Laptop Slapshot: Thom Calandra

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Notes and jottings from our very own Thom Calandra: Zurich hosts Beaty & Friedland. . .Hulbert zings newsletter editors. . .Burbank talks China in Pasadena. . .Ian McAvity sticks to his game

GIANNI KOVACEVIC and a London capital markets firm are staging a COMMODITIES think-fest in Zurich. On tap: gold, copper, lithium, geothermal energy and silver. The line-up looks like this, but all other details are sealed: Robert M. Friedland of Ivanhoe Mines (IVN in USA and IE in Canada) and Ivanhoe Energy (IVAN in USA), followed by Paul Blythe of Quadra Mining (QUA in Canada). Ross Beaty of Pan American Silver (PAA) will discuss copper, silver & geothermal energy. Gianni K., a financier, is talking about copper, lithium, molybdenum and lithium. Doug Casey of Casey Research will address fiscal depression and its symptoms, … after which everyone will drink vino from Argentina’s Cafayate & Mendoza regions. The guest list is secure and limited.

John Burbank of Passport Capital gave what some present say was a spirited defense of gold in Pasadena, Calif., several days ago. The $2 billion-plus fund manager was one of the first hedge fund operators I knew in San Francisco who was working hard almost 10 years ago in a search for producing gold companies. His big burly winner, among many potent pings in hard assets for his 35-person firm, was Brazil’s Yamana Gold (AUY in USA). John told me today (Monday) he would have his people in SF send me the highlights.

The speaker line-up for Joe Martin’s Cambridge House gold and silver bash in early June, Vancouver, is set. See: http://www.cambridgehouse.ca/ch_june2009.html#Speakers. After the two-day investment show, a baker’s dozen of us will join a fly fishing trip to Saskatchewan with Forty Nine Resource Fund’s Tom MacNeill (FNR in Canada). Tom believes in Sasketchewan resources. The rest of us do as well, but we like our trout, too.

I have a friendly mano a mano taking place between technical analyst Ian McAvity in Canada and sentiment researcher Bernie Schaeffer in Ohio, USA. Mr. McAvity of Deliberations sees the price of a gold ounce rising to $1,200 U.S. if it passes through a few marks ($968, $1,007 & $1,034) on one of his trademark hand-drawn charts. Mr. Schaeffer of Schaeffer’s Investment Research interprets equity options data for signs of investor excess, or lack theeof. Right now, he sees what might be too much zeal on the part of gold investors to speculate on a sharp rise in the price of the bullion ETF, Street Tracks Gold Trust (GLD in USA). (See details.) We’ll be examining these signs in the next issue of Mr. Schaeffer’s Sentiment magazine.

Chris Powell of Gold Anti Trust Action Committee and a newspaper managing editor points us to this Mongolia headline about a $7 billion Russia pact to develop rail lines: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20090515/155025973.html. The RIA Novosti article shows a smiling Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Mongolia PM S. Bayar. The Moscow Times also references Putin’s visit to Mongolia this past week and quotes Mr. Putin as saying Russia hopes to participate in the Tavan Tolgoi’s potentially vast copper and coal deposits.

Financial Digest Editor Mark Hulbert was vibrant in a Las Vegas Money Show appearance the other day. Mr. Hulbert is known for his data showing only a fifth of North America’s newsletter writers regularly exceed the returns of the overall stock market. At the show, Mark demonstrated how a fraction of the top newsletter money makers actually do make decent money for their audiences if subscribers miss the early days of a recommended stock or portfolio. “The bulk of the returns (about half for the top 10 ranked funds’ annualized returns) come at the front end of the bull,” Mr. Hulbert says. Hulbert, in the business since 1980, named names, shrugged and then said stridently, “If any of these editors were here, they would object.” The biggest exception, Mark Hulbert said, is 22-year-old The Prudent Speculator from Al Frank and published by Forbes. It was the only one that kept most its returns, annualized, after the first three and six months of the running of the bulls.

On my board this week: an interview with Marc Watchorn of South Africa’s Wits Gold (WGR in Canada and Jo’burg); sorting through notes of my two-hour breakfast with the head of a second Mexico silver company prospect (for Ticker Trax); and yes, getting that second gold crown on top/right/second-to-back tooth. That’s all from my laptop.

Thom Calandra is the author of subscription service Ticker Trax at www.tickertrax.com. The newsletter’s Five Planetary Prospects include four commodities companies and a life-sciences company. Thom’s personal holdings are listed on www.Stockhouse.com under the “portfolio setting” for user TCALANDRA. It is public and free to view. He and his family also own recently minted gold and silver coins. He owns none of the companies in this Laptop Slapshot report.

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