How sustainable is the commodity rebound?


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 29 July 2013

I have seen some buzz and excitement among technical analysts and in the blogosphere about a rebound in the commodity sectors of the stock market. While these sectors were highly oversold and a bounce was not unexpected, my analysis suggest that the sustainability of a rebound is unlikely. The more likely scenario is a sideways consolidation to digest the gains from the tactical rally.

Here is the chart of the metal stocks relative to the market. The group has rallied out of a relative downtrend, which is constructive, but faces some overhead relative resistance. My best guess is a period of sideways consolidation going forward:

Here are the gold stocks against the market. I’m not sure why people are getting so excited here. Sure, the short-term relative downtrend has been broken, but the longer term relative downtrend remains intact.

Here is the relative chart of the energy sector. It bears some semblance to the metals – rally out of a relative downtrend and exhibiting a consolidation pattern.

Longer term, I just get very excited about this sector unless it can show some sustained relative strength to break the pattern of lower relative lows and lower relative highs:

Here is the long term relative chart of Materials. The same comments that I made about energy applies to this sector as well:

The same thing goes for the metals. Well, you get the idea.

Tactically, I also like to watch the high-beta small cap resource stocks relative to their large cap brethren to measure the “animal spirits” of the market to give me clues as to the sustainability of this rebound. Here are the junior golds (GDXJ) relative to the senior olgds (GDX). Unless the juniors can show more strength to break the relative downtrend, it suggests to me that this rally is likely to be brief and fleeting.

Up here in the Great White North, I monitor the relative return of the junior TSX Venture, which is weighted towards the speculative junior resource names, to the more senior and more broadly diversified TSX Index.

Nope. No rebound in animal spirits here either.

The dreams of gold bugs
I also saw some analysis that is supportive of a strong gold rally, but upon further analysis I believe that the analysis could be interpreted in different ways and it is not necessarily supportive of a bullish position in gold. Consider this chart showing the relative performance of the Amex Gold Bugs Index against SPX, which has been rattling around in the blogosphere:

It was pointed out that we are experiencing bullish divergences on the 14-week RSI and in the past three occasions, the HUI/SPX ratio has rallied strongly in favor of HUI. Moreover, the ratio is sitting at a major relative support level and, given the highly oversold conditions and the bullish RSI divergences, conditions are highly suggestive of a strong rally for the golds.

While I would not rule out a tactical rally in gold and gold stocks, I question the sustainability of any bullish thrust. I would point out that the highlighted bullish RSI divergences occurred in a secular bull market for gold and other commodities. It is questionable whether gold remains in a secular bull today. Consider the occasions on the left had side of the chart, where oversold RSI conditions occurred in the HUI/SPX ratio in a bear market. On those occasions, the rebound was only a blip and the downtrend continued soon afterwards.

The key issue to the analysis that underlies the above chart is the question of whether gold is in a bull or bear market. Choose your interpretation and your own conclusion.

As well, there is the Commitment of Traders report showing an off-the-scale reading in the net gold positions of commercials, or hedgers:

The COT report seems highly supportive of a bullish impulse in gold, but consider what happened in 2008 when we saw a similar reading. The COT “buy” signal report date was September 16, 2008. Soon after, the gold price proceeded to tank, though it did recover for several months,

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Fundamental backdrop is not constructive
It’s not just technical headwinds that the commodity sectors face, the macro fundamental backdrop does not scream sustainable rebound for these late cycle sectors. Walter Kurtz of Sober Look highlighted this chart from Credit Suisse showing the relative performance of cyclical vs. defensive sectors by region. The US and eurozone ratios are fairly flat, while Japan shows a minor uptick and China, which is the major marginal buyer of commodities, is going south.

Can the commodity sectors rebound strongly in the absence of Chinese demand and a so-so performance from the major developed markets?

The signals from China are clear. The new leadership is intent on re-balancing the  economic growth from an export and infrastructure driven model to a consumer drive model. While the government appeared to have blinked last week when Premier Li Keqiang asserted that growth would not be allowed to go below 7%, it seems that any stimulus measures would be highly targeted and localized. In fact, Bloomberg reported that the government ordered 1400 companies to cut capacity in a highly targeted move to shift the focus away from infrastructure spending:

China ordered more than 1,400 companies in 19 industries to cut excess production capacity this year, part of efforts to shift toward slower, more-sustainable economic growth.

