Share this page with your friends:

Print

Please note: The Frank Talk articles listed below contain historical material. The data provided was current at the time of publication. For current information regarding any of the funds mentioned in these presentations, please visit the appropriate fund performance page.

Will the Gold Bull Market Resume After the Summer Correction?
July 25, 2016

Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination for president this week

Looking more Las Vegas casino than Oval Office, the stage Donald Trump delivered his nomination acceptance speech from Thursday was all gold, from the stairs to the podium, completely befitting of his showman-like style. Whether you support or oppose Trump, it’s time to face reality. This is really happening, and we should all brace ourselves for what will surely be one of America’s messiest, ugliest general election seasons.

Only time will tell which candidate will be triumphant in November, but in the meantime, one of the winners might very well be gold, which has traditionally attracted investors in times of political and economic uncertainty. In the United Kingdom, which voted one month ago to leave the European Union, gold dealers are seeing “unprecedented” demand, especially from first-time buyers. Some investors are reportedly even converting 40 to 50 percent of their net worth into bullion, though that’s not advisable. (I always suggest a 10 percent weighting, diversified in physical gold and gold mining stocks.) In Japan, where government bond yields have fallen below zero and faith in Abenomics is flagging, gold sales are soaring.

It’s not unreasonable to expect the same here in the U.S. between now and November (and beyond).

Strong U.S. Dollar and Treasury Yields Weighing on Gold

More so than the upcoming election, gold prices are being driven by U.S. dollar action, interest rates and low-to-negative bond yields around the world. (Between $11 trillion and $13 trillion worth of global sovereign debt currently carries a negative yield.) Right now the yellow metal is in correction mode on a strengthening dollar and rising two-year and 10-year Treasury yields, both of which share an inverse relationship with gold.

Gold Corrects on Rise of 10-Year Treasury Yield
click to enlarge

It’s also worth mentioning that the summer months have historically been among the weakest. By contrast, some of the highest gold returns of the year have occurred in September, when the Love Trade heats up in India in anticipation of Diwali and the wedding season.

Gold's Average Monthly Gains and Losses, 1975 - 2013
click to enlarge

For the past several trading days, gold demand had also been overshadowed by a hot equities market, with many stocks hitting 52-week highs. Both the S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at all-time highs, twice in the latter’s case. The CNN Fear & Greed Index, which measures investor sentiment, is currently in “Extreme Greed” mode, at more than a two-year high.

Markets in Extreme Greed Mode

With gold taking a breather, now might be a good buying opportunity. Since 1970 there have been only four major gold bull markets, and the consensus among analysts right now is that we’re in the early stages of a new one, with end-of-year forecasts in the $1,400 an ounce range.

Learn more about what’s driving gold.

Rumors of Brexit’s Negative Impact Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Despite gold’s correction, the metal got a boost last Thursday courtesy of Mario Draghi. The European Central Bank (ECB) president, as expected, announced that euro area interest rates and asset purchases would remain unchanged as economic ramifications of the Brexit referendum continue to be assessed.

Speaking of Brexit, Draghi noted that markets have met the volatility and uncertainty in the month following the U.K. referendum with “encouraging resilience.” Like many others, he had predicted that Brexit would dramatically stunt euro growth, but as we’ve already seen, such claims are overdone. In a note released last week, securities trading firm KCG wrote that June 24, the day following the British referendum, “was no repeat of August 24,” a reference to the “flash crash” that struck equities last summer and led to ETF mispricing.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) trimmed 0.1 percent from its global economic growth forecast for the year, singling out Brexit fallout as the culprit. Curiously, though, the organization sees the U.K. growing faster than both Germany and France this year and next. This disconnect prompted U.K. Independence Party MP Douglas Carswell to label the IMF as “clowns” with “serious credibility problems.”

IMF Sees the U.K. Growing Faster Than Germany and France, Despite Brexit
click to enlarge

Following Draghi’s statement, gold prices immediately popped in Thursday morning trading, effectively hitting the pause button on the correction. On Friday, though, prices continued to slide, contributing to gold’s second straight week of losses.

