PM End of Week Market Commentary – 8/21/2015

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  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 08:37am

    #1
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    PM End of Week Market Commentary – 8/21/2015

On Friday, gold rose +7.30 to 1159.90 on heavy volume, while silver fell -0.23 to 15.32 on heavy volume as well.  Gold rallied during the Asia session making a new high of 1167.90 but then fell back, and then recovered slowly higher into the close.  Silver also made a new high, touching 15.71 before selling off hard in the NY session around 10 am.  It recovered some, but not all of its losses by end of day.

The fact that the buck dropped a full point today which should have supported silver underscores the relative weakness in silver.  And even gold didn't do all that well given the large dollar drop.

On the week, gold rose +46.70 [+4.20%], silver rose 0.10 [+0.69%], GDX climbed +6.21% and GDXJ gained +2.44%.  Platinum was up +2.79%, palladium fell -2.41%, and copper dropped -2.03%, making a new low at 2.30.  It's a mixed bag for the metals, with gold the clear winner.

After resting for a few days, gold broke out above resistance on Wednesday, climbing strongly for the rest of the week eventually closing well above its 50 MA on accelerating volume.  A rally that happens on increasing volume is particularly bullish.  If we just look at the daily gold chart in isolation, its all good news, although I would expect traders to start ringing the cash register on gold pretty soon, as it is up $80 off its 1080 lows and it has become a bit overbought.  Best case I see – gains are capped by the 200 MA, after which it corrects.  Worst case, it corrects on Monday, and we hope the 50 MA holds as support.

Moving up a level to the weekly chart, we can see gold has had two strong weeks which has moved it back up to well above its breakdown point.  However, for gold to really show a change in trend in the longer term, gold must continue to climb even further; while a close above 1232 (the most recent old high) will be helpful, gold really needs a close above 1308 to change the trend.  I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, just to remind everyone that over the long term the sellers remain in control as they have for four long years, and gold still has a ways to go to change this situation.  The sellers will remain more confident than normal up until that close above 1308 can be achieved.

Silver is not performing nearly as well.  We had a clue about that early this week, when silver underwent a massive sell-off while gold endured only a modest drop.  Silver has been unable to close much above 15.50; while it remains above its 50 MA, it is encountering consistent selling on any moves higher than about 15.55.  Compare what silver did this week vs what gold did:

Miners

Senior miners have been underperforming gold; they managed to break out above their previous high briefly, only to undergo heavy selling on Friday at a time when gold itself was still very much in the green.  What's more, the miners completed a bearish engulfing pattern on Friday as well – this is a two day pattern that suggests a possible trend reversal.  I slapped a "danger" label on this chart because the miners could well be the "tell" that selling is ahead of us next week.  One caveat though – the massive sell-off in SPX on Friday may have distorted the situation; in the past I've seen the miners dragged down alongside the overall market on days like today.  Nothing is ever simple, it seems.

The juniors managed to break out, just barely, only to endure massive selling on Friday that resulted in an even scarier Bearish Engulfing candle than the seniors.  All is not lost, however, since even with the huge sell-off GDXJ was still able to close above its 9 EMA which says its uptrend remains intact, at least for now.

The USD

The dollar fell this week, dropping -1.53 [-1.58%] to 95.00 even, plummeting through its 50 MA and making a new low this week.  Over the past few days the weakness in the dollar is becoming more pronounced, and I attribute this to the fact that the US markets have not proven immune to the worldwide equity market sell-off.  For now at least, I suspect the bloom is off the "US safe haven market" rose, and money is fleeing both the buck, and US assets overall.

We might also be able to trace back some amount of this week's dollar weakness to the FOMC minutes release on Wednesday, where it seemed that a new element up for discussion was the situation in China.  Since the China situation has done nothing but worsen since the meeting, the market is quite possibly concluding that a rate rise is off the table for September. The dollar has done nothing but sell off since then.

US Equities/SPX

SPX was crushed this week, plunging -120.65 [-5.77%] to 1970.89.  On Friday alone, SPX dropped a massive -64 points, printing an extremely ugly red candle and closing at the dead lows of the day.  There was a very small bounce at end of day, probably short covering – but guess what?  It too got sold.  Once the 200 MA was lost in fairly dramatic fashion on Thursday, by Friday traders wanted nothing to do with the risks of holding SPX over the weekend.

