Market Recap 3/25/11

The news this week began with good news out of Japan, power was restored to two of the failed reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan. The combination of the power being restored and the tons of sea water sprayed over the reactors have lowered the temperatures of pools holding spent fuel rods in the past 24 hours. The struggle to prevent a meltdown in the reactor continues as they try to restore power to two other reactors. A noticeably somber Prime Minister called this situation “very grave and serious.”

The conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa get headlines most every day. Gaddafi is showing no signs of giving up and the Western Nations decide to go in with military force and a no-fly zone. Adding to the tensions, a bomb exploded in Jerusalem killing one woman and injuring 20 others.

On Thursday, Gold and Silver prices both reached record prices before profit takers moved in and drove prices down in late afternoon trading. Investors moved into equities again today, as the weekly initial jobless claims came in under 400,000 and the US dollar continued to decline. Central banks are moving away from dollars and buying Gold, which leads to the question, is Gold becoming the world’s reserve currency?

Portugal was in the news, which means the European debt crisis was in the news again. The President of Portugal tried to pass austerity measures to avoid the need of a bail out. The Parliament rejected that idea and basically said “why endure any pain if we can just get free money”. The measure was voted down, their debt rating was lowered two notches and there are grumblings that the other countries might be getting tired of bailing out their failing neighbors. Warren Buffet came out and said that the collapse of the Euro is not “unthinkable.” He believes that every effort will be made to keep this from happening, but “you can’t have three or four or five countries that are in effect free-riding on the other countries.” The GNP of Portugal is no bigger than Connecticut, but the GNP of the European Union is huge and will cause ripple effects worldwide should the union go south.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,420.30. The high during the week was on Thursday, March 24th, at $1,448.60, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, March 22nd, at $1,419.50. Gold ended the week up $10.60 at $1,430.90. 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 $35.35. Silver reached a new high of $38.22 on Thursday, March 24th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, March 21st, at $35.36. Silver ended the week up $2.07 at $37.42. 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 $1,724.50 and ended the week up $26.30 at $1,750.80. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $732.00 and ended the week up $20.00 at $752.00. 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 40% Bags of Silver Coins.

Today, a popular and convenient way of investing in precious metals is purchasing bags of US coins containing 40% Silver. As the price of Silver began to increase in the 1960s, the United States government began seeking a more cost-effective alternative to the minting of 90% Silver content coins. In honor of the assassinated President Kennedy, the US 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 US Mint that still contained any 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 US 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 US 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, they are also Silver coins that do not have the high premiums associated with one-ounce Silver bullion coins, such as the Silver American Eagles. Unlike many other methods of investing in precious metals, buying 40% Silver bags is extremely versatile. Investors who purchase Silver bags can trade the bags in units or sell and trade the coins individually.

If you are looking to purchase Silver in a 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.

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Market Recap 2/18/11

This week began with the budget battle. President Obama came out with his $3.7 trillion dollar budget. He pledged to cut $1.1 trillion in spending over the next ten years. Isn’t it odd how politicians propose big spending cuts long after they are out of office, when they no longer have to actually implement them? The budget squabbling between the two parties continues, as they battle over how to reduce spending. Of course, they both focus on 12% of total spending and avoid issues like social security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs that make up 88% of the total spending.

Precious metal prices drifted up during the week largely on renewed fears about inflation. In the US, Representative Paul Ryan called on the Fed to take pre-emptive measures now to avoid inflation in the future. On Wednesday, the Producer Price Index came out at 9.6% annualized. The Core Producer Price Index was up an alarming 6% annualized. On Thursday, the CPI, Consumer Price Index came out and as expected it continues to go up. These both spell inflation down the road, if the trend is not reversed.

The Middle East remained in the news all week as violent protests spread from country to country. Three people were reported killed in Bahrain and clashes spread to Libya, Yemen, Iran and Iraq as well. Iranian warships were reported to be crossing the Suez Canal heading for the Mediterranean Sea. As you might imagine, this does not sit well with Israel.

