Weekly Recap 6.24.2011

The sovereign debt crisis in the United States and the European Union dominated the news headlines this week; this has been another volatile week in all markets. 

On Monday,  Mohammed El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, told an Italian newspaper, “All of this has terrible human consequences and it’s associated with a transfer of liabilities from private creditors to European taxpayers. … [I]f this approach is kept up, more money will be wasted to save private creditors and the risk of a disorderly restructuring of the debt will be greater.”

Fitch, a ratings agency, reduced Greece’s credit rating to CCC; this rating indicates a 50% chance of default within 3-5 years. Fitch also took the opportunity to warn the U.S. that its credit rating would be placed on negative watch if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is not reached by August 2. Although other agencies have issued warnings, Fitch was the first to talk about an actual U.S. rating downgrade.

On Wednesday, George Papandreou, Greece’s Prime Minister, survived a vote of confidence required for him to remain in office.  Papandreou is in favor of new austerity measures demanded by the IMF and EU in exchange for a new round of bailouts.  The fact that he received the vote of confidence is a sign that a compromise may yet be possible.

A new jobs report was released on Thursday; the results were a down sliding surprise.  The report showed that the number of people on state unemployment benefits rose by 9,000 when it was expected to fall by 1,000.  While either move would have been relatively small, this is another economic indicator that the recovery is not going as fast as desired.  At a press conference on Thursday, Ben Bernanke said, “We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.”  Also, negotiations between top U.S. lawmakers from both parties broke down as Republicans unexpectedly walked out, citing an impasse regarding the tax increases demanded by Democrats.

Michael Haynes, the CEO of APMEX, was invited to speak on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange on Thursday about the recent activity of central banks. Traditionally, central banks are a source of Gold supply in the retail Gold market; now many central banks purchase and hold Gold. 

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,539.50. The high during the week was on Wednesday, June 22nd   at $1,559.30, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, June 24th at $1,498.50. Gold ended the week down $36.20 at $1,503.30. 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 $35.88. Silver reached a high of $36.77 on Wednesday, June 22nd while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, June 24th at $34.45. Silver ended the week down $1.45 at $34.43. 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 $1755.00 and ended the week down $67.00 at $1,688.00. 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 $748.00 and ended the week down $12.60 at $735.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:  (1 oz) .999 Fine Palladium Bar/ Pamp Suisse (w/Assay Card)

Palladium, Gold, Silver, Platium, Buy Gold, Pamp Suisse,

The 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bar is a world-renowned bullion staple.  Palladium is considered to be platinum’s little brother, but it is worthy of its own respect.  The design of this bar is uniquely Pamp Suisse and the included assay card guarantees its authenticity.  Like platinum, palladium is considered a precious metal whose market worth is closely tied to the manufacturing sector.  Palladium is used to make everything from surgical instruments to catalytic converters.  The international demand for palladium has caused the spot price to nearly double in the last twelve months.  As worldwide manufacturing increases, so should the spot price of palladium.

Fun Fact: White gold is a combination of gold and palladium.

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Weekly Recap 6.17.11

On Monday, investors were jittery about Friday’s big selloff, and they cashed out their Gold holdings to cover losses in other markets.  Ratings agency S&P cut Greece’s government debt, indicating a strong possibility of a default.  Pimco’s Bill Gross said Monday that the U.S. is financially worse off than Greece and other European debt-laden countries. Mr. Gross makes the point that although the current focus is on the $14.3 trillion dollar debt, when the future costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are considered, the total is more than $100 trillion dollars.

On Tuesday, investors went bargain shopping and markets lifted off support from a few days earlier. The People’s Bank of China announced a rate hike indicating that they are making efforts to curb China’s rapidly inflating economy.  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “History makes clear that failure to put our fiscal house in order will erode the vitality of our economy, reduce the standard of living in the United States and increase the risk of economic and financial instability.”

Wednesday brought news of massive strikes and protests in Greece.  Images of riot police clashing with civilians made investors leery and sparked a selloff in the Euro.  Nervousness brought on by the situation in Greece caused a 164-point drop in the Dow.  CPI data indicated inflation in the U.S. and added fuel to the fire.

On Thursday the Euro continued its slide on the back of more chaos in Greece.  The jobs report released on Thursday added some support to U.S. markets but most attention was still focused on Greece.  Jobless claims fell last week to 414,000 claims; this fall in jobless claims was 6,000 more claims than expected. The moving average is still well above 400,000 claims and the June figures are not expected to look much different than the dismal May figures. The unemployment future still appears cloudy.

