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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Casting Grain

Casting grain is done by jewelers when creating unique gold grains. Typically, high quality pre-casting grain comes in different karats and colors. The colors are created depending on tastes and color preference. Typically, the strength and color of the grain being cast will largely depend on the chemical composition of the metal being used, whether it is silver, gold, copper etc. Generally, the ratios of silver and copper in an alloy have a bearing on the overall color of the alloy. The ratios of the same will also determine the strength and hardness of the alloy. When casting grain, the chemical composition of the alloys mainly determines the overall characteristics of the outcomes.

As such, alloy chemistries are very important in determining color. But in cases where the chemistries create a challenge, jewelers will typically compromise. When using high zinc content, jewelers run the risk of creating bigger, unusual shrink voids. Other than this, grain such as red karat gold can be difficult to cast, as it forms copper oxide slag. In addition, red karat gold is highly susceptible to porosity.

Certain silver and copper variations may also force jewelers to compromise. Silver and copper content in certain variations can create very hard castings that are hard to work with. To mitigate this, jewelers prefer casting grain with tried and tested compositions of the various metals.

Generally though, workable casting grains feature a fine detail that is demonstrated by proper flow and fill characteristics. In addition, workable grain also has a clean as-cast surface and no impurities at all, such as oxides. Other than these, jewelers will also give preference to workable grain that has very minimal shrink characteristics, but with excellent physical attributes such as ductility and malleability. Workable casting grain has to be nearly as fine as-cast grain size and should be able to harden with age.

When casting grains, a jeweler chooses the best color for a cast after deciding on the Karatage of the gold being cast. However, the color of the gold being cast will solely depend on the relative amounts of silver, gold, copper, zinc and nickel being used. For instance, when casting colored karat gold, whether red, green or yellow; silver, zinc and copper will mostly be used.

White karat gold uses alloys of gold, copper, nickel and zinc. On the other hand, palladium white gold is also used sometimes and contains alloys of gold, palladium and silver. In addition to color requirements, the mechanical characteristics of an alloy are also important. Such mechanical properties include malleability and ductility, and depend on what the alloy is being used for. Therefore, casting grain depends on a number of factors that jewelers must consider when looking for quality outcomes.

Posted by Mike Gupton at 9:52 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 23, 2011

U.S. Economy: Jobless Claims Increase, Confidence Declines

June 23 (Bloomberg)
-- More Americans than forecast filed first-time jobless claims last week and consumer confidence fell, highlighting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s concern that the slowdown in the economy may persist.

Applications for unemployment benefits increased 9,000 in the week ended June 18 to 429,000, Labor Department figures showed today. The level of claims exceeded the highest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey in which the median projection called for 415,000 filings. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 44.9 last week from minus 44.

Stocks slumped and Treasury securities rose as the figures, combined with a drop in new-home sales, showed the recovery was struggling to gain momentum. Bernanke said yesterday that joblessness above 9 percent and weakness in housing show the economy’s “headwinds” may be stronger than Fed policy makers initially estimated.

“The jobless claims numbers are troubling,” said Maxwell Clarke, chief U.S. economist at IDEAglobal in New York. “The Fed is a little nervous,” he said, and the economy is “going to start next quarter out on a weak note.”

Purchases of new homes dropped 2.1 percent in May to a 319,000 annual rate, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median price of new properties sold declined from a year earlier.

“Things are still going to be weak for a while,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida. “We need to see much better job growth and more confidence in general,” he said, adding that new-home sales are “still sort of bouncing around the bottom.”

Stocks Slump

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 1.6 percent to 1,266.43 at 11:27 a.m. in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell to 2.91 percent from 2.98 percent late yesterday.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped as American grew more concerned about the economy. The decrease from the previous week, within the survey’s margin of error of 3 percentage points, left the gauge close to its average for the year. The report showed an index of consumers’ views of the economy fell to the worst reading since April.

The data buttress the results of a separate Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20. It found that two years after the start of the recovery, 25 percent of those surveyed worried the economy was getting worse, while 23 percent said they were hopeful the recovery was improving. By a 44 percent to 34 percent margin, Americans said they believed they were worse off than when President Barack Obama took office in early 2009.

Monthly Jobs Figure

Estimates for first-time applications for jobless benefits ranged from 400,000 to 425,000 in the Bloomberg survey of 47 economists. The claims data coincide with the week the government surveys employers every month for the monthly jobs report. The Labor Department will issue the June employment count on July 8.

The four-week moving average, a less-volatile measure of initial claims, held at 426,250.

The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits dropped by 1,000 in the week ended June 11 to 3.7 million. The figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.

Emergency Claims

Those who’ve used up their traditional benefits and are now collecting emergency and extended payments increased by about 68,000 to 3.95 million in the week ended June 4.

Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings and tend to fall as job growth -- measured by the monthly non-farm payrolls report -- accelerates.

After improving at the beginning of the year, labor market conditions have deteriorated. Payrolls grew by 54,000 workers last month, the smallest gain in eight months, after increasing by 232,000 in April, Labor Department data showed June 3. The jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent, the highest since December, from 9 percent.

