Friday, August 6, 2010

Gold Tops $1,210, Slides Back To $1,205

Thanks to an encouraging (for the gold market) employment report that showed private-sector payrolls growth well below expectations, gold shot up to $1,208 by 9 AM ET and briefly touched $1,210. There was a pullback, but it wasn't that great in extent; the drop ended at $1,206. Then, gold continued to rise but in a laboured fashion. Poking above $1,210 twice before the laboured rally ended, when the metal touched $1,212.20, it fell back to a little above $1,206. A third attempt at $1,210 resulted in another poke-above that failed to hold. As of 11:56 AM, the spot price was $1,207.10 for a gain of $12.20 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index split the gain into +$5.35 for predominant buying and +$6.85 for a weakening greenback.

What got gold gaining, got the U.S. Dollar Index tumbling. From around 80.85, the Index descended to below 80.1 before the decline halted as of 10:07. From there, it recovered with a slow and rolling advance that still left it well below 80.5. As of 11:58, it was at 80.35.

Needless to say, $1,200 has been smashed. The reaction to what was really a mixed report - the unemployment rate of 9.5% was slightly below expectations - shows pent-up demand for the metal that was waiting for a catalyst. Gold may fall back later, as has often been the case after recent morning leaps, but a close above $1,200 seems assured.


Update: Gold did break through $1,206 on the downside, making for an afternoon post-leap pullback. After doing so, the metal stayed between $1,204 and that price until a little before the end of the pit session. As of the end, or 1:30 PM ET, the spot price was $1,203.40 for a gain of $8.10 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index divided the gain into +$2.15 for predominant buying and +$6.35 for greenback weakness.

The U.S. Dollar Index kept climbing in early afternoon, but slowly. Before pulling back, it barely climbed above 80.4. As of 1:30, the Index was at 80.34.

Despite the letdown gold is still well above $1,200 - and it's still likely to close above that number, making for another third-time-lucky test.


Update 2: Gold did close above $1,200; in fact, it closed above $1,205. The dip below that level at the end of the pit session continued for a short time afterwards, but then reversed with gold climbing back up to $1,206 by 2 PM ET. The rest of the electronic-trading hitch was quiet, with the metal fluctuating a little above $1,205 except for a brief reversed dip. As of the close, the spot price was $1,205.70 for a gain of $10.80 on the day. The Kitco Gold Index apportioned the overall gain into +$4.90 for the predominant-buying category and +$5.90 for the weakening-greenback one.

This week saw a reversal of the declines that previous weeks ended up displaying. Last Friday's close was at $1,181.40, so this week saw a substantial gain of $24.30 or 2.06%. The close for this week was also well above that of two weeks ago.

The U.S. Dollar Index, after managing to get up to 80.425 at 1:15, stayed between that level and 80.295 for the rest of the session except for the last five minutes. A jump above the high didn't stick, though, and the Index closed the week at 80.39.

Its daily chart, from Stockcharts.com, shows the recent attempt at basing thwarted:



Again, what I thought would be the beginning of a short-term turnaround wasn't. The Index managed to stay above the 80 support level, but its reaction to this morning's jobs report shows bearish sentiment has not been exhausted. The Index's RSI level, found at the top of its chart, is still in oversold territory.

It's gone so low, a pattern is beginning to show up - one that does not bode well for it. The Index is very close to touching the same level it was at on April 14th and 15th, before the Eurocrisis-fueled rally got rolling. All but a smidgen of the rise subsequent to those mid-April days, right up to above 88.5, has now been erased. The Index started a late March rise, which took it up to above 82.25, at a little above 79. The descent to 80 comes close to making a head of a months-long head and shoulders reversal. There isn't really a neckline, but more of a neck zone between 79 and 80. The Index only has to fall a little further before entering that zone - and it may.

All it would take to complete that pattern would be a future rise to well below 88 and a fall below 79. Since the pattern's been long in developing, it would take some time to see whether it will go to completion.

Turning to gold, its own daily chart shows its breakthrough above $1,200:



The crossover of gold's MACD lines, found at the bottom of its chart, had the say. Two days after switching to a bullish configuration, the metal has advanced beyond an important resistance level after two days of trying. The third time was the charm.

The metal's RSI level is comfortably above the 50 neutral level, a zone at which it's not been at since the end of June when it was around $1,240. The inverse head and shoulders bottom I was expecting didn't come to pass because gold continued rallying above what would have been the neckline of it. Technically, gold is looking pretty good.

Certainly, it looks better than it did as of last Tuesday's close. Then was the cut-off for this week's Commitment of Traders data, as graphed here. At that time, though, gold had finished the fifth day of its six-day rally; so, the technicals looked fairly good then. As of that time, total open interest had shrunk for the fifth week in a row. All reportable categories shrunk, including the well-watched commercial shorts category. The category that shrunk the most in percentage terms was commercial longs, which decreased by 7.00%. The least, non-commercial longs by 2.43%. Interestingly, long was the place to be for the rest of the week; the latter category, as a category, showed the least disconnect from what transpired later in the week.

As for the U.S. Dollar Index's own CoT data, graphed here, its total open interest remained low but managed to barely break the recent losing streak. Commercial longs nearly doubled from their recent sliver. The only other category to increase was non-commercial shorts, by 28.9%. The other two categories declined. Given the Index's brief rebound the following day was more than checked by two subsequent down days, the non-commercial shorts had it.

A post-pit Reuters report says gold was up on safe-haven demand triggered by the disappointing nonfarm payrolls component of the jobs report. Amongst the points therein, these were included:
* Gold accelerated gains and Wall Street sank after government data showed U.S. private employers added fewer workers to their payrolls in July than expected.

* Recent weak economic data suggested interest rate will be low for a while, which is very good for the precious metals relative to other assets - Thomas Winmill, portfolio manager of Midas Fund MIDSX.O.

* The usual inverse relationship between gold and the dollar has shown signs of a resurgence, after the link loosened earlier this year as extreme risk aversion benefited both assets - analysts.
Gold definitely has had the better of the now-inverse corrlation lately. If things go well, the metal will stay above $1,200 next week and build a base at the new higher level. It's past the bargain-hunting zone, but new demand is beginning to show up. August is starting to shape up as the month when gold shakes off those summer doldrums.

In closing, thanks for stopping by and reading what I've posted here. May your weekend be unmuggy.

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