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Gold pounces on stock market malaise

Strats-Ole-88x88
Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Gold, in a downtrend since mid-April, has found a tentative bid amid continued turbulence across global stock markets. So far, however, the fresh bid has not been strong enough to rattle some of the recent established tactical short positions. For that to happen the metal needs a runaway upside day or a period of consolidation back above the 200-day moving average, currently at $1839/oz.


Gold, in a downtrend since mid-April, has found a tentative bid amid continued turbulence across global stock markets. So far, however, the fresh bid has not been strong enough to rattle some of the recent established tactical short positions. For that to happen the metal needs a runaway upside day or a period of consolidation back above the 200-day moving average, currently at $1839/oz.

From an absolute return perspective gold’s year-to-date performance in dollars can be viewed as a disappointing, but when considering the impact of the stronger dollar and the steep losses in stocks and bonds, any diversified investor with gold is likely to be satisfied.

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During the past month, gold has been suffering from the double blow of a stronger dollar and the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) signaling an aggressive pace of future rate hikes in order to combat inflation at the highest level in decades. Fine, if the economy does not suffer too much of a setback, thereby raising the risk of recession. What has changed during the past 48 hours has been dismal earnings news from large US retailers raising the risk of a deeper than expected economic slump. Most recently Target Corp which yesterday plunged the most since 1987’s Black Monday crash. In his comments the CEO sited persistent cost pressures and bloating inventories amid a change in consumer spending as reasons.

These developments helped deepen the global stock market rout, and today the weakness has continued, thereby supporting short covering and fresh haven buying of US bonds while the dollar has softened. All developments that has supported the mentioned bid in gold. The yield on US ten-year inflation adjusted bonds trades lower with the break below the 21-day moving average at +0.09% signaling a loss of short-term bullish momentum. 

The loss of momentum in recent weeks have seen ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) investors reduce gold holdings in all but one of the last 18 days while money managers in the latest reporting week to May 10 cut their net long in COMEX gold futures to a three-month low. Interestingly the latest reduction was primarily driven by long liquidation with no signs of appetite for naked short selling. 

We maintain a bullish outlook for gold given the need to diversify amid a troubled stock market and the increased risk of a policy FOMC policy mistakes driving yields and the dollar lower. From the chart below it is clear that gold has its work cut out, and a great deal of work is needed to mend the chart damage done during the past month. The first sign of improvement would be a break above the 200-day moving average at $1839 followed by $1868, the latter being the first level to signal loss of bearish momentum. 

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Source: Saxo Group

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