Germany and France announced Friday morning that they were united on a bailout plan to prevent a Greek default and this buoyed the U.S. equities markets. Continued protests however, indicate a lack of will in the Greek populace to make necessary sacrifices.  According to recent data from Case-Shiller, the current U.S. housing crisis could be worse than the Great Depression. Prices have fallen 33% since the collapse began which is greater than the 31% fall during the Great Depression. This Case-Shiller data is arriving when this QE2 is ending and the Federal Reserve must decide if the U.S. economy is able to stabilize.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,530.10. The high during the week was on Friday, June 17th at $1,543.00, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, June 13th at $1,511.40. Gold ended the week up $10.20 at $1,540.30. 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 $36.29. Silver reached a high of $36.53 on Monday, June 13th while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, June 14th at $34.40. Silver ended the week down $0.30 at $35.99. 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 $1829.10 and ended the week down $70.10 at $1,759.00. 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 $814.80 and ended the week down $66.80 at $748.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:      Austrian 100 Corona Gold CoinsBuy Gold, Gold Prices, APMEX, Austria Corona, Gold Demand, precious metals

The Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the most interesting coins in the world because of their history. For example, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins were among some of the first gold bullion coins available upon the enactment of an executive order on December 31, 1974, that re-entitled Americans to own gold bullion. In addition to their availability at the time of the 1974 order, the Austrian Corona Gold Coins are also fascinating because they are restrikes, which are official reproductions of coins that were originally minted for circulation. Issued from 1908 to 1914, the Austrian 100 Gold Coins first featured their date of issue. After the death of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph however, the gold coins were only produced as commemorative pieces and were dated 1915.

 Minted in Vienna Austria, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin is .900 fine gold (21.6 karat gold) and contains 0.9802 troy ounces of gold. Designed by Stephan Schwartz, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin pays tribute to Austrian nationalism and pride. The obverse of the Austrian Corona Gold Coin displays a portrait of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled from 1848 to 1916. The reverse features the Austrian Coat of Arms symbol, depicting a double eagle and a crown. Moreover, the edges of the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins include the lettering Vnitus Viribvs, which means “the unified strength,” a well-known motto attributed to Franz Joseph I. No longer minted, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the lowest-premium gold bullion coins available on the world coin market. Appealing to both collectors and investors alike, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins have begun to attract attention for both their unique history and low-premium gold status.

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Market Recap 6/10/11

Sovereign debt trouble in the U.S. and Europe were the running theme this week. The U.S. experienced a hangover from last Friday’s disappointing economic news.  On Monday, Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors, said that the U.S. might be recovering from their financial collapse of 2008, but Europe has not seen theirs yetIn Portugal, Prime Minister Jose Socrates was soundly defeated in weekend elections by the opposition party, led by Pedro Passos Coelho. Portugal’s parliament had already blocked austerity measures proposed by Prime Minister Socrates for being too severe. Now Portugal has a new party to lead them through a difficult future.

On the heels of the U.S. dollar falling to a one-month low,  Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, answered questions at his press conference on Tuesday.  “Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established,” he said. After the press conference, both metals and stocks lost ground that was gained early in the day.  President Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and spoke out against rumors of a double-dip recession.

Wednesday brought about an important meeting which was touted as “…one of the worst meetings OPEC has ever had.”  The point was to bring production up, but this dissolved quickly.  Oil prices soared on the news.  In other news from the Middle East, Muammar Gaddafi’s reign in Libya is expected to come to an end.  NATO’s chief is appealing to the UN to help Libya transition to a democratic state.  NATO’s airstrikes are still in placeIn Syria, a number of civilians were killed in clashes between demonstrators and the government’s security forces.  The  situation in Yemen was similar as protestors rallied at the Capitol of Sanna.

The weekly jobless claims report in the U.S. was expected to show a modest dip of around 7,000 claims; however, it ended up swelling by 1,000 claims.  The stock market broke its six-day losing streak on Thursday but lost momentum, closing well off the day’s earlier highs.  The European Central Bank (ECB) met Thursday, and kept interest rates the same, as expected, but indications are that there will be a rate hike in July.  Estimates of a new bailout package for Greece now top 120 billion euros.

