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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.

11 Reasons Why Everyone Wants to Move to Texas
August 30, 2016

Texas Wind Power

As many of you know, I was born in Canada but moved to the great State of Texas 26 years ago when I bought a controlling stake in U.S. Global Investors. As a “Tex-Can,” I’m so proud of my adoptive state and grateful for all that it’s done to help our company flourish.

But you don’t have to be a business owner to love and appreciate Texas. As you’ll see, many people are moving to the Lone Star State to take advantage of its many employment opportunities, tax advantages and all-around greatness. Below are just 11 reasons why more and more people want to move to Texas!  

1. Check out Our Mettle

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro now belongs to history, and by a very wide margin, American competitors walked away with the most medals: 121 altogether. Looking at gold medals, the U.S. still ranked first, with 46 won. But if we took away what Texas collected, the Land of the Free would have fallen to third place, behind the U.K. and China.

Texas would rank third in Olympic gold medals if it were its own country
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Houston was the winningest Texas city. Home to Olympic medalists Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Kerron Clement and more, H-Town is now 10 gold medals richer.

2. Moneybags

Texas is competitive in more than just Olympic events, of course. The state has the second-largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the Union, following California. If it were its own country, Texas would clock in at number 12 in the world, snuggled in between Canada and Australia.

Texas would rank twelth in GDP if it were its own country
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3. Tex-Can

If Texas were its own nation, in fact, its economy would be about the same size as Canada’s.

The Global Scale of America's Economy
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4. This Is Oil Country

Another thing Texas has in common with Canada? Black gold. Barrelsful of it.

Last month, Oslo-based Rystad Energy shared a report that shows the U.S. as now having the world’s largest reserve of recoverable oil, with 264 billion barrels in existing fields, unconventional shale and as-yet undiscovered areas. This is the first time such a report has moved the country ahead of both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Were it not for the contributions of oil-rich Texas, however, this might not be the case. Thanks in large part to fracking in prolific fields such as the Eagle Ford Formation and Sprayberry Trend, the state leads all others in crude production, annually gushing out more than a third of total U.S. output.

You can see how the fracking boom helped propel the state into the same league as major OPEC nations Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Texas Oil Production Raced Up to OPEC Gulf States
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5. A Mighty Wind

Texas is more than oil, of course. The natural-resource-rich state is also known for its natural gas production (it leads the nation), coal, electricity (again, number one in the States) and renewable energy—specifically, wind energy.

Texas Wind Power

Thanks to Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) and $33 billion in invested capital, Texas ranks first in the nation for installed wind capacity and the number of megawatts generated by wind. In 2015, close to 10 percent of the state’s electricity production came from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

With an estimated 17,000 Texans already employed in the state’s wind energy industry, Texas is in the process of installing an additional 5,200 megawatts.

6. Men at Work

Speaking of employment, that’s something else you can find a lot of in the Lone Star State. The oil industry might have taken a hit from falling crude prices, but the Texas economy has proven resilient. As you can see, the 2007-2008 global financial crisis had much less of an impact on state unemployment rates compared to other major countries and regions such as Canada, Australia, the European Union and United States.  

Texas Currently Has Lowest Unemployment Rate Among Selected Countries and Regions
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7. All Roads Lead to Texas

Welcome to Texas, drive friendly The Texas Way

Important to keeping business and commerce flowing, as well as helping commuters travel to and from their work, are roads. Texas has them in spades. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the state is connected by 313,596 miles of public road, the most of any state. With 18 numbered interstate highways, it also has more interstate miles than any other does.

If it were its own country, Texas would rank 13th by road network size, somewhere between Germany and Sweden.

At only $0.20 per gallon, the Texas gas tax is among the most reasonable in the nation. And because almost that entire amount goes to public transportation—$0.05 is devoted to public education—Texas has some of the best roads in the U.S.

While we’re on the topic of transportation, Texas also boasts the most airports of any state—1,415, according to StateMaster. Two of the four major U.S. carriers, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, are headquartered in the Lone Star State.    

