Metals Miscellany

Silver is starting the day at $32.84. But a mysterious group of traders billing themselves as “Wynter Benton” is promising to move it big during the next six trading days… on the way to $50 before year-end.

“The Leader wishes to inform our followers that the group will be demonstrating our ability to move the price of silver between Oct. 16 to Oct. 23, 2012,” according to a post on a Yahoo! Finance message board. “We will be updating our moves in real-time during this period.”

Yes, we’re getting deep into the conspiratorial weeds here. But in the midst of contemplating the crimes of politicians and central bankers, to say nothing of “The War on You”, we need an amusing diversion now and then.

“Wynter Benton” purports to be a group of former J.P. Morgan Chase commodities traders who say that JPM engineered the meltdown of MF Global a year ago because the traders were trying to take delivery on a huge amount of physical silver. (How that was supposed to work, we’re not sure, but it’s fun to play along…)

The traders — or the lone fantasist posting in his underwear, depending — made several prescient calls in the silver market in early 2011, but disappeared from view after the MF Global episode.

Wynter Benton reappeared a month ago, promising silver will trade above $50 before Dec. 31, 2012. And last week, he/they promised the demonstration of his/their ability to move the silver price, starting today.

In all likelihood, nothing will come of it. But in case it does, we have it on the record. Heh…

Meanwhile, hedge funds and other big players have upped their gold positions to the highest levels in more than a year.

The weekly Commitments of Traders Report issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed that holdings of gold-backed ETFs grew by 282,000 ounces last week. That’s the 11th-straight week of inflows.

“Many new positions in both exchange-traded funds and futures have been established in recent weeks,” says Saxo Bank vice president Ole Hansen, “especially short-term leveraged investors who are not married to their positions in the same sense as long-term ETF investors.”

That short-term leverage likely goes far to explain gold’s tumble since Friday.

This morning, the price is starting to recover a bit at $1,742.

Stock traders are carrying over yesterday’s jubilation into today. With sunny earnings reports from Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson, the Dow has pushed past 13,500.

The big economic number of the day is consumer prices — up 0.6% last month thanks to rising gasoline prices. The year-over-year increase works out to 2.0%; ditto for the “core” rate that excludes food and energy because they’re “volatile.”

With this morning’s numbers, Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment next year will be 1.7%. Any resemblance to your own cost of living is purely coincidental.

Cheers,
Addison Wiggin