HUI Upleg Daily Gains

Scott Wright     March 2, 2007     2582 Words


With the first two months of this new year under our belts, the commodities lethargy seemingly still has a grip on investor sentiment.  The deep malaise that has entangled the commodities markets resulting from a brutal first couple weeks of January has caused many to lose sight of the fact that we are still in the midst of yet another upleg for the king of the metals.


Since its interim low in the beginning of October, gold has soared over $100 per ounce.  But for gold-stock investors the ride hasn’t been quite as exciting.  As measured by the elite HUI gold-stock index, the gold stocks have indeed experienced a relatively lethargic journey by historical standards.


Though the HUI is up 28% since gold’s low, for seasoned gold-stock investors who have been through previous uplegs in gold’s secular bull, 28% is chump change.  Now granted this is all relative in the span of the financial markets as 28% in five months is quite impressive in any sector.  But we gold-stock investors are accustomed to much larger gains when the metal the gold stocks are pegged to is powering higher.


Due to the dynamic nature of the gold-mining business, the incredible positive leverage that gold stocks have had to gold in each preceding upleg and cumulatively bull to date has been a mainstay for investors.  Though I still believe we are in the early part of an upleg from a gains perspective and that we should eventually see the gold-stock gains we are accustomed to, this particular upleg hasn’t yet won over the usual crowd and seems to have folks sitting uneasy.


Though I am blessed to be able to watch the markets all day and spend more time than the average investor mulling over the facts and figures trying to view this upleg objectively, I even find myself lacking enthusiasm in this current environment and am greatly pondering the lagging gold stocks.


And a common point of contention with this current and 7th measurable HUI upleg that has been bothering many folks including me surrounds this leverage concept I touched on above.  Since its early October lows, gold is up an impressive 22%.  Yet in this same time the HUI is up only 28% to its recent highs.


Now bull to date the HUI has positively leveraged gold’s gains by 5.4x.  So for every 10% gain in gold the gold stocks have averaged 54% gains.  But the leverage we are seeing in today’s upleg is just a hair above even money.


Even-money leverage does not sit well with gold-stock investors, which is partially why this upleg has warranted grumblings thus far.  At Zeal we have received a lot of feedback on this front and my business partner Adam Hamilton wrote in detail about this pitiful leverage in a recent publication of our Zeal Speculator newsletter to analyze and address these concerns.  This sorry leverage is indeed an anomaly in this bull market.


These lagging gold-stock gains are not only bothersome from a strategic perspective, but they also seem to be causing daily angst among the gold-stock traders.  In recent discussions with my business partners, clients and speculator friends, there has been a grand consensus on the gold stocks.  Gold stocks are greatly lacking the excitement we are used to seeing in previous uplegs.


Globally poor sentiment created by the commodities woes earlier this year has spilled over into the gold-stock realm and folks are just not as excited as they should be for this upleg.  The gold stocks just haven’t seemed to hold the fuel to spark excitement.  And of course excitement manifests itself in the form of gains.  Nothing causes more widespread excitement than big daily gains, and lots of them, something typical of an upleg.


So with undeniable evidence, as supported by gold’s rally since October, that we should be in the midst of HUI upleg 7 in this secular gold bull, I thought it would be prudent to tackle one of the obvious reasons for this lack of gold-stock excitement.


And this reason comes in the form of a question that is lingering in everyone’s mind, where are the gains?  By taking a look at some of the previous HUI uplegs we can get an idea of what we’ve been missing and perhaps see what may be in store for gold-stock investors going forward.


The big daily upleg gains in which higher highs power towards an apex is something we haven’t seen much of yet in upleg 7.  Because this upleg is already maturing in age as it passes its 100th trading day, I was hoping that taking a look at the big daily gains of exciting uplegs 2, 4 and 6 could perhaps provide a guiding light for our current path.  To see these awesome uplegs in historical context, check out these charts.


Now one of the reasons I’m using uplegs 2, 4 and 6 as examples today is due to my perceived nature of what upleg 7 should look like.  Because a Stage Two gold bull has altered the game a bit, the in-between consolidation uplegs that were inversely pegged to dollar action should lose their patterns as gold and the dollar continue to decouple and global investment demand rises.


