Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sweeten Your Portfolio with Stevia First (DBA, KFT, WMT) - SmallCapNetwork

Many will buy retail stocks such as Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT).  Other legendary investors such as Jim Rogers and George Soros establish positions in commodities.

But the one thing that virtually all investors agree upon is the bullish future for agriculture and commodities.  Jim Rogers has exclaimed in interviews that it if it is the agriculture sector, he is buying.  Much of this has to do with the growth of the middle class around the world.  There is even an exchange traded note focused on the agriculture investments of Jim Rogers, the Elements Rogers International Commodity (NYSE: RJA).

This is why Warren Buffett buys railroads: to transport US crops to port to be shipped overseas.  As China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other nations have entered the consumer marketplace, literally billions of new customers are lining up at the table for agricultural products and commodities.  Jim Jubak, financial columnist for MSN Money, has deemed the burgeoning consumer class around the globe as the most important investment trend of the decades ahead.

As the diets evolve of more affluent consumers, sweeteners become one of the most desired components.   This is easily seen in the sweetener products offered by Kraft Foods, Inc and/or carried on the shelves of Wal-Mart Stores around the globe.  Much of the industry goes into the components of the PowerShares DB Agriculture.  Overall, the global market for sweeteners is estimated to be around $60 billion annually.

Much of the sweetener market is sugar.  But that is rapidly changing for a variety of factors.  A major consideration is the damage done to the environment.  There are many negative aspects to sugar from which natural substitutes such as Stevia do not suffer.

This is one of the many appealing features to Stevia First Corp as an investment in the sweetener sector of the agriculture industry.  Stevia extract, which is 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar, has been around for literally centuries, primarily used in eastern Asia.  It was approved in the United States in 2008 by the Food and Drug Administration.  Europe issued its approval in last year.  It has gained widespread acceptance:  In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Al Sharpton talked about how he used it in is tea to lose so much weight by giving him his sweetener fix for the day.

To service this worldwide market for sweetener products in the tens of billions, Stevia First is setting up shop in the Central Valley of California.  That region is as fertile as any in the world.  In addition, it also offers proximity to the major transportation facilities of the West Coast: in other words, direct access to billions of consumers in Asia who grew up using Stevia.  As such, the global market for artificial sweeteners is already around $6 billion.  In the United States, it is about $1billion already.  Stevia Corp. offers the small cap investor not only the best of both worlds in investing (low price with big, established market for product) in the agriculture sector, but literally access to billions of consumers around the globe.

Jim Rogers likes silver more than gold

Both silver and gold have enjoyed a bullish run this year.  For 2012, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF is up 9.44%. Over the last 52 weeks of trading, GLD has risen 20.46%. It is down, however, for the last six months, quarter, month, and week of buying and selling action. GLD is now trading below its 20-day moving average.

Year to date, the iShares Silver Trust ETF is up 25.32%.  It has not risen that much over the past 52 weeks of trading, as it is up only 1.02% over that period. However, it is much stronger over the short term than GLD. Over the last quarter, iShares Silver Trust is higher by 5.50%. For the last month of trading, it has risen 3.02%.
Of note to investors should be the short floats for each exchange traded fund. A short float of 5% is considered to be troubling.  SPDR Gold Shares has a short float of 4.12%. iShares Silver Trust has a a short float of 5.46%.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The world, according to investor Jim Rogers

Excuse me," Jim Rogers says, pulling a navy blue sock over his right foot. "I'm a little jet lagged."
A Nepalese house boy is making over the Khaleej suite at Emirates Palace Hotel, the television is tuned to CNN, his laptop is open and dinging occasional alerts for new emails, and two BlackBerrys are charging on his desk.

A lot of the problems we're facing today is that people have forgotten how to work hard. It's a generational thing. If you go to a fast food restaurant or a department store in the United States, you'll see senior citizens working behind the counter or greeting customers. They're doing it because they have a work ethic
"I have a problem with jetlag," he says. "Do you have a cure?"
Melatonin, but it's illegal in the UAE and most of the Arab world.

"Really? It's an over-the-counter medication in most of the world," he says. He should know, he's been around it twice. Once on a motorbike and once in a custom-made Mercedes-Benz.
But that's what retired people do: Travel.
This investment icon in dark pin-striped suit trousers, light blue pin-striped shirt and baby pink suspenders is retired. He's 69 now. Only he retired when he was 37.

