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Giving Thanks to the Innovators and Creators of Capital
December 1, 2014

DrKaye-E-WilkinsOur office recently had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Kaye E. Wilkins, who practices pediatric orthopedic surgery here in San Antonio. The recipient of the 2008 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Humanitarian Award, Dr. Wilkins has made it his mission to bring life-changing treatments to underprivileged parts of the world. He established the Haiti Clubfoot Project, which trains nonphysician technicians to correct this debilitating deformity and give Haitian children a second chance at life. We were humbled to see and hear of Dr. Wilkins’s lifelong altruism and passion for helping others, no matter their background. 

No one needs justification to tout Dr. Wilkins’s accomplishments, but I bring him up because he’s reflective of the America I believe in. The United States ranks as the most giving, charitable country on Earth, and this is especially true during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Near the end of last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan donated nearly $1 billion to charity. One billion dollars! The combined amount of the top 20 largest donations of 2013 actually exceeds a mind-boggling $5.7 billion.

Breakdown-of-How-High-Net-Worth-Individuals-DonateTo the right you can see where high net worth individuals donate their money, broken down by the value and number of gifts. But a person need not travel abroad to poverty-stricken countries or donate thousands of dollars to make a difference. Our capitalist system allows entrepreneurs to find solutions to problems as well as profit from these solutions. Many critics tend to focus their derision on profit-seeking while taking for granted how much their own lives have improved as a result of private innovation and entrepreneurialism.      

In a scintillating essay, Professor of Economics Mark Hendrickson writes that this Thanksgiving, we should be grateful for such entrepreneurs, the creators of our wealth:

Wealth doesn’t just appear spontaneously; someone has to produce it… In a free-market economy characteri zed by voluntary, and therefore positive-sum, transactions, the profits of entrepreneurs signify that at least that much wealth has been created for their customers. In other words, the larger profits are, the more wealth the entrepreneur has created for others, and indeed, the largest profits accrue to those firms that have supplied valuable goods and services to the masses.

Google, for instance, has made co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin billionaires many times over. But how much capital would you say it’s generated for the world? The amount is unfathomable. On top of that, Google employs about 55,000 people across the globe and each year hires an additional 6,000. The company’s success benefits not just its bottom line but also the lives of millions upon millions of people, from its employees to the users of its many services.

Calpians-Money-on-mobile-Payment-Service-Indians-make-transactionsI’m grateful to live in a society that monetarily rewards such innovation and problem-solving, in addition to the intrinsic rewards entrepreneurs receive for improving the lives of others.

Here’s another example:
Last week we were visited by the management team of Calpian, including Chairman and CEO Harold Montgomery, President Craig Jessen and Chief Financial Officer Scott Arey. You might not have heard of Calpian before now, but the company is already changing people’s lives for the better by facilitating electronic and mobile payments, especially in India, the world’s second-largest cell phone market. In many parts of India, there’s poor to nonexistent point-of-sale payment mechanisms, and even though most transactions are done with cash, ATM machines are often very spotty. Calpian’s Money on Mobile service allows Indians of all classes to make transactions using their cell phones, thereby eliminating the need to carry cash or stand in hours-long lines to pay their water bills. Two years after its launch, Money on Mobile is used by approximately 112 million Indians.

I’m also thankful to be blessed with 1,440 minutes each day. So much can be achieved in this short amount of time—whether it’s staying active or helping others—so long as you have the will to put it to good use.

I asked our portfolio managers what they were most thankful for this season, with regard to a fund they manage. Here’s how they responded:

John DerrickJohn Derrick – Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX)

I’m most thankful that our fund received the 5-star overall rating from Morningstar, among 164 Municipal National Short-Term funds as of October 31, 2014, based on risk-adjusted return. Despite the global slowdown and decline in gold and oil prices, the municipal bond market this year has been up every month through October. I’m grateful that we have continued to perform well and deliver solid risk-adjusted returns for our investors to meet their high expectations of what a municipal bond fund is supposed to do.

Aside from that, I’m incredibly fortunate to work with such a dedicated team of portfolio managers, analysts and other investment professionals. Their support and camaraderie are greatly appreciated.

Xian Liang – China Region Fund (USCOX)

Xian Liang I would say I’m most grateful that China’s leadership appears to be delivering on the promises it made last November at the Third Plenary Session, specifically the liberalization of the financial sector and reform of the role capital markets play in allocating resources. Just as there was in the 1990s, there’s going to be some bullet-biting in the face of reforms, but short-term discomfort is often necessary for long-term growth. This leadership is determined and committed to putting China on the right path.

I also want to thank my fellow investment team members. We cross-pollinate our ideas and are always looking for ways to strengthen what we do.

Ralph AldisRalph Aldis – World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX) and Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX)

I’m going to have to go with Klondex Mines. It’s the largest holding in both funds, and it’s performed exactly how the management team said it would. In December of last year, Klondex raised the money to buy Midas Mine and Mill from Newmont Mining, and since then it’s been a steady grower. It looks as if it’ll conclude the year with $45 million in cash, which is even more remarkable when you recall that in the first quarter of 2014, it had just $6.8 million. Institutional investors tend to be reluctant about buying a new name in gold mining, but I think Klondex will prove to be too compelling to pass up much longer. 

