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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.

11 Numbers that Explain the World’s Largest Shopping Holiday
November 10, 2015

In 2009, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma single-handedly created the Singles Day sale by converting a fabricated holiday celebrated among lonely college students into what has become the biggest revenue-generator the world has ever known. By copyrighting the phrase “Double 11”—a play on November 11—and aggressively courting merchants, Ma’s gargantuan ecommerce company Alibaba manages to stay ahead of the competition and sell more merchandise in a 24-hour period than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Today, Alibaba controls around 80 percent of China’s ecommerce market and is giving global retail giants like Amazon a run for their money. To keep up with the stiff competition, Walmart plans to spend $2 billion over the next two years to improve its own ecommerce infrastructure.

When explaining the significance of Alibaba and Singles Day, I’m prone to pull out every synonym for “big” and “huge” I can think of. So instead, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. Below are 11 such numbers that help tell the story of Singles Day, the holiday that Jack Ma built.  

11.11
The date Chinese university students selected back in the mid-1990s as a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day for single people. What started as a joke has become the world’s largest shopping holiday.

$1 Billion
How much merchandise Alibaba sold last Singles Day within the first three minutes of the sale.

Over $9.3 Billion
Total sales within 24 hours. This amount far exceeds the combined sales revenue of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two largest American shopping holidays.

China's Singles Day Bigger Than Black Friday and Cyber MOnday Combined
click to enlarge

$12 Billion
What many analysts predict Alibaba will generate this Singles Day.

43 Percent
The percentage of Singles Day transactions made on mobile devices in 2014. Expect to see this number rise after the sales figures roll in this year.

China's Singles Day Bigger Than Black Friday and Cyber MOnday Combined

40,000
The number of merchants that will be participating this year, including global brands Disney, Apple, Costco, Macy’s and Lego.

6 Million
The number of items to choose from.

China's Singles Day Bigger Than Black Friday and Cyber MOnday Combined

$277
The average amount each shopper is expected to spend.

760 Million
The number of packages China’s postal service estimates will be needed to ship Singles Day orders. This is up 40 percent from the 540 million used last year.

1.7 Million
The estimated number of deliverymen and women that will be needed.

200
The estimated number of jets and airplanes that will be deployed to handle the sales volume in China alone.

China's Singles Day Bigger Than Black Friday and Cyber MOnday Combined

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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. The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more of U.S. Global Investors Funds as of 9/30/2015: Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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How Rare Are Municipal Bankruptcies? A Lot Rarer Than You Think
November 4, 2015

Weighing in at $18 billion, Detroit's 2013 bankruptcy made fro some splashy headlines, but cases such as this are rare.

The odds of being struck by lightning are an insignificant 0.03 percent, yet many people still worry it might happen to them. There’s even a name for it: astraphobia. Similarly, some muni bond investors worry about municipal bankruptcies, based on recent high-profile cases, even though such cases occur very infrequently. 

Think Orange County, California, in 1994; Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2011; or Detroit, Michigan, in 2013, the largest in U.S. history. Today, federal legislators are debating whether to allow debt-strapped Puerto Rico, which owes around $70 billion, to file for bankruptcy, something even U.S. states are not permitted to do.

These cases can sometimes lead to splashy headlines, which contributes to the misperception that they happen much more often than they actually do.

What municipal bond investors need to know is that, though there’s risk involved with any investment, municipal defaults are rare, and significantly rarer than their corporate counterparts.

Between 1937, when the U.S. Bankruptcy Code went into effect, and 2008, approximately 600 municipalities out of 90,000 filed for Chapter 9 protection. Governing magazine estimates that between 2008 and 2012, “only one of every 1,668 eligible general-purpose local governments filed for bankruptcy protection.” That amounts to a barely-there 0.06 percent—nearly in line with the odds of being struck by lightning—and includes everything from Aaa-rated municipalities to junk.

