Navigating the gold market winds

Moderately positive economic trends in the US, Europe and Asia have lessened the appeal of gold among investors as the perceived need for a "safe haven" has decreased.

Futures and options traders are re-positioning their exposure to gold and the numbers tell a story of improved risk appetite: Commitments of Traders data from the week ending January 29 show "a 2.89 million ounces decrease in net long speculative positions in gold to 16.7 million ounces." To be sure, this re-positioning has rejuvenated interest in other assets, such as industrial metals and equities.

This morning Credit Suisse analysts captured the bearish sentiment in a report entitled, 'Gold: The Beginning Of The End Of An Era.'

Yet bullish forces continue to support the precious metals, including long term supply-side concerns and gains in the US dollar index and crude oil prices.

Unpleasant surprises like the US 2012 Q4 data and the corruption scandal in Spain also temper optimism about sturdy recovery.

In this complex environment, legendary commodities investor Jimmy Rogers is neither selling nor buying gold. But he has said that if gold prices fall considerably, he hopes that he will be clever enough to buy.

If the global economy really is on a stable path to recovery, Jimmy's smarts may well be put to the test.

Gold closed today at 1673.60.