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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.

The Season for Consolidation
November 2, 2016

The Season for Consolidation

Last year saw a record number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), altogether valued at a monumental $4.78 trillion worldwide.

Since then, M&A activity has sharply declined overall, with deals limited mostly to larger, multinational corporations. According to M&A database group PitchBook—itself to be acquired by Morningstar—there were 31 deals with estimated values of at least $10 billion in the third quarter alone, more than the entirety of 2015.

Volume Completed Deals in Third Quarter Saw a Steep Plunge
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Despite tightening regulatory and antitrust hurdles, more of these monster-size deals are on their way, including stalwart American brands.

Reach Out and Touch Someone

No doubt you’ve heard by now that AT&T is about to get into the movie and television business. The Dallas-based telecommunications giant announced last week that it would be purchasing Time Warner, the world’s largest media empire, whose vast portfolio includes CNN, TNT and HBO, as well as reliable cash cows Harry Potter and DC Comics, home to Superman and Batman.

Barring any antitrust obstacles—which AT&T is no stranger to—the $85.4 billion deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.

What AT&T Gets for $85 Billion
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The deal makes a lot of sense. People’s viewing preferences are changing such that they’re just as likely now to get their programming on WiFi-enabled devices as they are via cable and satellite. Traditional TV still plays an overwhelmingly huge role in most of our lives, but with online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime adding subscribers every day, more and more of the content we consume is migrating to laptops, smartphones and other non-TV screens.

Device preferences for watching TV in the U.S.
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According to Pew Research, as many as one in four American adults now report being either a cord-cutter or so-called “cord-never”—someone who’s never subscribed to cable or satellite.

This trend is turning up even in National Football League (NFL) ratings. Once believed to be immune to changing viewing habits, professional football viewership is actually down about 10 percent from last season. Part of this has to do with presidential election coverage, but it’s also a function of games being streamed live on Twitter and other online channels, which takes market share away from TV networks.
This is all bad news for traditional cable and satellite providers, good news for AT&T, which is betting hard that people’s tastes will increasingly favor online content and distribution. The company is set to roll out a 100-channel, $35-a-month package called DirecTV Now, which will be delivered to you over the internet—no cable box or satellite dish needed.

The AT&T-Time Warner deal was followed by news that General Electric would be combining its oil and gas business with Houston-based Baker Hughes.

The resultant company—62 percent owned by GE, 37 percent by Baker Hughes—is expected to give GE a more cost-efficient way to take advantage of a recovery in the energy space. It will also put it in a better position to compete against industry giants Schlumberger and Halliburton.

Both Time Warner and Baker Hughes stock saw significant pops following the announcements.

Time Warner and Baker Hughes Rally Following Deal Announcements
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A Record Number of Failed U.S. Deals

These gargantuan deals follow a relatively tepid first half of the year. In the U.S. alone, 59 deals worth a combined $463 billion crashed and burned in the first half, the most ever for that period, according to Fox Business.

One of the biggest failed deals involved U.S. drug maker Pfizer, whose attempted $160 billion acquisition of Ireland-based Allergan was scuttled by the Obama administration’s anti-inversion regulators in April. Halliburton and Baker Hughes were likewise prevented from realizing their $35 billion deal, announced back in November 2014. Antitrust concerns also squashed the $6 billion merger between office supply rivals Staples and Office Depot.

Mergers & Acquisitions 2016
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Other factors that could have influenced M&A activity include geopolitical uncertainty—specifically, Brexit and the upcoming U.S. presidential election. A recent report from Chicago-based law firm Baker & McKenzie estimates that the global M&A market could see a deficit of up to $1.6 trillion in lost dealmaking opportunities “unless an orderly and swift Brexit process is followed.” We already know the divorce proceedings will take two years. How “orderly” they will prove to be is anyone’s guess at this point.

And then there’s the U.S. election. Historically, M&A activity has slowed during election years, especially when both parties nominate non-incumbent candidates, as is the case this year. Companies have tended to put deals on ice until after it’s known who will end up in office and what his or her policies will be.

But as we all know, this year has been anything but typical. That AT&T, GE and others are willing to move ahead with their plans so close to the election shows how strong the need for consolidation is right now.

 

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.

Holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. None of the securities mentioned in the article were held by any accounts managed by U.S. Global Investors as of 09/30/2016.

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Forget Everything You Know About Presidential Elections
October 31, 2016

2016 Elections

So here we are, eight days before America picks its poison, with most national polls showing a win for Hillary Clinton. If she pulls it off, she’ll become not only the first woman and first first lady to rise to the country’s highest office but also the first Democrat to succeed another two-term Democrat since Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson in 1837.

She’ll also become the first to be under FBI investigation. On Friday we learned that the bureau is reopening her email case, mere days after WikiLeaks released even more damning files on the nominee. I find it interesting that back in July, eccentric internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom predicted that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would turn out to be Hillary’s “worst nightmare”—a prediction that has largely come true.

Meanwhile, if Donald Trump manages an upset, he will become the oldest person ever to take the oath of office and the first to transition directly from the business world to the presidency without any past experience as a high-ranking government official (like William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover) or military officer (like Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower).

To Trump’s supporters and many others, of course, this is one of his main assets.

But back to the polls. In the end, they can often be misleading. I can point to several previous polls that said one thing but in the end turned out to be inaccurate, starting with those that suggested Brexit wouldn’t happen. As you know, they were way off.

In a now-classic example, California polls gave L.A. mayor Tom Bradley a wide lead in the days leading up to the 1982 gubernatorial election, and yet he was roundly defeated. Known today as the “Bradley effect,” the accepted theory is that voters told pollsters they supported Bradley, an African-American, so as not to appear racist. But in the privacy of the voting booth, those same voters pulled the lever for his opponent.

Many now wonder if a reverse Bradley effect could be taking shape in the current presidential election, with voters not wanting to admit their support for Trump—the least-liked person ever to run in U.S. history, followed closely by Hillary—but casting their ballot for him anyway.

Will this Election Buck the Trend?

I’ve written before about the presidential election cycle theory, developed several decades ago by Yale Hirsch, whose son Jeffrey serves as editor of the indispensable Stock Trader’s Almanac, now in its 50th edition. But because this year’s election breaks the mold in a number of important ways, it raises the question of how closely it will hew to past elections, at least where market reaction is concerned. 

One of the most significant factors to keep in mind this year is that no incumbent’s name appears on the ballot. This is rarer than you might initially think. Since 1947, when the number of terms was limited to two, only five people have been elected twice and completed two full terms.

This two-term presidential cycle can often have a measurable effect on markets, as I wrote about in-depth in “Managing Expectations.” A president who’s up for reelection has a huge incentive to enact policies that support the economy and labor market, which investors like.

Stocks Have Stumbled in Second-Term Election Years

By the end of his second term, however, markets are faced with the reality that someone new will be occupying the Oval Office soon, complete with a new cabinet, new agenda, new governing style and new policies. This uncertainty has historically given investors the jitters—even when they’re in favor of the incoming president. (Even the most ardent Trump supporter must admit he’s more volatile and higher-risk than Hillary, who would likely maintain the status quo. But like a high-risk stock, Trump could also potentially deliver much higher returns.)

In second-term election years, then, equities dipped an average 4 percent, compared to an average increase of 7 percent during all election years.

Will we see a repeat of this in 2016? There’s no way to say for sure. But as of October 27, stocks are up more than 6 percent year-to-date. Although slightly below the average, this is much higher than returns in the last two election cycles when a new president had to be selected: In 2008, the market plunged nearly 40 percent; in 2000, it ended down 9 percent.

 

Looking Past November 8

would a democratic president and republican congress be best for capital markets?

Again, it’s the policies that matter, not necessarily the party. However, there is evidence that stocks have performed slightly better when a Democrat is president, especially when Congress is split, as it was during most of Barack Obama’s administration.

Members of both parties might not like hearing this, but it’s what data mining has uncovered.

By-and-large, though, markets seem to be agnostic as to which party is in control of the White House. So many other factors exert just as much, if not more, influence over market performance, including monetary policy, inflation/deflation and whether the country is at war or peace.

Average Market Returns Democratic and Republican Presidents
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Whichever way you swing, it’s becoming more compelling to have some of your portfolio in tax-free municipal bonds, which in the past have provided a certain level of stability in times of uncertainty.

Could Venezuela Become the Next Syria?

Speaking of poor policymaking, hyperinflation and violence—Venezuela is sliding closer and closer to the brink of collapse, with some sobering consequences.

This was among the topics of conversation last week at the Mining & Investment Latin America Summit in Lima, Peru. While there, I had dinner with a couple of Canadian lawyers who represent a few Latin American oil producers, some of them based in Venezuela.

Things have gone from bad to worse, they informed me. Since 2013, when Nicolás Maduro took power after the death of Hugo Chávez, the socialist country has struggled with skyrocketing inflation, food and medicine shortages, a shrinking economy and rising violence and corruption. (Its capital city of Caracas recently overtook San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for having the world’s highest homicide rate.)

These have only intensified since oil prices fell by half more than two years ago, as oil accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings.

Venezuela's shrinking economy
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Now, President Maduro has effectively suspended a scheduled recall referendum, backed by the opposition-controlled National Assembly, despite as many as 80 percent of Venezuelans in favor of his removal from office. The suspension has led to widespread protests in the streets, with accusations of a coup being tossed around on both sides.

Venezuelan Presiden Nicolas Maduro has effetively suspended democratic elections, spurring mass protests.

The fear, the lawyers said, is that if Caracas falls, the vacuum it leaves behind would serve as a prime terrorist base of operations—a Latin American Syria, as it were, complete with the world’s largest proven oil reserves to finance it.

We’ve already seen the country cozy up to fellow OPEC member Iran, recognized by the State Department as the world’s leading state sponsor of global terrorism. According to the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based international policy think-tank, Iran is “partnering with Venezuela’s drug traders and creating a foothold” in the Latin American country.

It’s such a travesty that a nation as resource-rich as Venezuela could allow itself to rot from within. Its descent into chaos should serve as just the latest cautionary tale to other countries that are willing to risk stability and prosperity for even more socialism.

Join Me in San Francisco

In mid-November, I will be in beautiful San Francisco, presenting at the Silver & Gold Summit, hosted by Cambridge House. I’ll be joined by many other prestigious figures in the metals and mining industry, from top analysts to mining executives to respected newsletter writers. The conference, will be held November 14 and 15. I hope to see you there!

Join Frank Holmes at The Silver & Gold Summit

 

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.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies.

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Is Weak Productivity to Blame for Sluggish Consumer Spending?
October 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton plans to raise your taxes. are you invested in tax-free munis?

Last week I presented at the MoneyShow in Dallas, where sentiment toward gold was a bit muted compared to other recent conferences I’ve attended. The yellow metal has certainly taken a breather following its phenomenal first half of the year, but the drivers are still firmly in place for another rally: low to negative government bond yields; economic and geopolitical uncertainty; and a lack of faith in global monetary policy.

I want to thank my friend Kim Githler for hosting the MoneyShow. Every year since she founded the event in 1981, she’s captivated audiences with her intelligence, sharp wit and honesty.

One of the highlights of the event was listening to American economist Art Laffer, whose “Laffer curve” shows that the government can actually bring in more revenue if tax rates are kept low. Art’s theory was used as the basis for President Ronald Reagan’s free-trade, low-tax policies. Later, Art actually supported Bill Clinton because he was willing to streamline taxes and regulations.

The same cannot, I’m afraid, be said of his wife Hillary, who plans to raise taxes at nearly every level.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump's Tax Plans
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Although bad for your pocketbook and savings, the possibility of higher taxes is expected to increase interest in tax-free municipal bonds, especially among top earners. For over a year now, muni bond funds have seen positive weekly inflows, with $147 million going in during the week ended October 17. I expect this trend to continue as we head closer to the election, and beyond.

The Republicans at the event, meanwhile, were almost unanimously disappointed in their candidate Donald Trump. Many of the grievances had to do with his inability to stay on message. If he would simply stick to key issues such as public safety, immigration and minimizing taxes and regulations, he might have a clear shot at the presidency. Instead, he too easily walks into personal traps set by the media and the Clinton campaign.

 

Where’s the Retail Spending?

 

Maybe you haven’t heard yet, but you got a raise in 2015 without even realizing it. At least, that’s what the Census Bureau revealed last month. U.S. household income rose 5.2 percent, the fastest on record.

