Lamp Posts Indicate Bull Market?

Luke Burgess

Updated November 8, 2005

If you need proof of the commodities bull market, you need look no further than the crooks in Baltimore City.

Baltimore City police reported that several light posts that line neighborhood streets have been sawed down, then stolen across northern parts of Baltimore. That’s right, stolen light posts.

City officials said last week that more than 130 light posts have been stolen in the past 6 weeks.

At first Baltimore City police were baffled why anyone would steal the thirty-foot light posts from area streets.

But when police arrested a man with a light post sticking six foot out of the back of his station wagon this weekend, they found out.

The pole-robbing desperados were stealing the heavy light posts to scrap them later.

One light post, made entirely of aluminum, can be scrapped for $150. A hundred and thirty light posts at $150 a pop equals close to $20K. Not bad for 6 weeks of work.

Regardless of the crime, you got to love the fact that even criminals, usually poorly educated, are taking notice of rising commodities prices

I’d love to think that burglars check aluminum future prices frequently and waited until prices reached a level that made stealing the light post worthwhile.

What’s next? Stealing high school kids to get oil out of their faces?

Silver ETF on the Rocks

A nonprofit lobby group has asked the SEC to deny a silver ETF currently in registration from Barclays Global Investors.

The Silver Users Association says they want to keep an orderly silver market and a silver ETF would create a price squeeze in the metal because the fund would have to buy a large amount of silver to back the fund’s shares prior to the launch.

When Barclays first filed its silver ETF in June many analysts expected a speedy approval process because the fund was structured similarly to the pair of existing gold ETFs: StreetTracks Gold Trust and iShares Comex Gold Trust also managed by Barclays.

Both gold ETFs hold about $3.4 billion in assets between them. They allow investors to buy shares that represent a tenth of an ounce of gold held in a vault.

These funds are seen as a convenient, low-cost way for investors to sidestep the costs of buying and storing bullion.

The SUA says that it is concerned that a silver ETF would increase the silver market’s volatility and drive up prices.

The silver mining companies don’t want a silver ETF because it may create less demand for their stock. Investors would rather have a pure play on the metal rather than buying mining companies, which are subject to all sorts of problems.

On the other hand a silver ETF would benefit mining companies if demand surges for the metal and pushes prices, and profits, higher.

But the real beneficiaries to a silver ETF are the investors.

-Luke Burgess 

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