Back in August of this year, I shared with you the comparison charts of gold and silver stocks. The precious metals hit the new highs before that, and so did the mining stocks. After that, the prolonged correction of underlying assets (gold and silver) put pressure on the mining stocks. Below is the chart showing you the 6 stocks’ behavior.
Chart 1: Top Mining Stocks: The Leaders Lost The Most
It's hard to believe that we just have one more trading day in January, which has been an extraordinarily volatile month and one that will certainly go down in the history books.
Many of the well-known large stocks are now in downtrends and are not likely to have major turnarounds anytime soon. One has to remember that the stock market looks six months ahead. While many of the companies are perhaps enjoying some good earnings, this may be the last good earnings season we see for some time to come.
On a brighter note, my trade in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) turned out well and it would now look as though Apple is going to be on the defensive for several months. I can see this stock continuing to erode down to perhaps the $80 level.
The most valuable resource in a mining company is often the people. Good management can attract the right investors and add value regardless of the market. In this interview with The Gold Report, Marin Katusa, founder of Katusa Research, shares his litmus test for which mining companies are worth his hard-won dollars and which ones he is avoiding for the foreseeable future.
The Gold Report: You seem much more positive about gold right now than when we talked in June. Based on the chart you have on Katusa Research of the U.S. dollar versus gold and in the wake of the Federal Reserve's inaction at its last meeting, what's your thesis for gold for the rest of 2015?
Marin Katusa: As I said in the spring, I don't see the Fed raising rates this year. Using some simple game theory, for the Fed not to raise rates is the best decision. I still believe that. Gold has fared well compared to the price of the U.S. dollar, better than any other hard commodity. Gold is holding its own. The reality is, because the commodity markets are down, very little capital is being invested to replace the production of gold.
In the long run, I'm very bullish on gold. It's something I'm paying very close attention to through my fund. We've started writing checks on assets that I believe are very cheap and well priced in today's currency commodity markets and that I believe a major will want in its portfolio in a few years. Gold is the currency of kings and silver is the currency of gentlemen; it always has been, and always will be. When you see living legends such as Stanley Druckenmiller and well-known successful fund managers plowing hundreds of millions of dollars into gold, it's obvious gold is appealing at these prices.
The Gold Report: The price of gold is flirting with a five-year low. Do you attribute this solely to the strength of the U.S. dollar, or are there other factors at work?
Ralph Aldis: There are other factors. Most important is the strength of the equity markets. Looking at a six-year window, we have seen, for the third time in the last hundred years, the highest returns for such a period. This happened before in 1929 and 1999. These phenomenal returns have been fueled not by fundamentals but rather by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is trying to jumpstart the economy.
All this has taken people's eyes off gold, but it won't go on forever.
The Gold Report:Byron, gold is above $1,300/ounce ($1,300/oz)although not by much and silver topped $20/oz. What was holding their prices down, and what are the fundamentals that will move the prices going forward?
Byron King: The short answer is that, for all its faults, the dollar has strengthened, which holds down gold and silver prices. The longer answer is that gold and silver are manipulated metals. That is, the world's central banks have an aversion to things they can't control, and one of the things that they can't control is elemental metals like gold and silver.
Let's ask why the dollar has strengthened. The U.S. is probably in its weakest geopolitical situation in decades. TheWall Street Journal on July 17 had a front-page story about the confluence of crises across the world Ukraine, Middle East, Southeast Asiaall of which are profound challenges to American power militarily, diplomatically and economically. But the dollar is still holding up. Why?
I believe the dramatic recent increase in U.S. energy production is what's behind the stronger dollar. With more oil and natural gas from fracking, the U.S. is the world's largest energy producer. In addition, we're importing far less oil and exporting a lot more refined product. It helps the dollar.