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.

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.

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 this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

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.

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

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.