1.27.12 Weekly Recap

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photo credit: Reuters/ Mike Segar

Gold crossed over the $1700 mark today on news of more stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.  This news pushed the dollar down; Gold played its usual inverse position by jumping up several days in a row.

Precious metals started the week with a climb that was based on European news.  Negotiations between Greece and private debt holders are still under way. Sources close to the situation report a deal is close and private bondholders stand to take a loss of between 65 to 70 percent.

The Federal Reserve officially announced that the interest rates will not be raised until at least 2014.  The Fed believes that the unemployment rate still needs to be controlled. It anticipates that inflation will remain consistent with firm prices. The Federal Reserve’s actions indicate that they are concerned about a struggling economy, and unfortunately, this depresses the value of the dollar which had been rising compared to the euro. Federal Reserve observers are split on whether there will be another round of quantitative easing. According to the CNBC survey in January, about half of the respondents believe there will be a QE3, while 44 percent say no. These same respondents are optimistic on the economy, as long as the European crisis does not turn for the worse and create a significant global event.

The International Monetary Fund cut its global forecast of 2012 growth from 4% to 3.3%, and already is dropping its projected growth forecast for 2013 from 4.5% to 3.9%. Those forecasts are still not set; they are dependent on the efforts of the 17-country euro zone coming together to fight financial turmoil. The IMF has also called on the European Central Bank and other countries to support the euro zone with additional funding. In an update, the IMF said, “The near-term outlook has noticeably deteriorated … The global recovery is threatened by intensifying strains in the euro area and frailties elsewhere.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,678.40. The high was on Friday, 27th at $1,738.20, while the low for the week occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 25th, $1,649.20. Gold ended the week up $60.50 at $1,738.90. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2012 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2012 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $32.37. Silver reached a high of $33.94 on Friday, Jan. 27th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 25th at $31.53. Silver ended the week up $1.67 at $34.04 The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2012 Silver American Eagles, 2012 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,565.00 and ended the week up $60.80 at $1625.80. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $687.80 and ended the week up $3.60 at $691.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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The unusual Silver bullion coin, the Silver Kookaburra, was released in 1990 by the Perth Mint of Australia. These beautiful coins celebrate the interesting bird native to Australia. Due to the variety of designs and privy marks available on the Silver Kookaburra coins, these are very popular among collectors who buy Silver coins.

Each 1 oz. Australian Silver Kookaburra contains .999-fine Silver and includes proof-like frosting in the central design. The obverse features a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and lists the face value of the coin. The reverse displays the kookaburra. Every year, the coin has a slightly different design, which makes the Silver Kookaburra coins attractive to collectors. From 1990 through 2010, only 300,000 coins were minted each year; the 2011 and 2012 versions have mintages of just 500,000.

The Perth Mint originally began in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in order to help supply the Gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, which were used as everyday circulating coins throughout the British Empire. In 1970, control of the mint passed from Britain to the Western Australian Government.

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1.20.12 Weekly Recap

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Gold has made modest gains this week, closing about $21 higher than Monday’s spot prices. Silver made big gains, having climbed about $2, a gain of nearly 7%. The news about the world economy was mixed with most headlines pointing toward continued, but slow growth.  The outlook is optimistic for growth in the U.S. economy, which could be pushing silver prices up.

One week ago, the S&P announced downgrades to its credit ratings of several major European nations, but European markets reflected little concern for the downgrades.  Markets initially opened low but soon turned up. The euro zone’s potentially good news revolved around the results of a French bond sale, which was surprisingly brisk considering France’s credit rating downgrade last Friday. Fixed-income strategist Orlando Green said, “The bill auctions have been carried out without a problem, which is helpful for market sentiment toward the euro area. The reaction to the S&P downgrade has been somewhat muted. The move wasn’t a surprise and was well-flagged for a number of the issuers.”  The downgrades came as no surprise, as speculation had been in the news for a while. Steen Jakobsen at Saxo Bank said, “Effectively, the S&P did what it was supposed to do: It ignored the ‘PowerPoint presentation’ from the EU and looked only at the accounts. The accounts speak clearly for themselves: no progress, no real plans.”

