The Copper/Gold ratio remains at a key decision point. Gold has been clobbered lately but a key metallic macro indicator remains in a long-term congestion zone. If it’s going to be cyclical ‘inflation ON’ we’d expect Cu/Au to break through and do what it has not done since a major inflation trade blew out in 2006-2008, and for the 30yr Treasury yield to eventually catch on and rise at least to the EMA 100 (blue line).
The ‘but’ is the old saying “markets can remain [seemingly] irrational longer than you can remain solvent” if you fight a trend that is intact at any given point. Since March 2020 that trend has been up.
Below is a chart showing the 10-week exponential moving average of the Equity Put/Call ratio (CPCE) that we review periodically in NFTRH for a view of the structural over-bullish situation in stocks. I write structural because it has extended much longer than extremes in the CPCE have done at previous ‘bull killer’ danger points, after which risk was realized in the form of moderate to severe corrections.
The trend began logically enough at a ‘bear killer’ reading in the midst of max pandemic fear. We noted at the time that market participants were not just bearish, not just risk-averse, but absolutely terrified. So the recipe is this: take 1 lump of terrified investors, add a heaping helping of the Fed’s money printing and voila, enjoy the taste of a slingshot rally that is very filling despite its inflationary odor.
Risk? Well, when SPX took out the previous 2020 high last summer we established a target of 4400 (conservative) to 4600 (at an extreme). The market is in the target zone, CPCE has begun to labor up and out of the structurally over-bullish floor and well, it could be a signal of a later stage bull market. But a warning about jumping into a heavily active bearish position is that using the run-up to 2016 as an example, the pressure can build for months, even years before risk is realized. Another caveat to going full frontal bear is that the EMA 10 is starting to hook down again as pressure is being relieved lately. Continue reading "Stock Market Risk Not Yet Realized"→
Gold miners require a unique macroeconomic backdrop.
When gold-stock bulls complain about a “smackdown,” a “hit,” or a “smash” against the poor gold-stock sector, what they should be thinking about is what a relatively small market the gold stock universe is compared to the multitude of galaxies populated by cyclical and risk on stocks and commodities and the massive bond market. The gold stock sector’s noise to trading volume ratio must be far and away the biggest bull market on the planet (I know because I am part of it :-)).
And once in a while, the sector actually warrants all that noise. Like in 2001 when markets were beginning a bear phase, and economies were faltering, like in Q4, 2008 when gold stocks were crashing to unwind previous inflationary excesses, leading stocks and commodities into a terrible crash and rebounding first. Like in March of 2020, when the miners crashed and ‘V’ bottomed to lead what is to this day an ongoing economic recovery born of inflation, gold and gold stocks first sniffed out.
And that is the rub. Personally, I have been favoring the prospect of a strong bull market (target: 500) after initially projecting an A-B-C upside correction target of 375 in 2019, which we put in the books at 373.85 last August. But in order to continue favoring an ongoing bull market scenario, the macro fundamentals must play ball, and play ball they have not since last summer. Hence, the A-B-C upward correction and ongoing bear market scenario gains strength with each passing month of positive economic activity, regardless of the inflation it was created with.
Enter once again the Macrocosm because it is time for a reminder to myself, if not you, that the macro must rotate negative in order for the gold-stock sector to be anything special. Speaking of rotation, it has been rotating alright, but with yields and inflation signals fading that rotation is not into a deflationary situation that would produce a big gold-stock buying opportunity but is instead something of an interim Goldilocks scenario (easing inflation expectations, firming USD, Tech and Growth bid up, etc. while the economy remains okay). Continue reading "Update: Gold Mining Fundamental Macrocosm"→
There are times when gold is an okay inflation hedge while under-performing the likes of industrial metals, oil/energy, materials, etc. During those times, if you’re doggedly precious metals focused you should consider silver, which, as a hybrid precious metal/industrial commodity, has more pro-cyclical inflation utility than gold.
But as I have argued for much of the last year, if the inflated situation is working toward cyclical progress (as it is currently) then there is a world full of trades and investments out there to choose from, many of which are trouncing gold (which, as I have belabored for the better part of 2 decades now, is not about price but instead, value) in the inflated price casino.
The latest ISM Report on Business shows one negative among the important areas as employment declined. Now, before we get too excited about that gold-positive reading let’s also realize that manufacturing employment is still growing, new orders are briskly increasing, backlogs are up and customer inventories are down. In short, manufacturing continues to boom.
But being inflation-fueled, the economic recovery also has a ‘prices’ problem… and a materials/supplies problem (unless you’re one of the 2 or 3 people out there with a deep desire to own Acetone. There are potential Stagflationary elements to this situation, which would come forward if the economy starts to struggle due to inflation and the economic pressures it is building. Continue reading "Gold's Inflation Utility"→
The Gold Miner correction was well earned, but it was not a bubble.
Even today there is some pablum out there talking about how if inflation is good for gold it is especially good for gold miners. I will simply repeat once again that if gold usually does not benefit fundamentally by cyclical inflation (i.e. inflation promoted for and currently working toward economic goals) the gold miners never do, unless they rise against their preferred fundamentals as they did during two separate phases in the last bull market, which were justly resolved with crashes.
Here are a couple charts we used in NFTRH 648 in a segment written to set the record straight. We have also used these charts – especially the first one – since the caution flags went up last summer, visually by the first chart and anecdotally by the usual suspects aggressively pumping the unwitting masses. Buffett buys a gold stock!… okay, well so much for that. Sentiment became off the charts over-bullish and now, as we prepare for the final act of the correction, it’s the opposite. That’s perfect.
HUI had far exceeded the Gold/SPX ratio and so it was very vulnerable from a macro fundamental perspective. Why on earth would players want to focus on miners digging a rock out of the ground that was starting to fail in a price ratio to the stock market? They wouldn’t, and since last summer they didn’t.
But from a sector fundamental perspective the Gold/Oil ratio (Oil/Energy is a primary driver of mining costs) and HUI show that the 2020 rally was nothing like the two bubbles of yesteryear, when not only did HUI hit danger signals (!) noted above by a macro fundamental indicator, it also made two separate bubbles vs. this sector fundamental. This time? Nope, no bubble here. Continue reading "Gold: What A Long And Not So Strange Trip"→