Showing posts with label Zinc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zinc. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

SP500, Grains, Cotton and Base Metals

SP500, Grains, Cotton and Base MetalsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Sally Limantour
February 6, 2007

In stock land we have little data this week, but keep your eye on budget headlines coming from Washington. The bears are gun she and rightfully so. That said, as mentioned last Friday, my short-term proprietary model is signaling a sell for early this week. This does not mean a top, just a short tem correction and with that in mind, I will look to short ESH 1458-1460 with stops over 1464.

The grain markets and cotton, my two favorite sectors for 2007 continue to act well. We have corn (March) trading over $4.00 a bushel and new crop beans (November) trading over $7.75 a bushel. Corn did fill its gap from 1/12/07 and long positions were re-established last Friday in the $3.95 area. With the $4.00 level for new crop corn, farmers are going to plant more corn this spring which will take away acreage from soybeans. The new crop beans are outperforming due to this and with the bean to corn ratio at 2.1 this creates a huge incentive for the farmers to plant corn.

Cotton has been sleeping, but woke up yesterday to close up +1.32%. I am still holding long positions from December (52.50) and with talk of reduced acreage (13.2 vs. 15.2 year ago) we may see the fund buying especially if we start to see prices breakout above 56.00.

There were reports last Friday that the large hedge fund, Red Kite (a $1 bn metals-trading fund) had hit trouble and copper prices fell 4.8%. Nickel and zinc were also down in London and perhaps that could explain the $19.00 sell off in gold (from Thurs. high to Friday’s low). It was a buying opportunity in silver and gold and I continue to think the precious metals will outperform.

Red Kite has brought out some speculation concerning the base metals. One report put the London firm down as much as 20 per cent in the first 3 weeks of January, leading to forced liquidation of copper, zinc and other base metals. In an attempt to prevent a stampede for the door among their investors, the fund requested approval for an amendment to extend 45 days from 15 the notice required for investors to withdraw their money. As the FT reports, “that smacks of the proverbial horse having already bolted.”

This has prompted the question on the role of commodities funds in driving up prices – and how that picture might unravel. Questions from the Markets Risk blog are, “What happens when the hedge funds who bid up prices in global assets start to get investor redemptions because of poor performance? What happens when the leverage unwinds and managers with little experience managing systemic or core market risks are faced with “improbable” risks?”

Answer: massive liquidations. It is estimated that more than 500 hedge funds specializing in commodities have started in the last 2-3 years. These funds represent a large percentage of the trading volume of base metals financial derivatives and it makes you wonder just how much of the 146% rise in copper prices from late 2005 to May 2006 was due to physical demand (China?) and how much was due to leveraged hedge fund derivative speculation. Perhaps a bit of both.

Remember to use stops!

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