The China GNP increased by 8.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011, which was better than expected. Since China’s economy is primarily export-based, the increase is a good sign for the global economy as well. This news has provided a boost for commodities which include precious metals. Prices of precious metals also are being helped by good news out of Germany, which has provided a boost for the euro against the U.S. dollar.

Unemployment and jobs reports are key indicators of domestic economic growth.  In data released on Thursday, the number of jobless claims decreased more than 50,000. Stocks opened on a higher note in conjunction with the feeling that the Fed has done enough to insulate the American economy from the euro zone debt crisis. The S&P 500 has gained 4%, the most since 1987. James Dunigan, chief investment officer for PNC Wealth Management, echoed that sentiment, saying, “Europe is important, but it’s not the end of the world if they see a recession. … We’re starting to see that modest economic growth expectation for this year.”

A true economic recovery this year in the U.S. is promising, thanks to an improved housing market. Homes are affordable, and the labor force is growing based on reports of a lower unemployment rate. Lawrence Yun of RBS Securities said, “December was a nice finish to a tough year in 2011. If that can be sustained, we are talking about a genuine recovery in 2012.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,643.90. The high was on Thursday, Jan. 19th at $1,670.60, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Jan. 16th, $1,631.90. Gold ended the week up $24.90 at $1,668.50. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $29.46. Silver reached a high of $31.72 on Friday, Jan. 20th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Jan. 16th $29.46. Silver ended the week up $2.80 at $32.26 The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,502.70 and ended the week up $36.40 at $1,539.10. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $640.00 and ended the week up $40.00 at $680.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Palladium Maple Leaf Coins

Increase your Palladium holdings with the Palladium Maple Leaf 1 oz bullion coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. Palladium, known as Platinum’s “little brother,” is worthy of respect as an investment vehicle. With market studies under way for a potential U.S. Palladium bullion coin program, the demand for the silver-white metal might be primed for a rise in the near future. Produced from 2005 to 2007, and again in 2009, the Palladium Maple Leaf was the first Palladium bullion coin issued by a major world government. The coin’s total mintage of less than 200,000 adds to its collectability.

The obverse of the Palladium Maple Leaf features the depiction of Queen Elizabeth II by Susannah Blunt. The reverse displays one of Canada’s national symbols, the beautiful single maple leaf. This Maple coin contains a full troy ounce of .9995-fine Palladium and bears a face value of 50 Canadian Dollars. Considered more precious than Silver and of a higher rarity than Gold, Palladium’s market worth is closely tied to the manufacturing sector. Palladium also fills a key niche in the jewelry industry as one of the two components used to produce white Gold (Palladium mixed with Gold).

Many investors have begun stocking up on Palladium products as demand continues to grow, and APMEX can help you start building your Palladium portfolio.

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Is Your Portfolio Ready for 2012?

Accelerating U.S. Debt Load Could Mean A Riskier Economy

Many economists and investors have been focused on the debt crisis in Europe. But did you know that debt in the United States is now more than 90% of GDP, a sign of increasing economic risk? In fact, the gap between debt and GDP has narrowed considerably over the past two years (see Chart 1 below). This is placing increasing strain on the U.S. economy. Is your portfolio prepared to weather this uncertainty? Now is the time to review your portfolio and make sure you’re adequately diversified among stocks, bonds, cash and Gold — the fourth asset class.

In today’s video, APMEX Chief Executive Officer Michael Haynes talks about how growing debt levels in the U.S. are creating greater uncertainty in our financial markets. He also explains how a diversified asset allocation may help minimize risk in your portfolio.

