Richard Russell

The Only True Standard of Value
from  Richard Russell’s Dow Theory Letters
April 20, 2011 — The dollar is doing just what the Fed wants it to do — it’s sinking, sinking and sinking more. Sadly, the great American public doesn’t understand what’s happening, and if they were told they couldn’t care less. Of course, what the public does notice is the painful result of the dollar’s bear market. The result is seen every time Joe six-pack and his wife hit the neighborhood super-market. The rising prices are a shocker.
And if the price of your favorite cold cereal has not been raised, there is less of the cereal in the box. Then when Joe has to fill up the buggy to get home, he groans as he sees the gasoline tab. “Sixty bucks to fill up this lemon. I’m going to get a motorized bike,” growls Joey. “This country is going to hell in a hand-basket.”
The US has been getting away with spending more than it takes in, ever since World War II. It’s a process that isn’t sustainable, and if a process is unsustainable it will end. The US’s habit of spending more than it’s paying for has finally hit a brick wall. The wall is the demise of the famous “Yankee dollar.” In order for the US to live over its head, it must borrow.
Half of the US’s borrowing comes from foreign sources. And that’s a problem. The fiat US dollar has no fixed value. It’s worth must be measured against other currencies. “The dollar is worth so much in relation to the Brit pound — or the dollar is worth so much in terms of the euro.” Our foreign creditors, many of whom are loaded with dollars, keep a sharp eye on the comparative value of the dollar, and they’re now frightened and mulling over the credit-worthiness of the US. The recent warning from the S&P rating agency heightened our creditors worries about both the US and the dollar.
The disgraceful battle between Obama and the Democrats vs. Paul Ryan and the Republicans is further raising the fears of our creditors. With commodity inflation now out in the open, Fed head Bernanke has a problem. His absurd defense is to refer to “core inflation” (without the cost of food and energy). Bernanke announces to the world that there’s “no inflation,” and besides if there is inflation the Fed can end it any time they want.
What Bernanke and the Fed can not control is the tell-tale price of gold.
As I write the battle is on to keep June gold from closing above 1500. Yesterday June gold hit an intra-day high of 1500, but can it close there? “Ah,” Bernanke must be thinking, “If I could only control the price of that damn gold.”
Yesterday, as I looked at my computer, and I could see the fierce struggle that was going on as gold whipped up six dollars, then five minutes later it is up a dollar-fifty. There must be a powerful contingent (perhaps backed by the Fed) that is desperate to keep the price of gold DOWN and below 1500. But alas for the Fed, gold is traded internationally across the face of the
planet and 24 hours a day. Gold is out of the hands of the Fed and Goldman Sachs, and it trades everywhere and where it wants.
This year I’ve been telling my subscribers to think in terms of two concepts:
(1) Think in terms of avoiding losses (rather than thinking in terms of building fat profits).
(2) Think in terms of PURCHASING POWER. Are you gaining or losing purchasing power?
For ten years I’ve advised my subscribers to climb aboard the great bull market in gold. Early subscribers who have followed my advice now have huge paper profits, many have become millionaires, others have been able to retire on their gold positions. Even new-comers have benefited from their belated investments in gold.
Over the last 12 months, the dollar price of gold is up 31.32 percent. Gold is the only true standard of value. The value of everything else must be measured in terms of gold. “How many ounces of gold does it take today to buy a new Ford?” “How many ounces of gold did it require to buy a new ford in 1932?” It costs a lot more (in dollars) to buy a new Ford today. But how many ounces of gold does it cost to buy a new Ford today compared with the ounces required in 1932 to buy a new Ford? What has changed, gold or the dollar? Gold hasn’t changed, what has changed is the dollar, which has lost purchasing power.
The US public is rapidly being educated about money and gold. Ads are appearing almost daily in the newspapers, telling readers how and why to buy gold. The ads are being confirmed by the rising price of gold. The public is finally “getting it”. I’ve been in this business since 1958, and I’ve seen a lot of advisory services come and go — a lot! What I notice is that there are a number of fairly new advisories that are climbing (entering) on the back of the gold bull market. These advisories are sending out mass mailings to the public — educating them on the fact of the dying dollar and the Fed’s plan to solve the debt problem by diminishing the purchasing power of the dollar. As Lincoln put it, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Clueless as the American populace is, they are finally learning about gold, something that their great grandparents took for granted.
In terms of gold: Assessing real estate values in terms of gold. At its peak, the housing market in March 2007, the median US home price was $262,600, which was equivalent to 340.6 ounces of gold. Today’s median income price is $186,100 or 109.2 ounces of gold. So in terms of real money, gold, the US median home price has lost 47% since 2007.
Applying the same measurements to the Dow, from the end of 2001 to the end of 2008 an investment in the Dow would have lost 81% of its purchasing power in terms of gold (statistic courtesy Larry Edelson of the outstanding “Uncommon Wisdom” advisory).
The great and harsh lesson of history now stares Americans in the face — no fiat currency in history has ever survived. This fact underscores the growing panic to get out of dollars and out of all fiat currencies.
This emphasizes the irony of those who are rushing into dollars or dollar denominated bonds and blue-chip stocks on the thesis that these are “safe havens.” It’s a rush out of dollars to get into other forms of dollars. What’s happening now is on a greater scale than has ever occurred before in the history of mankind. It’s going to hit the current generation of Americans like a whirlwind. It will be historic in its intensity and destructiveness.
The great gold rush of 1849 opened up the American West. This gold rush of the early 2000’s will open up the eyes of Americans to the danger of the Federal Reserve and fiat money.
Below in log scale — one of the greatest and most significant bull markets in US history.
Below, the Dow over the exact same period.
Richard Russell
Out in the Open

