For the past decade, gold has been an incredible investment, rising from under $300 per ounce to as high as $1,900 per ounce before retreating to around $1,650 in recent trading.
For the bulls, gold's recent drop is nothing more than a temporary setback on its inexorable march toward $2,000 and beyond. The case for gold rests primarily on factors familiar to anyone who's even remotely familiar with the metal: easy money from central banks around the world and rising demand from emerging economies, notably China and India. (See: Easy Money + Low Rates = Gold at $2000 by Year End)
But all good things must come to an end and Yoni Jacobs, chief investment strategist at Chart Prophet, believes gold's best days are behind it. In fact, Yoni believes there's a bubble in precious metals that's about to collapse as detailed in his book, Gold Bubble: Profiting from Gold's Impending Collapse.
While tipping his hat to the bullish arguments and sympathetic to reasons why people own gold, Jacobs says the metal's inability to rally despite Europe's ongoing crisis and renewed tensions in the Middle East are negative signs. "The froth is coming off," he says.
Technically, the strategist cites heavy volume during gold's sell-off last September and the negative divergence between gold and gold miners as warning signs. In the past six months, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) is down 20% while the Gold ETF (GLD) is essentially flat.
Furthermore, gold is vulnerable to the global economic slowdown, he says, noting China just reported its slowest quarter in three years.
"If we have a recession or slowing global growth then all assets fall -- it's a deflationary period," Jacobs says. "Even though a lot of people are expecting inflation, if we enter recession that means the price of assets falls. Gold will fall together with the rest of commodities."
Finally, Jacobs cites "over-speculation" in gold, its "parabolic increase" in recent years, the "mass publicity" the metal has received, and the extreme emotions of its advocates as signs of it being in bubble territory.
Based on historical trends and technical patterns, Jacobs predicts gold will fall below the key $1,000 per ounce level on its way to the $700 area. He recommends shorting the GLD or GDX or buying out-of-the-money puts on gold as a way to profit from gold's demise.
Jacobs is clearly out on a limb on this prediction and there's a good chance he'll be proven wrong.
But hedging your positions and managing downside risks is always a good idea, especially with an investment that's appreciated as much as gold.