"I like coal. No one likes coal. Everybody hates coal. Everybody thinks that coal is dirty," he said. "It's a perfect contrarian's play. If you take at the coal ETF, it had been in a long, protracted bear market. But over the course of the last six months, it didn't wish to make new lows, started to make newer highs, volumes started to come in on the upside."
"We're not going to do away with coal," he said. "I think there's something going on in the coal market, and it's consistent with that theme that I've liked for a while: I want to own the things that if I dropped them on my foot will hurt. I like coal. I like steel. I like copper. I like simple things. I'm too old to learn about high-tech and big pharma. And bitcoin."
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Gartman said that coal represented a broad investment, as opposed to one that was weighted toward a major player such as China, whose leaders are heading into the policy session known as the Third Plenum.
"It's a global play," he said. "It will certainly not hurt if the decisions made by the Third Plenum really bear fruit, and they probably shall, so it's clearly a help in China's doing better. But it's actually a bet that the entire global economy is going to do better."
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Comparing material stocks to a high-flying name such as Tesla, which is declining toward its 200-day moving average, Gartman said that they were far from frothy.
"You're only now about to go up through the 200-day moving average on a lot of these coal and steel stocks," he said.