The next hurdle to be cleared is a U.S. interest rate hike. Expectations that rates will go up in September have wobbled back and forth since Brexit, but in recent days, it’s been reported that Federal Reserve officials feel confident enough to raise them at least once before the end of the year. Gold will face additional pressure if rates are allowed to rise, but if the Fed chooses to stand pat, it could serve as another catalyst for a price surge.

 

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.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry.

The CNN Fear & Greed Index monitors seven market factors, including stock price momentum, stock price strength, stock price breadth, put and call options, junk bond demand, market volatility and safe haven demand, by calculating how far they have veered from their averages relative to how far they normally veer, on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 indicating fear and 100 greed. Then, the seven scores are equally combined into one.

Share “Will the Gold Bull Market Resume After the Summer Correction?”

Why I Don’t Believe Trump or Hillary Would Tax this Important Asset Class
July 20, 2016

It's unlikely either Trump or Hillary would be in favor of taxing municipal bonds.

U.S. municipal bonds have had a spectacular first half of the year. As of July 1, they returned 6.2 percent on a tax-adjusted basis, compared to the 2.7 percent for the S&P 500 Index, placing them among the top performers of 2016 so far. Last month was munis’ best June performance since 2000, according to Bloomberg, spurred largely by negative bond yields around the globe and investor uncertainty following the Brexit referendum in the U.K.

Inflows have been robust. Between January and May of this year, more than $27.2 billion in new cash flowed into muni bond mutual funds, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI). That’s a huge step up from the $8.4 billion during the same period last year.

For the week ended July 13, muni mutual funds saw a spectacular $1.2 billion in net new cash, up from the previous week’s $738 million and above the four-week moving average of $1.1 billion. This extends muni bonds’ multi-month-long streak in net inflows—already one of the longest in U.S. history—proving that in a world of low government bond yields and macroeconomic uncertainty, munis continue to be sought as a “safe haven” for their relatively low volatility, modest gains and, of course, tax-free income.

40 Straight Weeks of Net Muni Bond Fund Inflows
click to enlarge

Even yield-starved foreign investors, who aren’t eligible to take advantage of the tax benefits, are seeking shelter in American munis. As I’ve mentioned before, about $10 trillion worth of global government debt now carries historically low or negative yields.

A World of Negative Yields
click to enlarge

For some investors, the worry now is that the muni tax exemption might soon be capped or eliminated altogether, which would drastically reduce the security’s appeal.

The thing is, I don’t see this happening. Here’s why.

More than 100 Years of Tax-Free Income

State and Local Government Projects Financed Through Tax-Exempt Muni Bonds (2003-2012) First, a little historical background. Municipal bonds were first written into the tax code a little over 100 years ago, in 1913. Since then, they’ve helped finance countless essential public works projects—everything from schools to hospitals, roads to bridges, airports to seaports, sewers to water treatment plants. More than three quarters of all national infrastructure needs have been built and maintained using muni bonds, which investors have been attracted to for their tax-free income.

Today, over 57 percent of muni investors are over the age of 65, many of whom live on fixed incomes, according to IRS data.  

On more than one occasion, President Barack Obama has proposed capping the tax benefit, on the grounds that too much of the $30 billion or so a year in foregone federal taxes ends up in wealthy investors’ pockets. Indeed, a recent study shows that between 1989 and 2013, municipal bond ownership has increasingly concentrated among the nation’s wealthiest households.

Think this is purely part of a socialist agenda? On the contrary, there’s been bipartisan support for the idea. Republicans as prominent as former House Speaker John Boehner and Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have floated capping muni income.

But with only six months remaining before Obama vacates the White House, a cap is highly unlikely to happen.

It’s equally as unlikely that the next occupant would be in favor of lifting the exemption.