The VIX screamed higher on the week, up an incredible +15.20 to 28.03, the highest weekly close for the VIX since 2012.

After these last two days, I have to ask: does anyone see the fingerprints of a all-powerful "plunge protection team" in operation?  How about the Fed buying e-mini futures on the sly to keep the market propped up? Look at the chart below and tell me who you think was in control.  I'll tell you who I think was in charge: Mr Market was in charge, and the direction Mr Market wanted to go was down, and so down we went.  If the PPT jumped in there – it simply didn't matter.  These are some of the nastiest red candles you can see.  From where I sit, that's a lotta plunge, and no protection that I could see.

So what's next?  A close like that strongly suggests we have more downside on Monday.  Likely it will also depend on the rest of the world's equity markets.  They've had trouble lately, and if it continues, its likely the US will follow suit.  SPX has just told us that the US is no longer immune.  When will we bounce?  One thing about the markets, they always bounce.  It is oversold, but not dramatically so.  We could have another day or two left – or it could sell off hard Monday morning, sucking in the poor retail traders who will no doubt be regaled with tales of doom over the weekend, and THEN it will bounce.  Who knows, I sure don't, but what I do know is, now is NOT the time to enter short.  Wait for the bounce, let the market climb a bit, wait for it to stall out, and then enter short.

Here's a thought.  SPX traders probably used to believe to some degree in the whole "Fed Put" thing, up until they saw the Chinese government throw literally the kitchen sink at its own plunging Shanghai Exchange, with only a very short term positive result.  Everyone knows the Chinese don't do things in small doses – they announce it loudly and jump in with both feet.  And now we've seen that this just didn't work; all it did was raise prices temporarily so that sellers got a slightly better exit point.  Perhaps – just perhaps – what we saw on Thursday and Friday might be the beginning of the end of the Belief in the ability of the Fed to Fix All Markets Everywhere.  If so, likely we have a lot more volatility ahead of us.

Gold in Other Currencies

Gold went nuts this week in Rubles – the Ruble is not happy with the new lows in oil – and it did very well in Brazil and India too.  Gold was up in all currencies.


 

Rates & Commodities

Bonds (TLT) moved higher this week, rising +1.97% continuing its near-term bull run that dates back to early July.  However the move on Friday looked a bit soft to me – it rose only 0.30%, and given the collapse in equity prices, I would have expected more out of bonds.  My guess: US assets are being sold by the Europeans – we saw EUR rise, dollar fall, in tandem with the tepid bond move and the SPX collapse.

Junk bonds (JNK) continue to plummet, down -1.24% on the week.  Selling remains orderly – there is no sudden collapse the way there was back in December, but the current trend is steadily downhill.

The CRB (commodity index) had another big drop, down -3.35% making new lows once again.  CRB had dropped for 7 straight weeks.  So much for last week's "bullish divergence" hints.  I'm guessing the plunging equity markets worldwide didn't help.

WTIC fell too, losing -1.89 [-4.48%] to 40.29, dipping briefly down below 40 for a short period on Friday.  A bearish Petroleum Status Report on Wednesday cut short a potential sideways consolidation.  Let's see if round number 40 support will hold.  My current sense is that oil will drop into the 30s, but how long it will stay there is hard to know.  I'll be watching the market prices for clues, but I won't be buying until that 9 EMA crossing happens, and my computer tells me that the low is in.  Which, so far, it has refused to do.

Physical Supply Indicators

* Premiums in Shanghai over spot are now at +4.79 over COMEX, down slightly over last week.  If they aren't accelerating, at least they haven't fallen with the rally, as they sometimes do.

* The GLD ETF gained +5.96 tons, with 677.83 tons remaining.

* GC futures remains in backwardation this week, with the current two-front-month spread at -0.40.

* ETF Premium/Discount to NAV; gold closing (15:59 close price on Aug 21st) of 1159.30 and silver 15.26:

 PHYS 9.58 -0.16% to NAV [up]
 PSLV 5.91 +0.43% to NAV [up]
 CEF 11.06 -10.63% to NAV [up]
 GTU 40.08 -5.93% to NAV [up]

ETF premiums were up across the board.