Brian Hicks – Global Resources Fund (PSPFX)

Ralph AldisEven though commodity prices are in a slump right now, I’m grateful for quite a few things. I’m thankful for our five-factor model, which is designed to identify only the best-of-the-best stocks—I’m looking forward to using it when commodities recover. We’ve weathered this storm well, and I believe we’re in a good position to catch the upswing. Two very recent events have boded well for the fund: the Baker Hughes takeout and China’s rate cut, which will help stabilize commodity demand and improve market sentiment.

Commodities Update

Crude Oil
Last Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) unveiled its decision to keep oil production levels where they’ve been for the last three years, “in the interest of restoring market equilibrium.” Soon after this announcement, Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices dropped to $72 and $68 per barrel, their lowest levels since May 2010. WTI plunged to a five-year intraday low of $63.

Another significant consequence of OPEC’s inaction is that the Russian ruble immediately fell to an all-time low of 49.90 versus the dollar. Since half of Russia’s budget revenue comes from oil and gas exports, OPEC’s decision to maintain current production levels is likely to hobble the country’s already fragile economy even further. We’ve been out of Russia since August, and this economic activity justifies our decision.

Precious Metals
As expected, Switzerland voted against having its central bank hold more bullion, resulting in a 2-percent decline. Leading support to falling prices is the Reserve Bank of India’s announcement last Thursday that it was lifting gold import curbs ahead of the country’s wedding season.

At the same time that spot prices are falling, more money is being pulled out of gold exchange-traded products (ETPs), suggesting that the market believes this decline to be long-term.

S&P 500 Economic Sectors
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We’re seeing the opposite behavior when it comes to platinum, palladium and silver. Even as prices dip, more money is being placed into ETPs.

As-Commodity-Prices-Fall-ETP-Holdings-Rise
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Although gold has many industrial applications, it’s seen more as currency. With the dollar still very strong, investors might be choosing to keep their wealth in cash instead.

The other metals, on the other hand, have well-known industrial uses—platinum and palladium in automobile production and silver in film, surgical instruments and solar panels. Some investors might be willing to risk short-term losses for long-term gain.

I wish to conclude by giving thanks to our loyal Investor Alert readers as well as investors. Visit us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you’re thankful for this season!

 

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.

Morningstar Rating

Overall/164
3-Year/164
5-Year/137
10-Year/103

Morningstar ratings based on risk-adjusted return and number of funds
Category: Municipal National Short-term funds
Through: 10/31/2014

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.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. By investing in a specific geographic region, a regional fund’s returns and share price may be more volatile than those of a less concentrated portfolio.

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.

Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in specific industries, the fund may be subject to greater risks and fluctuations than a portfolio representing a broader range of industries.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the funds mentioned as a percentage of net assets as of 9/30/2014: Baker Hughes, Inc. 0.00%; Calpian 0.00%; Facebook 0.00%; Google 0.00%; Klondex Mines 7.76% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 7.51% in World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.22% in Global Resources Fund; Newmont Mining Corp 1.11% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.26% in World Precious Minerals Fund; Twitter 0.00%.

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 (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Ratingä 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.)

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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With Oil and Gold Prices Depressed, Halliburton and Osisko Play Defense
November 26, 2014

Silver-Fabrication-Demand-Has-Shifted-Toward-ElectronicsA typical American Thanksgiving meal usually consists of gravy-drenched turkey, stuffing, a heaping mound of buttery mashed potatoes and a slice of pumpkin pie. After dinner, most people are incapable of doing anything other than sitting, digesting and watching the football game. All activity comes to a halt. In the time it takes for their stomachs to completely process the meal, the treadmill in the other room starts to grow cobwebs.

Something similar occurs when one company acquires another. Digestion of the acquired company often takes a while, during which time the buyer tends to experience a short-term slowdown. Its stock typically falls because, among other reasons, it must pay a premium for the acquisition.

In this month alone, two large acquisition announcements were made in the energy and mining sectors as oil and gold prices remain low. Oil field services giant Halliburton, which we own in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), plans to buy rival Baker Hughes for $35 billion, pending an antitrust approval—the two are the second- and third-largest companies in the industry. Meanwhile, Montreal-based Osisko Gold Royalties is set to take over Quebec City-based Virginia Mines, the second-largest holding in our World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX), for $424 million. The deals will give Halliburton a market capitalization of $70 billion; Osisko, $1.2 billion.

As expected, the buyers showed a slight dip following the announcements, while the companies being bought enjoyed a rally.

Silver-Fabrication-Demand-Has-Shifted-Toward-Electronics
click to enlarge

We saw the same behavior occur last year after Canadian petroleum exploration and production company Pacific Rubiales announced it would acquire Petrominerales, whose stock immediately jumped 42 percent.

