Posts Tagged ‘Fundamental Reasons’
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
by Seth Masters, Chief Investment Officer, AllianceBernstein
Some experts today argue that the world has entered a “New Normal” condition in which stocks have permanently lost their return edge. We’ve heard this before. It was wrong then, and we think it’s wrong now, too.
In 1979, BusinessWeek published a cover story famously called “The Death of Equities.” Then, like now, stock market returns had lagged 10-year Treasury returns for a decade, although for somewhat different reasons.
Stock returns had been dragged down by the bursting of a bubble (the Nifty Fifty) and bleak economic conditions. OPEC had unleashed its second oil-price shock in five years. The so-called misery index—the sum of the unemployment and inflation rates—was 20% in the US, double its level today (because inflation is now very low). And corporate profits were very weak (today, they are very strong).
BusinessWeek was capturing widespread sentiment about the economic and market outlook. Nonetheless, stocks handily beat bonds over the 10 years starting in 1979.
As the ubiquitous legal disclosure says, past performance does not guarantee future returns. Indeed, performance often reverses sharply.
Between 1901 and the onset of the recent credit crisis, there have been 11 10-year rolling periods in which bonds beat stocks, all of them coinciding with the Great Depression or the stagflation of the 1970s. And after each and every one of them, stocks beat bonds for 10 years—on average, by 5.8%, as the Display below shows.
Because we are human, we all tend to expect the future to resemble the recent past—to become “anchored” in our recent experience. It takes guts to buck the trend. But at a September 1983 client conference, we cited good fundamental reasons in making “The Case for the 2,000 Dow.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average was then slightly below 1,300. It reached 2,000 in January 1987, about three-and-a-half years later.
Today, our median annual return projections for global and US stocks are about 8% over the next 10 years, far ahead of our projected 2% median return for 10-year Treasuries. At that rate, the Dow could hit 20,000 in five to 10 years. In the same time frame, the S&P 500, a more representative index, could hit 2,000. (It’s now around 1,300.)
Our projected stock returns may sound optimistic. They’re not. They are well below the long-term average for US and global equities, and are based on conservative assumptions about economic and market conditions.
Still, many pundits argue that stocks today are overpriced. My next blog post will assess stock valuations.
The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice or trade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AllianceBernstein portfolio-management teams.
Seth J. Masters is Chief Investment Officer for Asset Allocation at AllianceBernstein and Chief Investment Officer of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, a unit of AllianceBernstein.
Tags: Businessweek, Chief Investment Officer, Corporate Profits, Credit Crisis, Different Reasons, Dow Jones, Dow Jones Industrial, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Fundamental Reasons, Future Returns, Great Depression, Inflation Rates, Legal Disclosure, Market Outlook, Misery Index, Oil Price Shock, stagflation, Stock Market Returns, Stock Returns, Stocks Bonds
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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
by Jeffrey Saut, Chief Investment Strategist, Raymond James
August 22, 2011
I have been “pounded” with questions about the Dow Theory “sell signal” I spoke of; and, that occurred three weeks ago. The ubiquitous question has been – “Hey Jeff, how can you tell people to buy in light of the signal?” My response has been that such a huge amount of energy had been used up in rendering the Dow Theory “sell signal” that the market, at least on a short-term trading basis, is likely a “buy.” Reinforcing that view are numerous oversold readings of epic proportions. To be sure, one has to go back to the German Army’s invasion of France to find a session where less than 2% of the stocks traded on a particular day on the NYSE were “up” for the session, which is what happened two weeks ago (8/8/11). Yet to readers of these missives, such action should not come as a surprise. Indeed, for the past three weeks I have likened the current selling stampede to those of October 1978 and October 1979. When studying the charts of those periods one finds said declines came out of the blue on no fundamental news; and while many people have argued there are plenty of fundamental reasons for the current decline, I am not one of them. The 1978 and 1979 declines were straight down affairs ending with “selling climaxes” (like seen on 8/8/11). Subsequently, there were sharp rebound rallies peaking within four to five sessions, followed by a downside retest of those “selling climax” lows. Accordingly, in last Tuesday’s verbal strategy comments I said:
“If the October 1978/1979 sequence is correct, the throwback rally we are currently experiencing should peak in the 1200 – 1220 zone (last Tuesday’s intraday high was indeed near our signal point ‘throwback’ rally high estimate of 1206) leading to a pullback towards the recent intraday reaction low of 1101. Nevertheless, I am still respecting the Dow Theory ‘sell signal’ until it is reversed. Opinions, however, vary for Richard Russell (captain of The Dow Theory Letters) suggests there has NOT been a Dow Theory signal because he is using the July 2010 closing lows for the D-J Industrials and D-J Transports rather than the March 2011 ‘lows’ I have been using. For the record, those July 2010 closing lows were 9686.48 and 3906.23, respectively, which are a long way from the averages’ current levels. Whoever is right, enough damage has been done that the May 2nd ‘print high’ of 1370.58 for the S&P 500 is likely the high for the year. The quid pro quo is that last week’s 1101.54 ‘print low’ is either near the low, or the actual low, for the year. This week should reveal the answer if my 1978/1979 analogy is anywhere near the mark. If so, that leaves us hopefully range bound between~1100 and 1370 into year-end with my sense stocks will be at the upper-end of that range by December provided we don’t have a recession, a view I continue to embrace.”
