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

Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates
September 11, 2015

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

US-Global-Will-Never-Forget 9-11

Today is an emotional day for Americans. In an instant, on a beautiful blue sky morning 14 years ago, all of our lives changed forever. 

September 11 is a day when we pause and reflect on where we were when—when the towers came crumbling down, when our nation’s capital came under attack, when so many lives were cut short, when so many heroes rushed in. 

I was in Manhattan with colleagues that day, attending a financial industry conference uptown. At the time, we didn’t know how fortunate we were that our meeting had been changed from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I was en route when everything stopped, and soon after, I saw all the people covered in dust and walking home across the bridge. The cell phones in the city stopped working, but because mine had a San Antonio area code, I was able to get through to the office to let everyone know we were safe. 

Nancy-Holmes

I was there with two of my company executives and the magnificent Nancy Holmes (no relation, though she often joked that I was her adopted son), who was working with me as a marketing strategist, at the age of 82. Nancy led one of the most interesting and full lives I have ever known. A code clerk for the U.S. Army, a model in Paris for Balmain, a photojournalist for Columbia Pictures, a bestselling author and magazine editor, including editor-at-large for Worth magazine, which she retired from to move to San Antonio and spend time with her granddaughters and be a consultant to U.S. Global. In fact, she was larger than life and filled with enthusiasm for life. She was a fellow traveler of the world, but like the rest of us, in that dark hour we all just wanted to go home, to Texas.

The city was shut down that night. The cabs disappeared and the subways weren’t running. The airports would remain closed for many days.

But the next morning I found a driver to take us to New Jersey where I had reserved one of the last rental cars left in the area. The four of us loaded into a Ford Expedition and began the long ride home and an unforgettable bonding experience. My adrenaline rush enabled me to drive us straight through for 30 hours. Early on we turned off the car radio because the nonstop coverage of the tragedy was too much to take. Instead, Nancy entertained us with stories of her incredible trail blazing life including her close friendships with the rich and famous, from Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor to Sean Connery and former hedge fund manager Julian Robertson. Nancy was a bright light on that dark day.

For the last 14 years on this day, I remember all the people who didn’t get to return home that fateful day, and I give thanks that I did, along with these special colleagues and friends.

I find myself back in New York, an unplanned diversion when my flight out of Portland, Maine was cancelled. And once again, I’m trying to get home. Rain has grounded the midsize regional plane I was scheduled to take, an effective reminder that no matter how well you think you’re in control, uncertainty has a habit of stepping in the way.

Will They or Won't They?

Right now, a lot of investors are wondering about the uncertainty of rising interest rates—the causes, effects and possible ramifications. Many people have been saying for weeks and months now that a rate hike is imminent and that September is the anticipated takeoff.

I’ve been skeptical of this, and now a chart from highly-respected market analyst Jeff deGraaf confirms my skepticism. In his words, “the market anticipates >70 percent probability of the Fed NOT raising rates.”

SP500-Index-vs-Probability-25-bps-Fed-Funds-through-September-Meeting
click to enlarge

The Fed will convene next Thursday, and according to deGraaf, the most bullish outcome would be if Chair Janet Yellen held off raising rates and also took a more dovish tone. A more bearish outcome would be if she announced a rate hike and assumed a hawkish tone. I could see a rate hike fast-tracking QE4.

Indeed, if rates were allowed to stay where they are, the bond market could very well see a rally, which would be a boon for our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX). Another beneficiary would be dividend-paying stocks, such as those found in our All American Equity Fund (GBTFX).

Low Energy Prices Offer Companies Delayed Gratification

Speaking of the S&P 500, many investors might worry that falling energy stocks are creating havoc for the index. In reality, the S&P isn’t affected by a drop in energy as much as some believe. Currently, energy is only 7 percent of the index, and its position is dropping. As recently as December 2014, it was 9 percent.

Part of the reason it’s falling is because the market cap for energy stocks has collectively declined 32 percent for the 12-month period. Do the math. The point is that, as the fourth-smallest sector in the S&P following telecommunications services (2.4 percent), materials (2.9 percent) and utilities (3 percent), energy has a minimal impact on the overall index.

Everyone knows that when energy prices drop, oil specifically, companies within the sector are hurt, including producers, refiners and the like. The winners are consumers, who save at the pump and benefit when companies pass along energy savings.