Shareholders of the acquired company often benefit because, in an effort to sweeten the deal, they’re given attractive stock swap privileges or other perks. For each Baker Hughes share, stockholders receive 1.12 Halliburton shares plus an additional $19 in cash. Virginia Mines stockholders get a premium of 41 percent to the current share price, just above $13.

“We feel vindicated by having such a strong weighting in Virginia Mines relative to our peers,” Ralph Aldis, portfolio manager of UNWPX and our Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX), said. “Our management style is to seek value names, and compared to some other royalty companies, Virginia is definitely undervalued.”

Playing Defense

One of the reasons why Baker Hughes might give Halliburton a touch of heartburn is the steep premium. At 56 percent, the premium is the largest of any U.S. merger in the past 20 years worth more than $20 billion. Halliburton has also agreed to pay Baker Hughes a fee of $3.5 billion if it fails to obtain antitrust and regulatory approvals.

But the long-term rewards of taking over Baker Hughes appear to outweigh the short-term risks. The combined company will control 53 percent of the Williston Basin market in North Dakota, which includes the lucrative Bakken shale play. It will also control 36 percent of the fracking business in the Williston Basin. According to Chairman and CEO Dave Lessar, Halliburton stands to save $2 billion annually from personnel reshuffling, research and development, real estate, operational improvements and other costs. All of this will help the company better compete with the global industry leader, Schlumberger.

Silver-Fabrication-Demand-Has-Shifted-Toward-Electronics

By all accounts, Halliburton’s timing was on the money. Crude oil prices have declined to $75 per barrel, driving down oil industry shares and making Baker Hughes much more of a bargain. If the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agrees to a production cut when it meets tomorrow, oil prices might rise sooner rather than later, which could nudge up Baker Hughes’s asking price.

Depressed oil prices have already put a strain on companies’ bottom line and forced them to temporarily discontinue costlier projects. Bloomberg reports that 19 shale regions here in the U.S. are now unprofitable, including parts of the Eaglebine and Eagle Ford shale plays in Texas. In such a climate, Halliburton’s purchase of Baker Hughes could be described as a defensive move.

The same could be said for Osisko’s takeover, as gold prices still hover close to $1,200. The company already owns a royalty in the Canadian Malartic mine, Canada’s largest gold mine. Acquiring Virginia Mines means that it will also gain a substantial interest in Quebec’s Éléonore mine.

Before leaving you, I want to wish all of my American readers a blessed Thanksgiving! Our family at U.S. Global Investors is grateful to have such supportive shareholders, and for the opportunity to continue to serve you.

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.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in specific industries, the fund may be subject to greater risks and fluctuations than a portfolio representing a broader range of industries.

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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the funds mentioned as a percentage of net assets as of 9/30/2014: Apache Corp. 0.00%; Baker Hughes, Inc. 0.00%; Continental Resources, Inc. 0.00%; Goldman Sachs 0.00%; Goodrich Petroleum Corp. 0.00%; Halliburton Co. 2.19% in Global Resources Fund; Osisko Gold Royalties 0.00%; Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. 1.16% in Global Resources Fund; Petrominerales, Ltd. 0.00%; SandRidge Energy, Inc. 0.00%; Schlumberger, Ltd. 0.00%; Virginia Mines, Inc. 7.13% 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.

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Don’t Be Spooked by Market Volatility—Opportunity Is Still Knocking!
November 3, 2014

Trick or Treat HalloweenOne of the greatest fears this October—possibly the most volatile month of the year—has been the correlation between the S&P 500 Index’s ascent in the first three quarters of the year and the possible ramifications of the end of quantitative easing (QE). 

It’s well known that Japan and Singapore have been buying their countries’ blue chip stocks with their excessive money printing. Today, about 1.8 percent of the Japanese market is owned by the Bank of Japan. American investors fear the Federal Reserve might do the same and take away the punch bowl, so to speak.

As you can see, the S&P 500 Index has been rising in tandem with government securities, and it’s uncertain what will happen when QE ends. 

Fed Securities Holdings and S&P 500
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The Ebola epidemic has also contributed toward moving the needle to the fear side of the spectrum and driven investors to seek shelter not in gold necessarily but in so-called “Ebola stocks.” For every negative, as tragic as they often are, there is a positive. When a major hurricane hits Florida, for instance, insurance stocks fall while real estate stocks rise. The deadly Ebola virus, on top of an aging demographic, has helped make health care and biotechnology pop this year. The Daily Reckoning’s Paul Mampilly, in fact, calls this rally “the biggest biotech market ever.”

Possibly. Before we get too excited, let’s look at the numbers. Over the last 10 years, the S&P 500 Biotechnology Index has had a rolling 12-month percentage change of ±23. As of this writing, the index is up 32 percent, meaning it’s up by only 1.3 standard deviation. In other words, biotech is behaving approximately within its expected range.

Gold bullion, over the same period, has had a percentage change of ±19—not so dramatically different from biotech—and is down by 1.3 standard deviation. Again, this is “normal” behavior.

