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Most read articles
Rick Ackerman
Has Burger’s Popularity Doomed McDonald’s? 
McDonald’s, where a family of four can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner for less than it costs to prepare a meal at home, is blaming weak consumer spending for an unprecedented stretch of punk earnings . Someone should level with them: “It’s the hamburgers, stupid!”  Q3 profits were down by 30%, generating a lot of hissing and clucking on Wall Street. Portfolio managers must be scratching their heads trying to figure out how the fortunes of an American icon could have fallen so swiftly. Doubtless,
Monday, October 27, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Coming Dissolution of the EU
In Europe, we already know the economy is in tatters. Italy is back in recession for the third time since 2008. Germany’s economy contracted in the second quarter of 2014 and will likely be in recession before the first quarter of 2015. France has registered zero growth for six months now. None of this should shock anyone. From an economics perspective, Europe has been dead for four years now. Sure, there were little bumps in various data points here and there during that time… but overall unemp
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
  The Fed is Absolutely Terrified of Something… What Is It?
What is the Fed so terrified of? For five years we’ve been told that the world was in recovery. “Analysts” and pundits have trotted out every explanation imaginable for why things are in fact great and the markets should go straight up. On top of this endless and mind-numbing chatter, the Fed has spent over $4 trillion… an amount larger than most sovereign economies. To put this into perspective, the Fed could have spent less money buying EVERY SINGLE ITEM OF ECONOMIC OUTPUT FROM GERMANY FOR A
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Rick Ackerman
The Death Rattle of Europe’s Statist Dream 
Europe’s all-too-predictable relapse into recession is gathering force, threatening not only the pipe dream of economic and political unity, but eroding grandiose illusions that have helped prop up the world’s financial house of cards. The unwillingness of France in particular to play by the EU’s — i.e.,  Germany’s — rules appears to have doomed the EU dream. The idea of a borderless Europe bound by a common currency and a shared desire to forever banish war from the Continent was a lofty one, b
Monday, October 20, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Fed's Hands Are Tied Unless the Market Crashes
The markets have a major problem. That problem, simply put, is that QE ends this month. QE has been the driving force for the stock market since 2008. This factor, more than anything else in the world, is responsible for stocks rallying to new all-time highs surpassing even the 2007 peak. To be clear QE 1 and QE 2 were widely accepted in the business community because of their context: QE 1 was a reaction to the 2008 meltdown, with QE 2 considered to be needed because QE 1 didn’t quite “get th
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
Stocks Are Primed For a MAJOR Correction
Today is the last day for a Fed POMO. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it stands for Permanent Open Market Operation. This is the mechanism through which the Fed pumps money from QE into the financial system. It’s also the single most important item as far as stock market rallies are concerned. Indeed, the stock market has closely correlated the Fed’s balance sheet expansion since 2009. As the below chart shows, they are almost identical in growth. When QE ends today, the Fed balance sh
Monday, October 27, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Folks Who Know the Most About Their Firms… and the Economy… Are Selling the Farm
Stocks rallied last week when a non-voting member of the Fed stated something totally pointless (that the Fed should consider postponing its taper… when there’s only $5 billion left in QE anyway). Put another way, the markets were so desperate for a Fed intervention that the idea of $5 billion coming later rather than now makes a difference some how.  It’s pathetic, but when 70-80% of market volume comes from non-thinking computer trading programs, the words “Fed” and “President” matter more tha
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
Venezuelan Bolivar Plunges to Record Low on Black Market; Bond Default Coming Up in October?
Please consider the "official" exchange rate of the Bolivar to the USD. Bolivar vs. US Dollar From 2005 to 2009 the official exchange rate was 2 bolivars to one US dollar. In 2009 the official exchange rate soared to 4.3 to the dollar. In 2013 the official exchange rate soared to 6.3 to the dollar. Venezuela allows "very limited" trading at 50 to the US dollar in a parallel exchange called Sicad II. On the black market today, it takes 89 bolivars to buy 1 US dollar. That is a 95% loss in
Monday, September 01, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
QE Ends in the US… And Won't Begin in the EU…
The markets continue to operate based on complete delusions. The single biggest driver of stock prices has been the Fed’s QE programs. QE has accomplished nothing other than a higher stock market. EVERY-time that the Fed was not engaged in QE, the markets have fallen as the below chart shows. QE is over. It just ended. And the Fed will not be launching it anytime soon. The media is finally catching on that QE increases wealth concentration (note the slew of stories recently pointing this out
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
Neither the US Nor China Will be an Engine For Global Growth Next Year
The investment world is banking on real growth being just around the corner. However, the data does not confirm this view. Let’s talk about China first. Half of all global growth is expected to come from China, which is forecast to grow by 6.5%-7% next year. Now, China’s economic numbers are for the most part fictitious. However, there is one metric that cannot be fudged and that is electricity consumption. Either electricity is being used or it is not. With that in mind, we must consider that C
Friday, October 24, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
Stocks Are On Borrowed Time
The Fed announced that QE is officially over. This is a MAJOR concern for stocks. The markets are currently holding up because it’s the end of the month. Let me explain… Unlike individual investors who don’t have to report returns until year-end, most investment funds have to report their performances for each month. For this reason, it’s very common for stocks to rally into month end as institutions buy stocks to force the markets higher. Doing this allows them to record month end returns a
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
How Can You Have a Recovery Without Jobs Creators?