Clipping from Richard Russell’s “Dow Theory Letters”

March 24, 2011 — “There is only one certainty regarding paper money — the longer you hold it, the less it will buy in terms of real goods or real money — gold.” Richard Russell.
Yesterday was a banner day for the precious metals. Gold closed at an all-time high in terms of dollars. Silver moved into the 37 dollar zone for the first time since the precious metal bull market of the 1970s (today it’s above 38 dollars an ounce!).
But there’s a big difference between the current precious metals bull market and the bull market of the 1970s. The 1970 bull market drew tremendous interest (I was there). Everybody I knew (even the gold haters) were watching that bull market with keen interest, particularly during the wild “blow off” days of the late 1970s, when silver was rocketing higher — rising every day by “limit up.”
In comparison, today’s huge precious metal bull market is greeted with yawns, that is, if it is greeted at all. I’ve been calling the current gold/silver market the “great stealth bull market.” Ask the average man or woman on the street what’s happening to precious metals, and they’ll give you a blank stare and maybe a “Duh.” Ask them if they own any gold or silver, and they’ll give you a sheepish “Nah.”
Gold (April) closed on March 2 at 1437.40, a record high. On March 9 silver closed at 36.04, highest since 1981. Yesterday both marks were bettered. Where’s the excitement, where’s the interest, where are the articles in the newspapers?
Time to study the chart below. As I’ve been saying, gold in its advance has periodically tested its 150-day moving average over the past few years (150-day MA is shown as the blue line on the chart). Note that on the most recent “correction,” gold didn’t even test its 150-day MA. When I saw this, I realized how powerful the forces under gold were. 

Gold is now “out in the open” with no overhead resistance and no overhead supply. So far the bull market advance since 1999 has been steady, quiet, and orderly. Except for its spectacular slow and relentless climb, there’s been no excitement in the gold bull market.
I don’t think this is going to continue. Somewhere ahead the precious metals bull market is going to turn wild and speculative. Only one phenomenon will serve to create this excitement. That phenomenon is HIGHER PRICES. The public can resist anything in markets except steadily rising prices.
As for steady higher prices and excitement, I suspect that silver is about there. As for gold, maybe not yet. But somewhere ahead gold is going to catch fire. That will be the time when the great American public will decide that they have to have some gold, maybe just a coin or two, or maybe just a few shares of GLD — but that time is coming. 

Question — As a new subscriber what should I do?
Answer — Buy a position in GLD or SGOL or SLV. Assume a conservative position, one that you can sit with.
Question — “What about older subscribers? What should we do?”
Answer — Never mind timing this bull market. It can’t be done, even by Goldman. You can add to your gold position. If possible, buy some one-ounce gold coins. One advantage of coins is that you’re probably not going to trade them in and out. Sit tight with your coins, Put them in a place that’s difficult to get at; in that way it will be a nuisance to sell them, even if you’re tempted to.
Richard Russell

Here’s a short extract from from Richard Russell‘s Dow Theory Letters reiterating his position and strong commitment in gold’s generational bull market:

August 25, 2010 — Dennis Gartman is an experienced commodity trader. Dennis has been very cautious about gold; he “sort of “ likes gold, so he calls himself a “gold agnostic.” For this reason it’s most interesting to read what Dennis says about gold in today’s report.
“Turning, then to gold and other metals, prices turned sharply for the better yesterday as the world rushed out of equities and looked for any safe harbors that were available. Certainly the rush to the Swiss franc was obvious, as noted above, and so too the rush into sovereign debt securities. But frankly, the rush was on to gold once again. We remain long what we have referred to as an ‘insurance’ position in gold, but we own it in terms of EUROs and /or of British pounds sterling, otherwise we remain an agnostic. To assuage our friends who are gold-bug-leaners, we shall not be short of gold. Nothing likely shall ever turn us manifestly bearish of it. But for the moment we are simply hard upon the sidelines, owning only this small ‘insurance’ position and comfortably in that position.
“Might we be enticed back to the bullish side of the market eventually? Of course we might. If the situation in the global equities markets became dire, we might move from agnosticism to ‘faith.” If we were to see the monetary authorities throwing caution to the wind and massively explode their balance sheets, we might be enticed away from our agnosticism to ‘faith.’ If the political situation were to become untoward, and patently uncomfortable, we’ll throw our agnosticism into a heap and join the gold market faithful. But until then, agnosticism works for us.”

Russell response — I can understand Gartman’s caution. Dennis is an old-time trader, and he’s seen a lot of traders get killed by taking huge and wrong positions.
My own position is that gold is in a clear and obvious primary bull market. These situations come along maybe two or three times in a lifetime. I was convinced back in 1999 that the bear market in gold had ended with gold selling at 256. In the year 2000 they were literally giving gold mining shares away. At that time gold shares were so ridiculously cheap that I told subscribers that they should buy these stocks (many selling for just a few dollars a share) and hold them as perpetual warrants.
At the same time I told my subscribers to start buying bullion one-ounce coins and “put ‘em away.” I’ve suggested that my subscribers do the same thing ever since.
I know bull markets, and I’ve never seen or experienced a primary bull market that didn’t end with a third speculative phase—this is the time when a bull market “blows its top”. I feel certain that the current huge bull market in gold will do the same.
But I have other reasons for being bullish about gold. Gold is the only real Constitutional money. The fiat paper that we’ve been using as money is only money because our government says “it’s money.” If the US government told you that printed paper was real money and legal for the payments of all debts, would you believe them. Well, you already have believed your government.
But I maintain that the truth will out, and that fiat paper is a fraud that will be found out. When that happens and people realize that they have been hoodwinked by their government, there will be such a rush (including both fear and greed) for gold that it will make the recent tech mania look like conservative investing.
As I write at midday, Dec. gold is up over nine dollars. Gold has been up 8 out of the last 10 days. As the months go by, we are pressing ever-closer to the speculative phase of the gold bull market. That will be something and even terrifying to see.
I am pleased to say that many of my older subscribers are now in the process of getting rich on their gold holdings. I’ve said over and over that one of the most difficult things to do in investing is to get in early on a primary bull market and ride the bull through to the latter part of its final speculative third phase.
The market seldom gives you the chance to get rich. This gold market has defied the odds and allowed its early followers and believers to get rich.
Anyway, that’s my take on gold and why you should own it and why you should follow my advice.
Richard Russell
Here’s the last bell ring from the old sage of the markets, the venerable Richard Russell:

“..Do your friends a favor. Tell them to “batten down the hatches” because there’s a HARD RAIN coming. Tell them to get out of debt and sell anything they can sell (and don’t need) in order to get liquid. Tell them that Richard Russell says that by the end of this year they won’t recognize the country. They’ll retort, “How the dickens does Russell know — who told him?” Tell them the stock market told him. That’s pretty intense!

Update: By popular demand, here’s more on what he sees in the market. The gist is that the markets recent gyrations are telling him that the economy is in trouble:

And I ask myself, “Am I seeing things? The April 26 high for the Dow was 11205.03. The Dow is selling as write at 10557 down 648 points from its April high. If business is even better than expected, then why is the Dow down over 600 points? And why, if there were 674 new highs on the NYSE on April 26, were there only 20 new highs on Friday, May 14? And if my PTI was 6133 on April 26, why is it down 17 points since its April high?

The fact is that I’ve been seeing deterioration in the stock market ever since early-April, and this in the face of improving business news. The D-J Industrial Average is composed of 30 internationally known top-quality blue-chip stocks. These are 30 of “America’s biggest companies.” If Barron’s is so bullish on the future of America’s biggest companies, then why isn’t the Dow advancing to new highs?

Clearly something is wrong. But what could it be? Much as I love Barron’s, I trust the stock market more. If I read the stock market correctly, it’s telling me that there is a surprise ahead. And that surprise will be a reversal to the downside for the economy, plus a collection of other troubles ahead.

About Dow Theory — First, we saw the recent April highs in the Averages. Then we saw a plunge in both Averages to their May 7 lows — Industrials to 10380.43, Transports to 4298.12, next a short rally. If ahead, the two Averages turn down and violate their May 7 lows, that would be the clincher. Such action would signal the certain resumption of the primary bear market.

