Stocks, commodities and currencies were mixed, while bonds were lower this week. The biggest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 10.6% to close at 42.4 grams. The largest drop was in the Euro STOXX, which fell 1.9%, giving back much of the prior week's gains. Crude oil also reversed course, rising 3.2%, and recouping most of the prior week's losses.

The Japanese Yen continues to be the weakest of the currencies, declining 1.3%. The strongest national currency was the Chinese Yuan, which rose just 0.1%. Bitcoin was the strongest of all currencies, and the strongest asset class overall, rising 10.6%. Bitcoin made a new all-time high every day this week until Thursday, when it peaked at 46.0 grams before falling sharply to close at 42.4 grams on Friday.

Bonds were lower, but favored the longer maturities, with the long term TLT and short term SHY down 0.2% while USD cash fell 0.3%.

The gold stocks rose more than any other equities, gaining 5.7%. The Japanese Nikkei index rose 2.8%, the strongest showing of any major index, while the Euro STOXX fell 1.9%. The Dow Jones Industrials lost 0.8%.

The weakest commodities were coffee and palladium, which dropped 0.8% and 0.4% respectively. The biggest commodity gains were in crude oil, which rose 3.2%, and platinum, which rose 1.2%. Silver ended the week down 0.1%.

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Commodities were mixed, while currencies, bonds and major stock indexes were higher this week. The biggest gains were in Bitcoin, which rose a whopping 18.1% to close at 38.3 grams. European stocks also soared, rising 8.2% in anticipation of a Macron victory in the French elections this weekend. The Euro was also the strongest government-issued currency, gaining 4.0%. Crude oil was down 3.4%, the largest drop for any asset class.

Even the Japanese Yen, the weakest of the currencies, gained 2.1%. Bitcoin was the strongest of all currencies, and the strongest asset class overall, rising 18.1%. Bitcoin made a new all-time high every day this week until Thursday, when it peaked at 38.4 grams before settling at 38.3 grams on Friday.

Bonds were higher, and continued to favor the shorter maturities, with the long term TLT up 2.2%, short term SHY up 3.0% and USD cash up 3.1%.

The only equities to close lower were the gold stocks: the HUI fell 0.1%. The Japanese Nikkei index rose 1.5%, the weakest showing of any major index, while the Euro STOXX gained a massive 8.2%. The S&P 500 added 3.8%.

The weakest commodities were crude oil and silver, which dropped 3.4% and 2.3% respectively. Platinum fell to a new all-time low of 22.7 grams on Wednesday, then recovered a bit to finish the week at 23.0 grams, down 0.9%. The biggest commodity gains were in coffee, which rose 4.9%, and cotton, which rose 1.6%.

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Currencies and commodities were mixed, while bonds and major stock indexes were higher this week. The biggest gains were in European stocks, which rose 6.5% on news that the first round of presidential elections in France have left open the option for France to stay in the EU. The Euro was also the strongest government issued currency, gaining 2.9%. Gold stocks were down 5.5%, the largest drop for any asset class.

The only currency to fall was the Japanese Yen, which was down 0.7%. Bitcoin was the strongest of all currencies, and the second strongest asset class overall, rising 6.3% to close at 32.4 grams, well above parity with an ounce of gold. Bitcoin also made a new all-time high of 32.7 grams on Thursday, before retreating a bit on Friday. This rally seems to be fueled by news that Bitcoin is set become a legal form of payment in Japan, as well as news that the SEC will take a second look at its position on Bitcoin ETFs. As these stories unfold they could spark a rush into Bitcoin, pushing it to much higher levels.

Bonds were higher, but favored the shorter maturities, with the long term TLT up 0.2%, short term SHY up 1.1% and USD cash up 1.2%.

The only equities to close lower were the gold stocks: the HUI fell 5.5%. The Japanese Nikkei index rose 2.3%, the weakest showing of all the major indexes, while the Euro STOXX gained a massive 6.5%. The Dow Jones Industrials added 3.2%.

The weakest commodities were silver and platinum, which dropped 3.3% and 2.2% respectively. Platinum closed at 23.2 grams, just 2% above its all-time lows. The biggest gains were in coffee, which rose 4.0%, and palladium, which rose 3.9%. Copper was also strong, rising 3.6% for the week. After last week's big 6.5% drop, the price of crude oil stabilized, gaining 0.6% this week.

