Euro Gold Stealth
April 29, 2005
Born and raised in the United States, I am an American. For better
or worse I think like an American, act like an American, and
perceive the global financial markets through an American lens.
Everything I write is colored by this American worldview.
But thanks to wonders of the young Information Age, I am immensely
blessed to hear from investors living all over this fascinating
world of ours. Zeal has subscribers from 50 countries and from
time to time some graciously decide to write and help me understand
the financial world from a broader perspective.
The more I talk with people living outside the States, the more
I realize that the US is just one member, albeit a powerful one,
in the global community of sovereign nations. And the US dollar
is just another currency among many fiat alternatives even though
it has dominated the world markets since the Second World War
American investors today all grew up in this post-WW2 era where
the mighty US dollar was the de facto currency of global commerce.
As such, we have a hard time thinking outside our currency box
in the extra-dollar terms that the rest of the world readily
perceives when they consider the financial markets.
This American dollar-centric perspective versus the rest-of-the-world
extra-dollar perspective is clashing today in a big way in the
gold market. To Americans, gold in dollar terms is in a powerful
market. Since 2001 we have seen the yellow metal march majestically
from just over $250 to $455 or so, in a bullish trend that is
helping American contrarians grow wealthy.
But many non-US-based investors believe that this very same dollar
gold bull is little more than a secular dollar
bear in reality. As the fiat dollar loses its international
purchasing power, gold is merely rising in dollar terms to maintain
its own stable purchasing power, directly offsetting dollar losses.
Unfortunately many Americans view this debate as academic, as
not really important. After all, if we are making money in the
States who cares what the world thinks of the gold bull? But
whether this gold bull is the real deal or just the fruit of
a dollar slide really has just as profound implications for Americans
as it does for all investors worldwide.
Great bull markets in gold generally have three stages, all of
which are necessary in order for a particular bull to reach its
full potential. In Stage One, gold rises in the dominant world
currency primarily because that currency is weakening for economic
reasons. After this currency devaluation runs for four to five
years, then Stage Two kicks in.
Stage Two is marked by global investment demand, increasing amounts
of capital bidding up gold worldwide. It is in Stage Two that
gold really starts rising in all currencies concurrently, not
just the devaluing dominant one. Years after this a Stage Three
is even possible, a near vertical final parabolic ascent as the
general public succumbs to gold lust and ignites a popular speculative
gold mania similar to the NASDAQ bubble of 2000.
Our current gold bull is probably nearing the end of Stage One,
a currency devaluation, before it hits the crucial transition
into Stage Two, where global investment demand accelerates pushing
gold higher in all major currencies. If this transition does
not happen, then this dollar gold bull will be limited to advances
dollar losses and will never achieve greatness.
I suspect the success or lack thereof of this crucial transition
is dependent on foreign investors. With gold in US dollar terms
up about 80% bull to date, and gold stocks up over 600% in the
States, American investors have already had plenty of opportunities
to saddle up and ride this bull. I doubt there are any contrarian-oriented
or just plain savvy investors left in the US who are not at least
aware of gold's advance in dollar terms.
Yet, to date all the American capital thrown at gold has not
been able to overcome gold's inertia of trading in lockstep
opposition to the secular dollar bear. I suspect the greatest
pool of contrarian capital out there today that would love to
bid on gold if its bull market was proven beyond argument
exists in Europe and Asia. If the European and Asian contrarians
grow excited about gold, their capital ought to be more than
enough to kick it into Stage Two where it rises against all currencies.
But the problem lies in perceptions. To Europeans, for example,
gold has been trading sideways since 2001, the year the gold
bull launched in the States in dollar terms. In May 2001 gold
in euros briefly hit €330, as the chart below shows. But
unfortunately today, exactly four years later, euro gold is yet
again trading at this very same €330 level. In extra-dollar
terms gold looks flat, not exactly inspiring for non-American
And the non-US investors are right to be skeptical. In May 2001
gold was running near $285 in dollars. Believe me, if gold was
still trading at $285 today you wouldn't be reading this essay
because the gold community would remain infinitesimally small.
If the price of any asset hasn't risen over four years, then
it is not going to have many advocates beyond a handful of hardcore
So getting foreign contrarian investors interested in gold is
not going to be easy as long as gold appears to be grinding sideways
to them. Why invest at all in something that doesn't appear to
be appreciating in price?
I find it fascinating though that gold already has been
moving up in other major currencies, but at a much slower rate
than the dollar. Unfortunately technical anomalies are masking
this extra-dollar progress in gold and helping convince foreign
investors that the gold bull is really just a dollar bear. Most
of it is a dollar bear, but certainly not all. If we consider
gold in euros, these developments are readily apparent. A stealth
bull is already underway.
Our charts this week are updated from the original "Euro Gold Stealth
Bull" essay of last summer. This earlier essay has more
background information on exchange rates and the effect of the
dollar bear on non-dollar gold prices. In these charts the dollar
cost of each euro is graphed in red on the left axis while the
price of an ounce of gold in euros is graphed in blue on the
right. Euro gold, contrary to popular perception, is already
in a secular uptrend.
