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Investor Alert

We're Shuffling the Cards on Our European Play
April 11, 2014

By Frank Holmes
CEO and Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors

Did you know that over the last year the Greek stock market is up roughly 45 percent? The country that many believed would never recover from a six-year recession is now making astounding strides, recently being added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index at the end of 2013.

As I’ve witnessed new strength from this “comeback country,” along with a rise in foreign investment into emerging markets as a whole, our investment team is currently strategizing to adapt our game to new European plays. Here are the game changers we see:

We're looking to play our cards right to capture opportunity in the European recovery.

Greece Wants Back in the Game
On Thursday, Greece returned to the international markets with a five-year bond sale, quickly topping $4 billion according to Bloomberg. The yield on these bonds is a little under 5 percent, an attractive number in comparison to other countries’ currency bonds. Greece has been shut out of the bond market for roughly four years now, but I believe the country’s reentry this week is an imminent sign of recovery. 

In the Investor Alert on March 28, we highlighted another indicator of Greece’s recovery. The Greek 10-year bond yields are back down to 2010 levels and the country’s economy is expected to grow by 1.1 percent this year. These conditions have boosted consumer confidence and allowed Greek banks to recapitalize, changing the lending landscape in a credit-starved nation.

Greek 10-Year Government Bond Yields Back to Pre-Crisis Levels
click to enlarge

A recent Reuters’ article discussed the Greek bond sale this week stating that, “It would not only raise confidence in Greece’s ability to fund itself and aid its recovery, but it also offers Europe the chance to claim its widely-criticized crisis medicine of tough cuts and austerity was necessary, and ultimately successful.”

In fact, last October our Director of Research John Derrick expressed his confidence in the country during a time when most investors wouldn’t offer Greece a second look. He said the country’s current account situation could move from a deficit to a surplus in 2014. As it stands now, several strong economic signs are pointing to John’s positivity on the country, including the fact that Greece hit a surplus before 2014 even began, as you can see in the chart below.

Greece Posts Current Account Surplus in 2013
click to enlarge

One way we are playing these powerful signs within our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX) is through Greek banks such as Alpha and Piraeus. These banks recently recapitalized, and with the Greek banking industry now consolidated to only four major banks, these names are poised to benefit from the economic recovery.

The Cards Are Stacked Against the Russian Investment Case
I have always believed that government policies are a precursor to change, and witnessing the drama with Putin in the Russian corner of the globe, I think now is a perfect time to shuffle our investment deck and underweight our portfolio to the country. We noticed economic growth in Russia beginning to slow in 2013, with few identifiable, positive catalysts, but the recent geopolitical tension with Ukraine was the final indication of an undesirable shift.

Since the breakout of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, investor confidence has dwindled in the area, and as you can see in the chart below, the two countries directly involved in the clash are the ones showing the highest market-risk impact.

Dramatic Increase in Market Risk in Ukraine
click to enlarge

Towards the end of 2013 I wrote that European equities had seen the longest streak of inflows in over 11 years, as investors began noticing this area of the globe as a spectacular investment opportunity. In addition to many strong areas in developed and emerging Europe, several of these equities were in Russia, and continue to be in Russia. Despite the disorder and our decreased exposure to Russia, we still see resilient stocks with growth opportunities. Two examples of strong Russian names include Norilsk Nickel, a nickel and palladium mining company, along with an Internet company, Mail.Ru.

When it comes to actively managing a portfolio, it’s all about playing your cards right, and at U.S. Global Investors we seek to manage risk while pursuing opportunity for our shareholders.

Turkey’s Turnaround
Greece isn’t the only country returning to the Eurobond market. On Wednesday, Turkey sold 1 billion euros of nine-year bonds for the first time this year. The bonds, which will mature in 2023, should help the country with financing needs for the remainder of 2014.

Investors showed particular interest in Turkey’s bond issue, but have also started looking to the country as a prime tourist destination. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, recently jumped 11 spots to take this year’s No. 1 position on TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice list of global destinations, according to CNN.

