Diamond Prices Regain Their Sparkle - Kanebridge News
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Diamond Prices Regain Their Sparkle

Pent-up jewellery demand has lifted the gems’ valuations while online sales have grown.

By Will Horner
Fri, Feb 12, 2021 5:32amGrey Clock 3 min

Diamond prices have rebounded from a coronavirus-driven slump thanks to the reopening of some economies in Asia and strong jewellery sales around the world over the holiday period.

Polished diamond prices are up 5.1% from their lowest point in March, putting them at their highest level in nearly a year and a half, according to a gauge compiled by the International Diamond Exchange.

The pandemic dealt a big blow to the diamond industry last year, with every link in the supply chain—from Russian miners to India’s diamond cutters to luxury boutiques in New York—being closed or seeing activity curtailed.

But demand for diamond jewellery has been steadily recovering since retailers began reopening last summer in Asia, tentatively followed by elsewhere in the world, analysts said. With international vacations on ice and restaurants in many parts of the world still closed, wealthy individuals are buying diamonds with surprising voracity.

“This is the most bullish market for diamonds I have seen in probably a decade,” said Paul Zimnisky, founder of research firm Diamond Analytics.

Because diamonds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and qualities, the industry lacks a benchmark price. But market watchers say both rough, mined diamonds and polished stones bought by consumers have seen their prices approach pre-pandemic levels.

A one-carat polished diamond of slightly above-average quality currently sells for US$5,900, Mr Zimnisky said. That is up 14% from a low point in April, while an equivalent rough diamond rose 18% in that time, he said.

Prices popped in December, thanks to strong holiday sales and pent-up demand that built during lockdowns. December is typically a strong time, with jewellery sales normally rising around 120% from November, said Edahn Golan, who runs an Israel-based diamond-market research firm. This year they jumped 160%, he said.

Still, the pandemic’s impact on jewellery sales hasn’t been uniform. Sales of diamond stud earrings saw the largest year-over-year growth of all jewellery categories in 2020, Mr Golan said, as the desire to look good in video calls boosted demand for adornments worn from the shoulders up.

The pandemic also pushed the industry to embrace new technology at a faster rate. Before lockdowns, retailers were sceptical that consumers would be prepared to buy expensive diamonds online. But strong take-up for internet offerings has helped diamond sales recover while modernizing some businesses.

“It has forced our industry to go to a place that we have been slow to get to,” said David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council.

The diamond market has fewer gauges of global demand than other, more widely traded commodities, presenting special challenges for analysts.

Google searches for “diamond ring” in the U.S., the country that accounts for around 50% of the world’s diamond consumption, can be a good proxy, said Kirill Chuyko, head of research and mining analyst at Russian brokerage BCS Global Markets. Searches for the term slumped in March but have since recovered to prior levels.

With central banks slashing interest rates to stimulate economies—and some taking rates into negative territory—diamonds are also getting a lift as wealthy individuals opt to put their money into real assets rather than pay a bank to hold it.

Amma Group, an investment house specializing in coloured diamonds, has seen an increase in the number of its clients who would rather take their earnings in the form of physical diamonds than in cash, to protect their wealth from negative interest rates, said Mahyar Makhzani, the group’s co-founder.

The group, which is set to launch its fifth fund later this year, pools investors’ money to buy some of the rarest coloured diamonds at auctions or from individuals and miners. It then holds or sells the diamonds for a higher price, using the profits to buy other stones that it predicts will go up in value. After a set period, the fund sells its diamonds and returns the money to investors.

“There are not more than 100 red diamonds in the world,” Mr Makhzani said. “It’s like owning a Picasso: You know he isn’t going to be making any more.”

Rising demand has also allowed diamond miners to raise prices on the rough diamonds they sell to manufacturers. Russia’s Alrosa raised prices in January while Anglo American’s De Beers is widely believed to have raised its prices for the first time since the pandemic, analysts said. The company doesn’t publicly disclose its prices.

Despite the incentive, the diamond-mining giants are likely to keep supply tightly controlled to maintain higher prices, Mr Chuyko said.

The strength of diamond demand was a rare tailwind for luxury brands during a difficult 2020. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, which last month completed its acquisition of jeweller Tiffany & Co., said recently that jewellery sales were a bright spot in the fourth quarter. Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, which houses jewellery brands Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati, said jewellery sales were its best performing sector in the final three months of 2020.

Some analysts are sceptical, however, that diamond prices can keep rising. As economies reopen and international travel resumes, the diamond industry will face renewed competition, particularly among the younger consumers it has been seeking to attract, Mr Chuyko said.

“A diamond ring will get you one or two pictures on Instagram,” he said. “But if you go on holiday to Spain you might get 10 pictures per day.”



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .