The Morgan Report’s Weekly Perspective

By David Morgan

The Morgan Report’s Weekly Perspective |

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Gold price in the red after centrist Macron wins French election

By analyst

By Andrew Topf

Gold is trading slightly down from its Friday spot price close of $1,227.90, as investors digest the outcome of the recently-decided French presidential election.

The French overwhelmingly rejected the prospect of a far-right leader at the helm, instead putting centrist Emmanuel Macron, the country’s youngest-ever president at 39, into the Elysee Palace. Projections from early counts on Sunday had Macron taking 65.1% of the votes to Marine Le Pen’s 34.9%.

However the Guardian noted the results showed both candidates to be deeply unpopular, with turnout the lowest in more than 40 years, almost one-third of voters choosing neither Macron nor Le Pen, 12 million abstaining and 4.2 million spoiling their ballots.

The effect on gold, which functions as a safe haven during political or economic turmoil, was predictable. After an hour of trading on Sunday, the spot price was down $1.10, or 0.09%.

While LePen campaigned to pull France out of the European monetary union and return to the franc, Macron has promised to strengthen France’s role inside the EU. His proposed reforms include a common budget for the 19 euro-zone countries, a euro-zone finance minister and a common defense force – all of which have been rejected by Germany before, according to a report in The Globe and Mail explaining what could happen after the election.

The spot price of silver on Sunday was up by 5 cents, to $16.35 an ounce, about an hour into the trading session.

The post Gold price in the red after centrist Macron wins French election appeared first on

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Source:: Infomine

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Deal avoids strike at Collahuasi

By analyst

By Andrew Topf

A deal between workers and the companies that own the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile could mean labour peace at the often-picketed mine for the next three years.

Under a labour agreement reached Friday, workers in the 1,485-member union will receive no pay increase but each worker will get a one-time bonus of 11 million pesos (US$16,400), along with an interest free loan, Reuters reported.

The agreement starts in October, when the current contract expires, and will last until 2020. The mine, co-owned by Glencore (LON:GLEN) and Anglo American (LON:AAL), is the second largest copper mine in the world and one of Chile’s largest, producing 506,500 tonnes of the red metal in 2016.

The four-year deal reached in 2013 gave workers a 3.5% salary hike, a $31,900 bonus and a loan worth $6,000. Collahuasi miners staged a 24-hour walkout in 2015.

Friday’s agreement comes about six weeks after talks between striking workers at the Escondida copper mine in Chile and majority owner and operator BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), ended March 23 with the parties failing to reach a deal and the main union choosing to return to work.

The labour action at the world’s largest copper mine, which finished after 43 days, became the longest private-sector mining strike in Chile’s history.

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Junior granted mining lease for primary scandium mine; stock rockets 15%

By analyst

By Andrew Topf

Investors in a small-cap junior focused on the mining of a lesser-known element – scandium – were rewarded on Friday after a favourable decision from the New South Wales government in Australia.

A mining lease was granted by the Minister for Resources of the State of New South Wales last Wednesday, May 3, to a subsidiary of Scandium International Mining Corp. (TSX:SCY), for the company’s Nyngan Scandium Project, located about 500 kilometres northwest of Sydney. The lease effectively means that Scandium can move forward with building the mine. Environmental consent from the NSW government was given in November 2016.

Investor reaction in Toronto was swift. Following a news release on Friday, shares in Reno-based Scandium closed at 42 cents a share – up 15.07% from the previous trading session.

“This Mining Lease grant is a major milestone in the Company’s development of the Nyngan Scandium Project. It signals the full support of state government, regulators, and the community for our endeavor, and is validation of the level and quality of work that has been committed to date. We couldn’t be more pleased with this show of support and encouragement from NSW regulators to move forward and build Nyngan into the world’s first primary scandium mine, and to do so in NSW, Australia,” said Scandium International CEO George Putnam, in a statement.

Scandium is a soft, silvery metallic element with the symbol Sc. While it is often classified among the 17 rare earth elements (REEs), scandium is not particularly rare – occurring in greater abundance than lead, mercury and precious metals. However, the element is not commonly found in concentrations over 100 parts per million, meaning that currently there are no scandium-only mines. Scandium International says it is estimated that only 15 tonnes of scandium are produced globally ever year. Prices range from $3500 to $5000 per kilogram depending on the quality.

