carry higher valuations than peers.

Some of the most successful company builders in the gold-mining industry are what I call the “financial engineers”—people who have the relationships and understand the capital markets and who know how to hire the best geological and engineering teams. We tend to have more confidence investing in them.

Money

Mining is an expensive business. Often, companies burn through substantial amounts of capital before generating their first $1 in cash flow. A gold exploration company has to deliver reserves per share to have a chance at another round of financing. It has to convince the capital markets that it is an attractive investment on a per-share basis.

We call this the “burn rate”—how long will the company’s current cash levels last before it has to return for additional financing. If a junior exploration company has $15 million in cash reserves and is spending $3 million a month, it has five months to deliver enough reserves per share to convince capital markets it is worth the risk.

This calculation can be done quickly. Exploration reserves are generally valued at one-third the reserve values of a producing mine—if producing reserves are valued at $150 an ounce, exploration reserves would be $50 per ounce.

The gold-equities market is generally efficient at judging reserves per share, so if the exploration company doesn’t come up with the results necessary to get an evaluation—find gold for less than $50 an ounce—investors quickly lose confidence. There is an old rule when it comes to exploration companies: don’t pay more than two times cash per share if there are no proven assets in the ground.

Minerals

Compared to the rest of the mining sector, gold companies have the highest industry valuations based on price to earnings, price to cash flow, price to enterprise value and price to reserves per share.

Companies operating mines that produce gold as well as industrial metals tend to have lower valuation multiples.  For example, the current price-to-earnings ratio for Freeport-McMoRan, is 8x-times forward earnings. Investors can use the low relative valuations of copper/gold producers to increase their margin of safety in anticipation of an upward move in gold prices.

I must stress once again that these relative valuation techniques apply whether we’re in a bull or bear market. In Peaks and Valleys, Spencer writes, “Have you ever noticed that your life is filled with ups and downs? It is never all ups or downs.”

Similarly, the market is never all ups and downs. As active money managers, we have learned to adapt to an ever-changing climate—from “summer” to “winter”—to select what we believe are the best, most reasonably-priced mining stocks for our investors.

Next week, look out for my discussion on how our investment team uses statistical tools to make trades around core positions.

Happy investing!

Further resources on active management of resource stocks:

For more on my unique approach to active management, listen to my interview with Frank Curzio of S&A Investor Radio.

Also be sure to watch the latest edition of Kitco News, in which Daniela Cambone and I chat about what’s in store for gold in the coming weeks.

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Gold, precious metals, and precious minerals funds may be susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory developments due to concentrating in a single theme. The prices of gold, precious metals, and precious minerals are subject to substantial price fluctuations over short periods of time and may be affected by unpredicted international monetary and political policies. We suggest investing no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio in these sectors.

The Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index (XAU) is a capitalization-weighted index that includes the leading companies involved in the mining of gold and silver.

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Diversification and Discipline Are Key to Investing in Gold
August 19, 2014

Like training for a marathon, investing in gold isn’t for the apathetic or indifferent. It requires strong-willed discipline.

Gold investors need discipline to keep up with the metal's variable stridesComing into 2014, gold was in a depressed state. The metal had lost over 28 percent the previous year, its greatest slide since 1980. Investors who dropped out of the race in January no doubt regretted the decision in March after watching the metal unexpectedly soar to above $1,300 an ounce.

And the news didn’t stop there. By midyear, gold was one of the top-performing commodities; last month, India, the world’s second-largest consumer of gold, increased its bullion imports by 65 percent; gold mining stocks are currently outpacing the commodity itself.

When prices plunge as dramatically as they did in 2013 and early 2014, it’s easy—instinctive, almost—for our so-called reptilian brains to hijack our better judgment. Our primordial fight-or-flight response kicks in, and too often we choose to fly, only to regret our decision later.

But we’re stronger than that. Jacqueline Gareau, the 1980 Boston Marathon winner, said of long-distance running: “The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop, but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy. It is not age. It is not diet. It is the will to succeed.”

Earlier in the year I spoke with Business Television’s Taylor Theon about this very idea that to invest in gold requires not only discipline but also diversification. As I’ve often stressed, we at U.S. Global Investors recommend that 10 percent of your portfolio should be allocated to gold—5 percent to bullion, 5 percent to mining stocks, and rebalance every year. This should always be the case, whether gold is soaring at a good clip or whether its wings appear to have been clipped.