Trump and Hillary, United in Infrastructure Spending

Both presidential nominee Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who is set to receive the Democratic nomination next week, are strong advocates of infrastructure spending. This might be the only thing the two candidates have in common with each other, as CLSA analyst Christopher Wood pointed out recently in his “GREED & fear” newsletter. Trump has promised a “trillion dollar rebuilding program,” while Clinton has proposed a five-year, $275 billion infrastructure restoration package.

This is certainly good news for our roads, bridges, schools and other public works, many of which are in sore need of a spit shine.

It’s also good for muni investors.

Ending or reducing the tax benefit is ill-conceived, and I think Trump and Clinton both know that. It would jeopardize hundreds of billions of dollars each year in new debt financing, and would push more construction and labor costs onto local taxpayers.

So leaving all else aside, I’m confident that no matter who wins the election in November, the tax exemption is safe.

 

Discover how to take advantage of the $3.7 trillion muni market!

 

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.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. This article may include certain “forward-looking statements” including statements relating to revenues, expenses, and expectations regarding market conditions. These statements involve certain risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.

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

Share “Why I Don’t Believe Trump or Hillary Would Tax this Important Asset Class”

Is this the Airlines Liftoff Investors Have Been Waiting For?
July 18, 2016

Silver Takes the Gold: Commodities Halftime Report 2016

A flurry of good news lifted airline stocks higher last week, reversing a drop in altitude that’s weighed on the industry so far in 2016. Fueled primarily by a bullish report from Deutsche Bank, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Continental collectively advanced 6.5 percent last Tuesday alone. The German bank’s all-clear signal halted a six-month slide on overcapacity, Brexit uncertainty and heightened fears of global terrorism.

US Airlines Jump Most Since 2014 Following Deutsche Bank Report
click to enlarge

Leading the group was American Airlines, which announced last Tuesday that it would renew its credit card deals with both Citigroup and Barclays, a move that’s estimated to add $1.55 billion to the carrier’s pretax income over the next three years—$200 million this year, $550 million in 2017 and $800 million in 2018.

The agreement will allow Citi to offer its credit cards to new customers on American Airlines’ website and mobile apps, through direct mail and in Admirals Club lounges, while Barclaycard will be permitted to reach customers in airports and during American flights.

Investors also rewarded Delta for better-than-expected profits, which rose 4.1 percent to $1.55 billion in the second quarter. In an effort to push up fares, the number two carrier announced plans that it would cut capacity on U.S.-U.K. flights due to British pound weakness following Brexit.

Playing the Long Game with Near-Term Results

Looking ahead, aircraft-makers Boeing and Airbus both see huge growth in deliveries as the global middle class continues to swell in rank. In its Current Market Outlook, Boeing projects total demand for nearly 40,000 new jets over the next 20 years—a 4 percent increase over last year’s forecast—with a large percentage of the growth occurring in Asia. Altogether, these deals are valued at a monumental $5.9 trillion.

Total new jet deliveries estimated at 5 9 trillion
click to enlarge

Airbus’ forecast, while somewhat more conservative, is no less impressive. The French airline manufacturer sees demand for more than 33,000 new aircrafts between now and 2035, all with a market value of $5.2 trillion.

The lion’s share of this expansion is expected to take place in emerging and developing countries such as India and China, where middle class growth is booming. Higher incomes should heat up flight demand and help air traffic double over the next 15 years, according to Airbus. In India alone, air traffic is expected to accelerate fivefold between now and 2035. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sees the number of global revenue passenger miles rising from 877 billion in 2015 to 1.02 trillion in 2024.

Global middle class to move from 2 8 billion to 4 8 billion in 20 years
click to enlarge

In the near term, domestic airlines continue to trade at extremely low multiples compared to other stocks in the industrials sector. Compare airlines’ price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios to transportation stocks and the broader stock market. Whereas American is trading at a little over 4 times earnings, transportation stocks—which include trucks, railroads and other industrials—trade at more than 14 times earnings. The S&P 500 Index, meanwhile, currently trades at more than 20 times earnings.

