Viva Las Vegas

Last week, I dropped in on the rock festival of investment conferences, the Las Vegas Money Show, at the posh and cavernous Mandalay Bay Hotel. A mild 95 degrees outside, I mingled with the Hawaiian shirt and cargo short wearing masses, with a sharp eye out for the next big investment themes. The event was organized in partnership with the top drawer financial blog aggregator, Seeking Alpha. The high profile confab attracted several industry celebrities, such as OptionMonster's John Najerian, Standard & Poor's Sam Stoval, retired Fed Governor Robert McTeer, and the Gartman Letter's Dennis Gartman. I have to confess, I was stunned by the variety of exhibitors presenting their wares. Heavyweight players like TradesStation and Thinkorswim were there, offering presentations of their sophisticated trading tools on the hour. Some of the widely followed newsletter families were there, including Mark Skousen’s Forecasts & Strategies. I was surprised by the number of great industrial companies there using the venue for traditional investor relations, like Petrobras (PBR), my favorite emerging market oil company, Cemex (CX), my preferred developing infrastructure firm, and Duke Energy (DUK), the best US electric power utility. There was a profusion of gold and silver mining companies, bullion dealers, and American eagle bearing coin brokers, which I thought was unique to Nevada. But regulars tell me this is a trend that has been building nationally for a couple of years. Reeally! Is that how gold flew to $1,000? Exploration oil and gas limited partnerships were also in abundance, side by side with alternative energy start ups looking for new venture capital. There are in fact 11 Money Shows put on around the country each year by Sarasota, Florida based Charles and Kim Githler and their hard working staff of 70, attracting 75,000. In the business now for 31 years, they have expanded their offerings to international venues, and their "Money Cruises" have made them the largest booking agent for Crystal Cruises. All in all, it is a must go event for those who need to keep in touch with the broader investing universe out there.

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