As I advised Theon’s viewers:

Be diversified. Just appreciate the seasonality and volatility of all these different asset classes. The DNA of gold over any rolling 12 months is plus or minus 15 percent; gold stocks, plus or minus 35 percent. So any time gold stocks fall 35 percent, it’s become an opportunity to buy. When they fall 60 and 70 percent, it’s a screaming buy. And they will rally, and they will rise.

And rise they did, just as the theory of mean reversion predicted. Mean reversion, which I discuss at length in Part II of my three-part series on managing expectations, states that security prices will revert to their historic average eventually, whether we’re in a bull or bear market.

Below you can watch the entire interview, during which Theon and I also discuss India and the importance of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

The J.P. Morgan Global Purchasing Manager’s Index is an indicator of the economic health of the global manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is one of the most widely recognized price measures for tracking the price of a market basket of goods and services purchased by individuals. The weights of components are based on consumer spending patterns.

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Managing Expectations Part II
August 18, 2014

Part II of III: The Importance of Oscillators, Standard Deviation and Mean Reversion

In the first of this three-part series on managing expectations, I discussed the role cycles play in the investment management process. At U.S. Global Investors, we actively monitor both short- and long-term cycles, from the annual seasonality of gold to four-year presidential elections, in order to manage expectations based on historical patterns.

Oscillators help investors scrutinize the market, locate trends and seek opportunity.Among other important cycles and patterns that we use are oscillators, which are diagnostic tools that help us measure a security’s upward and downward price volatility. Think of an oscillator as a thermometer; with it, we can accurately take a security’s “temperature.” The knowledge extrapolated from this reading is materially useful in managing expectations, appreciating the dimensionality of a security’s short-term volatility and identifying when to accumulate or trade a stock.

To understand how oscillators work, though, you’ll first need to be familiar with standard deviation and mean reversion.

Standard Deviation

Standard deviation, also known by its Greek letter sigma, is a probability tool that gauges a security’s volatility. Specifically, it measures the typical fluctuation of a security around its mean or average return over a period of time ranging from one day to 12 months or more.

In the following bell-shaped curve, the center line represents a security’s average return over a given period of time—one day, 20 days, 60 days or 12 months. To the left and right of the line, the darkest blue sections indicate one standard deviation, or sigma, either above or below the mean; the next lightest, two sigma above or below; and so on.

Standard Deviation Sigma Measures Degree of Variance from Average
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No matter the security, returns can be expected to trade within one sigma of their mean 68 percent of the time. Ninety-five percent of the time they will fluctuate within two sigma, and nearly all of the time they will trade within three.

So why should investors care about this? Generally speaking, the higher the sigma, the higher a security’s volatility; the probability that it will fall back toward the mean also rises. A speculative tech stock, for example, has a greater tendency to have a higher sigma than a blue chip stock. This tells you the tech stock’s returns will fluctuate more widely, more erratically, than the blue chip stock’s.

But sigma is not as black and white as this comparison might suggest. Rather, it more closely resembles multiple shades of color that help investors manage their emotional reactions to the market’s swings and focus instead on the power of using statistics. It’s easy to get pulled into market fears or “irrational exuberance”—to use former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s phrase—and this probability model helps us be more objective.    

To illustrate how these statistics operate in the real world, let’s look at the S&P 500 Index. Over the last ten years, it has had a rolling 12-month standard deviation of 17 percent. This means that if you were to chart its returns over the course of 12 months, you could expect them to stay within ±17 percent from the mean about 70 percent of the time. That’s one sigma. You could also reasonably expect returns to rise or fall within ±34 percent, or two sigma, 95 percent of the time.

Knowing this, it probably wouldn’t be a huge cause for celebration if the S&P 500 rose, say, 8 percent during a 12-month period, since this figure falls within the “normal” one-sigma range. Conversely, a loss of 8 percent wouldn’t be a total disaster. A one-sigma move is a non-event from a historical perspective.

To put this in perspective, the S&P 500 rose about 30 percent last year. This is close to a significant two-sigma move from its 12-month average. Incidentally, 2013 was the index’s best annual performance since 1997.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that, just as we all have different fingerprints, every commodity, every stock, every fund and every index has its own DNA of volatility. The S&P 500 might have a sigma of 17 percent, but over the same 12-month period, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has a much more volatile 29 percent. Investors must strive to remain objective in the face of emotional factors that move markets and adjust their expectations of how these two indexes behave compared to one another.