Domestic Airlines Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratios As of July 15
American Airlines 4.15
United Continental 4.11
Delta Airlines 7.1
Southwest Airlines 11.53
  S&P Transportation Select Industry Index 14.06
  S&P 500 Index 20.06

Domestic carriers also continue to return money to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buyback programs. American, for example, repurchased more than 50 million shares, worth $1.7 billion, in the second quarter. As of March, Southwest Airlines had a phenomenal three-year dividend growth rate of 101.2 percent, according to GuruFocus data. This helps support the thesis that the industry offers many attractive buying opportunities right now.

How Regulations Have Hurt Retail Investors

In past weeks and months, I’ve written about how excessive regulations are atrophying global economic growth. Granted, regulations are often well intentioned and necessary to create a level playing field. But when they grow too large in number and scope, it’s a little like having more referees than players on the basketball court.

Here in the U.S., federal regulations cost U.S. businesses more than $1.88 trillion a year. If they were their own economy, American regulations would be the ninth largest in the world, just ahead of Russia. Small businesses, which are responsible for more than half of all U.S. sales and employ 55 percent of all American workers, increasingly rank regulations as one of the top challenges facing their growth and survival.

This isn’t just an American phenomenon, of course. Last month, Brits voted to leave the European Union largely because they recognize overzealous regulation and envy policies as impediments to innovation. They’re tired of falling behind. Why else did the European Commission recently require American tech giants Netflix and Amazon to guarantee that at least 20 percent of their streaming video content is shot in Europe? Were EU rules not so corrosive to innovation, the continent might have its own Silicon Valley and its own Netflix (and, I might add, more attractive tax incentives to produce movies and TV shows in their countries).

Now, thanks to a slide deck from InvestX Financial CEO Marcus New, it’s clear just how detrimental U.S. regulations have been in the formation of capital. In the years preceding 2001, we could have expected to see 100 new companies on average go public every quarter. Since then, that number has fallen to around 30. Because of the mounting risks involved, the gestation period leading up to an IPO has ballooned from three years to more than 13 years, with an average $261 million raised per issuer, compared to $88 million between 1990 and 2001.

Most Profit Now Generated Private Stage Typically Fewer than 50 Investors
click to enlarge

Also because of regulations, smaller retail investors have effectively been blocked from participating in higher-yielding investments—namely, private equity and venture capital, whose 10-year compound annual growth rates have averaged 11.8 and 11 percent, quite a bit more than Treasuries, equities and other common asset classes.

Investors Are Locked out of 1 Asset Class
click to enlarge

For the most part, only accredited investors—those who have earned income that exceeds $200,000 or a net worth of over $1 million—are permitted to participate. As a result, it’s only the rich who get, well, richer.

Again, these rules are well intentioned. The justification is that everyday investors should be protected from the heightened risks involved in more sophisticated assets. At the same time, many people are being restricted from opportunities that might help them move up the socioeconomic ladder—opportunities that are open only to those who’ve already “made it.”

It seems, then, that the Occupy Movement and other class warriors who criticize and bash the 1 percent for “stealing all the wealth” would do well to direct some of their ire at the socialist rules responsible for restricting their social mobility.

Personal finance and investing were among the many topics discussed last week at FreedomFest, “the largest gathering of free minds,” which I regrettably couldn’t attend this year. FreedomFest was founded in 2002 by my friend Mark Skousen, then-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and author of several books, including one of my favorites, The Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. I highly recommend you check it out.

Keep Munis Tax-Free

You might be aware of the debate happening right now on whether to lift the tax exemption on municipal bonds. Last Friday, Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to affirm its opposition “to any legislative proposal that taxes, in whole or in part, municipal bonds.”

Tax-free munis, as the coalition points out, have long been responsible for funding public infrastructure projects, from schools to highways to airports to seaports.

