Warning: Gold Is in a Short-Term Bubble

Includes: GLD, IAU
by: Convex Strategies

Gold has been the "hot" safe haven this year, and that actually may be rationalized by the lack of other options. Notorious safe havens like the Swiss franc have proven unreliable, as intervention from central banks can put a lid on gains and make investing even more confusing. The dollar has not been safe, due to our inability to devise a plan that will strengthen our financial footing as a nation. Oil had been a place for investors to put their money, but it is directly linked to the economy and has never really served as a safe haven. Treasuries, being bought like there's no tomorrow, have yields that barely, if even, can outpace inflation. What's left is gold (and silver).

What worries me about the gold market, however, is that retail investors, seeing that gold is pretty much the only thing going up recently, and worried about their battered portfolios, have been rapidly adding gold. The most common gold fund, GLD, saw a 3.3% increase in inflows last week. After a 4% gain yesterday (August 9th), these inflows will only show massive increases next week. A lot of these buyers have definitely been risk averse individuals. Individual participation generally marks the beginning of a top, but that doesn't mean you can call one here. We are in more than a decade long gold bull market, so calling a top here is foolish.

Regardless of who is buying, however, I believe gold is in a short term "bubble," and is going to suffer huge losses if we hear that the Fed is stepping up. Even some good economic news, or ECB action in Europe, may stop the bleeding. There are a lot of players in gold right now that are merely interested in dampening the volatility of their portfolios for this current selloff. I doubt they'll stay in once gold begins to lose steam, which will occur when the macro picture gets some good news and optimism is the new name of the game in the media. These players will selloff quick at any hints of a bounce back, and some heavy, quick selling will probably occur. Although gold may be a solid investment for the next few years, there is no point entering the market right now considering the near term risks.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.