Steel, ferroalloys, electrolytic aluminum, copper smelting, cement and paper are among areas affected, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement yesterday, in which it announced the first-batch target of this year to cut overcapacity. Excess capacity must be idled by September and eliminated by year-end, the ministry said, identifying the production lines to be shut within factories.

China’s extra production has helped drive down industrial-goods prices and put companies’ profits at risk, while a survey this week showed manufacturing weakening further in July. Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to curb overcapacity as part of efforts to restructure the economy as growth this year is poised for the weakest pace since 1990.

Does this sound like a government that is panicked about growth falling below 7% and is anxious to stimulate at all costs? Do these measures sound like they are supportive of a short-term spike in commodity demand?

In short, the rebound in gold and other commodity prices appear to be temporary and the bear trend will likely re-assert itself after a short rebound. This does not look like the start of an intermediate term uptrend.

For commodity bulls, the current environment is like the unfortunate case of being locked up by the secret police and having your interrogator go home for the evening. You may think that the torture is over, but the beatings will continue when he returns in the morning.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest. 

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Giving the bulls the benefit of the doubt


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 25 May 2013

OK, I was partially right. On Monday, I wrote that commodities were setting up for a rebound (see Commodities poised to rally?):

All of these conditions are lining up to suggest that commodities are poised to rebound. The euro, commodity sensitive currencies and gold are all at key technical support levels. As I write these words, precious metal prices are substantially in the red. Watch for signs of stabilization, or better yet, reversal on the day. If that were to happen, expect that the rotation back into cyclical sectors will continue and stock prices to continue to grind higher.

I was partly right. Gold appears to be turning around here, though it is more correlated with the safety trade than the risk trade. The chart of GLD below shows a constructive bottoming process, with overhead resistance at about the 150 level.

On the other hand, the rotation into deep cyclicals hasn’t fully developed yet. Consider copper as an example. The red metal has rallied through a downtrend and seems to be consolidating sideways. 

Other industrial metals remain in a downtrend, though.

And oil prices, as measured by Brent global oil price benchmark, are still in a downtrend and has not participated yet in a commodity upswing.

Though natural gas seems to march to beat of its own drummer as it staged an upside breakout, driven by positive fundamentals.

I remain constructive on the rotation into the deep cyclicals. Despite the market’s freakout over Bernanke’s off the cuff remarks* about the possibility that the pace of QE might be tapered, followed by a poor HSBC manufacturing PMI out of China and Japanese stocks cratering by 7% (though they are recovering as I write these words), the technicals for the cyclical trade looks intact.   Consider this relative performance chart of the Morgan Stanley Cyclical Index (CYC) against the market. These stocks held up well in light of the mini-panic over the last couple of days.

Joe Fahny wrote that he is seeing very jittery traders and signs of panic, which suggests to me that any pullback is likely to be short-lived: 

Today is May 22, 2013. The general market declined by less than 1% (0.82% to be exact) and my phone has been blowing up with panic by people who are IN the market!!! My trading friends are either calling or texting me with serious worry, and even a few stories of mini “blow-ups” today. I’ve never seen anything like this in my 17 year career! God help these people when (not if) we get a serious correction.

As well, Barry Ritholz pointed out this piece of analysis from Jeff deGraaf [emphasis added]:

Jeff deGraaf, technician extraordinaire (formerly of Lehman now at Renaissance Macro Research) makes an interesting observation about the heavily overbought markets.

Last week, the S&P500 had ~93% of all stocks trading over their 200 day moving average. Normally, this degree of overbought should lead to a correction. As you can see in the inset box, it sometimes does. 

However, if you are looking out a year, we see that over the past 3 instances, markets have been higher.

Is the market overbought? Yes. But these conditions constitute what my former Merrill Lynch colleague Walter Murphy termed a “good overbought” condition.

I am inclined to give the bull case the benefit of the doubt for now, though I am maintaining a risk control discipline of tight and trailing stops.

* Paul Volcker once remarked that as Fed Chairman, he was so guarded about his public remarks that if he went to a restaurant, he would say, “I’ll have the steak, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the chicken or the lobster.”

