“Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose leaders are already drunk in the morning. Happy the land whose king is a nobleman, and whose leaders work hard before they feast and drink, and then only to strengthen themselves for the tasks ahead”. (Eccl 10: 16-17)

"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Silver Chart Analysis

Following is an 8 hour chart of the front month silver contract (that will be changing to May from March) detailing the technical action.

All of the readers know by now that the commodity complex was being targetted by the Fed in today's comments coming from Chairman Bernanke. Prior to his testimony in front of the House Committee, silver was trading higher recovering from some mild profit taking late in yesterday's session and into early Asian trading in the evening. This is normal in a market especially after having put in a strong upside breakout on heavy volume from a recent consolidation pattern. Dip buyers came back in taking the metal towards the $38 level before Bernanke levelled the boom on the complex.

Note the first down bar in black coming after the peak in price which showed the metal BOUNCED RIGHT OFF OF THE BREAKOUT AREA after touching it. That is excellent technical price action and confirmed the former resistance level was functioning as support.

However, once Bernanke's comments began circulating a wave of selling engulfed the metals with gold, copper, platinum, silver and palladium all getting hit extremely hard by algorithm selling. That took the silver price through the resistance level now turned support as large groups of downside stops were hit in a cascading fashion.

I do wish to point out however that the market bounced exactly at the zone where it should have, which is near the $34 level. Look carefully at this chart and you can see how significant this zone is from a technical analysis perspective for it is the region that had been serving as strong overhead resistance going back well over a month and had prevented silver from moving higher. Once price had pushed through $34, it began accelerating to the upside.

Now it has come back down to this level and seems to be attracting the same buyers who were busy accumulating it prior to the march higher.

I suspect that the reason the buyers are showing up here is because NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN REGARDS TO THE FED's EASY MONEY POLICY. Sure, based on what Easy Money Ben said today, we are not going to get a forthcoming QE3 program anytime soon but back when the Fed signalled an ultra low interest rate policy continuing until late 2014, did they tell the market that it was going to get a QE then? NO, it did not. In spite of that the entire commodity complex, but especially the metals, began marching higher based on that expected low interest rate environment being sustained for some time.

The facts are that the Fed is still on hold for an ultra low near-zero interest rate policy for the foreseeable future unless they see something in the economic data that leads them to conclude that this sort of low interest rate environment is no longer necessary. In my view that would necessitate some really astonishing payrolls numbers coming our way for starters. You would also have to see a successful resolution to the woes afflicting those nations in the Euro zone whose sovereign debt issues still linger unresolved in the background.

For now we will watch and see how this market acts over the next couple of sessions. I would not be concerned about it at all unless it were to punch solidly through the bottom of the former trading range down near the $33 level and fail to quickly recover.

Bernanke tries talking down Commodities

Today was Fed Chairman Bernanke's chance to testisfy before the Congress' Financial Services Committee. Here is a quick synopsis of his comments as I see them.

"The economy is getting better based on what we can see of the employment numbers but it is not growing at a fast enough clip to justify any immediate change in our accomodative monetary policy. The uptick in hiring has been helped by this policy and any change to it at the present time is not warranted. Real Estate is still a concern. Us fiscal condition is dire and faces a serious challenge at the end of this year. Inflation is not a concern although temporary rises in energy prices bear monitoring".

There you basically have it.

Based on this testimony, gold and silver were murdered. The supposed reason? - We are told that traders were expecting QE3 to be imminent and were disappointed because the usually dovish Bernanke did not sound quite as dovish as before. Thus the metals were hammered mercilessly lower.

Excuse me - but as a trader who watches these markets each and every day for more hours than I would prefer anymore, I have not seen any analyst explain the reason for the  heretofore rally in the metals as traders EXPECTING AN IMMINENT QE3 program to launch.

The reason for the rally has been expectations by the market that Central Banks would keep the liquidity spighots open for the foreseeable future (near zero interest rate policy coupled with QE out of Europe and the UK) and thus create an environment in which there was little opportunity cost for buying the metals. This has been generating RISK TRADES in which traders/investors buy both stocks and commodities and generally sell off the Dollar, which was particularly pronounced after a rush back into the Euro once traders were convinced that the immediate fallout from the Greece debacle was past.

Comments this morning trying to explain the sell off in gold mentioned the failure of the metal to make it through the $1800 level and downside stops as the culprit but ironically they are deathly quiet in regards to silver, which only yesterday had staged a MASSIVE UPSIDE BREAKOUT on strong volume out of a congestion zone. Yet today we saw a nearly 8% wipe out in silver which completey erased yesterday's breakout and then some.

My thinking AT THE MOMENT is that Bernanke and company were watching the commodity complex begin to accelerate higher once again as a result of their free money policy and began getting extremely nervous particularly as energy prices were rocketing higher. This is an election year and one thing that the boss cannot stand for is having to deal with that pesky issue of unhappy drivers bitching and complaining about the outrageous cost of filling their gas tanks especially since he and his crew are doing as much as they can to shut down drilling on public lands and offshore.

If one basically states that the economy is doing better - not out of the woods yet but better - and all the hedgies are leveraged to the gills because the FED GAVE THEM THE GREEN LIGHT TO DO EXACTLY THAT when it first announced that it would keep this near zero interest rate policy out to the end of 2014, then it is a simple matter of throwing a bit of uncertainty in that regards to generate a bout of selling. Toss in the same permabears as always capping at the highs of the day and the algorithms did the rest of the work as the stops were picked off.

In the meantime today's wild move in silver was a daytrader's/scalper's heaven. As said before, there are no worse traders on the planet than the hedge funds. Those guys could not trade their way out of a wet paper bag if their lives depended upon it.

In watching both of these metals, it does seem that we are now getting a bit of stabilizing in here around midday.

Gold and silver shares as usual are going nowhere. They made it just to the bottom of the critical resistance zone that I noted on the chart yesterday at the gap region 555-560 before going Kerplunk.

Interestingly enough, the long bond is down a full point right now as I write this. I am keeping an extremely close eye on this market. As stated yesterday, I refuse to believe ANY talk about an improving economy as long as the bond market does not start a solid downtrending move.