Market Recap 6/11/10

In a setback for the U.S. economy, retail sales fell in May as consumers curtailed their spending on everything from cars to clothing, the Commerce Department reported. The drop in sales reported by the Commerce Department on Friday reflected weak gasoline prices and the end of a home buyer tax credit which had previously boosted sales of building materials, according to Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. trade deficit with China expanded from $16.90 billion in March to $19.31 billion in April, adding to a trend that some economists worry could revive the international trade imbalances that many see as a major contributor to the recent financial crisis. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said China was taking some steps to address U.S. concerns about its currency and trade policy, but also vowed to press for more fundamental change. “We are seeing some progress, but we still face many challenges,” he said.

With the onset of the World Cup in South Africa, Rand Refinery Ltd., of Johannesburg, South Africa, raised production of Krugerrand coins to a 25-year high as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis boosted investor demand for bullion, according to a story from Bloomberg. Output last week jumped 50 percent to 30,000 ounces of blank coins for minting by SA Mint, said Debra Thomson, the refinery’s treasurer. “We’re seeing higher demand for gold because of the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and the depreciation of the euro,” said Thomson. “People are looking for gold as a safe haven.” Increased demand for gold caused a brief new high for the yellow metal. Gold set a new record early on Tuesday at $1,254.50 before settling again under the $1,250.00 mark where it remained for the rest of the week.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,220.90. The high during the week was on Tuesday, June 8th, at $1,254.50, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, June 10th, at $1,216.20. Gold ended the week up $7.50 at $1,228.40. The most popular products with gold investors this week were Gold American Eagles, 1 gram APMEX Gold Bars and Gold Canadian Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $17.45. Silver reached a high of $18.54 on Friday, June 11th, while this week’s low for silver occurred on Monday, June 7th, at $17.20. Silver ended the week up $0.82 at $18.27. The most popular silver items on APMEX.com this week were Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. APMEX Silver Rounds and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,517.00 and ended the week up $23.20 at $1,540.20. Platinum investors showed the most interest in 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles and 5 gram Credit Suisse Platinum Bars this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $428.00 and ended the week up $22.10 at $450.10. Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and Lewis & Clark design 1 oz. Palladium Bars were the most popular palladium products on APMEX.com this week.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, in honor of the beginning of the World Cup in South Africa, we will examine the South African Gold Krugerrand.

The Krugerrand was the first modern gold bullion coin ever struck by any nation. These coins were originally minted in 1967 to help South Africa sell some of its vast gold reserves to investors around the world. The Krugerrand was also the world’s first gold coin that weighed exactly 1 Troy ounce and many worldwide investors purchased these coins to add a precious metal investment to their portfolios. These beautiful coins are struck in 22-karat gold and weigh just over one ounce. The additional copper alloy was added to make the coins harder and more resistant to scratches. This alloy gives the Krugerrand its distinctive color. Krugerrands have been continuously minted in South Africa since 1967.

On the obverse, or front, of these coins is a portrait of Paul Kruger, the last President of the Republic of South Africa. The reverse, or back, of this coin depicts a Springbok Antelope, which is one of South Africa’s national symbols. The name “Krugerrand” is a combination of Paul Kruger’s name and the word “rand” which is one of the monetary units of South Africa. These attractive coins are backed by the government of South Africa for their purity, content and fineness. Krugerrands have also been minted in ½ Troy Ounce, ¼ Troy Ounce and 1/10th Troy Ounce sizes as well as having been struck in both Uncirculated and collector’s Proof conditions.

APMEX offers a great selection of South African Krugerrands dated the current year and in several prior years in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. Coins purchased in quantities of 20 or more will be delivered in special mint tubes. Krugerrands make an excellent addition to investment portfolios and are recognized worldwide for their lasting value.

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Market Recap 5/21/10

Stocks plunged earlier this week as more investors woke to the possibility that economic problems such as Europe’s debt crisis might spread around the world and stop the growing recovery in the U.S., according to The Associated Press. Among the major indexes seeing losses was the Dow, which saw its biggest one-day drop since February 2009. “The economic recovery story has started to look like a mirage and the new reality is a return to credit crunch conditions, like those seen during the financial crisis,” said Tom Samuels, manager of the Palantir Fund in Houston. “If that’s correct, stock prices are well ahead of economic reality.” The market recovered on Friday after briefly dropping below the 10,000 mark.

The euro plunged to a four-year low Tuesday, sliding below $1.22. Reports that Germany will issue new restrictions on some types of bearish bets on stocks and bonds sparked uneasiness in financial markets, reported The Wall Street Journal. Germany’s financial regulators said they are banning naked short-selling of certain euro-zone debt offerings and credit default swaps as well as some financial stocks. Under naked short selling, the shares being sold aren’t borrowed in advance. The practice came under fire at the height of Greece’s struggle to refinance its debt, with many euro-zone governments saying such transactions artificially inflated Greek funding costs.

