Share this page with your friends:

Print

Please note: The Frank Talk articles listed below contain historical material. The data provided was current at the time of publication. For current information regarding any of the funds mentioned in these presentations, please visit the appropriate fund performance page.

Domestic and Indian Gold Rally Points to a Strong Second Half
July 17, 2014

Earlier this week we reported that gold, defying expectations, is one of the best-performing commodities of the year so far.

And now we’ve learned that gold bullion imports by India climbed a stunning 65 percent last month after the country’s central bank allowed more investors to buy foreign bullion. Imports rose to $3.12 billion in June from $1.89 billion this time last year.

India is the world’s second-largest consumer of gold after China, accounting for approximately 25 percent of all gold consumption. Gold is the country’s second-largest import item after oil.
The Indian wedding season has historically been a major driver of gold consumptionThis news comes closely on the heels of the recent election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeks to loosen import restrictions and other government regulations that tend to stifle economic growth. The rally also coincides with the Indian wedding season, which typically ends on July 7 and 8.

More importantly, what this news could portend is a stronger-than-normal second half of the year for the gold market. Data points going back 35 years confirm the probability of gold gaining strength in the second half, thanks largely to international celebrations such as Diwali, Ramadan and Christmas. This year in particular looks very promising indeed.

Keep your eyes on real interest rates.
Recently I chatted with Daniela Cambone during my weekly Gold Game Film program on Kitco. I pointed out that, with the end of the Indian wedding season, we’re historically due for a slight correction in the gold market. But whereas last year saw a huge contraction and liquidation of gold around this time, the gold bullion exchange-traded funds (ETFs) around the world this year actually expanded.

Daniela and I also looked ahead at the gold market in the coming months. One of the points I shared dealt with the strong correlation between gold performance and real interest rates, which you arrive at after subtracting inflation from the nominal interest rate.

If we go back to when gold was at $1,900 [in August 2011], the negative real interest rates were 200 basis points. Then by December of last year, it went to plus 50 basis points. Now it’s gone negative again, and gold is rallying. And I think that that’s a key factor when we look forward, and I think we’re going to continue to have negative real interest rates. So when inflation starts to rise like it did in the ‘70s, [the Federal Reserve isn’t] going to be able to lift rates as fast as the inflationary rate because it will stifle the economy dramatically.

Gold Rebound Linked to Fall in Interest Rates
click to enlarge

One last point I want to emphasize is our perennial suggestion to investors: 5 percent exposure to gold bullion, 5 to gold stocks, and rebalance each year for an overall 10 percent weighting in your portfolio.

Last year the stock market boomed, whereas bullion disappointed and gold stocks dramatically underperformed. Had investors taken their profits in the stock market and rolled it into gold, they would have done exceptionally well this year.

That continues to be our discipline here at U.S. Global Investors, and the recent gold rally, domestically and in India, substantiates this position.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Share “Domestic and Indian Gold Rally Points to a Strong Second Half”

Why We Invest Heavily in Poland
July 9, 2014

There’s a reason why Poland retains the number two slot in our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX), following Turkey. Ever since the fall of communism in 1989, the country has risen steadily, from a fledgling republic beset by near-bankruptcy, a deteriorating infrastructure and an East-West identity crisis, to emerge as one of the European Union’s (EU) most prosperous nations, alongside the U.K., France, Germany and Spain.

The latest issue of The Economist, in fact, asserts that Poland has had its best 25 years in half a millennium, citing its relatively quick market-oriented recovery, decrease in public spending and insistence on keeping its native currency, the flexible złoty, in favor of adopting the euro.

For these reasons and more, Poland was the only country in the EU—of which it’s been a member since 2004—to dodge the recession that struck Europe in the late 2000s. More recently, the international sanctions against Russia following its invasion of the Crimean Peninsula have also benefited Poland, as many investors have found it to be a safer, less volatile place for their money.

In a recent interview with VoiceAmerica, U.S. Global Investor’s Director of Research John Derrick said:

[Poland is] used as a safe haven in the region: stable economy, stable political environment. It’s benefited from the European recovery and doesn’t have that much trade with Russia.