Fed officials yesterday lowered their projections for employment, predicting the jobless rate will average 8.6 percent to 8.9 percent in the final three months of 2011, compared with 8.4 percent to 8.7 percent projected in April.

“We expect the unemployment rate to continue to decline but the pace of progress remains frustratingly slow,” Bernanke told reporters following the monetary policy meeting.

Gannett Co., publisher of 82 newspapers including USA Today, is cutting about 700 jobs at its community-newspaper unit.

Gannett is reducing staff because the economic recovery is not happening “as quickly or favorably as we had hoped,” Bob Dickey, president of Gannett’s U.S. community publishing division, said in a memo. The division includes the Cincinnati Enquirer and Indianapolis Star.

“While we are seeing improved circulation results and audience growth, weakness in the real estate sector, slow job creation and now softer auto ad demand continue to challenge revenue growth in the division,” Dickey said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kowalski in Washington at akowalski13@bloomberg.net ; Shobhana Chandra in Washington at schandra1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

Posted by Mike Gupton at 11:41 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stock Drops on Economy Concern as Euro Falls; Oil Slumps on IEA

June 23 (Bloomberg)
-- Global stocks slid the most in three months and the euro weakened as U.S. jobless claims rose and European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the debt crisis threatens banks. Oil fell as the International Energy Agency planned to release emergency stockpiles.

The MSCI All-Country World Index dropped 2 percent at 11:03 a.m. in New York, its biggest loss since March 15, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 1.6 percent. Crude tumbled below $90 a barrel for the first time since February. The euro declined 1.5 percent to $1.4147. A gain in Treasuries sent the 10-year yield down seven basis points to 2.91 percent, while Portuguese, Greek and Irish bond yields jumped and costs to insure European sovereign debt from default surged to a record.

Energy, raw-material and financial companies led losses in global stocks. Applications for jobless benefits increased 9,000 in the week ended June 18 to 429,000, U.S. Labor Department figures showed. Risk signals for financial stability in the euro area are flashing “red,” Trichet said late yesterday in Frankfurt.

“It’s ugly out there,” said Paul Zemsky, the New York- based head of asset allocation for ING Investment Management, which oversees $550 billion. “Trichet’s comment was to remind politicians that this is a very serious situation and that they need to do the right thing. The message is that the risk may spread if Greece doesn’t do the right thing. It could be a very bad outcome in the market, adding risk premium.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the recovery is progressing “more slowly” than expected as policy makers yesterday kept a pledge to leave interest rates near zero and complete a $600 billion bond-purchase program this month.

Home Sales

All 10 of the main industry groups in the S&P 500 retreated, while Alcoa Inc., Chevron Corp. and Caterpillar Inc. lost more than 2.8 percent to lead losses in 28 of 30 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Aflac Inc., the largest seller of supplemental health insurance, fell 1.9 percent after saying it may issue as much as 100 billion yen ($1.24 billion) in debt as it records losses tied to investments in banks from Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The second-quarter losses on the assets will probably be about $610 million, the insurer said today.

A Commerce Department report at 10 a.m. in Washington showed purchases of new U.S. houses fell 2.1 percent to a 319,000 annual rate last month, compared with the median forecast of 310,000 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond declined five basis points to 4.16 percent. The U.S. plans to sell $7 billion of similar- maturity Treasury Inflation Protected Securities.

Oil Slides

Oil for August delivery in New York sank 4.4 percent to $91 a barrel and Brent crude in London declined 4.3 percent to $108.36 a barrel. The S&P GSCI index of 24 commodities fell 3.9 percent, the most in a week.

The IEA announced that it will release 60 million barrels of oil from emergency stockpiles, to alleviate possible shortages following the loss of Libyan crude. It is the third time the Paris-based agency has coordinated the use of emergency stockpiles since the agency was founded in 1974.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 1.4 percent, with more than 15 shares slipping for every one that gained. European services and manufacturing growth slowed more than economists forecast in June, a report by London-based Markit Economics showed today.

Bayer AG plunged 6.8 percent as a rival to its Xarelto blood thinner prevented more strokes with less major bleeding than an older medicine in a study. Mediaset SpA, the broadcaster controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, sank 6.7 percent after forecasting that advertising will decline.

Euro Weakens

The euro slid against 14 of its 16 major currencies monitored by Bloomberg, depreciating 1.1 percent versus the yen. The Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against those of six trading partners, climbed 1 percent. The pound weakened 0.6 percent to $1.5973, falling below $1.60 for the first time since April 1.

The yield on the Greek two-year note jumped 39 basis points to 28.27 percent, climbing for the second consecutive day. European ministers meet in Brussels today and tomorrow to debate the size of new loans to Greece and how to get holders of the nation’s debt to contribute. Default swaps on Greece rose 25 basis points to 2,012, signaling an 82 percent chance of default within five years, according to CMA.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Portuguese 10-year bonds instead of benchmark German bunds increased 31 basis point to 8.50 percent, near the widest on record. The yield on Spain’s 10-year security advanced nine basis points, with the Italian yield four basis points higher.