What many people might not know, however, is that it often takes a few quarters before these benefits are realized. Take the airline industry. Domestic carriers reported their first-ever $5-billion quarter in July, which is exactly a year after oil prices started to plummet from more than $90 per barrel.

The longer fuel prices stay low, the more likely it is that airlines will continue to perform beyond expectations. Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, for instance, recently hit a 52-week high. If prices were to plunge to $20 per barrel, as Goldman Sachs claim is a possibility, the savings would be even larger.

However, with a growing global population over seven billion people, it will not be longer before the oil supply at these prices eases and prices rise to the $60-per-barrel level. This will have many benefits for both consumers as well as the energy space.

As always, investors should consider their tolerance level based on risk and age to help balance their investments between short-term bonds and equities.

Manufacturing and the Velocity of Money

Here’s a final thought I want to leave you with. According to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, government employees outnumber workers in the manufacturing sector 1.8 to 1—nearly double. What if it were the other way around? The economy would likely be stronger and more vibrant, as I see it.

Think of home construction. When a house is built, money touches so many people, from surveyors to architects, from plumbers to landscapers, from lawyers to accountants. All of these people are creating wealth for themselves and for others. For every dollar invested, housing returns between $12 and $14.

That’s not the case with government workers, for whom taxes must be raised to pay for their wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong. We need such people to run the government. But the ratio between the two types of workers is out-of-balance for a vibrant economy.

It’s classic macroeconomics on money supply growth and velocity. Different industries and sectors have different values for each dollar spent. The private sector is higher than the public sector, and housing is highest. 

I wish all of my readers, shareholders and investors a safe and happy weekend! To my Jewish friends, L'shanah tovah! For a good year!

What's gold's touchdown Pass This Week?

Index Summary

  • The major market indices finished up this week.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.05 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index rose 2.07 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.96 percent. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index gained 1.90 percent this week.
  • The Hang Seng Composite gained 3.91 percent this week; while Taiwan was up 3.81 percent and the KOSPI rose 2.93 percent.
  • The 10-year Treasury bond yield rose 6 basis points to 2.19 percent.

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Domestic Equity Market

S&P 500 Economic Sectors
click to enlarge

Strengths

  • Information technology was the best performing sector in the S&P 500 this week following its sharp sell off the week prior. The S&P Information Technology Sector Index rose 3.13 percent this week.
  • The preliminary reading for eurozone productivity growth during the second quarter surprised to the upside this week. Gross domestic product for the eurozone grew 1.5 percent in the second quarter from the same period one year ago. Analysts estimated a slightly lower growth rate of 1.2 percent.
  • Small business sentiment improved for the month of August. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 95.9 from 95.4 in July.

Weaknesses

  • Energy was the worst performing sector in the S&P 500 this week as WTI crude prices remain severely depressed. The S&P 500 Energy Sector Index fell 0.70 percent this week.
  • Inflation expectations remain considerably depressed, hovering at levels not seen since late last year. Investor confidence in the underlying economy is shaky.
  • Yields on 10-year U.S. Government notes rose roughly 6 basis points this week, placing more competitive pressure on other income plays.

Opportunities

  • Consumer credit grew by $19.1 billion in July, surpassing analysts’ estimates. Further borrowing should benefit consumer oriented stocks.
  • The Conference Board’s Leading Index, a composite of various leading economic indicators, is forecasted to rise 0.2 percent for the month of August, implying improvement in the economy in the near future.
  • Certain big name investors are commenting on the attractive valuations within various industries, particularly energy.

Threats

  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release its updated target for the federal funds rate next Thursday. The long awaited announcement is sure to have a meaningful impact on markets. Given that economists are forecasting an incremental increase of 25 basis points, markets could be caught off guard as futures contracts still imply a low probability of a rate hike.
  • Consumer sentiment contracted sharply for the month of September according to a preliminary reading released this week. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 85.7 from 91.9, the lowest level in a year.
  • Housing starts during the month of August are forecasted to fall, which could put pressure on the housing and construction industries.

Looking for Tax-Free Income? Explore our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) - U.S. Global Investors

The Economy and Bond Market

Major global equity market indices were volatile, but gained for the week even as investors remained nervous about China's slowing economy ahead of a much-anticipated U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week. The VIX index traded in a fairly tight band of 23–27, indicating slightly less U.S. stock market turbulence than in prior weeks. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note varied between 2.13 percent and 2.24 percent, ending the week in the middle of that range. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures hovered under $46 per barrel this week, while Brent crude oil fell below $48 per barrel and gold dipped below $1,100 an ounce Friday, near its low for the year.

