Follow the money!

March 22, 2017 in News by RBN Staff

precious metal demand

From David’s Desk

Follow the money! It’s always been about the money. A case in point is JPMorgan. They are putting their money into physical silver. They now have the largest hoard in the world. Do you think they are accumulating a “loser?” It is so very clear – Roger Waters understood this 25 years ago. Check out his lyrics from his masterpiece LP, Amused To Death:

Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense
Expressed in dollars and cents
Pounds shillings and pence
Can’t you see
It all makes perfect sense – Roger Waters (LP Amused to Death)
The dollar has fallen below 100 (USDX Index), gold and silver are slowly turning the corner and moving up. The key number for gold is 1262.91, the 200-day moving average. For silver, the two key numbers are 17.45, the 50-day moving average and especially 18.05, the 200-day moving average.
Donald Trump is getting stonewalled at every turn. He must be wondering, “What the Hell did I get myself into?” Most of us are also wondering, “What the Hell did we get ourselves into?”
It’s an interesting circus in Washington right now. I expect it will only get more unsettling. The stock market doesn’t care much for “interesting” and “unsettling.” It doesn’t like rising interest rates. Larry Edelson’s “War Drums” are beating louder and louder. We are aggressively posturing toward Iran and North Korea – and Russia and China too. We are budgeting for an ADDITIONAL $50,000,000,000 + for our military.
Hedge Fund CIO: “The Odds Of Trump Succeeding Are Zero In The Absence Of A New War”
We present the latest weekly anecdote, From Eric Peters, CIO Of One River Asset Management
“You know what I dislike about my own argument?” asked the CIO. “I sound defensive, like I can’t accept I’m wrong.”
We all know that guy, and rarely want to be him. “No one ever truly believed in my thesis,” he said, describing it: A growing dominance by the global economic elite shapes policy to deliberately asphyxiate dynamism. Because dynamism and its fraternal twin – volatility – are the only real threats to an entrenched elite.
Rising income inequality is an obvious manifestation of this process. As the cost of raising children soars, declining birth rates are too.
It’s why our students are drowning in debt and now rent for life. If they fall ill, it’s why laws prohibit them from declaring bankruptcy on college loans. It’s why big firms are bailed out, and why incumbents are securely gerrymandered, rarely unseated.
Peel back the patina and you’ll discover that today’s monetary policy, tax policy, foreign policy, trade policy, and regulations of every stripe are levers the elite pull to entrench their interests. Secular stagnation is what we came to call the symptom without identifying this cause. Then came a synchronized global cyclical recovery, which we may now confuse as a Trump inspired break from this stranglehold.
“If I thought our new president could increase budget deficits by another 2% per year, my thesis would crumble. I’d be wrong. But the odds of this are zero in the absence of starting a new war.” He paused, considering the rebound in interest rates, the record equity highs.
“Am I just looking for reasons to support my position?” he asked aloud, interested only in his own answer. “I’ve been wrong on trades, but never on a big structural theme. That’s because I only bet really big when I’m absolutely convinced. And I’m pretty sure I’m still right.”
You may want to check out these three Zero Hedge articles: (“Military Action Is On The Table”: Tillerson Warns “Patience” With North Korea Has Ended) (Trump Slams North Korea For “Behaving Very Badly”, Blames China) (North Korea Blows Up US Aircraft Carrier, Bomber In New Propaganda Video)
Everything written here suggests a rough time for our stock market and economy. Everything written here suggests a good year to be very long in precious metals.
Physical gold and silver sales in the US have been anemic. Russia and China have more than picked up the slack. Somebody is very stupid here – it is either us or the Russians and Chinese. You know where I stand on this.
Could things be changing? According to Ed Steer, “The U.S. Mint finally had a sales report worthy of the name.  They sold 4,500 troy ounces of gold eagles — 4,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes — and 715,000 silver eagles.
I would suspect, as I mentioned last week, that the rally we’ve had during the last four business days might finally inject a bit of life into the currently moribund retail bullion market.  That appears to have been the case — and it will be interesting to see how long it continues.
My hot topic for today has to do with gold and silver sales in the U.S. I can tell you as an industry leader, business is soft. We’re doing fine but I can’t help wonder how many under-capitalized precious metals dealers are getting ready to bite the bullet? In case you missed it in yesterdays daily, Andy Hoffman wrote:
Many of our competitors have in recent weeks been offering what we don’t think, but know to be at or below cost.  As well, in the storage business – where one reader told me of how he has access to free storage, after buying bullion for just 0.5% over spot.  He wasn’t sure if his bullion was segregated or allocated, I might add – which in my view, is the most important aspect of any storage program.  And irrespective, it should serve as a major, major alarm bell if a firm is offering such discounts, given the experience of Tulving, Bullion Direct, and the Northwest Territorial Mint; who, I might add, were arguably our three largest competitors.
Remember, the Miles Franklin Blog – which has been operated continually, for at least the past 15 years – is not published for free; and in my “humble” view, provides the best quality and quantity of economic and Precious Metal-related information in the bullion industry; if not the alternative media at large.  To that end, Co-Founders Andy and David Schectman; myself; and the rest of the Miles Franklin team – who on average, have more than 25 years of industry experience; simply ask that, if you are considering the purchase, sale, or storage of Precious Metal, you “give us a chance” to earn your business, by registering at for online purchasing, or calling at 800-822-8080.
