PM End of Week Market Commentary - 3/4/2016

By davefairtex on Sat, Mar 5, 2016 - 5:43am

On Friday, gold fell -4.80 to 1260.10 on extremely heavy volume, while silver rose +0.29 to 15.56 on extremely heavy volume also.  The market-moving Nonfarm Payrolls report was released today at 08:30 Eastern; gold initially saw the results as negative, but then after a few minutes rallied strongly to 1280.70, a new high.  However, gold could not retain those gains into the close.  It was a failed rally day for gold.

On the week, gold was up +37.30 [+3.05%], silver rose +0.87 [+5.92%], GDX climbed +5.46%, and GDXJ rose +8.88%.  Platinum climbed +7.11% and palladium shot up +13.56% while copper rose a big +6.76%.  Everything metal-related was up this week.  What's not to like about that?

Gold confounded my expectations for lower prices this week - gold ignored the bearish MACD crossover and instead broke out to a new high on Friday.  However, the new high was not sustained; it appeared that Friday's spike higher was more about short-covering than about new longs coming into the market.  Once the burst of short covering was over, prices faded back to the day's starting point.  While the "spinning top" candle print suggests indecision, the immense volume speaks to me about a whole lot of short covering, followed by a whole lot of selling.

While gold remains above its 9 EMA, given the failed rally on high volume, I think caution is warranted.  We will see on Monday if the bid under gold remains strong.  If selling occurs but buyers appear at 1240, that will be a positive sign.

Silver really recovered this week, no question about it.  After last week ended with a bearish bang, this week saw silver stage a big comeback, ending the week far above its breakdown point from last Friday.  And Friday's close for silver was a whole lot better than gold's close, which is a fairly dramatic change in the silver/gold relationship.  The gold/silver ratio fell -1.85 points just on Friday alone.  So what changed?

All I can figure is, silver is now tracking copper.  Silver and copper are fairly well correlated over the longer term, and copper had a fantastic week too.


Miners briefly dropped below the 9 EMA this week, but recovered and managed to make a new high.  However, Friday's new high was a failed rally on high volume, and the overall pattern right now for the mining shares appears to be one of distribution: down day volume is significantly exceeding the up-day volume.  This sort of pattern usually happens at the tops.  While the miners still remain above the 9 EMA, they are flashing caution right now.


The buck fell -0.83 to 97.34, printing a swing high and falling below its 50 MA once again.  The buck appears to resuming its longer term downtrend.  This should support a higher gold price.  The commodity currencies did well vs the buck: CAD +1.50%, AUD up an incredible +4.39%, and the pound seemed to recover from BRexit concerns, rallying +2.60% and climbing 5 out of 5 days this week.  Yen was up only +0.15% vs USD, while gold rallied quite strongly.  Hmm.  What do the goldbug writers say about the gold/Yen correlation these days?  Anything?

An old boss of mine once observed (after I dredged up something he said from the long-ago past), "in engineering memory is an asset, while in sales, memory is a liability."

Gold in Euros: still heading steadily skyward.  The failed rally looks a lot less of a concern on the gold-in-euros chart.

Mostly, these correlations come, then go.  There are few that endure over the longer term: copper and CAD, for instance, silver and gold, and the more general inverse correlation of USD and gold.

US Equities/SPX

US equities rallied for a third week, continuing the strong move off the lows and closing up +51.94 [+2.67%] to 1999.99.  Somebody had a sense of humor on Friday.  SPX has confirmed its double bottom, and is moving up to test its 200 MA.  At this point it is somewhat overbought.  VIX fell -2.95 to 16.86.

The sector list tells us this move was largely an energy/commodity rally, which also served to help out the financials.  It seems like this was the week the market determined the oil industry was not going belly-up, and the banking system was relieved.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch EMA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Energy XLE 6.52% -21.49% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Gold Miners GDX 5.46% -1.84% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-02 2016-03-04
Financials XLF 4.50% -8.39% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2016-03-02 2016-03-04
REIT RWR 4.01% -1.66% rising rising rising rising ma50 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Materials XLB 3.33% -14.72% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-02-24 2016-03-04
Homebuilders XHB 3.04% -10.44% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Telecom XTL 2.99% -7.07% rising rising falling rising ma200 on 2016-03-02 2016-03-04
Technology XLK 2.81% -0.77% rising falling falling rising ma200 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Industrials XLI 2.54% -5.62% rising rising falling rising ma200 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Cons Discretionary XLY 2.53% 0.87% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2016-02-25 2016-03-04
Utilities XLU 2.04% 6.15% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2016-03-03 2016-03-04
Cons Staples XLP 1.86% 5.28% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04
Healthcare XLV 0.16% -7.20% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2016-03-03 2016-03-04

Gold in Other Currencies

Gold in XDR rallied strongly this week, up +60 - this chart uses the COMEX gold "pit close" of 1270 rather than the end of day price quoted by stockcharts.  Gold rallied in every currency except the Ruble.  That's because the Ruble staged a big recovery on the oil rally this week.

