Thursday, August 06, 2009

Golden time to take out some insurance

If investors had a crystal ball that could map the market course ahead, they would want to know the answer to one critical question: whither the greenback? Although monetary excess and fiscal strains appear aligned for a humbling slide in the value of the U.S. dollar, an uncertain economic recovery and the timing of a dollar downdraft has the market conflicted. A picture of this angst is found in the gold sector, where dollar bears typically find a comforting lair. Gold stocks have been trending flat for months, lost in a trading range amid the broad market’s rally off its March low. The strength of emerging markets – many up over 30% in the last three months - may reflect some of the money flows that would have gravitated toward precious metals instead of dollar assets. However, as the global stock market rally becomes vulnerable to a pullback, investors should anticipate an approaching watershed moment for bullion and prepare for bullish price momentum in gold stocks.

After rallying from an October low of 150 to a February peak of 350, the S&P/TSX Global Gold Index  has since bounced between its 2009 high and long-term 40-week moving average trend line. The 13-week average price level, at 315, seems to be the magnetic center for the gold index while base metal mining stocks rocket ahead at an impressive clip. A continued consolidation at this level suggests that a rally back to 350 could be ahead for the gold stock index – especially if bullion prices gain traction during this summer stock market rally.

The price of gold hit a two-month high early this week, dabbling with the $970 level. Investors should be keying on the metal over the coming weeks - advances in bullion prices that stretch toward the $1,000 high water mark will bring appreciable upside opportunity for investors weighted in gold stocks. A rally to this psychological barrier will be an important technical signal for the investment landscape, surely providing investors with enticing odds for doubling down on inflationary pressures built into the U.S. monetary structure. Tremendous liquidity has been pumped into the banking system and few market participants have full confidence that the Federal Reserve has the political will to deliver a winning exit strategy if the U.S. employment picture remains sour. Investors enjoying the market ride this summer would do well to hedge their bet on a prolonged bullish trend for equities with increased exposure to the gold sector.

The iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Fund (TSX:XGD) is currently categorized as Stock Trends Weak Bullish – the exchange traded fund has been dancing along its trend line support for a month. Trading activity has been stable but uninspired through the last quarter, but now would be a good entry point for investors. The fund’s price pattern formed over the past four months is the technical framework for a trade. The triangular continuation pattern – share price has gradually converged toward its current mean at $19.60 - suggests that a breakout move toward the $21 level would be bullish. Sharing this chart pattern are big cap gold stocks Agnico-Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM) and Goldcorp (TSX:G), both showing leadership for the group.

Some specific gold plays are already showing strong bullish trends and tipping toward better things ahead for the rest of the group. Leading small cap gold stocks include Golden Star Resources (TSX:GSC), West Timmins Mining (TSX:WTM), Queenston Mining (TSX:QMI), and Lake Shore Gold (TSX:LSG) – all shining performers. If investors get spooked by a sharp correction when the summer stock market rally reaches exhaustion, these and other precious metal stocks will be fruitful insurance policies.

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