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

The golden canary in the coalmine


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 14 May 2013

Shortly after the market closed, the WSJ published Jon Hilsenrath’s article Fed Maps Exit From Stimulus in which the Fed discusses a gradual withdrawal of QE:

Federal Reserve officials have mapped out a strategy for winding down an unprecedented $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program meant to spur the economy—an effort to preserve flexibility and manage highly unpredictable market expectations.

No doubt the markets will get spooked by this “leak” and as I write these words, ES futures are moderately in the red. The question is, “How much and how far?”

Watch gold for clues to market direction
For me, the canary in the coalmine is the gold price, which is highly sensitive to expectations of monetary stimulus. Gold has staged a tactical V-shaped bottom and the silver/gold ratio has stabilized, which is constructive (see Watching silver for the bottom in gold). Gold rallied to fill in the gap left by its free fall in April – so now what?

With the news that the Fed is starting to think about an exit from QE, the near term downside risk is evident. There are many opinions about the fallout of this “leak”. Josh Brown has two sides of the story. On one hand, he believes that with sentiment excessively bullish, we aretactically headed for a hard correction. On the other hand, he seems more relaxed longer term.

As for myself, I am watching for a re-test of the April lows in gold to see if that low can hold as a sign for the risk-on trade. Longer term, the April decline caused considerable short-term technical damage, but the long-term uptrend remains intact. The other key issue is whether the uptrend can hold here.

A Lost Decade or a “beautiful deleveraging”?
Will this Fed action be a repeat of the Japanese experience where the authorities go through ease-tighten cycles that caused ups and downs in stock prices? This will be a test of Ray Dalio’s beautiful deleveraging thesis where the United States has undertaken just the right mix of austerity, money printing and debt restructuring.

David Merkel wrote a timely post recently entitled Easy In, Hard Out (updated):

My view is that there is no such thing as a free lunch, not even for governments or central banks.  Any action taken may have benefits, but also imposes costs, even if those costs are imposed upon others.  So it is for the Fed.  At the beginning of 2008, they had a small, clean, low duration (less than three years) balance sheet on assets.  Today the asset side of their balance sheet is much larger, long duration (over 6 years), negatively convex, and modestly dirty as a result.

He went on to outline the risks [emphasis added]:

Fed tightening cycles often start with a small explosion where short-dated financing for thinly capitalized speculators evaporates, because of the anticipation of higher financing rates. Fed tightening cycles often end with a large explosion, where a large levered asset class that was better financed, was not financed well-enough. Think of commercial property in 1989, the stock market in 2000 (particularly the NASDAQ), or housing/banks in 2008. And yet, that is part of what Fed policy is supposed to do: reveal parts of the economy that are running too hot, so that capital can flow from misallocated areas to areas that are more sound. At present, my suspicion is that we still have more trouble to come in banking sector. Here’s why:

We’ve just been through 4.5 years of Fed funds / Interest on reserves being below 0.5% — this is a far greater period of loose policy than that of 1992-1993 and 2002 to mid-2004 together, and there is no apparent end in sight. This is why I believe that any removal of policy accommodation will prove very difficult. The greater the amount of policy accommodation, the greater the difficulties of removal. Watch the fireworks, if/when they try to remove it. And while you have the opportunity now, take some risk off the table.

Zero Hedge put it more forcefully:

It is possible a steep decline in financial assets would ensue with the lowest part of the capital structure being hurt the most. TheFed has chased investors all in the same direction; into risk-seeking securities. Few care about “right-tail” events, but should investors decide to pare risk in reaction to a hint of ‘tapering’, the overshoot to the downside may surprise many. The combination of too many sellers, too few buyers, and dreadful (and declining) liquidity means a down-side overshoot is highly likely. It would provide the Fed with their answer as to whether they have been creating market bubbles.