Scandium is primarily used as an aluminum alloy, producing aluminum products that are more corrosion and heat-resistant. The use of scandium-aluminum alloys can reduce aircraft weights by 15 to 20%. The element is also a good conductor for heat and electricity, hence its use in solid oxide fuel cells, used for example in auxiliary power units in vehicles and stationary power generation.

The Nyngan Scandium Project, 80%-owned by SCY and 20% by Scandium Investments LLC, was originally explored for gold, tin and platinum group metals. But it wasn’t until 2010 that Scandium and Jervois Mining Limited, of Melbourne, agreed to develop the property into a scandium-only project. In 2014 Scandium took on a US$2.5 million loan and purchased the project from Jervois Mining.

The granting of the mining lease triggered an option for its minority partner to convert their 20% interest into SCY common shares, an offer that expires mid-June.

According to a May 2016 definitive feasibility study (DFS), the project has the potential to produce an average of 37,690 kilograms of scandium oxide per year, at grades of 98.0%-99.9%, for a 20-year minelife. The open-pit mine is expected to cost $87.1 million to build, with a payback of 3.3 years, according to the DFS.

The …read more

Source:: Infomine

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This Week on Wall Street: Disney Earnings, Puerto Rico’s Crisis and the ACA Repeal


By Samuel Taube

The Affordable Care Act has proven a lot harder to repeal than President Trump or the GOP Congress thought it would be – but this past week, they finally made some headway in the House.

Whether you see the repeal measure as an abomination or a long-overdue rollback, we can all agree that it will have significant effects on healthcare stocks in the weeks ahead. As we’ll discuss below, they’re already up slightly on the news.

The same can be said of Puerto Rico’s recently declared bankruptcy. It’s the largest local government debt restructuring case in our country’s history, and municipal bond markets have already started to sink on the news.

Back on the mainland, America’s largest movie studio is due to report earnings next week. So is the world’s largest online travel agency. Let’s dive in…
Big Earnings Reports: Disney and Priceline
Disney (NYSE: DIS) is scheduled to report second quarter results Tuesday evening. Analysts are expecting earnings per share to fall slightly to $1.44. Disney has missed two of its last four EPS expectations, but an infusion of cash from Beauty and the Beast and other big releases should help it meet estimates.

Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN) is also slated to announce quarterly results Tuesday. The consensus EPS estimate for Priceline this quarter is at $8.76 – a little down from last quarter. The company has beaten all four quarterly earnings estimates in the last year. Its dominance in the online travel broker industry has propelled it to great profitability in recent years.

As you can see, Disney has traded down in the lead-up to its quarterly earnings report. Priceline has done the opposite.
Washington: Repeal and Replace, Take Two
The Republican Congress’ first attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act went nowhere – and turned into a political debacle in the process.

But last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that dismantles most of the ACA’s major provisions. The ACA repeal measure gets rid of the taxes used to fund healthcare subsidies, the individual mandate and the anti-discrimination measure for patients with pre-existing conditions.


The bill will head to the Senate next, where it faces an uncertain fate. Many GOP senators are more ideologically moderate than President Trump or their House Freedom Caucus contemporaries. Infighting between these groups is generally seen as the main reason why the party failed to repeal the ACA on its first attempt.

The Senate has yet to commit to a timeline on passing its own version of the ACA repeal. But the market effects of this attempt have already started and should continue into next week. The iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (NYSE: IHF) rallied on the news.

While some healthcare companies, like hospitals, have benefited from Obamacare, others, like drugmakers, have suffered under the tax and regulatory burdens it introduced.
Puerto Rico: The Largest Local Government Bankruptcy in History
Puerto Rico’s finances have been in a downward spiral for years now. It defaulted on a bond payment back in 2015, after racking up more than $70 billion in public …read more

Source:: Investment You

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The Health Care System Is Completely Broken

By Charles Hugh Smith

This post The Health Care System Is Completely Broken appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Forget ObamaCare, RyanCare, and any Future ReformCare they might come up with. It’s just shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The fact is, it’s time to start planning for what we’ll do when the current healthcare system implodes.

As with many other complex, opaque systems in the U.S., only those toiling in the murky depths of the healthcare system know just how broken the entire system is.

Only those dealing daily with the perverse incentives, the Kafkaesque procedures, the endlessly negative unintended consequences, the soul-deadening paper-shuffling, the myriad forms of fraud, the recalcitrant patients who don’t follow recommendations but demand to be magically returned to health anyway, and of course the hopelessness of the financial future of a system with runaway costs, a rapidly aging populace and profiteering cartels focused on maintaining their rackets regardless of the cost to the nation or the health of its people.

