Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Precious Metals MAJOR Breakout Part II

It has been a year since the price of gold bullion topped out and even longer for silver. Many traders and investors have been patiently waiting for this long term consolidation pattern to breakout and trigger the rally for precious metals and miner stocks. Most of gold bullion is used for investment purposes. As a result, it rises when there is economic weakness and investors lose confidence in the fiat currency of a country.

With continuing economic weakness in the United States it will almost certainly lead the Federal Reserve to act in way that is more powerful than Operation Twist which is the selling of short term securities to buy those with a longer term. Based on the most recent data, economic growth in the United States is falling as the unemployment rate rises. A recent statement by the Federal Reserve was unusually clear in calling for greater action in the future.  

Gold, Silver and Dollar Weekly Price Chart:

Take a look at the weekly charts below which compare gold and silver to the US Dollar index. You will notice how major resistance for metals lines up with major support for the dollar. As this time metals are still in consolidation mode (down trend) and the dollar is in an uptrend.

Weekly Metals Outlook

Gold Miners ETF Weekly Chart:

Gold miners have been under pressure for a long time and while they make
money they have refused to boost dividends. That being said I feel the time
is coming where gold miner companies breakout and rally then start to raise
dividends in shortly after to really get share prices higher.

GDX - Gold Miner Stock ETF

On August 13th I talked about the characteristic’s and how to trade the next
precious metals breakout and where your money should be for the first half
of the rally and where it should rotate into for the second half. Doing this could
double you’re returns. Click here to read part one "Gold Mining Stocks 

Overall I feel a rally is nearing in metals that will lead to major gains. It may
start this week or it still could be a couple months down the road. But when
it happens there should be some solid profits to be had. I continue to keep
my eye on this sector for when they technically breakout and start an uptrend.

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board market be sure to join my free newsletter at The Gold & Oil 

Monday, August 27, 2012

EIA: Projected Natural Gas Prices Depend on Shale Gas Resource Economics

Considerable uncertainty exists regarding the size of the economically recoverable U.S. shale gas resource base and the cost of producing those resources. Across four shale gas resource scenarios from the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012), natural gas prices vary by about $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2035, demonstrating the significant impact that shale gas resource uncertainty has in determining future natural gas prices. This uncertainty exists primarily because shale gas wells exhibit a wide variation in their initial production rate, rate of decline, and estimated ultimate recovery per well (or EUR, which is the expected cumulative production over the life of a well).

 If a resource assessment of a shale formation relies on "sweet spot" production rates, where wells produce at rates higher than expected elsewhere in the formation, then the productive and economic potential of the entire formation could be exaggerated. On the other hand, future technological improvements that reduce production costs and/or enhance well productivity, along with closer well spacing, would increase the economic potential and resource recovery of the U.S. shale gas formations.

graph of historical and projected Henry Hub spot natural gas prices in four shale gas resource cases, as described in the article text

AEO2012 includes an analysis of varying future shale gas well production estimates and the associated EUR, along with a change in shale gas well spacing, to test the influence of shale gas resource uncertainty on future natural gas prices.

In addition to the reference case, the three AEO2012 shale gas resource scenarios are.....

* Low well productivity case (green line in chart). The EUR per shale gas well is assumed to be 50% lower than in the Reference case, nearly doubling the per-unit cost of developing the resource. Unproved shale gas resources are reduced to 241 trillion cubic feet (as of January 1, 2010), as compared with 482 trillion cubic feet of unproved shale gas resources in the Reference case.

* High well productivity case (light blue line). The EUR per shale gas well is assumed to be 50% higher than in the Reference case, nearly halving the per-unit cost of developing the resource. Unproved shale gas resources are increased to 723 trillion cubic feet.

*  High resources case (orange line). The well spacing for all shale gas plays is assumed to be 8 wells per square mile, which increases the well density in about half the shale gas plays, and the EUR per shale gas well is also assumed to be 50% higher than in the Reference case. Unproved shale gas resources are increased to 1,091 trillion cubic feet, more than twice the unproved shale gas resources in the Reference case.

These cases do not represent a confidence interval for the shale gas resource base, but rather illustrate how different assumptions can affect projections of domestic production, prices, and consumption.

U.S. natural gas prices are determined by supply and demand conditions in the North American natural gas market, in which the United States constitutes the largest regional submarket. Future natural gas prices reflect the cost of developing incremental production capacity. Because shale gas production is projected to be a large proportion of U.S. and North American gas production, changes in the cost and productivity of U.S. shale gas wells have a significant effect on projected natural gas prices. In the Reference case, for example, shale gas production accounts for 49% of total U.S. natural gas production in 2035.

In 2031, natural gas prices dip in the low EUR case as model results reflect completion of an Alaska gas pipeline, which would transport about 1.6 trillion cubic feet per year of gas from the North Slope to the lower 48 states. Because an Alaska gas pipeline would make up for some of the reduction in lower 48 states' shale gas production, the difference between projected prices in the Reference and Low EUR case is reduced after the pipeline is completed.

SeaDrill [SDRL] Releases 2nd Quarter 2012 Earnings Report

COT fund favorite SeaDrill released their 2nd quarter 2012 earnings report. Sending it higher pre market Monday morning......


* Seadrill generates second quarter 2012 EBITDA*) of US$634 million.

* Seadrill reports second quarter 2012 net income of US$554 million and earnings per share of US$1.12.

* Seadrill increases the ordinary quarterly cash dividend by US$0.02 to US$0.84.

* Seadrill commences operations with the ultra deepwater newbuilds West Capricorn and West Leo in the Gulf of Mexico and Ghana respectively.

* North Atlantic Drilling Ltd (NADL) secures a two year extension for the semi-submersible rig West Alpha, with a total revenue potential of US$410 million.

Subsequent events

* Seadrill secures a commitment for 19 rig years for the ultra deepwater newbuilds West Auriga and West Vela, and an ultra-deepwater unit to be announced, with a total revenue potential of US$4 billion.

*Seadrill secures a commitment for a five-year contract for the ultra-deepwater drillship West Polaris with a total revenue potential of US$1.1 billion.

* Seadrill secures an aggregated seven-year commitment for the ultra-deepwater drillships West Gemini and West Capella with a total revenue potential of US$1.6 billion. The contracts are subject to formal approvals to be received no later than end of October.

* Seadrill refinances a credit facility of US$585 million related to the majority of our tender rig fleet increasing the nominal amount to US$900 million and also including one additional newbuild unit. The new facility increases liquidity by US$588 million.

* Seadrill Partners LLC (the MLP) submits its first draft to the SEC for review. * Seadrill reduces its ownership in SapuraKencana to 6.4%, releasing proceeds of approximately US$200 million.

*) EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization equal to operating profit plus depreciation and amortization.

Condensed consolidated income statements, second quarter and six months 2012 results

Consolidated revenues for the second quarter of 2012 amounted to US$1,122 million compared to US$1,050 million in the first quarter 2012.