Default Risk

The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of default swaps on 15 governments jumped 13 basis points to 237. Portugal’s climbed nine basis points to 791 and contracts on Spain rose four to 289, while those for Ireland increased 12 basis points to 767 and Italy’s were five basis points higher at 187.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 1.1 percent, heading for its first decline in three days. Russia’s Micex Index slipped 2 percent, South Africa’s benchmark gauge lost 1.5 percent and South Korea’s Kospi Index slid 0.4 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Kirkland in London at skirkland@bloomberg.net ; Rita Nazareth in New York at rnazareth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Sillitoe at psillitoe@bloomberg.net

Tags euro  New York 
Posted by Mike Gupton at 11:38 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Platinum Thermocouple Wire Used In the Heating and Cooling Industries

Platinum Thermocouple wire is used in the heating and cooling industries due to its favorable properties. A thermocouple wire refers to a wire with two junctions, joined at each end. Each of the two junctions is made from different materials and the wire is used for measuring temperature variations. The heating and cooling industries use platinum thermocouple wire for temperature sensing and regulation.

Platinum thermocouple wire is widely used because of its highly sensitive nature to temperature. The wire can measure wide variations of temperature. The Thermocouple wire’s two distinct junctions are typically used separately, in which one junction is placed where the temperature is to be determined, while the other junction is kept at a lower temperature.

There are different types of platinum thermocouple wire and each has its own merits and demerits. However, the most commonly used types of platinum thermocouple wire consist of two junctions of platinum and rhodium. The two metals are typically used in varying percentages and will offer corresponding accuracies depending on their percentages. Typically, the level of accuracy depends on the ratios used for each metal, but will generally decrease with different levels.

For instance, the low cost types of platinum thermocouple wire have poor accuracy. On the other hand, the high end, expensive platinum thermocouple wire gives ‘almost accurate results.’ Note that one major challenge for platinum thermocouple wire is accuracy. Even the high end types of the wire may not give utmost accuracy, but at least their readings are dependable.

Industrial applications of platinum thermocouple wire include usage in kilns, gas turbines, engines etc. The most widely manufactured types of thermocouple wire include the type B, R and S. Each type of platinum thermocouple wire uses varying percentages of the two metals, platinum and rhodium. Therefore, how sensitive the wire is absolutely depends on the combining ratios used by a manufacturer. In industrial applications however, the low sensitivity platinum thermocouple wire are preferred. Low sensitivity platinum thermocouple wire can be used for taking high temperature differences.

In industrial heating and cooling, the use of platinum thermocouple wire relies on the innate properties of the wire. That is, platinum thermocouple wire is capable of generating its own current. In industrial heating and cooling, the wire is used in sensing temperature differences and correcting them accordingly.  If one end of the wire has temperatures that are too high or low, it triggers a reverse action that seeks to correct the temperature difference. Electrical energy in the wire is turned into heat and then supplied to the hot side to maintain the electric potential across the wire. By so doing, the platinum thermocouple wire maintains a temperature balance in the system.
 
Posted by Mike Gupton at 9:26 AM 0 Comments

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are We Running Out of Silver?

KMG Gold Recycling and Refining. "Do I buy now or wait for a pullback and perhaps miss out on big gains?"

Silver has been on fire over the last three years, substantially outperforming its spotlight-grabbing cousin, gold. Because we believe this bull run is far from over, we advise investors to always maintain exposure to precious metals markets. Even if you haven't yet participated in the run-up of both gold and silver, I'm glad you're ready to look at the investment potential of silver.

The question every investor faces in a bull market is: Do I buy now, anticipating prices will continue higher, and chance getting clobbered if a correction arrives? Or do I wait for a pullback and possibly miss out on big gains? There's risk either way.

Our goal in this report is to suggest various ways you can invest in silver, while underscoring the importance of patience and discipline. Investors must remain patient to avoid chasing silver, overpaying, and draining their cash. Instead, we recommend that you use temporary price declines to steadily accumulate the best silver stocks and your preferred form of bullion. Looking back after this bull market has finally run its course, we think gold and silver will have amply rewarded those who bought smart, had meaningful exposure and stayed the course.

Silver: The Lay of the Land
There is ample data on the silver market to consider, but there are two specific issues regarding supply and demand that are critical to understand.

The first is industrial use. Demand from a number of industries that use silver has been flat or falling. Household demand for silver like cutlery, flatware and candlesticks hasn't risen in 10 years. Jewelry fabrication is up but a blip. With the shift to digital photography and image storing, use in photographic film processing continues to fall. And yet, total demand from industrial users keeps climbing.

So what's driving industrial demand?
 

Silver, Investing, Jeff Clark

Since 1999, consumption in electronics has increased 120%. Silver use in solar panels began in 2000, and usage is up 640% since. Silver was first used in biocides (antibacterial agents) in 2002 and, while a small percentage of total silver use, it has grown sixfold.