Before we delve into the euro
gold stealth bull, it is important to consider the red dollar
line in the background. It shows how many dollars it has taken
over recent years to buy a single euro. Back in 2001 it only
cost around $0.85 to buy a euro, but today this same euro runs
Americans about $1.30. The euro has appreciated dramatically
since the bull market in dollar gold launched in early 2001.
Not surprisingly the bull market in the euro roughly mirrors
the bull market in
gold, with generally symmetrical major peaks and troughs.
Gold and the euro are both the primary beneficiaries of the dollar's
secular bear market. But the gold bull running parallel with
the other currency bulls in response to the dollar's bear creates
a huge problem. When foreign investors look at gold in their
local currency terms, they see a flat market.
The blue euro gold line above is representative of many currencies.
Gold in euros first hit €350 way back in early 2002, ultimately
trying several times unsuccessfully to break above €350.
After regrouping gold once again challenged €350 in early
2003, again being repelled by the increasingly apparent resistance.
Finally, last year in early 2004 euro gold spiked near €350
one more time then promptly collapsed.
The result of three consecutive years of heavy and thus far impenetrable
gold resistance near €350 has understandably led European
investors to view gold as flat at best. After all, a European
investor who went long gold in early 2002 near €350 would
be carrying a loss three years later, today. This
investor, naturally, would view gold in neutral or bearish terms
since its price has not appreciated in his local currency.
This €350 line in the sand has therefore become the perceived
resistance in euro gold. I have talked with plenty of European
investors in the last couple years who tell me that until euro
gold decisively breaks €350 the gold bull we Americans
laud is nothing but a dollar bear in disguise. I suspect this
long-awaited €350 breakout will be a big catalyst that
ignites widespread European investment in gold, possibly launching
Stage Two of its bull market.
But what if we consider euro gold not from its tops, its perceived
resistance at €350, but from its interim bottoms? On the
low side of this chart euro gold has marched resolutely from
just over €275 in early 2001 to just under €325 today.
If a linear support line is drawn through euro gold's periodic
interim lows it has intercepts in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
It is a well-defined secular support line rising in a bull-market
Trend channels are defined by drawing a best-fit support line,
copying its slope, and adding a parallel resistance line on the
top of the chart. Just such a line is drawn in above for euro
gold. Interestingly this parallel resistance line has intercepts
in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, so it too appears to be solid.
These support and resistance lines together form a provocative
uptrend channel that shows euro gold already in a modest
secular bull market.
If this well-defined uptrend is real, then euro gold is in a
stealth bull today. European investors are usually remembering
the lofty €350 peaks of past years and considering today's
action with disgust, but by focusing on the peaks they are missing
the relentlessly rising valley floor. What if the €350
peaks of 2002/2003 were not representative of euro gold's secular
trend but instead were speculative anomalies?
Even though prices often do tend to run in trends that can be
bound by lines, they certainly don't have to. Sometimes events
can conspire to create short-lived price anomalies. A surge in
fear can create a sharp yet temporary plunge and a surge in greed
can ignite sharp yet fleeting parabolic ascents. How can we know
which price moves are anomalous and which are sustainable? Both
by the sharpness of the moves and the length of time that they
Markets in secular bulls tend to move up gradually, taking two
steps forward in an upleg before one step back in a correction.
But all three of the potential euro gold anomalies, marked above,
rocketed up with blistering speed and soon after collapsed at
a similar velocity. Near vertical moves, since capital seldom
chases an asset fast enough to sustain them, are often short-lived
And while it is pretty rare, it is possible for a price in a
bull market to rocket higher but then remain at a new higher
plateau without correcting sharply. I see this most often in
companies that are acquisition targets. The news of a potential
merger breaks, the stock shoots higher, and it starts trading
from a new higher base indefinitely. Such news marks a fundamental
change in outlook for the company.
In euro gold's case though, its last two anomalies collapsed
either immediately or not too long after €350 was challenged.
And all three fit the price anomaly signature in a bull market.
They had sharp initial moves higher driven by emotional speculation
rather than true fundamental change. As such each anomaly proved
unsustainable as it soon collapsed under its own weight and plunged
just as fast as it had risen.
Therefore, I think the argument can be advanced that euro gold's
true primary resistance line is not the perceived €350
high-water mark established by unsustainable price anomalies,
but the linear rising resistance line running parallel with its
support. And if this parallel resistance line is euro gold's
actual resistance, then it is in a stealth bull market that is
now being overlooked in the shadow of the earlier €350
On a sidenote, extra-trend unsustainable price anomalies are
not uncommon. Silver
had one in early 2004 that rocketed higher above trend but then
immediately collapsed back down into trend. The HUI bull broke
above its secular trend temporarily in both 2002 and 2003. In
all of these other cases though, just like euro gold, the prices
soon collapsed from their speculative anomalies back down into
their secular trend channels.