Gold prices dipped Friday providing investors with additional incentive to purchase the yellow metal in a bid against inflation and economic uncertainty. This price dip comes just one week after gold set a new all-time high. Many experts continue to look for another gold rally, some of whom predict that gold could reach unheard of levels. The current price contraction has fueled a massive buying spree which has carried over to silver as well.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,234.80. The high during the week was on Monday, May 17th, at $1,242.80, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, May 21st, at $1,166.00. Gold ended the week down $55.70 at $1,179.10. This week, the most popular gold products were Gold American Eagles, 2010 Gold Buffalos and 1 gram Sunshine Mint Gold Bars.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $19.38. Silver reached a high of $19.45 on Monday, May 17th, while the low for silver occurred on Friday, May 21st, at $17.41. Silver ended the week down $1.73 at $17.65. Popular silver items this week included Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. APMEX Silver Rounds and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,725.20 and ended the week down $212.70 at $1,512.50. The most popular platinum items this week were 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles and 1 oz. Platinum Koalas.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $529.40 and ended the week down $91.30 at $438.10. This week, palladium investors concentrated their purchases on 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we are featuring Silver Mexican Libertads.

Silver Mexican Libertads are 1 ounce bullion coins minted in .999 fine silver and are some of the most beautiful silver coins in the world. The reverse depicts two key symbols of the Mexican people. The Independence Angel is in the forefront while the famous Mexican volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihautl, named after the legend of two lovers, are in the background. Built to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence, The Independence Angel, commonly known as El Angel, is one of the main historic monuments in Mexico and is considered the defining symbol of Mexico City.

The obverse of the Silver Mexican Libertad features the National Emblem of Mexico surrounded by the legend “Estados Unidos Mexicanos.” Outlining this inscription, along the contour of the frame of the coin is the reproduction of various emblems used throughout Mexico’s rich cultural history.

Silver Libertads are available in 1, 2 and 5 Troy Ounce coins and have been minted every year since 1982. They are also minted in a proof (collector’s) version.

Silver Mexican Libertads are scarce in the United States and are a wonderful addition to the portfolios of investors and collectors alike.

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Could Gold Reach $5,000?

Here’s some important news for gold enthusiasts watching the current bull market; there are those who believe that it’s reasonably possible that the spot price of gold could soon top $5,000 an ounce.

“The potential level of a new peak can be estimated in several ways,” reports Reuters. “Based on consumer price inflation, the $875 per ounce high seen in 1980 is equivalent to around $2,400 today, almost twice the current gold price.” The same Reuters story further explains, “The world’s economic output has increased about six-fold since 1980. Scale up the peak 30 years ago by that multiple, and the gold price could top out at around $5,300.”

Another factor that can contribute to the increase in the price of gold is supply and demand. Right now, in Europe, the demand is extremely strong. The Austrian Mint has reported selling more gold in the two weeks following April 26 than it did in the entire first quarter of 2010 because of soaring demand in Europe. According to Kerry Tattersall, the Austrian Mint’s marketing director, “The mint sold 243,500 ounces of gold in coins and bars in that period, compared to 205,000 ounces in the entire first three months of the year.”

To put this kind of growth into proper perspective, this is a 663.85% increase in daily sales demand over the past two weeks compared to the average daily demand for the first quarter. “The mint has started working in three shifts again, minting coins and bars around the clock to keep pace with demand,” Tattersall said. “Currently we don’t have anything in stock. We sell our entire daily production immediately.” Even with this increased production, it is difficult to determine the exact level of current demand since we have not seen the excess inventory threshold. With the continued controversy of the bailout for Greece, Spain and Portugal, combined with mixed results in the U.S. markets, it seems that the gold bull may continue to run up new highs in the future. So whether the spot price of gold climbs moderately or exceeds the $5,000 mark, only time will tell. However, the general consensus of a number of analysts seems to be that gold will continue to go up for the foreseeable future because it is so effective at protecting the assets of hard-working individuals.

Disclaimer: The American Precious Metals Exchange, Inc. (APMEX) is not a registered investment advisor. This information is not a solicitation to buy or sell any precious metal products. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes and that they should contact their investment advisor to help them determine the proper course of action suited to their particular situation.

Market Recap 5/14/10

Gold set a new record high of $1,236.60 on Tuesday, May 11, 2010, shattering the previous record of $1,227.50 set on December 3, 2009. The yellow metal continued to climb upward  the following day to set another new all-time high of $1,250.20. The rise in gold comes amid a selloff in U.S. equities, the Euro, and  commodity futures including  crude oil,  according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Euro declined to an 18-month low against the U.S. Dollar on Friday on growing worries that deep government spending cuts in the Euro zone would stifle a fragile recovery, reported Reuters. The Euro has come under renewed pressure as focus shifted to the impact on growth from fiscal tightening in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal. “There’s continued pessimism on the Euro,” said Samarjit Shankar, managing director of global FX strategy at BNY Mellon in Boston. “There are still a lot of doubts about how European policy makers will be able to successfully maintain the regional growth story.”

