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Evidence And Insights About Gold’s Long-Term Uptrend

Evidence And Insights About Gold’s Long-Term Uptrend

By Jesse Colombo of BullionStar

For the past few years, gold has been treading water…



Evidence And Insights About Gold's Long-Term Uptrend

By Jesse Colombo of BullionStar

For the past few years, gold has been treading water with no clear direction and causing even the most die-hard gold bugs to scratch their heads in confusion regarding the yellow metal’s next major move. Though gold surged during the most acute phase of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic due to the unprecedented tsunami of liquidity from global central banks, it has since bounced around between $1,600 to $2,100. In this piece, I will show that gold is still in a confirmed long-term uptrend despite the choppy action of the past few years. I will also show several factors that should create a tailwind for gold in the next decade and beyond.

The Technical Backdrop

It’s helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture when the short-term picture is unclear. Gold’s monthly chart going back to the year 2000 shows that the metal is in a confirmed uptrend according to the most basic, widely accepted tenets of technical analysis. For starters, gold has been consistently making higher highs and higher lows over the past quarter-century. In addition, gold has been climbing up a long-term uptrend line that formed in the early-2000s. From a technical perspective, gold will remain in a confirmed long-term uptrend as long as it stays above that uptrend line — after all, a trend in motion tends to remain in motion.

If you look at gold’s price action of the past five years, you can see that there is a strong resistance zone overhead from $2,000 to $2,100. Gold has attempted to break above that resistance zone several times since 2020 to no avail. If gold can finally close decisively above its $2,000 to $2,100 resistance zone, that would indicate that another phase of the bull market has likely begun.

(Of course, I need to point out that gold and silver’s price discovery process has been corrupted and distorted by the explosion of “paper” or synthetic gold and silver products including futures, options, swaps, and exchange traded funds that are not fully backed by actual physical gold and silver.

Over the past couple of decades, the amount of outstanding synthetic gold and silver has ballooned relative to the amount of physical gold and silver in existence, which has suppressed physical precious metals prices. In a genuine and fair market, physical gold and silver prices would be much higher than they currently are. You can learn more about this issue here and here.)

The Role of Paper Money Debasement

There are numerous factors that drive the price of gold, but dilution of fiat or “paper" currencies is one of the most glaring. For the past five decades, all of the world’s major currencies have been downgraded to mere “paper" currencies that are unbacked by gold, which has predictably resulted in an explosion of the global money supply and the ensuing erosion of those currencies’ purchasing power.

To put it in layman’s terms, a rising money supply harms the value of currencies and results in inflation or higher living costs. When the cost of housing, groceries, car insurance, healthcare, and college education all rise together, look no further than the debasement of paper money. When currencies were backed by gold, it was impossible to dilute them the way that paper currencies are diluted because every currency unit was required to have a certain amount of gold backing it up and it’s impossible to print or conjure gold out of thin air. For that same reason, people clamor to the safety of gold when paper money is being diluted to oblivion.

The chart below shows the United States M2 money supply, which is a measure of all notes and coins that are in circulation, checking accounts, travelers’ checks, savings deposits, time deposits under $100,000, and shares in retail money market mutual funds. The U.S. M2 money supply has more than quadrupled since the early-2000s, which was a major factor behind gold’s long-term uptrend that began at that time.

Though paper money is typically diluted as a function of time, this process accelerated dramatically after the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2008 due to widespread government bailouts, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and quantitative easing (QE), which can be thought of as digital money printing for the purpose of propping up the economy and boosting the financial markets.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an even more reckless printfest that caused nearly every measure of money supply in practically every country to go vertical in just a few months as central banks — including the U.S. Federal Reserve desperately tried to prop up their economies and financial markets during the pandemic lockdowns with trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of stimulus.

The chart below shows how gold follows the M2 money supply higher over time:

The next chart shows the ratio of gold’s price to the M2 money supply, which is helpful for seeing if gold is keeping up with money supply growth, outpacing it, or lagging it. If gold’s price greatly outpaces money supply growth (the red zone in the chart below), there is a heightened chance of a strong correction. If gold’s price lags money supply growth (the green zone in the chart below), however, there is a good chance that gold will soon experience of period of strength. Since the mid-2010s, gold has slightly lagged M2 money supply growth, which could set it up for a period of strength due to the other factors discussed in this piece.

The U.S. Dollar’s Declining Purchasing Power

As discussed earlier, a rising money supply erodes the purchasing power of paper currencies over time. The Noble Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman described this process succinctly: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon…" Since the year 2000, the U.S. dollar has lost nearly half of its purchasing power largely due to reckless monetary experiments conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is supposed to be a good steward of America’s currency but has proven to be the exact opposite.

