Legendary global investor John Templeton once said that the best time to buy was when there was “maximum pessimism,” and the best time to sell was when there was “maximum optimism.”
This type of contrarian investing takes great conviction and nerves of steel, but its practitioners—Templeton included—can be rewarded handsomely. The trick is to find the opportunities.
Right now I see gold as the ultimate contrarian investment. The yellow metal is largely unloved at the moment. It’s set to notch its worst monthly slump since November 2016, and the 50-day moving average is threatening to fall below the 200-day moving average.
Bloomberg reports that the S&P 500-to-gold ratio is nearing its highest level in over 15 years. As of this week, it takes close to two and a half ounces of gold to buy one “share” of the S&P 500. That’s up significantly from September 2011 when two thirds of an ounce of gold was enough to get you entry.
All of this points to the fact that gold is extremely undervalued right now, and no one seems to be paying much attention. I don’t know if this means we’re at “maximum pessimism.” What I do know is that all of the traditional drivers of the gold price are firmly in place, making the yellow metal very attractive, I believe. I’ll highlight two of those drivers below.