Just as for years I asked, cajoled, insisted, threatened, demanded, that my subscribers buy gold, I am now insisting, demanding, begging my subscribers to get OUT of stocks (including C and BYD, but not including golds) and get into cash or gold (bullion if possible). If the two Averages violate their May 7 lows, I see a major crash as the outcome.
Pul – leeze, get out of stocks now, and I don’t give a damn whether you have paper losses or paper profits!..”

….what more is there to say?
By Richard Russell
Dow Theory Letters
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
As the great Bob Dylan song goes, “There’s a battle outside, and it’s raging, it will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times are a’changin’.”
The battle is obvious — it’s the primary forces of overproduction and deflation vs. the Fed’s obsession (“whatever it takes”) to fight deflation and to produce asset inflation.
The one signal for rising inflation that the world understands is rising gold. The central banks do not want to see the gold signal, which tells the world that inflation is in command.
What the Fed really wants is asset inflation in housing. Housing is collateral for almost everything in the nation, and the Fed and Treasury are frantic to get housing prices heading higher.
Yesterday most assets got the message. Oil was higher, the base metals were higher, the stock market was higher, but gold (pressured by forces we know not from where) failed to close at the highly significant number of $1,000 an ounce or better. Incredibly, after being as high as $1,009 during yesterday’s session, gold closed at $999.80 — just 20 cents below $1,000.
Coincidence? Mistake? Random chance?
Hardly. To me it was obvious that the Fed did not want to see the following headline in the newspapers: “Gold closes above $1,000.”
Whatever it takes, it seems, will be utilized to hold the only constitutional money down.
When a can is placed on a stove burner, the pressure builds up inside the can. At some point, we know not exactly when, the can will explode and the pressure will be released. That, I believe, is where gold is.
You can threaten gold with forthcoming central bank sales. You can sell gold in quantity. You can smother gold with short sales. But the primary trend of gold will win out. It will be expressed today, in a month, or in 2010. The trick for us is to hold onto our position — don’t trade it, don’t move in and out with it, don’t hold so much of it that you get the heebie jeebies every time it dips $10.
The primary trend of gold is up. We’re riding the bull. The bull will try to shake us off his back. We’ll hang on.
The word is that China wants to load up on gold while diversifying out of its huge position in dollar-denominated securities (T-bonds). China’s problem is how to accumulate gold secretly without driving the price up. This has led to what is now called “the China gold put.” Every time gold backs off, China is in there to scoop up what is offered.
On top of that, China is urging its over-1 billion population to buy gold and silver.
Finally, China is now the world’s biggest miner of gold. China, in its patient way, is preparing for the future. The future that China sees is a world without fiat currency or a world in which its own renminbi is the world’s reserve currency.
* * *
Chrys N.B. … got Gold..?
A snippet from Richard Russell‘s Dow Theory Letters remarks:
Richard Russel
December 2, 2008 – The Bernanke-Paulson team is doing everything in its power to hold back the forces of deflation. The first indication that they’re succeeding will be the stock market ceasing to deflate.

A trillion is the new billion. The government has thrown tens of billions at the face of various deflating entities in a desperate attempt at halting deflation. It hasn’t worked. The stock market’s opinion, so far, is that “it’s not going to work.” You can’t cure the disease with more of the same “medicine” that caused the disease. The only cure for a crashing stock market is exhaustion, and it is probably the same for the US economy. The bear market in stocks has an economic equivalent – a severe recession, better known as a depression.

There is an inflection point somewhere ahead that will mark the death of deflation and the base for forthcoming inflation. We have not reached that inflection point yet. The stock market continues to deflate and the treasury bond market continues to discount deflation. If Bernanke and Paulson fail to halt deflation, we will be facing a deflationary disaster ahead. It will wipe out all the leveraging and inflation built into the US economy since World War II. For years I’ve been writing that ultimately we will face the choice – “inflate or die.” Depression and deflation are the economic equivalent of death. I saw it once, and I never want to see it again – which is what today’s site is all about.

Maybe wealthy La Jolla isn’t a fair test, but I walk around La Jolla, and life appears to go on as usual. No real changes except that I see more “Sale” signs on the retail shops, and I see more “For Lease” signs posted in the windows of various blacked-out store fronts. People are shopping, couples sit in the sun at outdoor restaurants chewing on hamburgers or sipping coffee. Nothing much has changed in dreamy La Jolla – it will.