Operating profit for the quarter was US$483 million compared to US$456 million in the preceding quarter.
Net financial items for the quarter showed a gain of US$114 million compared to a gain of US$24 million in the previous quarter, as we in the second quarter recorded an accounting gain of US$169 million largely related to the merger of SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd (SapuraCrest) and Kencana Petroleum Bhd (Kencana). In addition we recorded a gain on sales of 300 million shares in SapuraKencana of US$84 million.

Income taxes for the second quarter were US$43 million, up from US$41 million in the previous quarter.
Net income for the quarter was US$554 million or basic earnings per share of US$1.12.

Chief Executive Officer in Seadrill Management AS Alf C Thorkildsen says in a comment, "We are pleased to deliver another strong quarter, reflecting our solid operational performance. Since our last reporting we have secured new contracts with an estimated revenue potential of US$7.6 billion, reflecting both our clients satisfaction with our operations and the strong demand for high-specification quality equipment. In reflection of our strong operational performance, record high orderbacklog and the strong market outlook we are pleased to announce a quarterly cash dividend of US$0.84."

Click here to get the entire 2nd quarter earnings report

Look for 3rd quarter results November 30th 2012

Analyst contact
Rune Magnus Lundetræ
Chief Financial Officer
Seadrill Management AS      +47 51 30 99 19

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Good Dividend Payer BreitBurn Energy Partners Brightens Its Future With New Oil Asset Purchases

The newest addition to the COT Fund, BreitBurn Energy Partners, is getting some well deserved attention. With some new acquisitions complete and blow out EPS numbers BBEP is sure to keep gathering new investors.

From guest blogger David White......

BreitBurn Energy Partners LP (BBEP) is an oil and gas E & P company. It seemed to right the boat in the last earnings report with adjusted EPS of $1.29 versus an estimate of $0.21, a beat of $1.08. Net production increased 18% year over year, and adjusted EBITDA increased 28%. Logically good results should continue next quarter as natural gas prices, NGLs prices, and oil prices have rebounded from their Q2 lows recently. There is no reason to believe production will shrink. Rather BreitBurn's recent purchases ensure that production will increase.

On June 28, 2012, BreitBurn completed the acquisition of oil properties in Park County in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming from NiMin energy Corp. for approximately $93 million. On July 2, 2012 BreitBurn completed the acquisitions of two largely oil properties in the Permian Basin in Texas from Element Petroleum LP and CrownRock LP for approximately $150 million and $70 million respectively. Production from all of the above will be accretive to BreitBurn's Q3 production and earnings.

Further BreitBurn at its Q2 earnings announced that it was increasing its 2012 capital program by $50 million. This expands the total 2012 capital program to $137 million, and it will be allocated mostly to oil development activities on the newly acquired assets and the legacy partnership assets. This is good news for the future because natural gas prices have fallen much further than oil prices in the past few years (even in the last year).

BreitBurn does have good hedges on both natural gas and oil, and these have largely saved the company with the recent fall in natural gas prices. These charts specifically delineates the hedging..... Here's the charts and the entire article.

Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Gold all Head South into Fridays Close

October crude oil closed lower on Friday due to profit taking as it continues to set back from the 62% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 98.22. The low range close sets the stage for a steady to lower opening when Monday's night session begins. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but are turning bearish hinting that a short term top might be in or is near. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 93.47 would confirm that a short term top has been posted. If October extends the rally off June's low, the 75% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 102.50 is the next upside target. First resistance is Thursday's high crossing at 98.29. Second resistance is the 75% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 102.50. First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 95.59. Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 93.47.

September Henry natural gas closed lower on Friday as it extends the trading range of the past two weeks. The low range close sets the stage for a steady to lower opening on Monday. Stochastics and the RSI are turning neutral to bullish hinting that a low might be in or is near. Closes above the 20 day moving average crossing at 2.877 are needed to confirm that a low has been posted. If September renews the decline off July's high, the 62% retracement level of the April-July rally crossing at 2.626 is the next downside target. First resistance is the 20 day moving average crossing at 2.877. Second resistance is the reaction high crossing at 3.120. First support is Thursday's low crossing at 2.682. Second support is the 62% retracement level of the April-July rally crossing at 2.626.

October gold closed slightly lower on Friday as it consolidates below the 2011-2012 downtrend line crossing near 1674.00. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening when Monday's night session begins trading. Stochastics and the RSI are overbought but remain neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term. If October extends this month's rally, the 38% retracement level of the 2011-2012 decline crossing at 1683.10 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 1620.10 would confirm that a short term top has been posted. First resistance is Thursday's high crossing at 1675.10. Second resistance is the 38% retracement level of the 2011-2012 decline crossing at 1683.10. First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 1629.00. Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 1620.10.

Friday, August 24, 2012

CME Group Energy Market Recap for Friday August 24th

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October crude oil prices trended higher during the early US trading session but ended lower by the close. October crude oil prices rallied during the US morning hours, helped by a rebound in outside market sentiment, hopes for more bond buying by the ECB and near term supply disruption concerns from Tropical Storm Isaac. The market came under pressure during the initial morning hours following a weaker than expected read on core capital goods in July.

However, sentiment turned positive following headlines that the ECB was considering yield band targets to ease the region's debt crisis. It is also possible that limited progress at an IAEA meeting in Vienna over Iran's nuclear weapons supported late morning gains. An IEA report released around mid-session seemed to support the notion of releasing strategic petroleum reserves, and that served to pressure the market lower.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mitt Romney Speaks About Energy Proposals

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event in Hobbs, New Mexico, about the U.S. economy and his proposals for achieving energy independence. Romney would seek to give states control over energy production on federal lands within their borders and allow drilling off the East Coast.

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Crude Oil Prices Peaked Early in 2012

Crude oil prices rose during the first quarter of 2012 as concerns about possible international supply disruptions pushed up petroleum prices. Prices then fell during the second quarter before turning sharply upward at the start of the third quarter.

Both Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil started 2012 above $100 per barrel and reached a peak in early March of just over $125 per barrel for Brent and almost $110 per barrel for WTI as positive economic news that could lead to stronger oil demand and worries about supply disruptions linked to Iran's nuclear program contributed to higher prices.

Crude oil prices fell during the second quarter due, in part, to concerns about lower oil demand with a slowdown of the global economy. By the end of June, oil prices were down almost 30% from their peak to just under $78 per barrel for WTI and $91 per barrel for Brent.

graph of crude oil spot prices for WTI and Brent for the first half of 2012, as described in the article text

Some of the major factors that influenced crude oil prices during the first half of 2012 were:

* Changes in global economic growth expectations. Strong job growth data in the U.S., lower interest rates for several European countries and increased manufacturing data in China all contributed to increased expectations for economic growth and higher crude oil prices during the first quarter of this year. A reversal of these factors in the second quarter helped push crude oil prices to their 2012 lows.