8. No Income Tax

There are only seven states without an income tax, Texas among them. (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming round out the list.) 

Average Income Tax by State
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Neither does the state impose a corporate income tax, and last summer, Governor Gregg Abbott approved $4 billion in tax cuts for businesses and homeowners.

9. Gold Star State

The Texas bullion depository will be first in the nation

Governor Abbott is also responsible for what will be a first in the United States. More than a year after he signed a law to repatriate $1 billion in Texas gold bullion from a private HSBC vault in New York, construction will soon begin on the Texas Bullion Depository. Such a state-run gold depository doesn’t currently exist anywhere else in the U.S. It’s hoped that it will help turn Texas into a “financial Mecca,” in the words of one state senator.

10. Population Destination

Low taxes are one of the main appeals driving Texas’ rapid population growth. According to the Census Bureau, five of the 11 fastest-growing U.S. cities by population can be found in Texas. Ranking number two in the nation is New Braunfels, a lovely town originally settled by Germans that lies midway between San Antonio and Austin.

Between July 2014 and July 2015, the Lone Star State added 490,036 new residents, the most of any state by a wide margin.

Texas Added More REsidents than any other STate
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To put this in perspective, the number of new Texas arrivals alone between 2014 and 2015 exceeds the total populations of several countries, including Malta (population: 429,366, as of December 2014), Brunei (411,900, as of July 2014) and Iceland (336,060, as of June 2016). 

11. Bet on Tech

Texas Leads the Nation in Technology Exports

It’s not just people moving to Texas, though. Companies are as well—specifically tech companies, and, to get even more granular, Silicon Valley tech companies. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that, in recent years, more than $1 billion in taxable income has flowed from the Bay Area to Texas, as tech firms have sought not just lower taxes but also simpler regulation.

Indeed, the Lone Star State has emerged as a formidable tech hub to rival Silicon Valley. Employing more than 270,000 people, the state’s tech industry supports firms ranging in size from hip Austin startups to massive Fortune 500 companies such as Dell, Texas Instruments and Rackspace Hosting (which just agreed to a $4.3 billion acquisition deal by private equity firm Apollo Global Management).

For the last three years, Texas has led the nation in high-tech exports—everything from semiconductors to communications equipment. Last year, in fact, the state’s total sales amount exceeded California’s by a whopping $6.3 billion.

No wonder so many people are choosing Texas as the place to hang their hat!

 

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.

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 6/30/2016: American Airlines Inc., Southwest Airlines Co.

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The Real Truth About Millennial Investors
August 29, 2016

Millennials are expected to control up to $24 million by 2020

We’ve finally reached late August, meaning your Facebook newsfeed is probably brimming with children and teenagers sporting brand new sneakers and backpacks in preparation for their first day of school. Maybe one or two of your young ones are heading back this week or next. If so, I wish them all the best this year, and I hope you enjoy and cherish watching them grow.

It’s also around this time that hundreds of thousands of 18-year-olds will be attending their very first day of college or university. This cohort, born mostly in 1998, is among the youngest of millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. According to Census Bureau data, millennials are now the most populous adult segment in U.S. history, 83.1 million strong as of last summer. (By comparison, baby boomers number 75.4 million.)

This is why I find it so crucial to keep up with the trends, lifestyles and spending habits of this important group (not least of all because my own two sons belong to it). Any investment manager would be wise to do the same. Millennials are often characterized as entitled, lazy and disengaged, but many of these perceptions fail to stand up to scrutiny when we consider what they’ve already achieved in the information technology space. If you regularly use Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, Pinterest, Dropbox or any number of other popular apps valued in the tens of billions, you benefit from the work and imagination of entrepreneurs who came of age sometime during George W. Bush’s eight-year presidency.

