Why own hard assets when governments are busy manipulating financial ones?
''What does it say about the markets and the times when the world's top bond-fund manager names gold his No. 1 investment pick of 2013? We kid you not, though everyone at this year's Barron's Roundtable thought Bill Gross surely was joking -- until he delivered an impassioned and thoroughly convincing case for owning hard assets in an age when central banks are busily manipulating financial ones.
If you read Parts 1 and 2 of this year's Roundtable, you know that macro issues, including central bankers' unprecedented attempts to drive down interest rates to juice economic growth, weigh heavy on the minds of our nine market sages, who gathered in New York on Jan. 14 to give us their 2013 investment views. Extraordinary circumstances provoke colorful, controversial, and sometimes bracing commentary, and there is no dearth of all of the above in this year's final Roundtable issue.
Bill, founder and co-chief investment officer of bond behemoth Pimco, gets the ball rolling this week by explaining the currently lousy economics of bonds, compared with which, he argues, the underside of the mattress might make a better repository for your money. That said, he's recommending a handful of fixed-income funds that yield more than Treasuries without much risk, along with a play on gold.''