The precious metals industry has experienced a strong couple of years with record low U.S. interest rates and several bouts of quantitative easing. As an alternative currency, precious metals have benefited as an inflation shield, while the global flight to safety made it one of the only reliable safe haven investment destinations, aside from U.S. Treasuries [for more precious metals news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Wall Street’s strong bull run has continued into the final trading days of the first month of the new year, leading many equity investors to believe that 2013 will be quite prosperous. Upbeat corporate earnings and solid economic data releases, including December’s better-than-expected durable goods orders report, have served as fundamental catalysts behind the stock market rally. Amid the improving sentiment, precious metals prices have understandably suffered as investors are opting for risky assets in lieu of safe haven ones; however, there might be some “bargain shopping” opportunities for risk-tolerant investors looking to dip their toes in the gold miners space [for more market news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Gold investors were in for a wild ride this year, as several major economic events thrust the precious metal into some rather volatile swings. Between the announcement of QE3, the President’s reelection, and the fiscal cliff talks, gold’s performance was all over the board, though the metal managed to post solid but relatively lower gains on the year. As a result, two popular exchange-traded funds saw a lot of activity in 2012: State Street’s SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and Van Eck’s Market Vectors TR Gold Miners ETF (GDX). A close look at the performances on a year-to-date basis shows just how vastly different these two approaches to the gold market can be [for more gold ETF news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]:
Physical and futures-based investments in gold have been a mainstay in many investors portfolios for years now, but allocations to gold mining and exploration companies have quickly solidified their place in the commodity world. Although they do not have a perfect correlation to spot bullion prices, these stocks offer indirect access to arguably the world’s most popular safe haven while at the same time providing equity exposure that has a unique risk/return profile. For those who have a bullish outlook on gold prices and the mining industry, we outline five of the biggest gold mining and exploration companies by market cap [for more gold news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Ron Paul has long been known to make rather bold statements on the U.S. economy. And while he has continued to run for President in recent years, with each campaign being more successful than the last, his views have also made him a popular name in the investing world. Particularly in the precious metals space, Ron Paul has had a lot of sway in recent years with his comments on gold and silver. But he does not stop at just making comments on these two commodities, he takes it a step further and puts his money where his mouth is [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Gold is one of the rarest metals in the world, and has a long history as a valuable and intensely sought-after element. The precious metal has served as the basis for physical currency for thousands of years, and many monetary systems throughout human history have utilized a gold standard that focused on the precious metal. Exploration and production of gold has become a major industry in regions that maintain significant deposits of the metal, and quests for gold have been the impetus of countless expeditions and discoveries [for more gold news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Gold mining has certainly come a long ways from the images in the history books of the 49ers in California using their picks and shovels or of the Yukon Gold Rush of the late 1890s panning for gold in streams. Today, mining for gold is a multinational, multimillion dollar business taken up largely by big companies, such as Barrick Gold (ABX), using much more sophisticated methods and equipment than swinging a pick at a rock. That is because most of the surface gold, called alluvial gold, has been found and gold now must be mined from the earth [for more gold news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
With QE3 now an announced fact, gold has come back into the spotlight. While the actual historical performance of gold as an inflation hedge is more mixed than some goldbugs realize, the reality is that gold has done pretty well during most prior periods of monetary stimulus. Moreover, with the ongoing uncertainty regarding the economic health and future of Europe, the United States, Japan and China, gold’s demonstrated value as a hedge against uncertainty may also come into play [for more gold news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
After the announcement of QE3, investors everywhere began flocking to gold. The precious metal has a number of appealing features, but its most alluring at the moment is its ability to hedge against a flailing dollar. With Bernanke and company slated to print $40 billion per month for an unknown duration, it seems that the greenback is due for a slump. Aside from the metal itself, many investors are also fond of gold equities, as they offer indirect exposure to the commodity, while allowing for advantages like a dividend. Below, we outline 10 gold miners that are currently paying a dividend to consider for your portfolio [for more gold news subscribe to our free newsletter].
“The world’s economy is a soft-paste porcelain vase set on a wobbly plant stand in the heart of an active earthquake zone”. Not only is that one of the best analogies I have ever read, but Jim McTague’s wording also hits the nail on the head for just how fragile our economic situation really is. Europe is stranded by mounds of debt from nations who can never seem to fully agree on what to do next, conflicts in the Middle East are only getting worse, and U.S. debt levels have recently surpassed that of our GDP, fantastic. But there is one positive takeaway for investors and that came from Ben Bernanke’s decision to implement yet another round of QE [for more economic news and updates subscribe to our free newsletter].