Gold just violated a key support level… but don't go running for the exits just yet.
This morning, the price of gold fell as low as $1,080, its lowest level in five and a half years.
This is not good for gold in the short term. Before today, gold had been holding steady in the $1,140-$1,150 range. Breaching that level will likely bring on more selling. We want to see gold recover back to the $1,140 range to restore health to the market.
On Friday, Louis James alerted Casey Investment Alert subscribers to gold’s breakdown. He noted that gold isn’t the only metal getting clobbered…
Note that copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc, and lead… the whole list of important metals is down today, not just gold. This belies the rosy picture of economic recovery driving the markets. And that makes a sharp reversal a distinct possibility.
Louis went on to explain that the price of gold might be volatile in the short term. But he’s buying on weakness for the longer term…
For these reasons, I see the current meltdown as a buying opportunity.
I understand that this won’t appeal to those who feel like they’ve been trying to catch falling knives for years. But unless more than 2,000 years of monetary history are about to be upended, that’s the only way to look at it.
• And another precious metal is at its lowest price since 2009…
On Friday, the platinum price dropped below $1,000/ounce for the first time in six years.
Platinum is part of the platinum group metals (PGMs). The PGMs are six metallic elements clustered together on the periodic table: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum.
Louis, who also edits International Speculator, explains how platinum is different from gold and silver:
The most important thing for speculators to remember about platinum group metals (PGMs) is that while they are precious in the sense of being rare and expensive, they are actually industrial metals. They do not have the monetary history of gold and silver. They do not respond to “safe haven” demand the way gold and silver do.
As commodities, PGM prices are driven mostly by demand from automakers. They use them in catalytic converters that clean up car exhaust fumes. Palladium can substitute for platinum in this use in gas-burning engines. For diesel engines, platinum is still the best catalyst.
Louis went on to explain that Europe is platinum’s key market…
So, where do most people drive diesel cars? Europe. What’s been happening in Europe over the last few years? Economic stagnation, fear of Russian aggression, actual war in Ukraine (which is part of Europe), and near political disintegration of the EU. The latter may still happen, if Greece does not live up to its new obligations. So it’s no surprise that demand for platinum is down. Platinum now sells for less than gold.
An ounce of platinum currently costs $1,009, while an ounce of gold costs $1,115.
• Meanwhile, venture capital investing is closing in on a record set during the dot-com bubble…
Investors are going wild for startups.
Venture capital (VC) firms invested $19.19 billion last quarter. The Wall Street Journal says it’s the most money invested by VC companies since the fourth quarter of 2000, when VC funding hit $19.72 billion.
VC firms invest in startups and small businesses with huge potential. They often fund entrepreneurs with big dreams and little to no money.
These investments are usually extremely risky. Most companies that receive VC funding go out of business in a few years. But for the companies that do make it, the profits can be truly spectacular.
In 2004, venture capitalist Peter Thiel bought a 10% stake for $500,000 in the young, private company that became Facebook (FB). Thiel sold some of his stake in May 2012 when Facebook went public, pocketing around $640 million. Then he made another $400 million when he sold more shares of Facebook in August 2012.
The chart below shows that VC funding last peaked in 2000…
As you can see, the last time VC funding hit this level, the stock market crashed soon after. But that doesn’t mean stocks are due for a crash today. It just means the stock market is likely closer to a top than a bottom.
• And the American consumer is doing just fine…
Dave and Buster’s (PLAY) stock just hit an all-time high.
Dave and Buster’s is basically Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults. You can go there to play arcade games, eat wings, and drink beer. There are 72 Dave and Buster’s entertainment centers across the US.
The company is growing fast. It has grown revenues by more than 15% for five straight years. Its stock price is up 126% since the company went public in October 2014.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) is also doing well. Norwegian takes people on vacation on its enormous boats that are like floating luxury resorts. Last quarter, its sales grew 41%. And they grew 31% the quarter before that. Norwegian’s stock is up 26% in 2015… and it also just hit an all-time high.
Then there’s Starbucks (SBUX). The Seattle-based chain, known for its expensive coffee, has boosted sales by over 10% for four quarters in a row. Its stock price has surged 36% in 2015. Its stock hit an all-time high, too.
There may be reasons to worry that the US stock market will suffer a decline soon. But the “broke American consumer” isn’t one of them. People don’t blow money on arcade games and $4.50 lattes when they’re struggling to make ends meet.