Why the Recent Lift in Junior Miners Will Likely Continue

Author: USGI
Date Posted: January 24, 2014 Read time: 39 min

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

Junior venture companies in Canada are finally seeing a significant lift.

In early January, the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose above the 200-day moving average for the first time in three years. The index is also very close to experiencing a golden cross, which is when the shorter-term 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average. Historically, traders see this cross as extremely bullish.

You can see on the chart that there have been few occurrences of golden crosses over the past five years, with one in 2009 and another in 2011. Following these crosses, the index saw a spectacular increase.

Then and Now: Top 10Percent Now pay more than Bottom 90 Percent
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The Canadian venture index holds 372 micro-capitalization securities that trade on the S&P/TSX exchange. It’s a resources-heavy index, with more than 80 percent of the holdings in the energy and materials sector. Making up the top 10 by weight are energy companies including Africa Oil, Mart Resources, Americas PetroGas and Madalena Energy.

Materials stocks such as Atico Mining, Balmoral Resources, Chesapeake Gold, Energold Drilling, Gold Standard Ventures, Rye Patch Gold, and Santacruz Silver Mining are also constituents.

These stocks will be familiar to the shareholders of the World Precious Minerals Fund (UNWPX), as they are representative of the fund’s holdings. Historically, we’ve found that these junior mining companies outperformed their larger counterparts.
 
As resource investors, we’re particularly encouraged by this “golden cross,” but what makes us even more optimistic is further data supporting the cyclical areas of the market.

Cyclical companies in sectors such as information technology, industrial, materials, and consumer discretionary tend to sell goods and services beyond the basic needs. These are the goods and services businesses and consumers buy when times are good.

So consider the potentially major impact that increased investment spending might have on these companies. After curtailing capital expenditures following the Great Recession, businesses may be in the process of reversing that trend after a prolonged period of under-investing.

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s newest fund manager survey, which involved 234 participants that manage nearly $700 billion in assets, participants are frustrated with companies that have been hoarding their cash. Comparing the latest results to survey data going back a full decade, a record 58 percent of participants said they wanted corporate cash to be spent on capital investment.

Income Tax Share of Top 1 Percent Has Been Rising
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Another record 67 percent say that “companies are ‘under-investing,’” says BofA-ML survey data.

This is the “most conviction since 2001,” which likely means that the boards of public companies will find it tough to “ignore the massive shift” in sentiment, says Brian Belski of BMO Capital Markets.

We’re pleased with this change of opinion, as capital investment helps propel the economy and boosts productivity and profits. Investors also see a potential boost: As companies begin spending their cash on things such as productivity-boosting software and capital equipment, businesses in technology and industrials sectors likely benefit.

Take a look at BMO’s chart below, which shows the average annual performance during these cyclical uptrends in capital expenditures. The data goes back to 1970, so it provides tremendous historical support. As you can see, information technology and industrials are among the sectors that benefited the most from capital expenditure growth. During these periods, these stocks climbed an average of about 16 percent.

In contrast, telecommunications and utilities have the weakest performance during the uptrends.

Income Tax Share of Top 1 Percent Has Been Rising
click to enlarge

What’s so appealing about this chart is that these cyclical areas of the market have also been tagged in our Holmes Macro Trends Fund (ACBGX) model as relatively strong sectors. And while information technology, industrials and consumer discretionary have already performed well, we’ve identified fundamentals that suggest these areas of the market will continue rising in value.

Read the fund’s winning formula for 2014 here.

Belski lists individual stocks that he believes can benefit from the rising capital expenditures. Some of his picks that overlap with our fund’s holdings include Danaher, Flowserve, Wabash National and QUALCOMM.

We think that’s especially encouraging data for shareholders of the Holmes Macro Trends Fund.

If this increase in capital expenditures materializes, it could stress factories even further, as capacity utilization climbs toward its long-term average. Capacity utilization measures the extent that factories are in use, and currently, manufacturing companies are operating at 79.2 percent of full capacity. The average since 1980 has been 79.4 percent.

This rate is significantly different compared to June 2009, when the rate dropped to a record low 66.8 percent. It’s no surprise that manufacturing has been staging a huge comeback following the recession but the chart below illustrates the continuing rising trend since it hit bottom.

