When it comes to bull and bear market cycles, the characteristics of incipient and terminal stages are identifiable to contrarian scrutiny based on sentiment, sponsorship, participation and valuation. The middle innings, however, tend to be muddled affairs. Sentiment vacillates but never seems decisive. Sponsorship is broader but not unanimous. Ownership, the acid test in our opinion, is more widespread but not universal. That seems to be the case for gold right now.