On the Brink of an Asset Explosion, II

By: Toby Connor | Sun, Apr 25, 2010
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Let me start off by saying the market should be correcting. Sentiment has reached ridiculous bullish extremes, the kind of extremes that led to the January /February correction.

That correction separated the second leg of the bull from the third. But let's face it, sentiment has been in this condition for several weeks now and the best we could muster was a minor correction of 30 points on the news the SEC was filing charges against Goldman Sachs for fraud.

We've had three opportunities to "sell the news" with the April jobs report and recently with INTC and AAPL earnings. None of them have panned out. The market could use the Greek excuse as a downside catalyst, the same as it did in January. And now Greek short term bonds are tanking as the EU waffles about writing that check in front of the German elections in May.

All in all it boils down to the market has had every chance to correct and it has failed to do so.

Last month I speculated that we were On the Brink of an Asset Explosion. Well, we may not be on the brink anymore. We may very well be moving into the heart of the explosion right now.

We've just seen one of the most powerful rallies out of a corrective low in many years. Until Friday the market had held above the 10-day moving average 42 days in a row. That's the longest stretch in over 10-years. Since the February 5th low the market has risen 71% of the time. That's the kind of stuff parabolic blow off tops are made of.

I don't really think we are in a parabolic blow off top just yet. What I do think is that we may have entered a runaway move similar to the August 06 to February 07 time frame.

S&P500

During a runaway move, corrections tend to be uniform in both magnitude and duration. During the 06/07 rally all corrections fell in a range of about 20-35 points.

So far the rally out of the February bottom has followed this script. The February corrective move dropped 25 points in 4 days and the recent pullback on the Goldman news dropped 30 points in three days.

S&P500

If the S&P and Dow can follow the Russell, Nasdaq, NDX, midcaps and banks to new highs, the odds are going to increase dramatically that the market is now in one of these runaway rallies.

It's anyone's guess as to how long one of these moves will last. The rally in 06/07 lasted 7 months. I can tell you that once a market gets drawn into one of these things you can pretty much throw out every trading tool as the mechanics of the rally just roll over any and all trading strategies. Sentiment becomes useless, cycles get stretched to ridiculous lengths, technical analysis and oscillators are worthless.

There are a couple of signs to look for as one of these moves comes to an end and I will keep subscribers updated as the move progresses.

The next question we need to ask ourselves is which sector is likely to see the largest gains if this kind of move takes hold? I expect a rally like this will affect every sector as virtually all assets have been moving in tandem since the March 2009 bottom.

Before I answer that question I think we need to recognize one indisputable fact. And that is that the stock market is undeniably in a long term secular bear market, and has been since March of 2000. And, it's a bear market the Fed and every central bank in the world has chosen to fight tooth and nail with the one weapon at their disposal. I'm talking about the printing press.

As you can see from the next chart it's a battle that is only producing temporary periods of false prosperity driven by bubbles. As anyone with a little common sense can understand, you cannot drive an economy by creating bubbles. Bubbles always pop and are followed by periods of economic devastation.

S&P500 1998-2010

Perhaps our leaders should look at this chart and figure out that it isn't the size of the dose that's the problem. WE ARE USING THE WRONG MEDICINE!

Hello, Keynes was wrong! You can't fix this kind of problem with a printing press. All this does is make the problem bigger and ultimately more painful.

I dread the end result of the current liquidity experiment when the government debt and currency bubbles burst. Unfortunately, there is no short term cure for a currency crisis. I'm afraid the world is going to learn this lesson the hard way, once again.

So the question is where should we be invested if the price explosion unfolds, or maybe I should say continues?

Firstoff, let's take a look at the stock market.

S&P500 2007-2010

If, and this is a big if, the S&P does manage to make it back to the old highs one would be looking at a 30% gain from today's level.