Passenger growth in Turkish airports is taking off, seeing year-over-year growth of 15 percent in both international and domestic passengers. Additionally, Turkish Airlines flies to more countries around the world than any other airline! No wonder people love to visit this country. One way we capture this strength for our European fund is through a Turkish airport operator, TAV Airports.

Join me for an investment adventure in Turkey, May 4-17, 2014

In fact, I too will be participating in this outstanding growth when I travel to Turkey next month. U.S. Global is inviting all curious investors to take part in this exciting trip as well! I encourage you to read about the opportunities we will be exploring in Turkey straight from the experts.

So in spite of Turkey’s underperformance last year, the country is up 10 percent year-to-date, and over the past decade Turkey’s economy has more than tripled. Consumer confidence is back on track and we believe the long-term, secular growth story remains intact.

Follow the Money
I believe the European recovery is a story worth telling, and within our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX) we use our investment model to point us not only to the strong and stable countries in this emerging market, but also to the strong sectors within each country. As Western Europe continues to recover, we believe companies with robust fundamentals in emerging Europe provide leverage to this growth. Explore this opportunity to invest in companies we believe are playing their cards right.

Join me in Turkey for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Index Summary

  • Major market indices finished mixed this week.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.35 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index lost 2.65 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.10 percent. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index fell 3.64 percent this week.
  • The Hang Seng Composite rose 2.19 percent; Taiwan gained 0.22 percent while the KOSPI advanced 0.47 percent. The 10-year Treasury bond yield fell 9 basis points to finish the week at 2.63 percent.

Holmes Macro Trends Fund

Domestic Equity Market

The S&P 500 Index had its worst weekly decline since 2012, falling 2.65 percent. Utilities were the only sector to eke out a gain as bonds rallied and money flowed into defensive areas of the market.

S&P Economic Sectors
click to enlarge

While the major indices have experienced some volatility, under the surface the market is really churning. If you’ve followed the financial news in recent weeks, biotechnology and Internet-related names have been hit extremely hard, while other areas of the market that exhibit classic value characteristics have outperformed. This bifurcation has been extremely sharp and is difficult for analysts and market commentators to explain, even in hindsight. What has occurred is a massive shift from high growth stocks, with some trading at arguably-stretched valuations, into value stocks – a global phenomenon.

The chart below plots the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (which seeks to replicate the NASDAQ 100) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM). At the same time that we witnessed the shift out of growth and into value in the U.S., money also flowed into the beaten up emerging market space. As can be seen in the chart, since the end of February the EEM has risen by about 6 percent, while the QQQ has fallen by about 6 percent, with a sharp inflection point in mid-March. One interesting angle to this recent price action is that the apparent risk aversion has not spread to other areas of the market that would normally be impacted, such as high-yield bonds or a spike in the VIX Index.

Sudden Divergence in the Marketplace
click to enlarge

At U.S. Global Investors, we seek to invest in high-quality companies with robust fundamentals that trade at reasonable valuations. Companies that are growing rapidly tend to trade at higher valuation multiples, but when adjusted for growth, still appear reasonably valued. In the most recent sell-off, the selling appeared somewhat indiscriminant, as companies trading at multiples below their growth rates sold off as hard as or harder than companies trading well in excess of their growth rates. Over the long run, robust fundamentals and reasonable valuations should prevail, and we believe our models will continue to point us in the right direction.

Take a look at Director of Research John Derrick as he explains what we learn from watching the ups and downs of sectors over time.

Strengths

  • The utilities sector rose 0.53 percent this week as a general flight-to-safety trade took place and bond yields rallied.
  • A small diverse collection of industry groups were able to generate positive returns this week including agricultural products, health care real estate investment trusts (REITs) and wireless services. 
  • Allergan was the best performer in the S&P 500, rising 3.65 percent this week. Johnson & Johnson announced its decision to exit its Botox business this week, which should be incrementally positive for Allergan, as a competitor leaves the market.