There’s no getting around it: Millennials are our future leaders, innovators, consumers and investors. By 2020—a mere four years from now—they will make up an estimated 50 percent of the global workforce. What’s more, they’re expected to control between $19 trillion and $24 trillion on a global scale, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

Twenty-four trillion dollars. Let that sink in for a moment.

The First Digital Natives

One of the best ways to get a clear sense of the world this group has come of age in, I’ve found, is the Beloit College Mindset List. Every August since 1998, Beloit College has put together a list of cultural touchstones that helped shape and influence the current incoming class of college freshmen.

Last year, I was fascinated to learn that the class of 2019 has always depended on Google to answer their questions, always treated Wi-Fi as an entitlement, always known marijuana as a legal therapeutic substance in a growing number of states.

This year’s list for the class of 2020 is no less eye opening. Below, I’ve selected several points that illustrate millennials’ close relationship with digital technology.

  • There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
  • They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
  • If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
  • Books have always been read to you on audible.com.
  • Bluetooth has always been keeping us wireless and synchronized.
  • Airline tickets have always been purchased online.  

Millennials are expected to control up to $24 million by 2020Taken together, these observations shed some light on the expectations millennials have of their brands and services—expectations such as convenience, immediacy, transparency and a strong sense of community. It doesn’t matter how iconic or longstanding a brand is. If it fails to deliver on these expectations, 83 million millennials will antiquate it. (Remember Blockbuster?) Word of mouth is as important as ever, but the scope has vastly been broadened since their parents and grandparents’ time, from a handful of neighbors and acquaintances to a digital sea of millions.

Social Responsibility Matters

More so than past generations, millennials are mindful of ethical business practices and base many of their spending and investment decisions on those practices.

A recent study conducted by marketing tech firm Adroit Digital found that 38 percent of millennial consumers will drop a brand for another if it’s alleged to be doing “bad business”—consciously polluting a river, for example, or mistreating workers.

That social awareness translates to the investment side, even among wealthy investors. A vast majority of younger high-net worth individuals (HNWIs), defined as those controlling wealth greater than $10 million, expect their money managers to “screen investments based on environmental, social and governance factors,” according to FactSet. Sixty-one percent of millennials see these factors as essential, more than double the rate of their 55-and-older peers.

Younger Investors More Interested in "Socially Responsible" Investments
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Proceeding with Caution

The 2008-2009 financial crisis had a huge, lasting impact on young investors, who might have seen the value of their parents’ 401(k)s and portfolios cut nearly in half. As a result, many twenty and thirtysomethings tend to be a bit more cautious and conservative with their finances than Mom and Dad.

Consider this: In December 2015, UBS surveyed 2,638 affluent investors, including 584 millennials, on their investment attitudes. As a group, millennials maintained a larger cash holding than older generations (41 percent on average, compared to Generation X’s 28 percent and baby boomers’ 20 percent) and were unsatisfied with how their portfolios were positioned. Only 15 percent claimed they were “very happy,” compared to 32 percent of Generation X and 50 percent of baby boomers.

This could partially explain why millennials also have a much greater propensity to rent instead of commit to buying—which, in turn, helps explain the meteoric rise of “sharing economy” pioneers such as Uber (now worth more than Ford and GM) and Airbnb (worth more than Hyatt and Wyndham Worldwide).

Meanwhile, younger and lower-income Americans are less likely than their older peers to participate in investments such as mutual funds.

Younger, Lower-Income Americans Less Likely to Invest in Mutual Funds
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This is worrisome, especially since they themselves are skeptical of Social Security’s longevity. According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), as many as 80 percent of millennials fear Social Security will no longer be around by the time they retire.

Fortunately, we have a solution.

Dollar-Cost Averaging

For many cautious millennials, taking a more long-term, disciplined approach to investing makes sense. This can be achieved through dollar-cost averaging, an investment technique that lets you invest a fixed amount in a specific investment at regular, automatic intervals—often just $100 per month.

Think of it like dipping your foot into a lake inch-by-inch, instead of taking a running leap off a 20-foot cliff.