So far this year, only three local governments have filed, a 75 percent decline compared to 2012.


click to enlarge

Often More Trouble than It’s Worth

One of the main reasons why municipal bankruptcies are so rare is because the hurdles are set exceedingly high. Unlike an individual or corporation, a city can’t independently arrive at the decision to file. Federal law allows local governments to file, but the municipality’s state government must also permit it. Strings ordinarily come attached.

Currently, only 12 states authorize municipalities to file for bankruptcy without conditions—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Washington State. Another 12 states permit filing only when certain conditions have been met.

U.S. States Have Different Approaches to Municipal Bankruptcy

There’s also a huge amount of pushback. Bankruptcy is never an easy decision, but for local governments, it’s often more trouble than it’s worth. Citizens oppose it since it often leads to painful budget cuts and austerity measures. Obviously bondholders and pensioners are against it. States don’t like it because they fear it might tarnish their reputation and lower their credit ratings. Following Detroit’s bankruptcy, borrowing costs in surrounding Michigan counties went up.

This could affect what a state contributes to the national economy. The diagram below, courtesy of HowMuch.net, shows the relative economic value of each state, with California (13.3 percent), Texas (9.5 percent) and New York (8.1 percent) generating the most.

Relative Economic Value of Each State

Highly-Rated Municipal Bonds Remained a Relatively Safe Asset Class

Closely related, default rates for high-quality municipal bonds—the kind our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX) heavily invests in—remain close to zero. Between 1970 and 2013, Baa-rated munis historically had similar default rates as Aaa-rated corporate bonds, according to ratings agency Moody’s.

Average Cumulative Default Rates, Municipals vs. Corporates: 1970-2013
10-Year Period
Ratings Corporate Municipal
Aaa 0.49% 0.00%
Aa 0.99% 0.01%
A 2.73% 0.05%
Baa 4.61% 0.32%
Ba 19.27% 3.53%
B 40.48% 15.14%
Caa-C 66.02% 14.64%

Out of 25,000 equity and bond funds, only 30 have managed to deliver 20 straight years of positive returns, according to Lipper. NEARX is one of those 30 funds.

That’s a rare achievement indeed and represents the kind of track record most investment firms envy.

The recipient of glowing acknowledgements by popular financial and investment newsletter writers, NEARX is also highly-rated by Morningstar. It holds five stars overall among 187 Municipal National Short-Term funds as of 9/30/2015, based on risk-adjusted return.

Start taking advantage of our fixed-income expertise by requesting more information on NEARX today.

 

TELL ME MORE ABOUT NEARX

 

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.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Total Annualized Returns as of 9/30/2015
Fund Year to Date Five-Year Ten-Year Gross Expense Ratio Expense Cap
Near-Term Tax Free Fund 1.59% 2.05% 3.03% 1.08% 0.45%

Expense ratio as stated in the most recent prospectus.The expense cap is a contractual limit through April 30, 2016, for the Near-Term Tax Free Fund, on total fund operating expenses (exclusive of acquired fund fees and expenses, extraordinary expenses, taxes, brokerage commissions and interest).Performance data quoted above is historical. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. For a portion of periods, the fund had expense limitations, without which returns would have been lower. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. The principal value and investment return of an investment will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund’s prospectus which, if applicable, would lower your total returns. Performance quoted for periods of one year or less is cumulative and not annualized. Obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end at www.usfunds.com or 1-800-US-FUNDS.

Morningstar Rating

Overall/187
3-Year/187
5-Year/172
10-Year/120

Morningstar ratings based on risk-adjusted return and number of funds
Category: Municipal National Short-Term funds
Through: 9/30/2015

Morningstar Ratings are based on risk-adjusted return. The Morningstar Rating for a fund is derived from a weighted-average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five- and ten-year Morningstar Rating metrics. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a fund’s monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads, and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.)

Bond funds are subject to interest-rate risk; their value declines as interest rates rise. Though the Near-Term Tax Free Fund seeks minimal fluctuations in share price, it is subject to the risk that the credit quality of a portfolio holding could decline, as well as risk related to changes in the economic conditions of a state, region or issuer. These risks could cause the fund’s share price to decline. Tax-exempt income is federal income tax free. A portion of this income may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax. The Near-Term Tax Free Fund may invest up to 20% of its assets in securities that pay taxable interest. Income or fund distributions attributable to capital gains are usually subject to both state and federal income taxes.

