Markets that are likely to outperform in 2021

There is no reliable benchmark for assessing performance of different markets (stocks, bonds, precious metals, commodities, etc.) since central banks have flooded financial markets with more than $8 trillion in freshly printed currency since the start of 2020. The chart below from Ed Yardeni shows total assets of the five major central banks (Fed, ECB, BOC, BOE and BOJ) expanded to $27.9T at the end of November 2020, from below $20T at the start of the year.

Central Banks: Total Assets

With no convenient benchmark, the best way to measure performance is using relative strength between two prices/indices.

Measured in Gold (rather than Dollars) the S&P 500 iShares ETF (IVV) has underperformed since mid-2019. Respect of the red descending trendline would confirm further weakness ahead (or outperformance for Gold).

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Gold

But if we take a broad basket of commodities, stocks are still outperforming. Reversal of the current up-trend would signal that he global economy is recovering, with rising demand for commodities as manufacturing output increases. Breach of the latest, sharply rising trendline would warn of a correction to the long-term rising trendline and, most likely, even further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/DJ-UBS Commodity Index


There are pockets of rising prices in commodities but the broader indices remain weak.

Copper shows signs of a recovery. Breakout above -0.5 would signal outperformance relative to Gold.


Brent crude shows a similar rally. Breakout above the declining red trendline would suggest outperformance ahead.

Brent Crude/Gold

But the broad basket of commodities measured by the DJ-UBS Commodity Index is still in a down-trend.

DJ-UBS Commodity Index/Gold

Precious Metals

Silver broke out of its downward trend channel relative to Gold. Completion of the recent pullback (at zero) confirms the breakout and signals future outperformance.


Stock Markets

Comparing major stock indices, the S&P 500 has outperformed the DJ Stoxx Euro 600 since 2010. Lately the up-trend has accelerated and breach of the latest rising trendline would warn of reversion to at least the long-term trendline. More likely even further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Euro Stoxx 600

The S&P 500 shows a similar accelerating up-trend relative to the ASX 200. Breach of the latest trendline would similarly signal reversion to the LT trendline and most likely further.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/ASX 200

Reversion is already under way with India’s Nifty 50 (NSX), now outperforming the S&P 500.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Nifty 50

S&P 500 performance relative to the Shanghai Composite plateaued at around +0.4. Breakout would signal further gains but respect of resistance is as likely.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Shanghai Composite


Looking within the Russell 1000 large caps index, Growth stocks (IWF) have clearly outperformed Value (IWD) since 2006. Breach of the latest, incredibly steep trendline, however, warns of reversion to the mean. We are likely to see Value outperform Growth in 2021.

Russell 1000 Value/Growth


The S&P 500 has made strong gains against Treasury bonds since March (iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT]) but is expected to run into resistance between 1.3 and 1.4. Rising inflation fears, however, may lower bond prices, spurring further outperformance by stocks.

S&P 500 iShares ETF/Long_term Bond ETF (TLT)


The US Dollar is weakening against a basket of major currencies. Euro breakout above resistance at $1.25 would signal a long-term up-trend.


China’s Yuan has already broken resistance at 14.6 US cents, signaling a long-term up-trend.


India’s Rupee remains sluggish.

Indian Rupee/Dollar

But the Australian Dollar is surging. The recent correction that respected support at 70 US cents suggests an advance to at least 80 cents.

Australian Dollar/Dollar

Gold, surprisingly, retraced over the last few months despite the weakening US Dollar. But respect of support at $1800/ounce would signal another primary advance.

Spot Gold/Dollar


Silver is expected to outperform Gold.
Gold is expected to outperform stocks.
Value stocks are expected to outperform Growth.
India’s Nifty 50 is expected to outperform other major indices. This is likely to be followed by the Stoxx Euro 600 and ASX 200 but only if they break their latest, sharply rising trendlines. That leaves the S&P 500 and Shanghai Composite filling the minor placings.
Copper and Crude show signs of a recovery but the broad basket of currencies is expected to underperform stocks and precious metals.
The Greenback is expected to weaken against most major currencies, while rising inflation is likely to leave bond investors holding the wooden spoon.

Gold and the Coronavirus

China’s Yuan plunged on scares of a coronavirus epidemic spreading from its Wuhan epicenter.


