How to Join the Mining Party… Before it Ends
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, on Mar. 4 I wrote “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 be 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.
(We normally include the “Letters to the Editor” section in the full version of Gold & Silver Trading Alerts only, but today I decided to include it also. It might be quite informative too. Enjoy:)
Letters to the Editor
Q: Could you update your thoughts regarding physical [gold and silver] for those looking to acquire additional positions – specifically, what do you think premiums and availability are going to look like when/if spot goes a $100 or $200 down from here? By way of example, I bought some U.S. gold buffaloes at $1854 spot at $1954. Those same coins at $1710 spot are still around $1930, if there are any to be found.
A: It’s a tough call, because the premium values don’t follow the technical patterns. Still, based on the analogy to situations that seem similar to what we saw recently, it seems that we can indeed say something about the likely physical values close to the likely $1,450 bottom.
Figure 43 – Source: didthesystemcollapse.org
The above chart shows the eBay premium for 1 oz Gold American Eagle coins over the spot gold price.
In April 2020, the premium spiked at about 14%. It was likely even higher in March (we don’t have the direct data), but the volatility back then was bigger than it is right now, so it seems that the current premium and the April 2020 premium values are a better proxy for the future bottoming premiums than the March 2020 bottom premium would be. If the volatility increases, one could see the premium at about 15% or so.
With gold at about $1,450, the above-mentioned information means Gold American Eagle coins can cost about $1,670.
Still, since gold futures prices seem more predictable than the prices of bullion coins, I’d focus on the former even while timing the purchase of the latter.
Moreover, please note that I’m planning to focus on buying mining stocks close to the bottom and move to metals only later. The reason is that miners tend to outperform in the early days of a major rally (just like they did in the first quarter of 2016). The fact that the premium is likely to be high when gold bottoms in a volatile manner is yet another reason for the above. When switching from mining stocks to physical holdings several weeks or months later, one might be buying at a smaller premium over the spot, and also after having gained more on miners than on the metals. Of course, the above is just my opinion, and you can purchase whatever you want – after all, it’s your capital and your investment decisions.
Q: Hi P.R., thanks for the advice on this trend, it’s been an amazing trade.
As I’m trading on XAUUSD, are you also able to advise the targets for a gold long entry, or should I wait for the final bottom before opening any longs?
A: I’m very happy that you’re making profits thanks to my analyses. While I think that the very short-term (for the next 5 trading days or so) outlook for gold, silver and mining stocks is bullish, I think the targets are more predictable for mining stocks than they are for gold and – especially – silver. Still, this time, the short-term upside target for gold is also relatively clear – at about $1,770. That’s why I put the $1,758 in the “For-your-information target” for gold in the “Summary” section below.
Q: Are we looking for the short-term upside move to be 1-5 weeks before the final decline into the 1350-1500 zone? I’m a little unsure of the timing you’re laying out.
A: I’m looking for the short-term upswing to take place between 1 and 3 weeks – that’s the part of the “Overview of the Upcoming Part of the Decline” section about it:
- It seems to me that the initial bottom has either just formed or is about to form with gold falling to roughly $1,670 – $1,680, likely this week.
- I expect the rebound to take place during the next 1-3 weeks.
- After the rebound (perhaps to $33 – $34 in the GDX), I plan to get back in with the short position in the mining stocks.
In my opinion it’s most likely that this counter-trend rally will take about 1 – 1.5 weeks. Then, I think that the decline to about $1,450 in gold will start.
Q: You have informed us to make the move when the Gold price “REACHES” $1693.00. My question is; Does the word “Reach” mean when the price touches that point, if only for a moment, or does “Reach” mean when it closes the day at or below $1693.00?
Thank you for your response to this question.
A: “Reaching” a price means the same thing as “touching” the price or “moving to” the price. This means moving to this price level on an intraday basis – even for just one tick . If I mean closing prices, I will specifically describe them as such.
For instance, I currently have binding exit positions for the current long position in the mining stocks – and these are exactly the price levels that I have put in my brokerage account as a limit sell order.
Q: Please comment on the Hindenburg Omen for stocks:
Figure 44 – Source: Refinitiv
A: Thanks. The Hindenburg omen is not one of the most reliable indicators – even on the above chart, it’s clear that most of the signals were not followed by declines. Please note how many fake initial signals there were before stocks finally declined in 2019 or 2020. There are many other reasons to think that stocks are going to move much lower, though. In the very short-term they could still move higher, but this move could be fake and could turn out to be the right shoulder of the head-and-shoulders top formation.
Q: 1) for shorter-term trades such as the potential 10% pop in the GDX, is NUGT better?
