Today In Commodities: Gold And Silver Gain, Grains In The Red

by: Matthew Bradbard

Energy: Crude oil closed 1.42% higher as the 100 day MA supported today, currently at $91.65 in February. Another $2 move higher would complete a 61.8% retracement and put futures back near their October highs… this is a reach but possible, in my opinion. I still like the idea of scaling into bearish trade. My favored recommendation for clients is shorting April futures while selling out of the money puts 1:1. I am anticipating a $4-5 break in the coming weeks. RBOB gained 1.21%, but stalled at the recent highs with February still under $2.80. If my assessment is correct in crude, expect RBOB to trade roughly 15 cents lower in the coming weeks. A move back to the 50 day MA is just better than a 13 cent decline. Heating oil has failed to get above its 100 day MA after several attempts in the last 2 weeks. This resistance level is at $3.06 in February. I expect to see this contract closer to $2.90/gallon in the coming weeks… trade accordingly. The biggest mover in this complex was natural gas, which closed down 3.52% but intra-day, traded lower by nearly 9%. I currently have some clients long via April option spreads. This trade is down 50%, and I advised clients to double down today. I think within that time, we can at least see a trade back north of $3.50, which should get them out at a profit.

Stock Indices: The S&P reached my objective at 1385; the 61.8% Fibonacci level late in 2012, but we did not stay there for long. Some clients opted to lighten up, but hindsight is 20/20, as traders that stayed the course have moved back into a losing position with the S&P gaining 70 points or 5% in the last 2 sessions. No, it is not justified, and I think we are back under 1400 in the coming weeks. That being said, the wild volatility is likely to stay as the market digests the fiscal cliff dilemma. The daily chart is also textbook in the Dow, as a 61.8% retracement was completed a few days ago and then we proceeded to rally 550 points or 4.3% in the last 2 days. Prices are at 2 month highs and could take a stab at their fall highs, but I do not think they are sustainable. A trade back under 13000 in March futures is in the cards, in my opinion.

Metals: Gold closed up 0.78%, having gained 6 out of the last 7 sessions and picking up nearly $50/ounce from the lows last week. I see further appreciation ahead and have advised clients to buys dips. I am friendly as long as prices remain above their 200 day MA -- currently at $1668 in February. Silver gained 2.58% to close above the 200 day MA. We've likely turned a corner and we should see higher ground ahead, but this will not be a smooth ride. We could correct $1 before we see much higher ground, so do not get too long in the tooth just yet. Like gold, I will be buying dips for aggressive speculators. Those that timed fresh long entries last week should book partial profits in gold and silver, in my opinion.

Softs: Lower trade was rejected yesterday, and then today cocoa closed in the green for the first time in 2 weeks. I have shifted from bearish to bullish, and would be willing to probe bullish trade as long as 2200 holds in March. Prices should work their way back to 2350 in the coming weeks, in my opinion. Sugar closed higher by just under 1% at 3 week highs. We have moved to overbought levels, but I still think there is gas in the tank. Some clients remain in bullish May and July call spreads. Buying was rejected in cotton, as prices closed under its 9 day MA for the third day running. I anticipate lower trade and see March under 74 cents in the coming weeks. OJ is down almost 20% in the last 2 weeks, as the easy money has been made, in my opinion. I am bearish as long as March futures are under $1.20, though I think the easy money has been made. Coffee advanced 3.89% to close above its 20 day MA for the first time in 3 weeks. Those still long calls or short puts should have an opportunity to unload their options at more favorable levels the next few days, in my opinion.

Treasuries: 30-year bonds gapped lower and closed down 1.21% just above 2 week lows. The momentum is bearish, as I would not rule out further depreciation and a challenge of the October lows. March futures will need to remain under 147'00 for me to remain bearish. In 2 days, 10-year notes gave back the previous week of gains, as prices are trading just above 132'00 in March. I would not rule out further selling, but prices need to stay under 132'16 on a closing basis for me to remain bearish. Long dated euro-dollars (2015 and 2016) have also started to leak lower and should be on your radar.

Livestock: Live cattle have lost ground 3 out of the last 4 sessions, closing at their 20 day MA today. I see lower trade ahead, and have targeted $1.3060 in February. A lower low and lower high in feeder cattle today, with a challenge of the 20 day MA. A 61.8% Fibonacci retracement puts the March contract back under $1.51. February lean hogs were able to hold their 20 day MA, closing marginally higher. If the 9 day MA at 86.70 continues to act as resistance, expect the leg lower to resume. I like the idea of selling futures while simultaneously selling out of the money puts 1:1 with an objective of 82 cents.

Grains: Large fund selling had grains in the red today, with corn off by 1.07%, soybeans lower by 1.22% and wheat hit by the largest margin down 2.92%. March corn continues to hold just under $6.90/bushel. Though I am not a huge bull, I do like the idea of light bullish exposure. Those that are long March from higher levels were advised to buy May today at current levels. On a bounce, we may trade out of the entire position… stay tuned. A bearish engulfing candle in soybeans, dragging prices to fresh 5 week lows. I have yet to make a move here with clients, thinking we could see another 20-30 cents of risk from current levels. With the near 3% drop in wheat today, prices traded through last week's support and put prices at 6 month lows. You know what they say -- buy low and sell high. I like starting a long trade at these deflated levels. My favored play is long futures and selling out of the money calls 1:1. I have priced out a strategy with a large client, putting my core position in December and selling the nearer month call options. Contact me for precise details. The idea is to get paid while we wait for wheat to turn around in the coming weeks… at least that is the theory.

Currencies: A bullish engulfing candle in the dollar with a midday reversal, putting the greenback over its 20 day MA. This is a key pivot point and needs to be monitored in the coming sessions; in March at 79.85. The European currencies are exhibiting toppy signs and can be scaled into from the short side. Stops should be placed above the recent highs in the euro, swissie and pound. The aussie and loonie gapped higher, but I would expect their should be stiff resistance from levels seen 2 weeks ago. If we fail at those levels in either cross, I will explore bearish trade with clients. The yen has been a one-way trade, as every attempt at a rally has failed. There will be a snap back that fills the gap in March futures at 1.180, but from what level? Inexpensive call options are still an alternative, but keep size small.

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.

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