Mario Blejer, an Argentine economist wrote an article for Marketwatch titled “Why a Greek Default is Inevitable.”  It explains how the European Central Bank is making the Greek dilemma worse and there is no alternate ending available for Greece.  When that occurs, will it push other debt-troubled countries closer to default, such as Portugal and Ireland, who hold some of Greece’s debt?

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,543.00. The high during the week was on Monday, June 6th at $1,555.00, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, June 10th at $1,526.70. Gold ended the week down $11.00 at $1,532.00. 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 $36.22. Silver reached a high of $37.86 on Friday, June 10th while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, June 8th at $36.07. Silver ended the week up $0.02 at $36.24. 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 $1,817.40 and ended the week up $1.70 at $1,819.10. 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 $785.30 and ended the week up $24.50 at $809.80. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product: Australian Lunar Coins – Series 2

The most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is a much-celebrated event in China and in countries all around the world. Beginning on the first day of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar, the festival of the New Year is a centuries-old celebration which includes red decorations, presents, food, clothing and corporate family preparations for luck and good fortune in the upcoming year.  2011 is the Year of the Rabbit in the traditional Chinese calendar. According to Chinese tradition, the Year of the Rabbit will be a welcome change after the Year of the fierce Tiger in 2010. The Rabbit, an emblem of longevity in Chinese mythology, represents grace and kindness and will usher in a period of peacefulness and wise counsel in 2011.

In order to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, APMEX offers Year of the Rabbit Lunar Coins which commemorate this event in the Chinese calendar. The Lunar Coins are a great addition to any coin collection since the theme of the coin’s design draws its inspiration from China’s ancient Lunar Calendar. The stories indicate the twelve calendar animals have profound influence over those born under their ‘rule.’ Offered in both Gold and Silver, the Year of the Rabbit Lunar Coins commemorate the Rabbit’s place in the lunar calendar.   

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Market Recap 5/27/11

The European Union’s debilitating plague of a debt crisis continues to dominate news headlines this week. Italy was downgraded from an A+ to an A-, and while seemingly insignificant, this goes to show even further decay of Europe’s financial situation. As well as the fact that analysts at UniCredit downgraded the insurance sector and the basic-resources sector in Europe to neutral from overweight today, and the industrial goods and services to underweight from neutral. Last weekend, local elections in Spain rejected any move towards austerity measures. This week, the Greek public did the same. This week’s election result in upstate New York are an indication the U.S. may not be ready to experience the pain of cut-backs either.

China is rapidly closing in on India, as the world’s largest consumer of Gold. Although China is one of the leading producers of Gold, they cannot produce near enough to satisfy their appetite. Gold production should reach 400 tonnes by 2014 with a gain of 19%, but still the demand will be for 700 tonnes. In the first quarter of 2011, China bought more Gold than the combined totals of the developed Western Nations. Demand in France, Germany and Switzerland increased triple-digits, yet China outpaced them all put together. Despite this strong rise in per capita consumption, an analyst from Standard Chartered Bank said that there is still much room to grow, “In terms of Gold consumption per capita, there is no doubt that [China and India] have a lot of catch-up potential and the impact on Gold prices could be dramatic.”

The financial instability in the euro zone gave some stabilizing strength to the U.S. Dollar this week but the end result did little to curb people’s appetite for Gold. Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago, says, “People see the whipsaw in the currencies market and they want to buy Gold and call it a day.” Most analysts would attribute this to Gold being historically less volatile. Gold is viewed as a means to protect wealth through portfolio diversification and asset allocation.

The U.S. GNP report was released this week and the U.S. economy grew less than expected in the 1st quarter…up only 1.8%. The weekly jobs report again indicated a surprising move upward.

As the week ends, international markets are focused on Greece while our thoughts are on the demise of the QE2 program. The U.S. Dollar Index was down almost 0.9% at mid-day today. Some analysts question if we will be heading toward a double dip recession. “…[W]e continue to expect a disappointing bounce back to just 3% growth in the second half of the year. The slow-down feels very similar to last year’s soft patch,” according to economist Ethan Harris. Will the fragile U.S. economy be able to make a significant move upward in the next 3-5 years?