What is changing is the stock market and the Treasury bond market. Treasury bonds are hitting new highs, as the conservative bond market crowd pours money into the Treasury market on the thesis that come what may, they’ll always get their money back if they buy Treasuries (that is, unless the dollar tanks, I think to myself).

Meanwhile, yesterday, the Dow was down over 679 points or 7.7% – so much for the five-day rally that served to get the bulls’ hopes up.

My mind goes back to mid-1929. My parents are still giving cocktail parties for their friends (in those days, parties at restaurants were rare and unusual). My dad has just bought a Buick touring car, and we are preparing to take a ride to nearby Stamford, Connecticut. My sister and I are both going to private schools, and my mom is dreaming of getting out of the West Side and moving to the more “acceptable East Side.” Dad is looking over the stock tables in The New York Times, and he wonders why he has not been more adventurous – Dad will only buy two stocks, American Telephone with its famous $9 dividend and “recession-proof Woolworth,” which he terms “the poor man’s stock.”

During September through November of 1929, the market crashes. My uncle Irving jumps out of the tenth story window of a midtown Manhattan hotel. Irving commits suicide because his department store stock cuts its dividend in half (Irving lives on that dividend). After the great crash of ’29, nothing in Manhattan seems very different. I can still ride the subway to school, all the way to Riverdale for a nickel. And a good sandwich at the Automat still costs only 15 cents. I’m given 35 cents for lunch every day. I usually buy a sandwich or a plate of cheese macaroni for 15 cents and a piece of pie for a dime at the Automat.

One year later everything has changed. Men are out of work. The lines outside the employment offices are growing longer – some wind around the block. Tired men in patched clothes sit on the sidewalk with outstretched metal cups and signs that read,”Veteran, God bless you.” The mood in the city is changing, and you can sense the fear in the air. My parents’ friends are calling the house and discussing how much money they have lost in the stock market. Some have lost their jobs. My father has a grim look on his face, he seems worried day and night.

In the year 1939 my father loses his job. He suffers a nervous breakdown. My mom doesn’t want me to see it, and they send me on a youth hostel bicycle trip to California. On that trip I see the “Grapes of Wrath” up close and personal. California is filled with Okies and their beat-up trucks (people from Oklahoma who had fled the Dust Bowl and are looking for any kind of work in the Golden State). The California sheriffs and highway patrols are busy sending the poor Okies back home. “You want to work in California,bud? Forget it, we don’t have enough jobs for our own.” I’m stopped on my bike (I’m 16 years old) by the local sheriffs three times.

“Watcha doin’ here kid? Lookin’ for a job? Because if you are, I’m puttin’ you on a box car and sending you back to wherever the hell you came from.”

“No sir, I’m with a Youth Hostel group. We’re just sight-seeing.”

“Well you’re not going to like the sights around here. And don’t let me catch you lookin’ for a job, kid. OK, get back on your bike – you can go.”

Those were the fun days. I remember them well.

And now I’m wondering whether we’re headed for another round of “fun days.” The crashing stock market tells me it could happen. I don’t want to see the days of 1939 again.

Richard Russell

…lots more follows for subscribers.

Extracted from the Sep 16, 2008 edition of Richard Russell‘s Remarks:

“The great tragedy unfolds phase by phase. This is the way I see it.
The first phase was the giant edifice of inflated home prices topping out and rolling over. The second phase was the collapse of the great Wall Street houses, the third phase was the stock market sinking day after day.
The path of the stock market directly affects public sentiment. And I’m very much afraid that the next phase is going to be a pull back in spending, particularly discretionary spending, by the US public. Jobs will be difficult to find, the word will spread, if you’ve lost your job, you’re not going to find another one at the same level of pay (if you find one at all). This will have an impact on retail sales, and US imports (which will have international implications for the exports of foreign companies, remember, the US is buyer to the world).
In this atmosphere, the big money, as I see it, will be made by wealthy speculators who will buy up foreclosed housings at bargain prices, often below the cost of replacement. Everything now depends on people being able to finance what they own, and this takes income and cash.
The two rarest items around will be just that — cash and income. The great danger as I look ahead is that the bearish trends will feed on themselves.
Frightened people dump their stocks for cash, the result is a sinking stock market. A sinking stock market further frightens people and pushes them to sell (“get me out at any cost”). When I tell people that the correct posture now should be cash and gold coins, they look at me as though I was crazy. That reaction makes me worry.

One advantage of gold coins is that you’re not tempted to trade them (it’s too difficult). As my buddy, old-timer Sir Harry Schultz puts it, “The last man standing is he who owns gold.” Hold your gold coins.”

…to read R. Russell’s snippet on 321Gold, please click HERE

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