Strengths

  • Consumer credit expanded by $19.1 billion in July, though this was a slowdown from the $27 billion increase in June. This was a touch higher than expectations of $18.8 billion. The gain this month was once again driven by nonrevolving debt, which grew by $14.8 billion to $2.54 trillion. Revolving debt went up by a smaller $4.3 billion, increasing total outstanding to $0.91trillion. Consumer credit should continue to expand amid a strong labor market and U.S. economy.
  • The Census Bureau released the Q2 Quarterly Services Survey this week, revealing a stronger trend for healthcare services spending.
  • The NFIB small business sentiment index inched up to 95.9 in August from 95.4. This was right in line with expectations of 96.0, which is also the 6-month average.

Weaknesses

  • The University of Michigan Sentiment index fell to 85.7 in the preliminary report for September from 91.9 in the final report for August. This is below the expected weakening to 91.1 and represents the lowest reading since last September. The current conditions index slipped to 100.3 from 105.1 in the prior month, and the expectations index fell to 76.4 from 83.4. The drop in sentiment likely reflects the turmoil in the financial market, which is offsetting the boost from lower gasoline prices and job growth.
  • Import prices were weaker than expected in August, falling 1.8 percent month-over-month versus expectations of -1.6 percent. Even controlling for petroleum, import prices ex-petroleum declined 0.4 percent. Consumer import prices declined 0.1 percent month-over-month, remaining weak and pushing the year-over-year rate down a tenth to -1.3 percent. These data suggest continued disinflationary pressure feeding into measures of underlying consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation.

Deflation-Pressures
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  • Job openings surged to 5.75 million in July from 5.32 million in June, coming in well above expectations of 5.3 million. As a result, the job openings rate jumped to 3.9 percent from 3.6 percent. Businesses are increasingly in need of labor, and there is evidence of skill mismatch in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data. Indeed, the increase in the job openings rate now puts it above the hire rate (which fell to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent) for the first time since the data goes back to December 2000. Firms want to hire workers, but they are having trouble finding suitable employees.

Opportunities

  • Retail sales, released Tuesday, have been volatile in the last couple of months but have remained in positive territory. Next week’s print is likely to show a continuation in the tepid growth pace.
  • The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey will be released Wednesday. With the 1-month trend above the 3-month, results are likely to show continued progress in the housing recovery.
  • Capacity utilization, released on Tuesday, is likely to continue its upward trend and carries positive momentum given the 1-month is above the 3-month trend.

Threats

  • While direct links with China and many developing countries may be small, these countries represent the marginal price setters for tradeable goods. As such, plunging emerging market currencies are importing deflation into the U.S. Nearly half of U.S. industry groups are suffering a contraction in selling prices, with two thirds unable to raise selling prices by more than 1 percent. Half of the ten broad sectors are in deflation. This is highly relevant for equity investors, because it warns that falling sales growth is likely to persist. Without sales growth, profits can only grow if margins expand through cost cutting. That is unlikely given that labor costs are now rising, however modestly. Thus, expectations for resumption in profit growth starting in the fourth quarter of this year and continuing throughout 2016 at a double-digit pace are far too optimistic. If this persists, the likely outcome is that equities will continue to adjust downward toward a valuation level that better reflects meager profit growth prospects.
  • The odds of a Fed liftoff have fallen, but a rate hike is not completely off the table. The new set of dots and economic forecast, as well as Yellen's press conference will show how much the market turbulence has affected the Fed's plans.
  • CPI will be released Wednesday. The 1-month trend remains below the 3-month, pointing to a likely disappointing print that reflects an economy continuing to struggle with increasing the inflation rate.

Looking for Tax-Free Income? Explore our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) - U.S. Global Investors

Gold Market

For the week, spot gold closed at $1,107.78 down $15.67 per ounce, or 1.39 percent. Gold stocks, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, lost 1.49 percent. The U.S. Trade-Weighted Dollar Index backed off 1.09 percent for the week. Junior tiered stocks outperformed seniors for the week as the S&P/TSX Venture Index was off just 0.98 percent outpacing the GDM Index.  Most people expect the Fed to not raise interest rates at next week’s FOMC meeting; however there will still likely be plenty of vocal gold bears eager to encourage you to sell your gold to them to cover their shorts.