GOLD PRICES:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,515.10. The high during the week was on Friday, May 27th, at $1,539.50, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $1,503.70. Gold ended the week up $23.00 at $1,538.10. 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 PRICES:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.17. Silver reached a high of $38.85 on Thursday, May 26th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $34.34. Silver ended the week up up $2.95 at $38.12. 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 PRICES:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,774.90 and ended the week up $31.20 at $1,806.10. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

PALLADIUM PRICES:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $739.60 and ended the week up $24.90 at $764.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

APMEX Product of the Week: 40% Silver Coin Bags

Today, a popular and convenient way of investing in precious metals is purchasing bags of U.S. Silver coins containing 40% Silver. As the price of Silver began to increase in the 1960s, the U.S. Government began seeking a more cost-effective alternative to the minting of 90% Silver content coins. In honor of the assassinated President Kennedy, the U.S. Mint began minting half-dollars depicting Kennedy that were 40% Silver instead of 90%. The Kennedy half-dollars consisted of an inner layer containing 79% copper and 21% Silver. This inner layer was clad by an outer layer of 20% copper and 80% Silver. Thus, rather than containing 90% Silver, the Kennedy halves contained a total of 40% Silver and 60% copper.

These 40% Silver Kennedy half-dollars were the last regularly-circulated coins from the U.S. Mint that still contained Silver. Extremely popular among Americans interested in collecting a memento of President Kennedy, the coins quickly disappeared from circulation after their release. Even after the U.S. Mint increased the production of the coins, the Kennedy half-dollar still remained more of a collector’s item than a widely-circulated coin. While the Kennedy halves are still available from the U.S. Mint, the coins continue to have a limited circulation and primarily meet the demands of collectors.

For investors, $1,000 and $500 face value bags of 40% Silver Kennedy halves minted between 1965 and 1969 are convenient and easy ways to own Silver. Not only are 40% Silver coins legal tender that will never lose their face value, but they are also Silver coins that do not have the high premiums associated with one-ounce Silver bullion coins, such as the Silver American Eagle coins. Unlike many other methods of investing in precious metals, buying 40% Silver bags is extremely versatile. Investors who buy Silver bags can trade the bags in units or sell and trade the coins individually.

If you are looking to purchase Silver in the most cost-efficient way, the 40% Silver coins from APMEX are a great option. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products.

Market Recap 5/20/11

News that IMF director Strauss-Kahn was arrested early in the week on attempted sexual assault charges came as a shock to the international finance community. As of Friday, he had resigned as the IMF Director, effective immediately. However, serious questions remain as to the full ramifications and impact this may have on the different negotiations he was involved with in abating the European financial crises facing Portugal and Greece.

Precious metals moved up and down this week to finally end on a generally more positive note. Gold and Silver both saw modest gains as Euro-zone debt fears resurfaced lead by the news that Greece is still headed for restructuring. Spain also is in the spotlight as Spanish citizens go the polls this weekend with the ruling party expected to suffer. Spain has a larger economy than the other embattled Euro-zone economies of Ireland, Portugal, and Greece combined.

Compared the basket of global currencies it is normally compared with, the dollar strengthened this week. Typically, a stronger dollar means lower prices for Gold as it becomes more expensive for holders of foreign currency to own. Gold’s historic safe haven has bolstered its strength giving it the stamina to gain alongside the dollar as the European Union addresses the debt fears of its member nations.

The stock market has ended the week on a sour note as poor retail data from companies like GAP Inc and Aeropostale each lost more than 14 percent after cutting profit forecasts for the year. They cited higher costs for raw materials and sluggish sales for the change in forecast.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,499.70. The high during the week was on Friday, May 20th, at $1,515.80, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $1,471.10. Gold ended the week up $15.40 at $1,515.10. 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 $35.59. Silver reached a high of $35.75 on Thursday, May 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $32.96. Silver ended the week down $0.42 at $35.17. 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 $1,768.50 and ended the week up $6.40 at $1,774.90. 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 $711.90 and ended the week up $27.70 at $739.60. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins.

Because of the history behind them, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the most interesting coins in the world. For example, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins were among some of the first Gold bullion coins available upon the enactment of an executive order on December 31, 1974, that re-entitled Americans to own Gold bullion. In addition to their availability at the time of the 1974 order, the Austrian Corona Gold Coins are also fascinating because they are restrikes, which are official reproductions of coins that were originally minted for circulation. Issued from 1908 to 1914, the Austrian 100 Gold Coins first featured their date of issue. However, after the death of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the Gold coins were produced as commemorative pieces and were dated 1915.