So how did the New York-born and Demopolis, Alabama-raised, Yale and Oxford-educated and now resident of Singapore make it so big he could retire at 37?

As a five-year-old, he had an innate business sense. When the crowds left the baseball diamond, Rogers would go around, picking up the soda bottles and returning them for the deposits. And he literally worked for peanuts — selling bags of them at the baseball games.
A degree in history, another in philosophy, politics and economics, and a job on Wall Street.
Back in 1973, when he had $600 to his name, he and friend George Soros set up the Quantum Fund. It did well. While the Standard & Poor's index advanced 47 per cent over the next decade, the Rogers and Soros fund had returns of 4,200 per cent.

"Hard work pays dividends," Rogers says as he relaxes in an arm chair, his piecing blue eyes forever moving, thinking, never still.
"A lot of the problems we're facing today is that people have forgotten how to work hard. It's a generational thing. If you go to a fast food restaurant or a department store in the United States, you'll see senior citizens working behind the counter or greeting customers," he says. "They're doing it because they have a work ethic. They want to work, and they're doing jobs that young people don't want to do. Young people don't want to work because they will get benefits, can have a baby and not bother to work and that's going to affect the productivity and profitability of businesses. We live in a culture where people are used to support and handouts. And we can't afford to sustain them."
Is that why the US is in the mess it's in?
"Absolutely. That and Alan Greenspan."
Without prompting, Rogers is off to the races at a gallop on how the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve set the conditions in place for crippling US debt levels by printing too much money and failing to get a grip on banks, lending and fiscal policy.
"Money was too cheap and too plentiful," Rogers says. "He caused the stock market bubble and that led to the real estate bubble and the consumer debt bubble. Now those bubbles have burst and what is Ben Bernanke — the current Fed chairman — doing? He's printing more money. Bernanke couldn't get a job as a banker. He's just a printer. That's all he knows how to do. Print money. There isn't enough trees to print all of the money Bernanke wants."
You kind of get the impression that Rogers is slightly critical?
"Sure, when the next blow comes, and it will over the next 18 months, we have nothing left."
Back in 2006, Rogers saw the mess coming — that's why he shorted US financial institutions, home builders and mortgage lender Fannie Mae.

Borrowed cash
But isn't the guy earning $30,000 and living in Alexandria, Louisiana, entitled to a home and a big pickup truck?
"Sure he is, if he worked for it and paid for it with real money," Rogers says. "The problem is that everyone is entitled to a house and a pickup truck but no one wants to pay for it in real money. It's borrowed money. And Greenspan and Bernanke weren't watching the bankers and lenders because they were too busy printing more money."
The minibar beckons, an Italian sparkling water poured into a tumbler as Rogers takes several gulps, leaving the glass half full. Or half empty?
"It's only a matter of time before the next crisis comes," he says. "Maybe by the end of this year, probably by the end of next year."
So where's his money?
"I have only started to get back into stocks now, nothing serious," he answers. His money is tied up in anything to do with agriculture, currencies, silver.
"Here's an interesting statistic," Rogers offers, settling again into the armchair, resting easy. "The average age of farmers in Japan is 66. The average age of farmers in Australia and the UK is 58. The highest rate of suicides in Britain is with farmers.