Rates & Commodities

Bonds (TLT) fell -1.20% this week, making a new low and continuing its downtrend.  TLT is flashing a risk on signal right now.

JNK piled on this week, rallying a huge +2.82%.  JNK is in an uptrend right now, the trend change quite clear on the weekly chart.  The sharp break above the weekly 9 EMA is impossible to miss.  Much of this was probably about short covering, but certainly not all.  PIMCO suggests its time to buy junk.  Likely that's because they already have a whole lot of it and they would appreciate your help in making it increase in value.  Neverthless, this is a strong risk on signal.

The CRB (commodity index) rose a big +4.25%, breaking above the previous high and confirming the double bottom pattern for commodities - much as JNK did last week.  CRB is also now clearly above its 50 MA.  On the daily chart this looks decent, but on the weekly chart commodities are still down almost 50% over the past 18 months, and this rally hardly even shows up.  So while the rally is good news, commodities have a long way to go before they really recover.

March WTI Crude (CLJ16) blasted higher this week, up +3.49 [+10.63%] to 36.33.  Crude also confirmed a double bottom this week, and was able to close strongly above its 50 MA.  While inventories continue to rise and bad news abounds, oil prices rose steadily all week long.  Had you been following the news, you would have fled screaming from this market.  Prices told a different story entirely.  That's just how the game is played.  Perhaps Big Money wants you nowhere near the market during the lows - so they don't have as much competition for the assets they want to accumulate.  Its a theory anyway.

The higher oil prices have helped junk debt and equities, and has pushed down prices of bonds.

Physical Supply Indicators

* Shanghai is still trading at a discount: -0.24 vs COMEX.

* The GLD ETF tonnage on hand rose a huge +30.72 tons, with 793.12 tons remaining.

* Gold is no longer in backwardation, with the spread bewteen the first two contracts at +0.80.

* ETF Premium/Discount to NAV; gold closing of 1261.7 and silver 15.52.

 PHYS 10.45 +0.35% to NAV [up]
 PSLV 6.16 +3.33% to NAV [up]
 CEF 12.19 -7.50% to NAV [down]

* Bullion Vault gold (!/orderboard) showed no particular sign of premium for gold, but offers for silver were a good 20-30 cents above the COMEX market close in a couple of regions.

* HAA big bar premiums are lower for gold [2.23% for 100 oz bars in NYC], substantially higher for silver [4.47% for 1000 oz bars in NYC].  Silver Eagle premiums fell [18.94% in NYC].

Futures Positioning

COT report covers trading up through March 1st.

During the coverage period, the gold commercials added +3k shorts and dropped -6.3k longs.  Commercial shorts are a bit shy of "fully loaded" but the net commercial position definitely appears to be in the danger zone that suggests a top.  Managed money dropped another -7.5k shorts as well as -2.8k longs, which puts managed money well within the danger zone also.

In silver, commercials dropped -5.5k shorts, while adding +3k longs.  This commercial short covering happened during a period of rising prices, which is quite unusual.  The usual pattern is for the commercial net to bottom out, at which point prices start falling, and the commercial net rises - commercials cover short as prices drop.  But today, prices aren't dropping, they are rising.  This isn't supposed to happen!   Its possible this is just a one-week blip.  If not, this could possibly indicate the top for the gold/silver ratio.

It is too soon to conclude anything just yet, but its something to keep an eye on for next week.

Moving Average Trends [9 EMA, 50 MA, 200 MA]

Golden crosses this week for gold and the miners.  Junior miners are now up over the previous 52 week period.  That's better than a poke in the eye!  The golden cross is a big step - it should suck in money from some longer term traders.  What a difference from just three months ago.

Name Chart Chg (W) 52w ch EMA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Junior Miners GDXJ 8.88% 7.32% rising rising rising rising ma200 on 2016-02-05 2016-03-04
Silver Miners SIL 8.60% -8.90% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-02 2016-03-04
Silver COMEX.Silver 6.75% -2.95% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-03 2016-03-04
Senior Miners GDX 5.46% -1.84% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-02 2016-03-04
Gold COMEX.Gold 4.11% 6.16% rising rising rising rising ema9 on 2016-02-29 2016-03-04
Platinum COMEX.Platinum 2.32% -21.34% rising rising falling rising ema9 on 2016-03-01 2016-03-04

Gold Manipulation Report

There were no meaningful after hours spikes to report.  Silver had a few spikes for a couple of pennies each, one pointing down, and the other up.  Neither seemed meaningful.


Risk on continues, driven by a big rally in junk bonds and oil.  Even cross-hair bank DB is back above its 50 MA - just barely.  Copper added its voice to risk-on this week, breaking above its previous high and looking fairly bullish.

The gold/silver ratio may have topped out; it fell -2.26 to 81.01.  The GSR still looks quite bearish, but if this week does mark a trend reversal in the ratio, we could see quite the move higher in silver - or a large move lower for gold.  The GDX:$GOLD ratio continued to climb, and continues to look bullish, as did the GDXJ:GDX ratio, which is now in near-term bullish territory.

COT report shows commercials fully loaded up short in gold, while silver - curious things are happening over there.  This week's rally in silver was reasonably impressive, and seemed to be aligned with the rally in copper.  Price of silver should not be rising with commercials fully loaded up short, it should be falling.  If this rising-price-with-commercials-short pattern continues, it could cause quite a move.

Gold and silver big-bar physical shortage indicators shows a mix once again; in the west, ETF premiums rose - PSLV now has a 3% premium - GLD tonnage rose substantially, but gold moved out of backwardation at COMEX.  Big bar premiums for gold at HAA were mostly unchanged for gold, but substantially higher for silver, up almost a full percent.  Slight discounts were observed in Shanghai.  While big-bar gold doesn't look to be in short supply, we are beginning to get hints of a shortage in silver.  While every goldbug's eye is on "COMEX registered gold", interesting things may in fact be happening elsewhere. 

So where do we stand?

Gold broke out, but had a failed rally on high volume.  Silver rallied strongly alongside copper, and may have marked a top in the gold/silver ratio.  Miners appear to be in distribution, which usually marks a top.  COT suggests a high in both gold and silver, with an asterisk on silver.

Oil and junk debt rallied strongly, which helped to pull the US market higher.  The copper rally suggests China isn't about to implode, and rallies in the related base metal miners followed.  Commodities are also improving.  Its a picture of waning deflation, at least for now.

I would expect that a recovering commodity and junk bond market will eventually hurt gold's flight to safety rally.  How long this commodity rally lasts - that's the question.

Let's see, what does my computer say?  Long gold, silver, copper, miners, oil, and equities.  Short USD and Treasurys.  Last week computer was wrong about gold and silver, but right about everything else.  That's not too bad.

If we just keep things simple, gold remains above that 9 EMA, and so trend remains up.  Gosh, I could have just written that and spared you all the rest.  Next time!

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Franklopez's picture
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Silver Volume

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the excellent commentary as usual. I had been waiting patiently to see what you make of the complete absence of volume in silver all week. I checked back the past 10yrs and couldnt find a similar week with such negligible volume. Would you care to comment on it? It looks very strange to me and since you mentioned the price didn't react in the usual way to the COT data, maybe the two items are related? Damned if I know how though...

Many thanks..

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ZH article on IAU

Dave,  This was big news yesterday.. and would seem to be an indicator of tightness if the market for physical Gold, in large size.. what is your take?


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silver volume - artifact of contract roll


Yeah sorry for not mentioning this before - the "zero volume" is just an artifact, not a real thing.  Silver had its first notice day a few days back; volume on the delivery month contract drops to zero when that happens.  Stockcharts just hasn't rolled to the new contract month where all the trading is taking place.  If you want to see the actual volume for silver, try looking at ^SIK16 instead of $SILVER.  I've been interpolating by hand until they sort it out.

Yesterday's silver volume was actually huge.


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IAU: gold in large size

Here's my thought.  IAU is trading at a 1.3% premium to NAV right now, because it just turned into a closed-end ETF, like PHYS, so now it's going to operate with premiums and discounts until the registration problem is fixed.  Easy trade: short IAU long GLD.  Once registration happens, new shares should be issued, price should realign and you can pocket the 1.3% gain.  Woohoo!  As long as IAU is available to borrow, of course.

Premium on IAU is good news from the standpoint that it reflects increasing demand for gold in the west, but I do not believe its a sign that we're running out of gold.  Premiums on PHYS are still minimal, as are big-bar premiums for gold at HAA.

If they weren't able to issue new shares of GLD, it too would move into premium, based on the serious flow into GLD since Jan 1: from 642 tons to 793 tons.  That's a 24% increase!