That’s the case with our popular ABC Investment Plan, which allows investors to fund their financial goals more affordably. Of course, no investment plan can guarantee a profit or protection against a loss in a declining market, and you should evaluate your financial ability to continue in such a program in view of the possibility that you might have to redeem shares in periods of rising and declining share prices.

But for younger investors who might feel hesitant to make the plunge all at once, the ABC Investment Plan is an option worth considering.    

 

 

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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and 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 of U.S. Global Investors Funds as of 6/30/2016: Ford Motor Co., Wyndham Worldwide Corp.

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These Olympian Gold Royalty Companies Are Insanely Attractive
August 22, 2016

Why You Should LIke These Gold Medal Royalty Companies

In a note last week, UBS echoed its earlier assessment that gold has indeed “entered a new bull run,” as I shared with you last month. The precious metal had a spectacular first half of the year, with total global demand reaching 2,335 tonnes, the second-highest on record, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

Despite this, gold is still under-owned, accounting for only 3 percent of total ETF assets under management, UBS writes. The group adds there is room for new or returning market participants who might have cleared out their gold positions during the recent bear market.

Driving the bull run, according to the group, are “a prolonged period of depressed real yields” and “elevated macro uncertainty.” These are themes I’ve returned to many times in the past six months, with global government bond yields continuing to drop below zero and economic and geopolitical unrest advancing following the Brexit referendum and ahead of the U.S. presidential election this November.

Confidence in monetary policy and appetite for government debt continues to erode. According to Zero Hedge, foreign central banks dumped a record $335 billion in U.S. Treasuries during the last year. The top seller in June was China, which cleared $28 billion in Treasuries off its balance sheet. Over the same period, the world’s second-largest economy added to its official gold reserves—500,000 ounces in June alone—in an effort to diversify its holdings.

China Winding Down U.S. Treasuries, Loading Up on Gold
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Investors should take heed of the fact that even central banks have become net buyers of gold. It’s always been my recommendation to maintain a 10 percent weighting in your portfolio—5 percent in gold bullion, another 5 percent in gold stocks.

A Superior Way to Gain Exposure to Gold

One of the best ways to play gold, I believe, is royalty and streaming companies. As a reminder, these companies serve as specialized financiers to explorers and producers. In return for upfront financing, they can receive one of two different types of payments. In one way, they can receive a royalty, or percentage, on whatever future sales the debtor company makes during the life of the mine.

In another way, they can buy a stream of precious metals at a low, fixed price. Discounts on gold, for instance, could be as much as 75 percent. This has typically been the preferred method for paying back the royalty company.

Some of our favorite names in this space include Franco-Nevada Mining, Silver Wheaton, Royal Gold and Sandstorm Gold, all of which have outperformed underlying gold for the 12-month period. Click the hyperlinks to read my special reports on Franco-Nevada and Silver Wheaton.

Royalty Companies Outshining Gold
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Better Allocators of Capital

Royalty and streaming companies show great opportunity on the upside but avoid many of the risks and operating expenses that explorers and producers must deal with.

Interestingly, they all employ a small group of technically skilled mining geologists, engineers, metallurgists and financial mining executives to analyze and monitor their investments.

Because they’re not responsible for buying mining machinery and building, operating and maintaining mines, they have a much lower total cash cost per ounce of gold than miners do. (In this context, cash cost refers to operational expenses that are paid using cash, rather than credit.) Their overhead is kept at a minimum, and they have some of the highest sales per employee in the world. As you can see below, their debt per share is much lower than senior miners Newmont Mining and Barrick Gold—the Army to royalty companies’ more agile and tactical Navy SEALs. Last year, Barrick cut $3.1 billion in debt last year and is on track to pay down an additional $2 billion this year.

We Believe Royalty Companies Have a Superior Business Model
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Their margins have typically been much larger than traditional explorers and producers, allowing them to remain profitable even during gold bear markets.