A bond’s credit quality is determined by private independent rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. Credit quality designations range from high (AAA to AA) to medium (A to BBB) to low (BB, B, CCC, CC to C).

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.

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Follow the Leaders: Learning from ETFs, BCA and the New PM
October 26, 2015

Reggie Browne, the Goldfather of ETFs, gave the opening remarks at the ETF conference in Austin.Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending an intensive daylong ETF conference in Austin, just up the road from our office in San Antonio. Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, the conference was designed for institutional investors.

Welcoming the group was Reginald “Reggie” Browne, the “Godfather of ETFs,” who now serves as the senior managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald. His celebrity and prominence are nearly as big as his six-foot-five frame—and with good reason. Reggie has been instrumental in building the ETF landscape over the last decade and convincing investors of the power of the exchange-traded fund.

One of the panels featured chief investment officers from the Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS). Jase Auby, Lee Partridge and Tom Tull discussed potential shifts in asset allocation under a rising interest rate environment, among other topics.

The TRS, one of the largest pension funds in the U.S., makes significant use of gold in its investment strategy, holding the yellow metal in many forms over the years. The same is true for the $20 billion University of Texas endowment fund.

Bruce Zimmerman, chief investment officer for UTIMCO, told CNBC in 2011 that the $20 billion endowment holds gold as a diversifier and hedge against currencies. This is precisely what we tell investors, and it’s validating to see such huge funds put it in practice.

During the ETF panel, I asked Jase, Lee, Tom and moderator Ronnie Jung about their thoughts on real interest rates and their relationship with gold. Everyone’s speculating on when the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates, but real interest rates, as I shared with you this week, appear to have already risen. (As a reminder, real interest rates are what you get when you deduct the monthly rate of inflation from the 10-year Treasury yield.) A 10 percent upswing in the U.S. dollar is equivalent to the federal funds rate being hiked 100 basis points.

This has had a huge effect on the yellow metal. When real rates are negative, gold has tended to do well. Conversely, when they’re positive—and rising, as they are now—it’s been a headwind for gold. This relationship was confirmed by the research of Barry Bannister, chief equity strategist for Stifel, who visited our office last week.

I also appreciated the TRS group’s bullishness on China. Their position is that, because everyone is negative on China right now, all sorts of investment opportunities open up from a contrarian point of view.

The World’s Second-Largest Economy in Flux

I’ve commented before that China has been moving away from a manufacturing-based economy and instead focusing more on services—financials, real estate, insurance, ecommerce and the like.

China's Services Industry Surpasses 50 Pecent GDP
click to enlarge

While the country’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reading has been in contraction mode since March of this year, these service industries are ever-expanding. The problem is that the transformation has not been fast enough to offset the massive size of the manufacturing sector.

But investment opportunities in this sector still exist. Anyone who’s traveled more than 100 miles inland knows that China is under-urbanized. Ever since Deng Xiaoping created special tax-free zones along the eastern Chinese coastline in 1978, most of the country’s growth has been concentrated in these few regions and municipalities. The interior provinces, on the other hand, have remained largely rural.

You can see this for yourself in the chart below, provided by Marko Papic, chief geopolitical strategist for BCA Research, who briefed our investments team this week. BCA is an influential, independent investment strategy firm with more than 65 years of experience conducting excellent macroeconomic research.

Chinese Interior Provinces Still Need Investment-Led Growth
click to enlarge

We just learned that the People’s Bank of China cut both lending and saving rates 0.25 percent, to 4.35 percent and 1.50 percent respectively. This will cause negative real rates in China to fall even lower, which is good for gold demand.

It will also likely add to the Fed’s list of doubts about raising its own rates. In a world where every other major country is stimulating its economy by cutting rates and devaluing its currency, it makes less and less sense for the U.S. to hike rates.

BCA’s Marko Papic stressed the need to see further stimulus in China. Without it, commodities and global growth in general are at risk. Some economists believe we might be headed for a global recession.