* Oil supply disruptions. Production disruptions such as those in Syria, Sudan, and Yemen took about 1 million barrels of oil per day off the world market, raising oil prices.

* Iran sanctions. Ongoing U.S. and European sanctions on imports of Iranian oil intended to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear program (1) played a part in reducing Iran's oil exports, and (2) raised fears that Iran would retaliate by disrupting oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz. Both caused oil prices to rise.

* Rising oil production. U.S. oil production topped 6 million barrels per day in early 2012, the highest level since 1998, and contributed to building U.S. crude oil inventories that put downward pressure on oil prices.

The rise and fall of crude oil prices were reflected at the pump as gasoline and diesel prices followed the movements of oil costs, which accounted for almost two thirds of the price for motor fuels. For every $1 per barrel change in oil prices, consumers are expected eventually to see a 2.4 cent per gallon change in retail gasoline and diesel prices, if everything else remains the same.

Gasoline prices increased for the first 14 weeks of 2012 (except for one week) to a peak of $3.94 per gallon in early April and then fell for 13 weeks in a row to $3.36 per gallon at the beginning of July, the lowest pump price so far in 2012 since $3.30 per gallon during the first week of January. (See chart below)

Diesel fuel prices followed a similar path, increasing for 15 weeks (except for three weeks) to a peak of $4.15 per gallon, followed by 12 straight weeks of falling prices to a low of $3.65 per gallon. The higher price for diesel versus gasoline reflected stronger domestic diesel demand compared to gasoline consumption and record U.S. diesel exports to help satisfy rising international demand for diesel.

graph of weekly retail gasoline, diesel, and crude spot oil prices for the first half of 2012, as described in the article text

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Addison Armstrong Tells us what he thinks it will take to push crude oil higher

Crude oil is continuing its rise today, with Addison Armstrong, Tradition Energy; and the Fast Money traders discuss a few ways to get short in Australia, and sinking iron ore prices. Get our Free Trading Videos, Lessons and eBook today!

Wednesday Morning Market Analysis Video

Yesterday was a great session with stocks putting in a top and distribution selling stepped in right on queue. A lot of investments looked as though they were about to reverse. Bonds were set to rally, stocks were set to fall, dollar index was ready to bottom and volatility was primed for a pop. Members of my trading alert service The Gold & Oil Guy were asking me why I only went long VXX and not all of them?

My answer to that is because they are all the same trade almost. If any of those fail to reverse it means the others will likely not reverse either. Thus we would have 4 losing trades at the same time. Instead I measure the potential profits and risk for each investment then pick the one which I feel has the best potential which happened to be the VXX trade I took yesterday. We pocketed 4.25% – 5% in one day and still hold a runner for much larger gains. This sure beats the performance of all the other investments we were looking at yesterday.

This morning’s video analysis covers a lot of interesting and educational points on the market so be sure to watch it right now and stay ahead of the market.

Pre-Market Analysis Points:

- Dollar index looks to be bottoming as we expected on Monday.

- Crude oil is going to be choppy up at resistance for some time. No trade for weeks there likely.

- Natural gas is trying to break out of a mini basing pattern and I may get long UNG today.

 - Gold, silver and gold miners are starting to have signs of a trend reversal to the upside but still not there yet.

- Bonds look to have bottomed yesterday bouncing 1%. I feel there is another 1% bounce left before it runs into resistance.

- SP500 is showing signs of distribution selling and has broken its first support trend line. With any luck we see another 4-5% drop is price.

 - VIX moved higher with the SP500 yesterday as it broke to new highs. This is the opposite of what it should have done and one of the reasons why I jumped into VXX yesterday. Rising stocks prices and rising fear means the big money players are buying insurance for a drop near term because they are not confident about the new highs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gold Price and Indian Demand Shifting Trends

From Chris Vermeulen at The Gold & Oil

One of the top stories in the financial markets in 2012 has to be the stagnation in the price of gold at around $1600 an ounce, which is down approximately 17% from its peak at $1920.30. Those bullish on the yellow metal have been disappointed in gold’s performance while those bearish on the shiny metal have reveled in its stagnation, saying that gold’s status as a safe haven is over.

What is behind gold’s sluggish performance in 2012? There are several reasons, but one of the key fundamental reasons has been the lack of demand from traditionally the largest buyer of gold on the planet – India (although China will surpass it this year). India bought only 181.3 tons in the second quarter of 2012, a 2-year low, according to the London-based World Gold Council.

There are several factors at play as to why Indian demand for gold has fallen. One reason is the sharp drop in the value of its currency, the rupee, which is down by 25% versus the U.S. dollar this year. This decline has kept gold prices high in relative terms while the actual dollar value of gold was falling. Perhaps even more important has been the ‘war’ declared on gold by its central bank which has blamed all of the country’s economic ills on Indian citizens’ traditional buying of gold. In an attempt to slow down gold and silver imports, the Indian government has imposed new taxes on the purchase of these precious metals.

But even though demand for the precious metal is way down in India, the situation still offers hope for gold bulls. Why? Because we’ve been here before – in 2009 to be exact. In early 2009, the Indian economy and rupee tanked. Gold demand almost completely dried up. According to precious metals consultancy GFMS, Indian demand for gold in the first quarter of 2009 collapsed by 77%. For the full year GFMS said Indian consumption dropped by 19%.

Now with the Indian economy slowing to its weakest growth rate in nearly a decade and the rupee falling, we are seeing a replay of 2009. The monsoon season has been poor, hitting farmers – among the biggest buyers of gold – hard. Gold prices have hit a record high in rupee terms, and India is expected to purchase, as forecast by the World Gold Council, only 750 tons of gold, down 25% from 2011 levels. Meanwhile, the WGC forecasts that China will buy 850 tons of gold this year.

Investors should pay heed to the clues that recent history is giving us. The drop in Indian demand is simply a cyclical phenomenon due to the lousy state of the Indian economy. It will recover eventually. And when it does, look out for the fireworks from renewed Indian demand for gold added to the Chinese demand. In 2010, as pent-up demand for gold was unleashed, Indian gold consumption soared 74% to a record high of 1,006 tons according to GFMS.

Gold bulls surely hope we see something similar in 2013 and that is exactly what I talked about last week based around gold miner stocks and also what Dave Banister’s recent gold forecast was about at sees in 2013.

Gold Chart Showing 2009 Collapse and Outcome and Current Gold Price Analysis:
Gold Forecast - India Gold demand
Gold Forecast - India Gold demand

Gold Trading & Investing Conclusion:
In short, gold and gold stocks have a lot of work to do before they truly breakout into the next major leg higher. I feel we are nearing that point and they may have bottomed already. Starting a small long position to scale in I think is a safe play. But I would only add more once the trend actually turns up and shows strength in terms of price and volume action.