It appears that the Federal Reserve is well aware of these risks. In a speech last week, Ben Bernanke said that the Fed was closely monitoring the market for signs of excessive risk appetite, such as reaching for yield [emphasis added]:

We use a variety of models and methods; for example, we use empirical models of default risk and risk premiums to analyze credit spreads in corporate bond markets. These assessments are complemented by other information, including measures of volumes, liquidity, and market functioning, as well as intelligence gleaned from market participants and outside analysts. In light of the current low interest rate environment, we are watching particularly closely for instances of “reaching for yield” and other forms of excessive risk-taking, which may affect asset prices and their relationships with fundamentals. It is worth emphasizing that looking for historically unusual patterns or relationships in asset prices can be useful even if you believe that asset markets are generally efficient in setting prices. For the purpose of safeguarding financial stability, we are less concerned about whether a given asset price is justified in some average sense than in the possibility of a sharp move.

The Fed being aware of a problem is the first step. Whether they can either react, either preemptively or after the fact, in the correct manner is another problem.

I prefer to watch the golden canary in the coalmine to see how the markets react, or over-react to the news that the Fed is mapping out a plan to gradually withdraw from quantitative easing.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest. 

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Negative divergences


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 06 May 2013

Further to my last post (see Sell in May?) I am seeing more negative divergences that create more concerns for the bull case. The recent rally, which has been led by the golds and deep cyclicals, have all the appearances of a dead cat bounce rather than the start of a sustainable advance.

Last week, I suggested that traders should watch the silver/gold ratio for signs of a sustainable rally (see Watch silver for the bottom in gold). The idea was that silver, being the more volatile poor man’s gold, should display positive relative strength against gold and lead a precious metal rally if these metals are in the process of making a sustainable bottom. Look at what’s happened to the silver/gold ratio since then:

We can see how the oversold rally developed by analyzing the price charts of the gold and silver ETFs. GLD has certainly staged a classic capitulation and rally pattern to fill in the gap left by its recent freefall:

But what about silver? Sure, this poor man’s gold rallied, but the rebound has been weak and the gap was not filled, which suggests to me that this advance is an oversold rally and the next major move in precious metals is likely to be down.

As confirmation of the bearish commodity trend, the entire industrial metals complex remains weak despite the rebound in gold and oil:

In my previous post, I also wrote about watching the AUDCAD currency cross rate, with the premise that the Australian Dollar is more sensitive to growth in China and the Canadian Dollar is more sensitive to growth in the American economy. A breach of the uptrend in this cross rate would would be a signal that the market’s belief that Chinese growth is slowing, which would be negative for the global growth outlook. The breakdown in this currency pair cannot be regarded as good news for the prospects of Chinese growth.

Another concern is the disappointing South Korean April exports, which were just released and missed expectations at 0.4% compared to estimates of 2.0%. The South Korean economy is regarded as cyclically sensitive as the country is highly exposed to trade with China and Japan.

In addition, Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism recently pointed out that the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index is turning down in every major region in the world. As a reminder, a economic surprise index reading below zero is indicative of more misses than beats on economic data. Falling surprise indices around the world suggests, therefore, that global economic growth is starting to stall.

As we wait for the decisions of the Federal Reserve and ECB this week, it will be a test of market psychology of whether bad news is good news, i.e. economic slowdown will lead to central bank stimulus, which is bullish, or bad news is bad news.

Non-confirmation of SPX new highs
Moreover, with the SPX making new marginal highs, I am not seeing the breadth confirmations from the 52-week highs and lows. While these kinds of breadth divergences can last for months, it nevertheless raises a red flag about the sustainability of this stock market rally.

Here’s another puzzle. If the stock market is making new highs, why is the VIX/VXV ratio (which I described in a previous post here and first pioneered by Bill Luby, see his original post) sitting at only 0.91, which is barely below my “sell signal” mark of 0.92? What is the term structure of the option market telling us?

This is not investment advice
One final point. I have outlined a number of negative divergences that suggest a bearish tone for stocks, but I have not outlined the timing of any trades. In my last post entitled Sell in May? I sketched out a number of likely triggers for to get more defensive. Since then, I have had a number of emails and other responses asking if and when I would write about when those events are triggered and, by extension, when it’s time to sell or short the market.

Let me make this very, very clear: Those triggers are just a set of suggested triggers. It will be up to each individual reader to make up his or her own mind as to what to do if and when each event is triggered. Don’t expect me to hold your hand and shout “sell” for you. You are responsible for your own portfolio and your own profit and loss statement.

