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Monday, April 30, 2007

News You Can Use for Monday

Uranium stocks soar after Labor decision. The share prices of several Australian uranium hopefuls have soared following a decision by federal Labor to scrap its 25-year ban on new uranium mines. The ALP national conference voted on the weekend to shelve the 25-year ban, but Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter remain steadfast in their opposition to uranium mining.

And there are different details in this Bloomberg News story.

China becomes the third biggest consumer of gold. The total sales of gold and jewelry last year in China were valued over 140 billion Yuan (US$18.13 billion), exports were valued at US$5.49 billion, and China has become the third biggest consumer of gold in the world, according to Cheng Fuming, the head of China Gold Association.

China's gold production has grown from 181 tons in 2001 to 240 tons in 2006, an average annual growth of 5.6%. In 2006, the gold industry pocketed a total profit of 6.1 billion Yuan.

Bernanke Is Wrong on Inflation, Interest Rates, Goldman, Merrill, UBS Say Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's assertion that interest rates may need to increase to curb inflation is wrong. That's what Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and UBS AG are saying.

Asian Stocks Fall to One-Week Low on Concern China, U.S. Growth Will Slow Asian stocks fell to the lowest in more than a week after China curbed bank lending and the U.S. economy expanded at the slowest pace in four years

Canada Outgrows China as Market of Choice for International Bond Borrowing From Reykjavik to Wellington, the queue in Toronto is making Canada the fastest-growing market for international borrowers. Not even China's burgeoning bond sales can keep up with the pace of foreign debt being issued in Canadian dollars.

Peru Copper, Zinc Miners Begin National Strike, May Disrupt Metals Output Miners in Peru began their first national strike in three years and threatened to disrupt global supplies of metals such as copper, zinc and gold after weekend talks with the government failed.

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Monday Is Chart Day

Gold may have some more work to do before it heads higher. It's not a big deal -- it means the eventual breakout will likely be even bigger.

Silver is back to being more bullish than gold. That's actually a healthy sign. It shows people are more bullish on the global economy (silver is an industrial metal along with being a precious metal). When everyone piles into gold and ignores silver, like happened for a couple weeks recently, they're probably scared. When they buy silver even more than they buy gold, they're probably feeling bullish.


Something is brewing in oil beyond a failed terror attack in Saudi Arabia. These forces are big and fundamental.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Marketwatch Story on Uranium Futures

Marketwatch reporter Myra Saefong talked to me a lot for her story on uranium futures. You can read it by CLICKING HERE.

I was surprised that she used more of my quotes than usual, but part of it is we're all just guessing at what exchange-traded uranium futures will be like, even though the debut is right about the corner. Uranium futures start trading on May 6.

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Terrorists Try, Try Again in Saudi Arabia

Oil is getting little support from the story breaking today that Saudi Arabian authorities have busted a terror ring. One of the ring's goals was to carry out suicide attacks on oil facilities.
Saudi Arrests Suspects Planning Oil Attacks

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has arrested more than 170 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants, some of whom were training as pilots to carry out suicide attacks on oil facilities in the kingdom, the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry, in a statement read on state television, also said police seized weapons and more than 20 million riyals ($5.33 million) in cash, from what Al Arabiya television said were seven armed militant cells.

You'll remember that al Qaeda-linked terrorists launched a suicide attack on Saudi Arabia's al Abqiq oil installation on February 24, 2006. I guess they're going to keep trying. Good luck to the Saudis trying to stop them -- this is basically a fifth column of fanatics from within their own population.

Of course, it doesn't help that Saudi Arabia has been breeding bushels of terrorists by pushing its state-sanctioned extremist brand of Islam, wahhabism. You can read about that by CLICKING HERE or HERE. The Saudis used to call it wahhabism and now call it Salafism. Whatever. I don't want to push my religion on anybody, but I hope the Saudi government rethinks its support of extremists.

Anyway, I've liked every Saudi I've ever met personally, and they're excellent businessmen. We don't discuss religion, LOL. I hope their government continues to thwart the terrorists. I don't want to pay $10 per gallon of gas!

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Silver and Gold for Friday

Both silver and gold broke their recent uptrends yesterday. The good news is there is plenty of support a little further down for both metals. But they may have to consolidate before making another run at the upside.
The longer-term uptrends are still intact, and fundamental forces continue to gather for a strong summer rally.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

All I Need to Know About Markets I Learned From an 8-Year-Old

Today is "Take Your Daughter to Work" day, and I'm bringing my 8-year-old daughter to work. First, she's helping me on some charts. Here's her look at silver ...

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bears versus Bulls

A bearish view on silver …

UBS Investment Bank said it has lowered its one-month and three-month forecast for silver and does not expect the metal to move higher with gold nor does it believe it will outperform to the degree it has previously.

Read the rest by CLICKING HERE.

A bullish development for ALL metals …

SHANGHAI (XFN-ASIA) - China's planned foreign exchange reserve investment agency should issue special treasury bonds to raise money from domestic investors and use the proceeds to buy foreign exchange reserves from the central bank to invest abroad, state media reported, citing a central bank official … China should also increase gold reserves and strategic resources like oil and metals, the International Finance News cited Xiang as saying.

Read the rest by CLICKING HERE.

XX Sean’s note – We’ve all been wondering what China will do with its $1.2 trillion in foreign reserves. This proposal is to borrow the money and invest it abroad. The investments would be all types .. everything from banks to mines.

I told you previously about how China plans to buy $12.5 billion worth of goods from the US in May – something that should light a fire under US durable goods orders for May. An increase in the wave of Chinese investment overseas would be another bullish development.

Maybe UBS is right and the price of silver will go down. Certainly that would explain why it gets sold every time it starts to break out – the big boys have turned more bearish on it. But I’m happy to see a little more bearishness. The market climbs a wall of worry, and if we’re all already bullish, everyone has bought and there’s no one left to buy.

