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Isn’t gold supposed to be a haven in times of stress? you know, real money? What happened then? why didn’t gold skyrocket to $2000 oz.? if it isn’t going to go up when the world’s financial market is in meltdown, when is it going to go up? The answer deduced from market history is that gold’s role as a safe haven is simply a myth.
It speaks to gold’s weakness in this market that it bucked the seasonality trend that I pointed out for the month of September. The AMEX Gold Bugs Index (HUI) - the only index which is comprised of only gold stocks - started and ended September at pretty much the same level.
My favourite indicator to time the gold market is the k-ratio. To understand how, check out the previous link. Here is a long term chart:
The k-ratio held almost constant, treading sideways for five years as both the numerator, gold stocks, and the denominator, gold prices, kept pace with each other. Because I was using this indicator to time the gold market, I lost some money because I didn’t see a fundamentally attractive opportunity at those prices. While it was painful to watch this historically reliable indicator, it has once again proven its merit. This is probably what people went through when it continued going lower and lower in the late 1990’s and 2000.
So what accounts for the collapse of the k-ratio? While gold has fallen around 4% for the year so far, gold stocks have fallen almost 50%! Believe it or not, that’s actually more than the equity market (S&P 500 Index). A large part of this is probably due to the forced liquidation that we witnessed in the markets last week.
Ironically, now that gold equity prices have fallen this much, the k-ratio is at levels last seen in late 1998 to 2002 - when the gold price was ~$250! The current gold price is more than 3 times that.
The AMEX Gold Bugs Index (HUI) has strong support at 175, which would mean the k-ratio to the low 0.20’s and once again, it could set up as a buying opportunity. I really don’t think we’ll revisit the lows that the k-ratio set in 2000 because that was due to a huge asset dislocation (thanks to Greenspan’s bubble).
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