The point is that not only are the number of uses for silver growing, the demand within each of those applications is rising as well. This is important to keep in mind because, traditionally, the industrial component of silver tends to keep the price soft in a poor economy—and Doug Casey is convinced we're on the cusp of the Greater Depression.

However, these increasing sources of demand are now more likely to keep a floor under the price in the future. In fact, the Silver Institute forecasts that total industrial use of silver will rise by 36% over the next five years, to 666 million troy ounces/year. That's a lot of silver, meaning this portion of demand, which is roughly 60% of all fabrication, isn't letting up anytime soon.

The second issue is mine supply. Silver mine production has been increasing over the past decade, largely due to rising prices, allowing companies to ramp up production and bring more metal to the market. In fact, global mine production is up 33% since 1999. Meanwhile, total demand, as you'll see in the chart below, is also rising.

Mine Production Can't Keep Up with Demand
So what's the concern? In spite of miners digging up more and more silver, production alone can't meet global demand—and the gap has to be filled by scrap silver coming to market.



Silver, Investing, Jeff Clark

And there's a catch with scrap. While scrap metal comprises about 20% of silver's total supply, many of these new applications are difficult to reclaim. Some applications contain such small amounts that they're uneconomic to recapture, such as many biocidal and nanotechnology applications. With others, it'll be a long wait. Solar panels, for example, have a 20- to 30-year life. Still others are waiting on more-effective recovery programs; more than one-half of all silver in cell phones, TVs, computers and other electronics, for instance, still ends up in landfills. In other words, a growing portion of the silver that's consumed won't be returning to the market anytime soon.
KMG Gold Recycling and Refining

Posted by Mike Gupton at 8:44 PM 0 Comments

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why It's Too Soon To Buy The Dip!

Why It's Too Soon To Buy The Dip! June 17, 2011.

After six straight down weeks the S&P 500 is down only 6% from its April peak.

That’s not near enough to factor all the negatives into stock prices. Those negatives include the rapidly slowing U.S. economy, sharply rising global inflation, plunging global markets as central banks raise interest rates to ward off inflation, the cuts in government spending yet to hit the U.S. economy as Washington and individual states tackle their record budget deficits, and the end of the Fed’s QE2 stimulus program.

Yet already Wall Street is assuring investors that the correction is over, and the lower prices are presenting a buying opportunity.

Be careful.

After six straight down weeks the market is short-term oversold and due for a brief rally off that oversold condition.

But it’s strictly a technical situation. The market doesn’t move in a straight line in either direction. In strong rallies it periodically becomes short-term overbought and pulls back some to alleviate that short-term overbought condition before the rally resumes to new highs. In market corrections it periodically becomes short-term oversold and rallies back up some to alleviate the short-term oversold condition before the correction resumes.

Meanwhile, although all financial firms have a staff of technical analysts keeping up with the market’s technical condition, Wall Street grabs onto simple non-technical explanations when making its attempts to keep investors buying.

So on Thursday, it explained the market’s positive day as being a response to the reports that new claims for unemployment fell by 16,000 in the previous week, and new home starts were up 3.5% in May, claiming those are signs the economic slowdown is bottoming.

They know that reasoning is ridiculous. Unemployment claims jump up and down week-to-week for a variety of reasons. Five weeks ago they declined a much larger 29,000 for the week to a total of 409,000. They’ve been up and down since, and this week they declined 16,000 to 414,000. But that’s more total claims for the week than there were in mid-May.

And new home starts rose 3.5%, but that was after an 8.8% decline in April, leaving them lower than in March and still scraping along a depression-like 25-year low.

On Friday morning the market continued its technical rally off the short-term oversold condition. Wall Street said it was in response to French President Sarkozy’s remarks that the EU will probably consent to a new bailout package for Greece. A market strategist on a TV financial show said, “This is the catalyst a lot of people were looking for to jump back into the market.”

Huh? That Europe will kick the solution of the Greek debt crisis down the road again, with another temporary bailout payment, has no connection whatever to slowing global economies and rising inflation.

Meanwhile, Wall Street ignored the reports that were important this week.

The Housing Market Index, measuring the confidence of home-builders, plunged to just 13 this month (on a scale of 1 to 100), a nine-month low. Inflation at the consumer level (CPI) was up 0.2% in May, now up 3.6% over the last 12 months, more than double what it was a year ago. The NY State Mfg Index, and the Fed’s Philadelphia Mfg Index, both plunged again this month, this time into negative territory. The Philadelphia Index, often a precursor of the national reports, plunged to -7.7 from +3.9 in May, +18.5 in April, and +43.4 in March. It was the largest three-month collapse in the history of the report.

Meanwhile, as global central banks raise interest rates and tighten monetary policies to fight the rising inflation, slowing their economic growth, their stock markets have been in serious corrections. And historically, global markets, including the U.S., move pretty much in tandem with each other in both directions.