My controversial non-recession “call” is driven by the fact that industry analysts are still bullish on earnings with the S&P 500’s (SPX/1123.53) consensus estimate approaching $114 for 2012. Corporate insiders are clearly bullish as they have been buying their own company’s shares at the highest rate since the bottom in March 2009. Layoffs have slowed and while the economy is certainly slowing, metrics like L.A. seaport traffic, railcar loadings, etc. are not falling off a cliff like they did prior to the 2008 recession. Moreover, China and India’s economies are still percolating; and as this week’s Barron’s writes, “It’s Time to Buy: After a 20% pullback, emerging markets offer strong growth at a discount price.” Then there is the European mess, which appears to be a little less of a mess, interest rates will remain tame for an extended period, it feels like tax reform is coming, and crude oil prices have collapsed. Indeed, change you can believe in is coming because according to The Washington Post, “The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost.” Ladies and gentlemen, if correct that implies the post office is not only going to break its labor agreements, but throw Obamacare under the bus.
Speaking of throwing Obamacare under the bus, an Atlanta Federal Court did just that by ruling that Congress exceeded its authority by passing the “individual mandates,” which will surely be escalated to the nation’s highest court; but, such developments has the administration doing some pretty strange “things” like calling for market-based solutions. One such market-based solution is already at work in Puerto Rico. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ):
“A stimulus program on the island, long ripe with vacant houses and condos, has sent sales of new homes surging 80% and sales of existing homes up 24% in the past 10 months from a year earlier, even as the market in much of the U.S. mainland is dead. …One of the incentive program’s popular provisions offers qualified buyers down-payment assistance for homes purchased with a mortgage, as well as a second mortgage of as much as $25,000 that can be used to make down payments and pay closing costs. Buyers of new homes also pay no transfer taxes when a property changes hands, escape paying property taxes for five years and future capital-gains taxes, and pay no taxes on rental income for 10 years. Sellers don’t have to pay capital-gains taxes on profits.”
As stated, there is a change afoot inside the D.C. Beltway that is palpable and market-based solutions to our problems are but one example. As I told one of our more worried financial advisors last week, “We could solve the debt issue in very short order with a Value Added Tax (VAT).”
Tags: Chief Investment Strategist, Climaxes, Crude Oil, Declines, Dow Theory, Downside, Epic Proportions, Fundamental Reasons, German Army, India, Invasion Of France, jeffrey saut, Last Tuesday, Lows, Nyse, Out Of The Blue, Pullback, Raymond James, Retest, Signal Point, Stampede, Ubiquitous Question
Posted in India, Markets, Oil and Gas | Comments Off
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Brooke Thackray, CFP, CIM, Research Analyst, JovInvestment Management Inc. explains, 1) seasonal investing, 2) three trades used in the Horizons Alphapro Seasonal Rotation ETF (HAC:TSX), reveals 3) how decisions are made in the fund, and finally 4) his 2011 outlook in the following 4 short videos, which you can watch here, or here.
