Briefly: in our opinion, full (300% of the regular position size) speculative short positions in mining stocks are justified from the risk/reward point of view at the moment of publishing this Alert.
Almost nothing changed on the precious metals market and related markets yesterday, but the key word here is “almost”. There were small changes which act as clues - bearish clues.
First, gold and silver did practically nothing, despite a slightly lower close in the USD Index, which is bearish. Precious metals should have moved higher given the above, and they failed to do so.
Second is the performance of mining stocks. Miners ended yesterday’s session lower despite nothing in both gold and silver, and a higher close in the general stock market. Given the above, miners “should have” done nothing or moved somewhat higher.
Miners did move higher, but only initially. They then reversed and ended the session lower. This tells us that miners don’t really want to move higher. Together with the small but still bearish indication from the USD-PMs link, this means that the implications of yesterday’s session are bearish for the near term.
Besides, that’s the third day in a row when miners started the session higher, only to disappoint and decline during the day.
Before summarizing, we would like to discuss one specific thing: gold’s performance around Thanksgiving.
Gold’s Performance around Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is on the fourth Thursday of each November, which means that the holiday always falls between November 22 and 28. What’s usually happening to the price of gold before and after this period? Let’s check gold’s seasonality for Q4.
During this period, gold is usually just before forming a short-term top and starting the biggest decline within the final quarter of the year.
Please note that the accuracy measure as to when the top is likely to be is relatively low, but soars right before gold’s plunge. This means that while it’s not that clear when gold is likely to top, it’s quite probable that we are going to see some kind of important top regardless of when exactly that takes place. Could it be slightly ahead of Thanksgiving? Yes. Could it be slightly after it? That’s possible as well.
But this year is not like other years, and I don’t mean the pandemic. This year, particularly this November, is special because of the U.S. presidential elections. Therefore, instead of taking into account the average of the previous periods around all recent Thanksgivings, one should focus on the Thanksgivings which were concurrent with presidential elections.
Gold and Thanksgiving during the Presidential Election Years
Let’s examine the last four cases, when gold was already after the 1999-2000 bottom and within its secular bull market.
Starting with the most recent case:
Back in 2016, the decline simply continued after Thanksgiving, and gold bottomed in the second half of December.
Four years earlier, in 2012, gold topped right after Thanksgiving and – just like in 2016 – it bottomed in the second half of December.
In 2008, gold topped right before Thanksgiving and it bottomed in the first half of December.
Finally, in 2004, gold topped shortly after Thanksgiving, and it formed an initial bottom in the first half of December. However, it then declined once again, further reaching bottom in January and February 2005 (two separate bottoms).
Consequently, Thanksgiving during the U.S. presidential election year had a bearish follow-up for gold in practically all four cases. Sometimes it was a bit early and at other times a bit late, but overall, it seems that one should be prepared for declines in the yellow metal during the final days of November and early part of December.
This pattern fits in line with my other thoughts on the gold market. As the USD Index appears to have ended forming its broad bottom pattern, it’s likely to rally, causing gold to slide. At some point gold is likely to stop responding to the dollar’s bearish indications, and based on the above analysis, we expect this might take place in December.
Overview of the Upcoming Decline
As far as the current overview of the upcoming decline is concerned, I think it has already begun.
During the final part of the slide (which could end later than in 6 weeks, perhaps near the end of the year – just like it happened in 2015), we expect silver to decline more than miners. That would align with how the markets initially reacted to the Covid-19 threat.
The impact of all the new rounds of money printing in the U.S. and Europe on the precious metals prices is incredibly positive in the long run, which does not make the short-term decline improbable. Markets can and will get ahead of themselves and decline afterward – sometimes very profoundly – before continuing with their upward climb.
The plan is to exit the current short positions in miners after they decline far and fast, but at the same time, silver drops just “significantly” (we expect this to happen in 0 – 5 weeks). In other words, the decline in silver should be severe, but the decline in the miners should look “ridiculous”. That’s what we did in March when we bought practically right at the bottom. It is a soft, but at the same time, a broad instruction, so additional confirmations are necessary.
I expect this confirmation to come from gold, reaching about $1,800. If – at the same time – gold moves to about $1,800 and miners are already after a ridiculously big drop (say, to $31 - $32 in the GDX ETF – or lower), we will probably exit the short positions in the miners and at the same time enter short positions in silver. It will be tempting to wait with opening the short position in silver until the entire sector rebounds, but such a rebound could last only a couple of hours, so it would be challenging to successfully execute such a strategy.
The precious metals market's final bottom is likely to take shape when gold shows significant strength relative to the USD Index. It could take the form of a gold’s rally or a bullish reversal, despite the ongoing USD Index rally.
Summing up, the next big move in the precious metals market is likely to be to the downside and – given the decrease in political uncertainty as well as last Monday’s slide in gold, silver, and mining stocks – it seems that this move lower has already begun.
As the USD Index appears to have ended forming its broad bottom pattern, it’s likely to rally, causing gold to slide. At some point gold is likely to stop responding to dollar’s bearish indications, and based on the above analysis, it seems that we might expect this to take place in December.
Naturally, everyone's trading is their responsibility. But in our opinion, if there ever was a time to either enter a short position in the miners or increase its size if it was not already sizable, it's now. We made money on the March decline, and on the March rebound, with another massive slide already underway.
After the sell-off (that takes gold to about $1,700 or lower), we expect the precious metals to rally significantly. The final decline might take as little as 1-6 weeks, so it's important to stay alert to any changes.
Most importantly, please stay healthy and safe. We made a lot of money on the March decline and the subsequent rebound (its initial part) price moves (and we'll likely earn much more in the following weeks and months), but you have to be healthy to enjoy the results.
As always, we'll keep you - our subscribers - informed.
Trading capital (supplementary part of the portfolio; our opinion): Full speculative short positions (300% of the full position) in mining stocks is justified from the risk to reward point of view with the following binding exit profit-take price levels:
Senior mining stocks (price levels for the GDX ETF): binding profit-take exit price: $32.02; stop-loss: none (the volatility is too big to justify a SL order in case of this particular trade); binding profit-take level for the DUST ETF: $28.73; stop-loss for the DUST ETF: none (the volatility is too big to justify a SL order in case of this particular trade)
Junior mining stocks (price levels for the GDXJ ETF): binding profit-take exit price: $42.72; stop-loss: none (the volatility is too big to justify a SL order in case of this particular trade); binding profit-take level for the JDST ETF: $21.22; stop-loss for the JDST ETF: none (the volatility is too big to justify a SL order in case of this particular trade)
For-your-information targets (our opinion; we continue to think that mining stocks are the preferred way of taking advantage of the upcoming price move, but if for whatever reason one wants / has to use silver or gold for this trade, we are providing the details anyway. In our view, silver has greater potential than gold does):
Silver futures downside profit-take exit price: unclear at this time - initially, it might be a good idea to exit, when gold moves to $1,703.
Gold futures downside profit-take exit price: $1,703
Long-term capital (core part of the portfolio; our opinion): No positions (in other words: cash
Insurance capital (core part of the portfolio; our opinion): Full position
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Please note that we describe the situation for the day that the alert is posted in the trading section. In other words, if we are writing about a speculative position, it means that it is up-to-date on the day it was posted. We are also featuring the initial target prices to decide whether keeping a position on a given day is in tune with your approach (some moves are too small for medium-term traders, and some might appear too big for day-traders).
Additionally, you might want to read why our stop-loss orders are usually relatively far from the current price.
Please note that a full position doesn't mean using all of the capital for a given trade. You will find details on our thoughts on gold portfolio structuring in the Key Insights section on our website.
As a reminder - "initial target price" means exactly that - an "initial" one. It's not a price level at which we suggest closing positions. If this becomes the case (like it did in the previous trade), we will refer to these levels as levels of exit orders (exactly as we've done previously). Stop-loss levels, however, are naturally not "initial", but something that, in our opinion, might be entered as an order.
Since it is impossible to synchronize target prices and stop-loss levels for all the ETFs and ETNs with the main markets that we provide these levels for (gold, silver and mining stocks - the GDX ETF), the stop-loss levels and target prices for other ETNs and ETF (among other: UGLD, DGLD, USLV, DSLV, NUGT, DUST, JNUG, JDST) are provided as supplementary, and not as "final". This means that if a stop-loss or a target level is reached for any of the "additional instruments" (DGLD for instance), but not for the "main instrument" (gold in this case), we will view positions in both gold and DGLD as still open and the stop-loss for DGLD would have to be moved lower. On the other hand, if gold moves to a stop-loss level but DGLD doesn't, then we will view both positions (in gold and DGLD) as closed. In other words, since it's not possible to be 100% certain that each related instrument moves to a given level when the underlying instrument does, we can't provide levels that would be binding. The levels that we do provide are our best estimate of the levels that will correspond to the levels in the underlying assets, but it will be the underlying assets that one will need to focus on regarding the signs pointing to closing a given position or keeping it open. We might adjust the levels in the "additional instruments" without adjusting the levels in the "main instruments", which will simply mean that we have improved our estimation of these levels, not that we changed our outlook on the markets. We are already working on a tool that would update these levels daily for the most popular ETFs, ETNs and individual mining stocks.
Our preferred ways to invest in and to trade gold along with the reasoning can be found in the how to buy gold section. Furthermore, our preferred ETFs and ETNs can be found in our Gold & Silver ETF Ranking.
As a reminder, Gold & Silver Trading Alerts are posted before or on each trading day (we usually post them before the opening bell, but we don't promise doing that each day). If there's anything urgent, we will send you an additional small alert before posting the main one.
Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Editor-in-chief, Gold & Silver Fund Manager