Income Tax Share of Top 1 Percent Has Been Rising
click to enlarge

With the potential uptrend in investment spending coupled with factories cranking out goods at a faster, busier pace, chances are good we’ll see continued growth from cyclical areas of the market, especially in tech and industrials.

And if the utilization rate keeps climbing higher, companies won’t be able to increase their output without incurring additional fixed costs to purchase new machinery or build new facilities. That’s bullish for metals and mining companies, such as many of the businesses held in the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index.

Make sure your portfolio is fully utilizing these strengths in the market. Learn more about the World Precious Minerals and the Holmes Macro Trends funds now.

Holmes Macro Trends Fund

Index Summary

  • Major market indices finished sharply lower this week.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.52 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index dropped 2.63 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 1.65 percent. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index moved lower by 2.08 percent this week.
  • The Hang Seng Composite fell 2.81 percent; Taiwan gained 0.03 percent while the KOSPI declined 0.20 percent. The 10-year Treasury bond yield fell 10 basis points this week to 2.72 percent.

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www.usfunds.com/in-the-news

Domestic Equity Market

The S&P 500 Index ended the week sharply lower falling 2.63 percent. This is the worst weekly decline since June 2012. Earnings season has gotten off to a mixed start, but the real culprit this week was Markit’s Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data for China, which unexpectedly fell into contraction territory. This was quite a surprise and has negative implications for global growth, emerging markets and possibly even tapering.

S&P Economic Sectors
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Strengths

  • Traditionally defensive sectors of the market were the best relative performers this week, with utilities and telecommunication services leading the way. It was a “risk off” week; bond yields fell sharply, and telecommunication and utilities were the relative beneficiaries.
  • Natural gas prices rose above $5 this week and several natural gas related energy companies rose by more than 5 percent, including Southwestern Energy, Chesapeake Energy, and Cabot Oil & Gas. 
  • Netflix was the best performer in the S&P 500 this week, rising 16.98 percent. The company released quarterly earnings results which were well ahead of expectations. Both domestic and international subscriber growth was very strong in the fourth quarter, and expectations are for similar results in the first quarter.

Weaknesses

  • The materials sector was the worst performer this week as many companies within the sector could be affected by a slowdown in China. Iron and steel companies were particularly hard hit with both Cliffs Natural Resources (iron) and Allegheny Technologies (steel) experiencing double-digit losses.
  • The industrials sector was also weak, as cyclical areas generally underperformed. Kansas City Southern was the worst performer falling by more than 14 percent. The company missed earnings estimates and operating rates came in below expectations.
  • International Game Technologies was the worst performer in the S&P 500 this week, falling 15.36 percent. The company announced quarterly results with both earnings and revenue falling short of expectations due to declining revenue trends across the gaming industry.

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.
  • Money flows are likely to find their way into domestic U.S. equities and out of bonds and emerging markets.
  • The improving economic situation could possibly drive equity prices well into 2014.

Threats

  • This week could mark the beginning of a short-term market consolidation period after such strong performance over the past six months.  
  • 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.
  • A lot of potentially good news is priced into the market and the economy will need to deliver to maintain the positive momentum in the market.

Invest in America

The Economy and Bond Market

Treasury bond yields fell again this week and are now almost 30 basis points below the highs seen in late December. Economic data in the U.S. was light this week but China’s flash PMI data was negative and spooked global financial markets. The thought is that China is unexpectedly slowing which is bad for global growth prospects. Stocks sold off and bonds rallied on Thursday and Friday in response to this news. The Fed meets next week and is still expected to taper quantitative easing (QE) by another $10 billion, even in light of the poor foreign data. 

10-Year Treasury Yield
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Strengths

  • The Conference Board Leading Economic Index rose again in December, which should bode well for immediate economic prospects.
  • Mortgage applications jumped 4.7 percent last week after rising 12 percent the week before. Mortgage rates continue to fall, dropping another 9 basis points this week.
  • Global oil demand rose by 135,000 barrels per day in the fourth quarter, in what is likely a sign of improving economic conditions. 

Weaknesses

  • Markit’s Flash PMI for China unexpectedly fell into contraction territory at 49.6, hitting a six-month low.
  • Weekly retail sales data for week ending January 18 continued a worrisome trend of poor results. The weather has likely played a negative role so far this year but shoppers don’t appear willing to spend freely.
  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Billings Index was down for the second month in a row since early 2012. This is a widely watched index for commercial real estate development activity.