For the readers who are waiting for me to tell when to buy or sell, I strongly suggest that you re-read my previous post about why the contents of this blog does not represent investment advice. This blog is a forum for discourse, not pre-digested investment or trading advice.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest. 

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Watching silver for the bottom in gold


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 26 Apr 2013

In a recent post (see What to do about gold?) I suggested that a tradable bottom for gold may be near, but to wait for some signs of price stabilization:

Personally, I would be inclined to step aside for now and watch how this trade develops. Gold could have great upside potential once it bottoms, but prudence calls for waiting for some signs of stabilization before getting long. I would rather miss the first 10-20% move than lose another 50% should I get long prematurely.

It appears that we are seeing signs of a panic bottom and some signs of stability. The chart of GLD is showing the classic signs of a capitulation bottom:

The same goes for GDX:

As much as my inner trader is itching to jump onto the long side with both feet, a falling silver/gold ratio is flashing a caution signal. The chart below shows the silver/gold ratio as the solid line and the gold price as the candlestick chart. If silver is the high-beta version of gold, i.e. the poor man’s gold, why is the silver/gold ratio continuing to fall here?

In the last couple of instances where gold had bottomed, the silver/gold ratio bottomed at about the same time. Here is the 2008 bottom:

Here is 2004:

The most charitable explanation that 2013 corresponds to the 2001 gold bottom, where the silver/gold ratio continued to fall. As the gold price stabilized, rallied and then fell back to test the bottom, the silver/gold ratio stabilized, though it was several months late in confirming the start of the secular gold bull.

The markets in 2011 and 2013 may not be directly comparable. 2001 was the end of a multi-decade secular gold bear market. Today, the price of gold peaked out in late 2012 and fell back below important technical levels after a long bull market.

Bottom line: We are likely seeing a short-term bottom for gold here. On the other hand, don’t be so sure about the intermediate term trend. There may be more downside to come. We’ll just have to watch and wait to see how some of these technical patterns resolve themselves.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest. 

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Latest gold poll


Will Cyprus spark a turnaround in metals and mining?


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 19 Mar 2013

The blogosphere is full of comments about the Cypriot bailout on the weekend (for examples, see How to start a banking crisis, Cyprus edition and The Cyprus conspiracy II). Instead of writing about Cyprus, a topic that I have no special expertise in, I thought that it would be timely to write an update to my blog post on February 19 about the resource-based sectors (see Time to buy gold and commodity stocks?).

Since I wrote that post, the metals and mining stocks have begun to stage a turnaround. To recap, the mining group is showing signs of being overly beaten up and washed out. This chart of XME, the mining ETF, against the market shows that it is trading at or near investor capitulation levels relative to its long-term history.

Take a look at the shorter term one-year relative chart of XME vs. SPY. The miners are starting to show some positive relative strength against SPY. Is that the sign of a nascent recovery?

Similarly, gold stocks are highly unloved against bullion. I have not been a big fan of buying gold stocks for gold bulls (see Where is the leverage to gold?), but in this case a long gold stock/short bullion position is likely to have much better risk/return profile than any time in the recent past.

Shorter term, however, my inner trader is still watching this pair of a relative turnaround as the HUI/Gold pair remains in a relative downtrend.

On the other hand, I can’t say I am overly bullish on gold itself. The silver/gold ratio, which is a measure of the speculative interest in precious metals, is stuck in the middle of its historical band indicating neither excessive bullishness nor excessive bearishness on the PM complex.

Nevertheless, I am seeing signs of a capitulation, or washout, in investor sentiment. Here in Canada, the chart of the junior Venture Exchange Index against the more senior TSX Index shows that the ratio is at or near levels indicating investor capitulation in the juniors, which are mostly junior resource companies.

Not enough energy in Energy?
In my last post on this topic, I was more constructive on the energy sector as the sector was showing signs of a relative strength turnaround. Since then, the sector remains range-bound against the market and appears to be consolidating sideways on a relative basis.

The price of Brent crude confirms my observation about the range bound, or sideways consolidation pattern shown by energy stocks.

At this point in time, the energy sector may not have enough energy, or momentum, to present itself as the new emerging leadership sector.