The world’s ten largest economies behind the U.S. are China, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Italy, Canada, India, and Russia. As a result of their concerns about their slowing economies and rising inflation, their stock markets are down an average of 12%, with most hitting new lows every few days, no bottom in sight.

And Wall Street is telling us the correction in the U.S. market is already over with a decline of just 6%, and U.S. economic reports still coming in more negative each month, and with more roadblocks to recovery still ahead?

Buy the dip?

I suggest continuing to sell into any short-term strength that develops, and taking positions in ‘inverse’ ETF’s and ‘inverse’ mutual funds, which are designed to move opposite to the market and thus make gains in market corrections.

In the interest of full disclosure my technical indicators triggered an intermediate-term sell signal on the market on May 8, and I and my subscribers have had profitable positions since in two ‘inverse’ ETFs, the ProShares Short Russell 2000, symbol RWM, and the ProShares Short S&P 500, symbol SH. And it is my intention to add to my downside positions in selected ‘inverse’ funds in any short-term rally that develops.

Sy Harding is president of Asset Management Research Corp, and editor of www.StreetSmartReport.com, and the free market blog, www.streetsmartpost.com.

These reports reflect our opinions and are based on our best judgment, but no warranty is given or implied as to their accuracy. Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

Posted by Mike Gupton at 7:39 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

KMG Gold Recycling Wins Better Business Bureau Award

KMG Gold Recycling recently won the 2010 BBB Torch Award for marketplace excellence, truth in advertising, honesty and ethics.

KMG Gold Recycling - a international buyer and refiner of precious metals based in Winnipeg, Manitoba – credits its focus on transparent pricing and top-notch customer service with cementing its reputation as the industry's most “trusted” gold buyer. KMG Gold purchases gold, silver, platinum and diamonds from consumers throughout Canada and the United States through their website business (www.kmggold.com and www.kmggold.ca), at gold parties run by company trained certified gold buyers, and at their company-owned store in Winnipeg MB.

BBB Torch Award Winner-KMG GoldKMG has direct to the refinery shipping outlets in Sacramento California, Edmonton Alberta Canada and also at participating The UPS Stores® locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Kamloops, Winnipeg, and Calgary, Canada. Shipping direct to the refinery will always net the customer the most money for their gold, platinum and silver.

The gold buying industry, spurred by skyrocketing gold prices, has come under the media microscope. But, by conducting its business with a high level of honesty and integrity, KMG Gold has distinguished itself from the pack.

“Our transparent business practices and superior customer service wins us a loyal following,” says Michael Gupton, founder of KMG Gold. “We pay more money than all of our competitors and post our prices every day on our website. We lead the industry by providing Canada's only precious metal shipping insurance, a written evaluation and offer to purchase.” And, adds Gupton, “Our new website lets consumers browse and see the prices we pay and what we buy. It helps consumers have a better idea of the value of their own items before they send their gold to us.”

Gupton, a 25+ year gold industry veteran and published author is often tapped by consumers advocacy groups and charitable organizations  to speak about gold and gold value.

“At KMG Gold, we believe strongly in educating consumers about the value of their gold. The more information the consumer has, the less likely they will be misled by dishonest dealers,” says Gupton. “We provide a extensive range of information on our website and have an excellent customer service team to quickly respond to emails and phone calls.”
Posted by Mike Gupton at 7:10 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stock collapse and $12,000 gold?

KMG Gold Recycling
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — After six down weeks and a savage slump on Tuesday, the specter of a 2008 Crash haunts Wall Street. But two certified doomsters are (slightly) more cautious.

This is the problem, as summarized by the latest Aden Forecast:

“Many respected analysts are warning that another financial crisis could be on the horizon similar to the one in 2008. They claim that since the 2008 meltdown was not allowed to end naturally, the conclusion is still coming. This is a real possibility since the fundamental, underlying factors that triggered the crisis to begin with still persist. Another possibility is just a renewed recession.”

One service that indisputably did call the Crash of 2008 (“a financial tsunami”) was Harry Schultz’s International Harry Schultz Letter. Schultz had a long and checkered career, especially as monitored by the Hulbert Financial Digest in its closing phase. But its last years were brilliant. Greatly to the disappointment of columnists seeking colorful copy, the letter closed last winter after 45 years of publication. ( See Jan. 10 column .)

However, Schultz still publishes a monthly essay in the Aden Forecast. The good news: As of last week, he doesn’t seem to see another Crash…yet.

Schultz has always had a scatter-shot style, combining eccentricities and insight, and this tendency seems to have become more pronounced. This is his only comment on the stock market:

“Chart talk: Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/zigman/627449/delayed DJIA +0.54% is in a multi-year 2000-2011 BT (broadening top). It suggests a new high, followed by a collapse. Broadening Tops are often seen in individual stock charts, rarely in a stock average. Is credible…”

This fits generally with Schultz’s view of gold and the economy — which, using a favorite device, he expresses by quoting a surrogate:

“The run-up to the peak in markets like gold is between now and 2015. I think it will all be over by 2015, a lot of it depends on how aggressively paper monies get printed from here on in. I think $3,000 is an absolute minimum gold target. I can believe in targets certainly above $5,000 and it’s theoretically possible to go to $12,000…If we get as high as $12,000, a lot of very bad things will have happened to our economies.”

