Eagle Eye Opener: Is Russia's Economic Slippage Putting Putin's Re-election at Risk; Global Market Tug-of-War Slightly Favors Bulls Today

Is Russia???s Economic Performance Slipping Enough to End Putin Reign? (CNBC)

If you???re an investor who has made a tidy profit off of Russia???s ???rebirth??? the last couple of years, you may want to ensure your exit strategy is up to date and ready for action.  CNBC reports that economic slippage could be widening cracks in Russia???s leadership.  In fact, the Russian economic ministry recently revised its economic growth forecast downward from 3.6 percent to 2.4 percent.  And in a country where 52 percent of the population already doesn???t want current President Vladimir Putin to run for re-election, bad news on the economic front could be the final nail in Putin???s presidential coffin.  What that means for investors??? we???ll just have to see.

Global Market Tug-of-War Slightly Favoring Bulls Today (Reuters)

Global markets fought back today against the sharp sell-off of recent sessions. Oil and gold also are fighting back today. In Europe, England???s FTSE 100, Germany???s DAX and France???s CAC 40 all showed slight gains for the day — and were still in the green at the time of this writing.  In the Far East, however, market results were more mixed with Japan???s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong???s Hang Seng closing down 1.22 percent and .26 percent, respectively. Conversely, Shanghai???s Composite Index ended today???s session slightly ahead (.17 percent). Analysts contend that until more global economic data is made available, the market will most likely continue to waffle on direction.

Gold Producers Hammered — Down $170 Billion in Value (Bloomberg)

Gold bugs weren???t the only ones feeling the pain when the barbarous relic dropped 9.3 percent on April 15, capping off the metal???s worst slump in three decades. Gold mining and production companies that make up the FTSE Gold Mines Index have lost almost $170 billion in market value, since gold bullion topped out in 2011. With gold futures prices dropping to as low as $1,361 an ounce, and average production costs running around $1,200 an ounce, smaller producers such as Canada???s Semafo Inc. could enter into ???financial distress??? if those prices hold. In fact, Africa???s fourth-largest gold-producer, Macquarie Group Ltd., has announced it may have to close mines if the price slump continues. As investors, though, the enormous gold backtrack — down 14 percent in April alone — could produce very attractive prices. The question is, when?