Click to Watch

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1.13.12 Weekly Recap

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Molten Gold Pour. photo: Flickr.com- Ashvin Mistry

Gold broke the recent trend of following the euro’s movements against the U.S. dollar, thanks to safe-haven investment demand that originated from the renewed jitters in Europe. Economic expectations are pessimistic with inflation rising internationally and economic growth declining globally. Investors are searching for a safe-haven investment, such as precious metals. According to Sundeep Sikka, with Money Manager (India) Inc., “The current global macroeconomic environment is very conducive for higher Gold prices.” Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors echoed this sentiment, saying, “People get so caught up with the next three minutes for Gold, and they should really be focused on the next three years. Does anyone really believe in the long-term strength of the U.S. dollar?” Holmes said the Gold price could double within the next five years. Investors are buying U.S. bullion coins at the fastest pace in over two years, and China is importing more Gold than ever.  One analyst noted, “The thing that’s caught people’s minds is the massive increase in Chinese buying.  Gold has demonstrated time and time again its ability to hold purchasing power.” A poll of 164 investors conducted by Nomura showed that 19.5% of them prefer to buy Gold and hold it until the end of the year. The poll compared Gold, bonds and stocks as investment choices.

The United States reached a “symbolic tipping point” as the country’s national debt surpassed $15.23 trillion, which is nearly equal to the value of its entire economy. Debt projections estimate that the U.S. economy grew to around $15.3 trillion in December, a figure the debt level is expected to surpass in January. Estimated retail sales figures for December were not quite to the levels anticipated, and a reported increase in jobless claims defied expectations. The U.S economy is facing several obstacles to successful growth, including a high unemployment rate, low demand in the housing market, and the European debt crisis. Economists will be evaluating their fourth quarter gross domestic product estimates after data was released Friday morning showing that U.S. exports declined in November, and imports rose.  The U.S. trade deficit is at its widest in six months, and is higher than the consensus expectations of economists.

The Federal Reserve’s modifications to its communication approach are drawing favorable reviews, with the Fed indicating that it will provide updates four times a year on its plans for short-term interest rates. According to the Fed, the U.S. economy is expanding at a modest pace. The main crux of further improvement continues to be a less-than-stellar jobs market, which has prevented incomes from rising. Residential real estate is still viewed as sluggish, but commercial property markets have shown improvement. Consumer confidence was generally “characterized as firmer than in recent reporting periods.” Transcripts released from the Federal Reserve policy meeting showed that as late as December 2006, top Fed officials including Chairman Ben Bernanke believed that the housing market was stabilizing and failed to anticipate the subsequent housing crash. Fed policymakers were seemingly oblivious to the threat housing represented to financial markets and the economy. The housing market’s crash resulted in a U.S. banking crisis and the biggest recession this country has seen since the Great Depression, as well as a corresponding increase in the price of Gold.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met to discuss Greece’s unresolved debt issues and to create a plan to ensure that the euro survives a potentially failing banking sector. The announcement was made that Greece would not receive its second bailout package (which would prevent a debt default in March) until Greece reaches an agreement with creditor banks on a bond swap. This week’s bond sale in Italy was not as successful as investors had anticipated. Even though Italy met the planned amount of 4.75 billion euros, hopes had been that the sale would bring in twice as much. The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its key lending rate at 1%.  Afterwards, ECB President Mario Draghi warned of the “substantial” downside risks to the eurozone’s economic outlook, including increased debt market tensions, and stated that although there are “tentative signs of stabilization,” uncertainty remains “very high.” Fitch Ratings expressed that the ECB needs to do more to help Italy, the next big euro zone country seemingly in danger of default. The head of sovereign ratings for Fitch, David Riley, described a potential collapse of the euro as “cataclysmic.”  A French newspaper published a story that said that Standard & Poor’s would be downgrading France’s “AAA” credit rating by one notch.  Although the paper didn’t cite any sources and an official announcement wasn’t scheduled until late Friday afternoon, stocks experienced a triple-digit drop.  Gold and Silver saw drops as well, although they quickly climbed back up to the levels they were at before the news was released.  The expectation is that several other euro zone countries will be downgraded; this could force investment funds to sell bonds because they have a requirement that a set percentage of their bonds be AAA-rated. For those countries that would be affected, this could raise their borrowing costs. At a time when debt is rising and GDP (income) is declining, the last thing these countries need is for borrowing costs to rise.