Minted in Vienna Austria, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin is .900 fine Gold (21.6-karat Gold) and contains 0.9802 troy ounces of Gold. Designed by Stephan Schwartz, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin pays tribute to Austrian nationalism and pride. The obverse of the Austrian Corona Gold Coin displays a portrait of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled from 1848 to 1916. The reverse features the Austrian Coat of Arms, depicting a double eagle and a crown. Moreover, the edges of the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins include the lettering Vnitus Viribvs, which means “the unified strength,” a well-known motto attributed to Franz Joseph I. No longer minted, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the lowest-premium Gold bullion coins available on the world coin market. Appealing to both collectors and investors alike, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins have begun to attract attention for both their unique history and low premium Gold status.

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Market Recap 5/6/11

The month of May began excitedly with the global headline of the week. Late Sunday evening, President Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was found and killed. American stock futures and the U.S. Dollar immediately began to rise as the price of Gold fell $16.00. Silver which already had a tumultuous. weekend, took a sharp dive . By mid-day, it was apparent that the bin Laden bounce was short lived.

The ADP Private Sector jobs report was released Wednesday. Private sector jobs increased by 179,000 jobs in April which was lower than analysts’ expectation of 200,000 jobs. The good news is that layoffs level in 2011 reached a marked low. Stock futures had dropped in anticipation of this report and declined further after this announcement. Precious. metal prices continued their retreat in overnight trading but Gold and Silver began recovering with the release of this news.

Later that day, reports came out that Mexico’s central bank had been quietly stocking up on Gold. They boosted their foreign reserves by trading $4 Billion worth of U.S. Dollars for $4 Billion in Gold. “They’re probably thinking that getting out of Dollars and into Gold makes sense because we know that the Dollar has some trend to depreciate in the near future at least,” said Sergio Martin, Chief Economist at HSBC in Mexico City. “I don’t think they’re going to lose money with this.”

Thursday was streamed with bad news and extreme market volatility. The number of U.S. unemployment claims was expected to drop 19,000 this week but instead rose by 43,000 to 474,000. This is the highest level in eight months. The four-week moving average for jobless claims, considered the better trend measurement, rose 22,250 and is now over 400,000 to 431,250.

Also on Thursday, a new report by Clear Capital stated that home prices have double dipped nationwide. Nationwide prices are now lower than their low point of 2009. Prices have fallen 11.5% in the past nine months. Over one third of the national home sales are coming from bank owned properties (REO) and banks want to get these properties off their books, thus driving prices down.

By the end of the day, oil fell below $100 per barrel on the concerns that a slumping economic climate will lower demand. The stock market was down triple digits and precious metals went through a major correction. It all started with the precious metals earlier,” said James Cordier, a portfolio manager at Optionsellers.com in Florida. “Oil is down because everyone is heading for the doors,” he added. A weak jobs report added fuel to the fire with investors again worrying about a double-dip recession, Cordier said. “Here we are supposedly at the height of the recovery and not only we can’t create jobs, we are losing jobs.”

Friday began with what looked like good news but turned out to be conflicting reports. Non-Farm payrolls were unexpectedly up, but unemployment unexpected climbed to 9%. Stock, oil and precious metal prices all bounced up on this report.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,567.30. The high during the week was on Monday, May 2nd, at $1,577.40, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, May 6th, at $1,471.10. Gold ended the week down $66.60 at $1,500.70. 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 $48.04. Silver reached a high of $48.19 on Monday, May 2nd, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, May 6th, at $33.04. Silver ended the week down $12.19 at $35.85. 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 $1,879.00 and ended the week down $87.40 at $1,791.60. Popular Platinum products this week included 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $796.60 and ended the week down $79.40 at $717.20. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, the official Silver bullion coin of Canada, has become one of the most popular Silver coins sought after by investors and collectors worldwide. Since first being minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1988, the design of the Silver Maple Leaf has undergone annual changes that include proof releases, various privy marks, holographic enhancements, and commemorative variations. However, the basic features of the Silver coin have remained the same since its inception. The obverse of the coin depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, and the reverse of the coin showcases the signature Maple Leaf so closely associated with Canadian nationalism and reflective of Canadian pride.

