Author Archives: Pater Tenebrarum

     

 

 

The Investment Asset of the Century Makes yet another Comeback

Even the most ardent cryptocurrency bulls are probably slightly slack-jawed at this juncture and can hardly believe it. To be sure, many people were undeterred by the vicious bear market that saw BTC melt down from just below $20,000 in Dec. 2017 to less than $3,300 in Dec. 2018, but we doubt that even these steadfast believers in the grand-daddy of cryptocurrencies expected to see new all time highs in less than two years. Oh well…

 

Look who’s back from the dead…

 

BTC, weekly – who says a bubble cannot be resurrected in two years time?

 

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A Curious Development in Japan

For a long time Japanese stocks have been little more than a mirror image of the yen – they would rise when the yen lost ground and fall when it strengthened. This has changed rather noticeably of late as the chart below illustrates. Incidentally, the Nikkei has broken out over a resistance level that has held it back since early 2018. Whether this breakout will hold remains to be seen, but so far it certainly looks convincing (perhaps it will require a retest).

 

The Nikkei and the yen (weekly candles): in the middle of the chart the 60-period correlation between the two markets is shown (it ranges from “-1” for maximum negative to “+1” for maximum positive correlation). A strong negative correlation persisted for such a long time that it almost began to feel like a law of nature. Not anymore.

 

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Printing Until the Cows Come Home…

It started out with Jay Powell planting a happy little money tree in 2019 to keep the repo market from suffering a terminal seizure. This essentially led to a restoration of the status quo ante “QT” (the mythical beast known as “quantitative tightening” that was briefly glimpsed in 2018/19). Thus the roach motel theory of QE was confirmed: once a central bank resorts to QE, a return to “standard monetary policy” becomes impossible. You can check in, but you can never leave.

 

Phase 1: Jay Powell plants a happy little money tree to rescue the repo market from itself (from: “The Joy of Printing”).

 

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The New In Gold We Trust Report is Here!

The In Gold We Trust 2020 report by our good friends Ronald Stoeferle and Mark Valek was released last week. It is the biggest and most comprehensive gold research report in the world. As always it contains a wealth of new material, as well as the traditional wide-ranging collection of charts and data that makes it such a valuable reference work for everything of interest to gold investors or indeed for anyone interested in precious metals (a download link to the report is provided below).

 

Left: casting gold bars. Right: using gold as a shield against assorted slings and arrows.

 

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Incrementum Advisory Board Discussion of April 8, 2020 with Special Guest Rick Rule

The Incrementum Fund’s Advisory Board held its quarterly meeting on April 8. This time renowned resource stock investor Rick Rule, the President and CEO of Sprott US Holdings Inc., joined the discussion as a special guest. As always, there is a download link to a transcript of the conference call in PDF format at the end of this post.

 

Rick Rule, CEO of Sprott US Holdings Inc., and renowned investor in the commodities sector.

 

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Gold Sector Outperforms Broad Market

The gold sector is in an uptrend since September 2018. The initially rather labored move accelerated after a secondary low was established in May 2019 and the 50-day and 200-day moving averages were breached for the second time. Last week the two moving averages were once again overcome in the course of the post-crash rebound. Here is a chart showing the entire move since 2018:

 

After a rather harrowing decline in sympathy with the February-March stock market crash, the HUI has swiftly moved back to its previous high for the move and is now trading above its 50- and 200-day moving averages again.

 

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Everything and the Kitchen Sink

After the first inter-meeting rate cut in early March, we opined that further rate cuts were a near certainty and that “not-QE” would swiftly morph into “QE, next iteration” (see Rate Cutters Unanimous for the details). As it turned out, the monetary mandarins did not even wait for the official FOMC meeting before deciding to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the markets. Not only were rates insta-ZIRPed, but “not-QE” became “QE on steroids, plus”.

 

The federal debt monetization machinery goes into orbit. Moon landing next?

 

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Easy Money Becomes Even Easier

Last week the FOMC surprised the markets with a rare inter-meeting rate cut. As the FOMC statement released on the occasion reveals, the decision to cut the  federal funds rate by a hefty 50 basis points was unanimous. The much-lamented “zero bound” is coming closer rather quickly.

 

A happy little money tree… from “The Joy of Printing”

 

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Containment Fail

We want to share a few observations about the growing COVID-19 epidemic, based on what we have seen so far. It has been obvious for a while now that the attempt to contain the spread of the virus has essentially failed. Ever since case numbers started to soar in South Korea, Italy and Iran, it was clear that hopes that the outbreak would remain confined to China were misplaced.

 

Doubleplus-ungood micro-organism COVID-19 looking for cells to infect

 

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Market Drivers

The recent outbreak of a dangerous respiratory illness caused by a new Corona virus in China was widely blamed for the stock market sell-off on Monday last week. It is undoubtedly true that the epidemic has the potential to severely disrupt economic activity, although it is too early to come to a definitive conclusion about that. Be that as it may, the event actually serves as an excellent example illustrating that the news of the day are incidental to market action rather than causing it.

 

S&P 500 Index, 10-minute chart. A fairly strong sell-off on Monday last week, a vigorous rebound on Tuesday.

 

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An Unloved Sector

We rarely discuss individual stocks in these pages, but we make an exception now and then when we spot exceptional opportunities. This time the reason is actually more mundane: the vast majority of gold exploration stocks failed to benefit from the rally in precious metals prices last year. As a result many of them came under even greater pressure in the tax loss selling season at the end of the year. We made a list of such stocks late last year – a download link to the PDF document is provided below this post. Here is an example of such a stock:

 

ATAC (ATADF), one of many exploration stocks that came under selling pressure in last year’s tax loss selling period.

 

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Disrupted Disruptor – Legal Setback Sweepstakes

It seems Uber just can’t catch a break these days. First its license to operate in London was revoked. At issue was apparently that 43 unlicensed drivers were able to take an estimated 14,000 “unauthorized trips” due to a flaw in the Uber app (note that 45,000 licensed Uber drivers are working in London) .

 

Uber’s service has become an important part of London’s transport infrastructure – and a thorn in the side of established taxi services. [PT]

Photo credit: uber.com

 

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