Finally - Gold Options

Includes: GDX, GLD, IAU
by: David Nichols

We've been waiting a long time, but it looks like we'll soon be able to trade options on gold in regular equity accounts.

And we may not have long to wait from here. According to Barron's, options on the gold ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) may start trading as early as June 2nd, although I have not yet been able to confirm this with the exchange.

These options are the first result of a newly-signed Memorandum of Understanding between the SEC and the CFTC to work together to adapt to the modern financial landscape, where the line between commodities and equities is no longer so well-defined.

Options on GLD will trade just like any other option series listed at the CBOE. Each contract will represent 100 shares of GLD, and there will be a full complement of puts and calls, at multiple strike prices, at multiple future expiration dates.

This is a crucial development for the gold market, as it will now be possible to execute leveraged strategies in gold in a regular equity account. Up until now, leveraged gold trading has only been available only in futures accounts.

So even though this may seem like a relatively minor development to the "outside world" -- that is, those who aren't already involved in the massive gold bull market -- it is actually a crucial step towards boosting gold's profile, and making this market more accessible to the majority of investors and traders.

This also helps pave the way for truckloads of new money to come into the gold market over the next 5 years, to push prices up to the bull market peak that is lurking out in the future. It's going to take tons of new money and a continuing supply of fresh converts to take gold up to the $6,000 target for this massive bull market pattern.

Although it would have been nice to have these options prior to the recent big run-up, the timing is actually quite good now for the launch of these options, as gold should continue to be a trader's market for another year or so as the big consolidation pattern develops and extends.

The current problem for the gold bull market -- but it's only a temporary one -- is the big monthly trend has run out of energy to push prices higher. Even the strongest trends run out of available energy when the fractal dimension hits the low 30s, and this last trend in gold carried the monthly fractal dimension down to 29 as gold was peaking over $1,000.

The last time this happened, on the run up to the May 2006 top at $736, gold needed 15 months of consolidation before it was ready for the next hyper-growth phase. It's reasonable to expect a similar consolidation period now, which should last into 2009. We're already a few months into this consolidation.

So this is the perfect environment to trade the new gold options, and if you want to thrive during this period -- and not merely survive -- it is necessary to stay flexible in your short-term outlook, and even occasionally place some strategic bets on the downside. Within the next few weeks we should be able to do this in regular equity accounts, with puts and calls on GLD.