Tag Archive for: SI_F

Silver – What’s next short term?

Most chart patterns fail and then morph into larger patterns in a process I call “redefinition.” This is especially true of intraday charts. They are extremely unreliable.

With this in mind, here is my best guess on the short-term chart structure of Silver.

On the daily chart, a major top is in place. I keep hearing people talk about waiting for a decent break to buy  — about catching the next upleg in the market. Unbelievably, many “investors” are still bullish on Silver. To me this is a gigantic red flag. Conventional wisdom (i.e., the prevailing view of the marketplace) holds that Silver is in a significant correction within a much larger bull trend. The bias of investors (those not wiped out by the first decline) is to be long.

What we know for certain is that a parabolic move ended in massive record volume in Silver trading (futures and ETFs). This is a sign of a top. The burden of proof is on the bulls. In fact, should the market rally and make a new high it would be one of history’s great shorting opportunities. People have attempted to convince me that Silver was not in a parabolic move. WHATEVER!!!!!

Make no doubt about it, Silver has topped. If it has not topped, it will be many, many months before a legitimate bull trend can re-emerge.

Short term, the hourly chart displays an advancing channel. I believe that a bear market correction to the $39 to $44 zone is possible, but not on this leg up.

More than likely the market will have a further downward correction, perhaps even making a new low for the decline, before a more serious rally into the low 40’s can occur. From a market psychology standpoint, a decline to the low 30’s followed by a rally into the low 40’s would get the bulls all excited again — just in time to be slammed once more.

Then the market should drop into the mid 20’s.

Full disclosure: I have no position. I have no bias to defend. I don’t really care where Silver goes. I am perfectly ok if Silver goes to 5 or to 100. I don’t care if my next trade is short or long. I only care that sometime in the next 12 months the Silver market will give two or three low risk/high reward chart setups.


Silver — history repeating itself

Three reasons why Silver might be close to a temporary bottom (within a larger bear market).

  1. There will be support at the trendline from August and January lows. Today could end up as a reversal day.
  2. Small investor may be washed out — this is needed for a rally to occur. SLV had record volume Thursday at 294 million shares. More volume than SPY. This volume represented small investors liquidating, not accumulating. The buyers were people who took profits last week. Sorry, small investors, this is the way the raw material markets work.
  3. The top in 1980 would indicate a rally from here. The rally should not exceed $39 to $42. Do not be confused — Silver is now in a bear market.

“Cops raid the brothel” — part 2

I left out an important part of history in yesterday’s post on Silver…that is, the origination of the phrase: “When the cops raid the brothel, everyone is arrested, including the piano player.”

I first heard this phrase at the CBOT in early 1980 in direct reference to the Silver market collapse. On the chart below you will note that Silver topped at 5056, dropped quickly to 3025, recovered to 3970, then was destroyed to 1080 and eventually 4 (that is $4 per oz.) for a total decline exceeding 90 percent.

The reported reason for the decline was the failed attempt to corner the physical market by the Hunt brothers of Texas. Today’s equivilant would be a combination of JP Morgan and the small speculators through the ETFs. The CFTC stepped in January 1980 and hiked the margin requirements. The rest was history.

The real reason for the decline was that Silver had no business being at $50, that Silver is a COMMODITY, and that commodities have boom and bust cycles.

Many, many investors got wiped out by the drop. During a meeting at the CBOT, a member made the statement, “Isn’t it too bad that not only the Hunts got wiped out, but little investors who had nothing to do with the manipulation also lost the family farm.”

To this comment, and old-time trader made the statement…”Well, you must remember, when the cops raid the brothel, everyone gets arrested, even the piano player.” I will never forget the phrase or the meaning of the phrase.

By the way, the conventional wisdom during the advance of 1979 (extending far into the 1980s) was not much different than it is today. Inflation concerns, worries about fiat currencies, fed policy, etc. These were the reasons the small investor bought Silver then and the reason they bought Silver in this cycle. Margin call after margin call later, the small investor always plays the role of the piano player.

By the way, a good way to play Silver in stocks is to short the ultra long, AGQ. Of course, pick your spots and use stops. Even if Silver develops into a broad trading range, AGQ will decline.


When the cops raid the brothel, everyone is arrested, including the piano player

Silver prices cannot go down, after all, the US$ remains weak! The fed is out of control…inflation is brewing…my macro model calls for further gains…China is still buying…my canary is sick…my mother-in-law bought a new Honda, etc., etc., etc.

This is all I heard as a result of my posts on Silver in the past week. Now, I want to be cautious not to crow, because those who crow end up eating crow down the road.

