Dow Theory’s Richard Russell: Gold $1,880

As the gold price doggedly trades above $1,600, the Godfather of stock market newsletter writers, Richard Russell, recently wrote that he’s targeting $1,880 for the king of currencies, gold.

“There isn’t much clear and defined in this market except for gold,” stated Russell, the author of The Dow Theory Letters.   “How much of this is based on the Washington shenanigans I don’t know, but once the debt boost is solved the test will be whether gold tends to hold its gains.  By the way, the P&F [Point & Figure] chart shows a price objective of 1,880.”

Incidentally, according to stockcharts.com, the technical rule for a breakout price objective for gold suggests a target of $1,910.

Nevertheless, today’s GDP report only buttresses Russell’s assessment for the future direction of the gold price.  Friday’s GDP report came in at a dismal 1.3% rate for the second quarter, while the real shocker in the Commerce Department announcement was the drastic downward revision for the first quarter to 0.4% from the initially published pace of 1.9%.

Plunging GDP and jobs puts the Fed in a situation not dissimilar to the summer of 1933, but, back then, the debt levels were a mere fraction of Boston University Professor Laurence Kotlikoff’s estimate of $200 trillion in today’s unfunded federal liabilities—which is an amount too unimaginable for creditors to anticipate anything other than a some form of default.  Under that scenario, gold could be just beginning to gather additional steam.

“I’ve studied bull and bear markets for over half a century,” added Russell.  “In my experience, great extended bull markets, such as the current ten-year bull market in gold, don’t die with a wheeze and a whimper.”

The gold market is telling Russell the American public has yet to fully comprehend the no-win policy decisions yet to be made in Washington and at the Fed, as well as much higher food and energy prices in store for Americans during the second half of 2011 due to the Fed’s QE2 (inflation) program—a prediction made this week by Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff.

And like Schiff, the older Russell relies upon his more than 50 years of acquired instincts for anticipating another gold craze he thinks is destined to be launched by the retail investor—a craze he’s stated in the past could dwarf the gold mania of 1979-80.

“They [gold bull markets] die amid excitement, torrid speculation and finally the wholesale entrance of the retail public,” continued Russell.  “I’ve yet to see any of those characteristics in the current gold bull market.  Therefore, I’m trusting history, and I’m sitting (in) the gold bull market.”

Russell also sees the possibility for a divergence in the Dow and gold, which, from the start of the rebound in both assets off the March 2009 lows have moved in tandem between a ratio of as high as 10:1 and 7.8:1.  But this week, the Dow-to-gold ratio has fallen through the 7.8 level to the 7.5 level—a sign that gold has usurped the dollar as the premier safe haven asset.

“Wait, does it make sense for the Dow to sink while gold moves higher?” Russell asked rhetorically.  “Under one scenario it does.  Here’s the scenario.  Bernanke continues to stimulate, but the newest stimulation (like the old ones) don’t work, and the declining stock market is already discounting Bernanke’s continuing failure.”

And what does Russell say about this year’s rage of the precious metals—silver?

In his latest edition of his daily newsletter, he wrote, “Silver broke out above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages, and its MACD has turned bullish.”

Growth in gross domestic product — a measure of all goods and services produced within U.S. borders – rose at a 1.3% annual rate. First-quarter output was sharply revised down to a 0.4% pace from a 1.9% increase.

Economists had expected the economy to expand at a 1.8% rate in the second quarter. Fourth-quarter growth was revised to a 2.3% rate from 3.1%.

Jim Rogers’ Top Two Commodities

In an after-the-bell interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, Wednesday, commodities king Jim Rogers said he’s a bull on all commodities now, but especially likes silver and rice.

The 68-year-old Rogers, known for his partnership with George Soros at Quantum Fund, spelled out what he expects of Ben Bernanke and other central bankers as the financial crisis plays out—that is: print money.

Strong demand from Asia’s growing middle class from a pool of a 3-billion-plus population as well as an anticipated continuation of loose monetary policies by central banks worldwide will lift commodities prices, he said.

“It [print money] is all they know to do in Washington, Tokyo and a few places,” said Rogers.  “They’ll print more money.  And if they print money, you should own silver and rice and real assets.”

If the world economy grows, Rogers likes commodities.  If the world economy goes back into recession, Rogers likes commodities.  It’s a heads you win, tails you win play, he explained.

What happens after QE2 expires at the end of June?  Rogers didn’t venture a guess on the effects on the equities markets as the end of June approaches, but he expects more money printing from the Fed, especially in front of an election year.

“QE2 definitely will go away.  Now it may come back with a different name,” he speculated.  “They may call it cupcakes.  Who knows what they’ll call it, if it comes back.  But they’re going to bring it back, because he’ll be terrified and Washington will be terrified.  There’s an election coming up in 2012.  Washington’s going to print more money.”

On the subject of the debt ceiling impasse in Washington, Rogers doesn’t expect a U.S. government shutdown.  But if the U.S. government didn’t raise the debt ceiling, he surmises that “the dollar would go up,” he quipped.

But a shutdown of the U.S. government won’t happen, he said.  Governments throughout history have all opted to try to inflate out of burdensome debt levels, and this time the response by today’s governments won’t play out any differently, Rogers has repeated stated in the past.

But at some point, the currency crisis comes, and we may be coming close to that tipping point.  “The markets won’t put up with this much longer,” said Rogers.

The billionaire investor’s portfolio is long some currencies (likes the Chinese renminbi) and commodities.  He has no long positions in the U.S., and is short emerging markets and U.S. technology stocks—with the latter, he believes, are in the midst of a bubble, mentioning Facebook (presumably referring to valuation estimates of the social network leader) in particular.

Rogers is also short a U.S. bank stock, but refused to state the name of the bank on two separate occasions during the Bartiromo interview.  Since Rogers initially mentioned more than a month ago that he’s short a U.S. bank, rumors have spread throughout the Web that the bank in question is Bank America (NYSE: BAC).