Whew, got that out all in one breath.

Ask any doctor or nurse, and you will hear first-hand how broken the system is, and how minor policy tweaks and reforms cannot possibly save the system from imploding. Based on my own first-hand experience and first-hand reports by physicians, here are a few of the hundreds of reasons why the system cannot be reformed or saved.

Say 6-year old Carlos gets a tummy-ache at school. To avoid liability, the school doesn’t allow teachers to provide any care whatsoever. The school nurse (assuming the school has one) doesn’t have the diagnostic tools on hand to absolutely rule out the possibility that Carlos has some serious condition, so the parents are called and told to take Carlos to their own doctor.

Their pediatrician is already booked, so Carlos ends up waiting in the ER (emergency room). Neither the school nurse nor the parents see the symptoms as worrisome or dangerous, but here they are in ER, where standards of care require a CT scan and bloodwork.

Hours later, Carlos is released and some entity somewhere gets an $8,000 bill — for a tummy-ache that went away on its own without any treatment at all.

Since the Kafkaesque billing system rewards quick turn-arounds, observation is frowned upon unless it can be billed. So if observation is deemed necessary (to avoid any liability, of course), Carlos might be wheeled into an “observation room” filled with other people, where a nurse pops in every once in a while. This adds $3,000 to the bill.

(Never mind the stress on Carlos being in such unfamiliar surroundings; he might have felt better if he hadn’t been subjected to the anxieties that come with being enmeshed in the healthcare system’s straight-jacket of standards of care.)

If Carlos doesn’t feel better after all this, then the bill is set to balloon bigtime because an overnight stay in the hospital is the next step — and if there isn’t a 100% certainty that there is no chance of his stomach-ache becoming something serious, then the system will …read more

Source:: Daily Reckoning feed

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Trump Shouldn’t Celebrate Yet

By Brian Maher

This post Trump Shouldn’t Celebrate Yet appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Trump’s first legislative coup comes within his reach — if not quite his grasp.

The House narrowly voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) Thursday afternoon.

The final nose count was 217 yeas, 213 nays.

And so after initial failure, Trump’s promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare lives yet.

Now the political hot potato gets dunked in the “cooling saucer” of the United States Senate.

There the refined ladies and gentlemen will give the AHCA a good going over.

Critics will expose its warts, drummers will carol its virtues.

Horses will go up for sale… arms cranked into difficult positions… offers made on the souls of the principled opposition.

The Senate will then vote on a compromise bill.

If it passes, the bill then goes back to the House for a vote on the Senate version.

If the revised bill musters enough votes in the House, then Trump can uncork the bubbly.

If not, it’s another one in the loss column.

If Trump’s expecting a quick victory, he should have another guess…

Our agents inform us the House bill — itself barely passed — won’t fetch anywhere near the 51 votes needed in the Senate.

Assuming universal Democratic opposition, just two defecting Republicans are enough to sink the bill.

And Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee told MSNBC on Thursday that there is “zero chance” the bill will make it through the Senate as is.

So it will take a lot of horse trading, arm twisting and soul-selling to somehow get it over the hurdles.

And that takes… time. If it can be done at all.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said it’ll take the Senate weeks… or possibly months… to hammer a plan.

“There hasn’t been any health care discussion over here,” added Grassley from his perch on the Senate Finance Committee.

Not even Team Trump expects a timely resolution…

VP Mike Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press last Sunday that he hoped a final version would cross the presidential desk “before the end of the year.”

And remember, the House will have to agree on whatever revisions the Senate makes.

The existing House bill only squeaked through by four votes.

Can a modified Senate bill make it past the finish line next time?

That is the question.

So Trump might want to keep that Champagne under wraps for now.

And so the nation watches and wonders… along with the markets.

Some say tax reform has even harder uphill slog than health care reform.

But if tax reform’s going to be this hard, how long might that take?

Trump’s only got 3½ years till the next election, after all…


Brian Maher
Managing editor, The Daily Reckoning

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Is Disney Stock Undervalued or Overvalued Today?

By Rob Otman

Disney (NYSE: DIS) is a $177 billion company today. Investors that bought shares one year ago are sitting on a 8.31% total return. That’s below the S&P 500’s return of 19.48%.

Disney stock is underperforming the market. It’s beaten down… so is it a good time to buy? To answer this question we’ve turned to the Investment U Stock Grader. Our research team built this system to diagnose the financial health of a company.