Part of munis’ appeal as an investment is that they are tax-free at the federal level and often the state and local levels. Removing the exemption could dramatically limit their attractiveness, which would ultimately affect America’s ability to maintain livable communities.

But here’s why I believe it won’t happen. Both major candidates for president, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, strongly support increasing infrastructure spending. In fact, it’s the one thing they have in common with each other. I don’t believe either President Trump or President Clinton would be in favor of allowing munis to be taxed, thereby risking financing for new projects.

A Brokered Democratic Convention?

In closing, it might seem like a done deal that Hillary and Trump will be our nominees. After all, Senator Bernie Sanders finally threw in the towel, endorsing his Democratic rival.

But don’t count Sanders out just yet, especially now that the investigation into Hillary’s private email server has bruised her poll numbers. There’s historical precedence for a contested convention. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt—who, like Sanders, was considered by many to be too far left to win the general election—failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority of delegates. He was even rumored to have endorsed his rival, Governor Al Smith. And yet, Roosevelt brokered a deal at the convention that won him his party’s nomination and, eventually, the presidency.

Will history repeat itself? Could Sanders attempt to do the same? We’ll find out soon enough.

With political uncertainty high, and with fiscal and monetary policies imbalanced, gold remains an attractive asset class. As always, I suggest a 10 percent weighting in gold bullion and gold stocks, with a rebalance either quarterly or annually.

 

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.

The price to earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the measure of the share price relative to the annual net income earned by the firm per share. The P/E ratio shows current investor demand for a company share. A high P/E ratio generally indicates increased demand because investors anticipate earnings growth in the future.

There is no guarantee that the issuers of any securities will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, will remain at current levels or increase over time.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The S&P Transportation Select Industry Index represents the transportation sub-industry portion of the S&P Total Stock Market Index.

Holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more accounts managed by U.S. Global Investors as of 3/31/2016: American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Southwest Airlines Co., The Boeing Co., Airbus Group SE, Barclays Bank PLC,

Share “Is this the Airlines Liftoff Investors Have Been Waiting For?”

8 Ways Short-Term Munis Can Make You Scream “Oh Yes!”
July 14, 2016

9 Ways Short-Term Munis Can Make You Scream “Oh Yes!”

Who says municipal bonds aren’t sexy? They were the top fixed-income asset class of 2015, compared to U.S. Treasuries and corporate bonds, and they even outperformed the S&P 500 Index. Still not convinced? Check out the following ways short-term munis can make you scream “Oh yes!”

1. Tax. Free. Income.

One of munis’ most titillating qualities is that they’re tax-free at the federal level.

But they can also be tax-free at the state level depending on where you live. There are only seven states without an income tax, meaning you’re on the hook if you live in those other 43 states. Municipal bonds can minimize the burden.

Average Income Tax by State
click to enlarge

 

Discover the top five states in our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) by percentage.

Tax-exempt income is federal income tax free. A portion of this income may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax. The Near-Term Tax Free Fund may invest up to 20 percent of its assets in securities that pay taxable interest. Income or fund distributions attributable to capital gains are usually subject to both state and federal income taxes.

2. Capital preservation

Because munis are tax-free, you get to keep more of your wealth in your own pocket.

NEARX seeks preservation of capital and has maintained a net asset value (NAV) that’s floated in the $2 range. It’s demonstrated minimal fluctuation in its share price, even during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

10+ Years Minimal Daily Drama
click to enlarge

3. Low default rate

True or false? The odds are greater that you will be struck by lightning than a high-quality muni will default on a payment.

True! Between 1970 and 2014, not a single Aaa-rated muni defaulted, while Aa and A-rated bonds—the kinds NEARX heavily invests in—were highly unlikely to default. Corporate bonds, on the other hand, had an increasing rate of defaults the lower their credit rating and further out from their issuance, according to Moody’s.

The chart below illustrates Moody’s findings of default rates between 1970 and 2014. It shows the rise in such rates between year one of a bond’s issuance, which could be at any time within the chart’s range, and year 10. You can see that munis’ default rate is near-zero and that Aaa-rated bonds don’t even register.     

