What’s next for gold?

As I write on 4 July – US fireworks day (real pyrotechnics, but not necessarily in the markets), I have noted a significant shift in investor positioning in the gold futures market.

Remember, the Comex gold contract of 100 oz drives the gold pricing mechanism, including the cash quotes. That makes the commitments of traders (COT) reports a crucial piece of information for traders.

In my previous emails, I have alluded to the COT reports as describing the severely unbalanced nature of the gold market (less so in silver).

There has been intense investor buying from both the large traders (hedge funds, especially) and the small trader.

I pointed out that this measure of extreme sentiment would inevitably lead to at least a decent price fall.

And I didn’t have to wait long after my last gold email for this to occur!

Gold has seen a hefty fall

We have seen a $50 move down to the $1,480 low on Friday:

Gold spread betting chart

(Click on the chart for a larger version)

As I write, we are seeing an inevitable relief rally from an oversold position.

This down move was pretty much unexpected by the gold aficionados (but then, they always are). How has the COT position changed in this move?

To cut a short story even shorter – there has been a large percentage change in the long and short positions.

Here is the latest data as of 28 June:

Long Short 
Hedge Funds 226,000 (-16%) 60,000
Small Trader 67,000 24,000 (+18%)

These are large percentage changes in a one week period (I have highlighted this period on the above chart within a purple box).

The hedge funds have been cashing out 16% of their long trades, while the small traders are increasing by 18% their short trades (but from a low base).

The COT reports aren’t much use – unless the readings are very one-sided

Over the years, I have concluded that for trade timing purposes, the COT reports are just not very useful – except when sentiment becomes too one-sided.

The reports can help verify a trade set-up that has been researched from other sources, such as my tramline concepts, Elliott waves, and Fibonacci.

But it is hopeless at fixing the timing of a trade on its own.

Also, how one-sided is enough to tip the market over? It’s the ‘How long is a piece of string?’ question.

But now that long/short positions are becoming less one-sided, at least after one week, the COT report will become less important in my trading – unless I see another large swing.

In the meantime, the low on Friday took gold to support at the Fibonacci 38.2% retrace of the entire year’s rally, and is currently bouncing.

Gold spread betting chart  

(Click on the chart for a larger version)

But if this support gives way, the next level of support is the $1,450 area:

Gold spread betting chart  

(Click on the chart for a larger version)

I have shown my tramlines going back a year, and believe they are good working models for me to trade from.

Sentiment remains top-heavy and I have yet to read a single article that is outright bearish on gold. If and when gold drops another $100, I’m sure they will start coming out of the woodwork!

Markets make the news – and markets make the views.

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