This is a very good time to buy precious metals. It is also a good time to be sure the firm you deal with will be around to deliver your metals. Do not buy gold or silver in an un-allocated pool. Do not store your metals with a dealer. We use Brinks. Their reputation is spotless. Yes, it is a good time to buy precious metals and a good time to get it offshore and stored safely in your name at Brinks.
Here is an excellent article that focuses in on the declining sales of physical gold and silver in the U.S. and Canada.
With the Trump euphoria pushing the broader markets to new all-time highs, it has impacted precious metals demand considerably… especially in February. Precious metals investors believing the White House “Grandiose plans”, of making American great again, have cut back seriously on their precious metals buying.
There seems to be a percentage of the alternative community that believe Trump will actually put the U.S. back to the way it was in the 1960’s. And that is, back to a manufacturing powerhouse with high-paying jobs. While this would be a wonderful thing to do, the disintegrating ENERGY situation in the future just won’t allow it to happen.
IT WAS A ONE-TIME DEAL, and that period has come and gone…. FOREVER
Regardless, Western demand for precious metals declined considerably in February versus the same month last year. I used to spend more time publishing articles on gold and silver demand, but have refocused my analysis on how energy will impact the precious metals, mining and the overall economy.
However, Louis at does an excellent job publishing articles on precious metals demand. So, I have used some of his data and one of his charts.
As I stated above, the Trump market euphoria has taken the wind out of precious metals buying recently. According to the data from and the U.S. Mint, sales of gold and silver have plummeted in the West (especially USA), but surged in the East:
As we can see, Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals surged 67% in February versus the same month last year, while Perth Mint silver sales declined 17%, Perth Mint Gold sales dropped 32%, U.S. Gold Eagles fell 67% and Silver Eagle sales plummeted 75%.
According to Louis’s article, Shanghai Gold Exchange February Withdrawals Highest On Record, he published the following chart:
Chinese Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals were 179 metric tons (mt) in February compared 107 the same month last year. Gold withdrawals from the Shanghai Gold Exchange are a pretty good proxy for the physical metal demand taking place in China. We must remember, global monthly gold mine supply is approximately 265 mt. Which means, Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals of 179 mt accounted for two-thirds of global gold monthly mine supply. That’s a heck of a lot of demand… from just one country.
If we tally up the decline in U.S. Gold Eagle and Perth Mint gold coin sales in February versus last year, they equaled 67,806 oz. However, Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals increased 2,315,000 oz in February compared to the same month last year. So, we can clearly see that the increase in just Chinese demand, via the Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals, more than made up for the decline in Western retail official cold coin purchases.
Unfortunately, the Royal Canadian Mint does not publish their Gold or Silver Maple Leaf sales until the end of each quarter. That being said, Canadian Gold and Silver Maple Leaf sales parallels what is taking place in U.S. Eagle sales. Thus, Gold & Silver Maple Leaf sales are probably down considerably as well.
I would imagine most precious metals investors came across this article published on Zerohedge a few days ago, Demand For Physical Gold Is Collapsing. It seems as if the intent of this article was to generate a lot of READS. Because, if we look at what is taking place in China, there is no collapse in physical gold buying. Matter-a-fact, there was a record amount of gold withdrawn off the Shanghai Gold Exchange last month.
The author of that article, needed to include a footnote stating the following:
Western physical precious metal demand (especially in the USA) decreased significantly due to the Trump Market Euphoria, while Shanghai Gold Exchange withdrawals hit a new record in February as the Chinese realize the U.S. economy and Dollar is still toast.
I am completely dumbfounded by recent decline in precious metals demand and sentiment in the West. While I can understand the reason precious metals investors believe Trump will make America great again, the future ENERGY DYNAMICS will not allow us to return to the good ‘ole days of a manufacturing super-power. Rather, the upcoming collapse will change our lives forever.
When the Dow Jones Index and broader markets finally crack, there won’t be too many SAFE HAVENS to invest in. Along with a collapse of the Dow Jones Index, Real Estate prices in all sectors will head down the toilet. Investors scrambling for something to protect wealth will move into precious metals. Unfortunately, there won’t be much available supply… only at MUCH HIGHER PRICES.
So, this current downturn in Western physical gold and silver purchases do not phase me one bit. It only indicates that most Americans are completely insane when it comes to sound fundamental investing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I will be publishing an article on the continued disintegration of the Global Oil Industry. I provide data showing how Mexico’s national oil company, PEMEX, is literally BANKRUPT. By looking at the data, logic suggests that the global oil industry is in serious trouble.