* Bullion Vault gold (https://www.bullionvault.com/gold_market.do#!/orderboard) shows no significant premium for gold, but the offers for silver over the weekend are somewhat wider than normal.

Futures Positioning

The COT report covered trading through Aug 18th, when gold closed at 1116.90 and silver 14.79.

The gold commercials continue slowly adding to their short positions, adding 5.3k contracts on the week.  Managed Money covered 9.8k shorts, but they are still perhaps 60k contracts over "average" for Managed money.  Short covering has started, but so far its not dramatic.  That said, the coverage period of this report does not include the two big rally days this week.

In silver, the commercials are starting to add to their shorts, +4.1k this week, while Managed Money covered just 1.9k.  There was less change in silver than there was in gold.

We've seen some short covering, but positions haven't moved too substantially over the past few weeks.

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

After two weeks of upside move, the three PM metals are all now over the 50 MA, which is an excellent sign.   You can see that the miners are lagging, especially the silver miner ETF which dropped slightly below its 9 EMA just on Friday.  Lagging miners – not such a good sign.  In a typical bull move, miners should be leading, not the other way around.  This tells us that something different is going on right now.

Name Chart Change 52w ch EMA9 MA50 MA200 50/200 Last Crossing last
Gold COMEX.Gold 0.55% -9.08% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2015-08-20 2015-08-21
Platinum COMEX.Platinum -0.75% -27.63% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2015-08-20 2015-08-21
Silver COMEX.Silver -1.38% -20.95% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2015-08-20 2015-08-21
Senior Miners GDX -2.66% -40.58% rising falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-08-10 2015-08-21
Junior Miners GDXJ -3.71% -47.32% rising falling falling falling ma50 on 2015-08-21 2015-08-21
Silver Miners SIL -4.26% -46.98% falling falling falling falling ema9 on 2015-08-21 2015-08-21

Summary

Did the rally in gold that started August 10th mark a turning point in the equity markets?  If you look at charts of the FTSE, CAC, DAX, and NIKK you will notice a pattern of selling that started August 10th, and appears to be a relative mirror image for the rise in gold.  Why are we seeing flows from equities into precious metals?  Well, this was also the date of the Chinese devaluation.  That's probably not just a coincidence

The gold/silver ratio rose +2.55 this week to 75.71, moving back to the high end of its recent trading range.  GDX:$GOLD rose, although in fits and starts, while GDXJ:GDX fell fairly substantially.  The overall picture is one of some confusion – this PM bull move isn't firing on all cylinders; silver and the juniors are to some degree being left behind.  (No reference intended to the movie, Left Behind)

The COT reports show some modest covering for gold, and only a little for silver.  It doesn't look like Managed Money is too worried, at least not just yet anyway.  Given the 4-year downtrend, the lack of CPI inflation, and the plummeting commodity index, I'm not sure I'd be too worried either.

Gold physical shortage indicators are modest and generally unchanged; in the west, ETF premiums were up but not substantially, GLD tonnage rose, backwardation at COMEX is down slightly.  In the east, premiums in Shanghai dropped, but remain positive.

Commodity prices dropped again this week, and that hoped-for slowing didn't appear.  Instead, commodities made up for lost time and accelerated downhill.  Oil has now reached $40 and shows no signs of stopping.  The dollar's ongoing correction continues to help PM, but has not helped commodities.

The PM rally is at this point having nothing to do with commodities; silver and the miners are lagging, with gold taking point.  Reading the tea leaves, this move seems to be more of a rotation of capital from equities and other risk assets into gold – gold possibly seen as undervalued, and to many it still appears as a safe haven in times of currency upheaval.  In that circumstance, I suspect buy-side support for gold can continue, as long as the selling in the rest of the markets doesn't become general and panic-driven the way it did in fall 2008.  Once we get into a "forced selling" situation, then everything gets tossed off the lifeboat and all prices drop.  But until then, it seems gold will do well, and the other PM components will be dragged up along behind.

