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Gold, Silver, Metal Prices Commentary – April 30, 2010

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Bullion update ... Rescue Dawn

Good Morning,

Gains in the euro to three-day highs did not manage to dissipate lingering concerns about the broader region’s debt problems and investors took refuge in the dollar as well as in gold despite rising hopes that a Greek bailout was very likely to see the light of day over the coming weekend. Gold prices touched a 2010 high at $1179 per ounce ahead of the opening of the New York trading session for Friday.

This morning’s economic news roundup from Europe showed that regional unemployment remained static at 10% while inflation rose one-tenth of one percent, to 1.5% in March. Two exceptions to note here: one is that Spain’s unemployment figure was far worse –double that of the regional number, the other that –at 1.5% annualized- the inflation number in the EU remains well below the ECB’s target of just under 2%.

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2010 Gold Buffalo Bullion Coins: First Day Sales Hit 48,500

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Gold Buffalo Bullion Coin2010 $50 American Gold Buffalo bullion coins debuted to roaring sales of 48,500 on their first day of issue, according to the United States Mint.

The U.S. Mint on Tuesday told its authorized purchasers that the 24 karat gold coins would be . Buyers were ready.

The one day sales represent 15.0% of all the bullion Buffalos sold in their inaugural 2006 year, 29.0% of those in 2007, 28.2% of 2008 and 24.3% of 2009.

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Professional Numismatists Guild Suspends Member

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

PNG LogoThe Professional Numismatists Guild has suspended member-dealer Robert L. Higgins of Wilmington, Delaware for actions which PNG determined to be a breach of its Code of Ethics and conduct prejudicial to the organization, according to PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

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2010 Boy Scouts Uncirculated Silver Dollars Off Waiting List

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

2010 Boy Scouts Uncirculated Silver DollarThe uncirculated 2010 Boy Scouts of American Centennial on Monday, with anyone placing new orders asked to join a waiting list in the hopes of an older order getting canceled and theirs then stamped with an approval.

That option has past. The United States Mint on Thursday afternoon removed the uncirculated dollar from its online store, moving it officially to its "No Longer Available" listings.

Collectors will likely have to wait until early next week to learn how many were sold. The U.S. Mint runs the weekly numbers and then sends out updated sales data on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

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In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi mentions precious-metals Ponzi schemes

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

2:08a ET Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold (and Silver):

GATA is always nagging prominent journalists to look into the gold and silver price suppression story, as we did other day, calling to the attention of a dozen or so journalists and financial newsletter writers the excellent report by Vince Veneziani of Business Insider that the International Monetary Fund refuses to answer the most basic questions about its supposed gold reserves:

http://www.gata.org/node/8583

Among the journalists GATA and many of our friends have been nagging is Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, who may be best known for his long essay in that magazine last July, “The Great American Bubble Machine,” which denounced investment bank Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” A copy of that essay can be found at Zero Hedge here:

http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldman-sachs-engineering-every-ma…

Taibbi hasn’t responded to GATA directly but his latest essay for Rolling Stone, “The Feds vs. Goldman Sachs,” published in the magazine’s May 13 issue, which was posted on the Internet this week –

http://tinyurl.com/3xgpo6m

– contains a paragraph suggesting that he has at least noted what he has heard from this quarter. Taibbi writes:

“There is more fraud out there, and everyone knows it: front-running, manipulation of the commodities markets, trading ahead of interest-rate moves, hidden losses, Enron-esque accounting, Ponzi schemes in the precious-metals markets, you name it. We gave these people nearly a trillion bailout dollars, and no one knows what service they actually provide beyond fraud, gross self-indulgence and the occasional transparently insincere public apology.”

“Manipulation of the commodities markets” and “Ponzi schemes in the precious-metals markets,” eh? Well, it’s a start. Let’s hope Taibbi follows up. But regardless of whether he does, GATA is aware of three major newspapers that have begun making serious inquiries about the gold and silver price suppression scheme. Whoever gets to it first will have the financial story of the century, revealing the secret knowledge of the financial universe.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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Help keep GATA going

GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at:

http://www.gata.org

To contribute to GATA, please visit:

http://www.gata.org/node/16

Criminal probe looks into Goldman Sachs trading

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Pulliam and Evan Perez
The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, April 29, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870357250457521465299834887…

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc. or its employees committed securities fraud in connection with its mortgage trading, people familiar with the probe say.