Using Weather Statistics to Explain Standard Deviation

As an analogy, consider the extreme temperature fluctuations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Minneapolis has an average annual temperature of 45 degrees, which sounds pleasant enough. You might think that in such a climate, all you need to get by is a warm jacket. But the picture changes dramatically when you learn that the Twin Cities’ 12-month standard deviation is ±22 degrees. Statistically, this means that for a little over two thirds of the year—68 percent of the time—you can expect the temperature to swing between 23 and 67 degrees. Suddenly that jacket is looking pretty risky. At two standard deviations, there’s a strong probability that the temperature will fall anywhere between a bone-chilling 1 degree—which might very well occur, since the average low in January is 2.8 degrees—and 89 degrees. That’s a huge, yawning gap that Minneapolitans must contend with throughout the year.

Compare this to San Antonio, Texas, home of U.S. Global Investors. Here the average temperature is a balmy 70 degrees, with a less-volatile standard deviation of 13 degrees. Even at two sigma—which, again, occurs 95 percent of the time—the temperature in the Alamo City statistically falls anywhere between 42 and 94 degrees, close to the average high in July.     

If we’re looking just at temperature fluctuations, Minneapolis resembles the Emerging Markets Index whereas San Antonio behaves more like the S&P 500. Your expectations of “normal,” therefore, will need to be different depending on which of these two cities you reside in or indexes you follow.

Knowing a security's standard deviation is as important as knowing a city's average temperature: both help you manage expectations

Mean Reversion

This leads us to mean reversion, which I discussed in full back in June. Mean reversion is the theory that, although prices might trend up for many years (as in a bull market), or fall for many years (as in a bear market), they tend to move back toward their historic averages eventually. Such elasticity is the basis for knowing when a security is under- or overvalued and when to buy low and sell high. We have just experienced a bull market with the S&P 500 and a bear market with gold stocks. Within these trends, though, are great internal volatility and oscillator tools that monitor these actions. Even in a bull or bear market, we can measure the 20- and 60-day volatility of any kind of security.

Again let’s use Minneapolis as an illustration. We’ve already established its wide-ranging temperature fluctuations throughout the year, from highs reaching the 80s to lows flirting with zero. This being so, it would be unreasonable to expect the weather to remain freezing indefinitely, as is the case in Game of Throne’s aptly-named Land of Always Winter. Eventually it reverts back to its 12-month mean of 45 degrees.

The same goes in the world of investing. Mean reversion applies to everything, in both a micro and macro setting. In an April 2012 Frank Talk, I showed that entire countries have their own means, which they eventually revert back to. After charting Chinese stock performance over a 10-year timespan, a pattern emerged:

Chinese stocks landed in the top half [of emerging markets] four out of 10 years—2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007. In 2003, China climbed an astounding 163 percent; in 2007, it was the top emerging market again, returning nearly 60 percent. Since then, the country has fallen to the bottom half… If you apply the principle of mean reversion, history appears to favor China landing in the top half during this Year of the Dragon.

Indeed, by the end of 2012, Chinese stocks jumped nearly 40 percent from the previous year, placing the country in the top half of emerging markets—just as predicted using the theory of mean reversion.

Look at the two oscillator charts below. They show the up-and-down movements in the price of gold stocks (top chart) and bullion (bottom chart) over the past ten years. One row above or below the mean, indicated by the black horizontal line, equates to one sigma; two rows above or below equates to two sigma; and so on. As you can see, mining stocks have recently reverted to their mean for the first time in about three years, while spot gold is gradually working its way back.

Year over Year Percentage Change Oscillator: NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index
click to enlarge

Year over Year Percentage Change Oscillator: Gold Bullion
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Again, every security has a different sigma for a specific period of time, and as such your expectations should reflect these differences. Gold bullion currently has a one-day standard deviation of ±1 percent and a 12-month standard deviation of ±18.8 percent. (The one-day will always be lower than the 12-month.) So if gold’s return falls within a range of ±1 on any given day or ±18.8 percent for a 12-month period, it’s behaving normally, as this is only one sigma. Anything over 18.8 percent for a 12-month period would be heading toward two sigma, which is when a buy or sell action is advised.

Seasonal Cycle
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Now compare spot gold to the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index, which has a 12-month standard deviation of 35.5 percent—nearly double that of bullion. Plus or minus 35.5 percent might sound incredibly scary and volatile, but for gold stocks, a fluctuation of this sort is “normal,” occurring 68 percent of the time.