This additional information is courtesy of Don Vialoux’s TimingTheMarket.ca. Don Vialoux and Brooke Thackray are advisors to the Horizons AlphaPro Seasonal Rotation ETF (HAC-TSX)
By definition, seasonal investing includes:
- A start date for an investment
- An end date
- Either price strength or weakness between the start and end dates for the chosen equity, sector, index or commodity.
A seasonality study preferably uses at least 10 years of data. Most of our studies use 15-20 years of data However, data may not always be available for 10 years. Studies using less than ten years of data can be used, but they tend to be less reliable. Results of shorter term studies have a higher chance of being skewed by a single data point.
Results using at least ten year of data tend to be stable for long periods of time, particularly when annual recurring fundamental reasons causing seasonality are unchanged. However, “statistical” slippage can occur. For example, the U.S. high tech sector has a period of seasonal strength from the end of September to a time between the end of December and the end January. On average, the sector peaks between start of the annual Las Vegas consumer electronics show in the second week in January and start of fourth quarter earnings reports near the end of January. Optimal time to own high tech securities for a seasonal trade based on month end statistical data over a 10 year period frequently flips back and forth from the end of December to the end of January. Seasonality studies on equity indices, sectors and commodities need to be re-examined once a year to see if slippage has occurred.
Time length for intermediate periods of seasonal strength or weakness ranges from five weeks to seven months. In addition, special short term periods often related to holidays have been identified. Examples include strength just before and after U.S. Thanksgiving and strength from just before Christmas until just after the New Year. Also, longer term “cyclical” periods lasting several years have been identified. Most notable is the four year economic or “presidential” cycle. Data for longer term cyclical periods frequently can be overlaid with annual data to refine seasonal entry and exit points.
Some sectors and commodities have more than one period of seasonal strength. A good example is the Canadian financial services sector. Its periods of seasonal strength are from the end of September to the end of December and from the end of February to the end of May. Investors frequently will combine the two periods. Traders with a shorter time horizon may choose one or both periods based on fundamental and technical considerations.
Most periods of seasonal strength are NOT followed by a periods of seasonal weakness. In most cases, periods of seasonal strength are followed by a period of random performance. Markets moving from a period of seasonal strength to a period of seasonal weakness are rare.
Seasonality is measured in three ways:
- Average return during the chosen period expressed as a percent
- Reliability expressed by the number of profitable periods out of at least the past ten periods.
- Performance relative to a major equity index such as the S&P 500 Index or the TSX Composite Index.
A seasonal investment by definition is profitable more than 50% of the time. If frequency of profitable trades is 50% and frequency of unprofitable trades is 50%, results are random. Confidence in a seasonal trade increases with the frequency of profitable trades. A confidence level for a seasonal trade exceeding is 70% is preferred. A confidence level of 80% frequently is available. A confidence level of 90% is relatively rare. A confidence level of 100% is extremely rare.
Primary Factors Influencing Seasonality
Seasonality happens because of a series of annual recurring events. The job of a seasonality analyst is to examine if the annual events are likely to recur prior to a period of seasonal strength. If annual recurring events are less likely to occur, the seasonality analyst will avoid recommending a seasonal trade.
The classic example is a series of recurring events that trigger the annual period of seasonal strength in the Canadian equity market. The TSX Composite Index has an historic period of seasonal strength from the end of September to the end of April. The strategy is known as the “Buy when it snows, sell when it goes” strategy: Canadian equity markets historically start to move higher near the end of September when the first snowfalls frequently appear in many parts of southern Canada. Equity markets tend to reach a seasonal peak near the end of March/ middle of April when last of the snow melts away. U.S. equity markets as well as almost all equity markets in developed nations have a similar seasonal pattern.
Securities Suitable for Seasonal Equity Investing
Security suitability depends on the knowledge level achieved by the investor:
Investors with the least amount of investment knowledge should focus on Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) that track the seasonality of well known equity indices and sectors. A wide variety of ETFs currently are available. Over 800 equity ETFs currently are listed on North American exchanges. ETFs hold a basket of equities that track an index. Reasons to own ETFs include their diversification, low cost, tax efficiency and ease to buy and sell. Better known Exchange Traded Funds include DIAMONDS (i.e. Dow Jones Industrial Average tracking units), SPYDRS (i.e. S&P 500 Index Deposit Receipts), Qubes (i.e. NASDAQ 100 tracking units) and i60s (i.e. TSX 60 Index units).
