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« HSBC lifts gold price forecast to $2,025 | Main | The Madness Continues »
Wednesday
Sep142011

Markets at a Glance

In this mornings mail box we received this take on the gold, especially the gold stocks entitled 'Gold Stocks: Ready, Set,… ' written by Eric Sprott & David Baker. This is a superb piece in our humble opinion and well worth a few minutes of your time. Also you can receive the very same updates from Sprott Asset Management simply by following this link and entering your email address, please click here.

What follows is an except from their assessment

:


Last week, the HUI Gold Index marked a new all-time high as it surpassed 600. Recent gold equity investors were undoubtedly happy with this move, but for longer-term holders, the recent strength is actually somewhat disappointing. If you review the chart below, you’ll notice that while the gold price has almost doubled since early 2008, the HUI Index has appreciated by a mere 22% over the same period (see Chart A). If the HUI was justified at 500 in early ’08, it should surely be justified at 1,000 today, given the appreciation of the gold price over that time. So why have the equities lagged?

chart A Sprott 15 sep 2011.JPG

Source:  Bloomberg

First and foremost: the sell-side’s abysmal gold price estimates. Table 1 shows the average gold price that analysts are using to value gold equities today. While the futures market is comfortably forecasting a continuation of today’s levels, the majority of sell-side analysts refuse to update their gold price estimates to reflect its recent strength. A rising gold price is normally a bad sign for the broader equity markets, and generally indicates a bearish trend. As bears ourselves, we’re completely fine with this, and invest accordingly. But the sell-side has difficulty pairing bearishness with new underwriting opportunities. It doesn’t mean you have to believe their price forecasts however.


Table 1 Sprott 15 sep 2011.JPG

Source:  Bloomberg

The second reason is gold’s volatility. The amount of paper gold and silver contracts that trade on the futures and equities exchanges still dwarf the amount of actual physical trading that takes place. Paper markets continue to set price discovery – thereby allowing for dramatic volatility with little or no influence from actual physical fundamentals. In the LBMA market, for example, market participants traded an average 19.6 million ounces of gold PER DAY in July 2011.1,2 Keep in mind that the total gold mine production in 2010, globally, was approximately 86.5 million ounces. Global gold mine production is not expected to increase significantly year-over-year, so the LBMA is essentially trading a year’s worth of production in less than a week. And this is just ONE market. When you add the COMEX futures and gold ETFs, the paper trading volume becomes absurdly high. When price discovery is dictated by levered paper contracts with no physical backing, it’s extremely easy and relatively inexpensive to jostle the spot price around. The result for gold has been many days of extreme downside volatility, despite a strong and consistent overall upward trend. Investors don’t like volatility – and the constant whipsawing has probably kept many of them away from the gold equity sector as a result.

Thirdly – investors still remember how badly gold equities got crushed in 2008. There was a reason they sold off so aggressively however – they were the most profitable positions investors owned going into the ‘08 crisis. Gold equities had enjoyed a strong bull trend going back to 2001, with the HUI Index appreciating by 980% from its November 2000 low through to August 2008. Investor behaviour is fairly consistent – when panic hits, you sell your winning positions first.

Something has changed recently, however. A new divergence has arisen in the precious metals equity market – a subtle, but plainly evident shift in recent daily performance. On Wednesday, August 10th, for example, the Dow dropped 4% while gold stocks rallied 3%, for a delta of 7% on the day. That is significant outperformance, and not what we have come to expect on an equity market down day. Gold stocks, as represented by the HUI Index, also seem to be breaking away from their traditional correlation with the spot gold price. On August 29th, spot gold dropped 2.16%, while the stocks fell by only 0.81%. On September 7th, gold fell by 3.09%, while gold stocks rose by 0.33%. These small differences indicate a new trend forming. While gold’s daily volatility is expected to continue, we may be entering a new phase where the stocks react less harshly on gold down days, and outperform gold on days of strength.

The gold equities’ recent divergence has played itself out even more prominently against the financials, with the HUI Index outperforming financials by a stunning 49% since the beginning of July (see Chart B). As we wrote in "The Real Banking Crisis" two months ago, there appears to be a run on European banks, and financial stocks are reflecting that. IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, recently confirmed as much in her Jackson Hole speech, where she warned about the banks’ need for urgent recapitalization: "They must be strong enough to withstand the risks of sovereigns and weak growth. This is key to cutting the chains of contagion. If it is not addressed, we could easily see the further spread of economic weakness to core countries, or even a debilitating liquidity crisis."3 Investors aren’t waiting around to see if they’ll pull it off, and as the chart below suggests, at least some of them have reinvested their former bank equity capital into the precious metals sector.

In summary they had this to say:

Equity investors shouldn’t let $1800 gold dissuade them from participating in precious metals equities. The world is still dramatically underexposed to gold, and we firmly believe it should represent a higher percentage of investors’ total portfolios today. The fact remains that both gold and silver continue to trade well below their inflation-adjusted highs in nominal terms, and the market is now beginning to acknowledge the profit potential that precious metals equities offer at today’s bullion prices. We believe the equities will offer more upside than the bullion over time.  Many of the smaller names are well priced and have momentum behind them. The prospects for gold stocks look extremely bright. 




Regarding www.skoptionstrading.com. We currently have a number of open trades at the moment, however, we do not update the charts until the trade is closed and the cash is back in our account.


For those subscribers who are too busy to trade their own accounts we are now able to offer an Autotrading program with our SK OptionTrader service, as we are pleased to announce that we have entered into a partnership with GlobalAutoTrading and also with eOptiontherefore auto trading is now available for SK OptionTrader signals


Our model portfolio is up 396.58% since inception

An annualized return of 119.04%%

Average return per trade of 42.21%

85 closed trades, 82 closed at a profit

Average trade open for 45.41 days


sk chart return on SK OptionTrader Model Port 22 aug 2011.JPG



The above progress chart shows our performance when profits are re-invested, however, to see exactly how it is going, please click this link.

So, the question is: Are you going to make the decision to join us today.

Stay on your toes and have a good one.

Got a comment then please add it to this article, all opinions are welcome and very much appreciated by both our readership and the team here.



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