Happy New Year!
Today is the first time in 2018 that the stock market is open and here are the 5 most important things you need to know to start your year off right.
Marijuana Goes Mainstream – On Monday, January 1st, a California law allowing the broad use of recreational marijuana officially went into effect. As of yesterday, anyone 21 and older can now purchase marijuana at licensed retailers, grow up to six marijuana plants at home and also possess up to one ounce of the drug.
This is a big step for widespread legalization as California is the country’s most populous state. However, some hurdles still stand in the way — taxes could add as much as 45% to the cost, the drug still cannot be transported across state lines and banks are still unable to serve marijuana businesses.
In addition to California, Maine and Massachusetts also voted to legalize pot. Massachusetts is scheduled to begin legal distribution in July while Maine has not set a date.
Iran Protests Buoy Oil – Since Thursday, thousands have taken to the streets in a protest that began focused on the stagnant economy, rising inflation and government corruption but has since morphed into all-out defiance against leadership. As violent protests in Iran are now in their 6th day, over 20 are confirmed dead and over 450 arrested. The majority of those arrested include the millennial generation who are pushing for more social freedoms.
In response to the violence, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has commented that he believes these protests have been aided by his nation’s “enemies,” while stating that citizens are “absolutely free” to protest and criticize the government, but that vandalism is another matter
The price of WTI crude oil now sits at its highest level since 2015.
Gold Continues Its Run – The price of gold is up for the eight straight day which is its longest streak since 2011. As of Tuesday morning, the price sits at $1,314 per ounce.
Gold had a strong run in 2017 — up 14% — due to the growing number of uncertainties in today’s market. The bull market is now entering its 9th year, geopolitical risks in Asia are still prominent and the poor performance of the dollar has slowly eroded the buying power of Americans abroad.
We here at The Daily Edge recommend that you continue to stick with gold.
Crypto Fizzles – As of Tuesday morning, the price of Bitcoin sits under $14,000. After rising to above $19,000 in mid-December, the price fell sharply and has been stagnant since. Ethereum has been the big mover in the last 24 hours — up 17%. However, we all know how fast the tides can change in the crypto markets.
Remember, we here recommend that you invest only money that you can afford to lose in these volatile markets, and under 5% of your total portfolio.
In 2018, per the Christmas survey on topics readers are most interested in, you can expect more articles on the “ins and outs” of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Stay tuned.
KoreanCooperation (For 16 Days) – Today, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon announced that he is seeking a meeting with North Korean officials on January 9th in the demilitarized zone between the countries. The main topic will be North Korea’s involvement in next month’s Olympic Games.
Pyeongchang, the location of the 2018 Winter Olympics, is only 60 miles from the North Korean border. And with Kim Jong-Un’s recent statement regarding the possibility of North Koreans competing in the games, some analysts see this willingness to meet by South Korean officials as a method to reduce the likelihood of any provocation from February 9-25 — when the Games are scheduled to take place.
Since appearing in its first Olympics in 1964, North Korea has participated in every Summer Games expect when they boycotted the 1984 and 1988 Games, but has only participated in seven of the last twelve Winter Games.
Here’s to keeping your edge,
Managing Editor, The Daily Edge