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The Prediction Racket

by Lobo Tiggre
Friday, January 04, 12:59pm, UTC, 2019

This is a time of year when all sort of pundits make predictions. The S&P 500 is going to 3,000! Or 2,000! Gold is going to $1,400! Or $700!

I confess that when I first started out in this business, I made gold price forecasts as well. I outgrew it. You see, no matter how much math and fancy verbiage an analyst throws into generating a number, it’s always still a guess—and it’s irresponsible to pretend it’s more.

At best, such guesses are useless. But the more impressive the verbiage, the more dangerous they are, because they are still guesses based on assumptions. Both the assumptions and the logic behind the guess can be wrong, and either on its own can be fatal. Combined, they can destroy fortunes.

And yet, if some famous person projects some specific and impressive number, it can encourage investors to act as though they have more reliable knowledge of the future than they really do.

What makes matters worse is that there’s little consequence for the talking heads in financial media when they make bold guesses that turn out to be wrong. However, there’s great incentive for them to keep guessing in public as aggressively as they dare. The bolder the forecast, the more exciting the headline. That sells copy, and by the time we find out of the pundit was right or wrong, it’s too late for the investors suckered in.

One day, in my copious spare time, I’d like to launch a website dedicated to tracking and keeping score on the forecasts, projections, quant predictions, technical outlooks, and other guesses that flood the financial press. It could be like Snopes.com. Every time some talking head in the financial news makes some grandiose guess, it’s noted and the results are tracked. So in the future, when this happens, investors can look up the success ratio of serial public guessers.

Meanwhile, what I can do is refuse to join in the prediction racket.

So, no, I don’t have a gold price forecast for 2019. Nor uranium. Nor anything else.

To say that I expect both uranium and gold to head higher this year (and the energy minerals as well, if the trade war ends) is as far out on a limb as I’m willing to go. And I won’t pretend it’s not a guess, just because it’s based on many years of experience and my current market observations. That’s not for lack of courage, but because I don’t want to pretend to know more than I do.

Just getting the direction right will be more than enough for my readers and me to make money. That’s enough for me.

As always, caveat emptor,



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