Is Dennis Gartman The Best Contrarian Indicator For Oil Prices?

With WTI crude oil recently trading near one-year highs above $50/bbl, market analyst and author of the Gartman Letter, Dennis Gartman, is simply lucky to be alive. Less than five months ago, Gartman proclaimed that crude oil would never again break $44/bbl “in my lifetime.”

Thankfully for Gartman’s friends and family, he's still alive and well at last check.

Now, Gartman is saying it will be “very difficult” for WTI to top $55/bbl. That may seem like bad news for United States Oil Fund LP (ETF) USO investors.

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But with Gartman changing his mind several times on oil in the past year, Benzinga went back to look at whether or not his oil proclamations have actually been tradable contrarian indicators. Here’s a timeline of Gartman’s more outspoken recent oil calls and the subsequent one-month returns in WTI crude.

4/16/2014- Bullish: With oil at above $100/bbl, Gartman proclaimed “we are… buyers of crude oil.”

One-month return: -1.3 percent

3/19/2015- Bearish: Gartman said he “wouldn’t be surprised if oil went down to about $15 a barrel.”

One-month return: +26.5 percent

8/21/2015- Bullish: Gartman announced he was “turning bullish of crude oil.”

One-month return: +15.3 percent

8/24/2015- Bearish: Just days after his bullish call, Gartman said going bullish was “a clear mistake.”

One-month return: +17.5 percent

10/6/2015- Bullish: By October, Gartman was confident enough in the oil market to proclaim that he had never been more bullish on oil before.

One-month return: -8.6 percent

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11/17/2015- Bearish: A little more than a month later, Gartman said oil prices were destined to go lower.

One-month return: -14.1 percent

1/12/2016- Bearish: Gartman once again went back to his $15/bbl prediction and said oil process were headed “egregiously lower.”

One-month return: -3.6 percent

1/25/2016- Bearish: Although Gartan said at this point “there’s a possibility we have bottomed,” he also made his famous prediction “we’re not going to see crude above $44 again in my lifetime." Neither prediction held true.

One-month return: +7.4 percent

2/2/2016- Bearish: Gartman said T. Boone Pickens’ prediction that oil prices will be “at $52 by the end of the year” was dead wrong and “the bear market has not ended in oil.”

One-month return: +15.6 percent

3/10/2016- Bearish: Gartman stuck to his bearish call and said oil prices “will go sharply lower than anybody ever imagined.”

One-month return: +5.2 percent

3/27/2016-Bearish: Gartman said simply “it’s still a bear market in crude oil.”

One-month return: +19.2 percent

4/18/2016- Bearish: With WTI then priced around $40/bbl, Gartman said that oil would continue to trade between $32 and $42.

One-month return: +21.0 percent

5/13/2016-Bullish: Less than a month ago, with oil up roughly 75 percent from its February lows, Gartman finally turned bullish again.

One-month return: +7.5 percent

Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

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