Futures Now

Silver just had its best week since 2016 but gold or bitcoin are better bets, traders say

Silver just hit its high of the year, but trader bets rally's about to fade
Silver just hit its high of the year, but trader bets rally's about to fade

Silver could be about to lose its shine.

The precious metal just wrapped up its best week since 2016, sparking renewed interest in the precious metals market after hitting a new 2019 high on Thursday. Gold, which had been steadily rising, followed suit, climbing to a six-year peak on Friday before cooling off.

But not everybody's betting that silver's boost will hold.

"I think it could fade," Jim Iuorio, a veteran futures and options trader, said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "It does have a history of lagging behind gold and then catching up all at once. This is obviously one of those instances, but I think something fundamentally has to change for it to chew through those old highs, in my opinion."

Iuorio, who is managing director at TJM Institutional Services, had his eye on the $16.20 level, which he said would be key in determining the viability of silver's recent rally.

"If it goes back below it and trades [at] $16.15, it will have rejected those highs," Iuorio said. "I think that's the spot to stop in with a short with a target down to $15.85. I think one of the reasons that silver's rallied like it [has] is because bitcoin's kind of been taken off the list of safe havens with its recent volatility, so something had to replace it."

But for some, including Equity Armor Investments' Brian Stutland, bitcoin seems like an even better investment than silver.

"Typically, if we're going to enter a period of lower growth [and] lower demand, silver will tend to underperform, like we saw over a year ago when China trade tariffs kind of took place," Stutland, who is chief investment officer of his firm, said in the same "Futures Now" segment.

"I'd short this," he said of silver. "I'd even throw in a long gold and play the long-short on it. I still like gold better ... longer term, or even bitcoin after this big pullback here."

Both gold and bitcoin — which has seen a 12% decline in the last seven days amid congressional hearings on Facebook's Libra project and uncertainty around cryptocurrency regulation — are solid ways to play the outflows from traditional currencies that are still very much in effect around the globe, Stutland said.

"I think the move out of fiat currencies is still real," he said. "If interest rates are going to stay below 2% in the United States, if they're going to stay negative in Europe, [if] they're going to stay flat in Japan, where else are you going to put your money? And that's where you look at the metals, you look at cryptocurrency as a place to do that. So, silver might be a sell, but I think gold's a buy."

Silver and gold prices remained flat on Friday, while bitcoin saw a more than 2% loss. Silver, which was hovering around the $16.17 level, has gained less than 3% year to date.