The world’s stock markets took it on the chin last week.
A one-two punch was delivered with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting leading and concerns Britain will leave the European Union following.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve confirmed what many had suspected. There would be no June rate hike. There was unexpected news, too. The Fed lowered its projections for U.S. growth to 2 percent through 2018. Barron’s reported the stance of various committee members had shifted from the previous meeting:
“At this week’s confab, there were seven projections for two increases, to 0.875 percent, and six for a single hike, to 0.625 percent. There also were two outliers expecting more hikes to above 1 percent. Excluding the highest and lowest guesses, the “central tendency” was in a range of 0.6-0.9 percent, according to the Fed’s projections…In March, however, there was a solid consensus of nine members expecting two hikes to 0.875 percent, and seven looking for more hikes to over 1 percent. Back then, the single outlier was calling for just one increase to 0.625 percent.”
In the past, dovish Fed actions have pushed U.S. stock markets higher; however, stocks were lower by the end of the day on Wednesday, according to MarketWatch.
Investor reticence may owe much to concerns about the possibility of a British exit. Experts cited by Barron’s suggested an EU exit may already be priced into markets since European bank stocks “have been crushed…with some down 40 percent and others at lows not seen in years.”
Treasuries and high-quality government bonds rallied through the end of the week as investors opted for ‘safe haven’ investments*. On Friday, investors took profits after eight days of gains and rates pushed slightly higher, reported The Wall Street Journal.
ARE YOU WORTH YOUR WEIGHT IN PLATINUM OR MAYBE SAFFRON? Gold is not the only substance that commands a hefty price per pound. The Telegraph recently reported on the most valuable materials in the world by weight and some were quite surprising!
- Saffron is the most valuable spice in the world. Most of the world’s saffron comes from Iran and it can cost as much as $65 a gram, according to The Guardian. There are almost 454 grams in a pound, putting the value of saffron at $29,510 a pound.
- Beluga caviar is mighty expensive. Guinness World Records puts the price at about $34,500 a kilogram. A kilogram is a little more than two pounds.
- Platinum is expected to cost about $1,005 an ounce during 2016, according to Kitco. There are 16 ounces in a pound, putting its per pound value at $16,080.
- Gold may run about $1,250 an ounce, or $20,000 a pound, by the end of 2016, according to CNN Money.
- White truffles are “the fanciest tubers in the fungi kingdom,” according to Vox.com. A four-plus pounder sold for $60,000 at auction in 2014, but more common varieties sell for about $300 a pound.
- Venom is pretty tough to harvest, and it commands a premium price. Snake venom runs about $370 per gram, scorpion venom about $596 per gram, and spider venom comes in at about $1,342 per gram. Multiply these amounts by 454 and you get (per pound for each) $167,980 for snake venom, $270,584 for scorpion venom, and $609,268 for spider venom!
Gram for gram, there are some things in the world more valuable than gold!
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
–Jim Valvano, College basketball player, coach, and broadcaster