Unfortunately, the U.S. dollar’s debasement since the year 2000 wasn’t a fluke — it was just a continuation of the trend that started almost immediately after the Federal Reserve was founded in 1913. Since then, the American currency has lost a jaw-dropping 97% of its purchasing power with no end in sight. As long as the U.S. dollar remains an unbacked fiat currency, it is going to keep losing purchasing power as a function of time.

The U.S. National Debt

America’s surging national debt has been another driver of gold’s bull market since the early-2000s. A combination of costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bailouts and stimulus programs during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2008, and stimulus programs during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic caused the U.S. national debt to explode sixfold from $5.77 trillion in 2000 to $34.3 trillion in 2024.

Even more concerning is the fact that the U.S. Congressional Budget Office expects the federal debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP to surge from just below 100% currently to approximately 170% over the next couple decades:

Since the 2020 pandemic, America’s exploding national debt combined with rising interest rates have caused annual interest payments to double to nearly $1 trillion:

Now costing U.S. taxpayers a mind-boggling $1 trillion per year, federal interest payments are set to exceed both the cost of defense and Medicare this year for the first time ever:

Over the past few years, U.S. federal interest payments as a percentage of GDP have increased at the sharpest rate in at least seventy years:

As a country’s national debt burden increases, the probability of a fiscal, economic, and currency crisis increases, which was what gold has been pricing in over the past quarter century. America’s surging debts — both public and private — are ultimately setting the stage for the destruction of the U.S. dollar, which will be sacrificed by the Federal Reserve and U.S. federal government as they run the printing presses on overdrive in a desperate attempt to pay for the spiraling cost of interest, Medicare, Social Security, welfare benefits, inevitable future bailouts and fiscal stimulus programs, and all other government spending. Throughout history, every paper currency has succumbed to the same fate as governments prove unable to resist the temptation of the printing press


To summarize, gold began a powerful uptrend in the early-2000s and it is still in that same uptrend despite the choppy price action of the past few years. The factors that originally drove gold’s uptrend are still in effect and, in many cases, are accelerating. Over the next decade and beyond, we are going to see a staggering increase in debt and the money supply, which will result in terrible inflation and, ultimately, hyperinflation. Though this piece focused primarily on the U.S. monetary and fiscal situation, make no mistake — practically every major economy is in the same boat and has its own version of the charts and data shown here.

Though the paper money supply will increase exponentially in the years ahead, the supply of physical precious metals like gold and silver will remain relatively constant in comparison, which is a recipe for much higher gold and silver prices. I personally favor physical gold and silver bullion over all other investments (including gold ETFs and mining shares) in these unprecedented times.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/02/2024 - 15:10

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Comments on February Employment Report

The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the …



The headline jobs number in the February employment report was above expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.   The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.

Leisure and hospitality gained 58 thousand jobs in February.  At the beginning of the pandemic, in March and April of 2020, leisure and hospitality lost 8.2 million jobs, and are now down 17 thousand jobs since February 2020.  So, leisure and hospitality has now essentially added back all of the jobs lost in March and April 2020. 

Construction employment increased 23 thousand and is now 547 thousand above the pre-pandemic level. 

Manufacturing employment decreased 4 thousand jobs and is now 184 thousand above the pre-pandemic level.

Prime (25 to 54 Years Old) Participation

Since the overall participation rate is impacted by both cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.

The 25 to 54 years old participation rate increased in February to 83.5% from 83.3% in January, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 80.7% from 80.6% the previous month.

Both are above pre-pandemic levels.

Average Hourly Wages

WagesThe graph shows the nominal year-over-year change in "Average Hourly Earnings" for all private employees from the Current Employment Statistics (CES).  

There was a huge increase at the beginning of the pandemic as lower paid employees were let go, and then the pandemic related spike reversed a year later.

Wage growth has trended down after peaking at 5.9% YoY in March 2022 and was at 4.3% YoY in February.   

Part Time for Economic Reasons

Part Time WorkersFrom the BLS report:
"The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs."
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons decreased in February to 4.36 million from 4.42 million in February. This is slightly above pre-pandemic levels.

These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that increased to 7.3% from 7.2% in the previous month. This is down from the record high in April 2020 of 23.0% and up from the lowest level on record (seasonally adjusted) in December 2022 (6.5%). (This series started in 1994). This measure is above the 7.0% level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).

Unemployed over 26 Weeks

Unemployed Over 26 WeeksThis graph shows the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

According to the BLS, there are 1.203 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job, down from 1.277 million the previous month.

This is down from post-pandemic high of 4.174 million, and up from the recent low of 1.050 million.

This is close to pre-pandemic levels.

Job Streak

Through February 2024, the employment report indicated positive job growth for 38 consecutive months, putting the current streak in 5th place of the longest job streaks in US history (since 1939).

Headline Jobs, Top 10 Streaks
Year EndedStreak, Months
6 tie194333
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1Currrent Streak


The headline monthly jobs number was above consensus expectations; however, December and January payrolls were revised down by 167,000 combined.  The participation rate was unchanged, the employment population ratio decreased, and the unemployment rate was increased to 3.9%.  Another solid report.

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Immune cells can adapt to invading pathogens, deciding whether to fight now or prepare for the next battle

When faced with a threat, T cells have the decision-making flexibility to both clear out the pathogen now and ready themselves for a future encounter.

Understanding the flexibility of T cell memory can lead to improved vaccines and immunotherapies. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How does your immune system decide between fighting invading pathogens now or preparing to fight them in the future? Turns out, it can change its mind.

Every person has 10 million to 100 million unique T cells that have a critical job in the immune system: patrolling the body for invading pathogens or cancerous cells to eliminate. Each of these T cells has a unique receptor that allows it to recognize foreign proteins on the surface of infected or cancerous cells. When the right T cell encounters the right protein, it rapidly forms many copies of itself to destroy the offending pathogen.

Diagram depicting a helper T cell differentiating into either a memory T cell or an effector T cell after exposure to an antigen
T cells can differentiate into different subtypes of cells after coming into contact with an antigen. Anatomy & Physiology/SBCCOE, CC BY-NC-SA

Importantly, this process of proliferation gives rise to both short-lived effector T cells that shut down the immediate pathogen attack and long-lived memory T cells that provide protection against future attacks. But how do T cells decide whether to form cells that kill pathogens now or protect against future infections?

We are a team of bioengineers studying how immune cells mature. In our recently published research, we found that having multiple pathways to decide whether to kill pathogens now or prepare for future invaders boosts the immune system’s ability to effectively respond to different types of challenges.

Fight or remember?

To understand when and how T cells decide to become effector cells that kill pathogens or memory cells that prepare for future infections, we took movies of T cells dividing in response to a stimulus mimicking an encounter with a pathogen.

Specifically, we tracked the activity of a gene called T cell factor 1, or TCF1. This gene is essential for the longevity of memory cells. We found that stochastic, or probabilistic, silencing of the TCF1 gene when cells confront invading pathogens and inflammation drives an early decision between whether T cells become effector or memory cells. Exposure to higher levels of pathogens or inflammation increases the probability of forming effector cells.

Surprisingly, though, we found that some effector cells that had turned off TCF1 early on were able to turn it back on after clearing the pathogen, later becoming memory cells.

Through mathematical modeling, we determined that this flexibility in decision making among memory T cells is critical to generating the right number of cells that respond immediately and cells that prepare for the future, appropriate to the severity of the infection.

Understanding immune memory

The proper formation of persistent, long-lived T cell memory is critical to a person’s ability to fend off diseases ranging from the common cold to COVID-19 to cancer.

From a social and cognitive science perspective, flexibility allows people to adapt and respond optimally to uncertain and dynamic environments. Similarly, for immune cells responding to a pathogen, flexibility in decision making around whether to become memory cells may enable greater responsiveness to an evolving immune challenge.

Memory cells can be subclassified into different types with distinct features and roles in protective immunity. It’s possible that the pathway where memory cells diverge from effector cells early on and the pathway where memory cells form from effector cells later on give rise to particular subtypes of memory cells.

Our study focuses on T cell memory in the context of acute infections the immune system can successfully clear in days, such as cold, the flu or food poisoning. In contrast, chronic conditions such as HIV and cancer require persistent immune responses; long-lived, memory-like cells are critical for this persistence. Our team is investigating whether flexible memory decision making also applies to chronic conditions and whether we can leverage that flexibility to improve cancer immunotherapy.

Resolving uncertainty surrounding how and when memory cells form could help improve vaccine design and therapies that boost the immune system’s ability to provide long-term protection against diverse infectious diseases.

Kathleen Abadie was funded by a NSF (National Science Foundation) Graduate Research Fellowships. She performed this research in affiliation with the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering.

Elisa Clark performed her research in affiliation with the University of Washington (UW) Department of Bioengineering and was funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRFP) and by a predoctoral fellowship through the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM).

Hao Yuan Kueh receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.

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Stock indexes are breaking records and crossing milestones – making many investors feel wealthier

The S&P 500 topped 5,000 on Feb. 9, 2024, for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will probably hit a new big round number soon t…




Major stock indexes were hitting or nearing records in February 2024, as they were in early 2020 when this TV chyron appeared. AP Photo/Richard Drew

The S&P 500 stock index topped 5,000 for the first time on Feb. 9, 2024, exciting some investors and garnering a flurry of media coverage. The Conversation asked Alexander Kurov, a financial markets scholar, to explain what stock indexes are and to say whether this kind of milestone is a big deal or not.