Weaknesses

  • The health care sector was the worst performer this week falling by more than 4 percent, as 53 of the 54 index constituents were down for the week. Biotechnology names continued to underperform, but the weakness extended well beyond these names. 
  • The financials sector was also down about 4 percent with many regional banks giving up recent gains as bond yields fell and expectations for higher, short-term rates faded, which would have been positive for the banks. JP Morgan also reported first-quarter earnings on Friday, which disappointed the market. The stock fell 7.54 percent for the week.
  • Intuitive Surgical was the worst performer in the S&P 500 this week, falling 13.03 percent. The company announced that sales of its robotic surgery systems fell sharply in the first quarter, coming up short of expectations.

Opportunities

  • The current macro environment remains positive as economic data remains robust enough to give investors confidence in an economic recovery, but not too strong as to force the Federal Reserve to aggressively change course in the near term.
  • The sell-off in high quality companies offers an opportunity to pick up companies with robust fundamentals at attractive prices.
  • The improving economic situation could possibly drive equity prices well into 2014.

Threats

  • A short-term market consolidation period after such strong performance over the past six months cannot be ruled out.   
  • Higher interest rates are a threat for the whole economy. The Fed must walk a fine line and the potential for policy error is large.
  • Quarterly earnings reports come out in earnest next week, and with JP Morgan disappointing on Friday, it sets a negative precedent to start the week.
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The Economy and Bond Market

Treasury bonds fell sharply this week as the market received clarity on the Fed’s intentions, with the equity market sell-off also providing support. The two-year Treasury yield spiked higher in mid-March, after Fed Chairman Janet Yellen inferred in her inaugural press conference, that interest rates could head higher within six months after the end of quantitative easing (QE), which implied roughly the first quarter of 2015. This timeline was a bit more aggressive than the market had expected and sold off only to completely reverse within the past three weeks. This came as various Fed speakers and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes have clarified the Fed’s position, which could mean it is in no rush to raise interest rates.    

Two-Year Treasury Yields
click to enlarge

Strengths

  • Preliminary same-store sales data for March was better than expected, rising 2.8 percent even with an onslaught of poor weather for a good portion of the month.
  • Initial jobless claims fell to a seven-year low, suggesting that the job market is improving. Job openings also hit a six-year high, showing there are positions to be filled.
  • The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose in March as business owners expect the economy to improve.  

Weaknesses

  • PPI rose faster than expected in March, jumping 0.5 percent versus the expectation of 0.1 percent.
  • Consumer debt rose by $16.5 billion in February, with student loans being a driver. There has been a lot of negative press recently on the total size of student loans and the potential for another government “bailout” or loan forgiveness.
  • Economic data out of China was disappointing this week and the market continues to look to the government for some form of fiscal stimulus.

Opportunities

  • The Fed has reiterated its intention to not raise interest rates before economic data supports that decision.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released a report highlighting the deflation risk in Europe. This is the type of thinking that could spur additional easing policies from the European Central Bank (ECB).
  • There are many moving parts to the taper decision and while the Fed began the process, it is very possible that tapering could be delayed if the economy stumbles.

Threats

  • In addition to the inherent difficulties in exiting the QE program and the potential for a misstep, there is also the potential for miscommunication from the Fed with the recent change in leadership.  
  • Trade and/or currency “wars” cannot be ruled out which may cause unintended consequences and volatility in the financial markets.
  • China remains a wildcard for economic recovery and the economy has shown some cracks in recent months. This is similar to how last year started and China found its footing. Something similar needs to happen this time around.

Frank Holmes kicks off his new show with Kitco: Gold Game Film

World Precious Minerals Fund - UNWPX • Gold and Precious Metals Fund - USERX

Gold Market

For the week, spot gold closed at $1,318.42, up $14.77 per ounce, or 1.13 percent. Gold stocks, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, rose .06 percent. The U.S. Trade-Weighted Dollar Index fell 1.15 percent for the week.

