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XMFSinchiruna (26.52)

Merrill Lynch CIO sees $1,500 Gold in 12-15 Months



February 03, 2009 – Comments (2)

There are many portions of the following article which I consider typical useless babblings from the same sorts of cyclopses that led the world into this mess in the first place. I certainly do not advocate looking to people in these sorts of positions for advice on how to invest in this environment. I reference this article not for the insight it offers but rather to document the fluctuating and accumulating admissions by entities representing the mainstream financial establishment of how dire the crisis truly is. I do not lend credence to efforts to time certain targets for gold within a given quarter, since far too many factors are at play for anyone to predict near-term timing, but I still find it worthwhile to report mainstream bullish targets for gold as consensus slowly gathers from within their fold. Remember, these are the very same sorts of entities that have been relentlessly manipulating the dollar gold price through the COMEX market, so their true intentions can never be known IMO, but it's interesting nonetheless.

  Shashank Shekhar  on Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Gold prices may hit $1,500 (Dh5,509) an ounce in the next 12 to 15 months, Gary Dugan, the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of Merrill Lynch, said yesterday.

Dugan termed his apprehensions of gold striking such a high as a "fear" that may come true. He reasoned that such a price would mean the other commodities and streams of investments have been shunned by investors.

With confidence in currencies shaken to the core, the yellow metal is increasingly assuming the role of "the most trusted currency", Dugan said. "We have never seen such a rush to buy gold. It's bringing in security and it's still affordable."

Merrill Lynch commodity price forecast authored by Dugan showed that gold prices can rise from the currently prevailing $913/oz to $1,100/oz in the first quarter of 2009 and to $1,150/oz in the second quarter. "While demand for gold has been rising production has been declining. South Africa, which accounts for the major share of global gold production, is facing political issues and has energy problems," Dugan said.

With reports of declining returns from other investment options, "cash" – keeping money safe in banks and investing in government bonds – is the option in front of investors, Dugan said.

"Fear" and eventual decline of the greenback are the two factors that will drive gold prices, he said. While commodity markets could also bounce back in the first half of the year, a rebound is likely to be short-lived in the absence of strong US consumer demand.

Precious metals, led by gold, could enjoy a more sustained rally with gold benefiting from a weakening of the dollar in the second half of the year, Dugan said.

Dugan said the greenback, which has been strengthening for the past few months, will decline in value by the middle of this year. "That's when people will begin to realise that President Obama's policies are not having the desired impact," he said.

Investors could also look to private equity, which produced strong returns during the downturns in 1991 and 2001, on an opportunistic basis. Some hedge fund strategies may be worth following but hedge funds should be treated with caution, Dugan said.

Returns from private equity should remain in single digits in 2009 and a return of beyond 10 per cent should be treated as "fair value", he said. "Investors should remain cautious. They need to be prepared to take profits. We think any such rally would run out of steam by the second half of the year."

Low risk assets could offer private investors the best prospects of attractive returns in 2009 as the world's leading industrialised nations face recession, Dugan said. With governments around the world striving to tackle the economic crisis, private investors could find value in a cautious approach towards asset allocation. Options include high-grade corporate bonds and high-quality, high-yielding equities in defensive industries.

"Investors will look to long-term US government bonds as an important barometer of the progress of global recovery," said Dugan. "Sharply rising bond yields will show that the governments have overspent."

While earnings downgrades are likely to dominate the first quarter of 2009, a rally in global equity markets could be on the cards for the first half of the year with consumer and cyclical stocks among the potential beneficiaries, Dugan said.

Broad equities indices could also offer trading opportunities to private investors. "Equities could outperform as an asset class in 2009 unless there is a serious deflation risk. Our view is that deflation will be avoided," he added.

Selective investment in high-grade corporate bonds could also provide attractive returns, Dugan said.

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 04, 2009 at 8:54 AM, XMFSinchiruna (26.52) wrote:

UBS just raised its AVERAGE price forecast for 2009 to $1,000.

No doubt they had seen enough moornings like this morning where the USDX us up .70 and gold has still managed to creep back up over the $900 mark. Incredible action in gold lately independent of the day-to-day moves of the USDX... not nearly as correlated as in earlier stages of the correction... which shows that investors see through the rises in USDX on any guven day... knowing rather that the ultimate trend for USD, unfortunately, remains downward.

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#2) On February 04, 2009 at 10:41 AM, XMFSinchiruna (26.52) wrote:

Eric Sprott:

Gold heading beyond $2,000 as depression sets in...

Sprott Says U.S. Depression Will Boost Gold Price

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Eric Sprott, the Canadian money manager who last year predicted banking stocks would collapse, said the U.S. is at the beginning of an economic depression that will help gold prices more than double.

Bullion may top $2,000 an ounce in coming years amid a series of financial catastrophes, the chairman and founder of Toronto-based Sprott Asset Management Inc. said yesterday in an interview. Banks will battle to replenish capital, Treasury auctions stand the risk of failing and the moribund economy will create a dire operating outlook for many companies, he said.

“The trend is down, and there’s not one signpost that says it’s changing yet,” Sprott said yesterday from Toronto. “We’ll stand by to wait to see those, and until it does, you have to assume it gets worse.”

Sprott, who manages $4.5 billion, said in March that the world was in a “systemic financial meltdown,” a call that presaged the collapse of financial institutions including Bear Stearns & Co. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Since then, the U.S. has entered the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression, credit markets have tightened and asset prices have dropped as companies and funds sell portfolios to raise cash.

The 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index has dropped 62 percent since Sprott said on March 6 he was buying bullion and gold-producers’ shares, while shorting financial- sector stocks. Gold slipped 6.3 percent during the same period.

So-called short-selling allows speculators to profit from a stock’s decline by borrowing shares, selling them to raise cash and buying them later when the price drops to repay the debt.

Sprott Funds

Sprott Hedge Fund LP posted a one-year return of 9.9 percent, while Sprott Hedge Fund LP II rose 18 percent in the period, according to data posted on the company’s Web site. The Sprott Canadian Equity Fund dropped 37 percent.

Sprott now favors buying more gold stocks and bullion while selling the entire equity market short. Most at risk in the current climate are banks, discretionary consumer stocks and any companies needing to refinance debt, he said.

Sprott believes there is a chance that a U.S. Treasury auction will fail as countries use their resources to quell financial turmoil in their home markets, leaving less to help finance the world’s largest economy. That outcome will have a “catastrophic” impact, he said.

“When do people stop buying the credit of the country? That’s a tough question to answer, but it’s on a lot of people’s lips right now,” he said. “Each country has their own financial problem, so there’s no funding for anything external.”

Gold Investors

Such concerns have driven investors to the gold market, propelling the metal higher as other commodities have slumped and helping gold-producers’ stocks almost double in the past three months.

Greenlight Capital Inc., a $5.1 billion New York-based hedge fund, has invested in gold for the first time, while Federated Investors Inc.’s $1.3 billion Federated Market Opportunity Fund, which outperformed 99 percent of rivals last year, now counts Yamana Gold Inc. and Goldcorp Inc. among its largest investments.

Gold companies such as Newmont Mining Corp. and Kinross Gold Corp. have taken the opportunity to issue stock to bolster their own balance sheets.

Barrick Gold Corp. Chairman Peter Munk said last week he has been inundated with calls from wealthy investors seeking to buy gold to protect their capital.

“The window to raise money for gold stocks has blown open,” Sprott said. “The investing public has started to go to that one thing that they think it’s safe to invest in.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stewart Bailey in New York at


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