Many economists now believe that Poland will eventually join ranks with the top 20 economies in the world, perhaps by as early as 2030. It currently sits at number 22, 23 or 24, depending on the source.

As you can see in the chart below, Poland has consistently outpaced its EU peers in the eurozone for the last 10 years, never once dipping below zero percent growth.

Poland Leads Economic Growth in Europe
click to enlarge

An eye for business.
Poland has grown in economic strength largely because it offers the EU low-wage yet high-quality labor. Many German companies can get a better production deal from their eastern neighbor than they can from China.

Although Poland doesn’t have any internationally recognizable brands, there are a few held in EUROX worth mentioning.

One of the most successful and lucrative companies is Powszechna Kasa Oszczędności Bank Polski, which translates roughly to “Polish General Savings Bank.” With a net income of over $1 billion, PKO Bank Polski, as it’s popularly known, is the largest and most highly rated bank not just in Poland but also Central and Eastern Europe. Founded in 1919, the bank is headquartered in Warsaw.

Another Warsaw company in the financial industry is Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń, or PZU Group. With a net income just below $1 billion, it’s one of the top insurance groups in Central and Eastern Europe.

ENERGA Group, which rounds out the top three Polish stocks in EUROX, held its initial public offering (IPO) in December of last year. With over 118,000 miles of power lines, ENERGA is one of Poland’s leading energy providers, servicing close to 3 million customers. A significant percentage of the power it generates comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and run-of-the-river hydroelectricity. ENERGA reported a high return on equity (ROE) in the first quarter of this year, soaring to 10.6 percent, up from 4.4 percent in the same quarter last year.

Always seeking growth and opportunity.
If any country knows how to overcome crushing war and hardship, it’s Poland. Having been invaded and antagonized countless times over the centuries by nations such as Russia, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and, most notably, Germany, it’s had little chance to find its place in the world.

But after 25 years of peace and stability, Poland is finally on a path to great success, ascending more rapidly than any other country in Central or Eastern Europe, with no signs of slowing.

Find out what other holdings we have in our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX).

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX) as a percentage of net assets as of 6/30/2014: Powszechna Kasa Oszczednosci Bank Polski SA (4.55%), Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen SA (2.86%), Energa SA (2.73%).

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. By investing in a specific geographic region, a regional fund’s returns and share price may be more volatile than those of a less concentrated portfolio. The Emerging Europe Fund invests more than 25% of its investments in companies principally engaged in the oil & gas or banking industries. The risk of concentrating investments in this group of industries will make the fund more susceptible to risk in these industries than funds which do not concentrate their investments in an industry and may make the fund’s performance more volatile.

By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Share “Why We Invest Heavily in Poland”

Can Tesla Motors Strengthen Its Brand by Giving Away Its Patents?
June 24, 2014

by Frank Holmes

“Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

That’s according to Elon Musk, CEO of electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc., which we own in our All American Equity (GBTFX) and Holmes Macros Trends (MEGAX) Funds.

Innovators and entrepreneurs aren’t normally in the business of sharing their intellectual property. But in his blog published June 12, Musk defends his shocking decision by asserting that “applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position” in technology leadership and the auto industry overall.

The patents Musk refers to include the lithium-ion technology used to power his company’s Roadster and Model S.

Nissan and BMW, two of Tesla’s rivals in the electric vehicle (EV) market, have expressed interest in collaborating with the company on improving their own line of low-emission cars.

 

 

Investors might crinkle their noses at Musk’s decision, arguing that giving away trade secrets for free will only hurt shareholders of an already somewhat speculative company. The market didn’t agree, however, as shares rose more than 13 percent to $231.67 within five days of the announcement.

Although competitors will likely take advantage of and benefit financially from Tesla’s hard work, Musk has dramatically grown the size of the pie to be shared by all and positioned Tesla to be the thought leader in sustainable transport technology.

Besides, as he points out, Tesla’s “true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.”

Running on all cylinders—if it had any.

Tesla, founded in 2003, is showing no signs of slowing down. The Model S has received numerous awards such as Automobile Magazine’s 2013 Car of the Year, Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year, Consumer Reports’ Best Overall Car and an unprecedented 5.4 Vehicle Safety Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sales have been brisk. California drivers in particular are enamored, and in September of last year, the Model S was the top selling new car in Norway, the first time an EV outsold conventional vehicles in any country.

This year Tesla introduced its brand to China, the world’s largest auto market, and already the car was spotted cruising the streets of Shanghai by a friend of Xian Liang, co-portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX).

For those who blanch at the Model S’s nearly $60,000 baseline asking price might soon see some relief. Musk has announced the construction of a “gigafactory,” which will turn out approximately half a million lithium-ion batteries every year. Mass-producing the batteries, the car’s costliest component, will help lower the price of both Tesla and rival manufacturers’ EVs.

A real-life Tony Stark.

With Elon Musk at the helm, Tesla Motors is primed to become one of America’s greatest success stories. A serial entrepreneur, Musk made his billions investing and taking leadership roles in such tech endeavors as PayPal and SpaceX. Besides combatting carbon emissions with his line of EVs, his other ambitious goals include the construction of the so-called Hyperloop—a rapid transit system that, if realized, will zip commuters between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about 30 minutes—as well as a permanent human colony on Mars.

However these other pursuits unfold, it’s nearly guaranteed that history will rank Musk in the same category of top American automobile innovators as Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, Walter Chrysler, the Dodge brothers and Lee Iacocca.

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. By investing in a specific geographic region, a regional fund’s returns and share price may be more volatile than those of a less concentrated portfolio.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings as a percentage of net assets as of 03/31/2014: Tesla Motors Inc. (All American Equity Fund 1.34%, Holmes Macros Trends Fund 1.94%), Nissan 0.00%, BMW 0.00%, Ford 0.00%, Chevrolet 0.00%, Toyota 0.00%, Zip2 0.00%, PayPal 0.00%, SpaceX 0.00%.   

By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Share “Can Tesla Motors Strengthen Its Brand by Giving Away Its Patents?”

South Africa Strike Boosts Platinum Prices, Opens Opportunity for American Producer
June 12, 2014

All eyes are on South Africa, where a labor strike, now in its fifth month, has brought a halt to the production of platinum and palladium. As a result, platinum prices have inched up 8.25 percent this year to just under $1,500 an ounce, while palladium prices have surged 19.28 percent to over $850 an ounce, a three-year high.

The downside to this activity is that even before the strike broke out in January, platinum and palladium had supply issues. A British geological survey, in fact, placed the platinum group metals (PGMs) on its supply risk index in 2012, ranking them 13th among 41 “endangered” elements of economic value. One of the primary reasons for this is that approximately 80 percent of palladium and 70 percent of platinum production is concentrated in only two countries, South Africa and Russia.

Now, with the former country in the throes of its costliest strike ever and the latter experiencing economic sanctions because of its aggression against Ukraine, the world faces an even greater shortage risk of the precious metals.

Stocks are running low.
The worldwide demand for palladium is strong, driven predominantly by the automotive industry, which uses 67 percent of the metal’s global supply to manufacture catalytic converters, or mufflers. Because a growing number of countries are tightening carbon emission standards, the demand for the metal is increasing. So too are supply deficits, which might soon reach a 30-year high.

The largest South African producers have so far managed to make good on their deliveries by tapping into their reserves. But the well is drying up fast.

“We probably have another six to eight weeks to go before producers run really low on material they’ve stockpiled,” Standard Bank analyst Walter de Wet told Reuters in late May.

Even if a firm resolution were reached this week between top PGM producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the group leading the strike, active mining wouldn’t resume for at least another three months.

“AMCU members are steadfast,” Joseph Mathunjwa, President of the AMCU, told Reuters, “and we are not turning back” on the demand for a wage hike to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month.

Neither, it seems, are the producing companies, who claim they can’t meet the AMCU’s wage demands without being forced to slash jobs and shutter mines.

At the same time, companies are eager to resume production, having already lost a combined $2 billion. For each day the strike drags on, 10,000 ounces of platinum and 5,000 ounces of palladium are lost.