Strengths

  • Gold rose to a two-week high following the release of the Federal Reserve minutes, which showed that projections for an interest-rate increase may be overstated. According to the Fed, several participants expressed concerns that the rate forecast could be misconstrued, indicating a move to a less-accommodative function. On a related note, Ted Dixon, INK Research founder, commented during an interview on current insider buying trends in the gold space, stating that insider buying in U.S. stocks has been languishing for a long time. But the indicator for the TSX Gold Sector shows a ratio of insider buying to insider selling of 2.5:1. This is one of the most bullish readings ever.
  • On Thursday, Goldcorp responded to Yamana Gold’s friendly offer for Osisko, raising its hostile bid to an implied value of $3.3 billion, roughly $1 billion more than Goldcorp’s original offer. According to Nick Pocrnic of Raymond James, it is not unreasonable to imagine Osisko’s CEO Sean Roosen, and Peter Marrone, Yamana’s CEO, appealing to the Quebec government to sweeten the Yamana offer and prevent Goldcorp from acquiring the company. This transaction highlights the recent pick up in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the gold sector. Total transaction volume for the first quarter of 2014 nearly equaled that for all of 2013, as the large cap producers got involved. What could be next? Detour Gold, Aurico Gold and Probe Mines could all add quality ounces in a safe jurisdiction.
  • NGEx Resources announced drilling results at its Filo Del Sol project in Argentina. The results included intercepts of 5.80 percent copper over 22 meters, and a 6-meter interval of 12.41 gram per tonne gold. The company rose 15 percent following the announcement.  Lucara Diamond Corp., which produces high-value precious gems from its flagship Boteti Karowe diamond mine in Botswana, on Thursday held its first exceptional stone tender of the year, which garnered gross proceeds of $50 million, an impressive average price per carat of $42,347. Mariana Resources' shares rose after it received a $0.6 million VAT refund from the Argentinean tax authorities. The funds will be utilized to advance its gold and silver exploration properties in the highly prospective Santa Cruz province, southern Argentina.

Weaknesses

  • In a highly-commented Mineweb article, author Lawrence Williams details that Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts stated categorically that the gold price is indeed manipulated by the U.S. Fed. The Fed has had to resort to this practice in order to protect the value of the U.S. dollar and its reserve currency status from its effective reduction in value through its quantitative easing (QE) policy. According to Roberts, intervention in the gold market has been occurring for a long time, but has become more and more blatant and desperate recently. Roberts says that the Fed accomplishes it through a series of gold price flash crashes by short selling huge amounts of gold futures into the COMEX market, usually at times when trading is thin.
  • Centamin reported that for the first quarter of 2014, total gold production from its Sukari mine in Egypt fell 19 percent quarter-on-quarter to 74,241 ounces. The result is certainly disappointing given that the company has been implementing a major plant expansion and was thought to be in a position where higher-grade, underground sections were being accessed, thus providing more ore to the mill. The production shortfall is attributed to poor mining fleet availability, with the company stating that underground mining equipment issues have been rectified by the end of the quarter.
  • Primero Mining provided disappointing 2014 guidance for its recently-acquired Black Fox asset. According to the miner, 2014 production will reach 70,000 to 80,000 ounces with operating costs of $850 to $900 per ounce, with a total capital expenditure bill of $48 million. The forecast compares very poorly with much more optimistic analysts’ estimates based on operating metrics observed during Brigus’ operation of Black Fox. According to BMO analyst Brian Quast, Primero’s cost assumptions appear ultra-conservative, and he expects the asset to show an improving trend going forward.

Opportunities

  • Mining-focused, private equity firm Waterton Global Resource Management has raised $1.016 billion for its latest flagship precious metals fund. The Waterton Precious Metals Fund II will focus on late-stage development projects in politically stable jurisdictions, primarily North America. Acquisitions will likely be in the range of $25 million to $200 million, and will speed up or slow down capital deployment depending on the opportunities.
  • On Monday night, Philippe Couillard’s Liberals won a formidable majority in the province of Quebec. The implication for the resources sector is the imminent acceleration of the Plan Nord, a massive mining development plan that when first introduced, called for $80 billion in investment over 25 years. This included $47 billion towards renewable energy and $33 billion towards mining and infrastructure. The following day Stornoway Diamond Corp. announced its entry into a $944 million binding financing agreement with a syndicate of Quebec funds and lenders for the construction of the Renard Project in north central Quebec. The opportunity for Quebec-domiciled names and operators such as Virginia Mines is tremendous.
  • Barry Bannister, Chief Equity Strategist at Stifel, published a report highlighting that U.S. real interest rates are set to decline, which bodes well for gold in 2014 and may bring the yellow metal to $1,600 per ounce. His analysis partly reflects the opinion of Jefferies Strategist David Zervos, who argues the Fed will continue to punish cash hoarders, mainly by allowing real interest rates to go negative. Negative real interest rates force investors to deploy their cash as cash-hoarding comes with a cost in the form of inflation exceeding the nominal return on cash.

Declining Real Interest Rates Bode Well for $1,600 Gold
click to enlarge

Threats

  • Gold is set to drop as the U.S. economic recovery picks up, according to UBS analysts. The Swiss bank’s analysts believe gold will trade between $1,300 and $1,350 per ounce at the end of the year, arguing that any price rally will prove short lived. Analyst Tom Price stated that the outlook is modestly bearish as the U.S. comes out of the winter period, and economic activity continues to lift and deliver good macroeconomic support.
  • Gold is Morgan Stanley’s least-preferred commodity among the metals on the outlook for rising U.S. interest rates and low inflation expectations. Analyst Joel Crane states that the factors that boosted bullion in the first quarter, including Ukraine tensions, are set to weaken. As a result, Crane expects prices to drop for the next four quarters.
  • On May 13, the SEC’s Dodd-Frank-mandated conflict minerals reports are due, and a significant number of public companies risk falling behind, according to PwC. According to Mineweb, the conflict minerals rule requires companies registered with the SEC to determine or disclose if any of their minerals, including gold, may have originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If so, the companies must determine whether these minerals in the products are conflict-free.

Looking for Tax-Free Income?

Energy and Natural Resources Market

 

The Evolution of Fiscal Breakeven Oil Prices
click to enlarge

Strengths

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil reached a five-week high to $103 a barrel as U.S. consumer confidence rose in April and gasoline demand increased the most in three months.
  • China’s metal imports soared in March. Copper imports surged 10.8 percent month-over-month to 420 thousand metric tonnes, on expectations of increased seasonal demand through the second quarter of 2014.  Also, iron ore imports climbed 20.8 percent from the prior month to 74.0 million tonnes, taking first-quarter imports to 222.0 million tonnes.
  • Nickel prices hit a 52-week high on concerns about the potential shortages following a ban on ore exports from Indonesia. The three-month LME nickel contract hit an intraday high of $17,226 per metric tonne on April 10, the highest since March 2013.

Weaknesses

  • The World Bank lowered its forecast for China's economic growth this year to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent, taking into account soft data on industrial output and exports in the first two months of the year, the organization said in a report.
  • Copper is heading for the biggest surplus in 13 years as new supply hits the market. The excess may turn out to be smaller than investors expect, as new mines struggle to ramp up, according to the metal’s biggest producer. The prospect of supply exceeding demand by 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes depends on the successful execution of several projects, according to Codelco’s CEO.

Opportunities

  • China will shut down roughly 2,000 small coal mines this year, with a total capacity of 117 million tonnes, as part of Beijing’s ongoing plan to reduce the alarming rates of air pollution and reduce the nation’s dependency on the fossil fuel.
  • Global steel usage will increase by 3.1 percent in 2014 and 3.3 percent in 2015, says the World Steel Association, after a stronger-than-expected, second-half performance in the developed world helped demand growth reach 3.6 percent in 2013.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a new white paper yesterday touting the benefits of LNG exports to the U.S. economy and U.S. allies.  The report urges that all pending LNG export applications be approved, and that the process be streamlined to expedite future applications. Unless the Department of Energy (DOE) moves quicker, the U.S. could miss valuable export opportunities, the paper says. The report is entitled "Prosperity at Home and Strengthened Allies Abroad – A Global Perspective.”
  • Enbridge has obtained a license to re-export Canadian oil from the United States, becoming the first company to publicly confirm re-exports.  The move could fuel further debate over U.S. trade policy and oil sands pipelines. The company has a license to export "limited quantities" of Canadian oil from a U.S. port, Enbridge said, with market sources expecting the first cargoes to sail for Europe later in April.

