How to decide when to sell silver bullion and stocks

So long as a clouds hang over the economy, silver will likely retain its shine. Here are a few cues you can look for to help spot a mania-driven top in prices.

Silver’s meteoric rise has a lot of buyers on the sidelines wondering if they’ve missed the boat. Just how high can the precious metals market climb? Silver was up more than 17 percent in the month of February alone. Driven by a falling dollar, political turmoil in the oil rich Middle East and ongoing money-printing by the Federal Reserve, silver’s started off strongly in March, too.

Identifying a top in any market is difficult, but it’s important to look at metals from a historical context when trying to decide when to sell your silver bullion or stocks. The last major bull market in precious metals ran nine years from November of 1971 to January 1980.

“Many people don’t realize this, but silver rose 3,646 percent (during the 1970s),” Jeff Clark, the editor of Big Gold, tells The Daily Crux. “If you were to apply the same percentage rise to our current bull market, silver would climb another 500% from here, and the price would hit $160 an ounce. Those are just numbers, but it shows that we have an established precedent for the price to go much higher.”

Clark argues that fundamentals will ultimately determine the silver price – unless, of course, we enter a precious metals mania. That’s when identifying a top in the market gets particularly difficult. Even in a mania, prices don’t rise in a straight line; they tend to get even more volatile.

Still, there are a few cues you can look for to help spot a mania-driven top in prices. “I don’t think it stops until SLV, the silver ETF, is a favorite of the fund managers… until Silver Wheaton is a market darling of the masses… until Pan American Silver is Wall Street’s top pick for the year,” Clark says. “That’s when I’ll be looking for the end of this silver bull market.”

We’re not there yet. More importantly, the fundamentals for silver haven’t changed. Food inflation’s rampant abroad, the Fed’s still printing money, European banks haven’t found their footing, unemployment’s stagnant and the housing market could fall further before it stabilizes. So long as a clouds hang over the economy, silver will likely retain its shine.

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