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A Survivalist Christmas

By Jeff Clark
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Clark household has five Christmas trees. My kids get to decorate one, and they do so predictably. The tree is covered in candy canes, strings of popcorn and cranberries, and a bunch of homemade ornaments only a parent can love.
 
My wife, the Martha Stewart of Northern California, decorates three trees. They look like they popped out of a Neiman Marcus catalog. Everyone "oohs" and "aahs" whenever they see them.
 
My tree, however, is the one all of our friends look forward to seeing. Several years ago, I started decorating my Christmas tree in the theme of the current economic and political environment.
 
Last year, for example, I painstakingly created my own ornaments for a Global Warming Tree. I froze ceramic figurines of polar bears and arctic seals in cubes of ice. I inserted a metal hanger in each one and placed the ornaments on the tree. As the ice melted, the ceramic figurines would fall and shatter onto the hardwood floor below.
 
My liberal friends thought the tree was a sensitive statement displaying the threats of mankind's abuse of the environment. My conservative friends thought it was a hilarious expression of sarcasm. It was the perfect politically agnostic tree.
 
Not so this year. Yesterday, I unveiled my Survival Tree.
 
It's a six-foot potted apple tree. You may recall stories of the Great Depression, when men would set up shop selling apples on street corners. Well, I'm one step ahead of that.
 
The trunk is covered with burlap sacks that fan out at the bottom – like a tent. So, I have shelter and something with which to catch rainwater.
 
The Christmas lights wrap around the top of the tree flicker on and off, controlled by a dial. This allows me to send Morse code signals to other survivalists.
 
The ornaments are made of empty shotgun shells; small bottles of water; canned foods like Spam, refried beans, and tuna fish; and a bunch of gold and silver coins (the chocolate variety – but you get my point).
 
For tinsel, I bought a bag of shredded U.S. currency and meticulously hung each strand on the tree.
 
Painted gold bricks and toy guns surround the base of the tree. The message to my friends was simple, and it was written on a small cardboard placard...
 
"Buy yer own darn gold. 'Cause you ain't gettin' any of mine!"
 
I hope my friends take my advice. And I hope you do too.
 
Happy Holidays,
 
Jeff Clark




Market Notes
Gold marches toward $850... Royal Gold at all-time high.
 
U.S. Oil and U.S. Natural Gas funds fall to new lows.
 
Soup giant Campbell Soup hits three-year low... down 25% since September.
 
World's largest RV maker, Thor Industries, hits six-year low.
Market Watch
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
S&P 500 1221.53 +1.3% +10.1%
Oil 37.77 +1.5% -2.8%
Gold 135.20 -0.1% +13.4%
Silver 27.93 +0.4% +47.9%
US-Dollar 80.67 -0.8% +8.1%
Euro 1.32 +0.6% -12.1%
Volatility 19.39 -9.2% -8.2%
Gold Stocks 564.53 +1.3% +10.6%
10-Year Yield 3.00 +1.4% -9.6%

World ETFs
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
USA 122.56 +1.3% +10.2%
Canada 30.44 +1.3% +13.8%
Russia 21.63 +2.3% +16.7%
India 37.73 +1.9% +20.0%
Israel 16.47 +0.9% +9.7%
Japan 10.58 +1.0% +7.4%
Singapore 13.88 +1.0% +19.2%
Taiwan 14.72 +1.6% +17.8%
S. Korea 56.56 +1.7% +22.8%
S. Africa 70.85 +3.9% +22.9%
China 45.06 +1.4% +0.1%
Lat.America 52.82 +1.4% +6.7%

Sector ETFs
Symbol Price
Change
52-Wk
Oil Service 136.18 +1.5% +14.8%
Big Pharma 64.13 +0.6% -3.3%
Internet 72.13 +0.7% +22.3%
Semis 16.03 +2.1% +28.9%
Utilities 31.21 +0.3% +1.6%
Defense 18.51 +1.3% +10.1%
Nanotech 9.99 +1.3% +0.0%
Alt. Energy 9.95 +1.4% -4.4%
Water 18.31 +1.1% +12.2%
Insurance 16.07 +1.2% +18.3%
Biotech 20.58 +1.1% +27.1%
Retail 19.65 +0.1% +28.4%
Software 24.59 +0.9% +24.1%
Big Tech 53.73 +1.0% +21.9%
Construction 12.99 +2.1% +13.3%
Media 13.57 +1.1% +25.0%
Consumer Svcs 67.26 +0.8% +23.3%
Financials 54.87 +2.4% +5.2%
Health Care 64.22 +0.7% +1.3%
Industrials 63.25 +1.6% +19.7%
Basic Mat 73.57 +1.6% +21.6%
Real Estate 55.24 +1.4% +23.8%
Transportation 91.17 +1.4% +25.6%
Telecom 22.48 +1.1% +17.1%

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