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The 3 Key Sectors to Watch in 2014


Here's why investors should keep an eye on palladium, banks and brokers, and coffee in the coming months.


Junior Gold Miners

If gold miners got destroyed in 2013, then junior gold miners got taken to the woodshed, obliterated, then eviscerated. You really can't find a more beaten-up sector over the past three years. You can't find a sector that is more hated, where more pessimism and fear reign supreme. So if you're a contrarian, you should stand up and take notice.

Here's something that you need to understand. Junior gold miners don't always just go down. In fact, one of the biggest gains in any sector from its 2008 low to 2011 high was in the junior gold mining sector. The Canadian Venture Exchange gained 256% from its December 2008 bottom to its March 2011 top, a huge gain over a period of 27 months. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ) came out in late 2009. In 2010, it was one of the best-performing ETFs in the market, gaining about 67%. From its 2010 low to its 2011 high, a little over a year in duration, GDXJ was up over 100%. So the junior miners have experienced bull markets in the past.

There's a saying that bear markets follow bull markets, and bull markets follow bear markets. For a great example of that, check out the history of the Canadian Venture Exchange. The chart below shows the major bear markets shaded in red, and the major bull markets shaded in green. If you notice after the 2008 bear market ended, an increase in buying pressure went on to produce the bull market from 2009-2011. That's what is missing currently, as the Venture has built a base, but buying pressure still hasn't shown up in full force.


Taking a closer look at the most recent bear market in the Venture, notice that momentum to the downside bottomed way back in October 2011. Since that low there's been a positive divergence in momentum as the Venture has drifted lower at a slower pace. The Venture then made a crash low in April 2013, followed by a slightly lower low in June 2013 that was quickly recovered. That started setting up the Stage 1 base that is still ongoing today. The Venture started to fade in late 2013 due to tax-loss selling, but has quickly recovered in 2014 to keep the base intact. So, in total, the Venture is looking at a nine-month base that is just in need of some volume to establish a breakout.



Uranium took a major hit during the Fukushima disaster in 2011. But the supply-demand situation in uranium is still an important factor, as the world still consumes more uranium than it produces to power nuclear reactors. In 2012, it was estimated that world nuclear industry consumption of uranium was around 180 million pounds, and production was only around 152 million pounds.

After Fukushima, uranium crashed and trended lower up until late 2012, as shown by the chart below that essentially is a proxy for the price of uranium. Since late 2012, uranium has formed a Stage 1 base. So that base is well-established at over a year in duration now. Around October 2013, uranium started getting some buying pressure and moved up to the top of the base. Since then, it has formed a bull flag and could be on the verge of a breakout. Uranium mining stocks have also exhibited the same pattern in many cases, confirming the case for the sector.


Financials and Broker Dealers

It's commonly understood that if the banks and brokers aren't in a bull market, there's little chance that the overall stock market will remain in a bull market either. This is very evident in the way these two sectors have traded since 2009. From their 2009 bottom, both the banks and brokers ran higher all the way into early 2011, but from there they ran into problems. From 2011 to 2012, the banks and brokers consolidated those early gains by forming a cup-with-handle pattern on the chart. This coincided with the overall consolidation in the stock market during that period.

In 2013, the financial sector moved up strongly in a Stage 2 advance, after breaking out of the cup-with-handle pattern. This undoubtedly helped the overall market achieve strong gains. However, since mid-2013, a negative divergence in momentum has been established with new highs in the financials. After such an extended run, this could be signaling the start of a consolidation period for the sector in early 2014. Either way, the banks and brokers are important to monitor, as any breakdown in this sector will spell trouble for the rest of the market.



Coffee has been decimated since its bear market began in 2011. It's been one of the worst-performing commodities. However, like all commodities, coffee has a price where the supply-demand situation will once again favor the buyers. Coffee can be described as being either in a late Stage 4 decline, or possibly an early Stage 1 bottom. Coffee made a low in November 2013, but has gapped up on volume to start 2014. It's possible bottom-fishers are playing a bounce in a crushed market, but more importantly, if coffee starts to form a base, it could eventually establish the basis for a new bull market.



Palladium is extremely intriguing in the precious metals space because of the way it has diverged from the carnage in the gold and silver markets. Palladium amazingly made a low for its bear market in October 2011! This is only one month after gold made its recent bull market high. That's pretty incredible considering they typically trade together. Ever since its bottom, palladium has formed a massive three-year cup-with-handle formation after rounding out the bottom of the cup in 2012.


In 2013, while gold and silver were getting slammed, palladium diverged and held its ground. It traced a choppy handle to the cup that formed in 2012. The bottom of the handle occurred at the same time gold and silver bottomed in June 2013. What's interesting to note is the volatility in palladium has collapsed, which typically leads to huge moves in a market. Palladium probably won't be able to rally until the pressure on the precious metals markets finally goes away, but once it does look for potential fireworks in this metal.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on

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