Threats

  • China is estimated to lose up to 1.28 million barrels per day of crude distillation capacity this quarter as refineries shut down for maintenance, suggesting a drop off in crude imports.
  • A vast majority of Chileans, 74 percent to be exact, believe mining companies should pay higher taxes and that those funds should be allocated to the regions where mining operations are based, reveals a survey conducted by pollster MORI and the country’s Catholic University.
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A Blog by Frank Holmes, C.E.O. and Chief Investment Officer

China Region Fund - USCOX  •  Emerging Europe Fund - EUROX

Emerging Markets

Strengths

  • Emerging market equity funds recorded the highest inflows in more than 14 months, with a substantial portion of the funds going to broad-mandate emerging market funds. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) equity funds also saw an acceleration of inflows. The momentum of fund flows has continued to improve since mid-March after hitting a bottom in early February.

Emerging Market Fund Flows Break Above Long-Term Down Trend
click to enlarge

  • The recovery in Czech industrial production sped up in February with output rising 6.7 percent following January’s rise of 5.7 percent. Perhaps more encouraging for the future months is the strengthening of order books, which stood 19.9 percent higher than this time last year. Similarly, in February, Hungary's industrial production growth unexpectedly accelerated to its fastest rate in three years, rising 8.1 percent year-on-year, following a growth of 6.1 percent in January.
  • In February, seasonally-adjusted exports in the Philippines rose 8.8 percent month-over-month, a significant recovery from the 5 percent month-over-month decline in January. This recovery was driven by electronics exports to Japan, as Japanese consumers rushed to buy ahead of the April hike in the value-added tax.

Weaknesses

  • According to Brazil’s national statistics office, March inflation showed material deterioration as consumer prices rose at a monthly rate of 0.92 percent in February. The reading missed the market’s consensus of 0.85 percent. Annually, the reading accelerated from 5.68 percent to 6.15 percent. According to HSBC, food inflation contributed to half of the total increase, as the drought has impacted food prices. Nonetheless, additional signs of deterioration make the inflation outlook quite challenging.
  • The Czech trade surplus unexpectedly declined in February and came in below economists' expectations. The foreign trade surplus dropped to CZK 13.63 billion ($0.69 billion) from CZK 16.48 billion a year ago, as exports couldn’t keep up with the rapid growth in imports. Economists forecasted a surplus of $1.06 billion.
  • China’s producer price index (PPI) declined 2.3 percent year-over-year in March, a twenty-fifth consecutive month of contraction and the longest deflationary stretch since 1997. This highlights weak domestic demand and continued erosion of pricing power for the manufacturing complex.

Opportunities

  • Emerging market stocks advanced to a five-month high as the Federal Reserve minutes eased concerns about the pace of an increase in U.S. interest-rates. Several Fed policymakers said the median projection for interest-rate hikes exaggerated the likely speed of tightening. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has underperformed the U.S. market by as much as 16 percent since May 22, when the Fed signaled that stimulus could be trimmed. The Fed minutes, together with the recent strength in emerging markets, bodes well for a closing of the underperformance gap.

Emerging Markets to Narrow 13-Percent, Taper Talk Gap to S&P 500
click to enlarge

  • In any event, historical data over the past 25 years shows that U.S. monetary tightening cycles were typically associated with outperformance of emerging market equities versus their developed counterparts.  Lingering market concerns over sooner-than-expected interest rate hikes under Janet Yellen could bode well for emerging markets going forward.

