Pension Fund Problem Just Got Much Worse

By Bloomberg – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

The 14 percent drop in the S&P 500 Index last quarter has big implications for state and local pension funds, which probably saw the value of their assets fall by about 7 percent. Investors with the benefit of a long-term horizon have the ability to ignore market dips, and pension funds are among the longest-term investors, but their problems are not long-term and further short-term declines could precipitate a crisis.

The table below shows pension fund assets and liabilities as compiled by Pew Charitable Trusts. There is a large and growing gap, but that’s not the primary problem. Although the value of those assets is known with reasonable accuracy, the liability figure is based on assumptions about the future. The actuarial and political assumptions are uncertain, but it is the investment assumptions – plans assume an average discount rate of 7 percent – that are the most problematic.

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Where Will The “Pending” Financial Crisis Originate?

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Case for a pending financial collapse is well grounded warns Rickards
– “Ticking time bomb” the Federal Reserve has created is set to go off…

– Economist warns U.S. high-yield debt, default of “junk bonds” could cause next crisis
– Systemic risk is “more dangerous than ever” as “entire system is larger than before”

– Protect wealth by allocating at least 10% of assets in physical gold and silver

Source: BofA Merrill Lynch via Marketwatch.com

from The Daily Reckoning:

The case for a pending financial collapse is well grounded. Financial crises occur on a regular basis including 1987, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2007-08.

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GDXJ Upside Bests GDX

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Gold miners’ exchange-traded funds are surging with gold powering higher.  These mounting gains are naturally fueling growing interest in the leading gold-stock investment vehicles.  Traders looking to deploy capital are wondering which major gold-stock ETF is superior, offering the best balance between upside potential, component fundamentals, and risks.  GDXJ takes the crown, besting its larger big brother GDX.

By my count, there are currently 14 gold miners ETFs trading in US markets.  But that’s not authoritative, as the broader ETF industry is constantly in flux.  These gold-stock ETFs collectively held $17.5b in net assets as of the middle of this week.  And two major ETFs utterly dominated, commanding fully 85.1% of all those gold-stock investments!  They are of course GDX and GDXJ, which dwarf everything else in this sector.

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Companies to Buy Back Fewer Shares

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

U.S. companies’ shopping spree for their own shares helped put a floor on market declines in 2018. Don’t look for the same level of support in 2019.

Wall Street’s recent volatility has optimists betting that buybacks could provide the market with an even better buffer in 2019. But many strategists see the lift from buybacks – a major factor behind the bull market – losing some force as earnings growth slows while tax policy bonanzas fizzle out.

“Companies bought back around 2.8 percent of shares outstanding in 2018. That was a substantial support to the market and bigger than dividends,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago.

case of dollar bills to buy back stock shares

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Some Predictions For 2019

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Pento Portfolio Strategies

Bond Yields Continue to Fall in First Half of Year

The epoch bond bubble continues to build and become a dagger over the worldwide economy and markets. Wall Street Shills are fond of claiming that global bond yields remain at historically low levels due to central bank manipulations, but this argument is no longer tenable. It was once true, but QE on a net global basis has now gone negative. And the data shows the amount of U.S. publicly traded debt relative to GDP is much greater today than it was prior to the start of the Great Recession—even after adjusted for the size of the Fed’s balance sheet–in other words, taking into account all the debt the Fed has purchased and is still rolling over.

The amount of publicly traded debt in the U.S. has soared to 58% of GDP. This is up from 29% in 2007 when the U.S. 10-year Note was yielding 5%. The Fed is now selling $50b of bonds each month, with an extra $7.8T in publicly traded debt that it doesn’t own; and that equates to nearly 2x the amount of debt compared to GDP than what existed just prior to the Great Recession. This debt must now be absorbed by the private market and at a fair market price, instead of just purchased mindlessly by the Fed…and yet yields are still falling. This means investors are piling into sovereign debt for safety ahead of the global economic crisis even though they understand that debt is, for the most part, insolvent.

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Gold Price To Silver Price Ratio

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Analysts use this ratio to describe how inexpensive silver is compared to gold—like now. They also use the ratio to show long-term buy zones for both metals.

WHY?

Silver prices move up and down farther than gold prices. That pushes the gold-silver ratio too high, like now, when silver is inexpensive. Or it pushes the ratio too low, as in January 1980, when silver prices zoomed upward too far and too fast.

When the gold to silver ratio exceeds 80, it is often a good time to buy silver.

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Three Things That Will Definitely Happen In 2019

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Much about 2019 is uncertain. But a few things are pretty much guaranteed, including the following:

Government debt will rise at an accelerating rate

Like a life-long dieter who finally gives up and decides to eat himself to death, the US is now committed to trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. And that’s – get this – assuming no recession in the coming decade. During the next downturn that trillion will become two or more, but in 2019 another trillion-plus is guaranteed.

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