Municipal vs. Corporate Bond Default Rates by Year, 1970 - 2014
click to enlarge

4. Calm in times of market turmoil

Speaking of “moody,” even when the S&P 500 was acting sporadically, munis were steady growers. Check out the following chart, which shows hypothetical investments of $100,000 in the Near-Term Tax Free Fund and S&P 500 stocks at the end of 1999. (You cannot directly invest in an index.) The equity market had two massive declines during this period, while NEARX rose steadily. In fact, it took 14 years for the equity market to catch up. (Figures include reinvestment of capital gains and dividends, but the performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund’s prospectus which, if applicable, would lower your total returns.)

Near-Term Tax Free Fund vs. S&P 500 Index
click to enlarge

Granted, the two major drops in value during this period—first when the tech bubble burst, then during the financial crisis—were among the worst the market has ever witnessed. Investors shouldn’t expect NEARX to outperform at all times.

Because the fund invests primarily in municipal securities, there is a risk that the value of these securities will fall if interest rates rise. Ordinarily, when interest rates go up, municipal security prices fall. The longer a fund’s weighted-average maturity, the more sensitive it is to changes in interest rates. Interest rates have been and are currently at historical lows due to, among other things, governmental intervention, including quantitative easing. There may be less governmental intervention in the near future to maintain low interest rates. If so, it could cause an increase in interest rates, which would have a negative impact on the value of fixed income securities and could negatively affect the fund’s net asset value.

5. …AND in times of rising and falling interest rates

You might think longer is always better, but in the case of munis, it pays to be short. Short-term munis—such as the ones that mostly make up NEARX—are less sensitive to interest rate stimulation than longer-term instruments. (Bond prices fall when rates go up, and vice versa.) Below, we use Treasury yields to illustrate how munis could be similarly affected:

Potential Interest Rate Increase Of and Potential Price Movement

6. Attractive Yields

Compare Yields - 30-Day SEC, Tax Equivalent, NEARXFor the first time ever, Germany’s 10-year government bond yield recently fell below zero, joining negative government debt issued by Japan, Switzerland and other countries. This has prompted many foreign investors to seek out other investments, including American municipal bonds, which still offer attractive yields.

7. Make America strong

Want to “make America great again”? Well, if you invest in short-term munis, you’re already doing it! This $3.7 trillion market funds everything from schools to roads to hospitals to utilities—and more.

Munis Fund Schools

8. 21 straight years of positive returns

Since 1995, NEARX has delivered positive annual returns—no matter what interest rates were doing, no matter the condition of the market. This is not to say that NEARX will continue to perform like this indefinitely, only that the fund has a well-tested history of “no drama.”

In Various Interest Rate Environments, NEARX has had 21 STraight years of Positive Returns - 2016
click to enlarge

Interested in learning more on tax-free income? Check out our infographic, Why Investing in Short-Term Municipal Bonds Makes Sense Now. Then, be sure to request information on this exciting product!

 

 

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. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Distributor. U.S. Global Investors is the investment adviser.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Total Annualized Returns as of 6/30/2016
Fund One- Year Five-Year Ten-Year Gross
Expense
Ratio
Expense
Cap
Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) 2.22% 2.13% 3.13% 1.09% 0.45%
Barclays 3-Year Municipal Bond Index 2.26% 1.66% 3.11% N/A N/A
S&P 500 Index 3.99% 12.10% 7.42% N/A N/A

Expense ratio as stated in the most recent prospectus. The expense cap is a contractual limit through April 30, 2016, for the Near-Term Tax Free Fund, on total fund operating expenses (exclusive of acquired fund fees and expenses, extraordinary expenses, taxes, brokerage commissions and interest). Performance data quoted above is historical. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. For a portion of periods, the fund had expense limitations, without which returns would have been lower. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. The principal value and investment return of an investment will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund’s prospectus, which, if applicable, would lower your total returns. Performance quoted for periods of one year or less is cumulative and not annualized. Obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end at www.usfunds.com or 1-800-US-FUNDS.