Lastly, the data for the Perth Mint sales came from two articles at, Perth Mine Silver Sales Slump In February and Perth Mint Gold Sales February Drop 32%.

Sales of Gold & Silver Eagles were found on the U.S. Mint website. 
Core inflation since the election of Donald Trump has risen to a five year high. While inflationary pressures continue to rise, I believe the Fed will not dare to get ahead of the inflation curve with these proposed “gradual” moves higher in the Fed funds rate. This should guarantee negative real rates for perhaps years to come, driving more investors to park investment capitol into bullion. –
David Erfle


David’s Favorite Articles
Kitco (‘I was Right’: Fed Not Bad For Gold – Milling-Stanley)

Andy Hoffman’s Daily Thoughts

Like it or not, we are living through a major inflectionary point in human history; on more fronts; with more lasting, and dramatic changes than any before it.  Yes, there have been hundreds of humanity-altering wars throughout history.  However, never have so many people been impacted by current events; as, for example, there are 7.4 billion people today, compared to 2.3 billion at World War II’s onset.  And while WWII shaped the culture, economic and monetary, and physical borders for generations; in hindsight, until recently, the post-war Era has been “more of the same.”  Only this time, global economic leadership switched from one Western power, the UK, to another, the U.S.; as evidenced by the “reserve currency,” in an increasingly global world, switching from the Pound to the dollar.

Other than the nuclear bomb, which enabled the war to end – technology advancement was not a significant by-product of the war.  To that end, the global fiat currency regime that took over for the previous system – i.e, hundreds of privately-managed fiat and/or gold-backed fiefdoms; was hardly a “technological breakthrough.”  Frankly, it wasn’t until the computer was invented – and exponentially advanced – six decades, and five billion people later, that the world dramatically changed.  Mostly for the better; but as regards technologies’ impact on said fiat regime, it took something inherently bad, and made it a thousand times worse.  In practical terms, the equivalent of a financial nuclear bomb, “weaponized” to wreak maximum political, economic, social, and monetary destruction.  Which is exactly where we stand today – as for all the technology that went into creating it, the world’s most diabolical “financial rocket scientists” couldn’t figure a way to counteract its fatal, historically hubristic flaw.  I.e., no matter how much money printing, market manipulation, and propaganda is applied – using the most advanced financial engineering, high frequency algorithms, and “fake news” sources; fiat money, by nature, is a Ponzi scheme that must – and always has – failed.  Only this time, it is doing so on a global scale, after having bankrupted hundreds of nations, thousands of institutions, and billions of individuals.