Worries that growth in Europe will become sluggish sent U.S. stocks sinking Friday, according to a story from MarketWatch. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 2%, while the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 slid 2.6% and 2.4%, respectively.

There are many reports of Europeans purchasing gold, in particular, to protect their assets against the fragile economy. Many U.S. investors followed suit, buying gold in droves to offset the potential negative fallout from the European woes and the current financial crisis in America.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,210.30. The high during the week was on Wednesday, May 12th, at $1,250.20, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, May 10th, at $1,184.40. Gold ended the week up $24.50 at $1,234.80. This week, Gold American Eagles, 2010 Gold Buffalos and Gold Canadian Maple Leafs led the bull run on gold.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $18.42. Silver reached a high of $19.85 on Thursday, May 13th, while the low for silver occurred on Monday, May 10th, at $18.22. Silver ended the week up $0.96 at $19.38. Silver American Eagles, Silver Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. APMEX Silver Rounds were among the “quiet giants” that saw massive trading this week.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,665.80 and ended the week up $59.40 at $1,725.20. This week, platinum investors concentrated their purchases on Platinum American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars and 1 oz. Platinum Koalas.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $513.20 and ended the week up $16.20 at $529.40. The most popular palladium items this week were Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we are spotlighting Palladium Canadian Maple Leaf coins.

Introduced in 2005, the Palladium Maple Leaf is the first palladium product released by the Royal Canadian Mint. While palladium bullion coins are not new to the market, the $50 Palladium Canadian Maple Leaf is one of the world’s most popular  palladium bullion coins.

On the obverse, or front, of these coins is a depiction of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth the Second. The reverse, or back, of this coin depicts the national symbol of Canada – the Maple Leaf. These stunning coins are struck in .9995 fine palladium are backed by the Royal Canadian Mint for their purity, content and fineness.

APMEX offers a large selection of Palladium Canadian Maple Leaf coins in a variety of dates. These coins belong in every palladium enthusiast’s portfolio.

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Market Recap 4/16/10

The overall news from Wall Street was not very optimistic this week. General Electric said its first-quarter earnings fell 31% to $1.95 billion on a loss from discontinued operations. GE said its financial arm, GE Capital, saw its profit drop 41% to $607 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, Bank of America’s first-quarter net income dropped 25% as credit-loss provisions fell. Revenue dropped 11% to $31.97 billion. Bank of America’s mortgage business also posted a loss.

More Americans filed for bankruptcy protection in March than during any month since the federal personal bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005, reported The New York Times.  These bankruptcies are likely a result of high unemployment and the housing crash. Federal courts reported over 158,000 bankruptcy filings in March, or 6,900 a day, a rise of 35% from February.

Palladium spot prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange touched their two-year peak on Wednesday, as reported by TheStreet.com. Interestingly, the gold-to-palladium price ratio reached levels that have not been seen since before Lehman Brothers went out of business in 2008. The ratio has come down from its highest-ever level of 5.01 in February 2009 to the current 2.14. The rapid decline in the ratio indicates that prices of palladium have zoomed over the past year compared to the much-talked-about price appreciation of gold. Savvy precious metal investors are looking at palladium as a way to further diversify their precious metal investments.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,167.50. The high during the week was on Monday, April 12th, at $1,167.70, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, April 16th, at $1,129.30. Gold ended the week down $27.70 at $1,139.80. This week, Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, Gold American Eagles and 1 gram APMEX Gold Bars were very popular with investors.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $18.48. Silver reached a high of $18.60 on Monday, April 12th, while the low for silver occurred on Friday, April 16th, at $17.59. Silver ended the week down $0.73 at $17.75. This week, silver investors were purchasing  Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,730.60 and ended the week down $33.70 at $1,696.90. Platinum American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars and 1 oz. Scotiabank Platinum Bars were very much in favor with platinum investors this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $519.70 and ended the week up $13.60 at $533.30. The palladium products that demonstrated great interest this week were Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week’s featured product is the Gold Chinese Panda.

Gold Chinese Pandas are very popular coins worldwide. China introduced these gold bullion coins in 1982 and they are minted in sizes and denominations ranging from 1/20th of a Troy Ounce to 1 Troy Ounce.

The unique, aesthetic nature of the Gold Chinese Panda coin makes it a particular favorite. Extensively detailed designs are the main attractors to these lovely coins. Unsurprisingly, the Gold Panda continues to distinguish itself as one of the finest gold coins in the world.

The obverse designs of the standard Gold Chinese Panda coins depict the image of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, one of the most famous examples of Chinese architecture.

The reverse designs depict the Panda, China’s rare and most well-known animal, as the main motif. Each Gold Chinese Panda has a unique style with a design that changes every year.

These beautiful coins should be considered by investors and collectors alike!

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