Investors with access to reliable fundamental analysis sources can choose individual equity securities that track a period of seasonal strength. Top choices are individual equities with encouraging news making potential during the period of seasonal strength.
Similarly, investors with access to reliable technical analysis sources can choose individual equity securities that are developing favourable technical patterns during a period of seasonal strength.
Investors with greater investment knowledge can apply sophisticated strategies including various conservative listed option strategies that tie into periods of seasonal strength.
Combining Seasonality with Technical and Fundamental Analysis
Using seasonality as a “stand alone” tool to make investment decisions is NOT recommended. Seasonality is a useful analytical tool, but only when used in conjunction with fundamental and technical analysis. Trades based on seasonality alone are profitable in say seven or eight times out of 10, but are unprofitable in two or three times out of ten.
The same can be said for investment based on technical analysis. Reliable technical patterns such as head-and-shoulders patterns are accurate approximately 75% of the time. However, they are not accurate 25% of the time.
Trades based on fundamental analysis alone also are not recommended. Fundamental analyst picks may be profitable most of the time. However, results from a stock picking contest during 2006 run by the Globe and Mail showed that even the best fundamental analysts are far from perfect. The contest requested each participant to choose one stock to buy at the beginning of 2006 and to hold until the end of the year. Participants included a college student, a financial journalist and seven of Canada’s top fundamental analysts. You guessed it! The winner and only person to choose a stock that appreciated in 2006 was the college student.
Chances of a choosing a profitable seasonal trade are greatly enhanced if all three methods of analysis are combined. Of equal importance, chances of losing capital are greatly reduced.
Seasonality analysis is the bridge between fundamental and technical analysis:
- Fundamental analysis tells us what to buy and sell
- Technical analysis tells us when to buy and sell.
- Seasonality analysis tells us what and when to buy and sell.
Identifying Seasonal Trades
Several methods are available to identify periods of seasonal strength:
- Comments on seasonality made by fundamental analysts can be confirmed by completing a seasonality report based on data for 10 years or more. Fundamental analysts are notorious for commenting on seasonal trends based on 2-5 year data. Ten year studies will confirm or not confirm their comments. A few fundamental analysts on Bay and Wall Street are well aware of long term seasonal trends and base the timing of their recommendations at least partially on seasonality. They usually are analysts who have been in the financial service industry for 10 years or more.
- Recurring spikes can be examined on monthly price charts using 10 or more years of data. Recurring spikes at the same time each year either on the upside or downside can suggest the possibility of a seasonal trend.
- Companies and sectors can be examined when they have at least one quarter per year when revenues, earnings, cash flow and/or Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) are seasonally strong. Examples include retail merchandising and consumer electronic companies in the fourth quarter or airline companies in the summer. Seasonal strength in their share price normally begins just prior to their period of seasonal financial strength and ends just prior to the end of their seasonal period of financial strength.
- Data for 10 years or more can be screened to identify equities and sectors showing periods of above average strength relative to their benchmark index. Preferred benchmarks are the S&P 500 Index for U.S. equities and sectors and the TSX Composite Index for Canadian equities and sectors.
One of the greatest myths on Wall Street and Bay Street is that North American equity markets usually experience a “summer rally”. Traders frequently start talking in May about the possibility of a rally in the stock market in the June to August period. Talk by traders normally escalates during a period when North American equity markets are experiencing a short term correction. The message is “Don’t worry, be happy. The market will come back”. A long term study of the TSX Composite Index and S&P 500 Index confirms that a rally lasting three weeks or more inevitably happens during the three month summer period. However, traders fail to mention that the three week rally period has no consistency. Timing of the appearance of the three week rally is random and can appear at any time during the three month period. Of greater importance, traders fail to mention that virtually all three month periods during the year record at least one period of recovery lasting three weeks or more regardless of season.