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Natural Gas, Renewables Dominate Electric Capacity Additions in First Half of 2012

During the first half of 2012, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts (MW) of new capacity. Of the ten states with the highest levels of capacity additions, most of the new capacity uses natural gas or renewable energy sources. Capacity additions in these ten states total 6,500 MW, or 80% of the new capacity added nationally in the first six months of 2012.

Most of the new generators built over the past 15 years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States.

In particular, efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators are competitive with coal generators over a large swath of the country. And, in the first half of 2012, these combined-cycle generators were added in states that traditionally burn mostly coal (with the exception of Idaho, which has significant hydroelectric resources).

graph of electricity capacity additions for the top ten states for the first half of 2012, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M "Monthly Update to the Annual Electric Generator Report."
Data are preliminary and include all generators at plants >1MW in capacity, from the electric power, commercial, and industrial sectors. "Other renewables" includes hydroelectric, geothermal, landfill gas, and biomass generators.  

Only one coal fired generator was brought online in the first half of 2012, an 800-MW unit at the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois. In its 2011 annual survey of power plant operators, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) received no new reports of planned coal fired generators. Of the planned coal generators in EIA databases, 14 are reported in the construction phrase, with an additional 5 reporting a planned status but not yet under construction.

However, only one of the 14 advanced from a pre-construction to an under-construction status between the 2010 and 2011 surveys.....Read the entire EIA article.

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Looks like the copper market is signaling a top in the SP 500

The past 5 – 6 weeks have seen equity prices move considerably higher amid growing concerns regarding the European debt crisis, the instability of the Middle East, and ultimately the potential for a major economic slowdown in the United States.

U.S. equity indexes have continued to climb the proverbial “Wall of Worry” since the first week of June and have put on an incredible run. This past Friday saw the S&P 500 Index (SPX) post the highest weekly close of 2012. The perma bears have been calling for a top and continue to run scared as light volume and volatility have given the bulls an edge during August.

The next key overhead resistance level for the S&P 500 Index to hurdle is the 1,440 resistance zone lingering slightly overhead. I try to refrain from calling tops or bottoms as I feel its a fool’s game that ultimately humbles most market prognosticators. If calling tops and bottoms was easy, investors and traders alike would be able to produce monster gains all the time with uncanny precision.

Instead of trying to predict where the S&P 500 Index will find resistance or create an intermediate to longer term top, I will simply posit some technical and macro-economic data that indicates we are likely closing in on a major top.

As stated above, the recent rally we have seen has taken place on relatively light volume and plunging volatility as measured by the Volatility Index (VIX).

Volatility Index (VIX) Weekly Chart
Volatility Index (VIX) Weekly Chart
Volatility Index (VIX) Weekly Chart

As can be seen above, Friday’s weekly close for the VIX was the lowest in 2012 and ultimately one of the lowest closing price levels in several years. While the VIX is trading at a major intermediate low, there remains a lower support level going back to late 2006 and the early part of 2007 around the 10 price level.

The perma bulls would argue that we could see those 2006 – 2007 lows tested, but based on September monthly VIX options the option market seemingly is arguing that we are approaching an intermediate low in the Volatility Index. The chart below illustrates the September VIX option chain based on Friday’s closing prices.

Volatility Index (VIX) September Monthly Option Chain
Volatility Index (VIX) September Monthly Option Chain
Volatility Index (VIX) September Monthly Option Chain

Price action is never wrong, but many times a great deal of information can be acquired by simply reviewing option prices. As can be seen above, the VIX closed on Friday at 13.45, a new 2012 low. However, when we consider the prices in the VIX September option chain shown above I would point out that the VIX September 13 Puts are 0 bid.

What this essentially means is that the VIX options market is saying that the Volatility Index is unlikely to move below 13 in September. For readers unfamiliar with options, selling a naked put or using a put credit spread are two trading structures that are bullish regarding the underlying asset which in this case is the VIX.
The VIX September 13 puts are offered at 0.05 on the ask, but are at 0 on the bid.

This means that the VIX market makers are not expecting to see the VIX move below 13. Clearly this is not a guarantee as there is never a sure thing in financial markets. However, this pricing situation for the September 13 VIX Puts is favorable for the equity bears in September.

In layman’s terms, the VIX needs to move higher in the next 3 weeks based on the fact that the September VIX 13 Puts are 0 bid. This is one of several clues that we could be nearing a major top in the S&P 500 Index in the very near future.

When we look at a weekly chart of the S&P 500 Index (SPX) it is obvious that we have a major longer term breakout which occurred this past week. However, there remains additional resistance overhead in the 1,440 – 1,450 price range.

S&P 500 Index (SPX) Weekly Chart
S&P 500 Index (SPX) Weekly Chart

While 1,440 might be a major area where a significant top could form, a rally above this level cannot be ruled out entirely. However, the chart above gives traders and investors a context for where possible tops could form.

A reversal could play out almost immediately at the current levels or we could move considerably higher before finding major resistance that holds. For now, we do not have enough evidence based on the S&P 500 Index price chart to proclaim that a top has formed or will form in the near future.

Another underlying asset that I monitor closely is copper futures. Generally speaking, if copper futures are rallying economic conditions tend to be strong. The opposite can be said when copper futures are under selling pressure. Recently copper futures prices have been trading in a relatively tight trading range, but the longer term weekly chart shown below demonstrates that should prices start to sell off, a major sell off could transpire.

Copper Futures Weekly Chart
Copper Futures Weekly Chart

As shown above, there is a monstrously large head and shoulders pattern (bearish) that goes back to early 2010 that has formed on the weekly chart. Should the neckline of this pattern get taken out on a weekly close the selling pressure that could transpire could be devastating regarding the price of copper.

However, a major selloff in copper would also indicate that economic conditions were weakening globally. If copper triggers this bearish pattern, it would likely not be long before other risk assets followed suit.
In addition to the possibility that major selling pressure could await copper should that pattern trigger, another macroeconomic data point would argue that economic conditions are already starting to contract.

The chart shown below, courtesy of Bloomberg, illustrates the amount of waste hauled by railroad cars and the implicit correlation to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

Waste Railcar Loads Versus GDP Chart
Waste Railcar Loads Versus GDP Chart
Waste Railcar Loads Versus GDP Chart

Recently posited an article that featured this chart and a link to that article is found HERE. The article and the accompanying chart demonstrate that as more products are produced, additional waste can be expected. As shown above, the amount of waste being produced and hauled by railcar has fallen off a cliff and should longer-term correlations remain intact a contraction in U.S. GDP is likely not far away.
There are a multitude of other topping triggers that I follow that are all screaming that a major intermediate and possibly even a longer-term top is nearby. However, at the moment the price action in the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is arguing otherwise.
Picking tops and bottoms in advance is extremely difficult and generally foolhardy, however when multiple triggers are going off regarding a possible type I pay close attention to price action. While I will not go as far as to say where specifically a top in the S&P 500 Index will form, I believe that a top is forthcoming and could even occur in the next 2 – 3 weeks.

