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Investing in Gold Using Correlations? Beware

Gold

The Markets are just too complex to base your trading on only one set of rules, for example if “X” happens then you should invest in “Y”. There’s always more to it when it comes to being a successful investor. So, if one so called investment expert says that if the GDP is heading down, you should buy Gold. Uh, maybe… 

Of late, I have seen many articles postulating what moves gold up or down. We have heard all the old reasons being put forth from GDP, to a hedge against market volatility to interest rates, to the US Dollar, and many more. Unfortunately, market history simply does not support these reasons as a consistent driver of gold, as I have detailed in many past articles:

In fact, a recent article on gold suggested that “[w]e all know that gold is negatively correlated to GDP growth.” Well, since gold rose between 2000-2008, and as you can see from this attached chart that REAL GDP did as well, are we really sure that we “all know that gold is negatively correlated to GDP growth?”

In fact, take note that the stock market also rose strongly during this same period of time. Moreover, I have seen many other charts presented which offer no evidence that there is any real relationship between gold and GDP.

I have discussed this many times in the past. Correlations cannot be wholly relied upon unless you understand when those seeming correlations will end. And, since most correlation analysis does not present any indication of when those correlations will end, they are no better than using a ruler to determine your projections for any chart.

Such linear analysis will be of no use in determining when a change of trend may occur. And, one does not need such analysis to assume the current trend for anything will continue. In fact, this is likely why so many intra-market analysts have done so poorly in the last 5 years as they failed to see the coming break down in the correlations they follow (even though we were warning about these impending break downs back in 2015).

Price pattern sentiment indications and upcoming expectations

For those following us for the last six years, you would remember that we were not only accurate in our assessment for a top being struck in the metals complex in 2011, but we were also accurate in our assessment for a bottom being struck at the end of 2015.

Since that time, the market has provided us with what looks like a very nice 5-wave structure off the 2015 low, followed by a corrective pullback. Now, when I see a larger degree 5-wave structure (wave 1) being made off a multi-year bottom, followed by a corrective pullback (wave 2), I am on alert for the heart of a 3rd wave to take hold. And, in the metals complex, those are quite breathtaking rallies. For this reason, I have erred on the bullish side of the market as the market was looking like it was setting up for that 3rd wave in 2017.

However, rather than providing us the 3rd wave rally for which I was seeking confirmation, 2017 has been exceptionally frustrating as the market has invalidated several set-ups for that major 3rd wave break out.

Yet, when presented with the same opportunities on any chart, I would have probably reacted in the exact same fashion. Most of the time, the market will follow through on such set ups, while in a minority of circumstances we would see the market continue on a much larger degree 2nd wave pullback. Clearly, the market has decided that 2017 was going to be a year of consolidation.

Even though we have not had the 3rd wave break out, we have not yet broken any of the lows we identified throughout the year. And, for those that have heeded my warnings about not using leverage until the market proved itself to be within its 3rd wave, you could have still made money on each of these rallies. In fact, the GDX is approximately 10% over the lows we identified this year, even though it may not “feel” that way due to the frustration we have all felt with this current consolidation.

 However, as I have been warning for the last few weeks, the GDX may be signaling it could break below those pullback lows we have struck this year. But, much depends on how high the rally I am expecting in the complex takes us.

If the GDX is able to make a higher high in the 26 region in the coming weeks, then it leaves the door open that green wave (2) may not break below the July lows. However, if the market is unable to develop a higher high over that struck in September, and then breaks below the low made before the current rally began, it opens the door to the GDX dropping down towards the 17 region before year end to complete a much more protracted wave ii, as presented in yellow on the daily GDX chart.

My preference still remains that GDX, silver and GLD all make a higher high in the coming weeks, which would put a more bullish stance upon the complex (even though another drop will likely take us into the end of the years), I really have nothing to which I can point that would suggest this will occur within a high degree of probability.

So, I have turned extremely cautious of the complex, at least until it proves itself with a higher high being struck in the coming weeks. Until such time, I am going to be more protective of my positions.

And for those who are still viewing this market from an extremely bullish perspective, I will be honest with you and tell you that I do not see any high probability set-up which would suggest the market is going to imminently break out in the heart of a 3rd wave just yet.

For this reason, I think that one can maintain a certain amount of patience (as if 2017 has not forced you to be patient enough), as even if we see a rally to a higher high, it will likely be followed by another pullback (as a wave (2) in GDX and a c-wave in GLD and silver) before we are finally ready to break out over the 2016 market highs.

More on Gold Investing

 

Commodities Keep Rolling Along

Commodities posted gains in April despite mixed macroeconomic conditions. Prices were supported by increased inflation expectations and ongoing tensions in the Middle East.

Nelson Louie, Global Head of Commodities at Credit Suisse Asset Management, said, “Prices of risky assets generally increased for the month of April, while the US dollar continued to weaken. Precious metals once again took the spotlight in April, posting strong gains amidst currency uncertainty. Investor focus shifted towards the US debt burden, after Standard & Poor’s put the US on negative watch for the first time. Meanwhile, other countries, such as the UK, France and Germany, have also taken steps to address deficit reduction issues. Concerns over accelerated inflation in various parts of the world, and the future plans of troubled European nations, added to the risk premium for precious metals, while the ongoing situation in the Middle East coupled with strong export demand pushed Crude prices higher.”

Christopher Burton, Senior Portfolio Manager for the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy, added, “With economies around the world improving, and continued extraordinarily loose monetary policy in the United States, odds of inflation overshooting historical levels and expectations remain elevated.  We believe investors will continue to benefit from the diversification benefits that commodities provide.”

The Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total Return was up by 3.46% in April.  Overall, 11 out of 19 index constituents increased in value, with Precious Metals serving as the strongest sector as both Gold and Silver increased. Energy continued to fare well in April, gaining 5.90%, with Gasoline and Crude Oil leading the way, up 8.92% and 6.08% respectively.  Agriculture was neutral with mixed performance from its components. Gains on Corn (+7.70%) and Coffee helped to offset losses from Cotton and Sugar.  The Industrials Metals sector was down slightly, declining 0.50% for the month.  Concerns remain that Chinese economic growth may slow, curbing base metals demand.  Livestock was the worst performing sector, down 7.12%, erasing its gains from the first quarter when it was the Index’s top performing sector.  Lean Hogs fell 8.32% while Live Cattle declined 6.30% due to signs that consumers were curbing demand amid higher retail prices.

The Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy group periodically produces updates on relevant industry topics. For a copy of their white paper, “How Commodities Can Help Investors Face the Uncertainty of the Inflation/Deflation Debate“, please email ir.betastrategies@credit-suisse.com.

About the Credit Suisse Total Commodity Return Strategy

Credit Suisse’s Total Commodity Return Strategy has been managed for fourteen years and seeks to outperform the return of a commodities index, such as the Dow Jones–UBS Commodity Index Total Return or the S&P GSCI Total Return Index, using a quantitative commodity research process. Commodity index total returns are achieved through:

  • Spot Return: price return on specified commodity futures contracts;
  • Roll Yield: impact due to migration of futures positions from near to far contracts; and
  • Collateral Yield: return earned on collateral for the futures.

As of April 30, 2011 the team managed approximately USD 10.7 billion in assets globally.

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