And I’m still bullish on silver.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Chart Action

Let’s look at gold …Gold is breaking out. It is pulling back a bit this morning – a great time to get in.

Now for crude oil ...

Crude oil still looks like a “buy” to me. We may see prices hit a short-term peak before the summer driving season, but with demand rising and Mexico's supergiant Cantarell oil field in a near-crash, the long-term trend is up.

Now let’s look at the CCI. This is what the CRB Index was before the CRB became so heavily weighted toward energy. The CCI is an equally weighted index of commodities.

Here is the one everyone watches – the CRB. Notice how a resurgence in crude prices is helping the CRB perk up.

Finally, let’s look at one of the uranium producers in the RHAT portfolio.

As you can see, it sold off recently, as did all uranium stocks. But that was just profit taking. Long-term holders are holding for a good reason.

Check out my new gold and energy blog at MoneyAndMarkets.com

News You Can Use for Monday

China's Copper Imports More Than Double in March as Building Demand Gains China, the world's biggest consumer of copper, more than doubled imports of the metal in March as the peak demand period for the construction industry began.

Gasoline at $4 Coming to a Pump Near You, Unfazed by Surging U.S. Prices Whether it's $50 to fill up your Prius or $130 for the Ford Expedition, $4-a-gallon gasoline is coming to a pump near you.

Pakistan May Build Gas Pipeline to China, Seek More Investment, Aziz Says Pakistan is considering a plan to build a natural gas pipeline from the Arabian Sea to China, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said, a sign of deepening relations between the two countries in trade, investment and energy cooperation.

Paulson May Be Unable to Deter China, U.S. From Collision Course Over Yuan When China allowed a small rise in the value of its currency in 2005, Hangzhou food-company executive Wang Yuzhou saw his profits squeezed. Any further move threatens the livelihoods of his 1,000 workers and the 5,000 rural households that supply his plants, he says.

Japan's Debt Rating Raised by Standard & Poor's for First Time Since 1975 Japan's debt ratings were raised one level to AA, the third-highest grade, by Standard & Poor's after the government cut borrowing and nursed a recovery in corporate earnings.

Uranium prices surge as demand seen rising, supply crunch Two years ago the metal, used mostly to power nuclear reactors, traded around $20 a pound, according to the research firm Ux Consulting Co., which tracks uranium prices in the market by surveying buyers and sellers each week. Last week prices hit $113 a pound and the pace of increase isn't slowing but rather accelerating. Last week's prices were up 19 percent jump from the prior week - the biggest weekly gain since Ux began tracking prices back in 1968. "You haven't had a down week since 2003," said Christopher Ruppel, a senior geopolitical analyst with the energy consulting firm John S. Herold.

China plans uranium strategic reserve to back its nuclear power sector China's Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense said China plans to set up a national uranium strategic reserve to ensure that its nuclear industry is backed by a stable and reliable fuel supply.

Gold Falls From 11-Month High in London as Dollar Rebounds; Silver Drops Gold fell from an 11-month high after the dollar gained against the euro, eroding investor demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Silver also declined. [XX Sean’s note – I find it interesting that the US dollar and gold seem to trading in synch lately – going up and down at the same time in the same direction]

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bumbling Bee Science, or What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know

What do disappearing bees mean for people? We’ve seen toad species disappear for years, and scientists warn that the great toad die-off is a warning sign of ecological disaster. Now, the sudden inexplicable disappearance of millions of honey bees is taking place -- something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). One of the freaky things is that parasites and pests that normally move into an abandoned beehive seem to be shunning the newly abandoned beehives.

Some facts …

==> 3/4 of the 250,000 + species of flowering plants on the planet rely on mobile animal partners -- pollinators – to reproduce.

==> Close to 100 crop species in the U.S. rely to some degree on pollination services provided by one species, the honey bee — collectively, these crops make up approximately 1/3 of the U.S. diet, including the majority of high-value crops that contribute to healthy diets.

==> Some food plants that depend on bees to reproduce – nuts, tomatoes, berries, pretty much all your fruits and flowering plants. Most grains do not depend on honey bees.

==> Disappearing bees isn’t exactly new – between 1947 and 2005, colony numbers nationwide declined by over 40%, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million. But these declines were often associated with a seemingly unrelenting series of devastating problems for the beekeeping industry, including pests and parasites, microbial diseases, pesticide drift, and competition with Africanized bees. CCD is the latest problem, and also inexplicable, at least if you get your news from the mainstream media.

==> Even before CCD came to light, honey bee numbers were declining at a fast clip, documented from 1989 to 1996, government scientists managed honey bees would cease to exist by 2035. CCD is accelerating that process. Unless something changes, honey bees will disappear within YOUR LIFETIME.

Now for the good news (sort of). Honey bees aren’t native to America – they’re European bees. There are other bees (bumble bees, mason bees, etc.) and other pollinators. If honey bees disappear, the affect on our food supply will be disastrous, and could last for a number of years – but eventually, other pollinators will increase to fill the gap. However, these other pollinators don’t make wax, and don’t make honey. And by the time nature rebalances, the price of almonds could soar by 1,000%.

Potential causes. Is it cell phones? Not likely. That’s disinformation and scare-mongering. CCD has been detected in the hinterlands of Poland and Croatia – hardly cell phone festivals. Cell phones may be giving you brain cancer, but that’s another story, and not one I’m worried about right now. Bees don’t use cell phones.

The probable cause is pesticides. That is, we are poisoning the bees by accident. And that’s why pests aren’t moving into the abandoned hives – for an insect, that’s like moving into a toxic dump.