Price is never wrong, and eventually I suspect that price will tell us what we wish to know. For now, I am going into the next few weeks with caution regarding the upside in risk assets. However, it is important to point out that I am not looking to get short risk assets either.

My research indicates that a major inflection point is coming and it could coincide with the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole summit. It could coincide with an event that we are unaware of as well. At the moment risk in either direction seems high and caution regardless of directional bias should be exercised. The next few weeks should tell the ultimate tale.

Happy Trading!

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Chris Vermeulen & J.W. Jones

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Predicting the Next Bull Cycle

The last twelve years has seen the S&P 500 go from a high of 1552 in March of 2000 to a current level of 1404, as of this writing. Yes, if you factor in dividends, the stock market has made money over the past twelve years, but to see negative nominal growth is still frustrating. To have this happen for such a long period of time makes us all realize that we are in a secular bear market, which is a long term downward or horizontal movement in the market. If you put inflation into the equation, your money in 2000 was worth considerably more than it is today, which is a double whammy after getting no nominal growth in that time period.

This is one of the many things we discuss at MGO with our Chief Investment Officer, Michael Moskal. It is a constant topic of conversation due to the fact that we manage about $500MM in total assets and we always have clients anywhere from factory workers to CEOs wondering how their 401(k) and managed accounts are doing.

Of course, many financial planners and wealth managers will argue that we have made it through the crap of 2008 and that we are on our way to new highs. Well, apart from the fact that if they didn't say that, they may lose clients, this is somewhat erroneous based on history. While that MAY be true, history has proven to show otherwise. Let's first discuss the non-data related information.

The average secular bear or bull market lasts 17 years. Since 1877, here are the secular highs and lows (adjusted for inflation) to show the kind of returns we have seen.....Here's the entire article with Charts

Saturday, August 18, 2012

ONG: Crude Oil Weekly Technical Outlook for Saturday August 18th

It's Saturday and as always we like to check in with the great staff at Oil N'Gold to get their call on where crude oil is headed.....

Crude oil's rally continued last week and reached as high as 96.28 so far. Further rally is expected to continue to 61.8% retracement of 110.55 to 77.28 at 97.84. Though, note that rise from 77.28 could be the fourth leg inside the triangle pattern from 114.83. Hence, we'll be cautious on topping between 100 and 110. On the downside, below 92.68 minor support is needed to indicate short term topping. Otherwise, we'll stay bullish even in case of retreat.

In the bigger picture, price actions from 114.83 are viewed either a three wave consolidation pattern that's completed at 77.28, or a five wave triangle pattern that's still unfolding. In case, break of 110.55 resistance will strongly suggest that whole rebound from 33.29 has resumed for above 114.83. While another fall could be seen before an eventual upside breakout, downside should be contained above 77.28 support.

In the long term picture, crude oil is in a long term consolidation pattern from 147.27, with first wave completed at 33.2. The corrective structure of the rise from 33.2 indicates that it's second wave of the consolidation pattern. While it could make another high above 114.83, we'd anticipate strong resistance ahead of 147.24 to bring reversal for the third leg of the consolidation pattern.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bloomberg: Crude Oil Rises as U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves

Crude oil rose for a fourth day on reports as U.S. consumer confidence improved, signaling the economy is recovering, and rising tension in the Middle East. Futures capped a third weekly gain as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index beat expectations and the Conference Board’s leading economic indicators climbed more than forecast. Prices also gained as Hezbollah threatened to retaliate if Israel attacked Iran and security concern grew in Syria and Lebanon.

“The economic data are getting better,” said Jacob Correll, a Louisville, Kentucky-based analyst at Summit Energy Inc., which manages more than $20 billion in companies’ annual energy spending. “You have a lot of tension ratcheting up in the Middle East and oil’s been having a rally”....Read the entire Bloomberg article.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crude Oil Bulls Take New Momemtun into Fridays Trading Session

Crude oil closed higher on Thursday and above the 50% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 94.28 as it renewed the rally off June's low. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening when Friday's night session begins.

Stochastics and the RSI are diverging but remain neutral to bullish signaling that sideways to higher prices are possible near term. If September extends the rally off June's low, the 62% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 98.20 is the next upside target. Closes below the 20 day moving average crossing at 91.17 would confirm that a short term top has been posted while opening the door for a larger degree decline near term.

First resistance is today's high crossing at 95.75. Second resistance is the 62% retracement level of this year's decline crossing at 98.20. First support is the 10 day moving average crossing at 93.26. Second support is the 20 day moving average crossing at 91.17.

Natural gas closed lower on Thursday as it renewed the decline off July's high. The low range close sets the stage for a steady to lower opening on Friday. Stochastics and the RSI are oversold but remain neutral to bearish signaling that sideways to lower prices are possible near term.

If September extends the decline off July's high, the 62% retracement level of the April-July rally crossing at 2.626 is the next downside target. Closes above the 20 day moving average crossing at 2.973 would temper the near term bearish outlook.

First resistance is the 10 day moving average crossing at 2.842. Second resistance is the 20 day moving average crossing at 2.973. First support is today's low crossing at 2.685. Second support is the 62% retracement level of the April-July rally crossing at 2.626.

Gold closed higher on Thursday as it extends this summer's trading range. The high range close sets the stage for a steady to higher opening when Friday's night session begins trading. Stochastics and the RSI are bearish signaling that sideways to lower prices are possible near term.

If October renews the decline off July's high, the reaction low crossing at 1564.50 is the next downside target. Closes above the reaction high crossing at 1644.00 are needed to confirm an upside breakout of this summer's trading range.

First resistance is July's high crossing at 1626.90. Second resistance is the reaction high crossing at 1644.00. First support is the reaction low crossing at 1584.20. Second support is the reaction low crossing at 1564.50.

North Dakota Crude Oil Production Continues to Rise

North Dakota's oil production averaged 660 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) in June 2012, up 3% from the previous month and 71% over June 2011 volumes. Driving production gains is output from the Bakken formation in the Williston Basin, which averaged 594 thousand bbl/d in June 2012, an increase of 85% over the June 2011 average. The Bakken now accounts for 90% of North Dakota's total oil production.