Uncomfortable with the Volatility of Gold? It's much like biotechnology stocks
click to enlarge

As you can see, biotech corrected and then rallied firmly into the sell zone. Seventy percent of the time, it’s normal for the asset class to rise and fall one standard deviation. As I always say, each asset class has had its own DNA of volatility over the last 10 years. Knowing this helps you manage your expectations of how they perform.

Asset Class Standard Deviation
WTI Crude Oil 34%
Gold Stocks 34%
Emerging Markets 29%
S&P 500 Index 17%

Even health care and biotech companies not actively working toward finding treatments and vaccines for the virus seem to have incidentally benefited from the rally. California-based Gilead Sciences and New Jersey-based Celgene, for instance—both of which we own in our All American Equity Fund (GBTFX) and Holmes Macro Trends Fund (MEGAX) and were named by Motley Fool as two of the four most important stocks of the last 16 years—have hit all-time highs. Gilead Sciences concentrates mostly on drug therapies for HIV and hepatitis B, while Celgene conducts similar work for cancer and inflammatory disorders.  

Celgene and Gilead Sciences Hit All-Time Highs
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And it’s not just American health care stocks that are doing well. We’ve been impressed lately with the performance of the Stock Exchange of Thailand Health Care Index and Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Thailand’s largest private hospital operator, which we hold in our China Region Fund (USCOX). Both the index and the equity have excelled year-to-date, delivering 57 percent.

Thai Health Care Services One of the Top-Performing Sectors in Asian Industries
click to enlarge

Bullion and Gold Stocks

As for gold, between mid-August and October 3, the precious metal completely ignored the fact that September is historically its best-performing month, tumbling 9 percent from $1,310 to $1,190. It soon rebounded in the days leading up to Diwali.

Gold stocks, on the other hand, have yet to recover. Since the end of August, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index has plunged 25 percent to lows we haven’t seen since April 2005. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF has lost nearly 30 percent; the Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index (XAU), 25 percent.

On a few occasions I’ve pointed out that in the last 30 years, the XAU has never experienced a losing streak of more than three years. As of this writing, it’s lost close to 17 percent, with only two months left. The cards are definitely stacked against the XAU, but I remain optimistic it can continue the trend.   

In 30 Years, the XAU Never Experienced a Losing Streak of More Than 3 Years
click to enlarge

Many investors are understandably concerned that mining companies in West Africa will suffer because of Ebola. Several companies operating in the three hardest-hit countries have indeed been hurt by the virus, some of them being forced to halt production. However, none of our funds has any direct exposure to them. Three companies that we own in our Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) and World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX)—IAMGOLD, Newmont Mining and Randgold Resources—continue to operate normally in the region.

Here I must remind investors that we recommend 10-percent holding in gold: 5 percent in bullion, 5 percent in stocks. Rebalance every year.

Looking Past Ebola

The Ebola Scare Has Contributed Toward Moving the Market Needle Into Fear Territory One of our most important tenets at U.S. Global is to always stay curious. That includes being familiar with world events and determining how they might affect our funds. Ebola certainly falls into this category, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our funds will undergo any significant changes based on this unfortunate event. Again, other factors have contributed, including the so-called October effect. We remain committed to our fundaments and pick stocks because they’ve been well-screened and fit in our results-oriented models.

If the markets seem too volatile for you right now, we’re proud to offer investors a “no-drama” alternative. Check out our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX), which has delivered positive returns for the past 13 years.

Happy investing, and stay safe!

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.

Bond funds are subject to interest-rate risk; their value declines as interest rates rise. Tax-exempt income is federal income tax free. A portion of this income may be subject to state and local income taxes, and if applicable, may subject certain investors to the Alternative Minimum Tax as well. 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 may be exposed to risks related to a concentration of investments in a particular state or geographic area. These investments present risks resulting from changes in economic conditions of the region or issuer.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. By investing in a specific geographic region, a regional fund’s returns and share price may be more volatile than those of a less concentrated portfolio.

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.

Stock markets can be volatile and can fluctuate in response to sector-related or foreign-market developments. For details about these and other risks the Holmes Macro Trends Fund may face, please refer to the fund’s prospectus.

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 500 Biotechnology Index is a capitalization-weighted index.  The index is comprised of six stocks whose primary function is technology based on biology, used in agriculture, food science and medicine. The Stock Exchange of Thailand Health Care Services Index is capitalization-weighted index of all stocks of the Stock Exchange of Thailand Index that are involved in the health care service sector. The index was developed with a base value of 100 on April 30, 1975 with parent index SET. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index contains securities of NASDAQ-listed companies classified according to the Industry Classification Benchmark as either Biotechnology or Pharmaceuticals which also meet other eligibility criteria. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is calculated under a modified capitalization-weighted methodology. 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. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners Index is a market-capitalization-weighted index. It covers the largest and most liquid companies that derive at least 50 percent from gold or silver mining or have properties to do so. 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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the funds mentioned as a percentage of net assets as of 9/4/2014: Gilead Sciences Inc. 1.84% in All American Equity Fund, 1.93% in Holmes Macros Trends Fund; JPMorgan Chase & Co. 0.00%; Celgene Corp. 1.23% in All American Equity Fund, 1.14% in Holmes Macros Trends Fund; Bangkok Dusit Medical Services 0.00%; IAMGOLD Corp. 0.90% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.19% in World Precious Minerals Fund; Newmont Mining Corp. 1.11% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.26% in World Precious Minerals Fund; Randgold Resources, Ltd. 1.92% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 1.17% in World Precious Minerals Fund; Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF 0.16% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.17% in World Precious Minerals Fund.       

