– Gold outperforming stocks in 2018 and this century (see chart)

– Gold up close to 2% in 2018 while S&P 500 is down 2%

– Trump trade wars and Kudlow as Trump chief economic advisor is gold bullish

– Given gold’s performance, Kudlow’s dismissal of gold as “end of the world insurance” is “irrational”

– Market volatility could drive gold to $1,500/oz in 2018 – Holmes

Editor: Mark O’Byrne

Authored by Frank Holmes of US Funds

In a January post, I showed how the price of gold rallied in the months following the 2015 and 2016 December interest rate hikes-as much as 29 percent in the former cycle, 17.8 percent in the latter. Gold ended 2017 up double digits, despite pressure from skyrocketing stocks and massive cryptocurrency speculation.

 

I forecast then that we could see another “Fed rally” this year following the rate hike in December 2017. Hypothetically, if gold took a similar trajectory as the past two cycles, its price could climb as high as $1,500 this year.

As I told Kitco News’ Daniela Cambone last week, I stand by the $1,500 forecast. Before last week, investors might have been slightly disappointed by gold’s mostly sideways performance so far this year. But now, in response to a number of factors, it’s up close to 3 percent in 2018, compared to the S&P 500 Index, down 2.4 percent.

Living with Volatility

While I’m on the topic of equities, the S&P 500 dividend yield, for the first time in nearly a decade, is now below the yield on the two-year Treasury. Historically, the economy has slowed around six months after dividends stopped paying as much as short-dated government paper.

This could spur some stock investors to trim their exposure and rotate into other asset classes, including not just bonds but also precious metals, which I believe might help gold revisit resistance from its 2016 high of $1,374 an ounce.

Volatility has also crept back into markets. It began with the positive wage growth report in February, implying the possibility of faster inflation. More recently, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), or “fear gauge,” has surged on the departures of Gary Cohn as chief economic advisor and Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, as well as the application of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Last week, President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on at least $50 billion of Chinese goods, stoking new fears of a U.S.-China trade war. In response, the Asian giant proposed fresh duties on as much as $3 billion of U.S. products, including wine, fruits, nuts, ethanol and steel pipes.

 

As I see it, there could be other contributing factors pushing up the price of gold. A good place to start is with Trump’s recent appointment of former CNBC star Larry Kudlo