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  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 12:46pm

    #2

    Oliveoilguy

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    FED

Dave FairTex wrote: "After these last two days, I have to ask: does anyone see the fingerprints of a all-powerful "plunge protection team" in operation?  How about the Fed buying e-mini futures on the sly to keep the market propped up? Look at the chart below and tell me who you think was in control.  I'll tell you who I think was in charge: Mr Market was in charge, and the direction Mr Market wanted to go was down, and so down we went.  If the PPT jumped in there – it simply didn't matter.  These are some of the nastiest red candles you can see.  From where I sit, that's a lotta plunge, and no protection that I could see."

Is the FED finally going to allow the Market to seek it's own level?  No. That is just not what they do.

  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 12:48pm

    #3

    Oliveoilguy

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    FED

Dave FairTex wrote: "After these last two days, I have to ask: does anyone see the fingerprints of a all-powerful "plunge protection team" in operation?  How about the Fed buying e-mini futures on the sly to keep the market propped up? Look at the chart below and tell me who you think was in control.  I'll tell you who I think was in charge: Mr Market was in charge, and the direction Mr Market wanted to go was down, and so down we went.  If the PPT jumped in there – it simply didn't matter.  These are some of the nastiest red candles you can see.  From where I sit, that's a lotta plunge, and no protection that I could see."

Is the FED finally going to allow the Market to seek it's own level?  No. That is just not what they do.

  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 01:20pm

    #4
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    stopping a crash

OOG-

Is the FED finally going to allow the Market to seek it's own level?  No. That is just not what they do.

You have a touching faith in the Fed's ability to perform miracles.  🙂  Their propaganda campaign has worked really well.  Nobody fights you if everyone believe you are all-powerful.

They would really love to have the power you assume they possess.  They don't.  If the market wants to go down, the Fed won't be able to do anything about it.

My opinion, of course.

  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 06:53pm

    #5

    Mark Cochrane

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    Lot of gray between black and white

Dave,

Please ignore that man behind the curtain….

I don't think the FED is all powerful and able to hold back the full weight of the market if it panics and stampedes in some direction but that is not the same thing as saying that they are not there doing whatever they can to lull the sheep to sleep. Cowboys and sheep dogs are remarkably effective moving their respective herds around but a surprise crack of lightning/thunder can still stampede the herd. The Chinese dropped their surprise devaluation on the market and I get the feeling that the FED was just as surprised. With no warning the markets spooked. No way the FED can stop this in its tracks nor should they try. The Chinese showed what happens if you stand in front of a stampeding herd. The real question is whether or not the FED can turn the herd (markets) before they run off a cliff somewhere.

Isn't there a whole lot of room between manipulating markets and controlling them? Regardless, if the market belief was in the omnipotence of the FED and associated Central Banks then this might put some longer term doubt into things even if the markets settle. Perhaps we'll see the same thing as in China where the remaining participants simply bail out once the FED bounce gets them out of the red.

We are in 'correction' territory from what I have read. It seems that the next battle for market psychology will be between hope (those selling this as a healthy thing before the next rocket to new highs) and fear (those seeing a looming global depression). Can we predict the coming news stories?

Mark

  • Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - 11:13pm

    #6
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    market control & manipulation

Mark-

First of all, a general premise.  Markets move as a result of capital flows – some domestic, some international.  Money flows into a market, it rises.  Money flows out, it falls.

Capital flows occur as a result of macroeconomic and sociopolitical effects whose forces are the result of a huge amount of energy flowing with historic/economic inevitability behind them.  Take Greek debt.  How did it get there?  It is the net result of a decade of misconduct of an entire society, and the energy of that summed misconduct was dammed up, unable to be adjusted for by currency devaluation by the artificial environment of the Eurozone.  That situation could not last.  Once that debt is in place, it acts as an irresistible force that no tactical manipulation can ultimately keep from eventually being defaulted upon.  ECB can try to put off the day of reckoning by jawboning, buying some bonds here and there, but unless they want to own ALL the Greek debt, that's all they can do.

Now imagine forces far more powerful than Greek debt, because the economic energy behind them is vastly more powerful too.  These forces – debt in being, housing speculation, or the movement of money overseas to find yield, are vast since they are based on the aggregate energy of the underlying economic actors.  Unless the force opposing this is greater than that section of the economy, any attempt at manipulation is ultimately doomed to failure.  To successfully oppose a force, you need to bring an equal and opposite force to bear.