As of this writing, the production companies have offered the AMCU a wage deal which Mathunjwa has yet to sign, despite urges from his fellow mine workers.

When one door closes…
As worrisome as this news might sound, there is a silver—or, shall I say, platinum—lining. The strike in South Africa and Western tensions with Russia have given Stillwater Mining Co., the only U.S. producer of PGMs, an opportunity to grow its global market share.

The company, which we own in our Global Resources (PSPFX) and Gold and Precious Metals (USERX) Funds, announced in a press release last month that it has agreed to a five-year, multimillion-dollar refining and sales contract with Johnson Matthey, the third-largest manufacturer of auto catalysts in the world.

“We believe that this agreement provides numerous benefits to both parties at a time in the PGM industry when supplies are constrained and demand for our products continue [sic] to grow,” noted Mick McMullen, Stillwater’s president and CEO.

Located in Billings, Montana, Stillwater extracts its PGMs from the J-M Reef in southern Montana, the only known large-scale source of the rare metals in the U.S. The mine contains some of the world’s highest-quality ore grades.

Although McMullen sees the strike in South Africa as an opening to a stronger foothold in the global PGM market, he is hesitant to ramp up production too impulsively. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, he explained that he would prefer to keep production costs down to maximize shareholders’ returns.

Stillwater’s net income in the first quarter, $19.6 million, was up 34 percent from the same time a year ago.

To receive the latest updates on this story, be sure to follow our Investor Alert.

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. Because the Global Resources Fund concentrates its investments in specific industries, the fund may be subject to greater risks and fluctuations than a portfolio representing a broader range of industries. Gold, precious metals, and precious minerals funds may be susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory developments due to concentrating in a single theme. The prices of gold, precious metals, and precious minerals are subject to substantial price fluctuations over short periods of time and may be affected by unpredicted international monetary and political policies. We suggest investing no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio in these sectors.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Global Resources Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 03/31/2014: Stillwater Mining Company 0.95%. Holdings in the Gold and Precious Metals Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 03/31/2014: Stillwater Mining Company 0.26%.

By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

Share “South Africa Strike Boosts Platinum Prices, Opens Opportunity for American Producer”

From Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey Has Never Been Better
June 2, 2014

Istiklal Caddessi, the main shopping street in Instanbul, TurkeyEvery time he travels to Turkey, portfolio manager of our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX), Tim Steinle, says the country continues to develop. Although technically classified as an emerging market, one wouldn’t think to label the country as such upon arrival. The population is young and growing, there are improvements to infrastructure everywhere you look, beautiful green parks are more prevalent, and the professional staffs that run many of the shops and businesses are both well organized and thriving.

Tim told me the entire taxi system has improved upon each visit that he makes. There are newer, cleaner cars, and more professional drivers who run meters without being asked to do so. The same higher quality of service holds true when it comes to hotels, restaurants and employees of bus systems and airlines. Tim says these kinds of improvements are merely a side show in comparison to even larger companies that are run by world-class management teams.

A sweet spot in Turkey.
As Tim saw first hand, wanting the richer things in life can start with something simple, like chocolate. During his time in Turkey, he visited the Ulker Chocolate factory, a highlight for him and the group of individual investors he was traveling with.

Ulker Chocolate FacotryThe Ulker family owns the global Godiva brand through its Yildiz holding (a major Turkish manufacturer of food products), while the remainder is held by the publicly listed Ulker company.

Ulker, the market leader among Turkish chocolate companies, processes its cocoa beans in-house, unlike many of its competitors. Ulker has started a pilot farming project in Ghana. Although there were no photographs allowed inside the Ulker plant, Tim was very impressed with what he saw and shared this observation, “The plant was spic-and-span, and the cocoa bean processing hardware was just as complex as I have seen at a petroleum refinery.” Ulker is one example of the dynamic nature of many companies in Turkey; nothing is static for them, and innovation is constant.

Car purchases continue to drive growth.
Fiat is another company that is capitalizing on the consumer-oriented growth in Europe. Fiat-branded cars are manufactured around the world, but the company also has joint ventures in several countries including Turkey. Fiat S.p.A. is a majority shareholder in Chrysler and parent company to the Fiat Group.