One final comment on Gold and Bitcoin: They are truly at parity! Today I purchased four 1 ounce Canadian Maple Leaf coins, including FedEx shipping, for 3.996 BTC.

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Currencies and commodities were mixed, while bonds and major stock indexes were slightly higher this week. The largest drop was in crude oil, which fell 6.5%. The biggest gains were in Bitcoin, which rose 6.4%. Gold stocks were down 3.3% after being up 3.0% in the prior week.

The weakest national currency was the Canadian Dollar, which fell 1.0%. Of the currencies I show in this chart, the Euro was strongest, gaining 1.0%; but I also track many other currencies, and of those, the British Pound stands out, rising 2.3% this week. Bonds were slightly higher, with the long term TLT, short term SHY and USD cash all up 0.2%. Bitcoin continues to inch closer to parity with an ounce of gold, rising 6.4% this week to close at 30.5 grams.

The only equities to close lower were the gold stocks: the HUI fell 3.3%. The Japanese Nikkei index rose 1.5%, while the Euro STOXX gained 1.1%. The Dow Jones Industrials added 0.6%, the smallest gain among the major indexes.

The weakest commodities were crude oil and coffee, which dropped 6.5% and 6.3% respectively. The biggest gains were in cotton, which rose 4.6%. Silver fell 3.0% while platinum gained 0.6% to close at 23.8 grams.

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Commodities were mixed, while national currencies, bonds, and major stock indexes were lower this week. The largest drop was in cotton, which fell 6.6%. The biggest gains were in Bitcoin, which rose 8.6% (on top of a 15.6% gain in the prior week) and gold stocks, which added 1.6%.

The weakest national currencies were the Canadian Dollar and the Euro, which each fell 2.2%. The Japanese Yen fell least, giving up 0.8%. Bonds were also lower, with the long term TLT and USD cash down 1.7%, while the short term SHY fell 1.8%.

Bitcoin, which had risen to a price just above one ounce of gold in mid-March before tumbling on concerns about a possible split into two currencies, recovered strongly in the last two weeks and now stands just below gold ounce parity ounce again at 29.3 grams.

The only equities to close higher were the gold stocks: the HUI rose 1.6%. The Euro STOXX fell 2.4%, the most of any index. The Dow Jones Industrials fell the least, 1.7%.

The weakest commodities were cotton and silver, which dropped 6.6% and 2.2% respectively. The biggest gains were in crude oil, which rose 1.5%. Platinum rose 1.1% to close at 23.8 grams.

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Most asset classes continued to fall this week, but each group had a bright spot – and the brightest of all was palladium, which gained 3.4%. Bitcoin continued its tumble, falling another 13.8% to close at 23.3 grams on concerns over a possible split into two currencies, Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited. The next largest drop was in coffee, which fell 4.5%.

The Japanese Yen was the only rising currency, gaining 0.3%. The weakest national currency was the Canadian Dollar, which fell 1.7%. Bonds were mixed but continued to favor the longer maturities: the long term TLT was up 0.4%, while the short term SHY lost 1.3%, and USD cash was down 1.4%.

As in the prior week, the only equities to close higher were the gold stocks: the HUI was up 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 led the major indexes lower, falling 2.9% apiece. The Euro STOXX and Nikkei 225 each fell 1.0%.

Commodities were all lower except for palladium, which gained 3.4%. Coffee saw the largest losses, falling 4.5%. Crude oil continued its tumble, dropping another 3.1%. Platinum fell 1.0% while silver was little changed, off 0.1%.

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Commodities were mixed, while major stock indexes, bonds and government-issued currencies were lower. Bitcoin volatility continued, as the BTC rose back above one ounce of gold last week, then fell to close down 6.3% at 27.1 grams. The largest gains were in the gold stocks, which rose 2.4% to close at 4.9 grams.

The Japanese Yen was the least weak currency, falling 0.4%. The weakest national currency was the US Dollar, which fell 2.2%. Bonds were mixed but this time favored the longer maturities: the long term TLT was off 1.1%, while the short term SHY lost 2.1%, and USD cash was down 2.2%.

The only equities to close the week higher were the gold stocks: the HUI rose 2.4%. The Dow Jones Industrials led the major indexes lower, falling 2.1%, followed by the S&P 500, which dropped 2.0%. The Euro STOXX FEZ and Japanese Nikkei 225 each fell 0.9%.

Commodities were mixed, with copper up 1.3%, and palladium up 1.2%. Crude oil saw the largest losses, falling another 1.6%. Platinum fell 0.3% while silver rose 0.8%.

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Commodities were mixed this week, while major stock indexes, bonds and government-issued currencies were higher. Bitcoin, volatile as always, gave back all of the prior week's gains, falling 11.7% to 28.9 grams (though as of Tuesday the 14th, it was again above parity with gold). The largest gains were in the Euro STOXX, which rose another 3.1% to 920 mg.

The weakest currency was the Japanese Yen, which rose 1.2%. The Euro rose the most, gaining 2.8%. Bonds were mixed and again favored the shorter maturities: the long term TLT was little changed, adding 0.2%, while the short term SHY gained 1.9%, and USD cash rose 2.0%.

The only equities to close the week lower were the gold stocks: the HUI was down 0.7%. European stocks led the way higher, rising 3.1%, followed by the Nikkei, which gained 1.9%. The Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 each rose 1.5%.

Commodities were mixed, with palladium up 1.4%, and cotton up 1,1%. Crude oil saw the largest losses, falling 7.3%, while platinum fell 2.7% silver was down 2.5%.

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The only serious declines this week were in precious metals and gold stocks. The largest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 11.7% to a new all-time high of 32.7 grams, so that 1 BTC can now buy more than one ounce of gold. Gold stocks again fell more than any other asset-class, dropping 5.1% to close at 4.9 grams. The Dow Jones Industrials were headline news again, as the the Dow broke through the 21,000 mark as measured in US Dollars. More on the Dow and Bitcoin stories below.

The Canadian Dollar was the only currency on the list to fall, dropping 0.1%. As a side note, I track quite a number of currencies not on this list, including CHF, GBP, AUD, SGD, ARS, CLP and NZD. All of these were also higher, except the NZD, which fell 0.4%. The USD rose more than any other currency, gaining 2.2%. Bonds were mixed and favored the shorter maturities: the long term TLT was little changed, falling 0.015%, while the short term SHY gained 1.9%, and USD cash rose 2.2%.

I'd like to take a moment to explain why I always include the US Dollar in my listing of bond prices. The USD is not really cash, although this is how we commonly refer to it. It is a debt instrument issued by the Federal Reserve (Federal Reserve Notes). These notes pay 0% interest (more than you get in some European banks!) and have zero maturity (meaning that you don't have to wait to redeem them at par value – although they are not really redeemable in any meaningful sense at all; instead they are traded amongst their holders and used to settle day to day transactions in barter style). So looking at the three bond prices (TLT, SHY and USD), we have a spread in maturities from 20+ years, to 2-3 years, to 0 years. I find it useful to watch how the various maturities rise and fall in price relative to each other. This week, for example, the shortest maturity (cash) rose the most, while the medium maturity rose somewhat less, and the longest maturity fell slightly. This time preference can be affected by many factors, including expectations of inflation or deflation, changes in interest rates, and the availability and terms of credit from banks and other lenders.

Although the Dow Jones Industrials garnered the most headlines this week by closing at a new high above 21,000 USD, the best performing equities were the European STOXX, which rose 5.4%. Gold stocks had the largest losses of any asset category, falling 5.1%. The Dow stocks rose 3.1% to 532.7 grams, and despite their sky high USD prices, they are in fact 0.9% below their high for the year to date, and 62% below their all time highs set back in August of 1999. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.7%, the smallest rise among the major stock indexes.

Commodities were mixed, with cotton up 4.1%, and copper up 2.5%. All the losses were in precious metals, with platinum off 1.8%, palladium off 1.7%, and silver down 1.2%.

