January 2014 - 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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  • Obama: NSA Spying To Continue, Even If Illegal

    On Friday, January 17 President Obama delivered a speech which was heralded in advance as a sweeping change for the nation’s spy agency, the National Security Agency, which has been collecting enormous amounts of phone and other data on the general public for the last several years. The changes Mr. Obama announced in his speech were anything but sweeping. The NSA will continue its massive phone data collection operation, largely unabated.

    Prior to the president’s Jan. 17 speech, he met with a special review panel that he appointed last year to investigate the NSA’s phone data operations. The special review panel recommended 46 actions to limit the NSA’s power to collect phone data, and that any action to gather public data must be approved by a court on a case-by-case basis in advance.

    The president also met prior to his speech with an independent federal privacy watchdog agency – the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board – which has recently concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, that it is illegal and should be shut down.

    Obviously, President Obama did not agree. In his speech he made it clear that the NSA will continue to collect phone data on virtually all Americans, albeit with additional oversight from the courts. Likewise, Mr. Obama took only a few of the 46 recommendations from his review panel. So the spying on all Americans’ phone and other records will continue.

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  • Why Male Workers Are Disappearing in America

    Last month’s unemployment rate plunged from 7% in November all the way to 6.7% in December, which was lower than any of the pre-report estimates. That should be a great thing, right? Wrong! The unemployment rate fell because more Americans gave up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force entirely.

    Even worse, new jobs created in December were a fraction of what they were in recent months at only 74,000 versus over 200,000+ in the last several months. Even the Obama administration could not avoid admitting that the latest unemployment report was grim when you look into the internals. That’s pretty bad!

    The plunge in new jobs to only 74,000 in December is worrisome enough, but if you dig deeper into the data, you find something even more disturbing. Only 71.8% of working-age men have a job or are looking for work. That’s a huge decline from 80% in 1970! The question is, why are so many men disappearing from the workforce? That’s what we’ll talk about today.

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  • Was Your Stock Portfolio Up Over 40% in 2013?

    Editor's Note:  There is no need to read today’s E-Letter unless you are interested in an investment opportunity that delivered the following:

    A 2013 calendar-year gain of over 43%, net of all fees and expenses;
    An annualized return since inception that beat most equity benchmarks;
    Would have turned a $100,000 investment at its inception in September 1996
    into a nest egg of over $577,000 by the end of 2013;
    The flexibility to move to cash should we encounter a bear market or major downward correction; and
    The minimum investment is only $50,000.
    If you can say all of that about your portfolio, then you probably don’t need the opportunity I’ll be discussing today. Otherwise, please read on. As always, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

    Last October, I wrote about how  Niemann Capital Management’s “Risk Managed Program” was outperforming the S&P 500 Index by a significant margin. This was no small feat, since the S&P had a year-to-date gain of almost 20% as of the end of September.

    Now fast forward to the end of 2013 when Risk Managed finished the year with a whopping 43.79% gain, net of fees – more than 11 percentage points higher than the S&P 500’s excellent gain of 32.39% (including dividends). This difference in performance is known as “alpha,” which is often defined as the added value that a portfolio manager brings over and above a given benchmark, in this case the S&P 500 Index.

    Today I want to revisit Niemann's Risk Managed Program and discuss how it managed to significantly outperform the S&P 500 in 2013 and for the last 17 years on an annualized basis. You don't find many professional money managers who can say that!
    If you have not looked at Niemann, I highly encourage you to consider their Risk Managed Program for part of your portfolio. If you read today's E-Letter, you'll understand why.

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  • Consumer Confidence Jumped in December, But Why?

    Today we’ll look at several economic reports, including a big jump in consumer confidence last month. That seems a little odd given that over 63% of Americans still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction as I reported last week.

    From there, we will consider some economic and market predictions for the New Year. Many forecasters believe the stock market will experience a downward correction sometime this year, which happens often in mid-term election years. We’ll look at a chart showing all of the mid-term year corrections going back to 1930. You may be surprised.

    Finally, despite President Obama’s plunging approval ratings, he still plans to proceed with an aggressive liberal agenda in 2014. Bill Clinton wisely moved to the center when his liberal agenda became unpopular. Not this president!

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