Another myth is the expression “Sell in May and go away”. The myth originated from an actual period of seasonal strength in the base metal sector. Base metal prices as well as base metal equity prices tended to peak early in May and bottom near the end of September. The main reason was the annual operating shut down by base metal smelters in Europe in July and August for Europe’s extended holiday season. Demand by smelters for base metal concentrates slowed in May and recovered in September. Currently, base metal prices continue to show this seasonal pattern, but the pattern has been muted over the years. Market share of base metal smelter capacity in Europe has declined while market share in the Far East and South America has increased. Over the past decade, the “Sell in May and go away” phrase became adopted by the media, but with a slightly different twist. The phrase was transformed into expectation for weakness by broadly based North American equity indices such as the S&P 500 Index and the TSX Composite Index from the end of May to the end of September. The myth is not supported by fact. The S&P 500 Index and the TSX Composite Index has gained in five of the past ten periods from the end of May to the end of September. Unlike the period of seasonal strength by North American equity markets from the end of September to the end of
April, performance in the May to September period is random. This period does not have a sufficient number of annual recurring events to influence equity markets.
Another myth is that the month of October is a weak and dangerous month for North American equity markets. The myth is based on the fact that substantial downdrafts in North American prices have occurred in the month of October. October 1929 and October 1987 are seared into the minds of traders. However, data during the past ten years suggests that fears of weakness in October no longer are founded. The S&P 500 Index has advanced in five of the past 10 periods and the TSX Composite Index has gained in seven of the past 10 periods. On the contrary! October frequently is the month of the year when important seasonal lows frequently are reached.
Identified Periods of Seasonal Strength for Equity Indices, Equity Sectors, Industrial Commodities and Selected Stocks as of June 1st 2009
Lots of changes this year due to the big downdraft in equity markets during the past year! Most seasonal trades showed diminished returns based on data for the past 10 years. In addition, some seasonal trades experienced slippage (e.g. data showing that the optimal period for entering a seasonal trade moved from September to October). Seasonal trades that generated an average return of 5% were eliminated. New seasonal trades were added (e.g. Gold equities, Platinum). Following is the annual report:
Exchange Traded Funds are available on all of the above sectors.
Following is seasonality for equivalent Canadian sectors:
** Exchange Traded Funds are available.
** Exchange Traded Fund available
** Exchange Traded Fund or Note available
Selected Periods of Seasonal Strength in Sectors Based On Identified Annual Recurring Events
- Strongest quarter for cash flow and earnings: First quarter
- Influenced by favourable seasonality in the price of crude oil and natural gas from February to May and by favourable seasonality in natural gas from August to December.
- Strongest revenue and earnings quarter: fourth quarter in response to consumer electronic sales prior to Christmas
- Climax often associated with the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic show in the second week in January
- Key health care conferences usually are in September (Oncology conference) and January (JP Morgan health conference). The sector has a history of reaching a seasonal peak when the JP Morgan health care conference is held in mid January.
- A higher frequency of drug approval in the U.S. usually occurs just prior to year end
Philadelphia Gold and Silver (XAU)
- Strength in the July to September period corresponds to strength in gold. Gold strengthens when gold fabricators are buying gold to make jewelry for the Christmas and Dhaliwal seasons.
- Gold stocks and ETFs tend to be contra-cyclical. They move higher during periods of stock market weakness (particularly in summer months).
Copyright (c) TimingTheMarket.ca
Tags: BRIC, BRICs, Canadian Market, Cfp, Commodities, Consumer Electronics Show, Don Vialoux, Earnings Reports, energy, Equity Sector, ETF, ETFs, Fourth Quarter Earnings, Fundamental Reasons, Gold, Horizons, Intermediate Periods, Investing, Long Periods Of Time, Management Inc, Optimal Time, Price Strength, Research Analyst, Seasonal Trade, Seasonality, Sector Index, Seven Months, Silver, Slippage, Statistical Data, Thackray, Time Length, Tsx, Week In January
Posted in Canadian Market, Commodities, Emerging Markets, Energy & Natural Resources, ETFs, Gold, Markets, Oil and Gas, Outlook, Silver | Comments Off
Friday, January 22nd, 2010
This article is a guest contribution by John Kicklighter, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com.