Production gains in the Bakken formation are the result of accelerated development activity, primarily horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing. According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, there were a total of 4,141 producing wells in the North Dakota Bakken in June 2012, up 4% from May 2012 and up 68% from the number of producing wells in June 2011.

graph of North Dakota monthly oil production, as described in the article text

Increasing oil rig counts underscore the quickening pace of drilling in the region. Data from Baker Hughes show that in the Williston Basin, the average weekly count of actively drilling horizontal rigs totaled 209 in June 2012, essentially unchanged from the May 2012 average but 26% above the June 2011 average (see below). Most of these rigs are positioned in the Bakken.

graph of Monthly rig count: Williston Basin, as described in the article text

The transportation system oil pipelines, truck deliveries, and rail to move crude oil out of the area is being affected by constraints due to growth in crude oil production from the Bakken formation. As a result of these bottlenecks, the difference between spot prices for Bakken crude oil and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil expanded through much of the first quarter of 2012. The spread has generally narrowed in recent weeks, however, reflecting the addition of rail transport facilities and increased refinery capacity in the Bakken area.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SP 500 “E Wave” ready to rally to Bull Market Highs

From guest analyst David Banister at Market Trends

In recent updates I have been projecting a series of ABCDE waves to take the Bull market to post March 2009 highs in the 1425-1445 ranges. The recent pullback was expected as what I was calling a “D wave” pullback, with an E wave to come. These final 5th waves or E waves can be extension waves or relatively benign, hence causing difficulty in forecasting the upper ranges.

In the case of the SP 500 index, we have had a strong rally from the 1267 lows in early June to 1409 highs so far (The C wave highs) and recently a pullback into the 1390’s (The D wave). This next leg up should carry the market indices towards the 1440 2008 interim highs which begat the last 5 wave down leg of the Bear cycle that ended at 666 on the SP 500. A case of down the mountain and up the mountain if you will since the 2008 highs to current pricing conditions at 1404.

Once this E wave completes in the 1425-1445 ranges (With an outside shot at an extension blast to 1495) we should expect a fairly significant correction of the entire move from March of 2009. This final rally leg could top anytime between Aug 13th and August 22nd as I last updated, with potential to spill over into early September.

A close over 1409 will confirm the “E wave” has begun in earnest and you may want to buckle up, as it could be the final blast before some rains begin to pour in the fall.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Gold Mining Stocks Continue to Disappoint ......But Not For Long

 From Chris Vermeulen....The Gold & Oil Guy

It is an endless debate for investors interested in gold. Should they buy a direct play on the gold price, either gold bullion itself or even so called paper gold with an ETF such as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD)? Or should they invest into gold equities, particularly the larger, higher quality gold mining companies?

Recent history suggests the answer is gold itself. According to Citigroup, physical gold has outperformed global gold equities 120% percent of the time over the past 5 years. Stocks of the bigger gold mining firms seem to react adversely to bad news (which is normal), but the problem is they react with no more than a yawn to good news. These type of stocks are contained in the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX).

Evidence of this trend can been seen in the latest news to hit the industry…the slowdown in expansion as recently signaled by the world’s largest gold producer, Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX). The company’s stock has fallen by more than 30 percent over the last year due to cost overruns at major projects. The latest blowup in costs of up to $3 billion occurred in its estimate for development of its flagship Pascua-Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina. The project may now cost up to $8 billion.

In addition, Barrick decided to shelve the $6 billion Cerro Casale in Chile and the $6.7 billion Donlin Gold project in Alaska. Barrick is not alone in its thinking among the major gold producers. The CEO of Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM), Sean Boyd, recently said “The era of gold mega projects may be fading. The industry is moving into an era of cash flow generation, yields and capital discipline.”

Fair enough. But are gold mining companies’ management walking the walk about yields or just talking the talk? Last year, many of the larger miners made major announcements that they would be focusing on boosting their dividends to shareholders in attempt to attract new stockholders away from exchange traded vehicles such as GLD, which have siphoned demand away from gold equities. Barrick, for example, did boost its dividend payout by a quarter from the previous level. Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), which has also cut back on expansion plans, has pledged to link its dividend payout to the price of gold bullion.

So in effect, the managements at the bigger gold mining companies (which are having difficulties growing) are trying to move away from attracting growth-only investors to enticing investors that may be interested in high dividend yields. This is a logical move.

But rising costs at mining projects may put a crimp into the plans of gold mining companies’ as they may not have the cash to raise dividends much. And they have done a poor job of raising dividends for their shareholders to date. In 2011 the dividend yields for gold producers globally was less than half the average for the mining sector as a whole at a mere 1.3 percent. Their yields are below that of the base metal mining sector and the energy sector.

It seems like management for these precious metal companies have the similar emotional response shareholders have when they are in a winning position. When the investor’s brain has experienced a winning streak and is happy it automatically goes into preservation/protection mode. What does this mean? It means management is going to tight up their spending to stay cash rich as they do not want to give back the gains during a time of increased uncertainty. Smaller bets/investments are what the investor’s brain is hard wired to do which is not always the right thing to do…

Looks like there is still a lot work to be done by gold mining companies’ to improve returns to their shareholders. But with all that set aside it is important to realize that when physical gold truly starts another major rally. These gold stocks will outperform the price of gold bullion drastically for first few months.

Gold Miner Trading Conclusion:

In short, it seems gold has been forming a major launch pad for higher prices over the past year. Gold bullion has held up well while gold miner stocks have given up over 30% of their gains. If/when gold starts another rally I do feel gold miner stocks will be the main play for quick big gains during the first month or two of a breakout. The increased price in gold could and value of the mining companies reserves could be enough to get management to start paying their investors a decent dividend which in turn would fuel gold miner shares higher.

Both gold and silver bullion prices remain in a down trend on the daily chart but are trying to form a base to rally from which may start any day now. Keep your eye on precious metals going into year end.

If you would like to get my weekly analysis on precious metals and the board market be sure to join my free newsletter at The Gold & Oil

Brent Crude Oil Trades $115...Where are commodities headed on Tuesday?

CNBC's Bertha Coombs discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets and looks at where oil and precious metals are likely headed tomorrow.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Natural Gas Moving into a Downtrend

Natural Gas prices have made a decided turn to the downside over the last two weeks as has the short term temperature outlook and the nuclear power outage situation... all now more biased to the bearish side than they were in July. The spot natural gas futures price peaked at about $3.28/mmbtu on July 31 and has been continuing to slide ever since. In the last eight trading sessions the spot natural gas contract has lost $0.507/mmbtu or 15.5% since hitting the high of the uptrend.

Currently the market looks like it is trying to settle into a technical trading range of around $2.70/mmbtu to about $3.17/mmbtu. If the $2.70/mmbtu level is breached the next stopping point could be down to the $2.50/mmbtu level. The Nat Gas market has had a good recovery run rising from around $1.90/mmbtu back during the second week of April to the $3.28/mmbtu high previously highlighted.

The majority of the support for the rally has come from the consistent underperformance of weekly injections throughout the entire injection season so far. In fact weekly injections have averaged around 67% of last year which has resulted in the overhang in inventory continuing to narrow throughout the season. However, even with an underperformance of around 33% so far this season there is still a considerably large amount of gas in inventory versus last year at the moment......Read the entire CME Group article.

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ONG: Crude Oil Weekly Technical Outlook For Sunday August 12th

As always we like to check in with the great staff at Oil N'Gold for their call on where crude oil is headed this week.....

