October 2009 - Forecasts & Trends

Forecasts & Trends is much more than just investment blog posts. You need to know the "big picture;" you need to have a "world view," especially in the post-911 world; and you need more information than ever before to be successful in meeting your financial goals. Gary intends to help you do just that.

Forecasts & Trends

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  • Economic Recovery vs. Rising Unemployment

    This Thursday, all eyes will be on the 'advance' estimate of 3Q GDP, and most analysts expect it to be positive and confirm that the US economy emerged from the recession in the July-September quarter. Yet even if the GDP report is positive on Thursday, we all know that the unemployment rate (currently 9.8%) continues to rise and is likely to go up for at least several more months.

    If the government counted everyone who is unemployed, or is working part-time because they can't find a full-time job, the real US unemployment rate was 17% as of the end of September. So even if the recession 'officially' ended in the 3Q based on this Thursday's GDP report, this economy is far from out of the woods. And if the dollar continues to fall, even more dire consequences (ie - a double-dip recession) are likely to follow. It's a lot to cover in one letter, so let's get started.

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  • Will the US Dollar Lose "Reserve Currency" Status?

    The US dollar has been in a multi-year decline since peaking in 2001. While there was a temporary 'rush to safety' rebound in the dollar due to the global credit crisis in 2008, the dollar has resumed its long-term downtrend as of early March of this year. Now, more and more forecasters are suggesting that the dollar may lose its global "reserve currency" status if it continues to decline. Some are even calling for the establishment of an all-new global currency to replace the dollar entirely.

    This week, we will explore how the US dollar came to become the world's reserve currency and how difficult it would be to replace the dollar as the reserve currency, or replace it entirely with a new global currency. We will look at the major price trends in the dollar over the years and try to put the current decline into perspective. I will make the case that the US dollar will remain the global reserve currency for at least several more years. It should make for an interesting letter, so let's get started.

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  • Stratfor: Odds of War with Iran Spiking

    In just the last few weeks, we have learned several disturbing new things about Iran's nuclear capabilities. First, we discovered that Iran has a large secret uranium enrichment facility inside a mountain south of Tehran that we didn't previously know about. Second, shortly thereafter, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, said that Iran is much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously. According to the report, Iran now has all the data needed to design a nuclear weapon.

    Third, was a revelation in the first days of October by the Times of London which reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow on September 7 to charge that Russian scientists and engineers are working directly with Iran on its nuclear weapons program. This intelligence suggests that Iran may be much further along in developing nuclear weapons than the international community previously believed.

    To give us insights on these latest revelations about Iran and its nuclear ambitions, we turn to our good friends at Stratfor.com this week. Please read what follows very carefully.

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  • The Stock Market Conundrum

    The market goes up, the market goes down. Will we have a sustained rally, or is this just a 'sucker rally' that will soon end with a significant downturn? As we look to the experts to help answer these questions, we find that their predictions are all over the map. Many quantitative models are saying the market is severely overbought, while those relying on fundamental analysis say the market is fairly priced. It seems that the more 'expert' opinions we get, the more confusing it becomes for investors to know what to do.

    The biggest question for investors who are currently on the sidelines is whether they have missed the majority of the bull market rally, or if it still has a way to go. This is especially true in the case of Baby Boomers, whose retirement nest eggs have been hit by two major bear markets within a decade. They need the growth that the market has the potential to produce, but can't stand another major down market, which may also be in the cards.

    This week, I'm going to discuss the various viewpoints both for and against a sustained market rally. As you will see, both sides are supported by facts, figures and historical precedent. They can't both be right, but both could be wrong should the market be headed into a broad trading range.

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