The daily gains we’ll look at are interday gains which are those gains witnessed from daily closing price to daily closing price.  If the market price of an asset closes on day 1 at 100 and closes on day 2 at 104, then from day 1 to day 2 there was an interday gain of 4.0%.  And it is the 4.0%, 5.0% and 6.0%+ days in the HUI that really draw investors into the market and breed excitement within an upleg.  It is days like these where gold stocks’ leverage to gold shines and the risks of investing and speculating in these volatile vehicles are forgotten.


Let’s first take a look at upleg 2 which was the most powerful of the HUI uplegs to date in percentage terms.  I wanted to see not only what kind of big daily gains this upleg offered to investors, but when within the upleg some of the larger gains occurred.



As you can see in this chart I pinpointed the top-ten biggest interday gains during this upleg and identified them numbered one through ten with one being the largest single interday gain.  And in order to provide a visual depiction of where these big gainers fell in the timeline of this upleg I also identified a midpoint.


As you can see 80% of the top gains occurred in the latter half of upleg 2.  Upleg 2 indeed had a very impressive second half in which the HUI broke 100 for the first time in nearly four years.  For those of us who were active back in this upleg, excitement was indeed present as the average gain for these top-ten-upleg-2 daily gainers was a staggering 6.21%.


Also exciting was that of the 127 trading days in upleg 2, 13 days, or 10% of the time, the HUI experienced a greater than 4.0% interday gain.  And the average daily gain for this upleg was an incredible 0.74%, the best of any upleg to date.  What an exciting upleg!


Now if we scrub upleg 7 to upleg 2 we can begin to get an idea of where some of the excitement is lacking.  With HUI upleg 7 now 100 trading days old and yielding a sluggish upleg-to-date gain of 28%, it is logical that it won’t be host to the same types of numbers we see in upleg 2.


In fact, upleg 7 is currently sporting an average daily gain of only 0.20%, about a quarter the daily strength of upleg 2.  Even more dismal is that upleg 7 has only seen a grand total of three days where we’ve had an interday gain exceed 4.0% so far.  No wonder there is such a lack of excitement!


Well if upleg 7 has a prayer of measuring up to upleg 2, the second half is sure to be quite exciting.  And when viewed in isolation, upleg 2 can be encouraging for the future tidings of upleg 7.  Upleg 2 had excellent strength in its second half, and big rallies in the second halves of uplegs do make some logical sense.


It is typically toward the end of an upleg when euphoria sets in and greed becomes rampant.  This sentiment provides one last surge of capital that sends the HUI to the moon before it inevitably peters out.  We’ll see if this will be the case for upleg 7.


In this next chart I give the same examination to HUI upleg 4.  This upleg turned out to be a fantastic run in gold stocks that rewarded its investors with remarkable 2003 gains and vaulted the HUI above 200 for the first time since its 1996 inception.  Upleg 4 was also pivotal in solidifying the case that gold and gold stocks were indeed in a secular bull market.



With upleg 2 selling me on big interday gains littering a strong second half, I partially expected upleg 4 to look the same.  But as you can see in this chart, the big interday gains in upleg 4 sang a different tune.  Interestingly, these gains were spread remarkably evenly throughout the upleg.


The top ten interday gains are clustered in groups in the beginning, the midpoint and toward the end of this upleg.  The exciting daily gains in upleg 4 also ended up providing 13 trading days that resulted in greater than 4.0% interday gains, of which the top ten averaged an exciting 5.76%.  And in the 173 trading days that spanned this upleg, there was an average daily gain of 0.49%.


As seen by its overall gain and average daily gain, upleg 4 was not as sharp and fast as upleg 2.  But its numbers still dwarf what we are seeing in upleg 7 thus far.  For upleg 7 to get on par with upleg 4, again it is going to need to have a stellar second half.


So now with mixed results in these first two massive HUI uplegs, let’s take a look at what the latest massive HUI upleg reveals from a big-daily-gain perspective.  Upleg 6 is shown below, and it is this upleg that vaulted the HUI close to 400, a nearly 1,000% gain from its late-2000 low.



Just when I was getting hopeful that measuring big interday gains might reveal a strategic trend that can be useful for future HUI uplegs, upleg 6 provides a third look that runs the gamut of our options.  Upleg 2 revealed big up days in the latter half of an upleg.  Upleg 4 revealed scattered big days with a concentration right at the midpoint.  And now upleg 6 shows us big interday gains in the front half of an upleg.  What are the odds?!?


HUI upleg 6 was lengthy compared to the average upleg duration of 156 trading days.  In its 248 trading days, this upleg had an average daily gain of 0.38% while being host to 14 big-interday gainers greater than 4.0%.  And 70% of these top gainers occurred before the midpoint while two happened at the very end just before the May collapse.


Now to place upleg 7 into further context, consider that the average interday gain for upleg 6 top-ten big gainers was 5.26%.  This is the lowest of the three massive uplegs, but impressive nonetheless.  Well in the 100 trading days that upleg 7 has been limping along, not a single interday gain has been in excess of 5.0%.  And even though upleg 6 had the lowest average daily gains of these three massive uplegs, it was still nearly twice as high as our current upleg.  Again, no wonder there is a continuing lack of excitement today.


And to throw another wrench in the spoke of upleg 7, just take a look at big-gainer frequency.  In these three previous uplegs an average of 1 of every 14 trading days had an interday gain in excess of 4.0%.  And 1 in every 7.5 trading days sported a gain in excess of 3.0%, which is still an exciting day.


Well so far upleg 7 is having 4.0% interday gains a pitiful once every 33 trading days with 3.0% interday gains coming only once every 10 trading days.  Either this upleg isn’t going to be as great as we hope it should be or it has a very strong second half in store for it.


HUI upleg 7 is indeed not only lagging its bull-to-date standard leverage to gold, but it is also lagging the exciting pace of previous uplegs as measure by big daily gains.  But alas, I believe we can still look forward with confidence.  Even though we see the big interday gains scattered all throughout previous uplegs, the bulk of the greater upleg gains always happened in the second half.


In these three examples the average first-half HUI gain is 47% while the average second-half gain is 72%.  So if upleg 7 is going to make some noise, as it should following gold’s awesome gains, we should see some nice action in the latter half of this upleg as gold-stock investors finally jump onboard.  A strong second half with big interday gains will definitely spark some long-overdue excitement in this sector.


And given the lack of excitement thus far and what looks like the largest gold disconnect that the HUI has ever experienced, if upleg 7 is going to be strong, we could see some fast and furious buying that would finally provide some of the excellent interday gains on the magnitude experienced in previous uplegs.


Sometimes it does take the ever-skeptical gold-stock crowd a little longer to believe in a gold rally and trust that it is indeed the real deal.  And as sentiment turns, as it always does, the gold stocks should catch a bid and cause the HUI to work overtime to restore the leverage I discussed earlier.


Seasoned gold-stock traders will eventually give up their bearish ghosts and should aggressively start buying gold stocks.  Especially if gold continues to power higher.  And these steadfast investors should also be able to use this rotten sentiment to their advantage.  At these still-low prices, there are far more buying opportunities than if this upleg had already been exciting.


At Zeal we have been aggressively buying gold stocks since gold’s October lows and they have performed quite well thus far.  But we suspect that the gains we’ve seen so far in HUI upleg 7 are just an appetizer for the main course.  If you are interested in cutting-edge commodities-market analysis in addition to highly-researched hand-picked stock recommendations, please subscribe today to our acclaimed monthly newsletter.


The bottom line is our current HUI upleg really is lacking the excitement that previous HUI uplegs have ignited.  With gold carving a beautiful uptrend of its own, the normally well-leveraged HUI is seemingly lifeless.  The gains have been sub-standard and there has been very little daily excitement that gold-stock investors can build on.


If HUI upleg 7 is going to power higher and connect with gold like in the past, gold-stock investors should be in store for some big, fun and exciting interday gains that will build momentum for an ultimately excellent Stage Two upleg.  And with sub-par performance thus far in this aging upleg, a big move in the gold-stock sector ought to be right around the corner.


Scott Wright     March 2, 2007     Subscribe