In a hopeless effort to forestall the usual abuse in the comment thread, I repeat: Schultz really did foresee the Crash of 2008 (plus, for that matter, the Great Inflation of the 1970s). And his record, according to the HFD, was latterly very strong.

His new hosts at the Aden Forecast also have a strong record by HFD count. I named Aden Forecast Letter of the Year in 2010. ( See Dec. 30, 2010 column .)

Unlike Harry Schultz, however, Pamela and Mary Anne Aden’s world view is comprehensive, systematic and closely-reasoned. It’s ultimately just as apocalyptic, but the Adens explicitly temper it with disciplined observation of and sensitivity to short-term market trends, which they acknowledge can often be paradoxical.

In the most recent Aden Forecast, they write:

“What concerns us is that interest rates are now signaling a major trend reversal to the downside…If that proves to be true, it’ll be a very bearish sign for stocks. In other words, this interest rate change could well be providing an early warning that some sort of crisis, or another recession, lies ahead. If so, then stocks could be headed for a steep fall.”

The Adens’ response to this is measured:

“All things considered, we feel this is a time to play it safe and lighten up on your stock holdings. Since the major stock trends are still up, we recommend keeping a smaller 15% position in the strongest stocks (down from 25%), but sell the weaker ones.”

The balance of the Adens’ recommended asset allocation: 40% precious metals (physical, shares and exchange-traded funds); 30% cash (Swiss francs, Canadian and U.S. dollars); 15% energy and resource stocks.
KMG Gold Recycling

Posted by Mike Gupton at 7:00 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Firm broadsided by tax-scam allegations

MONTREAL -- A Montreal company that denies any wrongdoing in an alleged gold-refining tax scam said Friday it was shocked by an early-morning raid this week that came after several months of negotiations with Quebec's tax department.

Kitco Metals Inc. said it was negotiating with Revenu Quebec about its opposition to the tax assessment when agents raided its premises Tuesday.

"We were co-operating with them fully, so this definitely came as a surprise to us," Kitco spokeswoman Sharlene Dozois said Friday.

Revenu Quebec is probing sales of $1.8 billion by the network, with alleged provincial sales-tax evasion in excess of $150 million. The agency is also investigating evasion of the federal goods and services tax on the same sales.

Kitco asked Thursday for a court-appointed receiver that can supervise the 200-employee business while it addresses the allegations brought by Quebec's revenue department. RSM Richter has been appointed interim receiver.

The Montreal company, founded in 1977, says it is one of the largest retailers of precious metals in the world. It also provides specialized refining services.

More than 175 agents conducted raids on homes, offices, accountants and bankruptcy trustees in the Montreal area.

The agency said the scam allegedly involved a system of repetitive and false billing in transactions involving more than 125 companies.

Most of the companies are jewelry stores, which have closed.

The department also said false tax returns were prepared for certain companies that provided the fake invoices.

Kitco said it "has never participated in any tax fraud, nor has it ever carried out any fictitious transactions."

"Kitco buys precious metals scrap and pays the suppliers sales taxes on these purchases for which Kitco receives a tax credit. It is the responsibility of these suppliers to pay back the sales taxes to Revenue Quebec."

Revenu Quebec alleges that Kitco and a company called Carmen Industries ran parallel operations.

Carmen Industries couldn't be reached for comment.

Published reports say Revenu Quebec placed liens worth $33.8 million each on two properties owned by company executives Steven and Joseph Chesir.

Nick Macri, vice-president of Carmen Jewelry, which shares the same phone number and operates in adjacent spaces in Montreal, said he hasn't seen the owners of the company in several months.

Although the two companies share similar names, Macri said they are unrelated although he did the accounting for Carmen International and remitted its taxes to government.

"We charged them a fee every month to give them a service and that's how we somehow got implied in this mess," Macri said.

It alleged that several people created artificial tax declarations for certain companies involved by furnishing them with false invoices.

Those found guilty must pay the evaded funds plus interest, fines and a maximum of five years in prison.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 11, 2011 B6
Posted by Mike Gupton at 6:41 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Silver Used In Photography

Silver is used in the photography industry mainly for the manufacture of light-sensitive film. Demand for silver in the photography industry is currently driven by the demand for high color film. Silver has been used in photography for decades to date, but its use has been waning over the last one decade, thanks to the advent of the digital camera. Industry estimates paint a bleak future for silver usage in photography, but demand for high color film is yet to fall critically. Mostly, silver nitrate is widely used in the manufacture of high quality color light sensitive film. 

Images captured in shutter camera films are normally developed in studio darkrooms, due to the sensitivity of silver nitrate to light. When exposed to varying intensities of light, silver nitrate will react differently. The shutter camera captures images by use of a lens and regulated light (flash). The sensitive film captures and stores the image depending on the intensity of light or darkness. Therefore different qualities of images will be produced. The images can then be developed into photos by the use of Sodium Thiosulphate, in dark rooms.