Opportunities

  • The Fed continues to remain committed to an overall accommodative policy and newly confirmed Fed Chairman Janet Yellen will not likely deviate from an accommodative path.
  • Key global central bankers remain in easing mode such as the European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of England and the Bank of Japan. ECB President Mario Draghi vowed to take “decisive action” if needed to combat deflation. Speculation is building that the ECB may cut rates to 10 basis points, essentially matching the Fed.
  • 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.

Threats

  • Inflation in some corners of the globe is getting the attention of policymakers and may be an early indicator for the rest of the world.
  • Trade and/or currency “wars” cannot be ruled out which may cause unintended consequences and volatility in the financial markets.
  • The recent bond market selloff may be a “shot across the bow” as the markets reassess the changing macro dynamics.

An American Energy Renaissance: Read the Special Energy Report from Frank Holmes

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

Gold Market

For the week, spot gold closed at $1,269.40, up $15.35 per ounce, or 1.22 percent. Gold stocks, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, climbed 1.57 percent. The U.S. Trade-Weighted Dollar Index tumbled 0.94 percent for the week.

Strengths

  • Gold sales by Japan’s biggest bullion retailers surged 63 percent to a five-year high, as prices slumped during 2013. Sales of gold bars to local investors soared to 37.3 metric tonnes from 22.9 metric tonnes a year earlier.  This surge in sales is attributable to the Abenomics policy of weakening the yen, as investors became very concerned about obtaining a hedge against inflation.
  • In addition, due to softer platinum prices and an increasing interest in platinum jewelry from Chinese consumers, China’s platinum imports surged to a new record high of 3.16 million ounces in 2013, up 23.5 percent year-over-year. December imports soared 86.5 percent year-over-year to 369,500 ounces, the second-highest number on record.
  • M-Partners initiated coverage of Atico Mining Corporation with a BUY rating and a one-year target price of $1.80 per share. Atico has earned a 90 percent interest in the El Roble mine, effectively evolving from an explorer to a producer overnight, while beginning to generate cash flow. With an estimated head grade of 3.4 percent copper and 2.4 grams per tonne gold, the strong earning potential helps to de-risk the project. Atico currently trades at 0.9x 2015 EBIDA, which compares to its producing peers at 4.7x.

Weaknesses

  • Analysts predict lower gold prices this year. According to a London Bullion Market Association survey, gold will average $1,219 an ounce in 2014.  They further predict a high and low trading range of $1,379 to $1,067, respectively. In addition, Morgan Stanley cut its gold target price by 12 percent to $1,160 for 2014, while the 2015 price was also cut by 13 percent to $1,138. Morgan Stanley believes that gold will extend declines this year as gains in the equity market reduce the need for haven assets and an increase in regulations hurt risk appetite.
  • Thomson Reuters GFMS survey says that the professional gold market is obsessed with the tapering issue. Despite the fact that tapering is largely fully discounted, there has been quite a dichotomy in the gold market over the past year. GFMS notes that professional investors continue to lose interest in gold, but “grass roots” buyers maintain their healthy appetite for the metal.
  • As at least 70,000 workers prepared to begin a strike, South Africa deployed extra police across its platinum belt, which is the world’s richest deposit of the metal. The strike, initiated by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, will disturb operations accounting for about 70 percent of global output of the precious metal. Platinum’s ratio to gold rose to the highest level since June 2011 as the strike began.

