13 November 2008

Buy Coal, Oil and Gold Equities imo

NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY LOW, ESPECIALLY COMMODITY SHARES (November 9, 2008): It is ironic that the investing public talks about buying low and selling high--but everyone instead likes to buy at multi-decade peaks and is afraid to buy at multi-decade lows. No wonder the vast majority of investors lose money in the stock market even with the strong long-term upward bias for global equities. Meanwhile, corporate insiders were heavy sellers a year ago, and have been equally aggressive buyers in recent weeks. It's hardly surprising that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The following statement is cynical but true: the financial markets exist to transfer money from the middle classes to the upper classes. Wealthy people train themselves to buy when the media and the public are most gloomy, and to sell when the prevailing sentiment is either euphoric (as in early 2000) or irrationally complacent (as in late 2007).

Commodity shares in particular have rarely been more undervalued than they have been in recent weeks. Gold mining shares traded at the same levels in late October 2008 as when gold had been $328 per ounce in 2002. Energy shares traded at the same prices a couple of weeks ago as when crude oil was $28 per barrel in 2003. Every single major coal producer saw heavy insider buying by top executives during the past several weeks. Agricultural-commodity shares slumped to five- and six-year lows while the price/earnings ratios of many of these companies reached all-time nadirs.

Numerous other major asset classes slumped to multi-year and even multi-decade bottoms. High-yield corporate bonds, or "junk bonds", plummeted to their lowest valuations since 1933--an amazing 75-year low. Convertible bonds, preferred shares, and similar groups also became absurdly oversold. Japan's Nikkei index fell to its lowest point since October 1982--not only marking a 26-year nadir, but showing a far more ridiculous undervaluation since corporate profits in Japan, especially for small companies, have soared since 1982. With global liquidity at a multi-decade low and hedge funds forced to dump assets left and right, profitability and rationality has been completely ignored.

While global equity markets have been forming a bullish pattern of higher lows, the average investor feels emotionally that they are making lower lows. This is a classic sign of a major bottom and a strong buy signal.

If there is any doubt about whether stock markets around the world will rebound sharply, all you have to do is look at a chart of TLT, which is a fund of U.S. Treasuries averaging 25 years to maturity. As a general rule, the vast majority of Treasury traders are the world's most knowledgeable global investors. TLT has been forming a bearish pattern of lower highs for several weeks, meaning that the smartest asset allocators are positioning themselves for an environment of global economic expansion and sharply higher inflation, along with a weaker U.S. dollar. This is the exact opposite of the media's insistence on "deflationary depression" that is as dead wrong as the media's bullish Goldilocks outlook on the stock market a year ago, or their equally foolish "buy commodities" mantra a half year ago.

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