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.

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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What the Strong Dollar Does to Yellow and Black Gold and Why We’re Seeing Green
October 20, 2014

The United States is doing better than it has in years. Jobs growth is up, unemployment is down, our manufacturing sector carries the rest of the world on its shoulders like a wounded soldier and the World Economic Forum named the U.S. the third-most competitive nation, our highest ranking since before the recession.

As heretical as it sounds, there’s a downside to America’s success, and that’s a stronger dollar. Although our currency has softened recently, it has put pressure on two commodities that we consider our lifeblood at U.S. Global Investors: gold and oil.

strong dollar has put pressure on both gold and oilIt’s worth noting that we’ve been here before. In October 2011, a similar correction occurred in energy, commodities and resources stocks based on European and Chinese growth fears. But international economic stimulus measures helped raise market confidence, and many of the companies we now own within these sectors benefited. Between October 2011 and January 2012, Anadarko Petroleum rose 58 percent; Canadian Natural Resources, 20 percent; Devon Energy, 15 percent; Cimarex Energy, 15 percent; Peyto Exploration & Development, 15 percent; and Suncor Energy, 10 percent.

Granted, we face new challenges this year that have caused market jitters—Ebola and ISIS, just to name a couple. But we’re confident that once the dollar begins to revert back to the mean, a rally in energy and resources stocks might soon follow. Brian Hicks, portfolio manager of our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), notes that he’s been nibbling on cheap stocks ahead of a potential rally, one that, he hopes, mimics what we saw in late 2011 and early 2012.

A repeat of last year’s abnormally frigid winter, though unpleasant, might help heat up some of the sectors and companies that have underperformed lately.

September Was the Cruelest Month

On the left side of the chart below, you can see 45 years’ worth of data that show fairly subdued fluctuations in gold prices in relation to the dollar. On the right side, by contrast, you can see that the strong dollar pushed bullion prices down 6 percent in September, historically gold’s strongest month. This move is unusual also because gold has had a monthly standard deviation of ±5.5 percent based on the last 10 years’ worth of data.

Strong Contrast in 2014 Gold and Dollar Changes vs Historic Averages
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Here’s another way of looking at it. On October 3, bullion fell below $1,200 to prices we haven’t seen since 2010, but they quickly rebounded to the $1,240 range as the dollar index receded from its peak the same day.

A-Strong-US-Dollar-Keeps-Gold-and-Oil-Prices-Low
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There’s no need to worry just yet. This isn’t 2013, when the metal gave back 28 percent. And despite the correction, would it surprise you to learn that gold has actually outperformed several of the major stock indices this year?

Gold-is-Outperforming-All-but-the-SP-500-Index
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As for gold stocks, there’s no denying the facts: With few exceptions, they’ve been taken to the woodshed. September was demonstrably cruel. Based on the last five years’ worth of data, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index has had a monthly standard deviation of ±9.4, but last month it plunged 20 percent. We haven’t seen such a one-month dip since April 2013. This volatility exemplifies why we always advocate for no more than a 10 percent combined allocation to gold and gold stocks in investor portfolios.

Oil’s slump is a little more complicated to explain.

Since the end of World War II, black gold has been priced in U.S. greenbacks. This means that when our currency fluctuates as dramatically as it has recently, it affects every other nation’s consumption of crude. Oil, then, has become much more expensive lately for the slowing European and Asian markets. Weaker purchasing power equals less overseas oil demand equals even lower prices.

What some people are calling the American energy renaissance has also led to lower oil prices. Spurred by more efficient extraction techniques such as fracking, the U.S. has been producing over 8.5 million barrels a day, the highest domestic production level since 1986. We’re awash in the stuff, with supply outpacing demand. Whereas the rest of the world has flat-lined in terms of oil production, the U.S. has zoomed to 30-year highs.

In a way, American shale oil has become a victim of its own success.

Domestic-Crude-Oil-Production-Riding-Sharply-as-the-Rest-of-the-World-Has-Flat-Lined
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At the end of next month, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are scheduled to meet in Vienna. As Brian speculated during our most recent webcast, it would be surprising if we didn’t see another production cut. With Brent oil for November delivery at $83 a barrel—a four-year low—many oil-rich countries, including Iran, Iraq and Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, will have a hard time balancing their books. Venezuela, in fact, has been clamoring for an emergency meeting ahead of November to make a plea for production cuts.     

Producer-country-budget-breakeven-prices
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Although not an OPEC member, Russia, once the world’s largest producer of crude, is being squeezed by plunging oil prices on the left, international sanctions on the right. This might prompt President Vladimir Putin to scale back the country’s presence in Ukraine and delay a multibillion-dollar revamp of its armed forces. When the upgrade was approved in 2011, GDP growth was expected to hold at 6 percent. But now as a result of the sanctions and dropping oil prices, Russia faces a dismally flat 0.5 percent.