It’s probably a new pesticide that is having unintended consequences. For example, 'Merit' 'Gaucho' 'BayerAdvanced' 'Admire,' 'Gaucho,' 'Genesis,' 'Platinum,' 'Provado,' 'Leverage' and 'Actara' are all insect killers you use on trees and plants. They all contain the active ingredient Imidacloprid, a systemic insecticide. Systemic means it poisons the entire system, and this pesticide also lasts a long time – up to 12 months.

And here’s the funny thing about imidacloprid. It was banned in France after beekeepers staged an angry protest in Paris. Apparently, imidacloprid kills bees!

The maker of imidacloprid pesticides, Bayer CropScience, paid many millions to the french beekeepers and voluntarily withdrew the product without admitting that it was the culprit.

So why haven’t you heard about this in your news media? Because the news media is owned by giant corporations that survive on advertising … advertising by giant consumer companies like Bayer. The parent of Bayer CropScience is the pharmaceutical giant Bayer corporation. Bayer's products in the U.S. include Alka-Seltzer, Bayer Aspirin, Aleve and One-A-Day Vitamins. In 2005, Bayer spent over $200 million on advertising.

Bayer has a history of playing tough. Remember when we were all panicked about anthrax? That was when an anthrax terrorist was mailing the stuff to Congress and tabloids (a good friend of mine, Bob Stevens, was killed by the anthrax terrorist). The anthrax killer has never been brought to justice.

There is a treatment for anthrax called Cipro. It’s made by Bayer. When the anthrax crisis hit, Bayer offered Cipro to U.S. authorities at its usual government price of $1.77 a pill-- half the retail price, but still too high for a country seeking to secure enough medicine to protect 12 million people for 60 days in the event of an anthrax outbreak. That would have resulted in $600 million in profits if the US government had gone along with the scheme. But that was way too much pork for U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. He bargained hard with Bayer executives. He threatened the company's U.S. patent by suggesting he would buy generic substitutes and eventually forced them to whittle the price to $.95 a pill.

This moral of our story: Bayer always puts profits ahead of people.

Now, back to the bees. I am not a bee or an insecticide expert, but it seems our bee problem is what happened in France all over again, and on a much larger scale. It would seem that imidacloprids are a likely candidate for the poisoning of the bees that is causing CCD. You would think the news media might connect the dots. But remember, “journalists” work for giant corporations that need their slice of the $200 million in advertising revenue. They aren’t going to tick off Bayer. Bayer also contributed heavily fund front groups that lobbied against capping or otherwise allowing the government to negotiate drug prices. One of those groups, "Citizens for Better Medicare", wielded a well-stocked $50 million advertising budget in its fight against fixed drug prices. And there was more than one front group.

So how much will Bayer spend to hide, muddle and obfuscate the truth about imidacloprids poisoning bees? I don’t know. But I’ll bet that Bayer has enough money to outlast the honeybees.

UPDATE: While I don't believe it is cellphones that are wiping out the bees, other people believe differently. I don't mean to shrug off other theories. I'm not a bee scientist. Here is the cell phone theory: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/wildlife/article2449968.ece

And here is a long post with theories galore on another blog: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/23/42210/9088

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Is Yahoo Helping China's Big Brother?

I'd like to add to something I write about in my Red-Hot China report. In the report I say ...
I would avoid investing in Chinese Internet services. Why? China’s
authoritarian regime has trouble coping with the information revolution and the technology that is at the heart of growth today. For example, China passed a law prohibiting licensing of new Internet cafes in 2007. It is trying to avoid criticism of the government and its policies, but with the unfortunate side effect of strangling innovation.

To clarify, I also mean US-listed Internet companies that are doing business in China. Here is a good example why. Yahoo! could be in trouble.

The British newspaper, The Independent, explains:

In a brave legal action against the great firewall of China, a jailed political prisoner and his wife have sued Yahoo! in a US court, accusing the internet firm of contributing to torture by helping authorities identify dissidents who were later beaten and imprisoned.

Wang Xiaoningwas imprisoned in September 2003 for 10 years for the crime of "incitement to subvert state power" after he emailed electronic journals calling for democratic reform and an end to single-party rule in a Yahoo! group in 2000 and 2001.

He was arrested by Chinese police in September 2002 and claims he was kicked and beaten during his detention. Mr. Wang and his wife Yu Ling claim the Hong Kong unit of Yahoo! provided mainland police with information linking Mr. Wang to the postings, a claim that Yahoo! denies.


It is going to be interesting to see how much or how little Yahoo! has provided to Chinese government authorities. China has thousands of dissidents, many of whom are arrested partly for Internet activities. This could be the tip of the iceberg.

Internet services in China is one area I recommend you avoid; but there are others I recommend as great investments. If you want the scoop, read more about it by CLICKING HERE.

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Australian Uranium Bounces Hard


Yesterday, I sent my Red-Hot Asian Tiger subscribers a couple of charts showing why I thought that Uranium stocks and Australian markets were due for a bounce. This is an update of one of those charts, Paladin ...
There are a lot of lines and action on this chart, but don't worry, I'll help you decipher it.

The Green Line is the long-term uptrend. That is broken by recent action. Then again, it was broken back in February, too, and it shrugged it off.

The shorter-term uptrend (the Blue Line) is still holding. In fact, it intersects with a 25% Fibonacci retracement. Fib retracements are common retracements in bull markets, and many technical analysts use them as support.

Sure enough, you can see that Paladin came down to touch support at the 25% retracement and its short-term uptrend and seems to have found its footing here.

Today's candlesitck is an "outside reversal" day -- it completely engulfs the previous day's bearish candlestick. This is a bullish short-term signal.

The green line, or longterm uptrend, is now overhead resistance. Then again, it wasn't much overhead resistance the last time this happened in February. Give it a week and we'll see.

So what if this bullish reversal is a fakeout? We could see a sell-off as deep as the 50% retracement. That would be scary. But man, if that happens again, that would be the buying opportunity of the year.