It’s all about managing your expectations and emotions.

Look at the following oscillator that charts the S&P 500 and gold bullion’s 60-day percent change over the past five years. Like the EKG tracings of a healthy patient, the lines bottom and peak, bottom and peak—but revert back to their mean with regular frequency.

Healthy Heartbeats. Gold Bullion vs. S&P 500 Index 60 Day Percent Change Oscillator Daily, 5 Years through August 15, 2014 in Standard Deviation Terms
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Oscillators are vital to identifying the optimal time to buy or sell. When prices exceed two sigma above the mean, it might be a good time to sell because the statistical data suggest the commodity is overvalued and, therefore, prices are due to drop toward their mean. When prices exceed two sigma below the mean, it indicates the commodity is undervalued. Buying the laggards at this time could enable you to participate in a potential rally.

No statistical tools are accurate 100 percent of the time, but investors can take ownership in how they use probability tools such as oscillators to manage the emotions of the market. It’s when an asset moves more than one sigma that the power of mean reversion raises your chances to capture opportunity. This is part of what makes investing so exciting.

Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.

Part III (Coming Soon)

In the third and final part of this series on managing expectations, I’ll discuss the anatomy of a bear market such as what gold mining stocks have experienced for three years. I’ll also discuss how we use relative fundamental stock evaluations, growth at a reasonable price (GARP) to pick stocks and some of the statistical tools we use to trade around core positions.

The job of active managers and the need to trade around core holdings is extremely important, especially when the daily, monthly and annual volatility is so excitable.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Standard deviation is a measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean. The more spread apart the data, the higher the deviation. Standard deviation is also known as historical volatility.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets.

The NYSE Arca Gold BUGS (Basket of Unhedged Gold Stocks) Index (HUI) is a modified equal dollar weighted index of companies involved in gold mining. The HUI Index was designed to provide significant exposure to near term movements in gold prices by including companies that do not hedge their gold production beyond 1.5 years.

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Big Dam Resources
August 12, 2014

Shareholder Report China's Resource Renaissance U.S. Global InvestorsChina’s 22,000-megawatt Three Gorges Dam, pictured on the cover of our latest Shareholder Report, is an undertaking that must be described in superlatives. Not only is it the world’s largest hydroelectric plant in terms of generating capacity, but it’s also one of history’s most expensive engineering feats, costing upwards of $25 billion.

Many believe that the dam rivals the Great Wall of China in terms of ingenuity, scale and cultural significance. And like the Great Wall, Three Gorges Dam is not without its detractors, who point out some of the project’s unfortunate consequences, such as the displacement of an estimated 1.5 million Chinese citizens.  

Consequences aside, China’s venture into hydro power, relatively inexpensive compared to other sources, has contributed to the nation’s reputation for having reasonably low energy prices.

Furthermore, building a power plant of such gargantuan size calls for massive amounts of resources. Construction of Three Gorges Dam required 21 million cubic yards of concrete (a world record) and 463,000 tonnes of rolled steel (enough to make 63 Eiffel Towers). These projects have been welcomed by international manufacturers, exporters and investors alike.

As you can see in the graphic below, China has more of the world’s largest hydroelectric plants than any other nation. That’s a lot of Eiffel Towers.


click to enlarge

Many readers might guess that the lone U.S. hydroelectric plant to make the list is Hoover Dam, but in fact it’s Washington State’s Grand Coulee Dam, which I discussed last month. Believe it or not, Hoover Dam no longer even makes it into the top 50 largest hydro plants in the world.

Not only does China lead the rest of us in sheer hydro megawattage, but it also trumps the competition when it comes to new capacity additions. Of the 19 hydroelectric power stations currently under construction around the globe, eight are Chinese.

Other countries that made significant additions to their hydropower market last year include Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam and Russia.


click to enlarge

For more on China’s resource Renaissance and commitment to renewable energy, check out our latest Shareholder Report. Remember also to subscribe to our award-winning Investor Alert and my personal blog, Frank Talk.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

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Net Asset Value
as of 08/26/2014

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $9.96 0.04 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $7.44 0.15 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $6.92 0.11 China Region Fund USCOX $8.47 No Change Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $8.07 0.08 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $33.95 0.05 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $24.63 0.07 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.26 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change