2) the plan after we re-enter a short trade when the GDX gets to $33/$34 might mean a longer haul before we hit rock bottom . You have mentioned time-scales up to 20 weeks (ish). Due to a longer holding period , would the CFD route be a cheaper route when compared to NUGT? I’m asking in general terms because each provider imposes different fees and I don’t expect you to comment on the fees charged by IG, which is the service I use.
I also recognize that NUGT only offers 2 X leverage, whereas CFD’s offer up to five times leverage.
Finally, the manner in which you detail the rich tapestry of the economic forces that impact PMs is revealing and educational. I find this all fascinating.
I have my own views which can be summed up like this: How many inflationary false-dawns and panics has the bond market had? Ever since 2008, when the FED launched QE, there have been numerous bouts and hissy fits of inflationary expectations that have subsequently sunk like a dodgy soufflé. I think this time is no different and it’s entirely possible the 30-year bond could drop to ZERO. I am in the deflationary camp.
How might the 10 year at zero or possibly sub-zero and longer, out on the duration curve to (TLT ETF) dropping to 0.5%, affect the price of gold?
Your thoughts as ever, are much appreciated
A: 1) That depends on whether one seeks leverage or not, and how much thereof. Please note that some short-term trades could sometimes become medium-term trades if the market decides to consolidate or move in the other direction before continuing the predicted trend. In this case, non-leveraged instruments are at an advantage over the leveraged ones, because they don’t suffer from the back-and-forth trading as much as the leveraged ones do.
If one’s desired exposure to the GDX ETF wouldn’t exceed the cash that one dedicated to trading, then in order to have the same exposure one would simply have half of the capital employed in NUGT (which is 2x leveraged). This way, the exposure would be identical, but the NUGT would imply additional risk of losing more capital if the trade takes much longer than planned and/or if the price moves adversely first.
Please note that there is also an additional way to gain leverage (it’s not available for everyone, though) and that is through the use of margin on one’s brokerage account. I’d prefer to use margin for the GDX before aiming to gain leverage through NUGT.
In other words, I’d first use more cash for GDX before I’d go into NUGT. If I wanted to have even bigger exposure than the one achieved by employing more capital to GDX, I would then consider using margin, and then I would consider using NUGT if I still wanted to get more leverage.
There might be some traders who would seek to combine both for even bigger leverage (buying NUGT on margin), but this is definitely not something that I’d recommend to most people. In fact, it seems that in many cases, sticking to the GDX would be a good way to go.
2) I think I already replied to the first part of your question (NUGT vs. CFD) above. Also, for other people reading this reply – please note that CFDs (contracts for difference) are not available in many areas, including the USA and Canada.
I’m glad to read that you enjoy reading my explanations of the current situation in the markets (precisely, my opinions on it).
Real interest rates are one of the most important drivers for gold (along with the USD Index), so a drop in the 10-year rates to zero or sub-zero levels would likely be very beneficial for the gold prices.
Also, based on the pace at which the rates have rallied recently, they might be topping here, but… There was no decline in the previous 40 years that was as big as what we saw between 2018 and 2020. Consequently, the corrective upswing might be bigger as well. Also, the above chart is not necessarily the scale that is big enough to make very long-term conclusions.
Over the past centuries, whenever the rates fell very low, they then rallied back up with vengeance. After WW2, it theoretically would have been a “good idea” to keep stimulating the economy with low rates – and yet, they soared. Right now, the monetary authorities strive to be very dovish and keep pumping liquidity into the system, and yet the rates are rallying anyway.
So, while the analogy to the previous years – or the past few decades – suggests that the rally in the rates might be over or close to being over, the very long-term chart suggests otherwise.
To make the situation even more complicated, if the stock market has already topped in February, and we have already entered the Kondratiev winter cycle, it means that we can theoretically expect the rates to fall, then rise in a credit crunch, and then fall much lower.
All in all, the outlook for the interest rates is anything but simple and clear. Perhaps what we see right now already IS the credit crunch and the 10-year rates are on their way to above 2% – after all, they used to return above their 200-day moving average after the previous medium-term declines. It seems to me that the move above 2% in the 10-year rates could correspond with gold’s decline below $1,500.
Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of today’s all-encompassing Gold & Silver Trading Alert. The latter includes multiple premium details such as the targets for gold and mining stocks that could be reached in the next few weeks. If you’d like to read those premium details, we have good news for you. As soon as you sign up for our free gold newsletter, you’ll get a free 7-day no-obligation trial access to our premium Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. It’s really free – sign up today.
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Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care
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