Here is something I got from Kevin Barker, financial analyst. I post lest we lose the advice contained herein. He writes:

I wish I’d heeded the advice of Bob Bishop, Brien Lundin, Lawrence Roulston and Jim Dines a couple of years ago. Everything they wrote about has turned golden.

Newsletters are great sources of independent third party analysis of mineral trends and individual stocks. But the subscriber needs an extra measure of caution as the bull market gets longer in the tooth.

Keep in mind that newsletters have even bigger followings when the markets are high, which means thousands of people are reading and presumably heeding them at the same time as you. That fuels buying, and a rise in the stock price.

So much for getting it cheap!

However, big lists are useful to the wise investor because they give you a point of reference. I usually try to find a deal that’s not there, in the hopes of finding a good stock that hasn’t been discovered yet and is priced accordingly.

Secondarily, the longer the bull market ages, the more stock picks accumulate in their portfolios. It is physically impossible to track and report on all the intimate details of a large number of companies. In other words, the more stocks they write about, the more diluted the reporting.

Also, many of the stocks in the portfolio are now trading substantially higher than they were, and I think it’s a bit late in the game for buying +$1.00 per share gold explorers. I’ve stated before in this letter that one should probably buy any good gold company that still trades under a dollar, as it has a very good chance of rising with the tide in the coming months.

However, the reverse scenario is also possible in a diminishing market; any stock now over a buck is quite capable of falling to half that or even less!

The experts say you should buy stocks when you have the money, regardless of the price. I beg to differ. Pricing becomes very important during periods of market volatility. Whether we get a gold base of over $700 per ounce or under $300, the price you pay now for a stock will be vital in maximizing or reducing your later gains and losses.

In the former case, one should understand that investors can’t – or won’t – do math in a rising market. Hence, a $0.50 cent stock may rise faster than its higher-priced peer, even with a smaller market cap.

The big picture

I rely on the aforementioned newsletters plus a few others to get the big picture in the mining industry. After years of wading through the sophomoric ramblings of The Daily Reckoning I was finally rewarded four years ago with a very clear buy signal on gold. Moreover, I was directed to buy unhedged gold producers that trade on the Amex, which turned out to be a very astute move.

Companies who sold their production forward during the lean years missed the big earnings when gold made its dramatic rise above $300 per ounce. That alone has made the DR worth subscribing to.

But you need to take it with a grain of salt. The Daily Reckoning, affiliated with an investment oligarchy called The Oxford Group, tends to engage in a lot of fear mongering– markets crashing, currencies debasing, U.S. households defaulting on their debts – in the hopes that you’ll get spooked enough to subscribe to one of their paid offerings. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. After all, greed and fear create all of the market’s excesses, which is how the big money is made. Nevertheless, if I ever get a clear buy or sell signal from the DR I always heed it.

Lawrence Roulston also has informed opinions with respect to the big picture, although he’s very fond of writing what I call apocalyptic stories. I enjoy reading his comments on events in Asia and how they impact the rest of the world. My own opinions are formed from a much simpler formula of observation and historical perspective, what I call kitchen sink analysis. For example, I remember being quite shocked years ago to hear then President Bill Clinton talking down the dollar. I wondered why until I noticed the yen ballooning against the greenback shortly after, which wreaked total havoc on the Japanese economy and those of its debtor nations in the Pacific Rim. What followed was a recession which was finally showing signs of abating when – you guess it! - the dollar crashed again, sending the yen higher and rattling the fragile recovery.

I have absolutely no doubt that whatever happens to the dollar is the precise desired result of U.S. monetary policy, constructed at various times with a view to fighting this tacit trade war with Japan. Many commentators are highly critical of policy makers in Washington but I think they’re smarter than they look. Seen from this perspective, former Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s mention of a possible recession in the U.S. last month appears as a very calculated move designed to send the dollar lower, especially against the yen. Moreover, as an individual with great credibility and no overt political ties, he was the perfect person to say it.

As for Japan becoming a beneficiary of Chinese industrialization, well that may be logical but it isn’t likely. Beijing has a very long memory - Tibet, Taiwan, World War II – and I think they’d rather stick needles in their eyes than do business with the Sons of Nippon. Japan had the chance to ingratiate themselves a few years back when Beijing asked for war reparations but they blew it with a characteristically stoic response.

We must remember, or rather we must never forget, that China is a Communist State with a market economy, not the reverse. Doctrine comes before business.

There is another factor too that one wouldn’t know without traveling through the region as a business journalist, as I have, which is merely this: China is a pariah among the Little Tigers of southeast Asia; Thailand, Malaysia, Korea. These countries are all mildly xenophobic, and their economies are driven by cultural imperatives and tradition.

For that reason and others I believe China and the U.S. are more interdependent than most people think. China is destined to evolve as an economic anomaly in its own region, notwithstanding its wealth and numbers.

When sell means buy

One should always understand the source of the advice. J.P. Morgan is often quoted as saying he got rich by selling too soon. That doesn’t mean you should do the same. You’re not J.P. Morgan. Anyway he might as well have said, ‘I got rich leaving a lot of money on the table,’ which is thought provoking on its own.

Investors who bought Venezuelan mining concern Crystallex (KRY.TSX) after Jim Cramer told them to flee some months back did very well, as did those who picked up Argentine banks and oil companies long after the more cautious pundits told us to bail.

Responsible newsletter writers would rather get their readers out at a profit than risk hanging in there for the gravy. The point is, a sell signal by one of them can really mean buy to the risk tolerant investor.

I’m a big fan of the Aden Sisters and their technical analysis of world markets, even though they boo-boo’ed when they told investors to sit on their hands at the end of last summer’s commodities sell off and missed the big rally that followed. I took that as a buy signal too, loading up on my favorite base metal and gold stocks.

Did they do the right thing? Absolutely! They erred on the side of caution. Did I do the right thing? Sure, I made out like a bandit. But don’t try this at home, folks.

Look for anomalies, or one-offs…

I’m not a contrarian, strictly speaking. I look for anomalies. So do police detectives, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and most intelligent people. You should too when it comes to newsletters. I’ll tell you why.

Most newsletter writers are well connected. They go to conferences, they network, they get lots of information you and I are not privy too. Occasionally this results in a buy recommendation but not for the reasons you might think. None of the newsletters I’ve mentioned would ever recommend a deal to blow off their own position or enrich a crony or two. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen; just that the publications I’ve described don’t do it.

However, over time they build up relationships with people whose companies they’ve followed for years, and occasionally one might tip them off about a stock which is destined to rise, and soon. This is the legendary slam dunk! A winner that gets passed onto the readership and makes the writer a hero.

You are most likely to encounter this as an aside, a footnote, or through a veiled reference. You might also find it where you wouldn’t expect; buried in the middle of paragraph six or seven. These buys always appear like beacons by virtue of their anomalous nature. It’s a chance to make fast money.

Bottom line: Read as many newsletters as you can but make investment decisions based on your own thoughtful research.