Historical Periods of Federal Reserve Tightening a Blessing for Emerging Markets
click to enlarge

  • Greece ended a four-year exile from international markets with a bond sale of 3 billion euros ($4.2 billion), with nearly 90 percent of the issue going to investors outside of Greece. The country had orders exceeding 20 billion euros, as international markets are now expressing their confidence in the country’s economy. This regional strength extends to Turkey, which announced on Tuesday its plans to issue a euro-denominated bond to cover remaining external financing needs for the year. The Turkish government is seeking to take advantage of sharply improved investor sentiment towards the country.

Threats

  • Russian companies listed on foreign stock exchanges should consider delisting their shares overseas and instead trade in Moscow, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. The Minister claimed that the Moscow Exchange provided additional security amid foreign sanctions on Russian entities over Crimea. However, with foreign investors holding 70 percent of Russia’s stock free-float, a move away from Western markets would result in a further sell-off.
  • Russia’s biggest metal and mining companies are seeking about $5 billion of loans with international banks since the annexation of Crimea last month cut off bond markets. The situation has become critical for some borrowers, which are in the process of negotiating breather periods with lenders. This should give the loss-making firms time to hammer out revised terms for multi-billion dollar debt repayments, without the risk of default. The major approvals to amend the terms were granted by Russian banks, largely by request of the government, but to the detriment of the banks’ shareholders.
  • Difficult seasonality and three weeks of underperformance from growth-oriented fund managers could mean continued selling pressure on growth stocks, as we witness an ongoing style rotation away from momentum and growth to reversal and value.

Uncover the patterns in commodity returns.

Leaders and Laggards

The tables show the weekly, monthly and quarterly performance statistics of major equity and commodity market benchmarks of our family of funds.

Weekly Performance
Index Close Weekly
Change($)
Weekly
Change(%)
Natural Gas Futures 4.63 +0.21 +4.80%
S&P Energy 648.80 -10.70 -1.62%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,997.44 +9.35 +0.47%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,188.52 +52.10 +1.66%
Oil Futures 103.35 +2.29 +2.27%
DJIA 16,026.75 -385.96 -2.35%
S&P 500 1,815.69 -49.40 -2.65%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.63 -0.10 -3.53%
S&P Basic Materials 290.42 -8.16 -2.73%
Nasdaq 3,999.73 -127.99 -3.10%
Gold Futures 1,318.40 +16.10 +1.24%
Russell 2000 1,111.44 -41.94 -3.64%
XAU 92.55 -0.75 -0.80%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 184.19 -1.07 -0.58%
 
Monthly Performance
Index Close Monthly
Change($)
Monthly
Change(%)
S&P Energy 648.80 +14.81 +2.34%
S&P Basic Materials 290.42 -7.16 -2.41%
DJIA 16,026.75 -324.50 -1.98%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,997.44 +33.57 +1.71%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.63 -0.14 -5.16%
S&P 500 1,815.69 -51.94 -2.78%
Oil Futures 103.35 +3.83 +3.85%
Russell 2000 1,111.44 -75.61 -6.37%
Nasdaq 3,999.73 -307.45 -7.14%
Gold Futures 1,318.40 -31.60 -2.34%
XAU 92.55 -7.32 -7.33%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 184.19 -16.11 -8.04%
Natural Gas Futures 4.63 +0.04 +0.78%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,188.52 -332.01 -14.83%
 
Quarterly Performance
Index Close Quarterly
Change($)
Quarterly
Change(%)
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 184.19 +17.50 +10.50%
XAU 92.55 +5.50 +6.32%
Gold Futures 1,318.40 +69.30 +5.55%
Natural Gas Futures 4.63 +0.55 +13.57%
S&P Basic Materials 290.42 +2.17 +0.75%
Oil Futures 103.35 +10.46 +11.26%
S&P 500 1,815.69 -26.68 -1.45%
S&P Energy 648.80 +6.97 +1.09%
Nasdaq 3,999.73 -174.93 -4.19%
Russell 2000 1,111.44 -53.09 -4.56%
DJIA 16,026.75 -410.30 -2.50%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,997.44 +58.90 +3.04%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,188.52 -1.51 -0.05%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.63 -0.23 -8.15%

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.

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

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.

