By Michael Johnston for ETF Database
With the housing market cratering, consumer confidence sagging and catalysts for real economic growth nowhere to be found, many investors have quietly become pessimistic over the outlook for the U.S. economy. And then there's the camp that has been much more vocal with forecasts of doom and gloom, a group that includes the always entertaining Peter Schiff.
A former economic advisor to Ron Paul and former U.S. Senate candidate, Schiff is firmly anti-deficit and anti-stimulus. "We are going to be in a depression," said Schiff recently in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "It is going to be an inflationary depression, and our standard of living is going to fall dramatically." After being laughed out of the room at the height of the most recent bubble, Schiff now has the ear of investors around the world after his predictions of the collapse of the housing market turned out to be spot-on.
Even with economic optimism in short supply, few investors match the ultra-bear outlook for the U.S. financial markets maintained by "Dr. Doom." But for those who subscribe to his economic school of thought, the not-so-distant future is a scary place. "While outside the norm, his views have made him popular with Tea Party activists, who see him as something of a financial fortune teller," writes Meena Thiruvengadam.Below, we outline seven ETFs that aren't necessarily among Schiff's personal holdings or those of his clients, but that seem to line up with his overall macroeconomic perspective: ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (SGOL) Exposure to gold bullion is a pillar of Schiff's investment strategy, representing an asset he believes will thrive as chaos spreads throughout the U.S. "There's no limit to how high gold prices will go," Schiff recently said in an interview. "They will rise many times from here -- thousands and thousands of dollars per ounce higher. People will be shocked." Most investors looking for exposure to the precious metal gravitate toward (GLD) or (IAU), but we selected this fund from ETF Securities because of a subtle but potentially important difference relative to the more popular physically backed gold ETFs: SGOL's bullion is stored in secure vaults in Switzerland. "Things could get very bad in this country, and people might want to leave, and when they do, it might be illegal to leave with your gold or your money," said Schiff to the Journal. "Who knows, you may have to pay your share of the national debt." Most view a repeat of Executive Order 6102 as unlikely, but it seems to be within Schiff's realm of possibility.