One of the items overlooked by the MSM regarding the dismal economic “recovery” of the last five years is the complete decimation of the self-employed. There are currently 10 million people classified as self-employed in US. That’s 5% of the total workforce. Incidentally this is also a record low. It is not coincidental the massive increase in reliance on Government handouts (46 million on food stamps, 47% of US households on some kind of Government assistance) has coincided with a significa
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
All Of These Items Point To a Collapse in the Markets
The primary drivers of asset prices are the economy and corporate earnings. Unfortunately, both are indicating future weakness. If you want a somewhat accurate measure of GDP growth, you need to ignore the headline GDP numbers an look at nominal GDP. The reason for this is that all “adjusted” GDP data involves a “deflator” metric that is meant to adjust for inflation. The Feds often use an inflation adjustment that is even lower than their official Consumer Price Index metric (which is alread
Friday, October 31, 2014
Jesse - Le Cafe Américain
Thursday Evening, 9/11 : Only Time
I remember this like it was yesterday.  I am surprised at how strongly the memory of it remains. I remember the concerns of the class mothers, who were thinking about what to do with the children in our little school in a town, on one of the commuter train lines to NYC, when it came time for them to go home. They did not know who would not be showing up, and exactly what to do about it. I remember the line of the mourners and hearses at the very large group funeral service at o
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
  Bernanke Turned Down For Mortgage Refinance; Questions Abound
In the curious news of the day, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke was turned down in his effort to refinance his mortgage. Bloomberg reports You Know It’s a Tough Market When Ben Bernanke Can’t Refinance. Ben S. Bernanke said the mortgage market is still so tight that he’s having a hard time refinancing his own home loan. The former Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics Inc. -- “just between the two of us” -- that “I recent
Friday, October 03, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Next Round of the Financial Crisis is at Our Doorstep.
The next round of the financial crisis is at our doorstep. The primary driver of the stock market, since 2009, has been the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet. Remove this expansion and the S&P 500 would have effectively flat-lined. Now the Fed is ending QE and “surprise” stocks are cratering. Is this really a surprise? After all… we know that… 1)   Stocks are expensive by just about every conceivable metric. 2)   Global GDP growth is overstated dramatically with China at most growing 3.5
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Steve Keen - Debt Deflation
Are the students revolting, or is it economics?
Tweet TweetMain­stream econ­o­mists have long ignored the dynam­ics of pri­vate debt, money and banks to their detri­ment. Now more than ever, a real­is­tic and non-orthodox approach to eco­nom­ics is needed. Last week I made my first over­seas trip on which I ticked the box ‘Aus­tralian res­i­dent depart­ing per­ma­nently’. It’s given me cause to reflect on my career as an aca­d­e­mic econ­o­mist (and part-time jour­nal­ist) in Australia. This week, I com­menced a new role as Head of the School
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Problem With Letting Academics Run the Economy
There is a common adage that “book learning” is not the same as “street smarts.” In the case of economics PhDs like Janet Yellen, we could adapt this to say that “theory” is not the same as “reality.” Janet Yellen is a career academic. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Career academics play a critical role in terms of both research and teaching future generations of leaders. However, unlike most career academics, Janet Yellen is in charge of the US economy. In this light, one has to ask aloud
Monday, October 20, 2014
Rick Ackerman
The Death Rattle of Europe’s Statist Dream
Europe’s all-too-predictable relapse into recession is gathering force, threatening not only the pipe dream of economic and political unity, but eroding grandiose illusions that have helped prop up the world’s financial house of cards. The unwillingness of France in particular to play by the EU’s — i.e.,  Germany’s — rules appears to have doomed the EU dream. The idea of a borderless Europe bound by a common currency and a shared desire to forever banish war from the Continent was a lofty one, b
Monday, October 20, 2014
Rick Ackerman
Inflation, Deflation, and Our Very Confident Bet in T-Bonds
I’ve been touting the ongoing bull market in T-Bonds as one of the best investment opportunities of our lifetime – a no-brainer, as far, as I can recommend.  About the only way this bet can lose is if inflation returns with a vengeance. This has never been much of a worry for me, since, on the inspiration of C.V. Myers’ prescient 1976 book, I’ve been writing about the threat of deflation for more than 20 years.  As Myers noted, every penny of very debt must eventually be paid – if not by the bor
Monday, October 13, 2014
James West - Midas Letter
The Mother of all Bubbles and Other Unpopular Realities
There are times when I read the financial mumbo jumbo on Bloomberg and the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, and I am astonished at how delusional the world’s controlling interests have become. To take it at face value, and using major stock index highs as sole proof, one would have to agree that the world has certainly recovered from the ‘recession’ that began in 2009. But, those stock market highs, evidence increasingly shows, have been purchased through the capitalization of the fi
