"It is really getting difficult to smile on a daily basis" by: John Sample

   A new week and we now have lived through the season’ first hurricane.
   As if the killer wasps in the Northwest that threaten to wipe out the bee population isn’t more than enough to worry about on top of a pandemic. 
   These are supposed to be the lazy hazy days of summer. 
   We have sports back with no fans in the stands. This is not Kansas anymore Toto. 
   Time to start looking for that yellow brick road.
   That brings me to one of the oldest measures of wealth: gold. The precious metal has moved back to $2,000 per ounce. 
   The reasons are many but not the old tried and true. 
   Gold often was the last resort or a protection against inflation or a loss of faith in currencies. 
   The latter concern certainly could be a rationale for Bitcoin’s rise in the value. 
   I would suggest though that gold’s rise in value is because debt provides little or no yield. 
   One of my biggest problems with gold is that while you hold it, there is no yield to offset inflation. 
   You have to wait for it to rise to capture your return. 
   Today, with interest rates at zero or less, gold actually makes sense as a diversification from equities. 
   Moreover, this low yield environment will probably go on for quite some time. 
   The problem is that we have already made the run up and how much more is left to gain?
   There are many who say that the world is about to end as we know it and this is the only resort. 
   You can understand the concern, but back in February the economy was humming along and we had record low unemployment. 
   I don’t see doom and gloom.
   I don’t know if your current vehicle is showing signs of age, but the average age of cars in the U.S. today is almost 12 years. 
   That does say that cars are built better today and will last longer, but it also is contributing to a used car market that is as hot as gold. 
   As such, you are seeing the earnings of parts stores like AutoZone and O’Reilly rising in this difficult market. 
   Used car dealers like Carmax, Carvana and Sonic Automotive are finding favor. 
   You see the same case with home owners fixing up their current residences helping Home Depot and Lowes earnings.
   Times change and you have to recognize that while it may be difficult, it provides opportunities for others. 
   Look at those fast food restaurants that offer drive-through compared to sit-down restaurants. 
   Or those high-tech firms that supply gaming such as AMD and Nvidia compared to IBM. 
   One person’s problem is another person’s opportunity. 

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