But the reality is this — Silver is a commodity. As a commodity, Silver is subject to boom and bust cycles, just like Sugar, just like Soybeans, just like Coffee. There is nothing special about Silver. Do you believe me yet?

Let’s put this decline in Silver into perspective. An $11 break in Silver is worth $55,000 per Comex contract. This is equal to a $550 move in the price of Comex Gold, an $11 move in Soybean prices, a $2.20 move in the price of Copper, a $1.46 move in Coffee prices…should I go on?

The Silver market presently is about one thing and one thing only…margin call liquidation. Silver prices have nothing to do with everything people told me would drive prices higher. Silver prices are about thousands of small speculators long above $45 per ounce.

The commodity market behaves like a living, breathing entity. The market instinctively knows when a group of investors are in trouble. And when a group of investors are in trouble, it is like a brothel raided by cops. Everyone gets arrested.

This phase of liquidation will not last forever. But it will last until every small speculator long above $45 per ounce is forced to liquidate. Every last one. Only then will Silver be able to experience a sharp counter-trend bounce. But make no doubt about it, the bounce will be counter-trend. When the bounce occurs an entirely new group of investors will jump aboard thinking the bull market is once again alive and well. These investors, too, will end up in a brothel raid.


8 years of global Silver supply changed hands last week

Value of Silver trading equaled 1.5 times the entire value of NYSE trading

First off, before I say anything more, let me congratulate those of you who sniffed out the bull market in Silver and have made a killing. Whether your reasons for being a long holder of Silver (bullion, ETFs, producers) prove to be right or wrong, you have made a ton of money – and at the end of the day this is what counts. I missed this bull move (although I nailed Gold). I admit it. So, whatever I say about Silver has to be placed in the context of the fact that one of the biggest trends in the history of raw materials took place with me as a spectator, not as a speculator.

With this admission in place, let me get to the subject.

I do not ever recall volume (relative to supply) in any commodity or stock like we witnessed last week in Silver. The entire global supply of Silver in 2010 was approximately 1,056.8 million ounces. This includes Silver from mines, government sales, and scrap, with an adjustment for hedging activities.

Last week’s total trading volume in Silver was at least 7, 915 million ounces, counting the Comex plus SLV and other Silver ETFs. In other words, 7.5 years worth of Silver supply changed hands last week.

Historically, huge slugs of trading volume have been either “starting” volume (the kick-off a trend) or “stopping” volume (the end or beginning of the end of a trend). Exceptions to this rule are almost non-existent, although I am sure Silver bulls would say…”This time it’s different.”

Let me put this volume of Silver trading into another perspective.  To date in 2011 the average weekly value of stocks traded on the NYSE has equalled $259 billion. Last week the value of Silver traded (at an approximate average price of $46 per ounce) was $364 billion.  

The unprecedented volume of last week may very well lead to further sharp price advances. But the odds overwhelming favor the fact that a volume in one week equal to 7.5 times annual global production is the start of an enormous distribution phase. Silver ownership is being moved from strong hands to weak hands.

At best, Silver is likely to undergo an extensive and very broad trading range. The shine is off the coin.


Silver is a way to play the US$ — NOT!!!!!

If you are bearish on the US$, there are better bets to make.

In recent days many a Silver bull has attempted to convince me that Silver is a play against the US$. I don’t buy it for a minute. Silver is a raw material commodity. End of story. That Silver is considered a semi-precious metal is irrelevant.

In fact, I will maintain that there are far better ways to make a bet against the US$ than by owning Silver. A picture is worth a thousand words. So I will let the graph below do most of the talking for me.

From the price lows of the 1980s/1990s, Silver has increased 13.2 fold against the US$. In contrast, Gold has only increased by a factor of 6.0 – in other words, Silver has been twice as good of a bet. On a pure price appreciation basis, Sugar was a better hedge against the US$ than was Gold. Perhaps we should all be carrying Sugar cubes to protect us against the incompetence of the Geithner/Bernanke cabal.

So what has been the best bet in US$-denominated terms – stocks – all stocks. In fact, the DJIA has outperformed shares in the largest precious metal producers, BHP Billiton and Freeport-McMoran (both of which have outperformed Silver). In fact, the DJIA has outperformed Silver by 33 percent, even after one of the worst performing decades for stocks in history. This does not even factor in dividends – and the last time I checked, the only dividend Silver pays is oxidization stains in the pocket.

If you want to make a play against the US$, Silver is a second-class citizen with the last name of “Bubble.”