What sets this Silver gem apart from its Gold and Platinum counterparts is the fact that the consumer demand for the Silver Maple Leaf has caused the prices for the coin to skyrocket past the actual bullion value of the coin. For example, while the face value of the Silver Maple Leaf is five Canadian Dollars, the highest face value among international Silver bullion coins, the coin has generated prices that far outweigh its actual face value. In addition to its high value, the Silver Maple Leaf is unique in that it is one of the purest Silver bullion coins on the market. With a 99.99 percent purity, the Silver coin ranks among the purest Silver bullion coins ever produced.

For its numerous positive qualities, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a treasure that could potentially enhance any coin collection or investment portfolio. Because of the high value, purity level, and clear symbolism of Canadian culture, the Silver Maple Leaf is a coin that has developed a high international profile and will most likely continue to play a major role in the world coin markets.

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Market Recap 4/29/11

Gold and Silver started the week on the upside and remained upbeat all week. On Monday, Silver nearly broke the $50 barrier before backing off profit-taking. It turned out to be preparation for another move upwards. On Monday the IMF (International Monetary Fund) dropped bombshell news. The Age of America will end and then China will take over as the world’s largest economy in 2016. If you forgot your calculator, that is less than five years away.

The University of Texas made an extraordinary investment decision on April 15th. Not only did they move 5% of their assets into gold, they bought physical Gold instead of an ETF. This second-largest academic endowment in the U.S. decided they needed insurance against inflation as a result of current fiscal and monetary policies. “The role Gold plays in our portfolio is as a hedge against currencies. The concern is that we have excess monetary and fiscal stimulus,” Bruce Zimmerman, CEO of The University of Texas Investment Management Company told CNBC television. Mr. Zimmerman also described Gold as an anti-currency since it is in limited supply. He described, “You can’t turn on the printing presses and make more Gold.”  Gold will not only protect you against inflation and currency risk but market failure as well. This story created big news and was commentated on for three to four days.

The buzz began on Monday as the investment world awaited Wednesday’s Federal Reserve Board announcement. Federal Chairman Bernanke was the first Federal Chairman to ever hold a press conference which immediately followed the announcement on interest rates. The precious metals market was unusually jittery preceding the event.

During the Fed announcement, Gold and Silver began to go up. Platinum and Palladium, which had declined on Monday and Tuesday, also began to rise. Once Mr. Bernanke’s press conference concluded, they rose more and continued this path through Friday.

The Fed is continuing down the same path. Mr. Bernanke acknowledges there were inflationary pressures in the first quarter, but the Fed feels they are transitory. He acknowledges the economic growth was less than expected in the first quarter, but this is also transitory. Gold and Silver went up as a bet against their wisdom and the stock market climbed on the news of more easy money. The U.S. dollar began its descent down to 3-year lows.

On Friday, Gold soared to all-time record highs. Silver was up marginally, while Platinum and Palladium both showed significant gains. The decline of the U.S. dollar has begun to signal more Central Banks to exchange their U.S. dollars for Gold.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,513.50. The high during the week was on Friday, April 29th, at $1,558.00, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, April 26th, at $1,492.00. Gold ended the week up $53.80 at $1,567.30. 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 $46.86. Silver reached a high of $49.82 on Monday, April 25th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, April 26th, at $44.61. Silver ended the week up $1.18 at $48.04. 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 $1,816.60 and ended the week up $62.40 at $1,879.00. 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 $771.80 and ended the week up $24.80 at $796.60. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:

Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the 2011 Gettysburg & Glacier Silver Two Coin America The Beautiful Set.

Minted in the same design as the popular America The Beautiful quarter series, these extremely popular “large format” five ounce .999 fine Silver bullion coins are the first two America The Beautiful coins to be released in 2011. One side features a prominent national park design and the opposite side features founding father George Washington. The parks featured in this set are The Gettysburg National Military Park and The Glacier National Park.

The Gettysburg National Military Park coin shows the Soldiers National Monument, which stands in the center of the Soldiers National Cemetery. This monument was constructed to honor the soldiers who fell at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863. The statue now stands guard over the 6,000 American soldiers laid to rest at Gettysburg.

The Glacier National Park coin depicts the majestic glacier-carved Mount Reynolds. The mountain goat in the foreground reminds us of the diverse wildlife fostered within Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park obtained federal protected status on February 22, 1897 and consists of 1,000,000 acres.

The Gettysburg & Glacier Silver Two Coin America The Beautiful Set will only be sold as a set and will not be available individually. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products and a satisfaction guarantee.

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