Cuban Bonds Dear Mr. Berko: What do you think of buying the Cuban 4.5 percent bonds issued in 1937, which came due in 1977 and sell for about 10 cents on the dollar? Now that President Barack Obama has begun to normalize relations with Cuba, I think those bonds …Read more. A Piece of the Health Care Pie Dear Mr. Berko: I am 52 and have a $347,000 portfolio of good growth and dividend-paying stocks. I finally got tired of holding 1,100 shares of General Electric, which I sold last week. Now I have $28,000 that I want to invest in exchange-traded …Read more. Take a Bite out of Apple Dear Mr. Berko: I recall a column of yours from a couple of years ago that was negative on Apple because Steve Jobs died. Apple has gone up a lot since that column, so I wonder whether it has gone up too much to buy for a three- to five-year …Read more. Twitter Stock Dear Mr. Berko: I had a good year in the market in 2014. My portfolio improved by 32 percent and ended the year with a value of $388,000. Everything I picked went up except my December 2013 purchase of Twitter at $72. In 2014, I bought Facebook, …Read more.more articles
No Best Way To Invest in Copper
Dear Mr. Berko: My IRA has performed poorly this year and last year. I own some of the supposedly better mutual funds, and for the past two years, my $88,000 account has only increased in value to $101,000. This is not a good performance, and I need to do better. A friend suggested I invest in copper. He feels, as I do, that this metal could double in price within the next year. I would like to invest $25,000 of my IRA in copper. My question to you is: What is the best way to do it? — RL in Troy, Mich.
Dear RL: You may not realize this, but your IRA, in the past two years, has performed better than most of the IRAs on the planet. So, you may not be aware, but the four mutual funds you own have done better than 85 percent of all domestic mutual funds during the past two years. Now, except for commercial users, copper is not a medium for investing. Rather, it's a medium for gambling and certainly is not suitable for an IRA.
However, you may be on the right track, because the consensus is that copper could run significantly higher in price. But you have the common sense of a fool and are likely to be run over. Copper is certainly a more useful metal than gold, by orders of magnitude (the Statue of Liberty contains more than 80 tons of that stuff). But in my opinion, I believe bat guano, at $2.50 a pound, is a safer speculation than copper at $3.50 to $3.75 a pound. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a "best way" to invest in copper. However, here are seven ways to roll the dice and prove yourself the fool.
1: Consider purchasing pennies. Pennies minted in 1981 and earlier contain 3.1 grams of copper, and it takes 147 of them (there are 454 grams per pound) to equal one pound. The Mint changed the composition of the penny in mid-1982 (to copper-plated zinc), so pennies minted after July of 1982 contain only 2.5 grams of copper. Therefore, it takes 182 pennies minted after July of 1982 to equal one pound of copper.
Your $25,000 will purchase 2.5 million pennies, and if the price of copper collapses, you won't lose a nickel, because you still will have all those pennies to spend.
2. Consider shares of iPath Dow Jones-UBS Copper Subindex Total Return ETN (JJC-$48.88), which has to be the most stupid bloody name ever given to any investment — sort of like naming a boy Sue. JJC buys futures contracts on the COMEX to track the world price of copper.
3. Copper Miners ETF (CPOX-$13.46) looks like one of the most useless ETFs to ever be traded publicly. It invests 80 percent of its assets in the securities of the underlying index, all of which are in the U.S., Canada and the UK. Not very smart, considering the majority of the world's production derives from Chile and Peru.
4. iShares MSCI Chile Index Fund (ECH-$67.38) invests securities that replicate the performance of the MSCI Chile Investable Market Index. Ho-hum and yawn.
5. Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold (FPX-$38.52) owns 120 billion tons of recoverable copper, 34 million ounces of gold, 3.5 billion pounds of molybdenum, 331 million ounces of silver and 1 billion pounds of cobalt, and it is the world's largest publicly traded copper miner.
6. Southern Copper (SCCO-$30.38) is kind of a favorite because it usually pays a high dividend, and last year the dividend exceeded 8.5 percent. More than 80 percent of SCCO shares are held by insiders, which may indicate an unusual amount of confidence.
7. You may also consider Copper Contracts that trade on the CME of the COMEX. The most popular contracts derive from the December 2012 maturity date, but the futures can extend to 2016. They are quoted in cents per pound, and each contract represents 25,000 pounds per contract. However, the speculative nature of these contracts would singe the hairs off a warthog. Frankly, I believe your friend is giving you unsound advice — and you should be satisfied with annual returns of 7.5 percent.
Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at email@example.com. To find out more about Malcolm Berko and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM