Today In Commodities: Loonie Break May Signal Forthcoming Declines In Metals, Energy

by: Matthew Bradbard

Energy: Crude oil finished higher for the 6th week in a row, with March futures ending the week above the 61.8% Fibonacci level. Some of my clients have remained in their bearish trades, as they are either in bear put spreads or short futures ad have sold puts 1:1. We've all taken some heat, but I truly believe we crack very soon. If I did not, I would be advising to cut losses, which to date I have not. Do I think $100/barrel is feasible? Yes, but not before we see $91/92, in my opinion. That would get clients in the green. RBOB added 1% today, lifting prices to the highest close in 3 months. I was hoping to get clients long from lower levels, but if we get above the September highs, I will be forced to buy at higher level than I had previously thought. Expect RBOB to follow crude. Heating oil also did an about face mid-week, closing near the upper end of the weekly range. Prices are above the 20 day MA, but futures do not look as supportive as RBOB. I cannot rule out one more leg lower before we see the appreciation I expect in the coming months. Natural gas is above the 50 day MA for the first time in 7 weeks, gaining 6 out of the last 7 sessions. I remain bullish, thinking we get a little more on this leg. Prices are higher by 15%, and I think we get another 3-5%. I have advised clients with larger positions to lighten up on the way up.

Stock Indices: The S&P is trading near 5 year highs, up nearly 100 points in the last 3 weeks. I have been dead wrong, and stubbornly we are staying with it, thinking the day of reckoning is just around the bend. Clients are down about as much as I would want on a position, so we may be forced to leave the trade or lighten up on any additional upside. A closure of the gap, which is still my opinion, represents a drop of 3.7% from today's settlement. The Dow gained 0.25% today, but closed 1% higher on the week. The 9 day MA held early in the week, and the key to me will be penetrating that level in the coming weeks to confirm an interim top, which should be very close, in my eyes.

Metals: The 50 day MA capped upside in gold yesterday and today, and it would not surprise me to see prices back off. I advised traders to exit longs or, at a minimum, lighten up. A correction in February should be met with support at $1670, followed by $1655. Silver was higher all 5 sessions this week, but like gold, is running into resistance at the 50 day MA -- in March just above $32/ounce. Lighten up or exit longs, and be willing to reload on longs on the ensuing correction. I would be an aggressive buyer with clients closer to $30.50/ounce. The gold vs. platinum trade was picture perfect today, narrowing $13. I think platinum could get drilled in the coming weeks, so I will be advising clients to fade rallies. April platinum futures should trade back near $1600, in my opinion.

Softs: Since bottoming 2 weeks ago, cocoa futures have advanced 6 out of the last 8 sessions, ending the week above the 9 and 20 day MA. I feel we are in the second inning, and prices could gain nicely from here. I've advised clients to work into bullish trades in May and July positions. Sugar gave up ground all 5 days this week, closing at 2 ½ year lows. Traders can wade into bullish trade at these levels, as I do think there is value, but prices being cheap alone will not get prices moving north, so do not over commit. Cotton gained 4% this week, lifting prices to 6 month highs. I am eager to be a seller, but I will need to see signs of an interim top… at this point, do not rule out filling the gap from last May, putting futures over 80 cents. Today's chart of the day was OJ, and this tasty beverage should be on your radar. After a 25% drop from mid-December, I think a base is in place and we could bounce from here. I prefer options a few months out to capitalize on a potential 15% appreciation. In the last 3 weeks, coffee is up nearly 10% and on the highs, within pennies of completing a 38.2% Fibonacci retracement. We traded to 2 month highs, and I think we can get more. This is why I moved clients from March out until May to stay with the trade.

Treasuries: With today's gains, 30-year bonds are back above their 9 day MA. I say we trade north and open the idea of selling from higher levels. North of 148'00 in March futures is my objective. 10-year notes traded up on the session as well, trading above the 20 day MA and finishing just under that pivot point.

Livestock: Cold storage and cattle on feed reports next week. April live cattle gave up 3.4%, putting prices near 7 month lows. A 61.8% retracement was completed, but I've yet to act on behalf of clients. I want to be in bullish trade, so cattle are on my radar… expect trade ideas next week. March feeder cattle lost 3% on the week as prices approach oversold levels -- $1.46 may prove to be an interim low on this contract… stay tuned. Lean hogs have settled over their 9 day MA the last 2 sessions as prices may have turned a corner. Aggressive traders could gain light bullish exposure but remember, we have reports next week. Cut losses on a close under 87 cents in April futures.

Grains: Corn is up approximately 50 cents/bushel in the last 2 weeks. As long as prices remain above their 50 day MA, I am friendly, but I have lightened up for a number of clients, as I could not rule out some back and fill before we reach higher ground. I see a trade to $8/bushel in the coming months, but do we check $7 first? Soybeans are 60 cents off their lows, but based on the movement in other AG products, we should have advanced $1-1.25. I don't think legumes are ready to advance… let's wait for more evidence. The inverted market in soy meal and the growing demand for protein has this market on my buy list. The preferred vehicle is bull call spreads in July. Wheat finished near the highs of the day, gaining better than 50 cents since the USDA report. I like bullish trade, thinking this has the potential to be a sleeper market in the coming weeks. My objective is an additional 30-40 cents before prices are met with much resistance.

Currencies: The dollar is above the 20 day MA, but under its 50 day MA. My feeling is we catch a bid and move north… this would be confirmed with March futures above 80.30 next week. The cable and swissie have already started to break down, down 2.7% on both in the last 2-3 weeks. My take is the euro is to follow, and I have advised bearish exposure. Shorts could also probe the commodity currencies, with the loonie and aussie my favored plays. Could the break in the loonie today be a forward indicator for the coming fall in metal and energy prices in the coming weeks? The yen is cheap and we could snap back, but inexpensive options only… view it as a lottery ticket that will likely expire worthless.

Risk Disclaimer: The opinions contained herein are for general information only and not tailored to any specific investor's needs or investment goals. Any opinions expressed in this article are as of the date indicated. Trading futures, options, and Forex involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.