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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Want a Return on Your Money? Try Silver, Gold, and Platinum This Year

First a little background. 

My state run retirement system, which is in the top 10% in terms of funding, is on track to either lose 1% this year or break even. It's fiscal year ends Jun 30.

Most state run retirement funds are based on actuarial returns of 8% annually. This is not net of a true inflation rate which is running right around 9%. The government's wholly fictitious Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publications which include the monthly PPI and CPI manipulations are some of the finest accounting gimmickry ever produced. They do this to keep inflation "contained" and to keep cost of living increases for SSI down to next to nothing. State retirement systems love the BLS- they cite their ridiculous numbers every year while screwing plan particpants out of cost of living allowances. Last year my state system gave out nothing- unless you had been retired for at least 5 years. They gave those people 1%.

They are bankers. They know their actuarial rates are ridiculously overstated and un-achievable. Just like this year's return. Wait until markets turn down. I can hear the howls from here.
If you want a true inflation picture, click here.

If you think your private or state run retirement system is secure- think again. I am seriously concerned about Idaho's and we are one of the best. Not only have these systems over stated actual returns- we haven't seen a bear market since Mar. of 09. Bond yields are negative in Europe and headed that way here. Retirement systems look for yield. They can't get it. Ultimately they are going to have to ask participants to contribute more. The stock market has run out of gas, PE multiples are sky high and earnings are flat. Without another round of QE- the market can only go sideways or down. If the market is ever allowed to trade without Federal Reserve intervention- the ensuing shit storm will wreak havoc on all investment classes, retirement systems, the worthless US dollar, and your savings- whatever they might be.

If you need further confirmation of just how shaky things are, read this.

After the January 2016 bottom in precious metals- and 4 years of bear market manipulation- the precious metals sector has returned from the dead. I know a couple of authors who honestly don't believe commodity desks at investment banks are engaged in market manipulation. That level of naivete' is awesome. Banks have been caught manipulating every market from oil to libor, including silver. They have admitted as much. On Friday, I closed out one position on a gold and silver miner for a 130% gain in 5 months. Every one of my 100 screened metals miners is hitting one year highs or are higher than that in multiples. Gold has rallied 30% on the year, silver has rallied a stunning 40% after Fridays spectacular close, and even platinum has rallied 100 bucks. Platinum is where I am currently focused. Platinum is a screaming buy- I just can't see any scenario where platinum gets left behind as precious metals rally. It is sub 1100 now and I have plans to buy some this week.

An ounce of platinum is trading 300 dollars less than an oz. of gold. That disparity is enormous. Platinum and gold swap positions during times of uncertainty. Platinum, because of it's scarcity and utility, generally trades at a premium to gold. Central banks don't horde platinum. Platinum is used primarily in the auto industry for catalytic converters. If anyone has seen film of Beijing's air pollution- the potential market for platinum begins to take shape. It is expensive to mine and the vast majority of platinum comes from South Africa. In the United States, Stillwater Mining (SWC) is the only platinum producing mine and it's not too far from Billings, Mt. That stock is up with significant upside still. Platinum closed Friday up 33 bucks an ounce at 1054. SWC is trading at 12.25. A 25 year chart of SWC shows that it once traded for 50 bucks a share- 15 years ago.

I own some silver and gold and I've started to add platinum. I also own shares in a South African miner, Platinum Group, or PLG. PLG was up 16% on Friday to 3.96. 

This stock has been so out of favor for so long- it's remarkable. People whine about it on the message boards because they aren't making the money they think they should. Platinum Group has some interesting property and they are within 6 months of full scale production. They did a "10 for 1" reverse split earlier this year. The base price of this stock (it traded sideways for months)- is about 3.10 a share. At 3.96, you have not missed the boat. I can easily see this at 10.00 a share before I die of old age. I am going to load up on this one if I can find a pullback point soon. My favorite gold play is up next.

Pretium is probably the single greatest gold find in the world. It's in British Columbia, it has been permitted, and they are constructing the mine. A neighboring property (Seabridge gold) trades at 15 up 350%!! Pretium (PVG) has been on fire this year. They had a secondary offering of shares at 4.50 and they are up a stunning 150% to 11.69. They have an experienced CEO in Robert Quartermain who is well respected in the industry. The breath taking part about Pretium is the assayed amounts of gold on the property. You have to do your own due diligence here. Compare proven amounts to other profitable mines and you'll get an idea of what this property holds. The only knock is the amount of over burden- but given the price of gold, the amount of gold at the mine, and future demand- I easily see PVG trading at 25. In fact, after doing a little math on proven and prove able reserves, 25 might be too low.

Endeavor, (EXK) Tahoe Resources, (TAHO) and McEwen Mining (MUX)  are three silver plays. I have owned these in the past and I still think Tahoe is the pre-eminent silver producer right now- it should benefit greatly from a recent acquisition, rising gold and silver prices, and decreasing overhead. 

Owning bullion doesn't hurt either. There is so much uncertainty in the world right now between Brexit, negative yields on bonds in the eurozone, collapsing currencies and central banks flooding countries with liquidity- not to mention the two nitwits running for President in the U.S.-  

I have sell targets too. The last time I sold silver it was at 40 bucks an oz. I sold 10 ounces. My next target would be 60 or so. We all have a buying plan- you should also have a selling plan. In fact, I hit my target price for Tahoe at 15.50 on Friday and sold that position.

You simply cannot afford to be 45-65 years old right now in this country and hope that everything is going to go well. If your income is tied up in retirement systems that need 8% annual returns- you are already in trouble. Social Security is a ponzi scheme as well. They will eventually ask plan participants for more money, reduce monthly benefits, or collapse into insolvency. The entire retirement industry in the United States is based on equity markets. People who don't see the utility in investing outside of equity markets may watch all of their acquired wealth vanish. At 45-65 years of age, with diminishing returns and a not so bright future, buying precious metals this year- even after the recent run up- is a no brainer. Protect yourself.

Or, you can always buy near the all time high of an 8 year bull market in equities and hope for the best.