Gold Is Quietly Breaking Out & Could Soon Be Headed Higher

Plus, initial jobless claims fell last week, shoppers broke records this holiday season, and Wedbush said Tesla is on an “upward trajectory.”

Stocks edged slightly higher to start Thursday with the Dow gaining 55 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both added 0.3%.

U.S. jobless claims fell to 222,000 for the week ending December 21. The results were slightly higher than the 220,000 forecast by economists, but down 13,000 from the prior week. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims edged up by 2,250 to 228,000. “December and January are the biggest months for labor market turnover for the year so consequently there tends to be extreme volatility in the claims,” wrote Jefferies economist Thomas Simons. “This volatility led to the spike in claims at the beginning of the month. The declines in each of the past two weeks fits the seasonal pattern as well. Looking ahead, we expect that claims will be little changed next week, followed by a spike higher in early January.”

Not even Christmas could keep President Donald Trump’s mind off impeachment. In a series of tweets, Trump criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the impeachment process thus far. “Why should Crazy Nancy Pelosi, just because she has a slight majority in the House, be allowed to Impeach the President of the United States?” Trump said in a tweet. In other impeachment news, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said she is “disturbed” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approach to working with the White House counsel on the impeachment trial against Trump following McConnell’s comments to Fox News that he was working in “total coordination” with the White House on the trial. “To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand-in-glove with the defense,” Murkowski said. “I head what leader McConnell had said. I happened to think that has further confused the process.”

U.S. shoppers spent more online during this year’s holiday shopping season than ever before, according to a report from Mastercard. E-commerce sales jumped 18.8% year-over-year during the period between November 1 through Christmas Eve, making up 14.6% of total retail sales for the year. “E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers demand for the best deals across all channels and devices,” Sadove said. Mastercard’s report was backed up by Amazon, which said its holiday sales were “record breaking” with billions of items shipped, and “tens of millions” of Amazon devices—like the Echo Dot—sold.

Gold has been quietly breaking out, with futures rising 0.6% to $1,513.30, the highest level since early November. “Even with weakness in the past few months, 2019 has marked the best year for gold since 2010, and it heads into the new year with a renewed positive picture from a technical perspective,” said Bespoke Investment Group. The SPDR Gold ETF (GLD) is up more than 16% this year, and Bespoke noted that GLD has moved above its 50-day moving average. “When GLD breaks back above its 50-DMA without having done so in the prior 30 trading days, forward returns are consistently positive on average in the following weeks and months with outperformance versus all other periods in the past decade,” Bespoke wrote.

Tesla shares are up nearly 2% this morning following a positive report from Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, who raised his price target on the stock to $370 saying strong consumer demand for the Model 3 and profitability are on an “upward trajectory for the fourth quarter.” “Both U.S. consumer demand for Model 3 and most importantly European strength should likely drive upside this quarter and enable Tesla to comfortably hit its vehicle delivery guidance of 360,000 to 400,000 units for 2019,” Ives said in a note to clients. “If Tesla is able to sustain this level of profitability and demand going forward, especially in Europe and China, then the stock will open up a new chapter of growth and multiple expansion.”

Stocks We’re Watching

Anixter International (NYSE: AXE): Anixter shares are up this week after news broke that industrial parts supplier Wesco International’s has made an offer of $90 per share to acquire Anixter on Tuesday. This came a day after Anixter, which supplies communications and security products, said it had agreed to a bid worth $86 per share and $2.50 per share contingent value rights from private equity firm Clayton, Dubliner & Rice. Wesco’s per share offer gives Anixter an equity value of about $3 billion.

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