I see a lot of people lately agonizing over what we should have done. By that I mean it’s obvious to all by now that the correct move was to buy stocks back in November instead of precious metals and miners. I mean seriously, it’s obvious that liquidity was going to flow into every asset class except precious metals. Well it’s obvious now in hindsight anyway.
Of course everyone has conveniently
forgotten how tough it was coming out of that November low. There were
ongoing concerns about the approaching fiscal cliff, not to mention a
significant sell off as we approached the end of the year. Once the
fiscal cliff was resolved the markets rallied violently. Of course no
one was positioned ahead of the rally because there was the risk that
politicians wouldn’t make a deal. So the upshot was almost everyone
missed the first day, and virtually no one was expecting a second day of
So by that time the market was
overbought and right up against resistance at the September highs. It’s
pretty tough to buy into an overbought market that is butting up against
a major resistance level, so I don’t think anyone could be faulted for
abstaining at that point. Once the market broke through 1475 it only
took five days for it to reach the next resistance level at 1500. So if
you didn’t buy immediately you missed that move also.
At that point we moved into the timing
band for a half cycle low. Again, probably a dangerous time to be
initiating long positions. Unfortunately the market didn’t give us a
half cycle low and continued higher, with two strong down days thrown in
to keep traders off-balance.
It’s easy in hindsight to rationalize the correct trade, but as I have just shown, tough to do in real time.
Next I’m going to show you a market progression. Imagine you are experiencing this in real time.
In August of 1990 the stock market
stagnated, formed a double top, and proceeded to plunge sharply below
the 200 day moving average. At this point, as we’ve heard many times,
chartists were screaming that the market was clearly headed down.
your emotions on that Thursday in August. Realistically, how many
people would have been able to pull the trigger and buy at that point?
The answer is, not many.
But buying on that Thursday, even though one’s emotions were screaming sell, was the correct move.
Or was it?
Well after two weeks the market
certainly appears to be building a base for another leg higher. At this
point, although almost certainly nervous, one could probably rationalize
adding to positions.
So let’s see how that worked out.
Holy crap! That was a mistake. A huge freaking mistake. Sell, sell, sell!
Whew, that was a close call.
Son of a b***** no sooner did the
market break down then we get a strong reversal candle followed by
another reversal candle five days later. I have to say, it looks like we
finally hit a bottom. Buy everything back.
You’ve got to be kidding me! Wrong again. This is obviously a bear market, time to sell short.
A couple of days later; Time to add to shorts.
week later; This sure looks like we finally made the right decision, as
this is clearly a bear market, and obviously about to begin the next
But did one really make the right decision? Remember this was a secular bull market.
As Paul Harvey used to say, now let’s look at the rest of the story.
you can see, clearly this was the buy of the decade, although actually
doing so and holding through that bottoming process was agonizing to say
the least, or more likely virtually impossible.
So might I suggest that when the gold
bull becomes too frustrating, and you’re ready to give up, you come back
and review that 1990 bottom.
Bull markets never make it easy. Very
few traders have the determination, stamina, foresight, and focus to
make it all the way through one. But the rewards for the very few that
can weather every punch the bull dishes out… are huge.