Date Event Survey Actual Prior
Sep -10 US Initial Jobless Claims 275K 275K 282K
Sep -11 GE CPI YoY 0.20% 0.20% 0.20%
Sep -11 US PPI Final Demand YoY -0.90% -0.80% -0.80%
Sep -13 CH Retail Sales YoY 10.60% -- 10.50%
Sep -15 GE ZEW Survey Current Situation 64 -- 65.7
Sep -15 GE ZEW Survey Expectations 18.3 -- 25
Sep -16 EC CPI Core YoY 1.00% -- 1.00%
Sep -16 US CPI YoY 0.20% -- 0.20%
Sep -17 US Housing Starts 1170K -- 1206K
Sep -17 US Initial Jobless Claims 276K -- 275K
Sep -17 US FOMC Rate Decision (Upper Bound) 0.50% -- 0.25%

Strengths

  • Palladium was the best performing precious metal for the week, up 4.08 percent. According to Goldman Sachs, 70 percent of global palladium demand originates from catalytic convertors found in gasoline dependent motor vehicles. Auto demand has been more than robust, averaging growth of over 5 percent year-over-year y in the last 12 months. Further, 79 percent of global palladium mine supply comes from Russia and South Africa. The strength of the U.S. dollar versus both the Russian ruble and the South African rand over the past 12 months has acted as an effective tailwind for producers in both countries as operating costs have shifted down. Silver outperformed gold for the week. Sales of silver coins at the U.K. Royal Mint have tripled from April to August, compared with a year ago.
  • Foreign exchange figures released Monday suggest China added around 16 tons of gold in August, according to UBS. Gold watchers will be paying attention to see if China continues its recent trend of publishing its gold accumulation on a monthly basis.
  • The demand for imported gold in China seems to be improving, based on higher premiums paid for the metal.

Weaknesses

  • Platinum was the weakest precious metal for the week, down 2.12 percent.  Platinum group metals (PGM) production data released by South Africa, showed a 72 percent output rise year-over-year, perhaps explaining why the PGMs have underperformed gold over the past year.
  • Consumer sentiment declined in September to the lowest level in a year as Americans anticipated a weaker economy in the face of a global slowdown and turbulent financial markets. HSBC expects the FOMC to forego a rate hike next week. If that is the case, gold will remain subdued, in expectation of the eventual hike.
  • Two straight years of drought in India have hit gold demand and could cut imports by up to 10 percent in 2015, according to the head of the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation. Further, Indian gold premiums are negative which shows little demand for imported gold.

Opportunities

Rates-Have-Been-Extremely-Low-for-a-Long-Time
click to enlarge

  • The Wicksell spread, which shows the difference between the corporate credit yield and the “natural interest rate,” shows that rates have been too low for a very long time. It focuses on the key drivers of the business cycle; what is happening to the cost of capital versus what is happening to the return on capital. As such, if returns fall below the market rate for credit, boom turns to bust. That is exactly where we seem to find ourselves currently according to research by Julien Garran of Macro Strategy Partnership. Furthermore, billionaire investor David Tepper said this week that he sees problems with earnings growth, valuations, and people having too high expectations for earnings in 2016. Thus, he said he would be a buyer of equities if the market fell 20 percent.  Mr. Garran suggests today investors should be long gold and short U.S. stocks.
  • Copper had its longest rally since June on speculation that output cuts by miners will tighten supplies just as demand rebounds. Technically, the move in copper has broken through its overhead resistance and copper producers have started to rally.
  • Macquarie initiated coverage of St. Barbara Limited with an outperform rating and a target price of $1.00/share. According to them, the company has found a new direction after a change of senior management and strong performance from its key asset at Gwalia. This has been complemented by a strong turnaround at Simberi and the divestment of Gold Ridge is putting the company in a position where it can deleverage and re-examine expansion options.

Threats

  • According to Nomura, India’s sovereign gold bond scheme is more likely to succeed. Their annual investment demand for gold is estimated at 300 MT per annum, which is around 35 percent of India’s gold import bill. Furthermore, the government is likely to offer 2-3 percent interest rates for the two gold schemes it announced on Wednesday according to a senior government official.
  • According to past government gold monetization schemes in India, there are reasons to believe the current one will fail. As part of the 1993 scheme, the government managed to mobilize a little over 41 tons because the scheme offered immunity to investors from being asked questions as to how this gold was acquired and the source of funds. The current plan contains no such protections and thus, the potential oversight and investigations could cause investors to be much more wary in taking part.
  • ABN Amro, the biggest Dutch bank, cut its forecast for gold prices and now expects them to fall to $1,000 by the end of the year and to $800 by 2016 on expectations the Fed will cut interest rates.  Keep in mind this is the same ABN Amro that defaulted on physical delivery of gold to their customers in 2013 because they did not have any physical gold to deliver.

Looking for Tax-Free Income? Explore our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) - U.S. Global Investors

Energy and Natural Resources Market

Sentiment-on-Commodities-Extremely-Low
click to enlarge

Strengths

  • Base metals stocks rallied again this week as investors became more constructive towards China’s economic growth outlook. The S&P/TSX Capped Diversified Metals and Mining Index gained 10.2 percent this week.
  • The Bloomberg Dry Ships Index gained nearly 6 percent on the week as iron ore prices recovered in response to declining inventories following a period of destocking in China.
  • Oil refining stocks led the energy complex this week on falling crude prices and strong gasoline demand.  The S&P 500 Oil Refining & Marketing Index gained 4.9 percent on the week.

Weaknesses

  • The threat of an impending interest rate hike by the Fed next week weighed on income related equities in the oil patch.  The Alerian MLP and Yorkville Oil & Gas Royalty indices fell 2.8 and 4.9 percent, respectively.
  • Forecasts for lower crude oil prices next year due to resilient production and abundant inventories weighed on oil service and equipment stocks this week.  The Philadelphia Oil Service & Equipment index fell 2.3 percent during the week.
  • The Bloomberg Oil Tanker Index fell 1.6 percent this week on news of further VLCC new-build orders and deliveries into the market later this year.

Opportunities

  • Industrial Production and Fixed Asset Investment in China are scheduled to be released next week, with expected growth forecasts of 6.5 and 11.2 percent, respectively.  
  • Lower oil prices will force non-OPEC producers including the United States to cut output by the steepest rate in more than two decades next year, rebalancing an oversupplied oil market, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The IEA said it now expects U.S. light, tight oil production to shrink by 0.4 million barrels per day (bpd) next year after expanding by a record 1.7 million bpd in 2014.
  • The World Nuclear Association Nuclear Fuel reported that global nuclear capacity will grow to 552 gigawatts equivalent (GWe) in 2035 from 379 GWe currently. Still, the IEA states this will fall short of its threshold figure of 900 GWe in capacity (by 2050) needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In order to reach its estimate, the IEA believes $81 billion a year in nuclear plant investments would be needed throughout that time frame.

Threats

  • According to Goldman Sachs, the world’s oil glut may be bigger than originally thought even as U.S. shale production is expected to decline next year, which could push crude oil to $20 a barrel in order to rebalance global supply. 
  • Concerns over China’s slowing growth rate remain high. Commodities and related stocks could remain volatile over the short-term.
  • A Federal Reserve rate hike next week could prove to be a policy mistake given already unstable global equity markets and tenuous economic growth domestically and abroad.
Frank Talk Insight for Investors
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September 10, 2015
8 Iconic American Companies that Have Been Hurt by the Strong Dollar
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September 8, 2015
What the Influencers Are Saying about Commodities
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September 2, 2015
The Many Uses of Gold
A Blog by Frank Holmes, C.E.O. and Chief Investment Officer

China Region

Strengths

  • Taiwanese equities rose sharply this week despite the release of disappointing economic data. However, renewed commitment from China to supporting economic growth lifted the region. The Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index rose 3.81 percent this week.
  • Hong Kong stocks rallied this week after suffering sharp sell offs the week prior. The Hong Seng Composite Index rose 3.91 percent this week.
  • South Korean stocks participated in the bounce as well as the unemployment rate fell more than expected. The Korea Stock Exchange KOSPI Index rose 2.93 percent this week.

Weaknesses

  • Philippine stocks underperformed this week in anticipation of the FOMC decision next week. The Philippines Stock Exchange PSEi Index fell 1.99 percent this week.
  • Taiwan export growth year-over-year for the month of August contracted by more than expected.
  • Japanese machine orders growth year- over-year for the month of July was much weaker than expected, adding some negative sentiment to the positive GDP release this week.

Opportunities

  • Holding higher than normal cash should continue to help weather short-term market volatility ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve interest rate decision.  Cautious fund positioning is prudent, given little evidence of a positive reversal from China’s August macro data and lack of convincing government policy stimulus.  It is very difficult to foresee a sustainable turnaround in investor sentiment when the Chinese A Share market has yet to see a real capitulation because local retail investors, who dominate daily trading activity, have just turned net sellers in August after ten consecutive months of net accumulation. 

Cash is king as investor fears of capital flight from China linger
click to enlarge

  • China industrial production growth for the month of July is expected to be revised up to 6.5 percent from 6.0 percent.
  • China has committed to providing more government funds in the wake of recent market and economic turmoil. Such support could be the deciding factor in China’s growth trajectory.

Threats

  • Negative news headlines regarding thievery of hundreds of millions of dollars from a Macau junket as well as lingering concerns over a complete smoking ban inside the city’s casinos do not alleviate the uncertainty of the gambling industry’s secular appeal.  Subdued visibility of industry growth, less than attractive valuation, and dearth of sustainable catalysts may continue to weight on investor sentiment towards Macau casino stocks.
  • Singapore export growth for the month of August is expected to contract 3.3 percent, which would weigh on companies with a high degree of foreign sales.
  • The FOMC will release its upper limit target for the federal funds rate next week. With economists expecting a slight increase and markets still unconvinced, a sell off could ensue.

Emerging Europe

Strengths

  • Greek stocks rallied sharply this week, continuing their oversold bounce. Investor optimism over the political environment in Greece is also improving. The Athens Stock Exchange General Index rose 4.21 percent this week.
  • Russian equities rose this week despite the decline in Brent crude prices. The central bank did leave rates unchanged, which dismissed investors’ fears that the bank would need to raise rates to defend the ruble.
  • The Czech economy appears to be on fire, especially relative to its peers in the emerging European region, and indeed the broader emerging market universe. Industrial production and GDP growth continue to remain in a steady uptrend. The outperformance of the Czech economy could be partly attributed to the monetary policy of the Czech Central Bank, which continued to cut rates while its peers chose to raise rates.

Eurozone composite purchasing managers' idnex (PMI)
click to enlarge

Weaknesses

  • Turkish equities and the currency continue to fall as investor concerns over terrorist activity in the country increase. Furthermore, the Turkish economy is struggling as industrial production growth for the month of July was much weaker than expected. The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index and the Turkish lira declined 2.19 and 1.17 percent, respectively.
  • Hungary’s industrial production growth contracted between June and July, highlighting weakness in the underlying economy. The Budapest Stock Exchange Index fell 1.18 percent this week.
  • Disinflation is reemerging in the region as both Czech and Hungary reported weaker growth in consumer prices from a year earlier.

Opportunities

  • The Russian Central Bank’s decision to leave rates unchanged highlights its comfortability with the Ruble’s depreciation, which could be a sign that the bank thinks the decline is over.
  • Polish industrial production growth from a year earlier is expected to rise to 6.3 percent from 3.8 percent.
  • European exporters should continue to see benefits from weaker currencies if the dollar rises as a result of the FOMC decision next week.

Threats

  • Polish consumer prices are expected to have contracted by 0.7 percent from a year earlier, signaling deflation and weak growth.
  • Should the FOMC raise interest rates next week, the most susceptible country is Turkey, which relies heavily on foreign capital inflows to finance its trade deficit.
  • China continues to remain a serious concern for all emerging markets. Investors remain pessimistic.

Uncover the Patterns in Commodity Returns

Leaders and Laggards

Weekly Performance
Index Close Weekly
Change($)
Weekly
Change(%)
DJIA 16,433.09 +330.71 +2.05%
S&P 500 1,961.05 +39.83 +2.07%
S&P Energy 460.95 -3.23 -0.70%
S&P Basic Materials 267.66 +4.70 +1.79%
Nasdaq 4,822.34 +138.42 +2.96%
Russell 2000 1,157.79 +21.62 +1.90%
Hang Seng Composite Index 2,951.57 +111.20 +3.91%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,941.37 +55.33 +2.93%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 119.77 -2.20 -1.80%
XAU 45.03 -0.30 -0.66%
Gold Futures 1,106.70 -14.70 -1.31%
Oil Futures 44.76 -1.29 -2.80%
Natural Gas Futures 2.69 +0.04 +1.36%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.19 +0.06 +3.01%
 
