David Zeiler

Water Stocks: Don’t Overlook This $1 Trillion Opportunity – Money Morning

With most water delivery systems badly in need of repair or replacement, companies that supply the solutions figure to profit handsomely – making now a good time for investing in water stocks.

In the United States alone, estimates of water infrastructure needs run as high as $1 trillion.

Many of the pipes that carry water to U.S. residents are more than 60 years old, with some more than 100 years old. Water main breaks and sinkholes from leaking pipes are common in many U.S. cities.

Water infrastructure is in such bad shape that the nation’s pipes leak 1.7 trillion gallons every year. The water lost in a single day is enough to supply the entire state of California.

Pressure to spend more money on the nation’s water infrastructure is increasing. This week the National Association of Water Companies and U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign, “Water is Your Business,” to draw more attention to the problem.

And the public is already on board.

In a recent survey taken by water infrastructure company Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL), 88% of those polled said the government should be investing in water infrastructure, and 65% said they would accept slightly higher monthly water bills to pay for it.

With the need reaching a critical stage and pressure to act building, U.S. government spending to repair water infrastructure is bound to increase very soon and very rapidly, a golden opportunity for water stocks.

But the opportunity extends beyond the United States. The World Water Council says that current annual infrastructure spending of about $80 billion will double just within the next several years.

And rising global demand for water, driven by population growth, adds even more urgency to the problem.

The United Nations estimates that fresh water withdrawals have increased threefold over the past 50 years, as demand rises by 16.9 trillion gallons every year.

“A billion people lack access to clean water,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a recent research note explaining why it likes water ETFs. “Water is undergoing pressure both on the supply and demand side.”

In the years to come, as governments around the world start spending the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to address these problems, money will flood into water stocks.

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Robots Taking Jobs From Every Sector of the Economy – Money Morning

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. Robots taking jobs from manufacturing workers is a trend dating back decades, but rapidly advancing software has spread the threat of job-killing automation to nearly every occupation. The technological advances, while helping businesses boost productivity dramatically, have cost…

Why You Should Hate Ethanol (Even Though the EPA Doesn’t) – Money Morning

Proving once again that the government refuses to learn from its mistakes, the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday (Thursday) again increased its ethanol mandate.

The EPA raised the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate to 16.55 billion gallons for 2013, up from 15.2 billion gallons last year, while ignoring signs that the policy is doing more harm than good.

The list of problems starts with what the use of ethanol-gasoline blends might be doing to our cars.

Earlier this week, the Coordinating Research Council, a group backed by several major automakers, released a study showing that E15, which blends 15% ethanol with gasoline instead of the previous level of 10%, can damage autos.

The tests showed E15 could cause faulty fuel-gauge readings and check-engine alerts. In some cases, E15 could cause swelling and failure of auto components that “could result in breakdowns,” according to Robert Greco, a director with the American Petroleum Institute.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) last fall voiced similar concerns and asked the EPA to withdraw E15. AAA said that since only 5% of the cars on U.S. roads are approved for E15, the possibility for accidental use in vehicles is too high.

“AAA automotive engineering experts have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, and fuel-system damage,” the organization said in a press release on its Website.

These new concerns come on top of historic complaints that ethanol blends reduce a vehicle’s miles per gallon by about 27%, meaning more trips to the gas station and more money out of drivers’ pockets.

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Peter Schiff: “At some point, the dollar has to give”- Money Morning

While the U.S Federal Reserve claims it needs to keep interest rates near zero to help the economy, renowned economist Peter Schiff says there’s another reason.

According to Schiff, the Fed has little choice: If rates began to climb, the interest payments on the ballooning federal debt would explode making annual budget deficits far worse.

“We’re now so addicted to debt that the highest rate we can afford is zero,” Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told Casey Research chairman Doug Casey in a video interview published today.

“We pay about $300 billion a year right now in interest on a $16.5 trillion debt,” Schiff explained. “What if, in two or three years — and the debt is $20 trillion — what happens if interest rates are 5%? Well, that’s $1 trillion a year in interest payments.”

This scenario is not at all far-fetched; the historic norm for interest rates is just below 5%, and rates in the early 1980s were triple that.

Another reason the Fed fears higher rates, Schiff said, is that it would probably bankrupt most of the “too-big-to-fail” banks that the government bailed out back in 2008.

“The only justification for keeping rates so low is that the Fed knows any increase in rates will collapse this phony economy and we’ll be right back in recession,” Schiff said.

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Why Forcing U.S. Companies to Bring Cash Home is a Bad Idea – Money Morning

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning – Only the News You Can Profit From. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. The federal government would love nothing more than to apply the 35% corporate tax to the estimated $1.7 trillion in cash U.S. multinational companies have designated as foreign investments –…