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
The Great Rig of the Last Five Years is Ending
Since 2012, when Europe was about to collapse, we’ve been told that “everything was fixed.” Everyone from finance ministers to the President of the US stated that we were in recovery and the worst was behind us. Now, we find out that: 1)   Europe is completely busted. The political class over there lied to the people, and even circumvented Democracy to keep the fraud in place. It’s telling that nationalism is on the rise there again. If your vote no longer counts… and the folks in power don’t gi
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
Top Gun Style Aerial Chicken With Russia Sends US Spy Plane Into Swedish Air Space Without Permissio 
In an attempt to avoid Russian radar and a Russian fighter jet, a US Official Admits Spy Plane Flees Russian Jet, Radar; Ends Up Over Sweden. The Cold War aerial games of chicken portrayed in the movie "Top Gun" are happening in real life again nearly 30 years later. A U.S. Air Force spy plane evaded an encounter with the Russian military on July 18, just a day after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a suspected surface-to-air missile that Ukraine and the West allege was fired by pro-
Monday, August 04, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
  Spain Mandates Public Companies "Stop the Bleeding" No More Layoffs 
In a concern over votes, regional government spending is on the rise. In addition, Spain Mandates "Stop the Bleeding" No More Layoffs in Public Companies. "Stop the Bleeding" via translation ... Nine months after the local elections, the government has begun to show signs of needing a push to overcome the electoral polls. The unemployment remains, along with public debt, macroeconomic data that further tarnishes their results. For this reason, some sources claim that the Government has called
Monday, September 22, 2014
Jesse - Le Cafe Américain
The Problem In One Picture: Monetary Stimulus In an Unreformed Economic System 
Trickle down stimulus doesn't work to activate aggregate demand and encourage real economic growth because the largely unreformed economic system continues to divert the bulk of the stimulus and growth to the top.   Whatever is put in to this great economic machine, the best and the most is skimmed to the top.  This is not a fault, it is a 'feature.' This is like sending aid to a Third World nation, where the warlords take the aid for themselves, and allow only a very small portion of it to r
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
  This is a Recipe For a Crash
Over the last 30 years, the US has built up record debts on a personal, state, and national level. Consumers thought they were financially stable so long as they could cover the interest payments on their credit cards, states created program after program few if any of which they could afford, and the Federal Government issued $30-50 trillion in debt and liabilities (counting Social Security and Medicare). This all came to a screeching halt when the housing bubble (arguably the biggest debt bub
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Phoenix Capital - Gains Pains & Capital
Could Stocks Drop Another 30%?
The stock market is taking a breather from the recent bloodbath. The key moving average that primed us for a bounce is the 252-DMA. If you take an entire year, remove the weekends and holidays, you arrive at 252 days during which the stock market is open. As you can see in the chart below, this has been a line of great significance ever since stocks started going bananas in 2012: As you can see, the 252-DMA has been “the line in the sand” three times since 2012. It was unlikely we’d take thi
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Wolf Richter
Hilarious Video by Australian Comedians Clarke & Dawe on Budget Deficits, the Dollar, an
Comedians Clarke & Dawe pile into the Australian budget deficits (ah yes, even in Australia), the Australian dollar, the US dollar, and then delightfully shred the US economy … which seems to have emerged from its recent “difficulties.” “With people stealing billions at the top?” “No, I was referring to the technical difficulties.” “They printed $4 trillion.” “They did, and it was quite successful.” “Yes, it prevented it from becoming a free market.” You get the idea. 2 minutes 28 seconds of eco
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
US Dependent on Russia for NASA Launches; Well Guess What? Russia Fires Back With More Sanctions: NA 
Not many people realize the US is dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the international space station. Former former NASA administrator Michael Griffin told ABC News "We’re in a hostage situation. Russia can decide that no more U.S. astronauts will launch to the International Space Station and that’s not a position that I want our nation to be in.” That bit of news came out late July, and is under review by Russia today. NASA, Pepsi, McDonald's, Autos in Spotlight Ita
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Mish - Global Economic Analysis
Should Banks Lend Money At All?
Banks are in the business of making loans. Is that the right model? Before answering, please consider the model of Lending Club. Lending Club is an online financial community that brings together creditworthy borrowers and savvy investors so that both can benefit financially. We replace the high cost and complexity of traditional lending with a faster, smarter way to borrow and invest. Here is the initial process straight from the Lending Club Website. Steps You decide you want to borrow
Tuesday, September 09, 2014