I'm actually more curious about what's going on with silver.  Big-bar premiums for silver jumped at HAA, and there's the funny business with the COT report.  And PSLV premium is at 3.3%.  That's three indicators for silver, and I like it when my indicators all tell me the same story.  I know the COMEX doesn't look like it is running out of silver - and I know the COMEX registered supply is what every good goldbug fixates on - but I think there's a chance you all might be watching the wrong rabbit hole.

It is always possible that IAU running out of registration share count is some sort of crazy game to "put a lid on gold", but IAU holds only 185 tons, a small fraction of GLD's 793 tons.  My gut says its not a game, someone just screwed up, and if I could lever up, I'd do the long GLD short IAU trade to collect the 1.3%.  But that's just my opinion.

One thing that always puzzled me.  If Eric Sprott or anyone else really wants "gold in size", why not just buy futures and stand for delivery?  They can't wait a month?  Or is there something happening there that I don't understand?  Guys land on the lawn in black helicopters and strongly urge him to cash settle instead?

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Dave, Thanks for the


Thanks for the explanation, Ill keep watching and learning. Cheers

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Criteria for taking a new long position in miners

Hi Dave and all,

Thanks for another great summary.  While I will continue to stack, whenever our budget allows it, I have a question about taking a new long position on miners with the portion of my savings with which I speculate.

In 2013 and 2014 I managed to make a little more money than I lost by buying some gold and silver miner calls and selling them when they had appreciated, in spite of the fact that these stocks fell overall during those years.  In other words, I needed to have the guts to sell once I had made some gains, in spite of the fact that during those years (esp. 2013) I still believed that gold and silver would just continue to rise and rise.

So, having a humble and careful disposition towards my miner trades was the only way that I could have made the very modest gains that I was lucky enough to achieve.

But, this humble approach doesn't seem so great when I look at my trades over the past month.  Yes, I've made some gains on some gold miners since New Years, but I'm sure not as much (even in percentage terms) as someone who has been more confident about the uptrend, like Jim.  

Now I'm waiting for a re-entry point for some gold and silver miner calls.  If anyone cares to evaluate my criteria, I'd be grateful.   I'll re-enter when:

-The price of the security (e.g. GDXJ, see below) moves back down towards the 9 day moving average.

-When the RSI goes down a little bit from its current "highly bought" - almost overbought - level.

-When we print a closing swing low after a dip (i.e. when the daily closing price is greater than the high of the lowest candle)

Does this seem ok?
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SGDJ: Sprott's junior gold (and silver) miners ETF - any good?

Also, I've been looking at Sprott's junior gold (and silver) miners ETF, SGDJ, which is one of the ALPS ETFs.

The list of holdings has a decent amount of overlap with John Doody's recommendations (Gold Stock Analyst) from a few years ago; I haven't seen Doody's updated lists as I could only justify a one year subscription to his service, and that expired a couple of years ago.  

The ETF is less than a year old, which is part of the reason I am wary.  If anyone has any opinions on this, I'd be grateful to know.

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My favorite way to compare two items is the ratio.  Look at the chart SGDJ:GDXJ and tell me if sprott's fund is outperforming its competition.  Now quantify how much money you would have made choosing one over the other since, say, mid-2015 as well as Jan 1 2016.

The comparison is much easier looking at the performance of tech vs SPX.  Since 2014, I estimate that XLK has outperformed SPY by roughly 10%.  That is, investing equal amounts of money in SPY and XLK, you'd make 10% more money with your XLK investment.


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too soon to tell

Its too soon to tell if you made a mistake yet or not.  In some sense - if you made money, you didn't make any mistakes.  And anyone who bought miners during 2013-2015 and avoided losing money: you deserve a prize.

We aren't used to gold uptrends.  In an uptrend, sometimes the RSI doesn't drop to below 30.  Sometimes it just drops to about 50.  And sometimes the correction finds support on some moving average, consolidates there for a while, and then takes off again.  You just have to see what the market gives you, and until it gives you something high percentage, you just watch, in cash, where its nice and safe.

There will be a correction in gold and the miners.  They haven't repealed the laws of trading just yet.  I know the temptation is to think "but this time might be different - this time the goldbugs might be right - gold might travel, uninterrupted, to $5000 without a correction and I won't have a chance to get on board."  The more strongly you feel this, the more likely it is that we are closer to a high.

While there are "buy the dip" strategies that work pretty well, buy the breakout strategies work too, but usually they work better in an uptrend.  Cup & handle patterns, ascending triangle patterns, and the pennant pattern we just saw recently are all patterns that end up with prices moving higher after bursting through resistance.