Gold, platinum and palladium all showed good increases for the week, but silver was the shining star. It could very well finish the week up over 7%. Silver is now past its 30-year high. Depending on which analyst you read, silver is either set to continue to rise rapidly or drops like a rock. We do not pretend to know. But we can say this, the silver price to gold price ratio is in the low 40’s and it is usually in the high 50’s. Either silver should go down or gold should go up. Of course, silver could continue to go up and gold goes up faster, closing this gap.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,357.20. The high during the week was on Friday, February 18th, at $1,392.60, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, February 14th, at $1,354.40. Gold ended the week up $33.70 at $1,390.90. 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 $29.93. Silver reached a high of $32.92 on Friday, February 18th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, February 14th, at $29.79. Silver ended the week up $2.82 at $32.75. 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 $1,804.00 and ended the week up $36.40 at $1,840.40. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $815.70 and ended the week up $38.90 at $854.60. 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 Gold American Eagle bullion coins.

Beginning on January 3, 2011, the 2011 Gold American Eagle Coins became available to the United States Mint’s authorized purchasers. An official gold bullion coin of the United States, the Gold Eagle Coin has become one of the most popular coins on the world market. Since its release by the United States Mint in 1986, the Gold Eagle has featured the same basic design. Displaying a design created by Augustus Saint Gaudens, the obverse of the Gold American Eagle depicts the figure of Lady Liberty, who holds a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. In the background is a rendition of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The reverse of the Gold Eagle illustrates a nest of American eagles. A symbol of American nationalism and pride, the eagle is pictured carrying an olive branch and hovering over the nest.

Available in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz denominations, the 2011 Gold American Eagle appeals to both collectors and investors alike. In addition to its beautiful design, the Gold Eagle is also a gold gem for its value. Containing 91.67% pure gold, the 22-karat Gold American Eagle Coins have a market value that usually equals the market value of their gold content. Moreover, the 2011 Gold American Eagles are eligible for precious metals IRA accounts and can potentially enhance any coin collection or investment portfolio. Having gained international popularity since its debut, the Gold American Eagle is a coin that will most likely continue to attract attention from coin collectors all over the world.

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Market Recap 1/28/11

This week was one of contrarian messages. On one hand, there were forces indicating that the economy had turned the corner and would continue to improve. Presidents Obama’s State of the Union Address certainly painted such a picture. There was also supporting economic data, such as Friday’s GNP report. On the other hand, news surfaced that continued to inflame concerns about the global debt crisis. Japan’s long term debt rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s. It is apparent that the US Unemployment Rate is not going to improve significantly anytime soon. All week long, news of rioting and societal unrest in Egypt surfaced, reaching a fever pitch in the media on Friday, driving stocks down and precious metals prices up yet again.

No matter your opinion of the President’s State of the Union Address, it was decidedly more pro-business and most definitely upbeat on the economy. It was criticized for lack of details, although President Obama did propose a five-year freeze on non-discretionary defense spending. Most analysts depict this as “spare change” and an avoidance to tackle the more serious issues like raising taxes and cutting entitlement programs. The stock market began to move up and precious metal prices moved down. Perhaps the President should have coordinated better with the Federal Open Market Committee because the afternoon after he gave his speech, they came out with a more pessimistic view of the economy. Precious metal prices immediately began to surge.

By Thursday the pendulum had swung once again. The market once again developed a taste for risk so the stock market went way up and precious metals went way down. Never mind that the applications for jobless benefits went up.

Friday began slowly with a distinct downward pressure on precious metal prices. By mid-morning, the rumblings going on all week about riots in Egypt received more serious attention and began to strike fear in the heart of the risk takers. Money began to flow out of the stock market and raced towards more safe haven investments. Gold had its biggest jump in 12 weeks.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,343.40. The high during the week was on Monday, January 24th, at $1,354.00, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, January 28th, at $1,309.10. Gold ended the week down $3.80 at $1,339.60. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, 2010 1/4 oz. Gold American Eagles and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $27.56. Silver reached a high of $28.03 on Friday, January 28th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred earlier on Friday, January 28th, at $26.30. Silver ended the week up $0.47 at $28.03. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, and 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,829.70 and ended the week down $32.50 at $1,797.20. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $823.40 and ended the week down $5.40 at $818.00. 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 Mexican Gold Libertads.

While coin collectors all over the world have long admired the beauty of the Mexican Gold Libertad bullion coins, many people are not familiar with the love story that inspired the coin’s striking design.

According to a Pre-Columbian legend, a warrior named Popocatepetl fell in love with Iztaccihautl, a king’s daughter, and earned a tentative marriage blessing from the king, on the condition that he win a battle against a rival tribe. While the battle delayed the warrior, a rival suitor started a rumor that Popocatepetl had been killed in the battle, and the fair maiden died of a broken heart.

Upon finally returning as the victor from the battle, Popocatepetl discovered the fate of his lover and buried her on top of a mountain range that assumed the shape of a sleeping lady in honor of the dead maiden. Grief-stricken, Popocatepetl climbed an adjacent mountain in order to keep eternal watch over his beloved.

To memorialize these legendary lovers, the Gold Libertad depicts a graceful angel and Popocatepetl and Iztaccihautl, the two iconic Mexican mountain peaks named after the lovers, on its obverse. Moreover, the Gold Libertad, also known as an “Gold Angels,” further celebrates the Mexican heritage on its reverse by featuring the Mexican Coat of Arms symbol of an eagle perched on a cactus, clutching a serpent in its beak.

Showcasing the design of the angel and the “Lovers’ Peaks” since 1991, the Libertad not only radiates beauty, but also preserves a Mexican legend of love and romance. A gem for collectors and investors alike, this gold coin contains 99.9% fine gold and is available in convenient 1/20 oz., 1/10 oz., 1/4 oz., 1/2 oz., and 1 oz. weights. For its reflection of Mexican tradition and its gold value, the Libertad is a gold coin worth adding to any coin collection.

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Market Recap 1/21/11

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington was the story of the week. Although expectations were not high as to any big policy announcements, it represents the continued efforts by both countries to improve relationships. Of course, the US wants China to allow the Yuan to appreciate relative to other global currencies, while China is comfortable with the status quo.

On Tuesday, all precious metal prices received a boost when higher than expected inflation data was reported from the UK. US debt concerns surfaced again when Neel Kashkari, former head of the $700 billion TARP program said, “our debt is starting to get away from us.” Global and domestic confidence in US Treasuries could fall dramatically if the Fed keeps printing money to buy bonds.

Precious metal prices are up for the third day in a row as a result of a weak dollar and increased demand out of Asia. Platinum hit a 30-month high and Palladium continues to go up as well. These two metals have important industrial applications and therefore they are rising on the improving economics.

After three days of moving up, profit takers moved in and precious metal prices retreated. There were no major news stories other than the daily cycles where traders move in and out. Investors with a long term view stepped in and bought on the dips. Platinum rebounded quickly especially on the announcement that China imported 40% more platinum in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,362.90. The high during the week was on Wednesday, January 19th, at $1,378.90, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, January 21st, at $1,337.00. Gold ended the week down $19.50 at $1,343.40. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, 2010 1/4 oz. Gold American Eagles and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.51. Silver reached a high of $29.49 on Wednesday, January 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, January 21st, at $27.08. Silver ended the week down $0.95 at $27.56. 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 1 oz. Sunshine Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,816.00 and ended the week up $13.70 at $1,829.70. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $798.90 and ended the week up $24.50 at $823.40. 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 Gold and Silver Chinese Panda coins.