Farming culture
"Nobody wants to farm any more. Yet there are more people than even now. Seven billion of us. What are we going to eat? Every year, the US has something like 225,000 graduates in public relations. I think there's 20,000 agriculture graduates in the US now. Have you ever tried to eat a press release?
"My advice to young people would be to get into agriculture. If you want to make money over the next 20 years, agriculture is the way to go. If you don't want to be a farmer, buy the Lamborghini dealership or a restaurant in Iowa. Why? Because the farmers in Iowa are going to be very wealthy. And they will be able to afford Lamborghinis. Fewer and fewer people are producing more and more food for more and more of us. That's only going to get worse over the next 20 or 30 years. So if you're smart, put your money into anything related to agriculture."
That's contrary to those who see technology and digital products as the way of the future.
"I have never invested in digital companies," Rogers says. "I won't invest in something that I can't understand. And it's not productive. What is actually made? What is produced? How can it be used? What is tangible? Nothing. How many people actually understand what Google does? Can it be sustained, or is it just the next ‘big thing?' And how many ‘big things' have we had in history? Every decade there's some next ‘big thing' and the only ones who make money out of the next big thing are the ones who are there first."
Five years ago, Rogers sold his New York home and moved with his family to Singapore, where he lives most of the year — when he's not travelling and fighting jet lag. "Europe is finished," he says. "The US is broken. Asia is where it's at."
Rogers has put his money where his mouth is and is heavily into Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea and Singapore.
"If you're smart, teach your children Mandarin," he says.
His two young children are learning the language and he fully expects Asia to be at the centre of economic growth and activity for the foreseeable future.
When he took up residence in Singapore, Rogers was clear in his reasoning: In 1807 smart people moved to London, in 1907 smart people moved to New York. And in 2007, smart people moved to Asia.
Not India?

"If you can only visit one country in the world, visit India," Rogers advises.
"It is a complete assault on your senses. Amazing natural beauty, diverse peoples and cultures, wonderful buildings and temples. It is a complete sensory experience for sight, smells, tastes. But never, ever do business there. The Indians have taken British administration and red tape and moved it three levels higher. It is impossible to do business there because of the regulatory environment and protectionist rules."

India rules
"Take agriculture for instance," Rogers says, returning to his favourite topic. "In India, there are land ownership rules in place that limit land ownership to five hectares. If there are ten sons in a family and each have five hectares, how can 50 hectares of land be productive? That's why India will never develop. The regulatory environment and protectionism needs to change."
And that exemplifies his belief in free market economies.
"Governments should not be in the business of giving out bailouts, whether it is to banks or car companies. Business entities need to survive on their own two feet. That's half of the reason why the world is in the mess it's in. Take Europe, for example. Its farmers are subsidised. Greece's farmers are under-productive because they don't need to be efficient."
Rogers is in Abu Dhabi looking at investment opportunities and as part of the emirate's Art of Investment programme. On that subject, he's saying little.
The house boy has finished making up the suite and a new bouquet of flowers has been delivered to freshen up the room.
He excuses himself. Those emails on the laptop are waiting for answers. And Rogers is never short of those.
Name: James Beeland Rogers
Born: October 19, 1942
Education: Bachelor's degree in History from Yale University in 1964. He then acquired a second BA degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Balliol College, Oxford University in 1966.
Milestone: In 1973, Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros. During the following 10 years, the portfolio gained 4200 per cent while the S&P advanced about 47 per cent.
1995: Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers.
2003: Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip.
2004: Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World's Best Market.
2007: A Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World's Greatest Market.
2009: A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons For Life And Investing.

OIL, CHINA, LIES, BIKE LANES: Jim Rogers Tells All To Business Insider- Business Insider

Years ago, Jim Rogers started the Quantum Fund with George Soros.  Now, the commodities guru works in Singapore, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.
Rogers spoke with Business Insider to discuss commodities, the global economy, his legendary career, and his life in Singapore.