Crude oil resumed the rally from 77.28 by taking out 92.94 and reached as high as 94.72 before making a temporary top there. Initial bias is neutral this week for some consolidations. But we'll stay bullish as long as 86.92 support holds. As noted before, decline from 110.55 should have finished at 77.28 already. Current rebound from there should extend and above 94.72 will target 61.8% retracement of 110.55 to 77.28 at 97.84 and above.

In the bigger picture, price actions from 114.84 are viewed as a three wave consolidation pattern with fall from 110.55 as the third leg. Such decline could have finished earlier than we expected at 77.28. Sustained trading above 90 psychological level will bring stronger rally towards 114.83 resistance level. And break there will resumption whole up trend from 33.2. On the downside, another fall cannot be ruled out yet. But even in that case, strong support should be seen below 74.95 and above 61.8% retracement of 33.20 to 114.83 at 64.38 and bring another medium term rise.

In the long term picture, crude oil is in a long term consolidation pattern from 147.27, with first wave completed at 33.2. The corrective structure of the rise from 33.2 indicates that it's second wave of the consolidation pattern. While it could make another high above 114.83, we'd anticipate strong resistance ahead of 147.24 to bring reversal for the third leg of the consolidation pattern.

The Spike in Oil Prices on QE3 Expectations Should be a Warning to the Fed

Crude Oil prices for WTI were just $78 dollars in July, a month later they are $93.40 with supplies well above their five year average range, China decelerating at a rate not seen since the financial crisis, and US gasoline demand down 4.2 percent year on year and distillates down 2.8 percent.

So what the heck is going on in the Oil Markets? Well, just look at the S&P for your answer: Capital has flowed into assets based upon the expectation that Bernanke and his cohorts at the Federal Reserve will print some more money out of thin air in the form of some monetary easing initiative falling under the heading of QE3.....See Chart and complete article

Penn West Announces 2nd Quarter 2012 Earnings Report

Penn West Petroleum [NYSE: PWE] is pleased to announce its results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012

The broad deployment of horizontal multi stage fracture technology into primary development, secondary recovery, and exploration gives Penn West one of the largest inventories of low risk, light oil projects in North America. Through active portfolio management, we continue to position the company to drive this asset base forward. We anticipate Canadian crude oil prices strengthening over the next 12 months as slow and steady demand increases are amplified by improvements in North American pipeline infrastructure pushing Canadian crude into closer alignment with world oil pricing.

Capital programs during the first half of 2012 continued the evolution of Penn West into a leading light oil exploration and development company. At the beginning of 2010, less than two percent of production came from horizontal wells while our base vertical wells accounted for 98 percent of our production. We anticipate that by the end of this year, 30 percent of Penn West's production will come from multi stage fracture wells.


Average production in the second quarter of 2012 was 163,181 boe (1) per day compared to 156,107 in the second quarter of 2011. During the second quarter of 2012, we completed significant turnaround and maintenance activities which resulted in up to 10,000 boe per day being off-line for portions of the quarter.

We drilled 208 net wells in the first six months of 2012.

Capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2012 net of property dispositions, totalled $310 million compared to $240 million for the second quarter of 2011. Second quarter activities were primarily focused on completions, tie-ins and facilities construction.

Capital expenditures in the first six months of 2012, net of property dispositions, were $648 million compared to $676 million for the first six months of 2011.

Funds flow (2) for the second quarter of 2012 was $272 million ($0.57 per share-basic (2) compared to $396 million ($0.85 per share-basic) reported in the second quarter of 2011 due to reduced commodity price realizations.

Net income for the second quarter of 2012 was $235 million ($0.50 per share-basic) compared to $271 million ($0.58 per share-basic) in the second quarter of 2011.....Read the entire earnings report.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Abraxas Announces $11 Million Second Quarter Profit Despite Lower Oil Prices

Abraxas Petroleum Corporation (NASDAQ:AXAS) reported financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2012 and provided an operational update.

Financial and Operating Results

Including Abraxas' equity interest in Blue Eagle's production, the three months ended June 30, 2012 resulted in:

* Production of 388.7 MBoe (4,272 Boepd), up 12% over Q1 2012, of which 54% was oil or natural gas liquids.

The three months ended June 30, 2012 resulted in:

* Production of 358.5 MBoe (3,940 Boepd), excluding Abraxas' equity interest in Blue Eagle's production, a 10% increase over Q1 2012;

* Revenue of $15.9 million

* EBITDA(a) of $8.9 million

* Discretionary cash flow(a) of $7.1 million

* Net income of $10.9 million, or $0.12 per share

* Adjusted net income(a) of $1.9 million, or $0.02 per share

* Debt Covenant Metrics:

Working Capital 1.09:1.0 (min 1.0:1.0)

Debt to EBITDA 2.85:1.0 (max 4.0:1.0)

Interest Coverage 7.38:1.0 (min 2.5:1.0)

(a) See reconciliation of non GAAP financial measures below.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 was $10.9 million, or $0.12 per share, compared to a net income of $8.9 million, or $0.10 per share, for the same period in 2011.

Adjusted net income, excluding certain non-cash items, for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 was $1.9 million or $0.02 per share, compared to adjusted net income, excluding certain non cash items, of $1.0 million or $0.01 per share for the same period in 2011. For the quarters ended June 30, 2012 and 2011, adjusted net income excludes the unrealized gain on derivative contracts of $10.3 million and $8.0 million respectively. Also excluded is a full cost impairment on Canadian assets of $1.3 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2012.

Unrealized gains or losses on derivative contracts are based on "mark to market" valuations which are non cash in nature and may fluctuate drastically period to period. As commodity prices fluctuate, these derivative contracts are valued against current market prices at the end of each reporting period in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification 815, "Derivatives and Hedging," as amended and interpreted, and require Abraxas to record an unrealized gain or loss based on the calculated value difference from the previous period end valuation.

For example, NYMEX oil prices on June 30, 2012 were $84.96 per barrel compared to $103.02 on March 31, 2012......Read the entire earnings report.

Friday, August 10, 2012

EIA: Low U.S. Injections Reflect Already High Natural Gas Storage Inventories

The increase in U.S. working natural gas inventories nearly half way through the 2012 injection season the period from April through October when most natural gas is stored underground to help meet heating demand during the upcoming winter was the lowest in 12 years. The slow start to the injection season reflects record high inventories at the end of this winter, leaving less space to be filled, and a large increase in natural gas use by the U.S. electric sector for power generation. EIA estimates that, by November, working natural gas inventories will hit a record high, exceeding 3,900 billion cubic feet (Bcf). U.S. dry natural gas production was up almost 7% from January through May of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, so natural gas injections have not shifted lower due to a downturn in domestic natural gas production.

