• Sprott Money
    01/26/2015 - 08:30
    Making New Year “predictions” used to be an automatic, beginning-of-the-year exercise, to the point where readers generally expected such pieces from the pundits they follow. However, it is an...

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Mapping The World's Greatest Risks (According To Davos)

"War" is back on the minds of the world's richest men (and women). The Global Risks Landscape, a map of the most likely and impactful global risks, puts forward that, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “interstate conflict” is once again a foremost concern. As The World Economic Forum notes, these multiple cross-cutting challenges can threaten social stability, perceived to be the issue most interconnected with other risks in 2015, and additionally aggravated by the legacy of the global economic crisis in the form of strained public finances and persistent unemployment. The central theme of profound social instability highlights an important paradox that has been smouldering since the crisis but surfaces prominently in this year’s report. Global risks transcend borders and spheres of influence and require stakeholders to work together, yet these risks also threaten to undermine the trust and collaboration needed to adapt to the challenges of the new global context. Rather ominously, The WEF concludes, the world is, however, insufficiently prepared for an increasingly complex risk environment.



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The Visual Story Of The Biggest Fraud In Gold Mining History

This infographic documents the rise and fall of Bre-X.

From initial private offerings at 30 cents a share, Bre-X stock climbed to more than $250 on the open market. Near the peak of Bre-X share prices, major banks and media were on board:



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Remembering The Currency Wars Of The 1920s & 1930s (And Central Banks' "Overused Bag Of Tricks")

“No stock-market crash announced bad times. The depression rather made its presence felt with the serial crashes of dozens of commodity markets. To the affected producers and consumers, the declines were immediate and newsworthy, but they failed to seize the national attention. Certainly, they made no deep impression at the Federal Reserve.” - 1921 or 2015?



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Spot The Difference: ISIS Or Saudi Arabia

One is a terrorist organization, the other is America's most revered, oil-exporting ally...



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Gold, Dollar "Disruption", And Central Banks' Miscalculated Insanity

"It isn’t really about interest rates or “inflation”, obviously as gold is rising as inflation “expectations” dramatically sink here, so much as gold is insurance against central banks being wrong. That seems to be the common theme all over the world ever since June when the ECB placed its desperation and impotence on full display. Everything that has occurred since then has only confirmed the monetary illusion being exactly that, including the US and its central bank’s place at really the central point of the miscalculated insanity."



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Friday Humor: Hitler Realizes He Was Short Swiss Francs

"...I wish to remain alone with the account manager, the risk manager, the fundamental analyst, and the technical analyst... we were using only 20x leverage and you tell me it's all gone!!"



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Oil Dinosaurs Face Extinction: State Oil Companies And The Meteor-Strike Of Low Oil Prices

State-owned oil companies that don't slash expenses to align with revenues and boost critical investment in the infrastructure needed to maintain production will suffer financial extinction.



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Artist's Impression Of President Obama's Thoughts During The State of The Union Speech

Well you have to laugh really...



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These Shale Companies Will File For Bankruptcy First: Goldman's "Best And Worst" Shale Matrix

Over a month ago we presented a ranking of "America's most levered energy companies." Since then they have all, without exception gotten clobbered, not only in their publicly traded stock but also their debt. Today, long after the liquidation whirlwind has left junk bond owners dazed and confused, Goldman catches up, and lays out a matrix of shale companies sorted not only by leveraged (they see 2.5x as the cutoff; we used 4.0x) but also by shale asset quality. From there, it also lays out the various opportunities, if any, available to the management teams in the resultant 4 quadrants. Readers will be most interested in the "restructuring/bankruptcy" option, most applicable for Group 4, because these are the names which,  all else equal, will file for bankruptcy first.



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5 Things To Ponder: The ABC's Of The ECB's QE

Well the day has finally arrived that after two years of promises, jawboning and hope - the European Central Bank finally announced they will take the plunge into the Quantitative Easing (QE) pool. Whether or not the ECB's QE program has the desired effect or not will not be realized for a while. However, this week's reading list is a variety of opinions and initial takes on the "ABC's of the ECB's QE."



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Congress Proposes Bill To Restore First Amendment Rights... Then Kills It

To this day, many governments around the world maintain a tight grip on dissent. There was a time long ago when the US was a refreshing outlier in this trend. At the time of its founding, the Land of the Free took a bold stance in asserting that its citizens all had a number of inalienable rights. But gradually these rights have been chipped away, particularly in this century as we’ve seen the rise of a tradeoff between liberty and security. This past month, one Congressman finally said that enough was enough and proposed a new bill to bring back our First Amendment rights... Just two weeks after the bill was submitted, it was squashed.



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Q4 Shaping Up As Worst Quarter In Years: Aggregate Revenues And EPS Have Missed By 1.2% and 0.4% So Far

In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings and revenue below expectations to date. The aggregate dollar-level earnings reported by these 37 companies is 0.4% below the aggregate dollar-level earnings estimated for these 37 companies. The aggregate dollar-level revenue reported by these 37 companies is 1.2% below the aggregate dollar-level revenue estimated for these 37 companies. As a result, even though more companies have beat earnings and revenue estimates to date than missed earnings and revenue estimates, the surprise percentage (which reflects the aggregate difference between actual results and estimated results) is negative for both earnings (-0.4%) and revenue (-1.2%). This means that Q4 is shaping up as the worst quarter since 2012, perhaps even the start of the great financial crisis in 2008/2009.



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Argentine President "Convinced" Nisman Death Was Not Suicide As New Twists Emerge

"No one believes the suicide hypothesis," one of Nisman's investigative team told Reuters, adding that, "he was very convinced of his ideas and prepared to see them through. He had received threats all his life and it never intimidated him." With the news of no gunpowder residue sinking in, and protests rising, even Argentina's President is now uncomfortably admitting it, saying on Thursday that she was "convinced" Nisman's death was not a suicide, explaining that people had led him astray in his investigation in order to smear her name and then "needed him dead." However, instead of vowing to shed light on the matter, Fernandez and her government have been on the defensive, trying to refute Nisman's claims against her. Neighboring Uruguay said it felt sorry for Argentina and that its justice system needs to clear up the case to maintain "the minimal confidence our societies need." Questions abound...



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When BTFD Fails: Spot The Oil ETF "Knife Catchers"

With crude oil prices once again testing cycle (multi-year) lows this morning - following a brief bounce on the death of Saudi King Abdullah - we thought it intriguing that for the 4th month in a row fund flows into the iPath Oil ETN have surged to almost six year highs. As Bloomberg Briefs reports, "the kind of flows that we're seeing can only be explained by 'catch the falling knife' behavior, where people are trying to call the bottom," as December and Jnauary flows now top $400 million - the most in 6 years for a 2-month period (as price plummet further). But 'investors' are piling into double- and triple- levered "up" oil bets too...



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