Forget gold and silver for a moment. Do you hear the music? Yes, it’s coming from the mining ETFs club. But how long will the party last?
And more importantly, why miners, you may ask? Because miners tend to outperform in the early days of a major rally.
After closing only $0.10 below my initial downside target of $31 on Mar. 1, the GDX ETF could be ripe for an upward revision. Able to ignore much of last week’s chaos, the GDX ETF’s outperformance of gold and silver signals that the tide has likely turned.
Please see below:
To that point, I warned on Mar. 1 that help was on the way:
The GDX ETF has garnered historical support at roughly $29.52. The level also coincides with the early-March high, the mid-April low and the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level. As a result, a corrective upswing to ~$33/$34 could be the miners’ next move.
Furthermore, after alerting subscribers on Mar. 4 – writing that when gold moves to $1,692, we’ll automatically open long positions in the miners – the GDX ETF ended Friday’s (Mar. 5) session up by 3.2% from my initial entry of ~$30.80 - $31. Thus, from here, the GDX ETF has roughly 3.8% to 7.0% upside (as of Friday’s close) before the $33/$34 levels signals that the momentum has run its course.
For now, though, positioning for more upside offers a solid risk-reward proposition. Prior to the initial decline, miners were weak relative to gold. However, after outperforming on Mar. 5, their steady hand was a sign of short-term strength. If you analyze the chart below, you can see that the size and shape of the current price action actually mirrors what we witnessed back in April.
Please see below:
Figure 2 - VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), GDX and Slow Stochastic Oscillator Chart Comparison – 2020
For context, I wrote on Mar. 5:
Miners stopped their decline practically right in my target area, which I based on the 50% Fibonacci retracement and the 2020 highs and lows. Moreover, the proximity of the $31 level corresponds to the 2019 high and the 2016 high. Since so many support levels coincide at the same price (approximately), the latter is likely to be a very strong support. Moreover, the RSI was just close to 30, which corresponded to short-term buying opportunities quite a few times in the past.
In addition, a short-term upswing could provide a potential pathway to $35 – as this level also corresponds with the GDX ETF’s late-February high, its monthly declining resistance line and its 50-day moving average. The abundance of resistance levels – combined with the fact that an upswing would further verify the GDX ETF’s breakdown below the neckline of its potential head and shoulders pattern – should keep the upward momentum in check.
Over the medium-term, the potential head and shoulders pattern – marked by the shaded green boxes above – also deserves plenty of attention.
For context, I wrote previously:
Ever since the mid-September breakdown below the 50-day moving average, the GDX ETF was unable to trigger a substantial and lasting move above this MA. The times when the GDX was able to move above it were also the times when the biggest short-term declines started.
The most recent move higher only made the similarity of this shoulder portion of the bearish head-and-shoulders pattern to the left shoulder (figure 2 - both marked with green) bigger. This means that when the GDX breaks below the neck level of the pattern in a decisive way, the implications are likely to be extremely bearish for the next several weeks or months.
Due to the uncanny similarity between the two green rectangles, I decided to check what happens if this mirror-similarity continues. I used purple, dashed lines for that. There were two important short-term price swings in April 2020 – one shows the size of the correction and one is a near-vertical move higher.
Copying these price moves (purple lines) to the current situation, we get a scenario in which GDX (mining stocks) moves to about $31 and then comes back up to about $34. This would be in perfect tune with what I wrote previously. After breaking below the head-and-shoulders pattern, gold miners would then be likely to verify this breakdown by moving back up to the neck level of the pattern. Then, we would likely see another powerful slide – perhaps to at least $24.
This is especially the case, since silver and mining stocks tend to decline particularly strongly if the stock market is declining as well. And while the exact timing of the market’s slide is not 100% clear, stocks’ day of reckoning is coming. And it might be very, very close.
As I explained previously, based on the similarities to the 1929 and 2008 declines, it could be the case that the precious metals sector declines for about 3 months after the general stock market tops. And it seems that we won’t have to wait long for the latter. In fact, the next big move lower in stocks might already underway, as the mid-Feb. 2021 top could have been the final medium-term top.
In conclusion, the gold miners should continue to glisten as oversold conditions buoy them back to the $33-$35 range. Due to the GDX ETF’s recent strength, combined with gold rallying off of the lows on Mar. 5, the PMs could enjoy a profitable one-week (or so) party. However, with the celebration likely to be short-lived, it’s important to keep things in perspective. While this week’s performance may elicit superficial confidence, medium-term clouds have already formed. As a result, positioning for an extended rally offers more risk than reward.
Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of the full analyses that our subscribers enjoy on a regular basis. They include multiple premium details such as the interim target for gold that could be reached in the next few weeks. We invite you to subscribe now and read today’s issue right away.
Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA