Gold and Silver • Bill Fleckenstein..Has gold’s next bull run begun?
Bill Fleckenstein..Has gold’s next bull run begun?
A week ago, it looked as if gold was set to bottom and might turn around soon. The turn may be here already. Also: What caused Facebook’s face plant.
By Bill_Fleckenstein Fri 4:52 PM
I rarely revisit a topic just a week after I write about it, but given how much time I spend focused on precious metals, the trading in that sector over the last handful of sessions seems to be calling for me to make an exception.
In my May 18 column, "Gold’s fortunes will turn around soon," I discussed the recent correction in gold and gold mining stocks, concluding, "At some point the stage will be set (if it isn’t already) for an unbelievably explosive rally to the upside in metals. I think, given how stretched everything has become, that day is close, but that could mean a matter of weeks or it could be a few days."
Low and behold?
In fact, signs of stabilization were appearing even as I wrote that. In a column on my subscription site, FleckensteinCapital.com, the day before last week’s MSN Money article appeared, I speculated about whether the previous day’s low for precious metals might be "it."
The action in the miners the next day (i.e., the day last week’s column was published) was strong, but not definitive. Still, I felt there was some chance it could turn out to be "the" low for the year, while expecting that some part of the range between $1,580 and $1,540 an ounce for gold could be retested once or twice.
The key questions in my mind at that point were when, and from where, the first pullback would come, as well as how deep might it be.
We soon found out, as gold dropped from $1,600 to $1,533 between Sunday night and Wednesday morning.
Monday’s trading was sort of tepid, as the world apparently focused on Facebook (FB -9.62%) (more on that below).
Tuesday was negative, as the metals went on a nerve-testing roller-coaster ride. First, they staged a pretty decent turnaround, led by silver, which declined about 1.5% overnight but quickly turned that loss into a similar-sized rally. That didn’t stick, however, and silver lost 1% on the day. Gold turned a roughly 1.5% loss into a tiny loss, then that fizzled, and it ended up losing over 1% on the day. However, gold mining stocks, amazingly, behaved pretty well.
The next day’s trading (Wednesday, May 23) brought a giant, stunning reversal to the upside in gold stocks, even as other metals were tanking, then reversed, making it seem very likely that their collective low on May 16 will not be broken.
Thus, the stage remains set for more rallies.
The price of peace of mind
What a precious metals bull would like to see is silver, gold and the miners all ratchet up "a level" together on decent volume. We’ve seen better behavior from the miners (finally), but gold and silver need to start acting like the miners are beginning to (if you can believe I said that) if they really want to convince us that the whole complex has turned the corner.
If May 16 was the low, of course, it means folks will have to pay up a bit to capture this idea going forward. However, given how depressed the metals complex has been, paying up a little bit and being a bit more confident in one’s risk assessment is not an insane strategy, especially with regard to mining stocks. When markets or sectors have been bludgeoned as the metals and the miners have, any subsequent rally will also have pullbacks, so it’s not necessary to leap to a decision at the very first sign of strength.
Wall Street can’t quite find the ‘Like’ button
I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on news that eclipsed all the machinations in precious metals, that of course being the Facebook initial public offering. As everyone knows, its first day of trading was marred by the Nasdaq’s ($COMPX +1.18%) "technical difficulties," and I had to chuckle over the irony of a Nasdaq company with a New York Stock Exchange (two-letter) symbol having a communication breakdown on the "exchange of the future" (as the Nasdaq bills itself).
Since that was sorted out, the actual trading, despite all the hysteria and hype, has been a catastrophe. As most everyone knows, after having been priced at $38 and opening at $42, it has plunged to around $32, which has prompted a flurry of lawsuits.
This should have been the easiest deal in the world to price, as the company had been trading in quasi-public fashion for more than a year. Yet the underwriters and the company got greedy, turning what should have been a slam-dunk into a disaster.
It is mind-boggling to me how the valuation and size of the deal were increased, as well as the number of shares that will become free-trading in the not-too-distant future. If there was ever an IPO set up to experience indigestion right out of the gate, it has been this one, and that is exactly what has happened.
So while the Nasdaq glitches caused some problems, Facebook became "Facebomb" due to greed and arrogance.
At the time of publication, Bill Fleckenstein owned gold, silver, and precious-metals mining stocks.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Wed May 30, 2012 12:27 am
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