Bond funds are subject to interest-rate risk; their value declines as interest rates rise. Though the Near-Term Tax Free Fund seeks minimal fluctuations in share price, it is subject to the risk that the credit quality of a portfolio holding could decline, as well as risk related to changes in the economic conditions of a state, region or issuer. These risks could cause the fund’s share price to decline. Tax-exempt income is federal income tax free. A portion of this income may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax. The Near-Term Tax Free Fund may invest up to 20% of its assets in securities that pay taxable interest. Income or fund distributions attributable to capital gains are usually subject to both state and federal income taxes.

The Near-Term Tax Free Fund invests at least 80 percent of its net assets investment-grade municipal securities. At the time of purchase for the fund’s portfolio, the ratings on the bonds must be one of the four highest ratings by Moody’s Investors Services (Aaa, Aa, A, Baa) or Standard & Poor’s Corporation (AAA, AA, A, BBB). Credit quality designations range from high (AAA to AA) to medium (A to BBB) to low (BB, B, CCC, CC to C). In the event a bond is rated by more than one of the ratings organizations, the highest rating is shown.

The Barclays 3-Year Municipal Bond Index is a total return benchmark designed for short-term municipal assets. The index includes bonds with a minimum credit rating BAA3, are issued as part of a deal of at least $50 million, have an amount outstanding of at least $5 million and have a maturity of 2 to 4 years. The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies.

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

Share “8 Ways Short-Term Munis Can Make You Scream “Oh Yes!””

Gold Is Just Getting Warmed Up: UBS Analyst
July 12, 2016

It’s been a stellar six months for gold investors. The yellow metal has surged 28 percent year-to-date, its best first half of the year since 1974. And now there are signs that the rally is just getting started.

That’s the assessment of analysts from UBS and Credit Suisse, who see gold entering a new bull run. According to UBS analyst Joni Teves, gold could climb to $1,400 an ounce in the short term on macroeconomic uncertainty, dovish monetary policy and lower yields.

“These factors,” Teves writes, “justify strategic gold allocations across different types of investors” and should encourage hesitant investors to participate.

Already-low bond yields around the globe have fallen even further in Brexit’s wake, many of them hitting fresh all-time lows, including yields in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Japan and elsewhere. For the first time ever, Switzerland’s entire stock of bond yields has fallen below zero, with the 50-year yield plunging to negative 0.03 percent on July 5.

Switzerland 50-Year Bond Yield
click to enlarge

Canada’s 30-year bond yield also plunged to a record low, as did yields on the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries.

Canada 30-Year Bond Yield
click to enlarge

U.S. 30-Year Treasury Yield
click to enlarge

U.S. 10-Year Treasury Yield
click to enlarge

About $10 trillion worth of global government debt now carry historically low or negative yields, which are “creating negative growth” in the world economy, according to billionaire “bond king” Bill Gross in his recent Investment Outlook.

Anemic yields are also contributing to gold’s attractiveness right now. Since Britain’s June 23 referendum, the precious metal has rallied more than 8 percent, helping it achieve its best first half of the year in more than a generation.

Negative Real Rates Fuel Prices

Joining UBS in forecasting further gains is Credit Suisse, which sees gold reaching $1,500 by as early as the start of next year. As Kitco reports, Credit Suisse analyst Michael Slifirski writes that “the surprise Brexit vote has solidified and intensified macro and political uncertainty and extended the time frame for a negative real rate environment in the U.S. and potentially abroad.”

This is precisely what I told BNN’s Paul Bagnell this week, using Canada as an example. The Canadian 10-year yield is sitting just below 1 percent, while inflation in May came in at 1.5 percent. When we subtract the latter from the former, we get a real rate of negative 0.5 percent—meaning inflation is eating your lunch. Like negative bond yields, negative real rates have in the past accelerated momentum in gold’s Fear Trade.

