The poor besieged dollar gets a short reprieve as the gold bull market pauses. But the gold bugs suddenly have an unexpected and persuasive ally in their camp. As an interesting addendum to what’s next for gold? in the most recent quarterly client letter, Paul Tudor Jones II builds a fundamental case for a long term bull market.
He compares the relative historical value of the precious metal to the US monetary base, crude oil and the S&P 500 index. Their econometric model declares “gold is 20% undervalued over the next 24 months”. But the rationale is not restricted to the monetary forces which are at play.
Strengthening his case, he delves into the basic demand and supply of the commodity. On the supply side, mining production has been stagnant for the past 10 years. And central bank selling has slowed to a trickle with no new sales planned in the future.
On the demand side, the physical investment allure of gold continues strong. As well, to that we can add the penchant of modern investors for digital investment in gold. Relative to the gargantuan size of the equity market, the bond market and alternative investments (real estate, timber, etc.) gold’s share continues to be lilliputian. This means that even a sliver of asset flows diverted to gold will dramatically alter the equation.
Gold ETF holdings as a ratio of above ground stocks has increased incrementally 4 years. And the trend, does not look like it is about to reverse.
While Paul T. Jones presents a text book case for the long term bull based on fundamental analysis, I can’t help but think it is all an elaborate window dressing to rationalize a position he has arrived at through other, shall we say, more esoteric means. Clients obviously prefer logical, well thought out reasons for why a professional is allocating their money a certain way.
No one would be comfortable to be told that their trust fund is being gambled on nothing more than squiggles and trend lines or better yet, something called Elliott Wave (which we know, by the way, that Paul T. Jones II used to make a killing on Black Monday while practically everyone else on Wall Street was busy having an aneurysm). Interestingly enough right now Elliott Wave is bearish on gold.
This is just speculation on my part, of course. I have no way of knowing exactly why Tudor Investments is bullish on gold. Maybe I’m too cynical and we can take them at face value. In any case, even if the long term gold case is solid, you might want to fine tune the entry by looking at the gold sector sentiment.
Here is a chart comparing the price of gold and the Hulbert Gold Sentiment Index, which measures a subset of newsletters which time the gold stock sector:
While the Hulbert gold sentiment metric isn’t as high as we’ve seen it historically, at these levels it does not bode well for another leg up. At least not without a pause first. As I mentioned before, to me it isn’t just the altitude of the bullish sentiment, it is also the attitude: as gold has corrected recently sentiment continues to reflect the same amount of optimism.
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