Difference of Opinion When It Comes to Defining Global Recession

Depending on who you ask, there are different ideas of what global recession looks like. The generally accepted one in the U.S. is two consecutive quarterly declines in real GDP. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, uses a different measure. Among other economic conditions, annual GDP must fall below 3 percent, a high benchmark and one that requires much stimulus.

Global growth for 2015 is at 3.3 percent, the IMF calculates, precariously close to the 3 percent threshold. 

BCA Research: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Needed to Fast-Track Global Growth

This is where the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes into play, which is the stance BCA also takes. The landmark trade agreement, involving 12 nations, was signed earlier this month. Although it still requires ratification, the TPP could boost the world economy by an incredible $223 billion by 2025, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The 12 Apostles of the Historic Trans-Pacific Partnership
click to enlarge

Like Father, Like Son: Canada Elects a New Leader

I feel blessed to have had the chance to meet Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1978. I'm second from the right.

One of the TPP’s biggest supporters was outgoing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But the newly elected Justin Trudeau, member of the Liberal party, has also come out in support of free trade agreements. The hope is that he will continue to take this position where the TPP is concerned.

Although Trudeau earned his degree in education from the University of British Columbia and taught as a school teacher for many years, he is by no means a stranger to politics. He’s served as a Member of Parliament since 2008, and his father, Pierre Trudeau, served as Canada’s prime minister for 15 years.

Back in the 1970s, in fact, I campaigned for Pierre Trudeau alongside Dr. John Evans, a Rhodes Scholar. This was during Trudeau’s first stint in office, before being voted out in 1979 and then returning to serve again in 1984.

His son, only 43, ran on a campaign of hope and change—sound familiar?—and promised that, if elected, he would help the economy by increasing infrastructure spending. Unlike some other world leaders, he wants to put people to work instead of establishing a welfare state. Trudeau plans to raise revenue by taxing recreational marijuana—if he succeeds at legalizing it, that is.

Justin Trudeau boxes his way to center stage

One of the main criticisms of Trudeau the Younger is that he’s inexperienced politically. But here in the U.S., take a look at who’s currently topping the polls in the Republican field: business magnate Donald Trump, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Accomplished though they are, none of them has been elected to office. This goes to show that voters have grown fed up with career politicians who lack accountability.

 

Next Stop, the Big Easy

Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan one of the many distinguished speakers at the New Orleans Investment ConferenceThis week will kick off my short conference road trip, beginning with the 2015 New Orleans Investment Conference, happening October 28 – 31. For 41 years, this event has attracted some of the world’s most distinguished speakers—from Margaret Thatcher to Steve Forbes to Norman Schwarzkopf—and this year’s no exception. I look forward to speaking again this year alongside some of the brightest minds in the industry at what some call the “World’s Greatest Investment Event.”

After that, I’ll head to Peru for the Mining & Investment Latin America Summit, November 4 – 5, and wrap things up in Melbourne, Australia, at the International Mining and Resources Conference.

I hope you’ll join me!

The Purchasing Manager’s Index is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and 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 of U.S. Global Investors Funds as of 9/30/2015: Hewlett-Packard Co. 0.00%.

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.

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The “Oprah Effect” and Gold
October 22, 2015

Oprah bought 10 percent of weight watchersMany short sellers of Weight Watchers no doubt felt too down to look in the mirror this week after company stock unexpectedly ballooned nearly 170 percent.

You can thank (or blame) Oprah. The influential former talk show hostess bought a 10 percent stake in the weight management company, sending its shares up from $6.79 to $18.25 in as few as two trading sessions.

This is hardly the first time one of Oprah’s endorsements, whether verbal or monetary, has lifted a struggling business or product. There’s even a name for it: the Oprah Effect.

No matter your opinion of Oprah—her politics, her tastes—you have to admit that she’s a phenomenally savvy businesswoman, whose rags-to-riches success has helped make her one of the most powerful women in not just the U.S. but the world. As such, it’s important for investors to pay attention to her and other such “smart money” influencers. Their decisions often have the power to move markets.

