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by Michael J. Kosares

EARLY REPORT 2-23-2018

Gold is tracking sideways this morning under generally quiet market circumstances. Silver is also off to a slow start. Gold is trading at $1329.00, down $1.50 on the day. Silver is trading at $16.50, down 4¢ on the day.

Things might get a little more interesting as the day progresses with four different Fed regional presidents scheduled for speeches today and the release of the Fed's Monetary Policy Report later this morning. The policy report, we are being told, is a template for chairman Powell's Congressional testimony next week. Given the unexpected maelstrom generated by release of minutes to the Fed's January meeting, it is difficult to guess how Wall Street is likely to react to the report, or the speeches for that matter.

If rumors that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff John Kelly are leaving the White House come to fruition, the impact on financial markets could be significant. Reuters is reporting that officials have said that"tensions could blow over, at least for now."

Chart of the Day

Chart notes: The S&P VIX is quiet for now, but still running high for the period and on a hair trigger, as we saw with the reaction to the Fed's January minutes earlier this week. Chart courtesy of TradingEconomics.com with thanks.

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LATE REPORT (OPINION) 2-22-2018

Gold was up today recovering its balance as the day went on to gain almost $7.50 and finish at $1332.86. Silver also had a good day finishing 10¢ higher at $16.59. Gold sailed through today's option expiration in surprisingly good shape.

Tonight's report is going to be a bit longer than I normally like to post, but don't worry. You're safe. This is not going to become a habit. Much happened today beyond options expiration, though, and as the day progressed, a theme emerged, and that is what I would like to pass along tonight. I am not going to say we've come to some sort of a watershed – not yet anyway – but I do believe we may have come to an interim turning point – an important step along the road to the sentiment change I noted in my predictions for gold and silver for 2018.

Let's start with something you might not have thought about for a while: Black Gold.

Oil turned sharply higher today on an unexpected drop in inventories and rising exports. If someone would have predicted three years ago that U.S. export increases as a reason for rising oil prices, I would have thought them a bit unhinged, but here we are.  The economic “regime change” adds another entry to its resume. . . . . .Historically oil and gold have been traveling companions, particularly in times of rising inflation and inflation expectations. Commodities in general had another good day.

Along the same lines, the U.S. Labor Department today reported "unemployment benefits fell to a near 45-year low last week, pointing to strong job growth in February and solid momentum in the economy," according to a Reuters report. In the recent past, gold might have reacted negatively to such news because it would have provided cause for the Fed to raise interest rates. Now, with rising interest rates already on the Fed agenda – baked into the cake so to speak – the report was viewed as potentially inflationary, and gold held its own, even edged up a bit.

Sticking with the theme, this morning's Chart of the Day showed the yield history for U.S. Treasury paper across the spectrum of instruments from 2010 to present – 6-months through 30-years. (We invite you to scroll down the page to view that chart.) In the accompanying Chart Notes section, we mentioned that the market would be watching today's auction to get a read on how interest rates might be affected going forward. Reuters' bond market reporter Richard Leong was more than accommodating in providing the first installment on that read, and here is what he had to say:

"Wall Street and investors took down with relative ease this week's flood of government bond supply that included record amounts of three-month and six-month T-bills. But that came at a cost. The Treasury Department paid the highest interest rates in more than nine years to dealers and investors to buy its short-term debt. The Treasury is expected to crank up its bond issuance in the coming months to meet its budget needs, while investors and traders will likely demand more compensation to buy them, analysts said. "The market-clearing (yields) will go higher," said Praveen Korapaty, head of U.S. rates at Credit Suisse in New York. "Come later this year, the cumulative funding gap will really explode."

It is interesting to note that in the wake of those sales, gold immediately began to firm up. In the past, rising interest rates have been a thorn in gold's side. In the new economic regime, they may become the burr under its saddle. As Dorothy says to Toto along the Yellow Brick Road, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

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Quote of the Day "The best thing is, don't play the game, because it is pros against you. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to get an edge, and others do that too. So it's very difficult for the individual investor to assume that he [or she] can pick something better. The best thing you can do is know how to have a balanced portfolio ... because you ain't going to win that game." – Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics

Related: Ray Dalio hits on important themes for the average investor we discussed in a post a couple of weeks ago under the headline, Bulls, bears and sloths – A sloth's guide to surviving a week of market volatility. Gold fits Dalio's balanced portfolio approach. In fact, Bridgewater Associates, the hedge fund he manages, owns significant amounts of gold as a means to achieving the balance he advises.

 

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mk
Michael J. Kosares is the founder of USAGOLD, author of The ABCs of Gold Investing - How To Protect and Build Your Wealth with Gold (Three editions), and editor of the firm's monthly newsletter. He has also written numerous published articles and essays on the gold market.

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• The rationale for gold ownership • How gold performs under various breakdown scenarios • Portfolio approaches • & More

We invite you to register today for free, immediate access to one or both services.

Available to both current and
prospective clientele.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

News & Views is written & edited
by Michael J. Kosares

Founder, USAGOLD
Author, The ABCs of Gold Investing
How To Protect & Build Your Wealth with Gold

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