Opportunities

  • Eric Lemieux, a mining analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities in Quebec, keeps his top pick for the year as Virginia Mines. This company has an exceptionally well-managed team and a focused business model. CEO Andre Gaumond said that he wants to be at the beginning of the food chain with significant discoveries, and the end of the food chain with a royalty portfolio. Virginia’s Eleonore discovery should go into production in 2014 with Goldcorp as the operator. Additionally, a recent discovery of a new parallel zone sets the stage for the project to grow.
  • Another pick for this year by Eric Lemieux is Balmoral Resources Ltd. He believes that Balmoral has done a very good job in amassing a strong portfolio of properties in the Detour Trend. It is a shining star right now in Quebec. The company was nominated as the prospector of the year in November 2013, a testament to the good work that CEO Drain Wagner and his team are doing. With about $8 million in cash and equivalents, a hot project, financial capacity, a good team and geological knowledge, it is very well positioned for 2014.  Detour Gold is very much in need of higher grade ores to blend with its struggling newly-commissioned, low-grade Detour Lake Mine in order to improve its economics.
  • Northern Star Resources in Australia has hit the jackpot with several of Barrick Gold’s recently announced divestitures.  At the beginning of the month, Barrick Gold sold Northern Star its Plutonic mine for $22 million, which boosted production by 100 percent to 200,000 ounces per year.  Northern Star’s share price surged 20 percent after the deal.  This week Barrick announced the sale of its interest in the Knowna Bell and Kundana mine in Western Australia to Northern Star Resources for $75 million, bringing Northern Star’s annual gold production up to 350,000 ounces per year. Effectively, Barrick has transferred roughly $1 billion in mining resources to Northern Star for less than $100 million.

Threats

  • AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest gold producer, announced that it will make significant changes to its Obuasi mine in Ghana. The company’s problems at the mine include labor laws that make it difficult to fire workers, outdated work practices, along with illegal miners.
  • Moody’s Investors Service ranks Newcrest Mining’s debt as one level above junk, and has negative outlooks on the credit. Standard & Poor’s also ranks Newcrest at the lowest investment grade with a stable outlook.
  • The Ministry of Finance in Indonesia imposed a new duty on exporting minerals which includes copper concentrates. For Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Newmont Mining, this means an even larger tax burden going forward. Although both companies contend that the new Indonesian export tax is in breach of their Contracts of Work with the Indonesian government, Freeport officially stressed that it prefers to keep negotiating with the government, rather than seek international arbitration. Freeport further pointed out that it will be paying a very large amount of money to the government moving forward over the life of the contract.

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Energy and Natural Resources Market

Lower Correlation Makes Commodities Attractive
click to enlarge

Strengths

  • The Brent-WTI spread has narrowed to $10 – a level last seen in mid-December, as adverse weather, bullish demand and stocks International Energy Agency (IEA) data and the start of Transcanada’s Marketlink Pipeline took WTI prices higher this week
  • The price of natural gas jumped nearly 20 percent this week, and breeched the $5 level for the first time since 2010 as demand soars and inventory levels fall below normal due to an arctic weather across much of the U.S.
  • According to the IEA, U.S. oil demand is outperforming original forecasts as demand grew by 390,000 barrel per day last year. U.S. demand has been supported by the shale oil boom, which has cheapened the nation’s energy supplies. The demand comes on the back of a pickup in industrial activity and increased petrochemical production. The IEA is calling for a pickup in 2014 growth, with the Americas expected to grow by 95,000 barrels a day, and global growth expected to reach 1.4 million barrels a day.

Lower Correlation Makes Commodities Attractive
click to enlarge

Weaknesses

  • Indonesia’ metal ore exports have come to a complete halt, signalling the turmoil in the mining sector following the ban on some ore exports and rise in export taxes, according to trade ministry official.
  • The benchmark steel price declined for the second-straight week on falling raw material prices. The CRU weekly price assessment shows U.S. hot rolled coil (HRC) at $675 per short ton, down $2 for the week ending January 22.
  • Iron ore prices declined to six-month low on lackluster steel demand and destocking by mills. The spot 62 percent Fe price fell to $123 per ton cost & freight (CFR) China on January 21, the lowest level since July 9, 2013.  However, Vale’s CEO said the recent drop in iron ore prices is temporary and the fundamentals of Chinese economy remain solid.

Opportunities

  • Hassan Rouhani, the first Iranian leader in a decade to visit Davos for the World Economic Forum, invited oil companies to invest in his country as a nuclear accord with world powers triggers the lifting of some sanctions. Rouhani said his country won’t impede progress toward a final nuclear accord. The interim agreement implemented this week brought Iran about $7 billion in sanctions relief, according to the U.S.
  • Canada is increasingly looking to Asia as a key export market. “We’ve clearly identified Asia as a priority market,” Alberta’s Minister of International Relations Cal Dallas said. “We’ve projected they will continue to use more energy and will look to Alberta for that energy.”
  • Total’s CEO urged the U.S. to approve the $5.4B Keystone XL pipeline to unplug a bottleneck that’s stalling the development of Canadian oil sands.

