In all probability, December 2015 marked the bottom of the cyclical gold and silver bear market – a bear cycle that had been in play since silver topped in May 2011 and gold in September of the same year.
During the fourth quarter 2015, share price declines of the precious metals mining companies tapered off once the last of the weak hands gave up and sold their positions to stronger, forward-looking investors.
If you go to a free chart service like stockcharts.com, you can choose any number of mining stocks and look at their January 19 daily price action. On this date – for most of the top and second-tier companies – the last intraday price plunge took place. For purpose of example only, we have chosen Endeavour Silver.
Endeavour Silver Weekly Chart
Notice how the price made a new low, then moved up into the preceding day's/week's range to close on a strong note for the session. It’s likely this low print will not be touched again during the current bull run.
What Have Physical Gold and Silver Been Doing?
Silver has risen more than 40% so far this year; gold is up almost 20%. Dozens, if not scores, of mining stocks rose several times as much (as expected). In fact, Jim Flanagan, who keeps track of the size and duration of first leg bull market runs across many asset classes, had the following to say about this year's multi-month mining stock rise:
“The 175% Advance in Gold Stocks in 5 Months, 22 Days Now Places Us As the 11th Greatest 1st Leg Up in Any Bull Market in Any of the Tangible Assets During the Past 150 Years. In Other Words, It Is the Elite of the Elite.”
A few resource sector newsletter writers got their subscribers onto "the right side of the trade" early this spring, but a number of others either jumped out too early at the first sign of a "correction" (of which there have been 6), or sat out the entire year, waiting for what they hoped would be a low-risk entry point.
Silver Prices (2011-2016)
The World's Central Banks Are Buying Up Mining Stocks
While there was considerable institutional, individual, and hedge fund buying of both the miners and metals, an unexpected long side category of customer has recently emerged.
Deutsche Bank, Germany's (and Europe's) largest – otherwise in very poor financial shape – is said to be holding no less than 50 mining sector stocks, with a total market value of over $2 billion. The Swiss National Bank holds 25 stocks at a $1 billion market value. Now Norway's Central Bank (Norges Bank) has filed notice with U.S. regulators that it too holds securities in 23 mining stocks to the tune of just under $1billion.
Isn’t it ironic that the very financial entities who have been instrumental in flooding the world with un-backed currencies are now buying mining stocks as insurance for their own financial holdings? (Not to mention that, since 2010, central banks have been net buyers of physical gold!)