"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gold Continues to Attract Buying at the Bottom of its Trading Range

Gold has once again attracted strong buying down near the bottom of its broad 8 month trading range and has now bounced higher for the day. Strength in the yellow metal has pulled silver up a tad which was sinking under the weight of a collapsing copper market.

While some are ready to pronounce gold DEAD as a safe haven asset, the chart picture denotes otherwise, especially given the broad weakness in the commodity sector as a whole and the rallying Dollar, which continues its technical march towards the 84 level on the USDX. Whenever I see gold moving higher alongside Treasuries and the Dollar, it tells me that all such talk about gold being useless as a store of wealth, is simply false. The chart will tell you more than all the pontifications of the short-sighted analysts and pundits.

To get any sort of excitement going beyond the continued value based buying of gold, it will need to push through the $1600 level and not falter.

The mining shares are defying the general trend of equity selling today which is aiding the cause of both metals. Note that for the last two weeks, it is the mining sector which has been the bright spot in the otherwise dim US stock market.

Rush into Treasuries Continues to Depress Rates

There is what feels like near-panic buying of US Treasuries at the moment, due to the implosion that we are witnessing in much of the European Sovereign Debt markets. Investors/traders are scared to death to own bonds from these problem nations and are rushing into both US Treasuries and German Bunds as safe havens.

The result has been to collapse US interest rates on the Ten Year firmly below not only the 1.8% level, but also below the intra-month spike lows near the 1.7% level. We have one more day left in the month of May but it certainly appears we are on track to set a new monthly closing low.

The flip side to this rush to Treasuries is that commodities are being thrown overboard, irrespective of any particular set of fundamentals, as hedge fund algorithms are whacking that sector, both liquidating long positions as well as instituting new bearish bets.

The question on the minds of many is when will the Fed step in to attempt to halt what looks like a growing tidal wave of deflationary pressures? My thinking is that they will not until they get the commodity sector, particularly the energy markets, more specfically the gasoline market, down to lower levels.

We are already at the 50% Fibonacci Retracement Level off the entire 2008 - 2011 rally. If the index cannot hold at this critical juncture, it will drop towards 465, which is the intersection of the bottom tine of the pitchfork and the 61.8% Retracement level. My view is that the Fed will act should commodity prices get to that level.

Keep in mind that while the Fed and the US monetary officials like these abnormally low interest rates ( it keeps loan rates cheaper and allows the US to continue borrowing and spending money at its drunken sailor pace), and while they are near gleeful at the prospect of falling food and energy prices, they do not want a deflationary mindset to take hold in the minds of investors or the public for that matter.

For investors, that will mean the equity markets willl collapse as they will dump stock holdings and for the public that means they will forego spending now on the notion that they can wait for prices to fall further. The last thing that the Fed wants is for consumers to rein in spending.

So, the question is, can the Fed get these stubbornly high gasoline prices to fall another 30 - 35 cents while holding off on any further stimulus or will the US equity market bears, force their hands?