Monthly Performance
Index Close Monthly
Change($)
Monthly
Change(%)
DJIA 16,433.09 -969.42 -5.57%
S&P 500 1,961.05 -125.00 -5.99%
S&P Energy 460.95 -53.08 -10.33%
S&P Basic Materials 267.66 -18.12 -6.34%
Nasdaq 4,822.34 -222.05 -4.40%
Russell 2000 1,157.79 -51.19 -4.23%
Hang Seng Composite Index 2,951.57 -323.75 -9.88%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,941.37 -34.10 -1.73%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 119.77 -18.20 -13.19%
XAU 45.03 -7.83 -14.81%
Gold Futures 1,106.70 -16.90 -1.50%
Oil Futures 44.76 +1.46 +3.37%
Natural Gas Futures 2.69 -0.24 -8.19%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.19 +0.04 +1.86%
 
Quarterly Performance
Index Close Quarterly
Change($)
Quarterly
Change(%)
DJIA 16,433.09 -1,465.75 -8.19%
S&P 500 1,961.05 -133.06 -6.35%
S&P Energy 460.95 -99.65 -17.78%
S&P Basic Materials 267.66 -46.31 -14.75%
Nasdaq 4,822.34 -228.76 -4.53%
Russell 2000 1,157.79 -107.23 -8.48%
Hang Seng Composite Index 2,951.57 -853.75 -22.44%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,941.37 -110.80 -5.40%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 119.77 -34.50 -22.36%
XAU 45.03 -21.52 -32.34%
Gold Futures 1,106.70 -74.60 -6.32%
Oil Futures 44.76 -15.20 -25.35%
Natural Gas Futures 2.69 -0.06 -2.15%
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.19 -0.20 -8.52%

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.

Stock markets can be volatile and share prices can fluctuate in response to sector-related and other risks as described in the fund prospectus.

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. 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.

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 6/30/2015:

Ryanair Holdings: 0.0%
St. Barbara Ltd: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 2.42%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.03%

*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 Purchasing Manager’s Index is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.
The National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) Index of business optimism is based on responses from 1221 member firms.
The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators is an index published monthly by the Conference Board used to predict the direction of the economy's movements in the months to come. The index is made up of 10 economic components, whose changes tend to precede changes in the overall economy.
The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is comprised of measures of attitudes toward personal finances, general business conditions, and market conditions or prices.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX) shows the market's expectation of 30-day volatility.
The S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index is a broad market indicator for the Canadian venture capital market. The index is market capitalization weighted and, at its inception, included 531 companies. A quarterly revision process is used to remove companies that comprise less than 0.05% of the weight of the index, and add companies whose weight, when included, will be greater than 0.05% of the index.
The Amex Gold Miners Index (GDM) is a modified market capitalization weighted index comprised of publicly traded companies involved primarily in the mining for gold and silver.
The S&P/TSX Capped Diversified Metals and Mining Index is an index of companies engaged in diversified production or extraction of metals and minerals.
The Bloomberg Dry Ships Index is a capitalization weighted index.
The S&P Supercomposite Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing Index is a capitalization-weighted index.
The Alerian MLP Index is the leading gauge of large- and mid-cap energy Master Limited Partnerships. The capitalization-weighted index includes 50 prominent companies.
The Yorkville Royalty Trust Oil & Gas Index is a market capitalization weighted index consisting of the entire universe of royalty trusts involved in a balance of oil and natural gas production.
The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index (OSX) is price-weighted index composed of 15 companies that provide oil drilling and production services, oil field equipment, support services and geophysical/reservoir services. The OSX Index was set to an initial value of 75 on December 31, 1996.
The Bloomberg Tanker Index is a capitalization weighted index of the leading oil tanker companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The TWSE, or TAIEX, Index is a capitalization-weighted index of all listed common shares traded on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
The Philippine Stock Exchange PSEi Index is composed of stocks representative of the industrial, properties, services, holding firms, financial and mining & oil sectors of the Philippines Stock Exchange.
The Athens Stock Exchange General Index is a capitalization-weighted index of Greek stocks listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index is a capitalization-weighted index composed of National Market companies except investment trusts.
The Budapest Stock Exchange Index is a capitalization-weighted index adjusted for free float. The index tracks the daily price-only performance of large, actively traded shares on the Budapest Stock Exchange.

Share “Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates”

Net Asset Value
as of 02/20/2018

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $6.17 0.01 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $6.91 -0.22 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $4.27 -0.09 China Region Fund USCOX $11.76 -0.11 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $7.75 -0.03 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $25.32 -0.10 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $19.41 -0.37 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.20 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $1.99 No Change