The flight to safety took 10-Year US Treasury yields with it. Breach of support at 1.75% warns of another test of primary support at 1.50%.

10-Year Treasury Yields

Flight to safety is also likely to directly strengthen demand for Gold, while lower long-term yields provide a secondary boost by lowering the opportunity cost of holding precious metals. Respect of support at $1540-$1560 would signal another advance.

Gold (USD/ounce)

Silver is weaker but continues to test resistance at $18 to $18.50. Breakout would confirm a bull market for precious metals.

Silver (USD/ounce)

A stronger Dollar, also benefiting from the flight to safety, should only partially offset the rising demand for Gold and Silver.

Dollar Index


Australia’s All Ordinaries Gold Index continues to test resistance at 7200. Breakout above 7200 would strengthen the bull signal from 13-week Trend Index and Momentum recovering above zero.

All Ordinaries Gold Index


Prospects of retracement to re-test support at 6000 are diminishing. Accumulate on breakout above 7200.

Model Portfolios

Our pick of Australian gold stocks is available to subscribers to the Australian Growth model portfolio. I am not sure how many readers are aware that Market Analysis updates are included as part of any model portfolio subscription.

Falling Yuan bullish for Gold

China’s Yuan continued its plunge against the US Dollar after the latest Trump tariff tantrum. The trade war is hotting up and we can expect further Yuan weakness, fueling demand for Gold.


Spot Gold consolidation above $1500/ounce is a bullish sign, while a Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Spot Gold in USD

We maintain our bullish outlook for Gold, with a target of the 2012 high at $1800/ounce.

The All Ordinaries Gold Index surprised with a fall despite the weakening Aussie Dollar. Penetration of the rising trendline warns of a correction but the primary trend remains upward. A Trend Index trough that respects the zero line would confirm this.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Gold spikes as Yuan falls

China has broken its unwritten guarantee that the PBOC will maintain the Yuan below 7 to the US Dollar. Official fixings for USDCNY crept above 7.0 this week, indicating the PBOC is no longer prepared to support its currency.


This is a two-edged sword. While it makes exports cheaper, counteracting the effect of US tariffs, it makes imports more expensive, spiking inflation. It is also likely to spark capital flight, as evidenced by the sharp spike in Gold.

Spot Gold broke resistance at $1450, surging to $1500/ounce. A narrow consolidation at $1500 is likely, signaling further gains. The Trend Index trough above zero indicates strong buying pressure.

Spot Gold in USD

The next major resistance level is the 2012 high of $1800/ounce.

S&P 500: No deal

It looks like there will be no trade deal any time soon.

“Trade talks between China and the United States ended on Friday without a deal as President Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and signaled he was prepared for a prolonged economic fight….. Trump is now moving ahead with plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports. Those new tariffs could go into effect in a matter of weeks.” (New York Times)

Signature of a document was always going to be more theater than substance. Earlier in Bloomberg:

“U.S. President Donald Trump has good reason to be skeptical about China’s willingness to live up to its commitments in any trade deal. Seasoned foreign business executives on the mainland know that any agreement there represents the start of a bargaining process, not the end….”

Response of stock markets, to signs that negotiations had reached an impasse, were muted. The pull-back on the S&P 500 is modest.

S&P 500

The Nasdaq 100 retreated below its new support level at 7700 but the Trend Index remains strong.

Nasdaq 100

China’s Shanghai Composite is undergoing a correction but this week’s long tail suggests selling pressure is moderate.

Shanghai Composite Index

The yuan fell sharply, acting as a shock-absorber.

Chinese Yuan/US Dollar

Stocks like Boeing and Apple may be re-rated but the broad view of the market seems largely unchanged.

Silver leads Gold lower but safe haven demand rising

Silver has broken support at $15/ounce, warning of a test of primary support at $14. Declining Trend Index peaks indicate selling pressure.

Spot Silver in USD

Gold continues to test medium-term support at $1280/ounce. Precious metals tend to move together and Gold is expected to follow Silver in a test of primary support ($1180 for Gold).

Spot Gold in USD

The Dollar index, however, retreated below its new support level at 97.50. Penetration of the rising trendline would warn of a correction.

Dollar Index

China’s Yuan fell sharply against the Dollar as trade talks encountered major turbulence. The outlook for a trade deal now looks poor.