Threat

  • Europe’s high gas prices risk driving away a big share of its energy intensive industries such as cement and steel, unless countries boost shale gas output and trim green subsidies, the IEA’s chief economist said.
  • China’s HSBC flash manufacturing PMI declined to 49.6 in January from 50.5 in December, the first monthly contraction in six months. Deutsch Bank believes that the PMI is hit by several ad hoc factors, including "emergency measures" of air pollution control and the government order to stop virtually all holiday-related consumption using public funds.

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China Region Fund – USCOX  •  Emerging Europe Fund – EUROX

Emerging Markets
 

Strengths

  • China’s GDP expanded by 7.7 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2013, slightly ahead of market expectations as well as the government target.  The growth rate was realized upon a base more than 300 percent larger than a decade earlier.
  • Hungary’s economic-sentiment index rose to the highest in more than 11 years in January as consumers became more optimistic.  As the cheaper utility prices help subdue inflation, the central bank this week lowered the benchmark interest rate to a record  2.85 percent and signaled further easing to bolster expansion.
  • German company C.A.T. Oil won a three-year, 281 million euro contract in Russia for sidetrack drilling services.  The contract will utilize 70 percent of the company’s sidetrack drilling capacity.

Weaknesses

  • A preliminary reading of China’s flash PMI in January fell below 50 for the first time since May 2013, to 49.6 from 50.5 in December. This number reflects a tighter monetary environment, especially for smaller, private companies as well as collateral effects from ongoing anti-corruption and pollution control measures in the country.
  • Croatia’s credit rating was cut one notch by Standard & Poor’s to B, two levels below investment grade. This is on signs that the government is failing to narrow the budget deficit. The Croatian economy faces a sixth-straight year of recession.
  • Kazakh competition agency charged Kcell 10 billion tenge for “service without consent.” The case will be heard at the Almaty special administrative court, per the agency’s filing.

Opportunities

  • Hungarian pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter, together with Forest Labs, is to submit additional documentation to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its cariprazine drug. The companies are confident the drug will receive FDA approval.
  • Lukoil’s Caspian oil fields gained tax breaks to spur offshore development, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in Davos.  Offshore development had been previously limited to Russian state-owned companies only.
  • Worsening pollution of air and water, along with increasingly unhealthy lifestyles, have made the aging Chinese population more susceptible to mortal diseases over time.  In October, the State Council announced its goal to expand the size of China’s health care services industry to over RMB 8 trillion by 2020 from RMB 1.25 trillion in 2011, which implies a compound annual growth rate of 23 percent.  Industry leaders with competitive product offerings and strong sales networks should benefit from favorable reform policies towards health care.

Rapid Adoption of Mobile E-commerce in China to Benefit Mobile Internet Leaders
click to enlarge

Threats

  • Recent market concerns over the potential default of a $496 million trust product, distributed by the largest state-owned bank in China, may weigh on investor sentiment in the near term. Specifically towards interest rate sensitive sectors such as financials and property.
  • Gazprom and the European Union clashed over gas pricing in anti-trust talks this week.  The contractual link to crude oil prices has Europeans paying Gazprom double North American gas prices.
  • A potential surge in initial public offerings in the retail sector could lure away investors in the best-performing Russian retail stocks.  Companies preparing to list include Detsky Mir, a children’s store chain, shoe-seller Obuv Rossii, and the Russian unit of Germany’s Metro AG.

Take a closer look at emerging Europe

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(%)
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.72 -0.10 -3.55%
Natural Gas Futures 5.14 +0.82 +18.89%
Oil Futures 96.88 +2.51 +2.66%
Gold Futures 1,269.20 +16.90 +1.35%
XAU 92.68 +0.38 +0.41%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 182.48 +4.67 +2.63%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,940.56 -3.92 -0.20%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,130.15 -90.44 -2.81%
Russell 2000 1,144.13 -24.30 -2.08%
Nasdaq 4,128.17 -69.41 -1.65%
S&P Basic Materials 276.74 -13.06 -4.51%
S&P Energy 619.65 -14.97 -2.36%
S&P 500 1,790.29 -48.41 -2.63%
DJIA 15,879.11 -579.45 -3.52%

 

