Even before the announcement of QE3, precious metals had been holding their own in 2012. But ever since Bernanke initiated what some have called a “kamikaze” monetary policy, these coveted assets have enjoyed stellar performances. For the month of September, gold and silver jumped a healthy 4.7% and 8.7% respectively. With both of these assets on a nice tear in the past few weeks, some are calling for a correction, while others feel that there is no turning back for these two commodity juggernauts [for more precious metals news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Potentially, both camps could be in the right in this situation. After such a massive run-up this summer, it would not be surprising to see some investors take profits in the short term, putting the metals in a slump. Afterwards, however, the global easing programs around the world and insatiable demand for these safe haven assets lays a pretty nice path for the two metals, leaving them plenty of room to run. The only question you have to ask yourself is which umbrella you fall under and what you plan to do about it.
You will always have analysts calling for $5,000 gold and $100 silver but the short term is nearly impossible to predict. To better assess the situation, there are a couple of factors that investors should take into consideration. Silver is a much more volatile metal than gold, so when things are good they’re great, but when things go bad, it can get ugly. Silver, however, is much further off of its historical highs than gold is, suggesting it may be undervalued. Another factor to keep in mind is when Bernanke plans to end QE3. Though this is very unlikely to end anytime soon, the expiration of that program will no doubt have some negative ramifications for these two assets [see also Three Reasons Why Gold Is Overvalued].
Below, we outline two ETFs to keep a close eye on as the precious metals rally continues to play out.
- SPDR Gold Trust (GLD): The most popular commodity ETF out there, GLD has more than $75 million in assets as it tracks physical gold. GLD has rapidly become the standard for gold investing, as it trades more than 12 million times each day. Note that the fund is physically-backed and will therefore be taxed as a collectible, meaning you pay 28% on both short and long term capital gains.
- iShares Silver Trust (SLV): The physically-backed silver fund is the front-runner for securities tracking the white metal. SLV has just under $11 billion in assets and has been trading roughly 16.7 million times per day for the past month.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.