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"Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is That a Gold Rally I See Before Me?

Not to get all MacBeth on you, but he's a guy who literally couldn't see the forest for the trees (MacBeth's enemies successfully attack his castle by cutting off branches and disguising themselves as trees). And while many analysts are preaching The End of the World as We Know It -- or, conversely, a weird, almost fanatical assurance that this is the best time EVAH to buy stocks -- over there in the corner, unnoticed by just about everybody, gold is doing very well indeed.

Gold Gains in New York as Dollar Slips, Oil Rebounds; Silver Advances

Gold rose for the first time in four sessions as the dollar slumped and crude oil gained, boosting the appeal of the precious metal as an inflation hedge. Silver also advanced.

In other news and analysis ...

Gazprom Offers to Purchase All of Libya's Crude Oil, Natural Gas Exports

OAO Gazprom, Russia's state- controlled energy company, offered to buy all oil and gas available for export from Libya, threatening to grab greater control of Europe's energy supplies.

Russia May Become the Largest Auto Market in Europe This Year

For the first half of 2008, Russia has already edged past Germany in terms of sales volume. During the first six months of 2008, auto sales in Russia rose to 1.645 million units—a 41% increase in comparison with the same period the previous year—compared to 1.63 million units in Germany, said Stanley Root, leader of PWC’s automotive practice in Russia.

Fed Paper: Current Account Gap to Widen Again, but Sustainable

After narrowing in recent quarters, the U.S. current account deficit should resume widening in coming years, leading to a tripling in U.S. external debt as a share of output, according to a new paper written by a trio of Federal Reserve economists.

Should Bicyclists Bother to Wear Helmets?

As a bicyclist, I wonder about these things. This article has some interesting insight.

The Saudi-Scale U.S. Oil Reserves We Shouldn't Tap

Polls show that more Americans, even liberal Democrats, support expanded domestic oil production. What if the poll respondents learned that a vast pool of oil sits untapped? It’s three times the size of Saudi Arabia’s reserves and is emphatically within U.S. borders. What are we waiting for, the poll respondents might exclaim. Except that there’s a catch. Before the oil can be used, we have to wait 100 million years.

Can the Solar Industry Spin Sunlight into Gold?

A closer examination of global solar demand reveals that double digit growth continues to be the norm. According to Paula Mints, Principal Analyst at Navigant Consulting, global demand for PV was 3,073 megawatts in 2007, compared to 1,985 mW in 2006. This impressive 55 percent annual growth rate in 2007 follows on strong growth in 2006 and 2005 (41 and 34 percent, respecitvely).

However, the dirty little secret behind all of the numbers is that the market for PV products is primarily driven by government incentive programs, which may be sending faulty investment signals to the financial community. Unlike traditional market driven supply and demand curves, the growth experienced in the last few years can be directly attributed to global government incentives. Therefore, forecasting industry growth becomes more of an exercise in guessing at future government policy decisions, an activity perhaps best left to Ouija boards and Magic 8-Balls.

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