The investigation from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is at a preliminary stage, stemmed from a referral from the Securities and Exchange Commission, these people say. The SEC recently filed civil securities-fraud charges against the big Wall Street firm and a trader in its mortgage group. Goldman and the trader say they have done nothing wrong and are fighting the civil charges.

Prosecutors haven’t determined whether they will bring charges in the case, say the people familiar with the matter. Many criminal investigations are launched that never result in any charges.

The criminal probe raises the stakes for Goldman, Wall Street’s most powerful firm. The investigation is centered on different evidence than the SEC’s civil case, the people say. It couldn’t be determined which Goldman deals are being scrutinized in the criminal investigation.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment. Goldman declined comment.

The development comes amid public calls for more Wall Street accountability for the industry’s role in the financial crisis. Though there are multiple ongoing criminal and civil investigations, no Wall Street executives connected with the meltdown have been convicted of criminal charges. During congressional hearings this week into Goldman’s role in the crisis, legislators grilled Goldman executives for nearly 11 hours.

The SEC and Justice Department often coordinate their actions on investigations. The probe underscores heightened efforts by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office in prosecuting white-collar and Wall Street crime. It is in the midst of pursuing the largest insider-trading case in a generation, charging 21 individuals and negotiating 11 guilty pleas in that matter.

But the Goldman probe presents a significant challenge for the government. Prosecutors in the Brooklyn office of the U.S. Attorney last year lost a high-profile fraud case against two former Bear Stearns Cos. executives, in the first major criminal case linked to the financial meltdown.

Prosecutors had accused the Bear Stearns employees of lying to investors in 2007 about the health of two funds that eventually collapsed. The case centered on what the government viewed as incriminating emails indicating the traders knew the mortgage market would fall but didn’t disclose that view to investors.

To bring any criminal charges in the Goldman matter, prosecutors would need to believe they had gathered evidence that showed that the firm or its employees knowingly committed fraud in their mortgage business. Proving such intent to break the law typically is the toughest hurdle for prosecutors to clear.

Another stumbling block: Such financial cases can be highly complex. Few outside of Wall Street understand arcane products such as collateralized debt obligations, the pools of mortgage-related holdings at the heart of the SEC civil case against Goldman.

On April 16, the SEC charged Goldman and an employee, Fabrice Tourre, with securities fraud in a civil suit relating to a mortgage transaction, known as Abacus 2007-AC1, a deal the government said was designed to fail. The SEC alleged that Goldman duped its clients by failing to disclose that hedge fund Paulson & Co. not only helped select the mortgages included in the deal but also bet against the transaction. Both Goldman and Mr. Tourre have denied wrongdoing.

Even the SEC’s case, which is subject to a lesser standard of proof than a criminal case, is viewed as a challenge for regulators. The SEC’s commissioners were split 3-2 along party lines on whether the agency should bring a case.

In battling the SEC charges, Goldman says its investors were sophisticated and knew the underlying securities they were buying. Goldman says it wasn’t required to disclose who provided input into the deal or the views of its clients in the transaction.

The congressional hearing involved numerous other mortgage deals Goldman arranged in 2006 and 2007. Lawmakers criticized Goldman and its executives for allegedly stacking the deck against clients during the market meltdown in 2007.

Some of the emails released by regulators, lawmakers and Goldman suggest a callous attitude among Goldman employees toward the risks involved in some of the Goldman mortgage deals, including one in which a Goldman employee referred to a mortgage transaction the firm sold to investors as a “sh—y” deal.

Over the years, the government has been reluctant to criminally charge financial firms with wrongdoing because the charge itself can cause a business to implode. Some investing clients can’t or won’t trade with a firm facing such a taint.