Take Sandstorm, one of the younger royalty companies. Its second-quarter cash cost per ounce of gold was a mere $261, giving it operating margins of $994 per ounce.

Compare this to Barrick, the world’s largest gold producer. Barrick reported cash costs of $578 per ounce, nearly double that of Sandstorm—and Barrick has some of the lowest costs compared to other miners, according to Motley Fool.

Royalty Companies: Capturing the Upside, Avoiding the Downside
  Mining Companies Royalty Companies
Precious metals price upside X X
Exploration upside X X
Production rate upside X X
No sustaining costs   X
No exploration costs   X
No capital expense overruns   X
Fixed cash costs   X

Investors like royalty companies because they’re a skilled team of former miners and mining executives who generate substantially greater gross margins and have materially fewer employees, with less general and administrative expense.

Further, they offer spectacular optionality. They often buy an asset with a payload over 10 years. However, these deposits often extend for 30 years, so they have potential for a much bigger payback. If the mining company expands production, it’s free additional cash flow, and if they make a large discovery near the producing mine, the royalties have free upside growth.

For further reading, one of the strongest overviews of royalty companies is Streetwise Reports’ “Precious Metal Royalties: The New Landscape.”

A New Entrant

Just as there still might be ample scope for gold investors to participate in the market, one CEO is betting there’s still room for another entrant into the precious metals royalty company space. Long-time precious metals commentator David Morgan recently helped found Lemuria Royalties, which reported in June that it had acquired its first silver royalty from a Peruvian mine operated by a subsidiary of Fortuna Silver Mines.

In January of this year, Morgan summed up his reasoning for establishing a new royalty company: “We favor the streaming and royalty companies a great deal because the risk is very low relative to, let’s say, an exploration company or even a producing company.”

This is precisely why we continue to find the royalty business model very attractive.

 

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.

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 06/30/2016: Barrick Gold Corp, Fortuna Silver Mines, Franco-Nevada Corp, Newmont Mining Corp, Royal Gold Inc., Sandstorm Gold Ltd., Silver Wheaton Corp.

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Gold Spending in India Is Set to Get a Boost from a Strong Monsoon Season
August 18, 2016

Since before recorded human history, the people of India have had an insatiable appetite for gold, treasuring it not only for its flawless natural beauty and religious significance but also as a superb store of value. This tradition carries on today, with India’s demand for gold jewelry in 2015 reaching more than 668 tonnes, nearly a third of total global demand and second in size only to China.

India and China Dominate Global Gold Jewelry Market
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I’ve pointed out many times before that the price of gold is largely driven by the Love Trade in India. Demand fluctuates year-to-year depending on several factors, the two most significant being the number of Indian weddings held in the fourth quarter and the amount of crop revenue that’s generated as a result of the summer monsoon season.

The wedding season is still three months away, but the June to September monsoon season is currently in full swing. It’s impossible to overstate just how crucial this period is to India’s important agriculture sector. During an average monsoon season, the Indian subcontinent can receive close to 80 percent of its total annual precipitation.

Most reports so far this year indicate surplus rainfall, with 12 inches being dumped nationwide last month alone, the fifth best month since the 1990s. This should come as welcome relief to Indian farmers, whose incomes have been squeezed by two long years of drought.

It’s also good news for gold consumption.

Converting Crops into Gold

Because of the above-average monsoon, gold spending in India is expected to increase 11 percent in 2016/2017 over the previous September to August crop season, according to Thomson Reuters. This would help reverse weak second-quarter jewelry demand in India due to a gold jewelers’ strike that closed the market for six weeks early in the quarter, a new 1 percent excise duty on jewelry and rising prices.

Gold has Rallied 26% Year-to-Date
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About a third of Indian gold demand comes from rural farmers, who have traditionally converted a percentage of all crop revenue into the precious metal to be held as insurance and sold in times of dire need. A GFMS/Thomson Reuters study conducted last year found that, between 1985 and 2014, there was a strong positive correlation between Indian crop revenue and spending on gold.