Tim visited Tofas headquarters during his trip, and as you can see in the photo below, he and the rest of the group were able to check out the Fiat Doblo, a vehicle that looks very similar to a van but also has characteristics of most sports utility vehicles.

The Flat DobloIn 2010, Tofas, Fiat’s JV partner, began building the newest version of the Doblo in Turkey. There are several versions of the vehicle, including the Doblo EV, which is the all-electric version. The Doblo is also coming to the U.S. as Dodge Ram, and will be branded as a light commercial vehicle.

Tim pointed out to me the growing number of European-made vehicles that we see today, including the Ford Transit which is similar in style to the Doblo. The Transit was the first product of Ford of Europe, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., and won the 2010 Truck of the Year award. Volkswagen is yet another car company with European roots. “Just look under the hood,” says Tim, “these cars’ engines are made in Hungary.”

Money in the bank.
We know an increasing majority of the Turkish population has more money in their pockets, but how are Turkish banks doing? It seems the financial sector and individual banks are keeping up with the demand for innovation. One of the companies Tim met with while in Turkey was Garanti Bank, the second-largest private bank in the country.

Garanti Bank's ATM MachinesTim was impressed with the bank’s presentation and the incredible functionality of Garanti’s ATM machines. In the U.S. it is common to use an ATM to withdraw money, check your account balance, and in some instances deposit money. The Garanti ATM allows users to make over 100 different types of transactions!

Available to both Garanti customers and those who do not bank with the company are unique packages of cardless services in a network of over 200 ATMs from all over the country, according to Garanti’s website. A few examples include mobile phone recharges, exchange transactions with different currencies, invoice payments and deposits, all without needing to have your bank card with you.

Yet again we see world-class innovation from a Turkish company. The financial sector in Turkey, as well as in Greece as I've written about recently, has taken off in the last year. After concerned investors sold their emerging markets holdings last year, the central bank in Europe took action by raising rates this February. It was at this time that we saw a tremendous rally in Turkish banks and the lira began to stabilize. Strength returned to financials.

Turkish Banks Rally After Central Bank Stabilizes the Lira
click to enlarge

Investing in the best.
At U.S. Global Investors we are always looking for companies that are growing. As an emerging market, Turkey is dependent on foreign inflows, but the positive growth throughout the country is incremental and simultaneously wide-spread in many companies both big and small. Within our EUROX fund, it is companies like the ones Tim visited that we like to invest in; those that are in growing sectors of the market and display robust fundamentals.

To see the industries and names we feel are promising within emerging Europe, check out the composition of our Emerging Europe Fund.

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Distributed by U.S. Global Brokerage, Inc.

Foreign and emerging market investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and less public disclosure, as well as economic and political risk. By investing in a specific geographic region, a regional fund’s returns and share price may be more volatile than those of a less concentrated portfolio. The Emerging Europe Fund invests more than 25% of its investments in companies principally engaged in the oil & gas or banking industries.  The risk of concentrating investments in this group of industries will make the fund more susceptible to risk in these industries than funds which do not concentrate their investments in an industry and may make the fund’s performance more volatile.

F Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Emerging Europe Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 03/31/14: Chrysler Group LLC 0.00%, Fiat S.p.A. 0.00%, Ford Otomotiv Sanayi AS 0.96%, Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS 2.58%, Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi AS 3.00%, Ulker Group 0.00%, Volkswagen 0.00%, Yildiz Holding 0.00%.

F All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. The Borsa Istanbul-Banks Index (XBANK Index) is a capitalization-weighted, free-float adjusted Industry Group Index composed of National Market listed companies in the banking industry. All members of the index are also constituents of the XUMAL Sector Index.

Share “From Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey Has Never Been Better”

Net Asset Value
as of 11/24/2017

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $6.07 0.10 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $7.39 0.03 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $5.78 0.02 China Region Fund USCOX $11.95 -0.23 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $7.07 -0.02 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $24.08 0.02 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $21.36 No Change Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.21 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change