U.S. Middle-Class Households Got a Huge Raise in 2015
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This falls in line with other recent news that appears to show that the U.S. economy is humming once again, nearly a decade after the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

With unemployment at 5 percent, initial jobless claims fell to a four-decade low this month, while the labor-force participation rate—the share of working-age Americans who are working or actively seeking work—has finally begun to perk up. Also improving is the voluntary quits rate, which indicates workers now have enough confidence in the labor market to walk away from their current jobs and quickly find new ones.

As encouraging as this all is, I have to look at the consumer discretionary sector and wonder why we’re not seeing healthier consumption. (This is important, as spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of gross domestic product.) If more Americans have better-paying jobs, as the data seem to indicate, and they’re feeling good about parting with their money, why aren’t retail sales surging?

Instead, sales growth, excluding food services, has steadily been weakening. E-commerce sales growth looks strong, but the entire industry can’t be propped up by Amazon alone.

U.S. Retail Sales Growth Has Stagnated
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Confirming this is Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s latest report on debit and credit card spending, which showed a “substantial slowdown” in retail sales, ex-autos, in September, according to Zero Hedge.

Despite the release of the iPhone 7 in September, BofAML didn’t see “a spike in electronic store sales akin to prior releases of Apple devices. It may be a reflection of the iPhone 7 or perhaps the trend in electronic store sales ex-iPhone is sluggish.”

The bank raises a couple of good points here. Apple’s latest smartphone was met with criticism stemming from its lack of a headphone jack, which might have dissuaded some consumers from upgrading.

And as many others have pointed out, it’s possible we’ve finally reached “iPhone fatigue.” Most everyone now owns a satisfactory smartphone—so long as it doesn’t explode—so consumers could simply be holding out for the next must-have gadget. Maybe they’ll find it in Facebook’s virtual reality Oculus Rift headset, but with its price tag still hovering above $800, it might take some time before consumers feel comfortable enough to buy it.

Automobiles and Housing Affected, Too

This goes far beyond smartphones. Big-ticket items such as automobiles and homes are also seeing sluggish, or even negative, growth. The S&P Global Ratings recently cut its automobile sales estimate for the year to 17.5 million from 17.8 million.

Facing inventory build-up, Ford Motor announced it would temporarily halt production at four of its factories both here in the U.S. and Mexico, Bloomberg reports. One of these factories, in Kansas City, builds the bestselling F-150 pickup.

Meanwhile, the momentum of new housing starts and permits has also slowed, with starts falling in September for the second straight month. Despite improvement since the housing bubble, we still aren’t close to where we were pre-recession, let alone the 1990s average.  

U.S. Housing Starts and Permits Haven't Reached 1990s Average
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The Slowest Recovery Since the Great Depression

Household income is up, unemployment is down—and yet sales are stagnant. It’s a paradox.

A paradox, that is, until we examine another economic indicator: labor productivity.

In simple terms, productivity means labor efficiency—producing more goods and services without working longer hours. And when productivity rises, it increases our standards of living.

Since the end of World War II, productivity rose pretty steadily. But growth has been near-anemic for close to a decade now and is currently running lower than it’s ever been.

Consider the following chart. Each bar represents a new business cycle following a recession. Crawling along at 1 percent annually, today’s productivity growth is weaker than the previous 10 cycles. In the September quarter, it actually fell 0.6 percent.

Annual Percent Change in U.S. Productivity During Each Business Cycle
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The big question is: Why is this happening?

The answer depends on who or which economist you ask.

Possible factors that have been tossed around include the aging of the workforce, the strong dollar (which reduces the competitiveness of U.S. companies) and a slowdown in capital spending by businesses since the recession.

One of the leading theories, presented by economist Robert J. Gordon in his recent book “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,” argues that 19th and 20th-century innovations—air conditioning, indoor plumbing, the microwave, the automobile—were much more impactful on workers’ productivity than modern inventions such as the internet, cloud computing and smartphone apps. (Indeed, we’d probably all agree that these things often waste, instead of enhance, our time and energy.)

$740 Billion in New Compliance Costs

We can add to the list the growing mountain of regulations, a topic I’ve discussed many times before. According to the American Action Forum, there’s been, on average, one costly regulation—or “hidden” tax—implemented every day of the Obama administration. This has added about $740 billion and 194 million paperwork hours to the burden. Although designed with good intentions, these regulations, and the compliance costs associated with them, often stand in the way of efficiency.

Also increasing are the number of government jobs, which aren’t exactly known to drive innovation. Although we’ve seen an uptick in new manufacturing positions during the last decade, jobs have over the long-run been on the decline.

More Americans Work for the Government than in Manufacturing
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To get productivity back on track, and therefore consumer spending, the U.S. should strongly consider regulation reform.

 

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.

Holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more accounts managed by U.S. Global Investors as of 6/30/2016: Ford Motor Co. 

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What We Look For When Picking Superior Gold Stocks
October 11, 2016

What We Look For When Picking Superior Gold Stocks

The ability to filter through hundreds of gold stocks, choosing those with the best relative value, among other things, is a skill that our portfolio management team at U.S. Global Investors has over 30 years of experience in. Our primary fiduciary responsibility as active managers is to sift, sort and prioritize these names in order to pinpoint the ones we believe can provide the best opportunities for our funds and to our shareholders.

Although we use several technical strategies to accomplish this, I have outlined some of the most important factors we focus on when classifying the best of the best gold stocks.

The Portfolio Manager’s Cube

For starters, the portfolio manager’s cube lays out the value drivers behind superior resource stock performance. It draws attention to the intersections among a resource company’s production, cash flow and reserves (rows) and relative value, momentum and event drivers (columns). Using this model, we compare stocks to find attractive opportunities and overpriced risks, particularly in mining companies.

We start off by looking at production, cash flow and reserves on a per share basis.

Production lets us know how much gold or minerals a company expects to produce in relation to others, which will directly impact its profitability.

Similarly, cash flow deals with the costs necessary to aid in production, and indicates the quality of a company’s income. Does the company have ample cash flow to finance the costly yet necessary infrastructure, equipment, geological analysis and manpower to extract the metal, not to mention pay dividends?

For exploration companies that do not have cash flow, we look at burn rate, which describes how long a company’s current cash levels will last before it has to return for additional financing. For example, if a junior exploration company has $15 million in cash reserves and is spending $3 million a month, it has five months to deliver enough reserves per share to convince capital markets it is worth the risk.

Reserves are the economically mineable part of a mineral resource, usually demonstrated by an initial feasibility study. The average concentration of gold in the earth’s crust is 0.005 parts per million, making a substantial yield very rare. We want to see growth in reserves.

By evaluating these success factors, we have a better understanding of the management and productivity of a company, or its value. But how is it faring in relation to industry peers or its closest competitors? This is called relative value, another important point to consider.

Finally comes momentum. We want to know if a company is headed quickly and profitably toward the direction it’s aiming for. Can its upward movement last or are external factors at risk of causing a slowdown or pullback? Many times, results are event driven. This could be mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity, changes in management, new mine discoveries and the like. These are the types of events we keep a close eye on.

Using this type of explicit knowledge, along with “boots on the ground” experience, or tacit knowledge, helps us to look for and understand important events that could affect any of these success factors.

A Quant Driven Model for Stock Picking

We are practitioners of quantitative analysis. In combination with the portfolio manager’s cube, we screen mining stocks for the following factors. Each factor offers an important glimpse into how a company is handling its overall operations.

 

  • A mine’s ore grade is the proportion of the metal contained in the ore at the site. Higher-quality mines have higher ore grades and lower-quality mines have lower grades. We focus on stocks that are above median grade.
  • A company’s debt-to-equity ratio shows the amount of debt being used in order to finance its assets, relative to the amount of value represented in the shareholders’ equity. We look for companies with low debt-to-equity.
  • Modest growth in production is important. We want a mine that is producing, but recognize growth that is too extreme can be risky in the long run.
  • Cash flow return on invested capital (CFROIC) is a valuation metric for evaluating the earnings of a company, comparing its cash return to equity. We look for companies with above average CFROIC.
  • Enterprise value to operating cash flow is the ratio of the entire economic value of a company to the cash it produces.

Companies with high gross margins and enterprise value also rank well in our quant models. Gross margin is how much money a company has left after incurring costs related to producing the goods and services sold – the higher the percentage, the better.