This is why the handful of “leaders” with access to such “weapons of mass financial destruction” – ironically, a term coined by Warren Buffett, a “general” in the fight against the “99%,” deployed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing to assuage the fears of those being terrorized – have declared “all out warfare” against the financial markets, as they attempt to carry out their natural mandate of gauging the rot in the underlying, collapsing global economy, political structure, and monetary system.  To the point that anything considered a threat to the inevitable – and in many cases, imminent – destruction of the terminally ill, world-destroying status quo is quickly stamped out.

As regards the Precious Metal “market,” it has always been a focal point of such efforts to mask monetary reality; albeit, never on such a global scale.  Clearly, said “leaders”‘ fear of real money is as powerful as ever; as it should be, as it won’t be long before said billions permanently lose faith in the fraudulent “money” that has destroyed their lives; and instead, turn to alternative means of financial salvation.  To that end, I have watched the “Cartel” – i.e., the U.S. government led effort to protect the dollar’s dying “reserve status” – for 15 years now, tick for tick.  Yet, despite these efforts, gold prices in nearly all currencies are either near, at, or above previous all-time highs, even if it is still 35% below its 2011 high here in the Ground Zero of Financial Manipulation; let alone, when accounting for inflation.  To that end, silver remains 83% below the high set 37 years ago, and far more so in terms of inflation; at a time when both metals’ supply/demand fundamentals have never been stronger, with nowhere to go but up.

Look no further than last night’s latest salvo in the “200 week moving average war” – when the Cartel did this as gold moved to within $15/oz of this key technical level ($1,251/oz), with not a single outside market budging.  As you can see, the most “systematically dangerous threat” to TPTB fought its way back; and as I write, the dollar index is back below 100 – this, despite the potential collapse of the Euro in the coming months; whilst the ten-year Treasury yield is back below the economic “line in the sand” of 2.5% (above which, economic decline accelerates); as the “odds” of a June rate hike retreated below 50%, under the weight of the utterly massive evidence of accelerating economic collapse.


Of course, when I say “all out warfare,” it’s clearly a multi-faceted battle, on multiple fronts.  Which fortunately, is a losing cause, as the “allies” are rapidly closing in on the “axis of evil” represented by major Western’ nations political, financial, and media complexes.  Which frankly, are becoming less “allied” with each day, in an “every man for himself” environment of political and economic survival, as discussed in yesterday’s MUST READ “US against the world.”

Economically, the war is all but lost, as the pace of collapse is accelerating so rapidly, it can no longer be hidden by rigged financial markets; or for that matter, economic data, as evidenced by the Fed, LOL, raising rates – and thus, inflicting further catastrophic damage – on the very day industrial production was reported to have declined for the tenth straight month; whilst its own GDP forecast, for the current quarter, was reduced to below 1%.  Heck, this week alone, it was reported that used car prices plunged 12% year-over-year – i.e, the worst plunge since late 2008, with a massive backlog of soon-to-expire leases and historically high dealer incentive spending.  This, as department store sales declined a whopping 15% year over year; and retailers in general, 13% week-over-week.  Heck, the San Francisco Fed itself, where Janet Yellen worked before ascending to the title of world’s top economic arsonist, wrote yesterday that “the labor market may not be quite as tight as the headline unemployment rate suggests.”  I mean, we are not one week past Wednesday’s rate hike, and not only did her “home” institution blatantly contradict her comical assertion of “full employment,” but fellow FOMC voter Charles Evans, of the Chicago Fed, said yesterday that he sees more upside possibility in uncertainty” than in recent months.


And then there’s the dying “oil PPT” – which yesterday, was dealt another death blow, when Iraq’s oil minister basically confirmed the “production cut” deal will not be re-upped when it expires in three months.  This, despite a desperate, pathetic attempt to jawbone prices higher with conflicting headlines.  This, as global production continues to surge, putting in jeopardy dozens of overleveraged, energy export dependent nations; as well as thousands of energy companies, and tens of thousands of vendors and suppliers.

