John Browne sees the world through bear-colored glasses
By Dian Vujovich
I’ve put off selling my old gold jewelry. According to one authority, the price on that precious metal is likely to soar. If he’s right, I’ve got two things to consider: Wait until prices rocket up before taking my bag of broken earrings, bracelets and chains to one of those joints that buys used gold. The other is invest in gold in some form or fashion while its price is still where it’s at now—around $1714 an ounce.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.
I covered the monthly meeting of the Palm Beach Business Group (PBBG) meeting last week. The presentation was scheduled to be a Bear vs. Bull debate between Doug Kass, the bull and president of Seabreeze Partners Management, and bear, John Browne, a senior market strategist for Euro Pacific Capital. Both gentlemen are highly respected for their experiences and market opinions. Unfortunately, Kass was unable to be present due to an illness he is now recovering from.
That said, he was missed. I, for one, would have appreciated a different and hopefully optimistic point of view relating to the current state of financial affairs in America today. I am, after all, someone who looks at the performance charts of the DJIA or S&P 500 and sees that over the very long term the overall trend line is an upward one. Plus, I know that no matter what market conditions prevail, there is money to be made somewhere, somehow.
So when it came to Browne’s presentation, it’s fair to say that he and I see things quite differently. According to him, “We, all of us, every single American who has anything in terms of savings or processions is facing the most massive transfer of private wealth to the state—and we haven’t seen anything yet.”
Brown was referring to his view that taxes are going to skyrocket to 70. 80 percent or more, inflation will go wild and stagnation will set in, as well, etc. etc. The picture he painted wasn’t nearly as holiday lovely as was the setting at 264 The Grill where the meeting was held.
I should have asked if any of this was going to happen before December 21 when, of course, all bets are off because that’s the date the Mayan Calendar indicates life, as we know it, will come to an end. But I didn’t.
If Browne’s projections happens to be right on, two ideas he had for investors who want to weather the financial catastrophes coming our way were to invest in gold -something he has been a fan of in the past—and food.
“Food, regardless of what happens, even if we are all serfs we are going to have to eat,” said this Brit who now is an American citizen.
Browne likes gold in all forms from bullion to bars and including ETFs. As for the food play, he suggests a brand we’re all familiar with. ” A company like Nestle International, it’s the largest food company in the world, and is a wonderful mix with gold in my view.”
Trouble is, while gold is easy enough to invest in, Nestle, not necessarily so. It’s a Swiss company, whose brands include everything from Baby Ruth to Nestea, Stouffer’s, Tombstone pizza, Purina, etc., etc., Too bad getting your hands on shares of it isn’t necessarily as easy as acquiring gold.
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