Using technical stock screens and tacit knowledge of management teams can help us uncover hidden gems with attractive growth prospects. This is the value that our investment team at U.S. Global Investors provides for our shareholders and how we seek to generate alpha.

 

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

Cash Flow Return on Invested Capital (CFROIC) is defined as consolidated cash flow from operating activities minus capital expenditures, the difference of which is divided by the difference between total assets and non-interest bearing current liabilities. 

Alpha is a measure of performance on a risk-adjusted basis. Alpha takes the volatility (price risk) of a mutual fund and compares its risk-adjusted performance to a benchmark index. The excess return of the fund relative to the return of the benchmark index is a fund's alpha.

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Welcoming the New Addition to the S&P 500: Real Estate
September 20, 2016

Welcoming the New Addition to the S&P 500: Real Estate

In case you haven’t noticed, the S&P 500 Index is looking a little different these days. Once a subindustry of the financials sector, real estate now has its own zip code in the universe of blue chip stocks. It’s the first time since 1999 that such a change has been made to the S&P’s composition.

The new sector has a weighting of nearly 3 percent, all of it taken out of financials.

An Then There Were 11
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As I told CNBC Asia’s Bernie Lo recently, I think real estate’s promotion will attract more institutional and individual investors to the space. It tells them this is no longer a niche market but one with a distinct and significant presence, with its own unique business drivers.

This has been a long time coming, to be perfectly honest. Ever since the housing and financial crisis, real estate investment trusts (REITs) have been pulling in some serious cash as more become available for trading on the New York Stock Exchange and elsewhere. Altogether, REITs currently have a market cap of over $1 trillion, according to REIT.com.


click to enlarge

With investors on the hunt for yield, it’s not hard to see why. As of August 31, the FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index yielded an average of 3.61 percent, compared to the S&P 500’s 2.11 percent. During 2015, stock exchange-listed REITs paid out a whopping $46.5 billion in dividends.

U.S. Equity REITs continue to climb since the housing crisis
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Builders Rush to Meet Demand

Looking just at the residential housing market, business is definitely booming. With 30-year mortgage rates at below 3.5 percent, the market is scorching hot in many parts of the U.S.—so much so, some builders are reporting a shortage in construction workers to meet demand.

Banks Lending Historic Sums of Cash to Real Estate Projects
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New construction starts rose to 1.2 million in July, beating analysts’ forecasts and suggesting the U.S. housing market appears to have finally made a full recovery eight years following the recession, with Bloomberg calling this the “strongest home sales since the start of the economic expansion.”

…But Homeownership Is Falling

Trouble could be brewing, however. As I shared with you last month, millennials just aren’t buying homes at the same rate we’ve historically seen from 18- to 34-year-olds. There are many theories as to why this is, from millennials delaying starting families to focus on careers, to a loss of trust in homeownership as a reliable investment or even as an institution, to a preference to rent. This trend has contributed to the lowest U.S. homeownership rate in five decades.

But how can this be? How could there be both massive housing demand and yet declining homeownership?

One answer might lie in population growth. Simply put, there are more of us living in the U.S. than ever before, which translates into more renting and more buying. And with single-person households on the rise every year, a need for additional housing units has become a priority. Whereas one unit would have served a married couple only a few years ago, now two are needed.

Whether you believe this or not, it seems reasonable to expect the new real estate sector to attract assets to the space, as more mutual funds will add to their exposure to better reflect the S&P 500. If anything, it will help investors monitor and track this important segment of the market.

 

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.

There is no guarantee that the issuers of any securities will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, will remain at current levels or increase over time.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The FTSE NAREIT All Equity REITs Index is a free-float adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index of U.S. Equity REITs. Constituents of the Index include all tax-qualified REITs with more than 50 percent of total assets in qualifying real estate assets other than mortgages secured by real property.

Investing in real estate securities involves risks including the potential loss of principal resulting from changes in property value, interest rates, taxes and changes in regulatory requirements.

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Net Asset Value
as of 09/25/2017

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $5.78 -0.04 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $8.02 0.06 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $6.69 0.06 China Region Fund USCOX $10.96 -0.46 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.94 -0.06 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $24.34 0.10 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $19.99 0.03 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.23 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change