Sorry to sound a lot like yesterday, but the amount of dramatic, real-time topics depicting “all out warfare” are too numerous to be ignored.  And ironies, such as the top four U.S. banks hitting a cumulative $1 trillion market cap – with the final 30% occurring post-election, led by Goldman Sachs, and its six White House appointments; on the very same day that the world’s “systematically most dangerous institution,” Deutsche Bank, let the world know just how insolvent it is.  Or LOL, the fact that, just as institutional long positions on crude oil hit record highs last month – just before prices plunged; institution shorts on Treasury bonds hit record highs two weeks ago, just before Treasuries surged, en route to what I believe will be one of the biggest Treasury rallies in years; as by year-end, the Fed once and for all, will likely be forced to give up its fraudulent, four-year propaganda scheme of pretending it has an “exit strategy.”  Which just happens to coincide with the “alternative currency destruction” Cartel raid of April 2013 – when PMs were pushed below said 200 week moving averages, one day after Obama’s infamous “closed door meeting” with the leading “too big to fail” banks.

Politically, said war is equally intense – frankly, on the verge of going thermonuclear.  As noted yesterday, Trump officially declared World Currency War I at this weekend’s G-20 meeting; prompting the, for lack of a better term, “deep state” to fight back en masse – as evidenced by yesterday’s FBI (yep, James Comey again) conclusions that Trump’s wiretapping and election fraud allegations are baseless.  Not to mention, the Attorney General of New York State – I kid you not – hiring his “top public-corruption prosecutor” to “focus specifically on issues involving the Trump administration.”  This, as the increasingly suspect – as “fake news” – Gallup Organization put out a patently unbelievable report, suggesting Trump has a national approval rating of just 37%!

Perhaps that’s why consumers have gone on strike; and yes, with each passing day, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that what I said on day one – that none of Trump’s campaign promises would be enacted, is the most likely outcome.  However, to believe the nation at large has turned on Trump less than two months after Inauguration Day is pure lunacy.  Let alone, in light of the fact that the supposed “Trump-Flation” rally still has the (PPT-supported) stock market sitting near its all-time highs.  Then again, now that oil, base metals, Treasury yields, the dollar, and the vast majority of non-large cap stocks are deflating – whilst Precious Metals steadily climb – the MSM hasn’t written of “Trump-flation” for some time, has it?  Partly, because it’s being exposed as the lie it always was; and partly, because the “evil Troika” of Washington, Wall Street, and the MSM is flat-out trying to destroy Trump.  To that end, I now believe it unlikely Trump will survive a four-year Presidency; as frankly, the evil forces trying to oust him are becoming more virulent and blatant each day, amidst the backdrop of an historically weak economy; overvalued markets; and political, social, and monetary turmoil.

Heck, even Trump’s meal ticket Goldman Sachs admits the Ponzi is on its last legs, per yesterday’s shocking comment that it is “lowering its 2017 forecast of corporate equity demand by $100 billion, given our Washington, D.C. economist’s expectation for a delay in corporate tax reform.  However, corporations will remain the primary source of US equity demand this year.”  I mean, WOW!  So not only is it throwing in the towel on said campaign promises already, but admitting the “market” is indeed nothing but a Fed-sponsored casino, in which the “primary source of demand” is not individuals, but corporations borrowing free Fed money to buy back their historically overvalued stock.  This will decidedly NOT end well – per yesterday’s MUST LISTEN podcast I taped with Bix Weir, “PRECIOUS METALS, CRYPTO-CURRENCY, AND MAINSTREAM INVESTMENTS – RISK VS. REWARD.”

Lastly, I’d like to conclude with the “bombshell” Zero Hedge is reporting, proving the “all-out war” is as much political as it is economic.  I.e., “secret polling” in France suggests Marine Le Pen is not only leading the “favorite” Emmanuel Macron – i.e, the 39-year old, snot-nosed, silver spoon Finance Minister who has run France into the ground under the tutelage of his boss Francois Hollande – but doing so by a wide margin.  To which I can only respond, that I have for the past year predicted she would win; just as I predicted, against all odds, the BrExit and Trump victories.  Only this time, it won’t just be a “BrExit times ten,” but a BrExit times 100 – in terms of the mortal wounds it will inflict on the dying monetary system; and likely, the gold Cartel.

