As far as precious metals go, realize that they are viewed as hedges against inflation.
Their value is largely, but not exclusively as there are other major currencies, based on the value of the dollar and confidence in the economy.
Buy gold and silver according to how you think the value of the dollar will be in the coming months and years.
Money has been created by the Fed at an incredible pace since the recession started for “stimulus”, all while debt has increased exponentially as well.
We are in a trap. If we stop printing money, the “sugar high” will stop and the sectors of the economy where the money is being directed (stock markets, housing, government) will collapse to reasonable levels. However, if we keep printing money, devaluation will continue to rob us and the economy will continue to stagnate. Also, if the economy collapses again for other reasons, that will lead to more printing and further lack of confidence. Factor in the government debt, and that it will be almost impossible to pay off in taxes, we are going to be in for a lot of printing in the future. Finally, private debt will make inflation a favorite policy of those who owe it. Students, homeowners, whoever.
A surge of confidence in the economy isn’t going to be good for us either though. Because all of that money that has been printed up to this point is in bank reserves. If there is a huge demand for loans, it could cause an inflationary spiral.
Why are gold and silver down? One reason is that other currencies are devaluing against the dollar. Also, our fake confidence in the economy at the moment, spurred by the printing which is causing a major asset bubble in stocks. There is a reason corporate profits are at record highs. But it won’t last. Companies aren’t worth what they are trading for. When the market crashes again, it may be worse than the episode a few years ago.
Buy gold and silver now while they are undervalued. That is my opinion, and that of others.
As there is a stock market bubble, the only stocks I would focus on are one’s you think would be worth anything after a financial crisis. Agriculture, some technology.
Government bonds are pretty worthless. TIPS protect the principle from inflation, if you trust the government’s inflation data, and I don’t.