APMEX is excited to announce our new allotment of 2011 Chinese Pandas. The 2011 Panda coins are the latest installment in one of the world’s most popular series of coins. Like the Chinese Pandas before, the 2011 obverses show the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. These Chinese Pandas continue their tradition and have a brand-new reverse design featuring a Panda and her cub in a field of bamboo. Being as no two years are alike, the Chinese Panda coins are highly collectible.

The 2011 Chinese Pandas are available in both gold and silver. The Silver Chinese Panda is available in a 1 oz. coin, while the Gold Chinese Panda is available in 1 oz., ½ oz., ¼ oz., 1/10 oz., and 1/20 oz. sizes. The Gold and Silver Chinese Pandas are admired for their value and striking beauty. Be one of the first to get these gems from the Far East!

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Market Recap 1/14/11

Precious metals traded flat at the beginning of the week and then started to make a recovery on the scare of the Portugal and Spain bailout debt crises. Portugal had a “make or break” debt auction Wednesday, and Spain followed suit on Thursday. Stock markets then began to find higher ground as earnings season’s optimism was buoyed by the news of Japan and China each purchasing a portion of the European debt. Both auctions turned out to be quite successful and the two countries were not forced to raise their rates. This brought gains to the Euro against the U.S. dollar, helping Gold slightly. However, this was still not enough to keep the price up, as people begin to feel less tension about the imminence of the Euro bailouts.

China raised their reserve requirements for lenders which allowed the dollar to rebound against a basket of six other currencies.  Since Gold carries a negative correlation to the dollar typically, prices are down on that news. However, most analysts agree that the physical demand for Gold in Asia will still underpin the precious metal. As Gold gets a lot of attention in the precious metals market, you might be interested in an article Marketwatch has that gives five reasons Silver may be an even better investment than Gold.

The U.S. economy is getting a small rebound from the housing industry, which could be suppressing the Gold price as well. Other experts are saying we won’t see recovery until the end of 2012. The economy is still in a weakened state and when expected gains aren’t realized, the reaction usually favors the price of Gold as people return to the safe-haven it provides.

According to London-based GFMS, mine production increased by 94 million ounces last year alone, which followed a 6% increase in 2009 (the biggest gain in one year in more than a decade). GFMS is predicting another increase of more than 6% in the first half of 2011 alone. However, GFMS also says that in the longer term, the industry is mining lower grades and making fewer discoveries than in the previous years. They also pointed out that there is rising production from regions such as China and West Africa, making up for the lower production in South Africa and Peru (South Africa used to be the world’s largest producer of gold but now lags behind China, Australia and the U.S.).

With all of these factors likely contributing to the consolidation in Gold prices, this may be an opportune time to capitalize and diversify your portfolio. Platinum and Palladium pose interesting options to further diversify as well, continuing the theme of diversification, even within an asset class. Palladium, in particular this week, hit its highest price point since March of 2001.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,370.70. The high during the week was on Thursday, January 13th, at $1,392.90, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, January 14th, at $1,354.60. Gold ended the week down $7.80 at $1,362.90. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 1/10 oz. Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, 1 gm APMEX Gold Bars and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.74. Silver reached a high of $29.85 on Wednesday, January 12th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, January 14th, at $28.10. Silver ended the week down $0.23 at $28.51. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2010 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, and 1 oz. Walking Liberty Silver Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,736.80 and ended the week up $79.20 at $1,816.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $754.40 and ended the week up $44.50 at $798.90. 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 Sunshine Minting Gold Bars.

APMEX is proud to offer Sunshine Minting Gold Bars available in 5 gram, 10 gram, and 1 ounce sizes. Based in Idaho, Sunshine Minting is one of the premier minting companies in the world, producing high quality 24k (.9999 pure) Gold bars for consumer investors. These little pieces of inflationary protection come in their own tamper-evident packaging to ensure quality control and make storage a little easier.

APMEX and Sunshine Minting have teamed together to offer precious metals investors these high quality Gold bars at very affordable prices. Diversify your assets with Sunshine Minting Gold Bars today at APMEX.com.

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