Now that's certainly not a bad return but we also have to take into account that this is still a secular bear market and as such, it's probably wishful thinking that the powers that be can force the market back to the old highs on the back of a government debt and currency bubble. Realistically I think we have to expect the upside is probably limited in this area to maybe another 20%, give or take.

Next let's look at the 'go to' sector from the last cyclical bull market – energy.

Energy Select Sector SPDR

At first glance there appears to be more potential in this sector than the general stock market. But is there really?

For one thing, the leading sector of the last bull rarely ever leads the next one. We can see from the chart this is, in fact, the case.

Energy is woefully underperforming and there is a reason for this. The world has now moved into a long period of 'on again off again' recession. The energy sector has lost a very important fundamental driver which is the demand side of the equation. Demand for energy is going to be permanently impaired during this prolonged period of high unemployment.

Energy also has another strike against it. Unfortunately, spiking oil prices always have and will lead to economic contraction. High oil prices are oil's worst enemy because they lead to economic collapse and that means even less demand.

I'm afraid the energy sector will probably be on a wild roller coaster ride for years to come as monetary policy drives prices to levels that stymie economies, followed by price collapse as demand evaporates during periods of recession.

So even though it appears the energy sector has a lot of room to run, the reality is that the fragile global economy will collapse long before oil reaches $147 again. I suspect the upside in the energy sector is probably limited to 20-30% at best.

If the stock market isn't a great place to put our capital and the energy markets are going to be impaired for years to come, which investment sector should we look at, you ask?

That one is easy to answer. We go to the one secular bull market that's left. The one area where the fundamentals are actually improving. The one and only sector that stands to benefit from these insane monetary policies.

Gold! Precious metals.

Gold Continuous Contract 1998-2010

This is the one sector where the fundamentals aren't impaired. In fact, they are only getting better and better as the powers that be continue down their misguided Keynesian path to ruin.

Now let me point out that every secular bull market in history eventually ends in a bubble. Gold will be no different. After it has gone up far enough and long enough we will reach a point where the public comes to believe that gold is a sure thing, just like they thought tech stocks were a sure thing and just like they bought into the housing myth that real estate only goes up in price.

The difference is that the precious metal markets are fairly small markets. When the public finally catches gold fever it will drive a bubble the likes of which none of us have ever seen before. I expect $5,000 gold is probably a conservative estimate for a final top.

Now keeping in mind that this secular bull is far from over, let's take a look at mining stocks.

$HUI Gold Bugs Index

Unlike the S&P and energy sector the mining sector has already tested the old highs. As a matter of fact the mining sector has led this bull from the very beginning.

When the rest of the market was putting in a final bottom in March of last year, the miners were already over 100% above their November lows. How's that for relative strength?

From today's level back to the old highs would yield miners a 20% gain. That's probably equal to the best we can expect from either the stock market or the energy market.

However, miners are not limited by impaired fundamentals like virtually every other sector. The mining sector has an incredible wind at its back. Does anyone really believe mining stocks ($HUI) would be trading anywhere close to $519 with gold at $1,500? How about with gold at $2,000?

Before the secular bull is over I expect we will indeed see $5,000 gold. I would be completely dumbfounded if mining stocks don't have 500-1000% of potential in them during the remainder of this secular bull market.

So one can fight with a secular bear market and impaired fundamentals for small gains or one can just get on board the only remaining secular bull market and hold on for one heck of a ride. This is how millionaires and billionaires are made. Not by trying to trade in and out of impaired markets.

So if we are on the verge of an asset price explosion I want to be invested in the one area best poised to benefit from the fundamental driver of that explosion...gold!

 


 

Toby Connor

Author: Toby Connor

Toby Connor
Gold Scents

Gold Scents is a financial blog focused on the analysis of the stock market and the secular gold bull market. Subscriptions to the premium service include a daily and weekend market update emailed to subscribers. If you would like to be added to the email list that receives notice of new posts to Gold Scents, or have questions, email Toby.

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