Any doubts that the market has forged higher without the support of stable fundamentals should be completely dispelled after this week’s sharp reversal. Even if this recent slump in investor sentiment doesn’t ignite into a true reversal of capital flows; the simple fact that the markets retraced so aggressively and in tandem stands as testament to the fear that lies just beneath the surface.
- The Dollar Takes Off and Dow Falters – Risk Appetite is on the Verge of Collapse
- When Sentiment Falls Apart Correlations will Tighten and Momentum Increase
- How Over Extended are the Market and What are Fair Fundamental Values?
Any doubts that the market has forged higher without the support of stable fundamentals should be completely dispelled after this week’s sharp reversal. Even if this recent slump in investor sentiment doesn’t ignite into a true reversal of capital flows; the simple fact that the markets retraced so aggressively and in tandem stands as testament to the fear that lies just beneath the surface. What’s more, there are plenty of fundamental reasons to be concerned about the state of the markets or more precisely the conviction of those participants that drove the supposed high-yield / high-return asset classes to their over inflated levels. Among the long line of fundamental concerns that have slowly eroded the foundation of the most aggressive influx of speculative capital in history, we have non-existent yields, government efforts to restrain capital interests and the withdrawal of vital stimulus among many other factors.
In gauging the threat of a significant retracement going forward, we need only pick our poison. Every major asset class has its own benchmark that is ready to suffer the ravages of risk aversion. In the Forex market, many prominent carry-based currency pairs have already marked critical breaks and reversals. The dollar has taken meaningful steps towards true recovery. Now, we await the clear break of the Carry Trade Index. The same conditions exist in more speculator-responsive markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke out of a 300-point range for the first time in two months. In commodities, gold has overwhelmed a trend that has defined the metal’s bullish drive for more than five months now. These markets are at the very edge and require only the slightest gust of fundamental wind to transform a retracement into a true change of trend.
What could motivate investors to throw in the towel and either book profit or unwind failing positions? The most basic force at work will be fear itself. Should the more prominent benchmarks pitch into a clear downtrend, market participants will require little motivation to exit the market. Remember, it wasn’t long ago that the these markets suffered their worst crisis in modern history. While the collective memory of the markets is short; there is little doubt that traders will heed the warning signs and attempt to preserve any returns they have made over the past year. So, in these terms; all we need is a catalyst. There are plenty of sparks to push sentiment over the edge. The most recent threat to speculation comes in the form of government regulations and restrictions. These past two weeks, China has taken meaningful steps to limit leverage and aggressive speculation to prevent a potential bursting of an asset bubble.
There is no argument to be made against the overextended market. Raising the reserve ratios, tightening loan requirements and other steps are no doubt reasonable; but their effectiveness in this stage of the game is too little, too late. And, China (the objective of a sizable percentage of the market’s most speculative funds) isn’t the only country bearing down on the volatile capital markets. US President Obama recently announced proposals that would limit the size and risk profile of the nation’s largest banks. This is a reasonable and direct step for a country that has been rocked by the failure of ‘too-big-to-fail’ firms; but there is little doubt that the side effects of such policy would be to reduce leverage and liquidity. Furthermore, these steps are being taken at the exact same time that the world’s policy makers are withdrawing the stimulus that has been so essential to market’s recovery to this point. As it was, there were concerns that speculators would be able to stand on their own when stimulus and guarantees were removed. Now they are looking at restrictions.
Written by: John Kicklighter, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com.
Questions? Comments? You can send them to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: DailyFX – The Dollar Takes Off and Dow Falters – Risk Appetite is on the Verge of Collapse http://www.dailyfx.com/forex/fundamental/article/carry_trade_basket/2010-01-22-0657-The_Dollar_Takes_Off_and.html
Tags: asset class, Asset Classes, Capital Interests, China, Collapse, Commodities, Correlations, Currency Pairs, Currency Strategist, Emerging Markets, Falters, Forex Market, Fundamental Concerns, Fundamental Reasons, Fundamental Values, Gold, Government Efforts, Influx, Investor Sentiment, Retracement, Risk Appetite, Risk Aversion, Simple Fact, Speculative Capital, Vital Stimulus
Posted in Canadian Market, China, Commodities, Markets | Comments Off