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What a Week for Gold

What a week it’s been for gold. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday did nothing, other than emit a slightly more hawkish tone. Gold slipped a touch as a result, but only a touch. Then on Thursday the Bank of Japan surprised traders by not providing further stimulus.

Against an expectation that rates were going to go even more negative, the Bank’s decision to leave rates unchanged was about as hawkish as can be. The market reacted as though Japan had raised rates: the Yen, which had been sitting on the brink of a steep decline, shot up, gaining more than 3% in a day.

Yes, in a world where currencies rarely move more than a tenth of a percent a day, the Yen gained more than 3%. In response the US dollar fell 0.73%.

US stocks also fell, which is what happens every time a major central bank threatens to cut off the supply of free money.

Gold soared.

The move remains significant even when you zoom out to the six-month chart.

Gold’s moves continue to validate my perspective, which can be summed up as:

Gold and gold stocks may correct over the summer, but they also might not. Positioning now has you prepared in case of the latter. If there is a correction, remember to keep it in context. Buying right at the bottom is great but what will really matter as the gold market gets going is that you established positions within the broad bottom and held on for the ride.

The macro article in last week’s letter, included below, spoke to that theme following the non-news from the US Federal Reserve.

Before that, a quick pitch. The Maven portfolio is doing very well. The average return on 13 stocks recommended since the start of December is 60%. The three best performers are currently sitting on gains of 245%, 119%, and 82%.

I have been busting myself to move on stocks as quickly as possible, out of concern gold will go again and gold explorers, developers, and producers will all move. I have had to recommend a few stocks after they have already doubled, but I think it’s better to be along for the ride despite missing the first double than to miss out completely.

Again, it’s about my expectation of context: I think we’re in the first inning of a long game and I want to play.

I encourage anyone interested in playing along to consider a free trial subscription to the Maven Letter. It comes out every Wednesday. Click here to sign up.

And for those of you in or near Vancouver: There are still a few seats available for the Metals Investor Forum! We are now less than two weeks out from the event, which is taking place May 14 & 15 at the Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver.

The Metals Investor Forum brings together a strong team of newsletter writers – Eric Coffin, Brent Cook, Brien Lundin, and myself – with their favorite companies and a couple great guest speakers. It promises to be a day of shop talk and investment ideas that you don’t want to miss.

Click HERE to reserve your ticket today!

Raise or no raise, Pullback or no pullback – Keep it in context (from The Maven Letter, April 27)

Another Federal Reserve meeting, another round of hand wringing and prognosticating…but no real changes.

This is how much gold cared about today’s meeting (today’s price in green):

Sure, it wasn’t a full-on meeting. There was no press conference and no chance Yellen would move rates today. It was, really, a meeting to plan for their June meeting when they might actually do something.

Nevertheless, the market has so obsessed over the Federal Reserve for the last six years that I still expected a reaction. But nope: dollar didn’t react and gold stayed sideways.

Analysts analyzed every word in the statement, of course, but there wasn’t much there. For the third meeting in a row, Team Yellen left out what used to be the standard assessment of risks to its outlook for the economy. I think the goal there is to create breathing room – if they had included the assessment and called the risks “balanced”, the market would have immediately priced in a rate raise because that’s what analysts think that means. If they had voiced concern over the level of risk, Mr Market would have assumed no raise.

The central bank did review the last few weeks, noting an improved jobs market and stronger household incomes and consumer confidence. But it also acknowledged that economic growth has slowed and spending is down.

Other factors (that Yellen did not mention) are also surfacing. For example, corporate borrowers around the world have defaulted on US$50 billion of debt so far this year and the number of delinquent companies is accelerating at its fastest pace since 2009. Along the same line, Moody’s downgraded more companies to junk status in the first three months of the year than in the whole of 2015. These aren’t good signs.

I could join the crowd obsessing over every word in the release. But since it did not provide any significant surprises, I have better things to do.

I still don’t know whether rates will rise in June. But gold should do well either way. A rate increase is designed to temper inflation, which is good for gold. Rates staying pat confirms a weak economy and hurts the dollar; also good for gold.

As we await the June decision, the best case scenario is for gold to just hold its ground. That’s what it has done now for over two months, and it is what I expect.

Equities may retract a touch. Even as gold has held its ground gold miners have continued to gain.

I have talked at length about why I think this is happening. It boils down to generalist investors – individuals and funds – rotating into the precious metals space in search of value and security, two characteristics that are in short supply elsewhere in the market.

Is the incessant rise sustainable? Would that I knew.

In 2009 the recovery started and just did not let up. Investors who waited for a pullback were left out.

In 2002/2003 there was a considerable pullback. Equities gave up some of their early gains (and scared the pants off many a mining investors who was still feeling fragile after the bear market!) before consolidating and then taking off.

I don’t know which we will experience. I want it to be the latter, but I’m concerned it could become the former, especially if something shakes economic confidence – some news out of China or a bad Brexit outcome or the Republican Party not endorsing Trump or something.

Rather than stress about which it will be, I try to remember context. This is the beginning of a big move for gold and gold miners, and other metals and miners after that. Even if stocks correct 30% from their levels today, the upside that is coming should erase that blip.

And if equities don’t correct, we will be happy we didn’t wait for a pullback.

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In her letter, Resource Maven explains what she is buying and selling, and why. Maven has bought into several of the markets best - performing stocks well ahead of the curve. She regularly identifies exciting new exploration opportunities and manages the inherent risk by selling some into speculative gains. And the mine builder and operator stocks that form the basis of the portfolio give strong, ongoing leverage to the rising prices of gold and silver. She has your precious metal bases covered.

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