This bull market may carry Silver prices to $60 or $70 or — as proof of the market’s absolute insanity — even $100. But I stand by my prediction that within five years Silver prices will be in the teens.


Using hourly charts to trade silver

Even a market blow-off has a Silver lining

As a general rule I do not like using intraday charts. The reason is that intraday chart patterns have a failure rate of 75 percent, although I know some excellent short-term traders who use intraday charts in conjunction with various indicators to wring a profit out of the markets consistently. But as for me, intraday charts are normally not in tool box. Normally, that is!

There are rare market conditions during which intraday charts can be extremely useful for scalping and timing. The predominant condition is when a market is in a sharp advance or decline. In such market conditions, intraday charts can be useful for identifying the end of a countertrend correction or brief consolidation. Hourly charts are utterly useless, in my opinion, in broad sideways markets such as we currently have in Copper, Soybeans, USDJPY, to name a few. But for running markets, intraday charts can be a great tool.

Thus was the case this week in Silver. I absolutely believe that Silver is in the blow-off stage of a massive bubble. I have heard all your arguments for why Silver is fairly or even cheaply priced at these levels – Fed policy, weak dollar, etc., etc. Frankly, I don’t buy these reasons. This time it ISN’T different. I heard similar arguments from perpetual Silver bulls for 25 years after the last Silver bubble burst in 1980. According to the Silver bulls then, they were right and the market was wrong. They point to the current bull market as their redemption. Some redemption! Anyone who bought Silver at the absolute low in 1982 has earned a compounded 8.1 percent annually at current price levels. But even this “spectacular” rate-of-return has to be downwardly adjusted for the cost of carry.

Anyway, back to the hourly chart theme. 

Sunday evening I posted a blog stating my opinion that Silver was in a bubble. To traders, having an opinion is different than having a position. Opinions are NOT positions. Early on Wednesday, using Chart.ly, I began posting hourly charts suggesting that Silver was preparing for another (and final?) upleg in the blow off. The intraday charts were clearly showing that a corrective phase in Silver was coming to an end. Following are these Chart.ly posts. 

“Think SI is in blow-off, but one more big leg poss. Watch rect on hrly chart for timing.” Apr27 6:32AM.


 “Resolution of hrly chart will either lead to another up leg or confirm a possible top.” Apr27 12:50PM


The, finally…”Hrly rectangle completed. Should usher in new up leg.” Apr27 1:59PM 

So the lesson is this – in sideways and choppy markets, except for the swift of foot, intraday charts are not very useful; but, in running markets intraday classical chart patterns can be used for low risk scalping. By the way, the target of 47.84 from the rectangle bottom on the hourly chart has almost been reached as of this writing. And notice that a new rectangle is appearing on the hourly chart.

By the way, there is another lesson in this story. Taking positions against one’s bias is not only possible, but can often be quite profitable. To a trader, an opinion is not a position and a position is not an opinion.

It will probably be another year before I blog about hourly charts.


How do you spell bubble?…S I L V E R

The Silver market is within months, or even weeks, or even days of a major top.

The Silver market has entered a classic blow-off top. There is no question but that Silver is a bubble in the making…and will soon be a bubble in the breaking.

The similarities between the current exponential spike in Silver and the Nasdaq in the late 1990s are striking. While Silver could surge significantly higher before the top (driven by investor mania and CFTC-sanctioned cornering /short squeeze maneuvering), perhaps even to $60 or $70 per oz., the odds are very high that Silver will be back in low teens within the next five years.

Silver currently is right in the blow-off sweet spot that drove the Nasdaq from October 1999 to the March 2000 high. Once again the individual investor will be burned badly.

Millions of investors have bought into the idea that the Silver is the best thing going – that between global supply and demand factors and a hedge against paper currency, Silver actually deserves to be priced at current levels. There are actually web sites touting $200 and even $1,000 Silver prices.

The Silver market reminds me of the mania surrounding the Nasdaq – just prior to the start of its 81% decline into 2002. Do I think Silver could experience an 80% decline? Absolutely! Of course, the shorts could go broke before Silver finally tops, so I have no desire to step in front of this run-away train.

Many of the investors in the raw material markets today are unfamiliar with the boom-to-bust-to-boom-to-bust nature of the commodity markets. So, if this is you, enjoy your profits now, because if you are a long-term bull on Silver, your definition of “long term” is likely to be redefined in the decades ahead.

I am also including a chart of the last grand bull move in Silver. A picture is worth a thousand words.

In the commodity markets, what goes up will eventually come down.