Saturday, May 3, 2008
The next president (whoever is elected) will face soaring foreclosures, insolvency at Freddie and Fannie, street protests against foreclosures, and a growing number of bank failures. It's not too hard to guess what's likely to happen next, is it?
Turn on the printing presses, impose lots of new taxes and regulations, eat the rich. But... America is now the world's largest debtor nation. What will our foreign creditors and trading partners do if the dollar continues to fall? If the rice market is any indication, we will face dozens of additional export restrictions, as more and more countries refuse to accept the U.S. dollar in trade. I wonder what will happen then? Perhaps a war to gain access to raw materials? Canada, be careful.
You think that sounds crazy, I'm sure. But listen to what U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters recently: "If part of our problem is that the Chinese are going to eat meat and you've got to have corn and soybeans to feed the Chinese their meat, then why isn't it just as legitimate for the Chinese to go back and eat rice as it is for us to change our policy on corn to ethanol?"
Here you have a United States senator suggesting our most important foreign creditor should eat rice so we can power our SUVs with corn-based ethanol, the production of which actually consumes more energy than it produces. It's not often I'm surprised by the stupidity of our government officials. But this one got me. Grassley would be wise to consider that the Chinese can afford to pay higher prices for grains, because their currency continues to rapidly appreciate versus the dollar. Meanwhile, we're going to have a hard time buying rice if the Chinese don't lend us their savings.
I wonder what our readers make of these events – of U.S. citizens demanding to keep their homes even though they can't pay their mortgages; of U.S. senators demanding our trading partners stop buying our corn; of major retailers placing limits on the purchase of rice; of banks blowing up day after day; and of the dollar falling from one new low to the next.
We've been advising people to buy gold and silver for at least the last five years as a hedge and protection against the risk of hyperinflation. Now, it has arrived. But how many subscribers, I wonder, have bought gold or silver? My bet? Less than 10%. It's still not too late, though. And our own Matt Badiali has found a way to buy gold and collect big dividends, too. Click here for the details.
The IRS started mailing the economic stimulus checks this week, and Goldman Sachs already compiled a list of the 10 companies that will benefit most from the extra cash: Cheesecake Factory, Best Buy, Darden Restaurants, Home Depot, JCPenney, Kroger, Kohl's, Royal Caribbean, Safeway, and, of course, Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart was an easy guess considering that 8% of U.S. retail sales already go there.
From a reader: "Why are your recommended trailing stops always 25%?"
In my newsletter, I frequently adjust the stops of my positions based on the risk of the investment and our desired holding period. But a 25% stop loss is a good place to start. With an initial allocation of 4%, a 25% stop loss puts 1% of your original capital at risk.
If you use a trailing stop loss and the position moves up at all, your principal at risk can quickly fall to zero. Using stop losses and trailing stop losses must be done in conjunction with position sizing. The goal is to minimize the impact of any loss. Once you learn to avoid big losses, you'll find it's much easier to make money investing.
Billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell is buying Brazil, "It has the chance 30 years from now of being a bigger economic power than China," Zell told the Milken Institute Global Conference. Zell said the country's 180 million people, skilled work force, and wealth of natural resources has made it largely self-sufficient.
He also mentioned Brazil's biggest mall operator was seeing retail sales growth of 10% annually. And what's stopping China? The country's one-child policy, which Zell believes will decrease the number of workers in China and "come back to bite them big time" in 2020.
International Strategist editor Tom Dyson is also hot on Brazil. He took an agricultural tour of the country earlier this year. In his travels, he found the future of the world's agricultural production, Protein City. This mega complex will produce the world's cheapest commodities and make an absolute fortune shipping them all over the world. Tom found the best way to profit from Protein City, and his pick is up 25% in less than two months.
Tom holds three Brazilian stocks in his portfolio, all three are up double digits. And he's got three more Brazilian stocks on the radar. To learn more about International Strategist, click here...
Porter Stansberry and Dan Ferris
Date Range:4/24/2008 to 5/1/2008
Date Range:4/24/2008 to 5/1/2008