Several hedge funds indicated that they are not willing to accept International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposals to bring Greek debt down to affordable levels by taking a voluntarily 50% loss on bond holdings. Instead, the hedge funds would prefer to either let Greece go bankrupt in the hopes that the hedge funds will be covered by the credit insurance they bought to protect against loss, or to get others involved and force the issue so that the funds will get paid in full. It’s a dangerous game being played by two parties with completely different interests. The hedge funds are focusing on what is best for their clients, and the IMF is trying to fix the entire sovereign debt problem in Europe. Greece is preparing to start final talks that could affect whether that country stays in the euro zone. In a move that will probably not sit well with German constituents already opposed to Germany’s role in the Greek bailout, German Chancellor Merkel announced that Germany would be willing to pay more funds to help conclude negotiations over the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) permanent bailout fund. The Greek bailout is viewed as the key solution before the European Union can work toward growth and job creation.

Tensions continued to grow in Iran, as one of the country’s nuclear scientists was killed by a car bomb on Wednesday. The bombing came as sanctions were being toughened on Iran because of its nuclear program. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran immediately blamed the U.S. and Israel.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has denied any American role in the slaying, and the U.S administration condemned the attack. However, Israeli officials, without admitting involvement, have hinted at covert campaigns against Iran, and Israel’s military chief of staff said that similar “unnatural” events could be expected this year if Iran continues along its path of nuclear development. The U.S. is looking for support from the Japanese government on imposing economic sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development program, as Japan is one of the top-three buyers of Iranian oil. President Barack Obama announced this week that the U.S. would freeze out financial institutions that deal with Iran’s central bank.

Recent data from China shows an increase in that country’s trade surplus for December.  Although expectations were met on export growth, import growth declined sharply. China is often seen as a major component of a global economic recovery. Barclays Capital Analysts said, “…the Chinese economy remains on track for a soft landing, with external weakness continuing to pose the biggest downside risk.” The U.S. and its allies are looking to impose stronger sanctions on Iran due to that nation’s nuclear ambitions, and China, as Iran’s top trade partner, seems to be caught in the middle. Hua Liming, former ambassador to Iran, said, “Iran will expect China to support its interests at the U.N. and other international circumstances, while the U.S. will exert tremendous pressure on China and use the Iran issue to judge if China is a ‘responsible’ major power.” Meanwhile, Chinese Gold imports from Hong Kong have climbed to a record high due to investment demand. China bought nearly 103,000 kilos from Hong Kong in November alone.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,609.20. The high was on Thursday, Jan. 12th at $1,622.90, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Jan. 9th, $1,605.70. Gold ended the week up $32.10 at $1,641.30. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.25. Silver reached a high of $30.68 on Thursday, Jan. 12th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Jan. 9th at $28.55. Silver ended the week up $0.86 at $29.81 The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,428.40 and ended the week up $64.20 at $1,492.60. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $616.80 and ended the week up $22.20 at $639.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Australian Gold Lunar Coins

Designed by the Perth Mint in Australia, the Australian Gold Lunar coins are among some of the most beautiful coins in the world. Centered around the Chinese lunar calendar, the Australian Gold Lunar coins appeal to collectors and investors all over the world. Created because of popular demand from international investors and the success of the Australian Gold Lunar Series I coins, the Australian Gold Lunar Series II began in 2008 with the Year of the Mouse coins and will end with the Year of the Pig coins in 2019.

