"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, February 27, 2013

Three Little Words

"Some Time Soon".

Those words were uttered by Chairman Bernanke this morning in the second day of his bi-annual testimony before the Congress, this time speaking before the House of Representative Committee.

The phrase was in reference to The Fed's plan to review its exit strategy from the QE program. Note that the Chairman did not say anything about actually ending the program; he merely stated that the Fed would review its exit strategy sometime soon. This should not be news for it really is innocous on the surface; however, it just goes to show how incredibly sensitive gold is to anything related to this bond and mortgage-backed securities buying program.

What Bernanke stated was that the Fed will be discussing their exit strategy. They are already in discussions about that as was evidenced by the FOMC minutes that came out last week. So what? Any responsible Central Banker must of course be reviewing these things unless they are completely oblivious to the potential for severe fallout from the creation of what will end up being nearly $3.5 TRILLION by the end of this year when you combine QE1, QE2, QE3 and QE4.

Bernanke spoke to this topic yesterday when he addressed the weighting of the potential risks associated with this degree of QE against the costs of not doing QE. In his opinion, the risk of not doing the bond buying program outweighed the costs of the harm done to the economy ( in his opinion of course). He went on to speak about the aid the program gives to those buying cars, houses, etc, as opposed to the harm the Fed is inflicting on savers. He also spoke to the harm done to those who are unemployed by doing nothing.

In short, you can get a glimpse into the nature of the discussions taking place within the FOMC over all this but it does seem pretty clear that the doves are still in ascendancy in regards to QE and the current monetary policy.

Why this would derail gold is therefore unclear, especially if the reason it did rally yesterday was due to a widely expected continuation of the QE program. As far as I can read this, the Chairman did not offer any changes of note to his comments of yesterday.

Part of what we are seeing in gold (and nearly all of the other markets) is the confusion, uncertainty and lack of clarity as to where all this "boldly going where no man has gone before" adventure in monetary policy by the Central Banks of the West is leading. Is it "RISK ON" and full speed ahead with the hugely leveraged carry trades or is it time for the sidelines? Are interest rates going lower or will they move higher? No one really knows because of the speed at which sentiment can shift globally.

The problem for gold has been and continues to be, the mining sector as evidenced by the HUI. It did manage to fill the first downside gap on its daily chart yesterday but could not even manage a decent close INSIDE THAT GAP. Simply put, the mining sector is so weak, even though it is so oversold, that it is undercutting any strength in the bullion. As I type these comments this morning, the S&P 500 is up nearly 1.3 % while the HUI is down nearly 1.8%. It is that bad.

Yesterday I spoke about these spike lows and how dangerous that they are to trade because of the extent of the price swings that produce them. Here today we are seeing what happens to markets that plunge, reverse sharply higher only to plunge again. I want to repeat what I said yesterday" "TRADE SMALL OR NOT AT ALL". There are times to be aggressive and there are times to be cautious. This is a time to be cautious. Do not be foolish with your trading accounts. Please listen to this as I am trying to prevent some of you from taking foolish advice and getting harmed in the process.

So what if you do not manage to grab an exact bottom or exact top in the market. Guess what? the market will be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. You can always wade back into the water once the sharks stop stirring it all up. If on the other hand you like playing Russian Roulette with your trading account, please by all means, throw caution to the wind and go ahead and jump right into the market. All I can say is that you had better be fast on the buy or sell trigger and have a very large trading account that you can be content with as it becomes a very small trading account.

By the way, for the last time, gold is NOT IN BACKWARDATION. Those who keep pushing this nonsense are going to end up hurting many of you who blindly jump into the gold market to buy the futures only to have your rear ends handed to you as the market is doing today.

BAck to the HUI, I need to see this index trading through and above 390 to suggest a longer term bottom has been made in the shares. That will tell us that sponsorship has returned to this sector. Right now there is valued based buying but it cannot force the sector higher by itself. It needs momentum based buying and that is simply not here right now. maybe that will change soon. I do not know and truth to told, neither does anyone else. We are all just watching and trying to read the tea leaves in a very cloudy cup.

For example, if you would have told me two days ago, when the news of the Italian election outcome hit the wires, that stocks would be oblivious to the potential for real harm to occur across the Euro Zone, I would have said that you were blindly optimistic. Yes, stocks cratered on that news as the RISK TRADES were jettisoned with contempt yet here we are, two days later, and the S&P 500 has practically made it right back to the closing level of Friday's trade last week. In other words, the Italian election results, which struck a sharp stinging rebuke to the complete complacency that has enveloped the minds of traders/investors, never happened. We all just imagined that it did. Can you see what I mean by either trading small or not at all.

Closing words, be extremely careful right now. This is not a time to try being a hero lest you end up becoming a zero.