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A Golden Opportunity? Precious Metal Could Be Set to Outshine S&P 500

Analyst Team trader
Updated 12 Mar 2024

Amid a backdrop of record heights for both precious metals and stock indices, gold has shimmered its way into the spotlight, with March seeing gold futures climb to an all-time peak of $2,188.30 an ounce. The S&P 500, a bellwether for the broader U.S. stock market, is not far behind in the race to the top, securing its own record high at 5,189.26. However, a deeper analysis suggests that gold may not only sustain this rally but could indeed outperform its equity counterpart in the near term.


This bright forecast for the yellow metal comes courtesy of analysts at Jefferies, who have delved into historical data to extrapolate the potential trajectory of gold relative to US stocks. Their research suggests that the circumstances are ripe for gold to eclipse the performance of the S&P 500 over the next month.

One compelling reason for gold's allure in the current market environment is the Federal Reserve's dovish stance. As monetary policy tilts toward easing, gold, famously known as a “yield-free asset,” often finds favour among investors seeking a haven or diversification amid uncertain economic conditions. Its current breakout to new highs could herald the beginning of a sustained period of outperformance, especially when considering central bank policies and macroeconomic uncertainties.

Jefferies' analysts further substantiate their thesis by pointing out a concurrence of events wherein rallies of 5% or more in gold prices frequently presage “rockier” periods for the S&P 500. A historical lens reveals that following such rallies in gold, its price performance over the ensuing 12 months frequently overshadows that of the S&P 500.

Despite its recent record-breaking run, the S&P 500's ascent appears unchecked by overexuberance. This is indicated by various sentiment proxies for both the buy and sell sides, suggesting that there is still potential for improvement in the index's performance. Notably, the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) bull-bear spread, which gauges individual investors' mood towards the stock market, has soared past 30 this week. This reading, pointing to a bullish consensus, may ordinarily signal the right conditions for the index to thrive.

Additionally, the reliability of the market's forward momentum is underscored by the 52-week moving average, which has posted increases in 47 of the past 48 weeks. This impressive run is unmatched since records began in 1987, hinting at a robust trend that many interpret as a harbinger of sustained positive performance.

However, the Jefferies team tempers the enthusiasm for equities with a cautionary note, suggesting that there may come a time when the pool of incremental buyers dries up, potentially arresting the market's upward climb. In such a scenario, gold's allure could be further magnified as a preferred choice for investors seeking stability or speculative gains in a market bereft of fresh bullish catalysts.

Consequently, for market participants weighing their options between glittering gold and soaring stocks, the historical insights and current market indicators may swivel the scales in favour of the former. As we venture deeper into the financial year, the ancient asset of kings could prove to be a golden ticket for those looking to outpace the modern equity markets.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.