Our system looks at six key metrics…


Earnings-per-Share (EPS) Growth: Disney reported a recent EPS growth rate of -10.34%. That’s below the media industry average of 28.02%. That’s not a good sign. We like to see companies that have higher earnings growth.

Price-to-Earnings (P/E): The average price-to-earnings ratio of the media industry is 29.77. And Disney’s ratio comes in at 19.85. It’s trading at a better value than many of its competitors.

Debt-to-Equity: The debt-to-equity ratio for Disney stock is 43.43. That’s below the media industry average of 95.27. The company is less leveraged.

Free Cash Flow per Share Growth: Disney’s FCF has been lower than its competitors over the last year. That’s not good for investors. In general, if a company is growing its FCF, it will be able to pay down debt, buy back stock, pay out more in dividends and/or invest money back into the business to help boost growth. It’s one of our most important fundamental factors.

Profit Margins: The profit margin of DIsney comes in at 16.77% today. And generally, the higher, the better. We also like to see this margin above that of its competitors. Disney’s profit margin is above the media average of 2.27%. So that’s a positive indicator for investors.

Return on Equity: Return on equity gives us a look at the amount of net income returned to shareholders. The ROE for Disney is 20.63%, and that’s above its industry average ROE of 17.07%.

Disney stock passes four of our six key metrics today. That’s why our Investment U Stock Grader rates it as a buy with caution.

Please note that our fundamental factor checklist is just the first step in performing your own due diligence. There are many other factors you should consider before investing. That’s why The Oxford Club offers more than a dozen newsletters and trading advisories all aimed at helping investors grow and maintain their wealth. For more details, click here.
Thoughts on this article? Leave a comment below. …read more

Source:: Investment You

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Protect Your Portfolio From a Down Market for the U.S. Dollar


By Eric Fry

Editor’s Note: A version of this piece originally ran in our sister publication, Wealthy Retirement. You can go here to subscribe if you haven’t already. It’s free.

Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s peasant squire in the classic novel by Cervantes, declared that a wise man should not “venture all his eggs in one basket.”

But Warren Buffett famously contradicted that advice.

Buffett says, “Put all your eggs in one basket, but watch that basket closely.”

Which guy should we trust – the American billionaire or the Spanish peasant?

Buffett made his billions by doing exactly what he advises. He put all of his eggs in one basket and then watched that basket closely.

This strategy works brilliantly if your basket happens to be the United States stock market during one of the greatest economic booms the world has ever seen.

As Buffett himself readily admits, he was born in the right place at the right time.

“I was born in 1930,” Buffett explained to a Fortune reporter a while back. “I won the ovarian lottery. I was born in the United States… I was born white… I was born male… I had all kinds of luck.”

Thanks to Buffett’s winning “lottery ticket,” he launched his investment career near the beginning of a decades-long economic boom… and the American basket treated his eggs very well.

Will the U.S. stock market reward investors as handsomely over the next few decades as it did during the sweet spot of Buffett’s career?

Probably not, would be my guess. That’s why I’d put my money on the peasant, not the billionaire. There are a couple of very good reasons to toss a few eggs into non-U.S., non-dollar baskets.

Give Your Portfolio a Dose of Diversity
First, America’s economic growth over the next three or four decades is unlikely to match its growth during the past three or four decades. Many of the world’s emerging markets are likely to post growth rates that tower above the U.S.

Second, the U.S. dollar recently hit a 13-year high. That means foreign stocks are “on sale” in U.S. dollar terms.

The dollar could become even stronger, of course. But weakness seems to be the path of least resistance, especially since the Trump administration has signaled its desire to see the dollar move lower.

Don’t panic – a weak dollar isn’t all bad. It would “supercharge” the returns you could make from foreign stocks.

That’s the magic of a falling dollar.

But you don’t have to do anything “crazy” or exotic to benefit from dollar weakness. You don’t have to wire money to the Cayman Islands and then invest in some far-flung foreign market.

You could simply buy an exchange-traded fund like the iShares MSCI Canada ETF (NYSE: EWC). In fact, I would recommend doing exactly that. If the Canadian dollar strengthens against the U.S. dollar, that would boost its share price.

As we saw eight years ago, it’s a win-win.

In the depths of the 2008-2009 global stock market collapse, the Canadian dollar’s value fell to a low of US$0.765.

Then, over the ensuing 12 months, the Canadian dollar soared …read more

Source:: Investment You

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