The Emerging Europe Fund invests more than 25 percent of its investments in companies principally engaged in the oil & gas or banking industries. The risk of concentrating investments in this group of industries will make the fund more susceptible to risk in these industries than funds which do not concentrate their investments in an industry and may make the fund’s performance more volatile.

Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in a specific industry, 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 percent to 10 percent of your portfolio in these sectors.

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 percent of its assets in securities that pay taxable interest. Income or fund distributions attributable to capital gains are usually subject to both state and federal income taxes. 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.

Investing in real estate securities involves risks including the potential loss of principal resulting from changes in property value, interest rates, taxes and changes in regulatory requirements.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Some link(s) above may 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.

These market comments were compiled using Bloomberg and Reuters financial news.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings as a percentage of net assets as of 3/31/14:

Alpha Bank AE: Emerging Europe Fund, 1.98%
Piraeus Bank SA: Emerging Europe Fund, 2.34%
MMC Norilsk Nickel OJSC: Emerging Europe Fund, 4.17%
Mail.Ru Group: 0.0%
TAV Havalimanlari Holdings AS: Emerging Europe Fund, 0.75%
PowerShares QQQ Trust: 0.0%
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF: 0.0%
Allergan, Inc.: 0.0%
Johnson & Johnson: 0.0%
JP Morgan Chase: 0.0%
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.: 0.0%
Goldcorp, Inc.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.30%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.28%
Yamana Gold, Inc.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 1.73%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.16%
Osisko Mining Corp.: 0.0%
Detour Gold Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 4.82%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.76%
AuRico Gold, Inc.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 1.65%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.37%
Probe Mines Ltd: World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.89%
NGEx Resources, Inc.: Global Resources Fund, 0.61%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 2.36%
Lucara Diamond Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.25%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.34%
Mariana Resources Ltd: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.15%
Centamin plc: 0.0%
Primero Mining Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.12%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.04%
Brigus Gold Corp.: 0.0%
Stornoway Diamond Corp.: 0.0%
Virginia Mines, Inc.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 6.03%
Codelco: 0.0%
Enbridge: 0.0%
 

*The above-mentioned indices are not total returns. These returns reflect simple appreciation only and do not reflect dividend reinvestment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry.
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 Russell 2000 Index® is a U.S. equity index measuring the performance of the 2,000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000®, a widely recognized small-cap index.
The Hang Seng Composite Index is a market capitalization-weighted index that comprises the top 200 companies listed on Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, based on average market cap for the 12 months.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all listed common shares traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
The Korea Stock Price Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all common shares and preferred shares on the Korean Stock Exchanges.
The Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index (XAU) is a capitalization-weighted index that includes the leading companies involved in the mining of gold and silver.
The U.S. Trade Weighted Dollar Index provides a general indication of the international value of the U.S. dollar.
The S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Capped Sector Index is a modified capitalization-weighted index, whose equity weights are capped 25 percent and index constituents are derived from a subset stock pool of S&P/TSX Composite Index stocks.
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 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 Financials Index is a capitalization-weighted index. The index was developed with a base level of 10 for the 1941-43 base period.
The S&P 500 Industrials Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the industrial sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the consumer discretionary sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Information Technology Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the information technology sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the consumer staples sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Utilities Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the utilities sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Healthcare Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the healthcare sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 Telecom Index is a Materials Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the companies in the telecom sector as a subset of the S&P 500.
The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index is a modified market capitalization weighted index comprised of publicly traded companies involved primarily in the mining for gold and silver.
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.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) measures prices received by producers at the first commercial sale. The index measures goods at three stages of production: finished, intermediate and crude.
Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) shows the market's expectation of 30-day volatility.
The National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) Index of business optimism is based on responses from 1,221 member firms.

Share “We're Shuffling the Cards on Our European Play”

Net Asset Value
as of 04/14/2014

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $9.42 0.10 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $6.95 0.12 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $6.61 0.08 China Region Fund USCOX $8.04 0.02 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $8.04 -0.06 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $31.43 0.22 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $22.83 0.13 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.25 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change