Following the crop season, we have Diwali and the Indian wedding season to look forward to.

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is arguably the most sacred holiday in Hinduism, celebrated by millions of people all over the globe. Much like Christmas, it serves as a major shopping season. Families splurge on expensive items such as cars, appliances, clothes—and gold jewelry. You can see how, in past years, the price of gold has ramped up in August and September as Indian merchants and jewelers restock inventories in preparation for the fall festival.  

Gold has Rallied 26% Year-to-Date
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150 Million Indian Weddings Between Now and 2021?

The largest owners of gold in Indian are women, as it is auspicious to give them gifts of gold jewelry before their weddings. Because India lacks a formal social security system, it’s vital for women in particular to have some form of wealth preservation in the event of divorce or widowhood. This is what’s known as stridhan—a portion of a married couple’s wealth that is controlled exclusively by the wife and to which she is entitled, even after separation from her husband.

As World Gold Council CEO Aram Shishmanian put it during our joint webcast in June: “In India, a marriage is not a marriage without gold.”  

Indian Weddings and Gold Infographic

So how many weddings are we talking about, and how much gold? Let’s look at the numbers. According to the Indian government, there are 300 million Indians between the ages of 25 and 29 from now until 2021. During this period, a projected 150 million weddings will take place. And for each wedding, roughly 35 percent to 40 percent of total expenses will be devoted to gold in the form of bullion, coins and jewelry.     

Put another way, it’s estimated that the amount of gold purchased for a typical Indian wedding ranges between 20 and 2,000 grams—equivalent to a little over 70.5 ounces, or $95,457 at today’s prices. The wealthier the family, of course, the more gold they can afford to buy.

But gold is just as popular and valued—if not more so—among lower income families, many of whom depend on monsoon rains to nourish their crops. Here’s to a bountiful yield!

 

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.

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Go Gold!
August 15, 2016

Last Friday marked one week since the start of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and it’s been nothing short of amazing. Michael Phelps, whose name should forevermore be synonymous with the Olympics, won his 22nd overall gold medal. He also was awarded his 13th individual gold, effectively breaking a record last set in 152 B.C. by legendary runner Leonidas of Rhodes.  

What I find most remarkable about Phelps’ success is that he’s had to overcome strong personal challenges to reach the level he’s at. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at a young age, and when he chose to get off his medication, he turned to swimming. More recently, he’s dealt with alcoholism, which landed him a DUI in 2014. His is a quintessentially American story of otherworldly success born out of failure, of meeting the obstacles that block his path to his goals head on.

When Phelps made the decision to compete in his fourth Olympics, he reteamed with his longtime swim coach Bob Bowman and set his mind to training harder than he ever had before—which, at his “advanced” age of 31, would be necessary if he hoped to have a shot at winning the gold.

The most decorated Olympian in history, Phelps, like all winners, focuses on winning. Losers, on the other hand, focus not on winning but on the winners in front of them. They’re more concerned about the short-term noise, at the expense of their long-term goal. The image at the top is a perfect illustration of this, with Phelps’ competitor clearly more concerned with “the Baltimore Bullet” than his own performance.

But many investors, I’ve found, are the same way. Today there’s a lot of noise and distraction, which can influence investment decisions. Much of that distraction is coming from the presidential election, which is already turning out to be one of the most negative and highly contentious in American history.

Trump Self-Sabotages

Someone who could benefit from Phelps’ steadfastness and commitment to his craft is the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who all too often sabotages his own campaign with controversial and incendiary remarks.

We saw this happen last week. While speaking to the Detroit Economic Club, Trump promised that, if elected, he would place a “temporary moratorium” on any new financial regulation. Further, he would repeal the Dodd-Frank Act and reform the tax code to include only three income-tax brackets, down from the current seven.

These are solid proposals, appealing to not only everyday taxpayers but also many of the CEOs I speak with on a regular basis. After all, they’re the ones who must deal with regulations on a daily basis.