What are stock indexes?

Stock indexes measure the performance of a group of stocks. When prices rise or fall overall for the shares of those companies, so do stock indexes. The number of stocks in those baskets varies, as does the system for how this mix of shares gets updated.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, also known as the Dow, includes shares in the 30 U.S. companies with the largest market capitalization – meaning the total value of all the stock belonging to shareholders. That list currently spans companies from Apple to Walt Disney Co.

The S&P 500 tracks shares in 500 of the largest U.S. publicly traded companies.

The Nasdaq composite tracks performance of more than 2,500 stocks listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The DJIA, launched on May 26, 1896, is the oldest of these three popular indexes, and it was one of the first established.

Two enterprising journalists, Charles H. Dow and Edward Jones, had created a different index tied to the railroad industry a dozen years earlier. Most of the 12 stocks the DJIA originally included wouldn’t ring many bells today, such as Chicago Gas and National Lead. But one company that only got booted in 2018 had stayed on the list for 120 years: General Electric.

The S&P 500 index was introduced in 1957 because many investors wanted an option that was more representative of the overall U.S. stock market. The Nasdaq composite was launched in 1971.

You can buy shares in an index fund that mirrors a particular index. This approach can diversify your investments and make them less prone to big losses.

Index funds, which have only existed since Vanguard Group founder John Bogle launched the first one in 1976, now hold trillions of dollars .

Why are there so many?

There are hundreds of stock indexes in the world, but only about 50 major ones.

Most of them, including the Nasdaq composite and the S&P 500, are value-weighted. That means stocks with larger market values account for a larger share of the index’s performance.

In addition to these broad-based indexes, there are many less prominent ones. Many of those emphasize a niche by tracking stocks of companies in specific industries like energy or finance.

Do these milestones matter?

Stock prices move constantly in response to corporate, economic and political news, as well as changes in investor psychology. Because company profits will typically grow gradually over time, the market usually fluctuates in the short term, while increasing in value over the long term.

The DJIA first reached 1,000 in November 1972, and it crossed the 10,000 mark on March 29, 1999. On Jan. 22, 2024, it surpassed 38,000 for the first time. Investors and the media will treat the new record set when it gets to another round number – 40,000 – as a milestone.

The S&P 500 index had never hit 5,000 before. But it had already been breaking records for several weeks.

Because there’s a lot of randomness in financial markets, the significance of round-number milestones is mostly psychological. There is no evidence they portend any further gains.

For example, the Nasdaq composite first hit 5,000 on March 10, 2000, at the end of the dot-com bubble.

The index then plunged by almost 80% by October 2002. It took 15 years – until March 3, 2015 – for it return to 5,000.

By mid-February 2024, the Nasdaq composite was nearing its prior record high of 16,057 set on Nov. 19, 2021.

Index milestones matter to the extent they pique investors’ attention and boost market sentiment.

Investors afflicted with a fear of missing out may then invest more in stocks, pushing stock prices to new highs. Chasing after stock trends may destabilize markets by moving prices away from their underlying values.

When a stock index passes a new milestone, investors become more aware of their growing portfolios. Feeling richer can lead them to spend more.

This is called the wealth effect. Many economists believe that the consumption boost that arises in response to a buoyant stock market can make the economy stronger.

Is there a best stock index to follow?

Not really. They all measure somewhat different things and have their own quirks.

For example, the S&P 500 tracks many different industries. However, because it is value-weighted, it’s heavily influenced by only seven stocks with very large market values.

Known as the “Magnificent Seven,” shares in Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla now account for over one-fourth of the S&P 500’s value. Nearly all are in the tech sector, and they played a big role in pushing the S&P across the 5,000 mark.

This makes the index more concentrated on a single sector than it appears.

But if you check out several stock indexes rather than just one, you’ll get a good sense of how the market is doing. If they’re all rising quickly or breaking records, that’s a clear sign that the market as a whole is gaining.

Sometimes the smartest thing is to not pay too much attention to any of them.

For example, after hitting record highs on Feb. 19, 2020, the S&P 500 plunged by 34% in just 23 trading days due to concerns about what COVID-19 would do to the economy. But the market rebounded, with stock indexes hitting new milestones and notching new highs by the end of that year.

Panicking in response to short-term market swings would have made investors more likely to sell off their investments in too big a hurry – a move they might have later regretted. This is why I believe advice from the immensely successful investor and fan of stock index funds Warren Buffett is worth heeding.

Buffett, whose stock-selecting prowess has made him one of the world’s 10 richest people, likes to say “Don’t watch the market closely.”

If you’re reading this because stock prices are falling and you’re wondering if you should be worried about that, consider something else Buffett has said: “The light can at any time go from green to red without pausing at yellow.”

And the opposite is true as well.

Alexander Kurov does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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