The amount of working natural gas in underground storage increased 625 Bcf during April-June 2012, according to EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. That is the smallest build since adding 564 Bcf, on a net basis, during the same period in 2000 (see chart above). While the increase in inventories is low, the amount of total gas in underground storage facilities is at a record high for this time of year, after topping 3,000 Bcf for the first time ever during any June month.

Are Oil Inflation Pains Here to Stay?

Discussing whether oil inflation is here to stay, with Addison Armstrong, Tradition Energy, and Dennis Gartman, The Gartman Letter.

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Crude Oil Pulls Back on Negative Economic Data out of China

Oil prices have been struggling to sustain the price rally which began about a week ago as the majority of data points continue to point to the slowing of the global economy and thus the view that oil demand growth is also likely to slow (see latest IEA highlights below). Overnight China's oil import data came in at 21.6 million tons (about 5 million barrels) according to the Chinese Customs Agency. This is the lowest level of crude oil imports since December of 2011. One can question the transparency of the various macroeconomic data points out of China but the fact that oil imports are declining is very supportive of the view that the main economic growth engine of the world is actually slowing.

China's July exports of all good increased by just 1% compared to year earlier levels but a significant downturn versus the 11.3% increase in the month of June. In addition industrial output is also slowing as new lending levels dropped significantly in July from 919.8 billion Yuan to 540.1 billion Yuan. Sales to China's number one customer... the EU declined by 16.2% last month while sales to the US declined by 0.6%.....Read Dominik Chirihellas entire article.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is Gold Close to Confirming a Breakout to All Time Highs

Is late summer or fall of 2012 going to be remembered for gold making a run to all time highs. Today David Banister gives us his take on where this gold market is headed in the near future......

Back in the fall of 2011 I was warning my subscribers and the public via articles to prepare for a large correction in the price of GOLD. The metal had experienced a primary wave 3 rally from $681 per ounce in the fall of 2008 to the upper $1800’s at the time of my warnings in the fall of 2011. A 34 Fibonacci month rally was sure to be followed by an 8-13 month consolidation period, or what I would term a Primary wave 4 correction pattern.

We have seen GOLD drop at low as the $1520’s during this expected 8-13 month window, but at this time it looks to me like a break over $1630 on a closing basis will put the nail in the wave 4 coffin. I expect GOLD to rally for about 8-13 months into at least June of 2013 and our longstanding target has been in the $2300 per ounce arena in US Dollar terms. Some pundits have much higher targets in the $3,500 per ounce or higher area but I am using my low end targets for reasonable accuracy.

This 5th wave up can be difficult to project because 5th waves in stock or metals markets can be what are called “Extension” waves. This means they can have a potentially much larger percentage movement relative to the prior waves 1 and 3 of the primary bull market since 2001. You can end up with a parabolic move at the end of wave 5, where those $3000 plus targets are possible. I expect the 5th wave to be about 61% of the amplitude of wave 3, which ran from 681 to 1923, or about $1242 per ounce. If we were to apply that math, we come up with $767 per ounce of rally off the wave 4 lows. $1520 plus $767 puts us at $2287 per ounce, or roughly $2300 an ounce low end target.

In summary, crowd behavior is crucial to the next coming movement in GOLD and it could be a sharp rally that catches many off guard, much like the downdraft last fall did the same to the Bulls. Be prepared to go long GOLD once over $1630 per ounce and buy dips along the way up to $2300 into the summer of 2013.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do You Agree.... The SP 500 Nearing a Cyclical High

One of our favorite traders to follow is David Banister [make sure to sign up for his calls] and he just sent over this great post on his thoughts on the SP 500 nearing a cyclical high in the coming two weeks of trade. And here's what he is thinking.......

The SP 500 has rallied to a post June 4th high of 1409 this week, about 13 points shy of the Bull Market cycle highs of 1422 earlier this year.

The rally has overlapped along the way, forming a series of “3′s” which are sometimes found in impulsive bullish moves, but usually found at the end of bull cycles whether they be short term or long term cycles.

To wit, the first 11 trading days off the 1267 SP 500 lows saw a 97 point rally, again in only 11 trading days.

The last 34 trading days we have only been able to move up about 44 further points, indicating the rally is getting long in the tooth and a bit tired at that.

So 11 days, 97 points… 34 more days, only 44 further points.

Another 10 trading days would mark a 55 fibonacci trading day cycle, so we should be alert to potential rally highs between August 13th and August 22nd as a window for a top.

A few days ago I discussed we may see a continual sloppy drift up to 1425-1445 ranges, with 1434 a key pivot line to watch.

Although the count doesnt really fit for me, if this rally from the June lows is a 5th and final wave up… then a 5th wave rally to complete a larger cycle often is characterized by a series of 3′s.

To summarize:

The first leg of the rally was a 3 wave rally to 1363, about 97 points in 11 days. We have continued with overlapping 3′s. This final stage of the rally is likely going to be 5 waves or ABCDE in nature to complete the entire cycle up from 1267

That cycle high should come within the Aug 13th-22nd window and in the 1425-1445 ranges.

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Is Natural Gas Hitting Upper Resistance levels

Natural Gas was able to add value again as prices moved back toward the upper resistance level of $3/mmbtu. Weather related demand is continuing to become less of a bullish factor from both the short term temperature forecasts to the tropics. The latest NOAA six to ten day temperature forecast is projecting the smallest area of above normal temperature so far this summer which is certainly not very supportive for Nat Gas prices. The eight to fourteen day forecast is a bit more bullish in that it is projecting a larger area of above normal temperatures. Overall both forecasts will not nearly result in as much Nat Gas related cooling demand as what was experienced during the first half of the summer. The net result net injections will continue to creep higher over the next several weeks.

In addition the tropics are not threatening to Nat Gas production in the Gulf of Mexico as Ernesto is heading into Mexico and the two other tropical weather patterns out in the Atlantic are still low grade tropical weather event and it is much too early to project whether or not they will strengthen into something more impacting. Overall I do see any short term fundamental support for the current level of prices. I would expect that the market will run into difficulty in breaking through the technical resistance level of around $3/mmbtu.

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Today the EIA released their latest STEO report. Following are the main highlights relate to Nat Gas from the report.

EIA expects that natural gas consumption will average 69.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2012, an increase of 3.2 Bcf/d (4.8 percent) from 2011. Large gains in electric power use in 2012 will more than offset declines in residential and commercial use. Projected consumption of natural gas in the electric power sector averages 25.4 Bcf/d in 2012, 22 percent higher than in 2011, primarily driven by the improved relative cost advantages of natural gas over coal for power generation in some regions.

Consumption in the electric power sector during 2012 peaks at 31.6 Bcf/d in the third quarter, when electricity demand for air conditioning is highest. As a result of the extreme heat last month, estimated electric power sector natural gas consumption during July 2012 averaged 34.8 Bcf/d, 1.8 Bcf/d higher than projected in last month's Outlook......Read Dominik Chirihella' entire article.

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