World’s Most-Traded Commodity on fire sale, selling at 64% discount

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OIL

A POPULAR OIL-BASED ETF (symbol: OIL)

A ONCE-HOT MARKET COOLS DOWN TO SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES

The above picture is an extreme example of the bargains available in the energy sector. I don’t necessarily recommend that ETF but it shows how hard oil has been hit in the marketplace.

The commodity is suffering short-term and long-term issues. According to Nasdaq.com, the 2008 price of crude oil was about $140 per barrel and is now not quite 50 dollars.

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH OIL?

First, the short-term problem. There’s a global growth slowdown, excluding the U.S., fortunately. The biggest lame duck is China. The fastest-growing economy losing their momentum spells big trouble for all sorts of commodities, ranging from copper and lumber to energy.

Another very short-term, seasonal issue is winter. We just use less gas, and oil, in the winter. We’re not running around having fun in the sun. We’re stuck in the house and at work, using natural gas and electricity.

LONG-TERM, SYSTEMIC OIL PROBLEMS

The major problem: technology, in the form of fracking and horizontal drilling. These two methods are smothering long-term high oil prices. They’re responsible for the U.S. turning around a 60-year (!) trend of fuel importing and turning into a fuel exporter.

That’s huge news. A systemic problem. We’re now in the league of Saudi Arabia and other major oil reservists. This change will have lasting impact in the industry and market.

That being said, is the world going to abandon oil use? Not any time soon. That’s why I’m optimistic about the price of oil coming back. I even made a prediction, earlier in the year, that oil would be 50% higher by the end of December. We’ll know very soon if I made a foolish prediction.

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A few widely-held ETFs that are oil plays (and year-to-date performance*):

  • USO: Unites States Oil Fund (-27.90%)
  • DBO: DB Oil Fund (-27.71)
  • IEO: iShares U.S. Oil/Gas Exploration & Production (-21.40)
  • XLE: Energy Select Sector SPDR (-21.06)

And a few popular oil-based stocks (with year-to-date performance*):

  • XOM: Exxon Mobile (-17.25%)
  • CVX: Chevron (26.82)
  • BHI: Baker Hughes (-6.28)

* Data sourced from Morningstar.com

Carl Icahn is worried…Should You be, too?

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Carl Icahn In His Latest Video: "Danger Ahead"

Carl Icahn In His Latest Video: “Danger Ahead”

For those of you who don’t know, Carl Icahn is a famous, “shareholder activist” billionaire. He’s even been called a corporate raider for those wanting to insult him.

But, in my opinion, he and his cohorts are a positive force in the market. When there’s an undervalued asset, bad management or other opportunity, these are the guys that shake things up. They own a lot of that particular corporate stock and if you do, too, then you’re in good company. And, most importantly, your stock may go up significantly.

With that said, I have to take his latest video with not a grain, but a wheelbarrow, of salt. I agree with about 90% of what he says except Icahn’s BIG PREDICTION: he thinks there will be a market crash soon that will make all crashes since the 1960’s look minor. I have to say: “Hogwash!”

For context, the worst crash since the 1960’s was The Great Recession we just endured from 2008-09. Very simply, the big fundamentals were going down. Both GDP (the size of our economy) and corporate earnings (the stock market’s major indicator of health or weakness) were going down. And we were at the end of a massive real estate/lending bubble. In other words, the market deserved to go down 50 percent. Which it did.

So, Mr. Icahn, where are GDP and corp. earnings now? Hitting new records. Like they’ve been doing for the last several years. Like they’re estimated to do for as far as can be forecast.

Just a side note: the wealthy and the politicians seem to have lost touch with Main Street. The video also mentioned various bubbles, one of which was an art bubble! Who cares about an art bubble except the ultra-wealthy? It certainly doesn’t cause a tumble in the U.S. economy….

Here’s a link to the complete video via The New York Times: video

Take a look at Icahn’s video. It is really worth watching. Let me know what you think about this billionaire’s thoughts. Please feel free to comment below or contact me any time at RonPhillipsAdvisor@gmail.com