As I write these word, the markets have a risk-off reaction over the Cyprus news. EUR is plummeting against all currencies and against JPY in particular; USD is up: ES is falling and gold is up marginally but a base metal like copper is down. While the initial market reaction isn’t necessary the sustainable reaction, the Cypriot event may serve as a catalyst for the resource sectors (and the metals in particular) to stage a turnaround and present themselves as the new market leadership. It will also prove to be an important market test for the price of gold (and the gold bugs), to see whether investors flock to USD assets or to gold in this instance of an unexpected eurozone confiscation tax of banking depositor assets.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Time to buy gold and commodity stocks?


Author Cam Hui

Posted: 20 Feb 2013

Last week, I wrote that traders looking for a correction should closely monitor the behavior of cyclical stocks (see Correction? Watch the cyclicals!). So far, cyclical stocks remain in a relative uptrend when compared to the market and their relative uptrend remains intact. There is no hint that a correction has begun.

What I do find unusual is that while the relative performance of cyclical stocks remain robust, the shares of commodity producers continue to lag. This is curious when resource stocks represent the most cyclically sensitive sectors of the stock market.

In addition, the price of gold is deflating despite the talk of currency wars. Gold is an alternate currency and should be a beneficiary under a scenario where global central banks engage in competitive devaluation. However, the price of gold is fallen so much that a dark cross, or death cross, is rapidly approaching.

Commodity producers washed out
In the past few months, gold stock investors have fared worse than holders of bullion. I have been a long advocate that gold bulls should hold bullion rather than the shares (see Where is the leverage to gold? as one of many examples of previous posts on this topic). However, we may be approaching a point where traders could tactically favor gold stocks over bullion.

The graph below show the ratio of the Amex Gold Bugs Index (HUI) against the price of gold charted on a weekly basis. I have further overlaid a 14-week RSI on the top panel. Note that weekly RSI is now below 30 indicating an oversold reading. Past oversold readings have marked points where gold stocks have outperformed gold. In addition, the HUI/gold ratio is nearing the bottom of 2008, when investors dumped gold stocks in a bout of panic selling.

An analysis of the relative performance mining stocks show a similar pattern. Mining stocks are also approaching a key relative support level marked by the 2008 panic bottom.

These charts suggest to me that mining stocks are getting washed out and they are poised for a reversal in the months ahead.

Within the resource and commodity producing sector, energy stocks show a more constructive relative performance pattern. The chart below of the relative performance of this sector indicate that energy stocks have rallied through a relative downtrend line, i.e. they’ve stopped underperforming and a reversal may be close at hand.

Based on this analysis, my inner investor tells me that it is time to start accumulating positions in energy and mining. My inner trader, on the other hand, wants to dip his toe in the energy sector, play the golds for a bounce and wait for the relative reversal in mining before committing funds.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

Gold Equities Likely Disappointed Today


Author Larry Berman

Posted: 1 Aug 2012 re-posted from etfcm

If historical patterns repeat, and we know they do, gold equities are likely to be disappointed for a few days following the FOMC not adding more QE today. Although most economists surveyed think they will add more QE at some point, the Bernanke has clearly stated that they want to see things get a bit worse before they act.

World oil process weakened again yesterday as WTI struggles to hold above $90 while the XEG put in a notable bearish reversal pattern, perhaps capping the near-term upside for the TSX. If gold and energy look weaker, it is hard for the TSX overall to do much on the upside.

 

Gold and Commodities Respond to QE Expectations


Author Larry Berman

Posted: 30 July 2012 re-posted from etfcm

So commodities are bouncing a bit based on the expectation the ECB is about to launch a major QE effort to reduce borrowing costs in Spain and Italy. Gold has responded by breaking out above a 4 month trendline of lower highs and should be able to test the upper resistance in the $1655 to $1690 range. The 200-day average is at $1655, but it is not seen as an important level. The 50% retracement from the Feb high to the May low is at $1659 with $1690 the 61.8% retracement. The declining trendline of the 2011 and 2012 highs projects into the $1680 area today and is declining at about $1 per day.

Gold stocks continue to see significant earnings impairments from exponentially rising costs, so if gold cannot make a material move above this overhead resistance, gold stocks are unlikely to do much better than a retest of nearby resistance areas either. NEM missed big today just like ABX did yesterday. However, seasonals are bullish for the sector for the next few months, so a buy dips bias makes sense.

 

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