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Two Interviews

First, Tom Jeffries of Market Matters Radio called me for a chat ...

http://tinyurl.com/2scfjw

Tom's voice seems a little loud on that one, but that's the magic of long-distance radio interviews for you. Remember, you can find a lot more interviews at MarketMattersRadio.com

Then, Phil Mackesy of HoweStreet.com called and we talked about a bunch of stuff.

Two Red Hot Markets!
April 19
Sean Brodrick
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Get Your Weekend On

Here's a funny video to get your weekend on. Ike Barinholtz and Bobby Lee, two extremely talented comedians from Mad TV, teach castmate Jordan Peele how to drive.

Unlike the one from last week ("the landlord") this one won't start untill you push the play button. This should stave off the phone calls we got from subscribers complaining that ...
A) My blog was infecting them with a computer virus (no doubt as part of my mad scheme to take over the world ... bwah-ha-ha!)
B) I was drunk
C) Their computer was possessed.

No, the problem was that the website, FunnyorDie.com, makes its embedable videos to play automatically. THAT website is owned by Will Farrell of Saturday Night Live fame. Maybe it's part of HIS mad scheme to take over the world.

Anyway, I hope you get a laugh, and get your weekend on.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

China's Tiger Starts to Scare People

China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 11.1% in the first quarter -- blowing past estimates. It's also 0.7% higher than year-ago levels. What's more, the Consumer Price Index, a gauge of inflation, climbed 3.3 percent in March versus a central bank target of 3% for 2007. That's the highest inflation rate in more than two years.

Investors reacted by selling EVERYTHING. Shanghai's index dropped by nearly 5%. Australia's stocks fell by 1.2%. Why are investors selling when things are going so well? They fear that too-hot growth and higher inflation will
make Bejing take steps to cool off the economy. Ri-i-i-i-ight!

I believe that if China was going to take serious steps to cool off its economy -- as opposed to jawboning and windowdressing, like it has been doing -- it would already have done so. I also believe China doesn't want to upset the applecart before Beijing hosts the Olympics in 2008.

So what does this make this sell-off, as a tidal wave of red roars around the globe? You guessed it -- buying opportunity.

Let's look at a chart of the FXI, one of the China ETFs ...
I'm not saying this is guaranteed -- nothing is. But history tends to rhyme, as they say.

Indeed, if one were going to "Profit from China Megatrends," (nudge-nudge), this would be a good time to get started.

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Two Links

I should have posted a link to my Money and Markets column yesterday ...

A Uranium Feeding Frenzy! (by Sean Brodrick)
Three more reasons to expect even higher uranium prices

And here is my most recent interview on HoweStreet.com ...


See-Saw Of Pain
April 13
Sean Brodrick


I'm being interviewed by Market Matters radio today, and I'll post that one after it's done.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blind Men, Meet Elephant

I've said before that I'm one of the most bullish people you'll meet at Weiss Research. Everything is relative; I work with a lot of bears. I also read lots of bearish stuff on the web. I think this is very healthy. I am bullish, so reading the bears keeps me honest. It gives me a reality check. Reading people who only agree with you is a way to get sucker-punched.

So I was over at DailyKos.com and I read Jim Kingsland's diary: "
The U.S. Is Just About Bankrupt, Yet No One Seems To Care." In it, Jim writes:

"
What concerns me, because of lack of coverage, is the growing financial storm that's occuring in this county with so many (unless they've lost their house) unaware. While subprime meltdown has made the nightly news, something that doesn't make the news to give widescale sense of appreciation and urgency is the sagging fortunes of the U.S. dollar and the near insolvency of our country."

Jim then links back to the following chart of the US dollar on his blog:

Jim says: "You will see that the chart of the dollar looks like a bankruptcy chart. The next 3 to 6 months will be crucial. In all likelihood, we're headed for recession. How many realize that?? Most are so overly complacent, really clueless, and thus feel they have the luxury or being able to engage in the usual partisan discourse when they should be removing the wool from their eyes
provided by liars like Bernanke and Paulson that all is well. All is not well. Will the body politic do something?"

Now let's go look at a chart by my good friend and crackerjack currency trader Jack Crooks. In today's Black Swan Currency Currents, he charts the US dollar versus the S&P 500 Index...


Jack writes of this chart:
"It’s always interesting to us to listen to people tell us how much they hate the dollar, but love US stocks. We do understand the earnings translation thing, helping multi-national company earnings, but to be so confident on one side of the US fence and so negative on the other still has us confused. It’s just one of many things to add to the growing list of things that confuse us on a regular basis.

"Okay, what is this “major” decoupling telling us? For one, it is telling us relative to the value of the dollar, based on the US dollar index, stocks have NEVER been more expensive."
So these are two VERY bearish views. Now, let me give you some bullish factoids.

F
or Crude oil ...

Soaring Chinese imports. China’s imports of crude oil increased 6.8% in the first quarter compared to the year-earlier period. And the pace is shifting into higher gear – China’s crude imports rose at an 8.9% rate in March compared to a year earlier.

Mexico’s big oil field is tapping out! From January 2006 through February 2007, Mexico’s supergiant oil field, Cantarell, lost a staggering one-fifth of its production, with daily output falling from two million barrels per day to just 1.6 million.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that Cantarell is fading so fast that Mexico may become an oil importer within eight years. Mexico is our second biggest supplier of imported petroleum, below Canada and above Saudi Arabia – accounting for more than 11% of our imports. We could feel the squeeze from Cantarell as soon as this summer.

US demand is running hot, too! US gasoline demand is up 2.5% over the same period last year. Past experience has shown that demand usually slacks off when gasoline goes over $3 per gallon. But consumers are getting more used to higher prices, and more and more analysts are calling for $4 gasoline this summer.

For Gold ...