We need only look at the end of the last upcycle in gold to see this to be the case. When gold hit its all-time high of $1,900 in August 2011, real interest rates were around -3 percent. A five-year Treasury bond yielded only 0.9 percent, and that’s before inflation took 3.8 percent. But as real rates rose, gold prices fell. Now the reverse is happening.

Gold Rebound Linked to Fall in Interest Rates
click to enlarge

Gold Miners Rally

The appreciation in bullion is helping to push up gold mining stocks. The FTSE Gold Mines Index, which tracks seniors such as Barrick Gold, Newmont Mining and Goldcorp, is up a phenomenal 125 percent year-to-date.

Our own Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) and World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX) are both performing exceptionally well, with USERX returning close to 80 percent for the one-year period and UNWPX surging nearly 100 percent during the same period.

U.S. Global Investors Gold Funds
click to enlarge

Managed by Ralph Aldis, named a Metals and Mining “TopGun” by Brendan Wood International last year, the Gold and Precious Metals Fund holds four stars overall from Morningstar out of 71 Equity Precious Metals funds, based on risk-adjusted returns, as of June 30, 2016.  

With gold having possibly entered the early stages of a new bull run, it might be time to consider gold stocks. I invite you to visit our gold funds page to learn more about what’s driving gold right now.

I WANT TO LEARN MORE

 

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. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Distributor. U.S. Global Investors is the investment adviser.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Total Annualized Returns as of 6/30/2016
Fund One-Year Five-Year Ten-Year Gross Expense Ratio Expense Cap
Gold and Precious Metals Fund 67.827% -8.04% -0.36% 2.20% 1.90%
World Precious Minerals Fund 87.51% -11.85% -2.90% 2.01% 1.90%

Expense ratios as stated in the most recent prospectus. The expense cap is a voluntary limit on total fund operating expenses (exclusive of any acquired fund fees and expenses, performance fees, extraordinary expenses, taxes, brokerage commissions and interest) that U.S. Global Investors, Inc. can modify or terminate at any time, which may lower a fund’s yield or return. Performance data quoted above is historical. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. For a portion of periods, the fund had expense limitations, without which returns would have been lower. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. The principal value and investment return of an investment will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund’s prospectus (e.g., short-term trading fees of 0.05%) which, if applicable, would lower your total returns. Performance quoted for periods of one year or less is cumulative and not annualized. Obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end at www.usfunds.com or 1-800-US-FUNDS.

Morningstar Rating

Overall/71
3-Year/71
5-Year/69
10-Year/50

Gold and Precious Metals Fund
Morningstar ratings based on risk-adjusted return and number of funds
Category: Equity Precious Metals
Through: 6/30/2016

Morningstar Ratings are based on risk-adjusted return. The Morningstar Rating for a fund is derived from a weighted-average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five- and ten-year Morningstar Rating metrics. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a fund’s monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads, and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.)

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 FTSE Gold Mines Index Series encompasses all gold mining companies that have a sustainable and attributable gold production of at least 300,000 ounces a year, and that derive 75% or more of their revenue from mined gold.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Gold and Precious Metals Fund and World Precious Minerals Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 3/31/2016: Barrick Gold Corp. 1.60% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.00% in World Precious Minerals Fund; Newmont Mining Corp. 0.00% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund and World Precious Minerals Fund; Goldcorp Inc. 5.13% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 1.27% in World Precious Minerals Fund.

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. This article may include certain “forward-looking statements” including statements relating to revenues, expenses, and expectations regarding market conditions. These statements involve certain risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.

Share “Gold Is Just Getting Warmed Up: UBS Analyst”

Net Asset Value
as of 07/22/2016

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $5.49 -0.01 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $9.59 0.01 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $8.43 0.04 China Region Fund USCOX $7.32 0.04 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $5.38 -0.01 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $24.17 0.15 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $18.47 0.19 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.26 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.01 No Change