So, what about Bitcoin? Unlike the Dow, Bitcoin really has hit a new all-time high this week. And in so doing, it passed the point of parity between one Bitcoin and one ounce of gold. There really isn't anything magic about this number, any more than when Bitcoin's price exceeded that of the USD in 2011, or 1 gram of gold in early 2013, or 10 grams of gold in late 2013 and again in late 2015. There are many pundits out there predicting everything from Bitcoin's imminent collapse to its reaching $5,000 or even $1,000,000. Without referencing the general price level that goes with these predictions, they make little sense to me.

Bitcoin's price may be the same as gold's, but is Bitcoin as Good as Gold? Which one should you buy now, since their values are about equal?

In many ways, Bitcoin is an attempt to create "digital gold", with built-in scarcity that eliminates the ability of anyone to create more without limits. It cannot be "double-spent" or counterfeited. It is not amenable to control by a central bank, and does not need any central authority to issue or keep track of it. You either have it, or you don't. If you want more of it, you have either do work or trade something of value to someone else to get it. But in other ways, it is very different from gold (in fact almost the polar opposite of gold). It has no mass and takes up no space, being purely digital in nature. It can move almost instantly and for very little cost to anywhere in the world, crossing any border or boundary. No bank account, passport, or paperwork is necessary to get it and use it. There are no storage fees or insurance fees to keep it. If you have a smartphone or computer, you are ready to go. There are no limits on transfers, and no way to seize or freeze your funds (other than coercing you into handing them over.)

These advantages over gold have led some to claim Bitcoin will make gold obsolete, but there are still some factors in gold's favor. Gold has a long track record, going back thousands of years, and it is widely recognized all over the world, even in places where there are no smartphones (although those are getting harder to find these days). Gold does not require a working internet infrastructure to support it. It cannot be hacked and does not have the potential to fail due to undiscovered software bugs. It does not have to worry about block sizes, transaction rates, confirmation times, 51% attacks or other technical issues. Its value is well established through a very high volume of trading on multiple exchanges worldwide, and generally changes only gradually, making it an excellent choice for measuring the prices of other things – especially over long periods of time.

Gold and Bitcoin are not investments. Gold is the ultimate long-term store of value, and is useful as a unit of measure for tracking the prices of other things. Both gold and Bitcoin can be used to hold funds outside of the banking system and its maze of counter-party risks. Bitcoin should be the asset of choice when portability is paramount. Bitcoin could also be held as a speculation, but its volatility can work for you or against you, so position sizing is critical for this application. (In other words, don't bet the farm – you could lose it all!)

I would say that gold is for the core savings you feel you cannot afford to lose, and do not want to put to work, and thus at risk. Bitcoin is for funds you can afford to lose, and want to have available to you anywhere in the world on a moment's notice. Bitcoin is also a way to accept payments from all over the world with very low fees and no merchant account hassles, excellent for running an online business.

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Stocks and government-issued currencies fell this week, while bonds and commodities were mixed. The largest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 11.1% to 29.3 grams, now approaching parity with one ounce of gold. Gold stocks fell more than any other asset-class, dropping 4.7% to close at 5.1 grams.

The Chinese Yuan and the Canadian Dollar led the drop in currencies, falling 1.1% each. The Japanese Yen again fell the least, losing 0.4%. Bonds were mixed and favored the longer maturities: the long term TLT rose 0.5%, while the short term SHY fell 0.8%, and USD cash dropped 0.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrials were were the best performing equities, being unchanged for the week, while the European STOXX fell 1.4%, the largest drop for a major index. Gold stocks had the largest losses in the equity category, falling 4.7%.

Commodities were mixed, with cotton up 3.2%, while coffee fell 3.1%. Among the metals, platinum and silver rose 0.7% and 0.5% respectively, but palladium and copper fell 1.8% apiece.

Looking back over the last year, we see that holding stocks and commodities has been quite profitable, particularly crude oil and palladium. The most profitable of all was Bitcoin, which has risen 178% over the last year. Bonds and government-issued currencies have all lost value, with the exception of the Canadian Dollar, which is up 5.1%. The Chinese Yuan and long term US bonds were the worst places to have your money. These trends may continue – and even accelerate – as the Chinese and Europeans dump their USD bonds and move their money into Bitcoin to escape capital controls and negative interest rates.

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