Struck from .9999 fine gold, Australian Gold Lunar coins are a great way to acquire and invest in precious metals. Legal Australian tender, most Gold Lunar coins are struck with a larger diameter. Inspired by China’s ancient lunar calendar, the Australian Gold Lunar Series coins feature the 12 animals central to the calendar’s stories. According to the lunar calendar, each of these 12 animals has a profound influence over those born under its year of “rule.”

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1.6.12 Weekly Recap

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Gold prices started the week trading higher amid New Year optimism in global markets. It was a volatile week for the precious metal yet prices were still above $1,600 per ounce as the week came to a close.  Analysts remain optimistic over Gold’s performance in the coming year, with many expecting demand for the precious metal to see a boost in response to any quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and/or European Central Bank. Analysts from Merrill Lynch said this week that they “believe the high cost structure of the global Gold sector should provide support” to the price of the metal.  They expect the price of Gold to average $1,850 an ounce in the coming year.  Even Dennis Gartman of the Gartman Letter changed his view on Gold, becoming “officially bullish” again. He wrote, “The bear run that began in August has now officially ended.”

Geopolitical tension strengthens Gold’s appeal as a safe-haven asset. This was apparent during the past 13 months, with the start of the Arab Spring that spread to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and others. Now, there are many other situations at play. The ongoing conflict with Iran over the Strait of Hormuz, combined the news that Iran produced its first nuclear rod this week, brought about some safe haven buying of Gold. As the U.S. continued to hit Iran with sanctions, the Middle-East country threatened the United States Navy with military action if a departing U.S. aircraft carrier returns.  Iranian army chief Salehi said, “I advise, recommend, and warn [the U.S.] over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once.” Meanwhile, the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) started to affect Iran negatively by cutting off the ability of Iran to collect payment for oil exports. The European Union came to a preliminary agreement with the U.S. to ban imports of Iranian oil. However, many countries in the EU are dependent on the oil imports. Paul Stevens, economist and emeritus professor at Dundee University in Scotland told CNBC, “”Greece’s economy is already mired in deep recession and could feasibly collapse entirely if the sanctions were imposed. But the impact that would have on countries like Italy and Greece would be enormous, and the Greeks are not going to slit their own throats for the sake of an EU sanction when Iran is the only country willing to offer them oil on favorable terms. It would utterly destroy the Greek economy.”

With the European Central Bank (ECB) continuing to lend money at a very low 1% interest rate to European banks, the opinion is divided over whether that cash flow is actually helping Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, or if the money is just being hoarded by banks. Of issue is a lack of trust in lending between banks, and that lack of trust has the ECB fearing a potential credit crunch within the eurozone, which would be detrimental to the hopes of climbing out of the debt crisis. Renewed concerns about European economic issues caused the euro to plunge to its lowest point in 16 months on Thursday, resulting in a corresponding downturn of global stocks and commodities. Against the U.S. dollar, the European currency dropped below $1.28 today, a level not seen since September 2010. Explaining the euro drop, Marc Chandler, chief currency strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman, said, “I think the market’s primarily concerned about the rollover (of debt) risk from the sovereigns as well as the banks’ capital. You also had weaker European economic data.” Chandler said these concerns, although not new, have flared in response to efforts by Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank, to attract investors by offering a 43% discount on new shares. According to Chandler, “People expect a downgrade any day. Next week, you have Spain and Italy coming to the bond market. Full liquidity hasn’t really returned to the market. The euro is falling against the dollar and also making new lows against sterling and the yen.” European Central Bank policymaker Athanasios Orphanides said that he thinks banks are paying too much for the economic collapse in Greece.  He recently asked leaders in the eurozone to go back on plans which would make private sector investors – the banks – take a large share in reducing Greece’s debts.  Orphanides said that although the Greek government might suffer, “by restoring trust in the eurozone, it would reduce the financing costs of other eurozone governments.” This idea is unlikely to gain much steam, however, as the main force in the eurozone now is Germany, the country that was very much behind the banks taking a haircut on Greek debt.