If the euro gold bull-market uptrend channel drawn above is correct,
then there should be another way to verify it. In a secular bull
market the 200-day moving average of a price tends to run parallel
with its primary trend. Like a big arrow the slow-moving 200dma
points in the direction that a market is generally heading, filtering
out the endless day-to-day volatility noise. Interestingly this
euro gold uptrend passes this technical test.
From mid-2003 until today, the black euro gold 200dma line above
has indeed been running roughly parallel with the uptrend channel
drawn off of euro gold's major interim lows. From early 2002
until mid-2003 the 200dma was not parallel with this trend, but
this is a residual effect of the first two price anomalies. Since
a 200dma encompasses about 10 months of trading data, it takes
awhile for the 200dma to digest and cycle a large price anomaly
through its system.
One more thought on these euro gold anomalies. All three anomalies
coincided with similar anomalous events in dollar gold. In each
case dollar gold surged dramatically on speculative fervor
but then promptly collapsed as fast as it had risen. To give
an example of what can drive these things, the third anomaly
in 2003 corresponded with the widespread fears in the run up
to Washington's invasion of Iraq. At the time speculators feared
the invasion would not go smoothly so they bid up gold in an
unsustainable anomaly. As the extreme uncertainty bled off, gold
With euro gold's interim lows rising, and a parallel resistance
line drawn through its tops having many intercepts over years,
euro gold may already be in a stealth bull. In order to perceive
this however, one has to be willing to consider sharp vertical
moves that soon prove unsustainable to be extra-trend anomalies.
The actual trend resistance is rising and €350 is just
the perceived resistance based off of those earlier euphoric
If this theory on euro gold proves correct, it has some really
bullish implications. Our final chart, zoomed in to the last
16 months or so, helps illustrate the current technical possibilities
of the euro gold stealth bull.
Now €350 is considered
impenetrable and the crucial mark to establish a gold bull market
in the minds of European investors because it has never been
decisively broken. But if this stealth bull technical theory
is correct, then the perceived resistance at €350 was unlikely
to be decisively broken until the actual resistance, the
rising linear top line, marched over €350 as well. Probabilities
virtually always conspire against a price suddenly shooting out
of a secular trend and staying high for the long-term.
Actual resistance didn't move above the crucial €350 perception
line until last summer, so the window in which the technical
probabilities started to favor an €350 breakout is relatively
young. And in technical terms many technicians don't like to
consider a breakout the real deal until it moves 2% beyond the
breakout level. By this standard an €350 breakout wouldn't
decisively occur until euro gold hits €357. But
actual resistance didn't exceed €357 until just this
Thus, if a technical euro gold stealth bull does indeed exist
because the earlier €350 attempts were unsustainable fleeting
anomalies, euro gold was not likely to break and stay above its
rising actual resistance line. And since this line didn't crest
€350 until very recently, the probabilities of a sustained
€350 breakout in the past were low. But with actual resistance
now above €350 and climbing, the probabilities of the €350
breakout finally occurring are rising every week.
Today euro gold's secular support is near €325, not too
far from €350. This is much higher than the €300
support levels of early 2003, the last time euro gold tried to
break the €350 chains. From this much higher base, which
is rising constantly, euro gold has a growing probability of
rising beyond €350 and staying there for good.
I continue to believe that this probable coming €350 breakout
will prove to be the single most important technical event of
this entire gold bull to date. I think it is a far bigger deal
even than gold climbing north of $500 in dollar terms. €350
could very well prove to be the very catalyst that ignites Stage
Two, when gold rises in all currencies instead of just primarily
the US dollar.
Why is this €350 breakout so crucial? Regardless of the
technical arguments for an already underway stealth bull in euro
gold the €350 high-water mark of recent years still colors
the perceptions of most European contrarians. They are well aware
of the dollar bear and dollar gold bull, but until they see gold
rise to new bull-to-date highs in their local currency
they will remain skeptical that gold has any real strength beyond
the dollar's weakness.
€350 has an excellent chance of unleashing great pools
of European capital that have largely remained on the sidelines
until now. This added international gold demand could very well
catapult it up into Stage Two where it starts rising at a more
rapid pace in all currencies, not just the US dollar. More than
any other single factor, international investor participation
could radically change the face of this entire gold bull.
At Zeal we are continuing to closely monitor the euro gold situation
and will certainly report to our newsletter subscribers
when it once again challenges €350. This will probably
be an excellent opportunity to add new trades since a further
surge in gold is probable once the Europeans believe €350
is decisively broken and start chasing gold again.
In the meantime, if you are European, I hope you consider the
possibility that euro gold has already been in a moderate stealth
bull. It is not the unsustainable anomalies that make a bull
or bear, but the prevailing primary trend. And while most of
the gold action has been due to the dollar bear, not all of it
Adam Hamilton, CPAThoughts, comments, or flames? Fire away at email@example.com. Due to my staggering and perpetually increasing e-mail load, I regret that I am not able to respond to comments personally. I will read all messages though and really appreciate your feedback!
April 29, 2005
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