China can't get enough gold. According to the China Gold Association, China's gold production hit 19.9 metric tonnes in January, up 25.7% from a year earlier. At this rate, China should produce 260 tonnes this year. And it's STILL not enough to meet Chinese demand - it falls about 100 tonnes short.

Gold production is falling around the world. In South Africa, the US, Australia, Peru, Russia and Canada, gold production is going down, depite more spending by miners and despite rising gold prices.

Investment demand is exploding. ETFs have made it easier than ever for US investors to buy gold, and two gold ETFs just made their debut in India.

These are just some of the forces I name pushing gold higher in my Dow Jones Marketwatch article, "7 Reasons Why Gold Should Surge," and there are more than that!

For Uranium ...

Supply just can't keep up with demand. In fact, some analysts say mine production won't catch up to demand until 2017 -- if then! We're looking at AT LEAST a 10-year bull market in uranium.

Uranium futures.
The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) said on Monday that it signed an agreement to introduce uranium futures on its electronic platforms next month.

Global Warming: If we think uranium supply is hot now, just wait until global warming motivates the public into forcing more and more utilities to switch from coal to nuclear power (nuclear power plants emit ZERO greenhouse gases). It's already happening. Texas utility TXU has said it's going to NOT build eight coal-fired power plants and build America's BIGGEST nuclear power plants instead.

So from my perspective, I'm seeing very bullish stuff. I haven't even told you about how Chinese demand should keep copper prices soaring for years to come, or how US steelmakers are laughing off talk of a recession.

It's like the bulls and the bears are the blind men and the elephant. Each describes what he feels right in front of him, but no one can see the whole picture.

So what's going on here? I refer you back to something else Jack Crooks wrote in his Currency Currents this morning:
"It’s interesting to see such a dichotomy, or decoupling, among major asset classes in the same country—both of which are supposed to express some degree of confidence in said country."
Indeed it is. This is when I wish our lawyers would allow reader comments on my blog -- I'd love to get your feedback and take on what's going on. I really enjoy talking to subscribers at the Money Show because that's when we can have this exchange of ideas.

In sum, I don't know what the big picture is. I think anyone who tells you he knows with certainty has a fool for an analyst. This could be a very interesting year. But I have to play it the way I see it, and what I'm seeing in front of me now is bullish for commodities.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News You Can Use for Tuesday

Australia Shares Fall From Record High, Led by BHP; Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Climb Australian stocks fell, retreating from a record high, as some investors judged recent gains excessive. BHP Billiton Ltd. led declines.

Biofuel Shares Downgraded to `Cautious' by Goldman Sachs on Corn Prices Shares of biofuel companies were lowered to ``cautious'' from ``neutral'' at Goldman, Sachs & Co. on concern share prices overstate earnings prospects and the companies will be hurt by higher corn costs.

Crude Oil Climbs on Speculation Gasoline Consumption to Increase in U.S Crude oil climbed in New York on speculation demand for fuel is increasing before the summer driving season.

Chicago Wheat Futures Rise to 7-Week High on Concerns About U.S. Crops Chicago wheat futures rose to a seven-week high after U.S. government reports showed worsening winter crop conditions and spring wheat planting delays in the world's biggest exporter. Corn prices also gained.

Iran, Iraq, Kuwait 'raise May crude oil prices' Iran and Iraq have raised the May crude oil prices for its three main export products to all markets, while Kuwait upped its export formula for Far East clients, the Middle East Economic Survey reported Monday.

Global warming may put U.S. in hot water Especially in the Southwest, regions will need to find new sources of drinking water, the Great Lakes will shrink, fish and other species will be left high and dry, and coastal areas will on occasion be inundated because of sea-level rises and souped-up storms, U.S. scientists said.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Uranium Futures!

Uranium and uranium stocks are not in a bubble. Not even close. However, there are steps down the road to perdition. Here is one of them ...

NYMEX signs deal to offer uranium futures in May

New York, April 16 (Reuters) - The New York Mercantile Exchange, a subsidiary of NYMEX Holdings (NMX.N: Quote, Profile , Research), said Monday it signed an agreement to introduce uranium futures on its electronic platforms next month.
NYMEX signed a 10-year deal with Ux Consulting Co. (UxC) to introduce on and off-exchange traded uranium futures products on CME Globex and NYMEX ClearPort platforms on May 6 for trade date May 7.
NYMEX and UxC, a top publisher of uranium prices and price forecasts, will provide marketing and education for the financially settled contracts, which will serve as the pricing benchmark for the rapidly growing industry, the exchange said in a statement.
NYMEX Chairman Richard Schaeffer stated the introduction of uranium futures provides the industry with transparent price discovery.
"We expect to create a benchmark contract for this important and underserved global market," he said.
NYMEX -- considered the world's largest physical commodity exchange -- offers futures and options contracts for crude oil, oil products like gasoline, natural gas, coal, electricity, gold, silver, copper, aluminum, platinum group metals, emissions and soft commodities.

XX Sean's note -- this is where speculators are really going to get involved. Uranium futures could put us at $500 per pound in the blink of an eye. Not right away -- traders and speculators won't trust uranium futures at first. They'll be as illiquid as granite. But after six months ... a year ... however long it takes ... once they get going, man oh man, we could see some altitude very quickly. Because once you give hedge funds a way to trade in and out of uranium easily, then it's time to strap on your safety belts, because we could see the wildest ride of our lifetimes!

The next sign of the uranium bubble could be a uranium ETF in the US. Keep your eyes peeled for that one. I was kind of hoping an ETF would come before uranium futures … it would be less bubble-icious.

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I get interviewed by the New York Sun ...

The Power of Uranium Wows Wall Street
By DAN DORFMAN It's an impossible dream come true, like running a three-minute mile or hitting eight home runs in a single baseball game — recommending a group of stocks and seeing them rise an average 100%- plus during the next six months. This dazzling...

