I ran across a business show last week that advertised that its guests would give out stock picks. That piqued my curiosity, so I watched to see what they would recommend.
For disclosure purposes, a chart was shown that listed if the speaker, his family, his fund, or his clients owned the stock. By the end of the show, I was flabbergasted-not one speaker owned any stock they recommended!
Anyone can go on television and tell investors company X is a great investment, but how much should you trust them if they don't follow their own recommendations?
The counterargument is that the speaker could be biased if they recommend stocks they already own because then they're just "talking their book." True enough.
But consider a more personal situation: If you got specific investment advice from a professional you hired and found out he never bought what he told you to buy, how seriously would you take his advice?
What if a newsletter service recommended you buy gold and gold stocks, but their editors didn't follow their own advice? And what if the market retreated and they encouraged you to average down-but they didn't?
In the June BIG GOLD, I told subscribers to put the final touches on their precious metals portfolio over the summer, to take advantage of low prices. Do I take my own advice? What about the rest of our staff? And what about those at Casey Research who write non-gold publications?
I decided to poll our editors to see if they follow the advice in BIG GOLD and International Speculator and what they plan to buy this summer in the precious metals arena. Here's what they told me…
Doug Casey, Chairman: Most everything is overpriced, thanks to the Fed's unprecedented money printing. That includes stocks and property, and bonds are in a bubble. So I continue to buy the metals consistently, and do private placements in deserving companies. The metals and mining stocks are about the only value out there.
Olivier Garret, CEO: I am definitely not reducing my exposure to precious metals [PMs] and stocks. I will add to my positions in PMs at Hard Assets Alliance. Our funds, of which I am a large shareholder, continue to deploy capital in the best-of-breed resource companies.
David Galland, Managing Director: Over the last year, I have been taking full advantage of the softness in the precious metals sector by concentrating my purchases only on the best of the best precious metals stocks, deciding on a price I am thrilled to pay and then waiting for the price to come to me. I have also been very selective in participating in private placements. If a private placement doesn't come with a very favorably priced warrant with an expiration date at least three years out, giving the company time to take its business to the next level, then I'm simply not interested. That's the beauty of periods of consolidation-you can afford to be selective.
I also like to build large positions in companies which I know have the right stuff, including a significant and feasible project as well as the money and the management needed to get the job done. When those companies pull back-as they invariably do in markets such as these-I have no reservations about buying more. Pretium Resources falls into that category. My personal upside target is over $15, so buying at these levels is a no-brainer for me. That said, I'm not greedy, so when I get a solid double-digit return on a stock, I'm happy to take a profit.
I guess when it comes down to it, now that I live most of the year in my version of paradise-La Estancia de Cafayate-and dedicate much of every day to fully enjoying the place, I try to keep things simple. Primarily, by setting aside a couple of hours each month to review my portfolio in order to make sure I still understand why I own all the investments I own and to rebalance any positions that have grown outside of my comfort zone, or pulled back, allowing me to continue to build a position. In the case of precious metals-related investments, I am very comfortable with them totaling about 25% of my overall portfolio.
Dan Steinhart, Managing Editor, The Casey Report: I have all the physical metal I want for now, and I averaged down on a couple junior miners in the last few months. For this summer, I'm looking hard at mid- and large-tier dividend payers. I want more exposure to gold because I'm confident it's going to the moon, but I have no idea how long it will take to get there. Collecting dividends helps offset the opportunity cost while I wait. I already own a good amount of Goldcorp (NYSE:GG), so Yamana (NYSE:AUY) is my next target… I'm watching its chart for signs that the price has stabilized, and once I see that, I'm ready to buy.
Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist: I am looking to build positions in certain stocks but don't want to advertise which ones.
Bud Conrad, Chief Economist: Gold is my largest personal position. As I wrote in the April issue of The Casey Report, the world's financial system is approaching an important rebalancing. New political alignments will undermine the dollar's special privileges and in turn will elevate gold's importance.
The petrodollar arrangement will not last forever, and cracks are beginning to form that suggest it may decline faster than most expect. Since the 1970s, Saudi Arabia and OPEC have only accepted dollars for oil. The new $400 billion agreement between Russia and China does not use dollars, and this is a major geopolitical shift that could eventually undermine the reserve status of the dollar. The price of gold could rise into the thousands of dollars very quickly if the petrodollar system fails.
In the meantime, investors should understand that current price weakness comes from short-term, big, institutional influence rather than from economic fundamentals. There are big forces that are able to move markets-interest rates, commodities, and stocks. The key movers are the central banks and their closely related big banks. Some international banks are being indicted for illegal activities in LIBOR, foreign exchange, and most recently London bullion fixings. Employees are being fired, some are leaving, and firms are closing some of their trading desks. We even have suspicions about some bankers' deaths.
The Fed's massive and not completely revealed actions have been used along with the truly massive derivatives and futures markets as developed and traded by the big banks to distort the traditional economic forces so that big deficits can be managed by keeping rates low. Prices can thus be managed in the short term, and the media continues to support the government's policies. That high-frequency trading is tolerated as described in Michael Lewis' book Flash Boys is only the tip of the iceberg of all that is going on.
In the long term, I agree with Doug Casey: we still face the greatest financial collapse ever when the current machinations hit their limits and the deception becomes widely understood.
Dennis Miller, Senior Editor, Miller's Money Forever: I have a full allocation to precious metals, but I have a growing concern that Obamacare, by design, will ration care for seniors. Pity the poor senior that goes to Panama for treatment because he can't get it in the US, or the wait is too long, or it's too expensive-only to realize currency controls have been instituted and he can't get money out of the country! As a result, I have been using some of the strategies in our Going Global 2014 report to assure that this won't happen to me or my wife. And gold is part of that strategy.
Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor, International Man: This summer I plan to continue with steady purchases through MetalStream® for gold bullion held in Singapore. I'm also keeping a higher-than-normal cash reserve for stink bids on juniors. I already have adequate exposure to silver and large producers.
Shannara Johnson, Chief Editor: I buy silver every week through SilverSaver, a metals accumulation program that allows you to save as little as $25 per week. When I get extra money, such as bonuses, I often use a lump sum to buy a larger amount of silver on dips. As Doug Casey says, only metal that you can hold in your hand is really yours, so whenever my SilverSaver account reaches a certain level, I have some of the bullion delivered.
The reason I'm buying silver instead of gold is that it's more affordable, and also because of the "divisible" part of Aristotle's criteria for money. If there ever comes a crisis so devastating that paper dollars become worthless and precious metals are used for trade and barter, I imagine that silver bullion coins will be easier to, say, buy food with than gold coins or bars.
I'm very wary of the cancer that is eating away at the heart of America-call it crony capitalism or neo-feudalism-and everything the government and Wall Street do seems to be designed to separate the little guy from his money. I believe precious metals are manipulated, the markets are manipulated, and we saw in Cyprus that nothing is sacred anymore, not even our own bank accounts. I don't plan to sell my silver unless I have to-it's a safety net in case things go from bad to worse.
Doug Hornig, Senior Editor: I think quality numismatic coins are the best buy right now, which I've focused on, because they're down 50% or more from their highs, which is a lot more than gold itself. If collectibles rebound as they always have, I'll do very well. But if not, I still have the value of the underlying asset, gold, which provides a powerful amount of downside protection, and that's not to be sneezed at.
I don't buy gold as a speculation; just as an heirloom (hopefully, provided I don't need it myself) for my kids. So I couldn't care less about the gyrations of the gold price. Anyone who wants to play those ups and downs is welcome to, and it could be very profitable to do it. It's just not for me. I'm strictly buy and hold.
Ed Steer, Editor, Gold & Silver Daily: I'm full up on stocks, as I'm still "all-in," with virtually all of them junior silver producers from BIG GOLD. Right now I'm buying silver-physical metal in hand-as it won't be at this price forever.
Chris Wood, Senior Analyst, Casey Extraordinary Technology: I just used the bulk of the cash I had budgeted for investing this summer to buy several of the Casey Extraordinary Technology stocks we recently recommended. So I probably won't do much in the way of precious metals investing this summer, but I definitely plan on it this fall: buying physical gold and silver bullion coins, and setting up an account with the Hard Assets Alliance.
The short-term technical picture for gold doesn't look great, coupled with the dollar strengthening over the past month and yen declining, which is generally bearish for gold. But I honestly don't care about that at all. The long-term fundamental picture has only improved, save for the small bit of tapering that the Fed has initiated in its bond-buying program. Central banks around the world continue to create currency units at a record pace.
And the mid-term outlook for gold looks good too. Even though the dollar has strengthened over the past few weeks, the beginning of the end of the petrodollar system (shown most recently by the China/Russia gas deal) and China's desire to essentially create a new UN without the US and EU but with Russia and Iran, has to be bullish for gold.
Kevin Brekke, Managing Editor, World Money Analyst: The post-2008/09 financial crisis run-up in gold had everyone from die-hard gold bugs to momentum jockeys riding the price wave. It seemed the trend would never end. Then came the countervailing realities of monetary, currency, and economic interventions, deflationary forces, and-gasp!-profit taking.
The ensuing price volatility in the precious metals sector had the myopic, trade-for-today crowd scamper to the next hot trade. Yet, the consequences of misguided policies remain unknown, and the excesses that were deployed to resolve them have simply been repressed. The underlying fundamentals are unchanged, and I will not sell my gold and render myself unarmed against the eventual fallout from a delayed day of reckoning.
Louis James, Chief Metals & Mining Investment Strategist: Our household is tight on cash this summer, as we just poured much of our liquidity into buying our new home in Puerto Rico. Still, my wife and I have been going over our budget and plan to buy some stocks, maybe more bullion as well. Which ones will depend on what looks best when we pull the trigger, but adding to our position in BOZ is a high priority, and we're thinking about SWC, too, as we've yet to add exposure to platinum/palladium, and our diversification into that sector in the newsletters seems to be working out even faster than expected.
If the market correction continues and we see the capitulation this summer that was close but never really fully developed last December, I will do all I can to scrounge up more cash to deploy, because I think it will be both life-changing and a once-in-a-lifetime event.
What About Me?
I have been buying tubes of silver Eagles and Maple Leafs every time silver dips to $19.50 or below. I plan to buy the discounted bullion offered in the June BIG GOLD, as well as the new Canadian Howling Wolf. I have full exposure to equities in the precious metals space-but then Louis or Marin will recommend a compelling speculation and off I go turning over couch cushions.
What I have found very rewarding is that by just sticking to a regular accumulation plan, my stash has steadily grown. Given the crises I see ahead, I want to be sure my household can withstand the fallout, which could be ugly if Doug Casey, Bud Conrad, James Rickards, and Jim Rogers are right. The financial crisis in 2008 was a wake-up call, and I realized then I probably didn't have sufficient monetary protection. I feel differently today, thanks to my regular buying habits.
Since I'm in the public eye, I don't keep any bullion at home-except for a dummy stash. I use several of the services recommended in our Bullion Buyers Guide, that you don't have to be a high-net-worth investor to use.
What you see above started out as a survey but ended up becoming a great set of precious-metals-related investment advice. I hope you find it helpful.
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.