Volatility Has Returned

The current all-in sustaining cost to produce one ounce of gold is hovering between $1,000 and $1,200. With the price of bullion where it is, many miners can barely break even. Production has been down 10 percent because it’s become costlier to excavate. As I told Kitco News’ Daniela Cambone, we will probably start seeing supply shrinkage in North and South America and Africa.

The same could happen to oil production. Extraction of shale oil here in the U.S. costs companies between $50 and $100 a barrel, with producers able to break even at around $80 to $85. If prices slide even further, drillers might be forced to trim their capital budgets or even shelve new projects.

Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations told NPR’s Audie Cornish that a decrease in drilling could hurt certain commodities:

“[I]f prices fall far enough for long enough, you’ll see a pullback in drilling. And shale drilling uses a lot of manufactured goods—20 percent of what people spend on a well is steel, 10 percent is cement, so less drilling means less manufacturing in those sectors.”

At the same time, Levi places oil prices in a long-term context, reminding listeners that we’ve become accustomed to unusually high prices for the last three years.

“People were starting to believe that this was permanent, and they were wrong,” he said. “So the big news is that volatility is back.”

On this note, be sure to visit our interactive and perennially popular Periodic Table of Commodities, which you can modify to view gold and oil’s performance going back ten years.

A Penny Saved Is a Billion Dollars To Spend and Invest

With fresh volatility in oil production comes the fear that the most price-sensitive states will be hurt the most. Exceptionally vulnerable states include Oklahoma, Wyoming and North Dakota. Texas, the nation’s leading oil producer—one of the world’s top producers, in fact—is diversified well enough to not feel the pain as much.

What’s bad for oil producers, though, turns out to be good for American consumers, who are already benefiting from lower gasoline prices. As of this writing, the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.10, down from $3.35 a year ago, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

As a result, American consumers are looking at huge savings—$40 billion this year alone. According to Deutsche Bank’s Joe LaVogna, every penny that’s saved at the pump equates to a billion dollars in household energy consumption that can be put back into the economy in other ways.        

Lower Gas Prices Will Save the U.S. $40 Billion in Annual Energy Costs
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I like to think of this as an unexpected and very welcome tax break. Automobile sales are already up from 2009. Lower gas prices might encourage some families to spring for that Suburban instead of a Prius.

Vehicle-Sales-in-the-US-Have-Accelerated-Steadily-Since-2009
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Klondex Turning Heads and Profits

As I said earlier, gold stocks have been hurting lately. One mining company that’s managed to not only survive in this uncertain climate but actually thrive is Klondex Mines, our largest holding in both our Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) and World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX), with additional exposure in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX). Headquartered in Vancouver, Klondex has complete ownership and control of the Fire Creek Project and Midas Mine, both in Nevada.

The chart below, based on our own research, shows Klondex’s relative strength to its peers and why we find the company so attractive in the long term. The y-axis indicates profit margin, the x-axis, enterprise value. The size of the spheres represents the amount of revenue generated by each one of these companies in the second quarter of 2014, Klondex’s first quarter of full commercial production.

Klondex-mines-looks-attractive-against-peers-in-second-quarter
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What the chart conveys is that, in relation to its peers, Klondex has a significantly higher profit margin than companies with a market cap two to three times its size.

“This is going to be very positive for Klondex shareholders as we go into the year-end,” portfolio manager Ralph Aldis said during our webcast. “The third quarter should be another great quarter, and that’s when people will say, ‘Hey, that second quarter report wasn’t a fluke.’ They’re going to start buying the stock and get it moving.”

Indeed, Klondex has managed to stay above the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF for the 12-month period, delivering a positive return of 7 percent versus the index’s -7.5 percent.

Klondex-Mines-Outperforms-the-market-Vectors-Junior-Gold-Miners-ETF
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On numerous occasions I’ve written about our research on the typical lifecycle of a mine, most recently in my whitepaper “Managing Expectations: Anticipate Before You Participate in the Market.” Below you can see the relationship between a mine’s lifecycle and the company’s share price.  

Life-cycle-of-a-mine
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As experts in mining stocks, it’s imperative for us to know which production stage the mine is in to manage our exposure to the company.

In the case of Klondex, its price action mimics the movements in share price based on the chart above, confirming our research.

Klondex-Mine-Moves-in-Tandem-with-Mine-Life-Cycle
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It also supports the benefits of active management.

“When you buy an indexed fund, you’re basically just buying the market capitalization of those companies,” Ralph said. “You’re not getting the benefit of active management where we go out, meet the company’s management team and know its history. We’re familiar with the lifecycle of the mine in question, the money, the burn rate and the minerals the company is involved in.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Speaking of Active Management…

John-Derrick-Spurs-game-Istanbul-Turkey-Greece Last week I expressed my concerns disapproval of how the European Union is handling (or not handling) its fiscal and monetary mess. Because the EU is such an important region for the global economy, investors have become impatient with the bickering that’s stalled any clear solution to its slowdown.