holterThe Holter Report


David’s Favorite Articles

Zero Hedge
“I think it’s important to recognize that the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to the point of denuclearization have failed,” Tillerson said. “Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures. All options are on the table.”
North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been “playing” the United States for years. China has done little to help!
Kim Jong-un has released a propaganda video in which a US aircraft carrier is blown up while a US strategic bomber shot down in flames. The clip also includes footage from the communist state’s recent ballistic missile launches
Neils Christensen
(Kitco News) – Gold prices could have room to move higher in the next few months, as markets adjust to the idea that the Federal Reserve will maintain a “gradual” pace of interest rate hikes this year, according to one gold analyst.
Gold is seeing a solid bounce as investors deemed Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments around a “quite low” neutral Fed Fund rate as dovish, despite the fact that the U.S. central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis-points and maintained its guidance for a total of three rate hikes for 2017. April gold futures last traded at $1,227.60 an ounce, up 2.24% on the day.
George Milling-Stanley, head of gold investments at State Street Global Advisors, said in an interview with Kitco News that the reaction in the gold market was exactly what he was expecting to see following the central bank’s monetary policy decision. He added that even after gold’s $30 rally, it should have enough momentum to move higher in the near term.
“The Federal Reserve has once again shown that it is not in any hurry to raise interest rates,” he said. “I think what we are seeing is the market breathe a sigh of relief.”
Milling-Stanley, added he sees growing potential that the Fed will remain behind the inflation curve. In the central bank’s updated projections, released Wednesday, the Fed sees inflation topping out at 1.9% this year. However, Milling-Stanley pointed out that the core Personal Consumption Expenditures Index (PCE) — the Fed’s preferred inflation measure — is starting the year at 1.7%. He added that it wouldn’t take much to drive consumer prices higher later in the year.
“If we see more interest rate hikes later this year it is because we have the inflation to support them. Ultimately real rates will remain low to negative and that is good for gold.”
While Milling-Stanley sees further momentum for gold in the near-term, he warned that the market could weaken in May and November, ahead of the June and December monetary policy meetings, when the central bank is expected to raise interest rates again.
For gold investors, the key will be to see if gold can find higher support in the lead up to June and December, a pattern that has formed since the December 2015 rate hike, said Milling-Stanley.
“Although gold sold off in anticipation of the rate hike it managed to make a higher low from December, which was a higher low from the previous year,” he said. “That is exactly what I want to see because higher lows eventually lead to higher highs.”
Milling-Stanley said that he is maintaining his forecast that gold will retest last year’s resistance levels between $1,350 and $1,400 an ounce.
By Neils Christensen
For Kitco News
Ed Steer
In the early 2000s, I recommended to associates that we were in for a major gold boom. Most thought that this was a ridiculous suggestion and didn’t buy a single ounce. I continued to recommend the purchase of gold regularly over the ensuing years, and the price continued to rise. Only in 2011 did they start to buy, at a time when gold was peaking. We were due for a correction and in late 2011, it arrived.
For several years, the price has remained in the neighborhood of $1,200-roughly the price it needs to be to bother removing it from the ground.
During that time, gold has periodically risen a bit, then gotten knocked down again. It’s understandable that this should happen. Central banks have a stake in holding down the gold price, since a rising gold price makes it appear more attractive than storing cash in banks. We’ve reached the point that the central banks have run out of tricks to float the economy and we’re already past due for a crash.
But crashes don’t always occur as soon as they become logical. As long as the public can be fooled into remaining confident in the system, a doomed economy can limp along for a bit before toppling. Statistics on unemployment and inflation can be fudged (and they have been). The stock market can be falsely pumped up (and it has been) in order to create the illusion that all is well. These factors, taken together with knocking down the price of gold periodically, helps to convince people that they should keep their money in cash and their cash in the bank, not in gold.
This gold-related commentary by Jeff appeared on the Internet site on Monday — and it certainly worth reading if you have the interest. 
Private Safe Deposit Boxes – Frequently Asked Questions

recapMarket Recap

March 21, 2017

aboutAbout Miles Franklin
Miles Franklin was founded in January, 1990 by David MILES Schectman.  David’s son, Andy Schectman, our CEO, joined Miles Franklin in 1991.  Miles Franklin’s primary focus from 1990 through 1998 was the Swiss Annuity and we were one of the two top firms in the industry.  In November, 2000, we decided to de-emphasize our focus on off-shore investing and moved primarily into gold and silver, which we felt were about to enter into a long-term bull market cycle.  Our timing and our new direction proved to be the right thing to do.

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