The problem, though, is that Trump can’t stay on message. In the opening image, Trump is more like the guy who’s distracted by Phelps rather than Phelps himself. Trump invariably will say something inflammatory soon after making a sensible remark on policy, thereby effectively resetting the news cycle. In last week’s case, it was his comment on “Second Amendment people”—a veiled threat against Hillary Clinton, some interpreted—that dominated the headlines, taking all attention away from the moratorium on financial regulations.  

Research Firm: Get Ready for Madam President Clinton

The cover of TIME’s August 22 edition displays a striking likeness of Trump melting like an Air Wick candle. A single word punctuates the stark image: “Meltdown.” Whether or not you support the New York billionaire, you must admit that the “Trump train” has repeatedly jumped the track since the Republican convention. What’s more, we just learned that GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is being pressured by dozens of Republican insiders to withdraw all party support, including campaign financing, from Trump’s candidacy.

Things aren’t looking good. Even regression analysis now appears to show that Trump’s chances are retreating.

In a new report, investment research firm Ned Davis makes the case that, based on historical precedent, economic as well as stock and bond market performance so far this year is pointing to an incumbent party victory in November. The chart below shows that the upward trajectory of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2016 more closely resembles the average performance seen in all years when the incumbent party—Republican or Democrat—held on to office.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Performance Pointing to Incumbent Party Win in November
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According to Ned Davis strategists Ed Clissold and Victor Jessup, “When the economy has not been in a recession, the odds of the incumbent party retaining control of the White House has jumped to 71 percent.” Since 1900, presidential elections have landed during recessions five times. In four of these instances (1920, 1932, 1960 and 2008), the incumbent party lost. The exception was 1948 when Harry Truman won—just barely, if you remember your history—but the recession began the same month as the election.

The group points out, however, that it’s extremely rare for a two-term Democrat to pass the baton to a new Democrat via election. How rare? The last time this happened was in 1836, when Andrew Jackson—the very first Democratic president—was succeeded by Martin Van Buren.

Hillary for Precious Metals

I’m very often asked which candidate will be better for gold: Trump or Clinton? The honest truth is that the answer changes week-to-week. Sometimes it’s Trump because he has demonstrated unpredictability and unpreparedness. Other times, it’s Hillary because she has proposed policies that were clearly inspired by the socialist leanings of Bernie Sanders, who still remains very popular among far-left Democrats. In her economic address last week, she laid out her plan to make college “debt-free” and tuition absolutely “free” to children from families who earn less than $125,000 a year.

To make this plan happen, of course, income taxes will most likely need to be hiked. And if history tells us anything, it’s that gold demand has increased when socialist policies threatened economic growth. The price of gold is inversely correlated with the five-year and 10-year Treasury yields, which fall when the economy is floundering. This makes the yellow metal all the more attractive to investors.

That’s why I always recommend a 10 percent weighting in bullion and gold stocks, in both good and bad times. Gold has a history of holding its value even during economic turmoil, which is why it’s prudent to maintain an allocation in your portfolio.

Alibaba Beats Expectations. Is China Next?

Last Thursday, giant Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba posted spectacular numbers, suggesting a turnaround for the world’s second biggest economy possibly isn’t too far behind. Alibaba—whose 2014 IPO stands as the largest in U.S. history, according to Renaissance Capital—posted quarterly revenues of $4.8 billion, a whopping 60 percent increase from the same time last year, and the biggest ever since before the company went public.

This is constructive news for China. Alibaba works with a reported 8.5 million sellers, from mom-and-pop-type shops to multibillion-dollar, international corporations, making for a good cross-section of the Chinese economy. (You could argue the same of Amazon and the U.S. economy.) That Alibaba’s sales are up indicates that consumption in China is stronger than perhaps analysts anticipated. Indeed, Beijing reported that retail sales grew nearly 11 percent in the second quarter  year-over-year, beating estimates of 9.9 percent.   

 

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