Last week I was in Italy meeting with other global business leaders, while U.S. Global’s Director of Research John Derrick was visiting and assessing Greek and Turkish companies such as Tsakos Energy Navigation, JUMBO, Türk Telekom and Turkcell.

Watch for our firsthand accounts of and insights on the European situation this week.

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.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. 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. Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in specific industries, the fund may be subject to greater risks and fluctuations than a portfolio representing a broader range of industries.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The Nasdaq Composite Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all Nasdaq National Market and SmallCap stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry. The Russell 2000 Index is a U.S. equity index measuring the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000. The Russell 3000 Index consists of the 3,000 largest U.S. companies as determined by total market capitalization. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners Index is a market-capitalization-weighted index. It covers the largest and most liquid companies that derive at least 50 percent from gold or silver mining or have properties to do so. 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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the funds mentioned as a percentage of net assets as of 09/04/2014: Alamos Gold, Inc. (0.04% World Precious Minerals Fund); Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (2.11% Global Resources Fund); Argonaut Gold (0.00%); AuRico Gold, Inc. (1.85% in Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.41% World Precious Minerals Fund); B2Gold Corp. (0.00%); Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd. (1.59% Global Resources Fund); Cimarex Energy Co. (1.80% Global Resources Fund); Detour Gold Corp. (0.00%); Deutsche Bank (0.00%); Devon Energy Corp. (1.82% Global Resources Fund); JUMBO S.A. (0.00%); Klondex Mines, Ltd. (7.76% Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 7.51% World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.22% Global Resources Fund); Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (0.16% Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.17% World Precious Minerals Fund); Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. (1.31% Global Resources Fund); Primero Mining Corp. (0.05% Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.02% World Precious Minerals Fund); Suncor Energy, Inc. (2.13% Global Resources Fund); Tsakos Energy Navigation, Ltd. (0.00%); Türk Telekom (0.00%); Turkcell (1.79% Emerging Europe Fund).

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.

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.

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. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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Warning: Market Correction Last Week… Did You See the Opportunity?
October 13, 2014

While stocks fell around the world last week amid growing concerns over global economic growth, Europe’s slowdown can’t stop emerging market population growth that drives long-term commodity demand. If the short-term market volatility concerns you, a solution is short-term tax-free municipal bonds. Check out the 5 Reasons Why.

Last week we saw a continued selloff in energy stocks and a slump in commodity prices, specifically oil. In light of this, I've highlighted some key points portfolio manager Brian Hicks and I made during our latest webcast that might offer investors some clarity and insight into our management strategy when such market nervousness occurs.

Everything that appears in italics is commentary from the webcast.

PMI: Commodities’ Crystal Ball

You look at the stock market as a precursor to economic activity six months out. If you’re looking at commodities, you must be looking at PMIs.

JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index
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What our research has shown is that there is a 60- to 80-percent probability of commodities and commodity stocks rising when the global PMI’s one-month reading is above the three-month trend. When its one-month is below the three-months, there is a high probability of these sectors and stocks falling over the next six months.

Commodities and Commodity Stocks Historically Rose Six Months After PMI CrossOver
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The global PMI reading is a composite of each country’s unique PMI. So we look at individual countries and try to gauge what their monetary and fiscal policies are going to be. These government policies have a high correlation to commodity demand, which is significant to resource investments.

Brian Hicks

Brian HicksBrian Hicks, portfolio manager of our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), stepped in to share his thoughts on the resources sector, devoting special attention to the recent performance of crude oil.

Despite the recent selloff, I believe it’s actually an excellent time to be looking at resource stocks and energy stocks in particular.

 

 

The Polarity of the Dollar and Crude Oil

The following chart mathematically depicts the oversold nature of crude oil:

Year-Over-Year Percent Change Oscillator: S&P 1500 Energy vs. U.S. Dollar
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The dollar is significantly overbought relative to crude oil. The dollar is up almost two standard deviations, crude oil down almost one standard deviation. History has shown, whether it’s in 2011 or 2012, that this has been a good time to buy crude oil.

Natural Resources Stocks Priced to Move

Another factor that gets me excited about these energy stocks and natural resource stocks is the metrics that we’re seeing from a fundamental standpoint. Looking at the top 50 holdings for our Global Resources Fund, what jumps out immediately is just how cheap these stocks are relative to their growth rate, trading at 20 times in the last quarter earnings. Sales were growing at over 20 percent.

Global-Resources-Fund-Portfolio-Construction
click to enlarge

These companies are very profitable, generating return on equity of 25 percent, paying a dividend yield on average—about 2.7 percent—and growing that dividend at about a 30-percent click. And as you can see, these stocks have outperformed the S&P 500 Index so far year-to-date (YTD), even with this pullback.

A Thirst for Oil

Looking at global oil demand, you can see it’s been unrelenting through recessions, through bull markets, bear markets, and it looks like it’s going to continue to go up at a fairly steady level based on latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Global Oil Demand Reaching New Highs
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Below is a very important point to consider. Where oil prices are now, we’re getting to the area where production could be cut off because prices are not high enough to incentivize new development, new production and new drilling.