So what’s moving gold right now?

Quite a lot, actually, from widespread doubts of a 2015 interest rate hike, to strong seasonal demand in India and China, to Russia’s military action in Syria. Gold also received a huge endorsement recently from billionaire Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Management Corp., who said that the precious metal “should be a part of every investment portfolio, maybe five to 10 percent.”

(I always recommend 10 percent: 5 percent in gold stocks, 5 percent in bullion, then rebalance every year.)

But as I discuss in a previous Frank Talk, perhaps the most significant mover of gold right now is the weakening of the strong U.S. dollar against other world currencies. Gold and the dollar share an inverse relationship, and for the past year, the greenback has been putting pressure on the yellow metal, not to mention other commodities and natural resources.

Now that the dollar is showing signs that it’s starting to turn, however, gold is starting to turn heads.

Watch my video below for further insight into what’s moving gold.

None of U.S. Global Investors Funds held any of the securities mentioned in this article as of 9/30/2015. 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.

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Life Is Uncertain and So Are Interest Rates
September 14, 2015

US-Global-Will-Never-Forget 9-11

Last Friday was an emotional day for Americans. In an instant, on a beautiful blue sky morning 14 years ago, all of our lives changed forever. 

September 11 is a day when we pause and reflect on where we were when—when the towers came crumbling down, when our nation’s capital came under attack, when so many lives were cut short, when so many heroes rushed in. 

I was in Manhattan with colleagues that day, attending a financial industry conference uptown. At the time, we didn’t know how fortunate we were that our meeting had been changed from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I was en route when everything stopped, and soon after, I saw all the people covered in dust and walking home across the bridge. The cell phones in the city stopped working, but because mine had a San Antonio area code, I was able to get through to the office to let everyone know we were safe. 

Nancy-Holmes

I was there with two of my company executives and the magnificent Nancy Holmes (no relation, though she often joked that I was her adopted son), who was working with me as a marketing strategist, at the age of 82. Nancy led one of the most interesting and full lives I have ever known. A code clerk for the U.S. Army, a model in Paris for Balmain, a photojournalist for Columbia Pictures, a bestselling author and magazine editor, including editor-at-large for Worth magazine, which she retired from to move to San Antonio and spend time with her granddaughters and be a consultant to U.S. Global. In fact, she was larger than life and filled with enthusiasm for life. She was a fellow traveler of the world, but like the rest of us, in that dark hour we all just wanted to go home, to Texas.

The city was shut down that night. The cabs disappeared and the subways weren’t running. The airports would remain closed for many days.

But the next morning I found a driver to take us to New Jersey where I had reserved one of the last rental cars left in the area. The four of us loaded into a Ford Expedition and began the long ride home and an unforgettable bonding experience. My adrenaline rush enabled me to drive us straight through for 30 hours. Early on we turned off the car radio because the nonstop coverage of the tragedy was too much to take. Instead, Nancy entertained us with stories of her incredible trail blazing life including her close friendships with the rich and famous, from Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor to Sean Connery and former hedge fund manager Julian Robertson. Nancy was a bright light on that dark day.

For the last 14 years on this day, I remember all the people who didn’t get to return home that fateful day, and I give thanks that I did, along with these special colleagues and friends.

I found myself back in New York on Friday, an unplanned diversion when my flight out of Portland, Maine was cancelled. And once again, I was trying to get home. Rain grounded the midsize regional plane I was scheduled to take, an effective reminder that no matter how well you think you’re in control, uncertainty has a habit of stepping in the way.

Will They or Won't They?

Right now, a lot of investors are wondering about the uncertainty of rising interest rates—the causes, effects and possible ramifications. Many people have been saying for weeks and months now that a rate hike is imminent and that September is the anticipated takeoff.

I’ve been skeptical of this, and now a chart from highly-respected market analyst Jeff deGraaf confirms my skepticism. In his words, “the market anticipates >70 percent probability of the Fed NOT raising rates.”

