We introduced the graphical view of the preferred counter-cyclical environment for gold and especially the gold stock sector in July: Macrocosm. We have updated the view several times since at NFTRH.com, with the macro backdrop getting more and more supportive of the gold sector over the last half a year.
Yesterday we reviewed the Scariest Chart in the World, an overly sensational tongue in cheek title for a chart that has bearish historical implications for the S&P 500. Here it is again. Whether the Fed is looking at this exact combination of data points or something similar, you can bet they are aware that things have come to the brink. The spread in the bottom panel is trying to turn up and that condition has not worked well for the stock market on the last two cycles.
The title is a paraphrase of “the scariest gold chart in the world” (target below $400) someone sent me in 2009, just before the gold price began its $900 per ounce upward journey. So that’s the contrarian caveat and indeed, I hesitate to write bearish things at a time when small speculators are way too short the market and everybody already seems to know how bearish things are.
But the chart is the chart and without further ado, meet the scariest US stock market chart in the world. I was ready to try a long on the SPY yesterday, but decided to wait because of this (being posted here because it never made it into NFTRH 381’s already bloated 42 pages) chart and some others in the face of which I just could not rationalize a bullish stance. Capital preservation is job 1 now, not bullish speculation. I’ll let the bulls prove something first.
The following is the opening segment of this week’s edition of Notes From the Rabbit Hole, NFTRH 381…
A picture is worth 4-plus years and thousands of words, and the picture below has a lot to say. I’ll say some words as well, since I have kept them bottled up for years in an effort to make sure we operate with discipline as opposed to gold bug style emotion.
The bear market and subsequent inflation-fueled credit bubble early last decade was when I first started paying close attention to macro markets (as opposed to stock trading, which I had done for a few years prior) and how they operate. Having seen well paid professionals lose half of my IRA in 2002, I took over all of our finances and never looked back. But I needed to understand how markets worked and that has been a challenging and rewarding endeavor, not to mention an ongoing learning experience.
You may have noticed that I have written relatively little publicly about the gold sector over the last few years (we have covered it consistently in NFTRH to keep subscribers aware of the bear’s status, and protected against it). Is that strange for a writer who was probably known first and foremost as a ‘gold guy’? Not at all! It’s just that it is not desirable to get bogged down obsessing on a sector in a bear market when there are other fish to fry on the global macro landscape. But the process of finding and confirming a bottom in the gold sector is now front and center as more of the fundamentals that actually matter come into place. To those fundamentals, we need to marry the technicals.
We have consistently worked a theme that sees a comparison to the 1999-2001 bottoming phase in the gold sector. That was a time when stock markets topped out, an economic counter cycle took hold and gold began out performing most other items. Within this, we have also been considering the possibility of a final washout within the sector, whereby prices decline despite continually improving fundamentals. This condition was in play in Q4 2008, which was the last great buying opportunity.
Much more than CPI inflation needs to be considered with respect to the gold price
Yes folks, it’s the return of the two egg heads (Campbell Harvey and Claude Erb) who first put the scare into gold bugs back in 2013 with the research paper The Golden Dilemma (PDF), which found that as adjusted for CPI, gold was very over valued. Enter Mark Hulbert with the updated warning for inflation-centric gold bugs. Gold has no business being this expensive.
I have never understood who would want to be one of these “gold traders” (other than the miners with a need to hedge and bullion banks with a need to hedge and manipulate, ha ha ha). Why would you be a trader in an element that is a measure or barometer of other items and conditions? It don’t get it. I guess slick traders speculate with insurance policies, so why not gold too? Everything’s a play after all, in the casino.
To answer Hulbert’s points, beginning with the above…
To review our stance, which is years along now, the gold sector is not going anywhere until it becomes widely accepted that developed stock markets, including and especially those in the US, are in bear cycles. We have also drawn analogies to the Q4 2008 event that took place in what felt like a nanosecond compared to today’s long, drawn out process. For this reason, a better ‘comp’ has been the 1999 to 2001 time frame. That was a process as well.
Regardless, gold boosters viewing inflation as the reason to buy the sector are still out there pitching, but even they have retooled their pitches for a deflationary world. It is now and always has been a global economic contraction environment (assuming it eventually coerces policy makers into inflationary actions) that would be the primary driver of the next gold bull market. Say, whatever happened to all the stories about China demand, a China/India love trade, supply/demand capers on the COMEX and ‘US jobs to spur inflation driving big, smart institutional money into gold’ anyway?