Germany sold 4.06 billion euros of government bonds this week, with a higher demand than previously recorded in November. Also this week, France sold 8 billion euro’s worth of higher-yield bonds, and the European Financial Stability Fund sold 3 billion euros in three-year bonds. This past December, Standard & Poor’s warned German and French governments of possible bond rating downgrades, and some economists have said that France might be the first to lose its AAA credit rating. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel plan to meet next week to review Europe’s new fiscal agreement before the EU summit planned for the end of this month. Europe seems to be heading towards a recession with the austerity measures in place, which has caused citizens to be more hesitant to spend money accompanied by an increased unemployment rate. Jennifer McKeown at Capital Economics commented on the down fall of Europe by saying, “Things are really starting to slow down. There’s an underlying economic downturn going on at the same time as the peripheral debt crisis continues. Even the strongest parts of the euro-zone economy are beginning to falter. We see the euro zone beginning to break up, perhaps as soon as this year.”

A key U.S. manufacturing index for December was released that shows evidence of growth. The demand for automobiles and an increase in holiday sales has helped pave the pathway for a U.S. economic recovery. The U.S. housing market  has been a concern since 2008. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that applications for U.S. home mortgages fell 4.1% in the last week of December, along with a 9.6% drop in purchase loan requests and 2.5% drop in refinancing requests. The housing market is an important facet of the U.S. economy and should reflect positive numbers to show a full economic recovery. U.S. stock futures rose on Friday after the nonfarm jobs report by Automatic Data Processing Inc. was released. Economists expected the number of jobs added in December to reach 150,000, and the report showed 200,000 jobs added. The value of the U.S. dollar also rose.

There were many factors driving uncertainty in the market in 2011. With a new year to tackle new problems, the eurozone crisis remains intact with no solution in sight. This ongoing crisis has driven borrowing costs to unsustainable levels and created concern for a banking crisis in Europe. In an outlook note on 2012, David Simmonds with the Royal Bank of Scotland wrote, “The eurozone crisis is life-threatening because there is too much debt, too little growth and huge intra-zone trade imbalances — belated resurrection of fiscal rules is no panacea. We are in a multiyear de-leveraging world with multiyear low-growth consequences, so mistrust most the quick-fix, free-liquidity addicts who seize on each emergency monetary policy response as a cure-all.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,600.50. The high was on Friday, Jan. 6th at $1,632.30, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 3rd at $1,566.80. Gold ended the week up $17.90 at $1,618.40. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $29.52. Silver reached a high of $29.74 on Wednesday, Jan. 4th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 3rd at $27.91. Silver ended the week down $0.74 at $28.78. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,429.40 and ended the week down $22.40 at $1407.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $663.60 and ended the week down $46.40 at $617.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Certified Morgan Dollars

One of the most famous and collectible American coins is the Morgan Silver Dollar, produced from 1878-1904 and in 1921. The 90% Silver coin was also popular for trading. The coin is labeled in reference to the celebrated design by George T. Morgan, a pupil of William Wyon of the Royal Mint in London. The coin’s obverse depicts a profile of Lady Liberty wearing a band on her head with the word “LIBERTY” inscribed. Her profile is surrounded by the words “E Pluribus Unum” and the date of mintage. The coin’s reverse features an eagle carrying an olive branch and arrows. Morgan’s initial, M, can be found both on the front and back of the coin, but this well-known design is easily distinguishable among other Silver Dollars.

The Morgan Dollar is also valued for its high-quality strike. For many collectors, the coin provides a fun, yet challenging collecting experience because of the many varieties and overdates available. Many have survived in relatively high grades considering their age and their use as a common currency. APMEX offers high quality certified Morgan Dollars ranging from MS-62 up to the rare MS-68 from PCGS and NGC grading services. APMEX Certified Morgan Dollars are excellent options for expanding your collection of American numismatic history. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver Dollars by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products.

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