What follows is the complete transcript of our interview with Jim Rogers.
Inflation, commodities and the consumer
What is feeding into oil prices at the moment?
Iran obviously, is one thing, but another is in the U.S. it’s the infrastructure problem. We have oil but it’s in the wrong places. On the east coast, they use imported oil, and imported oil is higher because of Iran. And it comes from Europe. North Sea production is in decline. There are supply-demand reasons that oil prices are high in many parts of the world. And known reserves of oil are in decline worldwide. And the IEA is going around telling people that known reserves are in a steady decline and we’re going to have a huge problem in a decade or two, a gigantic problem, unless somebody finds a lot of oil very quickly.  So underneath the supply-demand, shorter term it's infrastructure and Iran probably.
At what level do you think oil prices will break the back of the American recovery? 
We are going to have a slowdown. Such is the staggering debt that America has, it has caused more and more of a drag on our economy. I would also point out to you that every four to six years we’ve had an economic slowdown in the U.S., since the beginning of time, so by 2012, 2013, 2014, we are well overdue for an economic slowdown for whatever reason. Whether it’s caused by high oil or what, we’re going to have a slowdown in the foreseeable future.
How do you see oil prices impacting consumers in emerging markets, especially in Asia, when many of them are struggling to rein in inflation and drive growth?
Everybody is paying higher prices for oil and that obviously impacts consumption everywhere and it's not just oil, it's food and everything else that’s going up. There’s inflation everywhere, the U.S. lies about it, I mean the U.S. government lies about inflation but there’s inflation everywhere. I mean I don’t know if you go shopping, but if you do, you know prices are up. The government says they’re not, I don’t know where they shop. Everybody else’s prices are up.
If you could own / invest in just one commodity which would it be?
I guess it would have to be one of the agricultural commodities, it would depend on which is down the most but it would be agriculture I can tell you that.
You said earlier this year that if gold moved towards $1,600 you would be interested in buying more.  Are you looking at gold now?
I’m certainly watching, if it goes below $1,600 I’m sure I’ll buy more. If it goes to $1,200 I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot more. Gold has been up 11 years in a row now, which is extremely unusual for any asset. So it would not surprise me if gold doesn’t ... continue to have a nice correction in 2012. If it does, if it does, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot more. I’m not selling. I’m not selling. I have not sold and will not sell until the bubble comes. There will be a bubble in gold some day but that’s ten years, I don’t know, several years from now. I hope I’m smart enough to sell when the bubble comes.

JIM ROGERS: Jim Chanos Is Wrong About China And I Said It To His Face -Business Insider

You’re a China bull. Could you tell me the one thing that you think China bears have got wrong?

Not quite sure. If you mean the people who say China is going to explode. Those guys have been saying that for three years. I guess someday they’ll be right. So far they’ve been dead wrong, for years. There will be setbacks in China along the way. In America in the19th century we had 15 depressions with a capital "D," we had no human rights, we had not much rule of law, (and we) had a horrible civil war, yet we became the most successful country in the 20th century.

China is going to have plenty of setbacks but what these guys are mainly missing is China has been in decline for three or four hundred years but started turning it around in 1978. And there’s a long history of entrepreneurship, capitalism, they have the brains, they have the know-how, there are many overseas Chinese who will bring back money and management ability. And the Chinese have a very, very high savings rate. They save over 35 percent of their income and so even if they start going off, they’ve got something to fall back on, as opposed to America and the rest of the world.

There was a housing bubble in urban, coastal real estate, which the government has popped purposely, I mean they knew what they were doing. But as far as, I mean Jim Chanos, says it’s going to be a thousand times worse than Dubai. Well that shows he doesn’t understand Dubai, and he doesn’t understand China. Now I’ve told him this to his face though, so I’m not talking behind his back. China is vastly different from Dubai, vastly. 
Could you explain how Dubai and China’s real estate property problems differ?

Dubai was building its plan, its economic plan was to build an economy based on real estate speculation. It didn’t have anything else. It didn’t have oil, natural resources, it had a small population etc. and there was gigantic real estate speculation in construction. China has huge amounts of stuff. It has a growing population. It has vast natural resources, not enough, but it’s got some. And then all those natural resources in Siberia which they can tap and they’ve got huge financial reserves. Dubai does not. Dubai has a rich big brother, but that’s all Dubai has and China has it all - resources, cheap labor, discipline, educated labor and vast markets.

China lowered their growth rate, wage inflation is worrying and it’s the year of leadership change. Do you think China is in control in terms of their property prices and economic growth…

I doubt the government planned to have a bubble. They got a bubble. I mean they’ve been trying to cool it off and they’ve done so. As far as the lower growth rates, I don’t pay attention to government growth figures because they’re all phony. Nobody knows how much China is growing, including China. I don’t pay attention to all of these figures. They’re not important to me. They’re irrelevant. China is certainly doing better than most countries and it will continue to do so. It will have setbacks. There’s nothing that says China should not have a recession. But China has a lot of money saved for a rainy day and when it rains they’re going to spend. America doesn’t have any money saved for a rainy day.  And when it rains we’re going to try to borrow it or print it, neither of which is good for America or for the world.

