International Speculator

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21 Comments
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Rog Blake
Rog Blake
11 years ago

Doug Casey started The International Speculator well over 20 years ago, but I started subscribing around 2004. Originally, it was advertised as focused on any opportunities around the world likely to double in the next 12 months. This included real estate, stocks, currencies, and anything else that would fit the description.

While this sounds good, no one can be an expert on every topic. Casey’s main interest is gold, followed by real estate. He is biased toward the obscure, so he focuses on junior mining companies (often penny stocks) and locations most subscribers only read about.

His opinions and trip reports can make for interesting and enjoyable reading, but after a while he sounds like a broken record. I dug up his books from the 70’s and found that the message was still the same, only the company names have changed (the dollar is doomed! Buy bullion! Juniors are the next stock craze! The Greater Depression is upon us!). Despite claiming to be an optimist, this is doom and gloom material.

Although I rated the performance as average, I got clobbered more than the rest of the market last year with my Casey picks. Many were down 60-70% from earlier this year. For a guy who constantly defends speculation, I was surprised to see notes of caution when the market crashed. Previously, any time one of their picks fell, they suggested readers back up the truck.

They recently published an issue stating their performance for the past year. Not surprisingly, it’s quite rosy and doesn’t match the performance of the stocks I bought based on their recommendations. They like to pat themselves on the back for correctly calling a situation, but they generally don’t admit to mistakes.

Since I originally subscribed, this newsletter has forked into multiple newsletters and raised prices. What was once covered in one newsletter is now covered in Big Gold, Casey Energy Opportunities, International Speculator, The Casey Report, Without Borders, and their latest is some commodity/futures focused publication.

I’m sure I’m paying way too much for advice on how to lose money. I have found that buying shortly after they recommend selling can be profitable. Their calls to sell come way too late. Their calls to buy are often a bit late as well, which may be justification for their more expensive services.

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Bob Wilber
Bob Wilber
11 years ago

The bottom line is: If you want to lose money, just buy all the recommended stocks in International Speculator. I started subscribing in January 2006. Pretty much all their recommendations are Canadian junior mining stocks, focused on gold and silver. I was up about 40% overall in the fall of 2007 but then the crash came. If IS had recommended a decent stop loss policy I might still have most of my money. As it is, I’m now down about 50% from my initial investment and down about 65% from the peak. But what really knocks my rating of IS down is their latest (Feb 2009) issue, in which they purported to review their performance over the last couple of years. They claimed huge gains for 2006 and 2007 (65% and 140%, respectively) vs. my actual cumulative gain over 2 years of 40%, and claimed a mere 11% loss for 2008 vs. my actual loss of 65%. The disparity between what they claim and what I got is so huge that I have to regard them as fraudulent.

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Victor K.
Victor K.
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Wilber

Yep, they were myopic in their strategy at one point. I have done really well with a few recomnendations, but these stocks are so volatile, that’s why they don’t have a workable stop loss policy. At one point, a little late in the game, they started to clarify their stategy of how mining stocks should fit in an overall investment policy. My opinion now is that only a small portion of a portfolio should be in these stocks, which is what Casey/Stansberry now says.

steve
steve
11 years ago

casey research terrible sell signals to much political garbage 4 years to lose tons and they cange recos all the time leaving you on your own. would not reco it

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MikeW
MikeW
11 years ago

International Speculator – Doug Casey et al.,
Been a subscriber for a full two years. This newsletter’s recently proclaimed performance is disingenuous enough to prompt my review.
Doug Casey and his group were slaughtered on their small mining company shares in 2008. Anyone who bought originally two years ago is down 80%. This newsletter recommended doubling up in September of 2008 and those recommendations are down 30%. Of course if you had any money left and bought in December of 2008 you are up over 100% if it was a first time buy. The newsletter touts this latter success rate.
Also a big recommender of cattle. Down 30% since recommendation in Spring of 2008. They don’t talk about that one anymore.
Also a big recommender of mutual funds tied into rising interest rates such as RRPIX. They were too early (recommended June 2008)and those recommendations are down 12%, being down over 30% at one point late last year. However, the Casey group are touting 8% gains in their recent newsletter. I’m not sure when they thought they recommended those funds (I’ll refresh their memories – it was June). If you bought their recommedation in June 2008 you are down, if you bought in January 2009 you are up.
So…..like most newsletters you can buy them for their entertainment value (Casey can be entertaining), just don’t count on their investment advice.

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steve leuschner
steve leuschner
11 years ago

i just stopped renewing energy specultor and IS . five years of subscriptions to the Casey research family . what a load of crap . they dont respond when you point out that the great returns they claim are put into questions by subscribers they just ignore you i’d like to go to one of thier paid investment conferences and just give casey stick sell signals were nmon existant then he printed a small blurb in his site making an excuse as to why he cost most of his IS subscribers to lose their shirts they suck this place is great thanks for providing this forum

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Mike
Mike
9 years ago

I have subscribed since 2006. This is NOT for short-term trading. It IS for making the most of the trend of the decade, which is the destruction of the US dollar, and many other currencies of insolvent countries. This leads to buying SOME junior gold and silver miners. They all got slaughtered in 2008. I kept some and they are all back strong now. The ones I regret are the ones I sold. I have been more consistently following their recommendations since 2009, with great results.

