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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Gold collapse: The start of something big?

By Morgan Housel





Understanding the 'what happened' --- and what will


JewishWorldReview.com | In August 2011, a Gallup poll asked Americans what they thought would be the best long-term investment. Thirty-four percent said gold, 17 percent said stocks.

It's too early to declare a winner, but the early results are in. The SPDR Gold ETF is down 17 percent since the survey was taken. The S&P 500 is up 38 percent.

Gold has lost nearly one-fifth of its value this year alone and more than 10 percent since Friday -- the worst decline since the early 1980s, when the yellow metal began a two-decade slump. Whether the current slide is the end of gold's bull run or just a short-term drop, no one knows. What is clear is that gold isn't the wealth-preserver many thought it was. Some gold stocks, like NovaGold (NYSE-MKT: NG) and Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC), have lost more than half their value in the last year.

It wasn't supposed to work this way. The bullish argument behind gold made so much sense. As the Federal Reserve ballooned its balance sheet, inflation was sure to take off. And as the government ran trillion-dollar deficits, confidence in the dollar was sure to go up in smoke.

But neither happened.


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The Consumer Price Index has increased at an average annual rate of 1.87 percent since 2008. That's almost half the average level after World War II. Privately measured inflation gauges show roughly the same change. The vast majority of the new cash the Fed printed never really left the Fed at all, as banks kept it parked in excess reserves. And the federal budget deficit has been nearly cut in half as a percent of GDP. "It shocks people when I tell them the deficit as a percent of GDP is already close to being cut in half (this doesn't seem to ever make headlines)," wrote economic blogger Bill McBride last week. It may be shocking the gold market, too. People still talk about "trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see" without realizing that no such forecast exists. Government debt as a percent of GDP is on track to fall over the next decade.

Then there are rumors that the Fed will cut its quantitative easing within a few months. "I expect we will meet the test for substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market by this summer," said San Francisco Fed President John Williams last week. "If that happens, we could start tapering our purchases then. If all goes as hoped, we could end the purchase program sometime late this year." This would have been unthinkable just a month ago.

To boot, gold purchases by central banks have long been cited as a bullish catalyst. But now fears are swirling that the central bank of Cyprus will be forced to dump its gold to finance an international bailout. If Cyprus, who else? Portugal? Spain? Italy?

The irony is that the goldbugs may get the story right but the investment wrong. Like any asset, gold is forward-looking and prone to wild overreactions. So prices don't always mesh with what's going on in the economy. Inflation in the 1980s averaged nearly 6 percent -- triple current levels -- and gold lost more than half its nominal value. It is entirely possible that the coming years will bring high inflation, but tumbling gold prices. Just as the Internet blossomed while the Nasdaq plunged from its high in 2000, asset prices can gallop far away from the stories people buy into them for. Indeed, they usually do.

Historically, gold has surprisingly little correlation with inflation. As one Citigroup research report put it: "There is no obvious relationship between the gold price and inflation." Instead, gold correlates fairly well with two events: negative real interest rates and financial panic. But if the economy is healing, as many think it is, real interest rates are likely to rise. And as the Cyprus bailout showed last month, markets appear to be well past the panic stages of the financial crisis. One interpretation is that gold's fall is the shift in how investors perceive risk -- away from a world obsessed with panic and collapse toward one focused on long-term growth.

For those in gold for the long haul, that should be unsettling. Over time, gold's real return averages close to zero.

The stock market falling 20 percent or more is typically nothing for long-term investors to fret about -- historically, it's a once-every-five-years occurrence, with large gains over time. Gold is different. Over the long haul, the best it will do is preserve wealth. In between, it goes through periods, sometimes decades-long, of boom and bust.

No one knows if the gold story has peaked. What we know is that it's riskier than many believed. As Bill Bonner says, "People do not get what they want or what they expect from the markets; they get what they deserve."

(Morgan Housel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.)

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Morgan Housel, a columnist at The Motley Fool, is a two-time winner, Best in Business award, Society of American Business Editors and Writers and Best in Business 2012, Columbia Journalism Review.


Previously:


BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!

Twitter: The carnival barker of investing

Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets

25 important things to remember as an investor

New paradigm for both drivers and car companies

Biases that make you a bad investor

Nine financial rules you should never forget

Gaining from financial destruction

How to read financial news

Housing: Partying like it's 1925

A rebuttal to student loan horror stories

CONGRATULATIONS: We just saved half a trillion dollars

End this crazy tax: It will boost the economy

Medicare: A dangerously good deal

Economic future looks bright

The Biggest Threat to Your Portfolio (It's Not What You Think)

Bond Market Bull Run dead at 30



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