Christmas is truly over.
The lights are off, decorations are down and moribund trees line the sidewalks.
Some are off on vacation, others are back at their jobs, and many are already working hard on their New Year’s resolutions.
We always feel the Christmas period is too short here in Australia.
It’s probably because…it is.
While in Australia most public decorations come down sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, in many places around the world Christmas lasts 12 days…with the first day starting on 25 December.
In fact, in many places in Europe and Latin America, one of the biggest celebrations associated with Christmas hasn’t even happened yet.
I’m talking about Three Kings, which happens on the night of 5 January…and marks the end of the celebrations.
In places like Spain, children celebrating at Christmas wait for Three Kings day with big expectations…you could argue their expectations are even greater than for Christmas.
On the afternoon of the 5th, towns and cities all over Spain hold parades. Children and their families will take to the streets to watch the re-enactment of the Three Kings arriving…and to get candy, of course. The parades feature the three kings on floats throwing sweets at the crowds.
That night before bed, children will leave buckets with grass and water for the king’s thirsty camels. They will also leave their shoes under the tree.
Why the shoes you ask?
Well, some say it comes from the story about two of Jesus’s neighbours who always saw him barefoot. Feeling sorry for him, they decided to clean their own shoes to give to him. That night, they left them on the window to dry. They woke up in the morning to find them full of candy and presents as a reward for their good intentions.
Another theory is that leaving shoes is a way to let the three kings know how many people live in the house and their ages…so they know how many presents to leave.
Whatever the case, kids will wake up every 6 January expecting to find the grass and water gone, and their shoes full of presents…or black coal if they’ve been bad.
Yep, kids in Spain are lucky, they get presents twice. Once at Christmas and once during Three Kings.
According to the tradition, Three Kings Day celebrates the visit of the three wise men — Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar — to bring baby Jesus three valuable gifts. These were myrrh as a symbol for mortality, frankincense to represent deity, and gold, considered the precious metal of kings.
The best thing to do in 2019 is own gold
If anything, the story shows how long our fascination with gold has lasted through the ages. Gold has been the money of choice for millennia and is seen as a safe haven when there is fear. Gold has a great track record, it has been preserving value and wealth for thousands of years.
The reason I bring this up is because world markets took a plunge overnight.
A letter from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook warning investors to expect lower revenues rocked the markets. The CEO blames weaker sales in China. Apple stock dropped by almost 10% at the close.
Also, the US ISM Manufacturing purchasing managers index, which surveys manufacturing firms, had its biggest monthly drop since October 2008. The index gives a quick picture on the health of the manufacturing sector.
Confidence is plummeting and things aren’t looking as good as they did a few months back
‘All of a sudden, the fundamentals aren’t looking as strong.
‘First it was Apple Inc.’s $5 billion revenue miss, hints of which lopped 30 percent from its stock over three months. Now it’s a closely watched gauge of U.S. factory activity, which dropped to a two-year low and missed every estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
‘What’s going on? Over and over in the fourth quarter, as the S&P 500 plunged 19.8 percent to the brink of a bear market, investors heard the same refrain: don’t panic, the economy, and corporate earnings, look strong.
‘In the last 24 hours, confidence in those assurances has taken a hit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 600 points, or 2.6 percent, Thursday morning, while losses in the Nasdaq 100 spiraled toward 3 percent. […]
‘For the first time during Donald Trump’s presidency, both economic statistics and sentiment indicators are missing analysts’ expectations.’
We could be entering a bear market.
As world markets panic and fears of a recession increase, we can’t help but to look at gold.
Gold has been steadily climbing closer to US$1,300 throughout this period of market turbulence, as you can see below.
In these uncertain times, the best thing to do might be to own gold.
When the dust settles, having liquidity will be crucial, and those holding gold (and cash) will be kings.
Editor, Markets & Money
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