Chinese Yuan/US Dollar

10-Year Treasury yields are also falling as the prospect of further Fed rate hikes dims. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong demand for Treasuries (downward pressure on yields).

10-Year Treasury Yield

Failure to ink a trade deal is likely to boost demand for safe haven assets like the Dollar, Yen, Gold and US Treasuries. Capital flight from China may accelerate.

Crude reversal undermines Gold rally

Nymex crude broke support at $65, warning of a primary down-trend with a medium-term target of $56/barrel.

Nymex WTI Light Crude

Crude and gold tend to rise and fall together, over the long-term, and falling crude prices warn of gold weakness.

The bear rally in Gold is likely to meet stubborn resistance at $1250. Reversal below support at $1180 would offer a long-term target of the 2015 low at $1050/ounce.

Spot Gold in USD

Another major influence on Gold prices is Dollar strength. A strong Dollar is synonymous with lower gold prices. The Dollar Index is trending upwards but ran into resistance at 96.50/97.00.

Dollar Index

The reason is not hard to find as China’s central bank (PBOC) stepped in to support the Yuan at 14.5 US cents (6.9 to $1), selling Dollar reserves.

Chinese Yuan

The Aussie Dollar also strengthened as a result.

Australian Dollar

Australian Gold stocks continue to find support because of the weak currency (AUD) but a declining Trend Index warns of long-term weakness. Breach of support at 4500 would signal a primary down-trend.

All Ords Gold Index

Aussie gold stocks rally

Gold continues to find resistance at $1210/ounce. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of selling pressure. Respect of resistance would indicate another decline and a long-term target of the 2015 low at $1050/ounce.

Spot Gold in USD


The PBOC is supporting the Yuan at 14.5 US cents.


Support for the Yuan is driving down the Dollar. Dollar Index breach of support at 95 warns of a correction to test 91. Bearish divergence on the Trend Index warns of selling pressure. A falling Dollar is likely to boost demand for gold.

Dollar Index

The Australian Dollar benefited from the weaker greenback, rallying to test resistance at 73/73.5 US cents. Trend Index peaks below zero continue to warn of long-term selling pressure. Respect of resistance is likely and would signal a test of the 2015/2016 low at 70 US cents.

Australian Dollar/USD

Gold Stocks

Australian gold stocks rallied despite the strengthening Aussie Dollar. The All Ordinaries Gold Index (XGD) is likely to encounter stiff resistance between 4900 and 5100.  A Trend Index peak below zero would warn of further selling pressure and continuation of the down-trend.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

Gold reacts to Dollar weakness

The Yuan continues to find support at 14.5 US cents.


The Dollar Index is testing support at 95. Respect of support would confirm another advance, with a long-term target of 103, but declining Trend index peaks warn of selling pressure.

Dollar Index

Gold rallied to $1200/ounce but failed to make further progress. Respect of the descending trendline would warn of another decline with a long-term target of the 2015 low at $1050/ounce.

Spot Gold in USD

The Australian Dollar respected resistance at 73.50 US cents, warning of another decline. Trend Index peaks below zero reflect selling pressure.

Australian Dollar/USD

The All Ordinaries Gold Index (XGD) continues its downward path, tall shadows on the last two candles reflecting selling pressure. Breach of short-term support at 4550 is likely and would offer a long-term target of 4000/4100.

All Ordinaries Gold Index

China threatened by loss of US trade

The threat of a US-China trade war has rattled investors, with the Shanghai Composite Index breaking primary support at 2700 to signal another decline. Trend Index peaks below zero warn of strong selling pressure. Long-term target is the 2012 to 2014 lows at 2000.

Shanghai Composite Index

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is also under the pump, breaking support at 28,000 to warn of another decline.

Hang Seng Index

Copper prices, a good barometer of the Chinese economy, are also falling. Breach of $6,000 offers a target of $5,500/tonne.

Copper S1

The Yuan has fallen almost 10 percent, testing support at 14.5 US cents. Failure of the PBOC to support the Yuan (by selling some of their $3 trillion of foreign reserves) may cushion the economic impact in the short-term but only invites further escalation from the Trump administration.

Chinese Yuan/USD

There is no easy way out. Trump clearly has the upper hand in trade negotiations.