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The Gold vs. Bitcoin Cage Match: Place Your Bets

I can spot an Elvis fan a mile away.

Big hair, jewelry, wide collars, an open shirt … and self-confidence.

I know there must be shy fans of the King out there, but apparently, they don’t wear it on their sleeves. If you’re an Elvis fan on the inside and the outside, your sartorial style will reflect it. So it was with this bitcoin-bug. He’d cornered me at our Total Wealth Symposium in Bermuda last year. He wore blue suede shoes, a  dead giveaway. He asked my opinion of the cryptocurrency … but before I’d had a chance to respond, he told me what it should be.“It’s the single biggest innovation in world history,” he exclaimed. Apparently writing and the wheel were small potatoes. “If you’re not into it, you’re crazy.” Jarringly, the accent was more Long Island than Tupelo, Mississippi.“Perhaps,” I replied. “But the real question is, into it for how much?”Events are asking you that question right now…

Bombs Away, But We’re OK

Last week I got a note from a reader complaining that I talked too much about the impact of politics on markets.Then the governor of Guam told his fellow Guamanians not to look directly at a nuclear fireball, if one should appear courtesy of North Korea. The markets tanked.As I was saying…As it always does, the gold price spiked, hitting $1,294 an ounce today.Gold has a habit of doing that. The chart below looks like an EKG rather than price movements. Up, then down … up, then down … by oddly regular amounts.Overall, gold is up more than 12% this year … but if history is any guide, those gains will halve shortly.Something else happened last week. Bitcoin broke the $4,000 barrier.And unlike gold, everybody’s favorite cryptocurrency keeps trending up this year. Aside from a few blips in June and July, bitcoin is up, up and away.If you’d bought bitcoin at the beginning of January, you’d be looking at a 300% gain 

What Can You Afford: The Tortoise or the Hare?

When you call a person “volatile,” you mean he’s unpredictable.People can be unpredictable even if they seem stable. I’ve known plenty of guys who had a werewolf-level transformation once they got a few drinks in.When we call an asset volatile, however, it just means that its price bounces around a lot. It might even do that predictably, like the gold price.The chart below shows the volatility of bitcoin (the blue one) and gold (the violet line) since the beginning of the year.Even though gold’s price has seesawed like a small boat in a choppy sea, its volatility is extremely low.By contrast, bitcoin is all over the place. That steady-looking line in the previous chart masks a lot of big day-to-day price swings … in January, April, June-July and again in August. 

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Pop Music Warns of a Stock Market Correction

You may not know who Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and DJ Khaled are. I don’t. But I know Rolling Stone called their recent hits the “two contenders for Song of the Summer.”

Fonsi and Daddy Yankee sing “Despacito,” and DJ Khaled performs “I’m the One.”

I found that link on economist Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution blog. He noted the tempo of pop music is slowing down.

This is important to know because there was a study about how pop music relates to the stock market. Changes like this are bearish.

(Source: EWM Interactive)

The link was first noted in a 1985 study called “Popular Culture and the Stock Market.”

The idea is simple. Cheerful and fun songs are popular during positive mood periods, and somber or bitter songs proliferate in negative mood environments, according to socionomist Robert Prechter.

This year’s candidates for the Song of the Summer are “both remarkably leisurely singles that percolate below 90 beats per minute.”

Rolling Stone noted popular songs have slowed down since 2012.

The average tempo dropped by 23 beats per minute (to 90.5 bpm) over that time.

The percentage of songs above 120 bpm fell from 56% to just 12.5% in the past five years.

The somber tone of pop music is another indication we could be nearing a bear market. It’s an indicator few are following. But it’s one that worked well in the past.

Regards,Michael Carr, CMTEditor, Peak Velocity Trader

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Use This 1 Chart to Find Your Next Income Stock

Investors have focused on the easiest source of income out there: dividend stocks.

After all, the normal avenues to collect income have been minimal since the financial crisis.

But not everyone knows what to look for in a good dividend-paying stock.

Is it a high yield, strong fundamentals or a soaring stock price?

It’s actually none of those.

Instead, I have one chart that shows you everything you need to look for. Take a look:

The one thing I look for in any income stock I recommend is its ability to return cash flow to shareholders. It’s the most important thing.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has been picture-perfect since 2011.

That’s when the company started paying a dividend. And its dividend has climbed steadily since then.

This is the first thing you want to find in a company: consistently increasing dividend payments.

This shows that its cash flows are real, not something that’s manipulated on its financial statements.

Cisco also focuses on share buybacks. As you can see by the blue bars on the chart, it has reduced shares outstanding since 2011.

However, this doesn’t always appeal to income seekers.

That’s because it isn’t a direct form of income. But it is a way corporations can essentially return cash to shareholders.

See, as a company buys back shares, it’s also increasing its earnings per share. When the number of shares outstanding is reduced, earnings are then spread over fewer shares.

This increases earnings on a per-share basis, which is how companies are valued. So boosting earnings per share increases share price, resulting in capital gains for shareholders.

That’s why this is the one chart to use to identify your next income stock, and Cisco is a great example.

Regards,Chad Shoop, CMTEditor, Automatic Profits Alert

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