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Bernanke to Drive Gold, Commodities

Not surprisingly, there is a good amount of trepidation in gold and commodities markets, given the large volatility increases seen in assets like gold and oil so far this year. Given the consistent back-and-forth in the Fed's stated bias, it makes little sense to establish new positions in gold ahead of critical event risks like Bernanke's testimony this week.

But if we look at price activity itself, gold prices are holding near their highs for the month. We have yet to break above a key psychological level at $1,300 per ounce, however, and when we look at the longer-term charts, gold is showing its longest trading stretch below its 200-day moving average since its 12-year bull run started in 2001. This tells us that the market is positioned for dovish comments from Bernanke this week, but that the longer-term picture is far less optimistic.

If this week's expectations are satisfied, expect gold to push through the "line in the sand" at $1,300. This does appear most likely, given that Bernanke's recent statements have been in support of continued stimulus. If not, however, the downside reaction in gold will likely be far more pronounced, as short-term term bulls are forced to reverse their positions.

This scenario would weigh on stocks and commodities as a whole, while acting as a benefit for the U.S. dollar. Either way, Bernanke's comments this week should set the tone for the rest of July. Those looking to get back into gold at cheaper prices should be prepared for increased volatility toward the end of this week.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Richard Cox is a university teacher in international trade and finance, focusing primarily on macroeconomics and price behavior in equity markets. His articles appear on a variety of websites, including MarketBulls.net, Seeking Alpha, FX Street, and others. Investing strategies are based on technical and fundamental analysis of all the major asset classes (stock indices, currencies, and commodities). Trade ideas are generally based on time horizons of one to six months.
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