The U.S. stock market has been booming lately, but surprisingly, precious metals do not seem to be suffering too badly as an effect. In fact, Friday (June 7) marked the third straight day of gains for gold. The reality that precious metals and rare coins seem to be weathering the bull market suggests that investors are worried about the possibility of a sudden reversal in equities.
Gold rose Friday to close the week up, as the United States reported poorer than expected job growth. The spot price on gold ended up 0.1 percent at 1,414.89 an ounce. The job outlook continues to improve slowly, but there are still many worries about the condition of the U.S. economy. While both gold and silver prices fell on Saturday trading due to worries over the intentions of the Federal Reserve, there are reasons to think that things may be bottoming out for precious metals.
How long can stocks keep going up?
The past week witnessed some of the first signs that traders are becoming increasingly wary of a big correction in the U.S. stock market. A few days of severe market swings may signal something for the near future.
Not only do we see problems in U.S. equities, but also other markets including Japan’s Nikkei look ready for a possible correction or even a crash.
Many analysts have been aware for some time that the U.S. market is severely overvalued. The only question seems to be as to when investors will realize that the market cannot rise much further.
Once they start taking profits, a correction is inevitable, and there are many who fear the possibility of a crash although maybe nothing compared to what happened in 2007 and 2008.
In an article for USA Today, Adam Shell notes that nearly everyone in the know is anticipating a pullback sometime in 2013. When that happens, we will likely see large gains in the precious metals and rare coins market although the timing is difficult to predict at the present.
Investors love to take refuge in gold and silver when equities are falling. The only real question is when they will act. The smart investor will want to move ahead of the pack in order to optimize gains.
S & P dropped 3.5% in April
Despite the 2013 record highs in U.S. stocks, we have seen many signs of easing including the 3.5 percent drop in the bellwether Standard & Poor’s 500 index in April.
After peaking on May 21, the index has fallen 3.6 percent showing that investor worries may be nearing a tipping point.
One big concern among traders is the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut back on its program of encouraging stock and bond purchases. The problems with the Japanese market also have analysts worried with the Nikkei tumbling by more than 18 percent over the last two weeks.
The increased volatility in U.S. markets over the last week suggests what is happening in Japan may be contagious. No one wants to be the last one holding on to stocks and bonds in the middle of a big correction.
A rampant retreat will almost certainly be good for precious metals. Many people will first move to cash, and if they see market trends staying negative, they will look for the next best options, i.e., gold and silver.
U.S. economy still difficult to analyze
The new jobs report indicates that while job growth continues, there are still many factors that are raising concern. The jobless numbers actually climbed a bit due to more people entering the active work market.
A big problem though lies in the continued loss of public sector jobs. The growth in private sector employment simply is not keeping up with plummeting number of government workers. The budget sequester appears to be the prime cause for this phenomenon.
However, the budget sequester is not only having an impact on the public sector. Government contracting also accounts for a significant percentage of private sector job growth. The federal government alone accounts for about 10 percent of public construction.
State and local governments have been depending on Washington for help in meeting their expenditures, so the budget sequester will likely have a strong impact on their size of their workforces.
Should economic growth start to drop, investors will naturally look toward the safe havens of gold and silver.
Manufacturing also shows signs of weakness with the ISM-Manufacturing Index falling to its lowest point in the last four years. One of the prime targets of the Obama administration has been to boost the manufacturing sector. Add in a fall in construction growth and there really is not much to celebrate.
Precious metals should bottom out this year
According to many top analysts, gold, silver and other precious metals look set to reverse direction as investors fret about stock market volatility.
Many longtime observers feel that bubble conditions are popping up all across the market. The U.S. and Japanese stock markets are just two examples. In both cases, the fundamentals indicate extremely high overvaluation.
Another possible bubble exists in the housing market. Many investors are back to the old pre-meltdown practice of “flipping” houses. Prices have risen at sharp rates in an uneven pattern that suggests rampant speculation.
The National Association of Realtors warns that home prices could grow by double digits this year. Mortgages are shooting up faster than consumer income growth.
While a number of highly popular analysts say that they have no fear of bubbles in the economy, many of these same people were saying the same thing before the last meltdown.
During that period, it was mainly the “doomsayers” that were warming investors to be cautious. Some of the “start” analysts featured on highly rated news and talk shows continued to encourage investing right up until it was too late.
Why is the stock market at record highs in a slow economy?
The big question that a prudent investor would ask is why is the stock market is so far ahead of the present economy? While we could say that the market predicts future conditions, what are the signs of such a future booming economy?
In fact, most analysts who declare there are no bubble signs, actually have rather depressing outlooks for both the U.S. and world economy.
To some extent, a bullish market tends to feed a spending frenzy that many investors and analysts want to continue forever. The reality is that all market runs must eventually end. At some point, there will be a reversal.
For precious metals and rare coins, a stock market correction will herald a new period of growth as investors look for safe alternatives.
No major analyst has a truly rosy prediction for the economy, yet the stock market still hovers at record highs. A neutral observer might see the present condition as one driven by speculation more than fundamentals.
Herd behavior more than the outlook of public companies is driving the feeding spree.
Investing in precious metals and rare coins
The idea behind investing metals and rare coins is generally to have a hedge against adverse market conditions.
When other investments go down, metals like gold and silver tend to rise instead. Investors seek these metals traditionally because they have inherent value that goes beyond the demand of traders. Gold and silver, for example, have a number of industrial uses and they are the among the main metals used for manufacturing jewelry.
A balanced portfolio will have precious metals to provide security against a falling economy, or worse, an economic meltdown like that experienced at the end of the Bush administration.
Rare coins like those available at Monex Precious Metals offer not only precious metal value, but also a collector’s premium.
Coin investments can actually act as a hedge for your precious metals, as people tend to buy coins during periods of economic prosperity. Therefore, they are a balanced type of investment.
Why you should invest for the long-term
Even if the stock market continues to rise over the short term, eventually we will see a correction. The aggressive buying simply has no support from the broader economy.
We can safely say that speculators are driving the market looking for shorter term gains. A smart investor will look ahead with long-term hedges against this future correction. Indeed, if we see a bubble burst, there could be another meltdown with stock prices plummeting over short periods.
While precious metals are not advisable now for short term investments, they are a smart choice for those who like to stay a few steps ahead. A prudent amount of precious metals and rare coins in your portfolio will help you manage future economic downturns.
Of course, this may mean watching prices of your investment drop in the near future. The smart thinking is that the precious metals market will bottom out sometime before the end of the year. This could possibly be sooner depending on whether the stock market volatility continues or simmers down.
Either way, a market reversal will come, and the wise investor will be ready with precious metals and rare coins as a safeguard investment.
“Jobs report? Tepid, like everything else in the economy.” http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2013/0608/Jobs-report-Tepid-like-everything-else-in-the-economy
“As stock mojo wanes, more calls for pullback.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2013/06/05/stock-market-pullback-gains-speed/2393999/
“What gold, silver & precious metals are signaling.” http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/what-gold-silver-and-precious-metals-are-signaling