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Monday Is Chart Day




And here is some news you can use ...

Australian Stocks Climb to Record High, Led by BHP, Rio Tinto on Higher Metals Prices Australian stocks climbed to a record high, led by BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Group, and Lihir Gold Ltd., as commodities prices, including copper and gold, rose.

Canadian Dollar Strengthens for a Fourth Week on Economy, Commodity Prices Canada's dollar rose for a fourth straight week, its longest rally in more than a year, on speculation higher commodity prices will support the nation's economy and fuel demand for the currency.

Copper Rises on Speculation Mine Protest May Curb Supplies; Nickel Gains Copper led industrial metals higher in London on speculation that a protest at the world's second- largest mine producing the metal and disruption to deliveries from Argentina may curb supplies.

Have a good Monday. Red-Hot Asian Tiger subs, keep your eyes peeled for an issue today.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sounds Pretty Darned Bullish for Uranium

This isn't unexpected, but final Q1 production numbers for Australia's Ranger Mine are in, and that flood sank their output ...

Energy Resources Says Uranium Output Declines 28%

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Energy Resources of Australia Ltd., which produces more than a 10th of the world's uranium supply, said production of the fuel fell 28 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, due to heavy rain.

Output dropped to 1,006 tons for the three months ended March 31, Darwin-based Energy Resources said today in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange. The company maintained its April 2 forecast that production will fall next year as high water levels restrict access into 2008.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Gold, The US Dollar, and The See-Saw of Pain

I find the best way to explain the relationship between gold and the dollar is to describe it as "a see-saw of pain." When one goes up, the other gets hurt. And this morning, gold is going way up and the dollar is getting badly hurt. Just look at this chart ...

My co-worker Mike Larson, who knows a lot more about currencies and interest rates than I do, had this to say this morning by email ...

"The dollar is getting killed today, if you haven’t already noticed. The British pound is thisclose to breaking above its multi-year high of 1.9916 from January 23, 2007. If that happens, the 2 dollars for every 1 pound level will almost certainly fall. Meanwhile, the euro has broken above every level of technical resistance save one – a peak in December 2004 at 1.3666. It’s currently just over a cent below that (1.3533).

"And don’t even get me started on the high yielders – the Aussie and the Kiwi. The AUD has now cleared some resistance dating back to December 1996. If it takes out a small peak in 1990, it’ll be at the highest level since early 1989. Now here’s the real kicker – IF the New Zealand dollar takes out 0.7466, one last level of resistance from March 2005, it’ll be at its highest level since 1982 (!!) Definitely a development worth watching."
We'll watch it all right. Meanwhile, the gold and silver stocks in Red-Hot Canadian Small Caps are charging higher. Go, gold!
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Friday News You Can Use

Canadian Natural Gas Prices May Advance as Cold Weather Persists in U.S. Natural gas at Canada's biggest trading point may rise on expectations that a spell of colder- than-normal weather will persist in the U.S., increasing demand for the heating fuel.

Berezovsky, Exiled Billionaire, Plans Russia Revolution to Overthrow Putin "I am calling for revolution and revolution is always violent,'' Berezovsky said in a telephone interview from London. Berezovsky's plans were reported earlier today in an interview with the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper

China's Proven Iron Ore Reserves 59 Billion Tons, Resources Ministry Says China, the world's biggest consumer of metals, has proven iron ore reserves of 59 billion metric tons, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement.

Rio Tinto Says China's Demand for Metals, Minerals `Strong' and `Growing' Rio Tinto Group, the world's third- largest mining company, said China's ``strong'' and ``growing'' demand for metals and minerals will continue this year, keeping commodities prices above historical levels.

Heebner Says Home Prices May Fall 20% Amid Bad Loans Subprime loans, made to borrowers with a history of missed payments or untested credit, and ``Alt-A'' loans, which require little or no documentation, account for about $2.5 trillion of the $10 trillion in outstanding mortgages, according to Moody's Economy.com. As much as 40 percent of these loans may default, flooding the real estate market, Heebner said.
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Funny Video to Get Your Weekend Going

Due to a complaint, this video has been yanked.
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My latest Market Matters Radio Interview

It's always great to talk to Tom Jeffries. He and I talk about Mexico, peak oil, uranium and more. To listen, point your web brower here: http://tinyurl.com/2w8xjn

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Canadian Breakout!

Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps subscribers know I’m bullish on oil, and I wrote on that theme in my MoneyandMarkets column this week – a column that was originally titled “Peak Oil and The Nuclear Option” before my editors got a hold of it.

Anyway, I recently (March 28) added a Canadian oil stock to the Red-Hot Canadian Small Caps portfolio to ride what I expect will be surging oil prices this summer. And here’s the good news – the stock just broke out to the upside.

The open gains are still small, but my target on this is $24 – a 53% rise from recent levels.

Oh, and that oil sands stock that is in the Red-Hot Canadian Small Caps portfolio -- about the only oil sands company worth buying if you ask me -- hold on to that one, too. It's on the launch pad.

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Another Australian Stock Rocket Blasts Off!

Those Australian stocks keep rocketing. Here’s the latest example from our Red-Hot Asian Tigers portfolio.

This stock is a gold miner with operations in a Southeast Asian country (RHAT subscribers, you know the one). It just received environmental approval for its gold project. ZOOM!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Latest Take on Uranium

I have a new Money and Markets piece -- you can find it here ...

Uranium prices rise 19% in one week! (by Sean Brodrick)
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Chart for Wednesday: Uranium Zoom, Part 2!

Our Red-Hot Asian Tigers portfolio is on fire!

Uranium stocks pulled back pretty hard in Canada yesterday, and that spilled over to Australia. In fact, the whole Australian market sold off today. This is just normal profit taking, and I expect stocks to head higher again soon, following gold, silver and crude oil.