2015 U.S. Tight Oil Production by Incentive Price
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If you look at crude oil price somewhere in the area of $80 to $90, we have about 650,000 barrels per day of production that need to be supported at that particular level. So we really can’t go too much lower in terms of pricing. Otherwise, we would see a significant drop in the supply of oil.

Just to give you a sense of the scale here, we’re expected to grow demand by one million barrels per day, and we have 650,000 barrels that need an oil price north of $80.

Pricing Black Gold to Stay in the Black

Another significant factor is the price that’s necessary for countries that produce crude oil or export crude oil out of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) or non-OPEC.

Producer Country Budget Breakeven Prices
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On average, you need to see $95-per-barrel prices in order for these countries to balance their budgets—their fiscal budgets. What really sticks out is Russia and Saudi Arabia. They’re the two largest exporters of crude oil and, as you can see above, Russia requires an oil price north of $100, Saudi Arabia right at about $95 per barrel on a Brent basis, and we’re below that number now.

The next OPEC meeting is in November. I would be surprised if we did not see another production cut if oil prices remain at these levels. I think that OPEC and the Saudis need to come in and support prices even more so than they already have following the cut in August.

U.S. Gushing Oil

One area that’s been very topical and interesting as of late is the growth in U.S. crude oil production. It’s at a new 25-year high.

U.S. Crude Oil Production at a 25-Year High
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We’ve gone from basically 4.5 million barrels in 2008 to 8.5 million barrels. Energy stocks are no longer just the commodity play. They’re also a volume growth play.

You can see this paradigm shift in that many of these shale producers have gone out and invested a lot of capital over the years and now, over the next two years or so, we’re going to start to see a free cash flow payback on that initial investment and infrastructure in fracking and developing their resource.

U.S. Oilfield Cash Flow and Capital Expenditure
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Because they’re going to start seeing free cash flow, I think there’s the potential we could get a rerating in multiples to that cash flow. Instead of trading four to six times, maybe we trade higher, somewhere between seven or eight times due to that positive free cash flow metric.

Commodities: A Value Play

Commodities have way underperformed other asset classes, bonds, U.S. equity, and we feel like this is where the value is at. This is the area where you can put capital to work for the long term and outperform, whereas some of the other areas such as in bonds or U.S. stocks may not perform as well.

Class Returns
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There are pockets of strength within the commodity sector where I think we will see companies profit and do well. On the whole, given this pullback, I’m very optimistic about resources going forward.


No Faith in the G20 Central Bankers

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in WashingtonLast weekend the finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s top 20 economies met in Washington to discuss, among other issues, solutions to Europe’s weak economic performance. The region, whose sluggishness has negatively affected the global market, is at risk of dipping into its third recession since 2008.

I have no confidence that this body can persuade Europe to act sooner rather than later to dig itself out of further economic hardship. As I’ve observed in my global travels, the G20 central bankers are not interested in promoting and facilitating trade among nations. Instead, they’re interested foremost in levying more taxes and imposing more regulations that actually impede international trade.

It’s Economics 101: Capital cannot be spurred or created with high taxes and strangulating regulations.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi assures the media that the eurozone will recover soon, but as we wait, the region continues to underperform and drag the rest of the markets down with it. European growth in the second quarter was flat, and this quarter doesn’t look as if it will fare much better. France’s manufacturing sector has steadily contracted. Over the last 12 months, it’s seen only two PMI scores above 50, which would indicate expansion. Even usually-reliable Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, is in the midst of a downturn.

The U.S. has been gradually recovering from its worst economic period since the Great Depression, and to continue this progress, we need strong trading partners. Investors have become impatient waiting for Europe to get its fiscal act together and stop trying to rationalize even more taxes and regulations.

If it weren’t for the U.S. and Canada propping up the rest of the world, Europe would likely be in a more depressed state than it already is. 

Again, you can still catch the replay of last week’s webcast, which includes more on macroeconomics and a timely discussion of gold and gold stocks with portfolio manager Ralph Aldis.

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.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in specific industries, the fund may be subject to greater risks and fluctuations than a portfolio representing a broader range of industries.

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 S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The S&P 500 Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the material sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 500 Energy Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the energy sector as a subset of the S&P 500. The S&P 1500 Energy Index is an unmanaged market capitalization index that tracks the companies in the energy sector as a subset of the S&P 1500.

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. Note that stocks and Treasury bonds differ in investment objectives, costs and expenses, liquidity, safety, guarantees or insurance, fluctuation of principal or return, and tax features.

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.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. Past performance does not guarantee future results. This news release 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.

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Net Asset Value
as of 12/19/2014

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $6.85 0.08 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $5.09 -0.09 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $4.62 -0.06 China Region Fund USCOX $8.03 No Change Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.84 -0.03 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $33.16 0.26 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $22.74 -0.12 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.25 No Change China Region Fund USCOX $8.03 No Change