November 20, 2017 -- Precious metals got a boost last week as investors were reminded that stock prices move in two directions -- up and down. The S&P 500 and the Dow both finished the worst two weeks they have seen since August.
The selling certainly wasn’t dramatic (both indexes remain within about 1% of their all-time highs), but it does represent the recent negative correlation between stocks and metals. Absent the return of an inflation trade, any sustained rally in metals will likely have to be fueled by investors fleeing the stock markets. We’ll see how the equity indexes fare this week.
Wall Street is focused on the debate over tax reform. Whether Congressional Republicans will muster the majority needed to pass a tax bill remains too close to call. We remain skeptical given the combined animosity of the Republican leadership and Democrats towards the president.
At least metals investors who would like some tax relief may get higher gold and silver prices as a bit of a silver lining. Should tax reform fail, it will likely hurt the stock markets and prompt some flight to safety. Trading figures are to be lighter this week given the Thanksgiving holiday, but there is some significant economic data due out. We’ll see reports on existing home sales, durable goods, and the FOMC minutes from the Nov. 1st committee meeting.