SP500-Index-vs-Probability-25-bps-Fed-Funds-through-September-Meeting click to enlarge

The Fed will convene this Thursday, and according to deGraaf, the most bullish outcome would be if Chair Janet Yellen held off raising rates and also took a more dovish tone. A more bearish outcome would be if she announced a rate hike and assumed a hawkish tone. I could see a rate hike fast-tracking QE4.

Indeed, if rates were allowed to stay where they are, the bond market could very well see a rally, which would be a boon for our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX). Another beneficiary would be dividend-paying stocks, such as those found in our All American Equity Fund (GBTFX).

Low Energy Prices Offer Companies Delayed Gratification

Speaking of the S&P 500, many investors might worry that falling energy stocks are creating havoc for the index. In reality, the S&P isn’t affected by a drop in energy as much as some believe. Currently, energy is only 7 percent of the index, and its position is dropping. As recently as December 2014, it was 9 percent.

Part of the reason it’s falling is because the market cap for energy stocks has collectively declined 32 percent for the 12-month period. Do the math. The point is that, as the fourth-smallest sector in the S&P following telecommunications services (2.4 percent), materials (2.9 percent) and utilities (3 percent), energy has a minimal impact on the overall index.

Everyone knows that when energy prices drop, oil specifically, companies within the sector are hurt, including producers, refiners and the like. The winners are consumers, who save at the pump and benefit when companies pass along energy savings.

What many people might not know, however, is that it often takes a few quarters before these benefits are realized. Take the airline industry. Domestic carriers reported their first-ever $5-billion quarter in July, which is exactly a year after oil prices started to plummet from more than $90 per barrel.

The longer fuel prices stay low, the more likely it is that airlines will continue to perform beyond expectations. Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, for instance, recently hit a 52-week high. If prices were to plunge to $20 per barrel, as Goldman Sachs claim is a possibility, the savings would be even larger.

However, with a growing global population over seven billion people, , it will not be much longer before the oil supply at these prices tightens and prices rise to the $60-per-barrel level. This will have many benefits for both consumers as well as the energy space.

As always, investors should consider their tolerance level based on risk and age to help balance their investments between short-term bonds and equities.

Manufacturing and the Velocity of Money

Here’s a final thought I want to leave you with. According to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, government employees outnumber workers in the manufacturing sector 1.8 to 1—nearly double. What if it were the other way around? The economy would likely be stronger and more vibrant, as I see it.

Think of home construction. When a house is built, money touches so many people, from surveyors to architects, from plumbers to landscapers, from lawyers to accountants. All of these people are creating wealth for themselves and for others. For every dollar invested, housing returns between $12 and $14.

That’s not the case with government workers, for whom taxes must be raised to pay for their wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong. We need such people to run the government. But the ratio between the two types of workers is out-of-balance for a vibrant economy.

It’s classic macroeconomics on money supply growth and velocity. Different industries and sectors have different values for each dollar spent. The private sector is higher than the public sector, and housing is highest. 

To my Jewish friends, L'shanah tovah! For a good year!

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.

Bond funds are subject to interest-rate risk; their value declines as interest rates rise. Though the Near-Term Tax Free Fund seeks minimal fluctuations in share price, it is subject to the risk that the credit quality of a portfolio holding could decline, as well as risk related to changes in the economic conditions of a state, region or issuer. These risks could cause the fund’s share price to decline. Tax-exempt income is federal income tax free. A portion of this income may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax. The Near-Term Tax Free Fund may invest up to 20% of its assets in securities that pay taxable interest. Income or fund distributions attributable to capital gains are usually subject to both state and federal income taxes. Stock markets can be volatile and share prices can fluctuate in response to sector-related and other risks as described in the fund prospectus.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings in the Near-Term Tax Free Fund and the All American Equity Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 06/30/2015: Ryanair Ltd 0.00%.

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

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

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.

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Net Asset Value
as of 06/15/2018

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $5.83 -0.08 Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $7.61 -0.07 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $3.89 -0.06 China Region Fund USCOX $11.80 -0.04 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.72 -0.10 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $25.97 0.05 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $20.22 No Change Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.20 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change