On this day in 1980, after more than doubling in the prior month, gold prices peaked amid “trading that reached delirious proportions” at a record $820. Between The Hunt Brothers precious metals miasma and rumors that the Soviet Union had invaded Iran, one trader at the time described gold’s bull run as “like going to a strip show knowing the place is about to be raided.” The exuberance described in the WSJ’s headlines below echo so strongly forward into the current “buying opportunity” that any dip represents in the US equity market… and just as it is never different this time, the WSJ reported, “no one wants to leave until they’re sure the party is over.”
Ring any bells with the current exuberance in US equities?
Based on the fidelity of the recent advance to this price structure, we estimate the “finite-time singularity” of the present log-periodic bubble to occur (or to have occurred) somewhere between December 31, 2013 and January 13, 2014. That does not mean that prices must immediately crash – only that the dynamics will then lend themselves to a great deal of potential instability, if prior log-periodic bubbles in equity and commodity markets across history are any indication. It bears repeating that our own defensiveness is driven by a broad ensemble of evidence, not simply price dynamics, not simply valuations, not simply sentiment, but the “full catastrophe” – which includes the fact that strong economic, speculative and monetary enthusiasm has historically been quite a contrary indicator for stocks.
The chart aboveshows the current position of the S&P 500. The light red line shows the log-periodic price trajectory that most closely approximates the present overvalued, overbought, overbullish, Fed-induced speculative run since 2010. While the initial gains from the 2009 low until about mid-2010 represented what we view as a move from reasonable valuation to full valuation (our stress-testing “miss” was not on valuation grounds), I expect little, if any of the market’s gains since 2010 to be retained by investors over the completion of this market cycle.