But there were two noticeable exceptions to the sell-off. One was the stock that I showed you yesterday. It rallied, sold off, but closed unchanged.

The second is this chart here -- another uranium stock, also in our Red-Hot Asian Tigers portfolio ...
Meanwhile, global mine production is falling 45% of total demand. Resource Investor reports that at the Uranium Summit in Las Vegas, Doug Casey, who I respect a lot, said, "Uranium at “$200 per pound is not unrealistic.
"
Uranium is going higher, stocks are going higher,” said Casey. “You have plenty of time – all the money has not been made.”
Casey said the public is not yet involved. When people do catch on, the sector will get hotter and many more people will enter the market than the last time around, he added.
“This will be a bigger commodities bull market than we had in the 70s,” said Casey, adding that uranium will continue to reap the rewards.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hi-Ho, Silver! Away!

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Here's an updated uranium chart.

Ain't that a pretty sight? Tune in to Money and Markets on Wednesday for my latest take on uranium.

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I am the Father of Anna Nicole’s Baby

I am enjoying the circus surrounding the impending announcement of the paternity of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. I don’t care a fig as to who the father is, I just take some satisfaction watching America’s media debase itself to the utmost. I have CNN on my TV now, but I could easily turn to FOX or one of the major networks and get the same circus of freaks.

When I say "circus of freaks," I'm not talking about the trailer-trash players in the drama. I’m talking about the members of the mainstream media. What a bunch of slack-jawed babblers and shameless charlatans they’ve turned out to be. They’ve mislead the American people at every turn. If there is divine justice, the members of the media will get to cover this story for eternity in hell.
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My latest interview on HoweStreet.com

Phil and I had a wide-ranging talk starting with uranium and going all over the place. Lots of fun!

http://tinyurl.com/2gd8b2
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TXU Switches From Coal to Nuclear Power Plans

In my MoneyandMarket columns I've said over and over again that US utilities have to stop building coal plants and start building nuclear plants. Now coal is cheaper than nuclear, so I don't expect utilities to make the switch without a push. I expect the push to come from an American public that wakes up to the dangers of global warming and coal pollution.

Well, it looks like that just might be happening.

If you've been following the buyout saga for Texas utility TXU, you know the company planned to build eight coal-fired power plants. They got a lot of heat from TX lawmakers and local activists, so they’ve basically said they won’t build all these coal plants. Instead, TXU will build BIG nuclear power plants. Assuming this happened, it could be a huge deal, especially if other U.S. producers follow suit ...

TXU plans to build biggest nuclear plants in US-WSJ
NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) - Utility TXU Corp. , which scrapped plans to build eight coal-fired plants when it agreed to be acquired by two private equity firms, is now hoping to build the biggest nuclear power plants in the United States, said the Wall Street Journal.

TXU has shifted its focus to nuclear power at a time when three other utilities have also said they may build nuclear plants in Texas, said the Journal, without citing sources.

The Journal said reactors selected by TXU would be designed and build by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, and would be 50 percent bigger than TXU's current nuclear reactors.

UPDATE: Here is the longer story in the Wall Street Journal. CLICK HERE.

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Chart of the Day: Uranium Zooms!

Here is the chart of the day -- one of the uranium stocks in the Red-Hot Australian Small-Caps portfolio.

All our Australian uranium stocks are on fire. Why? Well, the latest auction of the white-hot metal saw the spot price of uranium oxide (U3O8) soar $18 to $113 per pound. Not only is that a 19% rise in just one week. According to Nuclear Market Review, it’s the largest single weekly price increase since uranium has been tracked!

Also, the Australian Labor Party is meeting this month and will likely overturn its "three-mines" policy on active uranium mines. The stock above will likely have Australia's fifth active uranium mine if things go as planned.

And now for some news you can use ...

Nickel, Lead Rise to Records; Copper at 7-Month High on Demand From China Nickel and lead rose to records on the London Metal Exchange, and copper advanced to the highest in seven months on rising demand from China, the world's largest consumer of all industrial metals.

Gold Gains in London as Dollar's Decline May Buoy Demand; Silver Advances Gold rose on speculation declines in the dollar will spur investor demand for the metal as an alternative to stocks and bonds. Silver gained.

China's Copper and Product Imports Increase 61 Percent to Record in March China's imports of copper and copper products rose to a record in March as traders in the world's largest consumer of the commodity took advantage of cheaper overseas prices to meet domestic demand.

Gold price gains as Aussie dollar zooms SYDNEY (Reuters) - Gold rose on Tuesday, the first day of trade in many markets following public holidays, with investors in Australia buoyed by new-found clout in currency markets.

OPEC chief expects gas prices to grow, says cheap gas history ABU-DHABI, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - The current chairman of the international oil cartel, OPEC, further heightened gas consumer concerns Tuesday by saying natural gas prices might rise in the future.The statement follows a forum of the world's leading gas exporters in Doha Monday, which decided to set up a committee for coordinating gas prices. Experts saw the move as the first step toward an OPEC-style gas cartel.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

News You Can Use, Saturday Edition

We're heading to Sarasota to do Easter with the grandparents as soon as my daughter's soccer game is over. So I'll leave you with a little news you can use ...

Permanent drought predicted for Southwest

Study says global warming threatens to create a Dust Bowl-like period. Water politics could also get heated.
...
The computer models, on average, found about a 15% decline in surface moisture ... A 15% drop led to the conditions that caused the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains and the northern Rockies during the 1930s.
UN Warming Report "A Near-Apocalyptic Vision Of The Earth's Future"
A new global warming report issued today by the United Nations paints a near-apocalyptic vision of the Earth's future if temperatures continue to rise unabated: more than a billion people in desperate need of water, extreme food shortages in Africa and elsewhere, a blighted landscape ravaged by fires and floods, and millions of species sentenced to extinction.