Indeed, in the more than two-century history of the U.S. financial markets, no major financial firm has survived criminal charges. Securities firms E.F. Hutton & Co. and Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. crumbled after being indicted in the 1980s. In 2002 Arthur Andersen LLP went bankrupt after it was convicted of obstruction of justice for its role in covering up an investigation into Enron Corp. The conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

In recent years, some financial firms have agreed to “deferred prosecutions,” in which they agree to a probationary period for which they won’t commit any future wrongdoing.

That’s what Prudential Securities Inc. famously did in 1994 when that securities firm faced criminal charges that it misled investors about the risks and rewards of limited-partnership investments. Prudential agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution, as well as fines and restitution, to end a criminal securities-fraud investigation.

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Help keep GATA going

GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at:

http://www.gata.org

To contribute to GATA, please visit:

http://www.gata.org/node/16

Moore Capital fined in platinum manipulation case

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Jeez, could the gold and silver markets be manipulated too?

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By Whitney McFerron
Bloomberg News
Thursday, April 29, 2010

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=atVcqHBUSuOo

CHICAGO — Moore Capital Management LP agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that a former portfolio manager attempted to manipulate platinum and palladium futures during a surge in prices two years ago, U.S. regulators said.

A portfolio manager, who wasn’t identified, used buy orders in the closing moments of trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange to boost settlement prices from November 2007 through May 2008, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said today in an e-mailed statement. The orders “frequently accounted for a significant portion of the volume” in the two thinly traded markets, the agency said.

Platinum futures rose 39 percent from Nov. 1, 2007, to May 30, 2008, touching a record $2,308.80 an ounce on March 4, and palladium jumped 17 percent, touching a six-year high of $600 an ounce, also on March 4. Both palladium platinum are used in jewelry and pollution-control components for cars.

New York-based Moore, which manages about $15 billion, said in a separate statement that the portfolio manager left the company in the fall of 2008. None of Moore’s principals nor its current management were involved in any improper trading, and none were accused of any wrongdoing, the company said.

The manager sought to influence the exchange’s volume-weighted settlement price with buy orders for 20 to 100 contracts, according to the agency. A platinum contract is 50 ounces, and a palladium contract is 100 ounces.

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Help keep GATA going

GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at:

http://www.gata.org

To contribute to GATA, please visit:

http://www.gata.org/node/16

Gold Hits Highs, Silver Surges

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Mark O’Byrne submits:

Gold

Gold reached new 2010 high in dollars (over $1,175 per ounce) in Asian trading overnight and again Europe this morning (over $1,177 per ounce) as investors continue to allocate funds to gold in order to hedge sovereign debt contagion risk.

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Gold Miners Report Strong Earnings: Two Gold Miner ETFs

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tom Lydon submits:

A bevy of gold miners reported first-quarter earnings this week, and the results were nothing short of stellar. If you’re looking to ride the current gold rush, you may want to consider gaining exposure through gold-miner related ETFs.

Newmont Mining (NEM), Goldcorp (GG) and Barrick (ABX) all reported earnings this week, and they didn’t disappoint:

  • Newmont Mining’s profits soared in the first quarter, thanks to higher gold and copper prices, as well as increased production.
  • Revenues at Goldcorp rose 20% from a year earlier, and gold production increased as well.
  • Barrick notched record profits in the first quarter, doubling its income on increased production, as well as gold and copper sales. Gold production soared 19% in the first quarter.

Don Dion for TheStreet recently noted that these three companies make up 38% of assets in Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX).

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Gold and Gold Miners: Miners Performing Better Than the Metal

April 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Leisa submits:

As the world wrangles with trying to determine what is "safe", gold is yet again in the spotlight. I don’t plan to tell you what I think that gold is going to do…but it is worth noting that the USD is up and gold is up. That says much.

I do plan to help you scout for some opportunities. Let’s take a look at the chart (click to enlarge) of gold with an integral window of the metal divided by the gold miner sector. As you can see the ratio is sloping downward: miners are performing better than the metal.

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