In tough times, does a need to offset inflation suggest positions in bullion?
Tough Times Mean Tough Choices
''The mix of political uncertainty with the threat of recession, both in the U.S. and Europe, leaves investors in a terrible position, says Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Investors can park cash in Treasury bonds or money markets and get feeble returns, or they can go for the potentially higher returns of stocks and take the risk of a sudden plunge in stock prices.
'There aren't good options out there' for investors, he says. His economists are forecasting at least a mild recession in Europe next year. He figures there is a one in three chance Europe's woes, together with continuing congressional gridlock in the U.S., throw the U.S. into recession next year, as well.
'Investors have to understand that this is an environment where there is no high-return, low-risk investment,' Mr. Harris says. For a high return, you must make a risky bet on European and U.S. politics. To avoid that risk, you need to accept bond or money-market yields that often don't even offset inflation.''