[XX Sean's note -- the interesting thing about this is the behind-the-scenes feuding going on. Scientists pitched a fit as UN politicians representing some of the largest greenhouse gas emissions (guess who!) toned down the report and removed timescales for future events. Some scientists who worked on the report say they'll never get involved in such a political report again.]

Dubai Runs Out of Office Space as Economic Boom Draws Companies to Region
Dubai, the Middle East's fastest- growing city, is running out of office space, according to the commercial property broker CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

Permitting US Uranium Mines Takes Years
As we discovered, the process can take between three and six years (sometimes even longer), costing several million dollars and requiring numerous scientific studies on a company’s property. This could add additional pressure to uranium prices.

Uranium markets off to strong spring start
Spring was off to a strong start for uranium markets, with spot prices pushing upwards of US$100 per pound and the Canadian uranium index holding steady into the Easter holiday period.
...
In a good stroke of timing, Uranium Focused Energy Fund opened the TSX market on April 4 through a $195-million initial public offering. The fund, which trades under the stock symbol UF.UN, was designed to capitalize on the view that the uranium sector will continue to provide "attractive opportunities" for investment over the next several years.

...
Meanwhile Down Under, Aussie uranium explorers are buzzing with news of a new discovery described in a Reuters report as having "potential to rival the country's biggest deposit at Olympic Dam." The Four Mile discovery in South Australia is so-named because it is four miles from the producing Beverly uranium mine. The project is part of the Arkaroola Joint Venture between Alliance Resources of Australia, and Quasar Resources.

Japanese exchange to offer gold-based trading fund
Osaka Securities Exchange, which operates the second-largest Japanese stock market, may list an exchange-traded gold fund as early as this month as it taps rising interest in commodities from investors looking to diversify their portfolios.The fund, which is linked to gold prices, was being created by one of the largest investment trusts in Japan, and would have net assets under management of ¥3 billion to ¥5 billion, or $25 million to $42 million.
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Friday, April 06, 2007

News You Can Use for the Weekend

Mexico Tries To Save Big, Fading Oil Field

From January 2006 though February 2007, Cantarell lost a staggering one-fifth of its production, with daily output falling to 1.6 million barrels from two million.
The oil industry was stunned. Cantarell, which currently produces one of every 50 barrels of oil on the world market, is fading so fast analysts believe Mexico may become an oil importer in eight years. That would batter Mexico's economy, which depends on oil exports to fund 40% of its government spending.

Climate change is predicted to reduce U.S. crop yields by 25%-80%

With mounting evidence that climate is warming, we show that such warming will have substantial impacts on agricultural yields by the end of the century: yields of three major crops in the United States are predicted to decrease by 25-44% under the slowest warming scenario and 60-79% under the most rapid warming scenario in our preferred model.

'Strong Possibility' Gas Will Rise to $4

"Things are looking pretty bad for the upcoming summer driving season," said Flynn, citing a new government report showing that the U.S. stockpiles of gasoline fell by 5 million barrels in the past week, much more than analysts were expecting. Today's report shows that the national supply of gas is at the low end of its average range for this time of year, meaning the United States will have less gas in the tank before the peak summer driving season in the coming
months.

And finally ...

Looks like a triple-top to me. How about you? This is the latest data from the Energy Information Administration's International Petroleum Monthly. Hat-tip Coilin at theoildrum.com for summing it up: "World production, according to the EIA, was down by nearly 200,000 bpd in January compared to December. The reduction in OPEC production was relatively small - just over 250,000 bpd (excluding Angola) - if the EIA is to be believed. There was, apparently, no reduction in Saudi production compared with December."

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More Weekend Videos -- Real Estate Roller Coaster

Yale economist Robert J. Shiller took US home prices, adjusted them for inflation, and then plotted a graph to illustrate the housing bubble. Some smartie then took his graph and used a "Roller Coaster Tycoon 2" program to turn that graph into a roller coaster ...


Here is the chart that roller coaster comes from ...
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Weird Science Friday -- Giant Snail Alert

I've written previously about the giant snails that are eating the island of Barbados. Oh, to be sure, they're doing it ve-e-e-ery slo-o-o-wly, but there are hundreds of thousands of them, oozing inexorably across the island.

Well, if you want to talk giant snails, here's the King Kong of snails ...


I found this on Heavy.com with no explanation. It sure looks like a real snail. Maybe I'm being hoodwinked.

Anyway, there's some weird science for you. Most of the markets are closed, and CNBC is talking endlessly about the monthly employment report. The Labor Department said March payrolls increased by a stronger-than-expected 180,000. A scan of a couple of sources shows that expectations generally called for payrolls to increase by 140,000 to 160,000.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked lower to 4.4 percent, versus expectations of remaining unchanged at 4.5 percent.

It all sounds bullish for the market and commodities on Monday.
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My latest Market Matters Radio Interview

Another great talk with Tom Jeffries of Market Matters. You can listen to it here ...

http://tinyurl.com/2ryk3v

Tom says his bosses are impressed with the feedback they're getting on his interviews with me -- I guess his listeners like excitable commodity types -- so if it's YOU that's giving the feedback, thank you.

Anyway, they're going to make me a more frequent guest. Hooray! It's always fun to talk to Tom.
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Getting Ready for the Long Weekend … Destroy All Blogs!

Netdisaster.com is a cool online application that lets you destroy any web page through various means. Let's start with my blog ...

Click here to see my blog destroyed by asteroids.

http://tinyurl.com/34cjxe

Click here to see my blog destroyed by nuclear bombs:

http://tinyurl.com/3cnv69

Click here to see my blog drowned by a flood as the icecaps melt:

http://tinyurl.com/2pnqy7

(My personal favorite) Click here to see my blog invaded (and destroyed) by flying saucers:

http://tinyurl.com/32moxy

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