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International Speculator

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Rog Blake
Rog Blake
13 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
13 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.
4 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.