Markets are playing it cool Wednesday morning, holding positive territory ahead of the Fed's 2:00 p.m. rate hike decision.
Broadly, investors expect the Fed to hike rates by 25 basis points - markets are pricing in about a 67% probability of a hike as of Wednesday morning - but hope that a revised dot plot could hint at Jay Powell and company hitting the brakes on additional hikes for 2019.
The decision could have a big implication for one of the few assets that's actually been working during the correction that started back in October: Gold.
Gold is traditionally a flight-to-safety asset, and that's certainly been the case this fall. But what's notable is the fact that gold strength hasn't been building in reaction to weakness in equity prices; the turnaround signal in everyone's favorite precious metal began well before that.
Gold continues to look like an attractive hedge amid the volatility stocks have been subjected to since the calendar flipped to October. And one of the best ways to play it right now it through miners.
That's because gold mining stocks are effectively a leveraged bet on gold prices - as the value of gold moves further above a miner's cost of production, profitability scales up dramatically.
For example, with all-in sustaining costs for gold miners averaging $949 in the final quarter of last year, a $125 increase in gold prices represents a mere 11% boost for spot gold prices, but nearly a 50% increase in miners' margins.
And the price action supports higher gold prices this fall.
To figure out how to trade the miners, we're turning to the charts for a technical look:
The chart above is the popular VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) , an exchange-traded fund that holds 49 different publicly traded gold mining stocks. GDX is popular because it's a one-stop shop for exposure to gold-mining companies.
It doesn't take a technical trading expert to spot the bullish reversal in GDX from the slump this group of stocks experienced in the first half of 2018. Now, shares are holding onto a very well-defined uptrend from their September lows. That makes GDX a "buy the dips" ETF this winter.
Relative strength continues to be one of the most important gauges of whether an asset class is "working" in this environment. A persistent uptrend in GDX's relative strength line signals that gold miners are working indeed.
Right now, GDX is trading near the high-end of its trading range. That means that this group of stocks could be due for a correction after surging nearly nonstop since December (a December that's currently on track to be the worst for stocks since the Great Depression, mind you). Gold bulls should keep that positioning in mind as they scale up their holdings this month.
Look for dips as buying opportunities in GDX.