Its still a high risk trade, though, especially this early in the uptrend, and when the uptrend itself is based on a flight to safety which most likely falls apart if the world ends up being saved, even temporarily.

Trading is making a move when the odds are in your favor.  If the guy next to you bet all his money on #21 at roulette and pulls in the 35:1 win, does that mean you did something wrong by counting cards at blackjack and only doubling your money?  Do you, instead, want to go plunk your money down on #21 too?

The buy at gold 1210 was high risk.  More often than not, such bets don't pay off.

An example of risk: I deliberately decided to buy NE rather than SDRL because I thought NE had a better chance of surviving.  NE's chart also looked better.  I was making the lower risk play.  I forgot one important rule: the more trouble the company is in, the bigger the blastoff when a short covering move finally happens.  We all saw that with "C" during 2008.  So SDRL literally went from $2 to $6 over a 5 day period.  Talk about missing out!  But what are you gonna do?  Who would have thought NE's debt buyback scheme would turn into a massive short-covering explosion for SDRL!  I actually owned SDRL for a while, but I was concerned it really wouldn't last out the year.  But I chose lower risk deliberately, so I also got a lower gain.  The outcome was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but it just goes to show you, even with success "there is always a taller mountain somewhere."

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HughK and folks, did you know

HughK and folks, did you know you can buy one ( 1 ) of Doody's GSA monthly reports in either G or S for a lot less than the yrly fee? It's hidden in his literature somewhere. He responds to emails.  I got one sometime    ago.  The William Middelekoop ? guy, Deutch? who wrote The Big Reset, has also got along list of mainly PM miners on his Company's website. 


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Downside Risk?
davefairtex wrote:

My favorite way to compare two items is the ratio.  Look at the chart SGDJ:GDXJ and tell me if sprott's fund is outperforming its competition.  Now quantify how much money you would have made choosing one over the other since, say, mid-2015 as well as Jan 1 2016.

The comparison is much easier looking at the performance of tech vs SPX.  Since 2014, I estimate that XLK has outperformed SPY by roughly 10%.  That is, investing equal amounts of money in SPY and XLK, you'd make 10% more money with your XLK investment.


Do you not also take into account downside risk?  Higher reward doesn't always mean a better product.  It might be that high reward is reflecting higher risk, especially when it comes to inherently risky mining stocks.

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ratios: risk & reward


How the two things perform relative to each other on a ratio chart shows both risk and reward.  If you look at a longer term chart, and you keep in mind the different events that happened at that time, you can get a sense for how a given item will do during bull and bear markets versus the broader index.

For instance, on the monthly chart, GDX:SPY did relatively well (almost a twobagger) until about 2011.  Then things really fell apart.  Plus, during the 2008 crash, you can see that GDX suffered more than twice as much as the broad index.  There's your risk for you.

You can also see if a given item is outperforming its sector group.  SDRL:OIH did well up until mid-2014.

Also, you can see that $HUI:$GOLD has been declining for a decade.  Miners have been underperforming gold itself since forever - until the 40% gain we saw over the last few months.

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Rick Rule: observation & advice in the gold space

So Rick Rule had a very clear, concise, and (in my opinion) honest interview at KWN (!) about the specific investments you should make in the gold space, as well as some timing assessments.  Any gold investor/promoter who suggests the market is frothy at the moment deserves a Big Badge-o-Honesty in my book.

On timing:

"My suspicion is that in the near term, gold is overbought - a little frothy.  Everyone needs to understand that markets don't just go straight up.  If you have a two year timeframe, you can be pretty comfortable buying gold & gold equities now.  If you have a three month timeframe, the market may be a little ahead of itself."

What he's doing with his own money:

"I've been reasonably aggressive in the last 12 months participating in the same sort of junior equities I talk about...but I also have rather large cash holdings."  [He's looking ahead to when the junior miners need more funding - within the next 12 months]

On composition:

  • start your portfolio with owning gold; he wants you to buy "PHYS" - its taxed at LTCG rather than as ordinary income.
  • own some "reality": senior gold miners who benefit directly from increase in gold prices
  • if you are emotionally able to take risk and do work, buy juniors, but they are more difficult: you must know why you own them, and if that reason vanishes, you must have the discipline to sell them immediately regardless of profit or loss on the position.

He also talks about how important your own emotions are in this process.  The emotional component of all this is not to be underestimated.

davefairtex's picture
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letting them rot in Greece

So it turns out the latest chatter is now official policy:

Seal the borders, and throw Greece some money over the fence to keep the doors closed.

Congratulations, Greece, you're now a migrant concentration camp.

Still want to be a member of the Eurozone?


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