Doom, Gloom or Boom? Or Maybe All Three?
August 21, 2009 by Chip Wood
More than 750 worried investors gathered at the historic Fairmont Vancouver last month to hear what a group of experts had to say about the fate of our economy. They wanted to know which investments would protect their wealth the best… and just maybe help them recover some of their losses.
We were in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, for the 10th annual Agora Financial Investment Symposium. Not so coincidentally, the event also marked 10 years since Agora’s founder, Bill Bonner, launched a curious Internet experiment called The Daily Reckoning. This rant and rumination now goes out to nearly half-a-million people every day.
I was delighted to be invited once again to serve as Master of Ceremonies. The theme of the conference was set in the opening talk by Dr. Marc Faber. The editor of The Doom, Gloom, and Boom Report used enough charts and graphs to make your head spin, while explaining why things must get a lot worse before they will get any better. Don’t look for a recovery in the stock market, housing market, commercial real estate or anywhere else anytime soon, he warned. But he also shared why he is convinced things will get better—a whole lot better—once the market is allowed to cleanse itself of the toxic poisons in the system.
The Agora Symposium included many first-time speakers. But none captured the attention of the audience more than Juan Enriquez, an early-stage venture capitalist specializing in biotechnology discoveries. The crowd listened spellbound as Dr. Enriquez described how bioengineered goats now produce milk that battles cancer; how a woman re-grew her own trachea after a horrific bout with cancer; and how a tiny salamander may help people grow new limbs to replace ones they’ve lost. Truly amazing stuff.
Next up was Rick Rule, whom Bill Bonner has described as “the best resource investor I know.” Rule got the crowd excited when he declared that we’re in the first leg of a resource super-bull market. He pointed to the inevitable rise of emerging economies like China and India. When those people get wealthier, they buy more and more things—things that require raw materials to be made. So he sees a huge rise in demand for these resources—and thus, the prices of the underlying commodities and the companies that produce them.
Rule said another huge bull market would be alternative energy—even “stupid stuff” like biofuels. Although many of the Greenies’ favorites will never be economic, Rule said there is one source that should please everyone—even profit-hungry investors.
That one is geothermal. While the costs to build a geothermal plant are high, it should produce ultra-clean energy for 100 years or more.
Next up was Frank Holmes, the CEO of mutual-fund giant U.S. Global Investors. Holmes’ funds have won more awards than I can list here. He is especially proud of the performances (and holdings) of his natural-resource and emerging markets funds.
Holmes had the audience laughing and applauding when he shared Holmes’ Rule #1 for bad government. “The higher the percentage of lawyers who hold office,” he told the appreciative crowd, “the more decrepit the financial system they devise.” Amen to that, brother.
Chuck Butler, the president of EverBank World Markets, was one of several speakers to sound a very similar theme: Barack Obama is the most aggressively leftist president this country has seen since FDR. The results may be horrible for our deficits and the dollar, but they’re going to be mighty good for gold.
“Trade dollars for gold” was Butler’s top recommendation. It was a suggestion we heard many times in Vancouver. In fact, Bonner said he had first proposed his “trade of the decade” nine years ago. It was simplicity itself: Sell stocks, buy gold. “We’re almost at the end of the decade,” he noted, “and I wouldn’t change a word of that advice.”
EverBank has created many unique products to serve contrarian investors, from foreign currency CDs (you can invest in the Norwegian krona and New Zealand dollar, with the same FDIC protection as the U.S. dollar) to commodity indexes owning gold, silver and other metals.
I’m running out of space, so there’s no room to tell you about Byron King’s captivating presentation, “Is God Brazilian?” Or Doug Casey’s rant about the utter hopelessness of the situation—and why it’s not really all that serious. Or Bonner’s closing exhortation to remember the lessons of history: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Or two dozen other informative presentations, each one loaded with practical advice and specific stock recommendations.
But thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you can hear every word of every presentation via CDs or MP3s. All of the main session speeches were professionally recorded and are now available. To order the complete set, simply click here.
Or you could skip all the palaver and just implement the bottom-line recommendation uttered so often at the conference: trade dollars for gold. One precious metals specialist we recommend is Asset Strategies International. Check them out on the web at www.assetstrategies.com. Or give one of their friendly and knowledgeable staff a call at 1-800-831-0007 or 301-881-8600. They will be delighted to help you turn dollars into gold, silver or platinum, or even your favorite foreign currency.
Here’s one last suggestion: Do it soon, before Obama and his cronies devalue the dollar even further. There is still nothing that’s as good as gold… except maybe silver.
Until next time, keep some powder dry. And some gold handy.