However, analysts estimate that over the last one decade, the use of silver in the photography industry has experienced a sharp gradual fall in demand. This has mostly been attributed to the advent of the digital camera. Estimates reveal that for the last one decade, silver usage in photography has immensely declined. For instance, in 1998, the overall demand for silver from the photography industry peaked at a paltry 30.98 per cent.

This is reflective of the annual demand for silver in the photography industry for that year. Industry demand was for purposes of making silver halides and silver nitrates. When compared to demand for silver from the other industries such as jewelry, the photography industry only took a small portion of the overall supply.

By the beginning of 2000s, silver usage in photography had further declined. Estimates reveal that in 2001, silver demand from the photography industry had peaked at just 23.47 per cent. A good percentage of the overall silver supply for that year went into the jewelry industry. Increasingly, more silver is being demanded by the jewelry industry. From 2001, demand for silver from the photography industry maintained a downward trend, with overall usage peaking at about 14.3 per cent.
According to industry estimates, the years between 1998 and 2007 saw silver demand from the photography industry stabilize at just 50 per cent.

Demand for silver in the photography industry today is mainly from high color film manufacturers. Color films are still widely used in the making of films/movies due to their quality. By the year 2007, silver used in photography had peaked at a paltry 14.3 per cent. From 1998 therefore, there has been a gradual but steady decline in the use of silver in the photography industry. 
Posted by Mike Gupton at 12:01 PM 0 Comments

Friday, June 10, 2011

How Will Investors Handle The Market Correction?

BEING STREET SMART by Sy Harding June 10, 2011
Have investors learned how to recognize and handle market downturns?

They certainly have the tools available now, in the form of information and analysis to help identify when risk of a downturn becomes high, and when support levels have been broken indicating a correction has begun. And the availability of ‘inverse’ mutual funds and ETFs provides the opportunity to not only avoid losses, but to make gains from market declines.

In many respects, rather than being feared,  market corrections and bear markets offer better opportunities for profits than booming bull markets.

That’s because the market usually goes down faster in corrections than it went up in the previous positive period. In corrections the market often loses six months to a year of previous gains in a matter of a couple of months. In bear markets, several years of previous gains can be lost in a year or less. Therefore, gains from downside positions are usually made more quickly in declining markets than gains from upside positions were made in the previous rising market.

But the actions of public investors managing their own money through market corrections and bear markets is not encouraging.

A report in 2001 by Dalbar Inc., a leading financial services research firm, showed that from 1984-2002 the average annual return of the S&P 500 was 12.2%, and the average return of equity mutual funds was 9.3%. But because of their tendency to buy in, sell out, and switch around at the wrong times, the average return of investors in those funds was only 2.6%.

Not much has changed in the decade since.

Dalbar released a similar study in March of last year. It indicated that investors do well in bull markets, and can even outperform the market. The study showed that the average equity mutual fund investor made a huge 32.2% in the bull market of 2009, compared to a gain of 26.4% for the S&P 500.

However, the bad news is that the performance through bull and bear markets remained dismal.

Last year’s report showed that while investors made that spectacular gain of 32.2% in 2009, over the 20-year period, through bull and bear markets, they averaged only 3.2% per year.

The small improvement to 3.2% from the average 2.6% gain shown in the 2001 study, prompted the president of Dalbar to say that “the moderately improving results indicate that investors seem to be learning hard lessons from the past 15 years, absorbing the message that markets move in cycles.”

But I have to wonder. The slightly better long-term performance in the recent study was still extremely dismal, and included the big 32.2% gain in 2009. What will the long-term performance show after the next downturn?

It’s clear that investors can do well indeed in bull markets, but just as clear that they struggle with how to handle market downturns, giving back most of their previously made gains.

Studies seem to indicate that most investors react to market downturns by doing nothing, hoping the damage will not be too great, and if it becomes too great, by acting only then to protect their portfolios. Obviously, they’d do much better if they learned to handle both sides of the market’s cycles.

Meanwhile, I believe a significant correction is currently underway, but that it’s not too late to take action.

After being down for six straight weeks, the market is quite oversold short-term and probably due for a brief rally off of that oversold condition.

If I am correct that the market has further to go on the downside intermediate-term, but likely to experience a short-term oversold rally, such a rally would provide another opportunity to sell into the strength and even take downside positions.

In the interest of full disclosure my market indicators triggered an intermediate-term sell signal on the market on May 8, and I and my subscribers have had positions since in two ‘inverse’ ETFs, the ProShares Short Russell 2000, symbol RWM, and the ProShares Short S&P 500, symbol SH, with profits averaging 6% on the positions so far, (while the S&P 500 has now given back about 6% of its previous gains for the year). And it is my intention to add to my downside positions in selected ‘inverse’ funds in any short-term rally that develops.
 