The Chinese devaluation didn't just "happen" – the Chinese just decided to stop paying the price to hold back the vast capital flows that their economy was generating.

So now back to the Fed.  Can they actually manipulate the markets?  If we take as given that the forces underlying the capital flows come from the economy and situations themselves, and that those forces are vast, the only way for the Fed to successfully manipulate the markets is when the force they use is equal to the force underlying the capital flows.

The real question then becomes, is the Fed bigger than the economy?  Is that even a question?  Clearly the answer is no.  They've moved heaven and earth, bought trillions of dollars of bonds, and yet the taper tantrum happened anyway.

Here's the thing.  The Fed can do whatever it likes when the trend of capital flow is going in a direction they happen to like.  They appear in control during this time, but they aren't.  They can also heavily influence things when capital flows are more or less neutral.  But once the forces flow against them in a serious way, unless they have the political will to consistently oppose the market with a force equal to the energy behind that move, they will fail.

Tactical attempts to "stampede the herd" will not address the underlying flow of force.  Again, its only temporary.

Examples of governments "giving up" on manipulation:

  • Nixon bailing out of the gold standard in 1971
  • SNB bailing out of the EUR/CHF peg earlier this year
  • China devaluing its currency on Aug 10

There is a whole lot of manipulation that goes on, but its on the margins, or in the direction of the vast capital flows that are already in motion.  Banks know what the flows are, and they stampede the herd so that it reacts out of proportion to the flows, so the drops are lower, and the peaks are higher both on the way up and on the way down.  Banks repeatedly exacerbate and then collect on these outsized moves in order to strip mine participants for their own profit.

Banks & trading houses have been doing this forever in order to make money off their customers.  See the book Where Are the Customers Yachts written back in the 1940s.

Likewise, all the "market rigging" that has come out is all at the margins.  Banks do move the market, but only for 15 minutes at a time at the close, to grab a few extra pennies for themselves.  Multiplied by 365 days a year, it turns out to be a whole lot of pennies.  They are "house" in the casino – they don't need to change the odds much in order to be vastly profitable over time.

Also, "naked shorts" in the bullion markets don't try to oppose the trend.  Take now for instance.  The big guys will wait until the inflow of buyers exhausts itself, and there are no more new buyers coming in, and then they will attack.  Currently, the long term trend is still their friend.  How long will gold continue to move up?  That depends on how many new buyers there are, and at what price they will stop buying.

 

  • Sun, Aug 23, 2015 - 12:24am

    #7

    Jim H

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    Banker shilling 101…

Personally, I could never make a statement like this;

Take Greek debt.  How did it get there?  It is the net result of a decade of misconduct of an entire society, and the energy of that summed misconduct was dammed up, unable to be adjusted for by currency devaluation by the artificial environment of the Eurozone.  That situation could not last.

Without making the qualification that it always takes two to tango.. the borrower, and the enabling lender.  Bankers always want you to think that the misconduct is one sided.  So apparently does Dave.           

  • Sun, Aug 23, 2015 - 01:10am

    #8
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    sigh

I think you're straining out the gnats and swallowing the camels here, but sure.  Lenders did it too.

Please, bite me on the ankle as many times as possible, so you have no time or bandwidth or mental energy to address the vastly more important larger issue I'm bringing up.

  • Sun, Aug 23, 2015 - 11:38pm

    #9

    BBrady

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    Personal Comments

[quote=Jim H]

 Bankers always want you to think that the misconduct is one sided.  So apparently does Dave.           

[/quote]

Proper decorum dictates that there be no negative comments directed to a participant.  You can debate the veracity of the facts presented, but slurs or bullying are unacceptable.  If you don't like the comments made by a participant, discontinue reading them.

The comment by Davefairtex did say it was the misconduct of an entire society.  An entire society would include everyone – including the bankers (and government officials).  Let's not be so quick to judge.

To Davefairtex, there are hundreds (thousands?) of us who appreciate the incredible amount of time you donate to help guide and keep us informed, and from whom you unfortunately do not hear our appreciation.  Thank you, and please continue.

  • Mon, Aug 24, 2015 - 04:10am

    #10
    aball1035

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    Dow futures and gold/gold stocks

How will the current Dow futures decline affect gold and gold stocks?

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