Monthly Performance
Index Close Monthly
Change($)
Monthly
Change(%)
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.72 -0.26 -8.69%
Natural Gas Futures 5.14 +0.73 +16.46%
Oil Futures 96.88 -2.34 -2.36%
Gold Futures 1,269.20 +65.20 +5.42%
XAU 92.68 +9.89 +11.95%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 182.48 +27.12 +17.46%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,940.56 -61.03 -3.05%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,130.15 -332.01 -14.83%
Russell 2000 1,144.13 -17.67 -1.52%
Nasdaq 4,128.17 -27.24 -0.66%
S&P Basic Materials 276.74 -11.75 -4.07%
S&P Energy 619.65 -22.67 -3.53%
S&P 500 1,790.29 -43.03 -2.35%
DJIA 15,879.11 -478.44 -2.92%

 

Quarterly Performance
Index Close Quarterly
Change($)
Quarterly
Change(%)
10-Yr Treasury Bond 2.72 +0.21 +8.37%
Natural Gas Futures 5.14 +1.44 +38.74%
Oil Futures 96.88 -0.97 -0.99%
Gold Futures 1,269.20 -84.30 -6.23%
XAU 92.68 -7.04 -7.06%
S&P/TSX Canadian Gold Index 182.48 -5.50 -2.93%
Korean KOSPI Index 1,940.56 -93.83 -4.61%
Hang Seng Composite Index 3,130.15 -26.64 -0.84%
Russell 2000 1,144.13 +25.79 +2.31%
Nasdaq 4,128.17 +184.81 +4.69%
S&P Basic Materials 276.74 -2.04 -0.73%
S&P Energy 619.65 -10.17 -1.61%
S&P 500 1,790.29 +30.52 +1.73%
DJIA 15,879.11 +308.83 +1.98%

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.

With respect to the Fidelity Institutional Money Market Treasury Portfolio, which is distributed by Fidelity Distributors Corporation, an investment in a money market fund is neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Holdings as a percentage of net assets as of 12/30/13:

Atico Mining Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 1.13%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.56%
Virginia Mines Inc.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 6.62%
Goldcorp Inc.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.21%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.19%
Balmoral Resources Ltd.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.60%
Detour Gold Corp.: 0.0%
Northern Star Resources Ltd.: 0.0%
Barrick Gold Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 2.93%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.45%
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.04%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.04%
Newcrest Mining Ltd.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 2.59%
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 2.73%
Newmont Mining Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.18%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.16%
Southwestern Energy Co.: 0.0%
Chesapeake Energy Corp.: 0.0%
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.: 0.0%
Netflix Inc.: 0.0%
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.: 0.0%
Allegheny Technologies Inc.: 0.0%
Kansas City Southern Railway Co.: Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 0.46%
International Game Technologies: 0.0%
C.A.T Oil AG: Emerging Europe Fund, 0.45%
Richter Gedeon Nyrt: Emerging Europe Fund, 1.24%
Forest Laboratories, Inc.: Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 0.50%
Lukoil OAO: Emerging Europe Fund, 5.01%
Gazprom OAO: Emerging Europe Fund, 4.22%
Africa Oil Corp.: 0.0%
Americas PetroGas Inc.: 0.0%
Madalena Energy, Inc.: 0.0%
Chesapeake Gold Corp.: Gold and Precious Metals Fund, 0.11%; World Precious Minerals Fund, 1.18%
Energold Drilling Corp.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.46%
Gold Standard Ventures Corp.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.79%
Rye Patch Gold Corp.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.64%
Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd.: World Precious Minerals Fund, 0.67%
Danaher Corp.: Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 0.51%
Flowserve Corp.: All American Equity Fund, 1.21%; Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 0.52%
Wabash National Corp.: Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 0.66%
QUALCOMM Inc.: All American Equity Fund, 2.54%; Holmes Macro Trends Fund, 1.57%
 

*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 HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI is published a week ahead of the final HSBC China PMI every month. It analyzes 85-90 percent of the responses to the Final PMI from purchasing executives in more than 400 small, medium and large manufacturers, both state-owned and private enterprises.
The University of Michigan Confidence Index is a survey of consumer confidence conducted by the University of Michigan. The report, released on the tenth of each month, gives a snapshot of whether or not consumers are willing to spend money.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is a diffusion index derived from the monthly Work-on-the-Boards survey, conducted by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. The ABI serves as a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months.
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.