Sy Harding is president of Asset Management Research Corp, and editor of www.StreetSmartReport.com, and the free market blog, www.streetsmartpost.com.

These reports reflect our opinions and are based on our best judgment, but no warranty is given or implied as to their accuracy. Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

Posted by Mike Gupton at 3:00 PM 0 Comments

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dental Gold Holds High Value

Gold Crowns

Dental crowns are made from gold or alloys of gold; porcelain or a combination of gold, porcelain and other metals. Dental crowns are also called dental caps or tooth caps. There are other ceramic materials other than porcelain that can be used in creating crowns. However, both types of crowns have their own merits and demerits.

Dentists will sometimes create dental crown from pure metal, for instance the gold crown. Gold crowns will either be made entirely from gold or a gold alloy. Experimentation and new inventions over the years have enabled the use of varying metal alloys to create dental crowns. Other metals used in the past three decades to create dental crowns include silver, palladium and platinum.

Whereas gold crowns were originally used for restorative and treatment purposes, a trend emerged in the US from the 1960s in which stars and hip hop artistes would don gold crowns as a fashion statement.

Why gold is used in making crowns

The use of gold in creating crowns is necessitated mostly by gold’s physical and chemical properties. To begin with, gold has favorable physical attributes that make it easier to use as a dental metal. Dentists prefer gold because it is easily workable, and can be adopted into any specific crown shapes. This is because gold is ductile and highly malleable. Other than ductility and malleability, gold also has strength and can therefore withstand biting for a long time. When used as crowns, gold is able to survive chewing and biting for considerably longer periods of time.

As such, gold crowns don’t clip or break and can therefore cause no real damage to the body. In fact, it is believed that gold treats metal allergies in some people, if not cure them entirely. Gold crowns have just about the same wear rate as natural tooth enamel. In this regard, the use of gold crowns does not affect other opposite teeth, in terms of wear or damage. Dentists will normally put metal crowns on the back teeth.
But other than gold crowns, there are other dental crowns that are created from ceramic materials like porcelain. Unlike gold crowns, porcelain or ceramic crowns can almost look like natural teeth if well created. However, the only major weakness with porcelain crowns has to do with their strength. On average, gold crowns are stronger than porcelain crowns. Porcelain crowns are mostly used for creating front teeth. Porcelain crowns are not good for back teeth, given the heavy chewing and grinding.

To make porcelain crowns stronger, dentists will typically fuse them with other metals. When combined with other metals, porcelain can be comfortably used for both front and back teeth. Typically,dentists prepare a shell of metal that covers the tooth being treated, and a veneer of porcelain fused over the metal.
Posted by Mike Gupton at 9:37 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

US Silver Gold Platinum Palladium Coins

The US Mint has historically used gold, platinum and silver in its coinage. When the US was just being founded, the settlers adopted the Silver dollar as currency for the young and growing American economy.

Silver Coins
The first silver coins were to be printed in 1792, after the US Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1792 authorizing the mintage. However, the silver coins would only be produced two years later, in 1794, thanks to squabbles between the US Mint and the US Treasury. Mintage begun in earnest in 1794 and was continued for decades until 1935 when it was stopped.
Silver coins were effectively discontinued that year, only for production to resume again in 1971. The Silverless Eisenhower dollar was introduced in 1971. However, in 1979, the Eisenhower Silver dollar was replaced by the Silverless Susan B. Anthony coin in 1979. About two decades later, the Susan B. Anthony silver coin was also replaced by a new silver dollar coin. The coin was made from a copper core that was clad in an alloy of copper, zinc, manganese and nickel.

Gold Coins
The US mint produced its first gold coins in 1795. Gold coinage would continue until 1933, when all gold coins were withdrawn from circulation. The move was encouraged by the great depression of the 1930s. Through a presidential decree, the US government made it illegal for individuals to own gold US gold coins.
Tons upon tons of gold coins were returned to the US treasury and melted into gold bars, as reserves. To date, the pre-1933 gold coins are a collector’s favorite US gold coins that are hard to come by. Before the discovery of gold in California, the largest gold coin in the US was the $10 face value coin. The $10 coin had approximately ½ troy ounce of gold.
However, with the discovery of gold in California, the Double Eagle was minted, as a $20 gold coin. Authorization for the mintage of the US Double Eagle gold coins was given by the US Congress in 1849.

Platinum
Currently, the official platinum bullion of the US is the American Platinum Eagle. The American Platinum Eagle has about .9995 of pure platinum content with a face value of $10, $25, $50 and $100. The first ever investment grade coin for the Platinum Eagle was authorized by the US Congress in 1996.
However, the first American Platinum Eagle coins were produced in 1997. They all featured an almost similar design. The US Mint produced around 8,000 one ounce platinum coins in 2009, each carrying a price tag of $1,792.
Palladium
The US is yet to mint Palladium coins, but an Act of Congress to authorize mintage is still being discussed. Currently therefore, the US does not have any official Palladium coins or bullion.

For more information be sure to check out KMG Gold.

Posted by Mike Gupton at 10:11 AM 0 Comments