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C.R. Schmink
C.R. Schmink
8 years ago

I dabbled (and lost) with penny stocks, using a specific, relatively small amount of money. PRIOR to 2008 I subscribed to International Speculator, and learned enough not to be stupid and sell while what I owned was down 50% and more. That discipline (learned, not an inherent personal trait) stood me very well. Take, for example, Silver Wheaton (a strong Casey recommendation). My ONLY heartburn is that when it got down to $2.56 at the bottom, I didn’t have enough free cash to purchase any more than what I already had (which averaged around $10). I ended up selling most of what I had right near the peak at $45. I’ve since repurchased a good bit lower. There were several others like that.

Casey says, quite clearly if anyone bothers to read his advertising thoroughly, that one must be willing to ride out down turns (which can be severe in small mining and energy stocks), and that some of their picks will be losers. But when you get a 5- or 10-bagger, that certainly makes up for a few losses.

Now? I’m down a very large percentage. Am I worried? No. I don’t need the money right now, and I’ve learned not to panic when everyone else is. I learned that when the market is tanking, I should be cheering the “back up the trucks” opportunities (as Casey calls them) that exist with companies that have been severely hit, but that are fundamentally sound and highly likely to emerge out the other side with huge gains. Like I said, I was almost in tears when Silver Wheaton hit $2.56, but only because I had no free cash at the time. Just imagine buying in at even $4.50, holding on as it went down almost 50%, but then came roaring back for a 10-fold increase in just a couple of years. If someone isn’t “up” for that kind of environment, Casey’s publications are not appropriate.

Yes, we’ve since subscribed to others of his publications, and currently have several because of our experience with Casey Research over the years. And yes – again – we’re way down right now. No big deal. This should not be money that’s needed in the short run, nor money that you cannot stand to have sit while you take a 25% or 50% hit (maybe higher). I continue to recommend Casey to friends I don’t want to lose.

And to the person that said their customer service is worthless (my term, his implication), my experience is very different. I’ve gotten responses to all but one of at least five or six emails or phone calls I’ve sent to Casey research – from some of their top people, not some underling whose name never appears in print.

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crrussell
crrussell
7 years ago

Have been a subscriber for many years. They have improved. Better writers, researchers. Like all high voltage publications, make your own decision to buy and why; then you’ll know when to sell whether IS recommends or not. The best filter is you. Casey is quite right when he says that the down drafts can be life threatening, but not fatal [I made that up, but I’m sure he’d put it something like that]. Almost all of the Casey publications can be characterized as mandatory self evaluation investment suggestions! I do like the Casey ability to find promising juniors and their willingness to go kick the rocks in person. That is rare. Still, they are not CFAs, they’re researchers and pickers. Pay close attention, know your own limits and you’ll find them a worth while publication.

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golddigger
golddigger
6 years ago

Blind gambling dressed up as well researched speculation!

I have to say after subscribing to casey research’s international speculator for multiple quarters that not only is the newsletter useless it is actually destructive if you follow their advice.

Bottom line is that this newsletter is an abject failure. Most of their current recommendations are down 70% or more. Think honestly about that for a minute, how much would it hurt to lose 70% of your money? The few success they currently have are only up 8% or so. As a matter of fact if you look at their investment history it is dismal at best. During bull phases in the mining sector they only returned around 25% overall when the sector should have brought in 50% or more during these rare periods. So during the bull phases they underperformed the sector and during the bear phases you can expect to get absolutely crushed. During the static phases your money will go nowhere and will be hit and miss based on a treasure hunt of explorer teams and totally news dependent.

The main problem is the team’s contrarian attitude and false premises that they have a boots on the ground approach with local connections and eyes on the site making sure that they are investing in the best of the best companies. Nothing could be further from the truth; most of their recommendations are simply just the most well promoted junior resource companies and explorers that you could find on any mining or small cap specialty site. On top of that they recommend high risk stocks that are considered the scourge in the mining investment community (there is that contrarian attitude) effectively asking you to gamble your money on long shots. If it goes up they can use the long shot as promotion they can bring 300% gains, of course they rarely go up and most end in complete bankruptcy. The truth is that they do not have an inside edge on these companies or proprietary information but simply make buy and sell decisions based on the same news wires everyone else uses.

They are like realtors in real estate it is always a good time to buy gold and its associated mining stocks. If the company loses 25% of its value fill in a stink bid! 50% great another stinker bid!! 75% a dream come true another stinker bid…………whoops you ran out of investment capital a long time ago. Buying high, buying even lower and holding for a collapse.

Most people that bought in on their recommendations have lost all their money and incurred a huge opportunity cost. They will tell you to buy anytime and anywhere. They are also very dishonest, claiming gains by cherring picking data. They claim they recommended PVG when it was 6.42 ish for a free ride gain toward 12! HA HA HA, they were telling people to buy when it was 14 then down to 13 then down to 12, BACK THE TRUCK UP ITS AT 10! Now of course the stock is at 5 ish! Whoops I guess those investors aren’t counted in. Give me a break.

They are also reactionary waiting for a stock to move up in major gains before recommending it hoping to capitalize on a further trend when in reality the ship already left the dock.

All in all stay away they are wrapped up in a very faulty methodology, sense of infallibility and most importantly a horrendous record of stock picks.

Please take this warning seriously, do not end up like most of their subscribers. Stay out of the graveyard.

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