Out with the old, up with the new
"I'm sure precious-metals bulls were extraordinarily frustrated late in 2011, as gold and silver were sold regardless of the news. Certainly markets can be maddening as well as unprofitable at times, especially at the end of the year, when forced selling (or, in some years, herd-driven buying) causes the markets to ignore favorable news. Selling sometimes feeds on itself.
"Of course, when a trend is as powerful as the recent decline in gold was, I'm sure there were computerized trading programs jumping on the bandwagon as well, and betting on lower prices by getting short.
"In any event, as the year ended, the stage was set for a potent rally in the metals, and that was what I think we saw starting on Tuesday. The questions now are whether the last week of December was the low for this entire decline, and whether we get some sort of test of those prices (as well as what such a test might look like).
"Since so many people trade gold on a technical basis, the determining factor for what the next pullback looks like may be dictated by whether it can get over its 200-day moving average, at around $1,625 per ounce. I don't have a strong opinion at this point -- it would be almost impossible to have one yet. But it is entirely conceivable, given the forced liquidation and computer activity, that the lows for this correction have been seen."