View the original article here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jim Rogers predicts lost decade ahead

Rogers stresses that his predictions of doom will not come true in the next year. 2012 will see economic growth, and investors should not worry yet. "This year's fine," he told CNBC in a recent interview. "Worry about 2013. Be panicked about 2014." This is why Rogers is legendarily short on both American and European equities. Weak currency policies will result in higher inflation, and the unwillingness of global authorities -- particularly the United States -- to take needed steps has made Rogers gloomy.
In the case of the United States, eventually the Federal Reserve will be unable to maintain its low interest rate policies or finance the federal deficit by expanding its balance sheet.

When this happens, Treasury bonds will have to compete for investment capital at market interest rates. This will send mortgages higher, devastating the real estate sector. Equities will suffer as fixed income instruments will offer much higher yields, as in the 1980s.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jim Rogers: Play This Rally With Commodities -

The Dow and S&P 500 may have hit their highest levels since 2008 on Tuesday, but Jim Rogers , CEO and Chairman of Rogers Holdings, is still staying away from stocks. Instead, he told “The Kudlow Report” he’s playing the rally with commodities.

“You see what’s happening to gold … Oil went down today, yes, but oil’s been going through the roof,” he said. “There are other ways to play. They’re printing a lot of money, Larry. When they print money, you have to protect yourself with real assets in the end.”
Rogers says things are “fine” right now because it’s an election year, not only in the U.S. but around the world, and that means governments are spending and printing money.  It’s the future he’s concerned about.
“Worry about 2013. Be panicked bout 2014,” Rogers said. “But this year a lot of good news is coming out.”
If President Obama wins the election, everybody’s going to say “Oh My God,” he said. If Obama loses, everyone is going to have to cut back because the president has “gone to excess” to try to win the election.
Right now, Rogers thinks it looks like Obama is going to win.
“I don’t want him to win. It’s not good for America. But it’s hard to defeat a sitting president,” he said. “And he’s spending a lot of money. Things are going to feel good this year just because he’s throwing money into the market and into the economy.”

Jim Rogers: Warning – Economic Armageddon Coming

Jim Rogers said to Glenn Beck, “What you should do if you get tired of TV, is to become a farmer. That is where the money is going to be.” On the Glenn Beck show, Jim Rogers explains the difference between a recession, depression and an economic collapse.

Jim Rogers: Ben Bernanke and the US Dollar

Capital Account talks about Ben Bernanke’s latest comment on the economy and interviews international investor Jim Rogers for his opinion.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jim Rogers is scared of a second term for Obama

It’s looking to be a legendary election year, with recent polling putting incumbent Barack Obama behind his Republican rivals. If the current commander-in-chief can clench re-election, however, the result could be rough for the rest of America.

Discussing the damage a second Obama term could have on America, legendary investor Jim Roger tells CNBS that the economically oblivious incumbent could crush whatever is left of the faltering US financial system. The first Obama term has suggested that the president has no problem letting the Federal Reserve print a plethora of money America doesn’t have. As if the consequences haven’t been colossal already, Rogers says another four years of Obama could very well ruin America by the time a second term is in full swing.

"This year's fine. Worry about 2013.Be panicked about 2014.This year, a lot of good news is coming out,”
Rogers tells CNBS’s The Kudlow Report.
Rogers goes on to warn that Obama is currently polling strong enough to make a second term a real reality; in regards to whether or not that would be good news for Americans, Rogers says that , if you ask him, it absolutely is not.

“I would tell you that Obama is going to win. I don't want him to win. It's not good for America,”
adds Rogers.
Rogers adds, “It’s hard to defeat a sitting president and he’s spending a lot of money.”
A presidential tracking poll released on Monday by Rasmussen Reports suggests that a two-person race between either Barack Obama and Mitt Romney or Ron Paul could be a close one for Obama — with the latest results suggesting he could even lose to either candidate — but with unemployment figures finally starting to stabilize, Obama may momentarily be winning back Americans. The pumping of money into the economy might be a short-term solution, suggests Rogers, but there will be trouble down the road.
Speaking to RT last year, Rogers said that bickering in Washington, regardless of under Obama’s watch or not, would be detrimental to the future of the dollar. “We are all going to continue to get deeper and deeper into debt,”
Rogers predicted in July as Congress came close to making a move to solve the debt-ceiling dilemma. “You think that problems are bad now, you wait until we don’t have any more credit,” added Rogers, who predicted social unrest as interest rates and inflation skyrocket.
“Prepare for another lost decade or more,”
cautioned Rogers.