Thursday, July 19, 2012

Will Gold Stocks Keep Going Down?

While the price of gold in terms of U.S. dollars has been fairly steady over the last several months, that hasn't been the case for gold stocks.  Most gold mining companies have been hammered, particularly in the last year.

Fidelity's gold mutual fund (FSAGX) is down over 30% over the last year.
GDX, a gold mining ETF, is down about 30% over the last year.
GDXJ, a junior gold mining ETF, is down a whopping 49%.

This is why gold stocks should not be part of your permanent portfolio.  They should be left for your speculative investments.  It is obvious why by looking at the recent performance.

So where do gold stocks go from here?  It is a tough question to answer and I think it will all depend on the direction the economy takes.  If we fall back into a recession (not that it seems like we ever got out of one), then gold stocks are likely to continue their poor performance.  If a recession is averted, at least for a little while, then we could see gold stocks resume an uptrend like we saw years ago.

Much of this will depend on the Federal Reserve.  The adjusted monetary base has been flat since QE2 ended just over a year ago.  The Fed is on hold, waiting to see what happens.  It is possible that it is waiting for another crisis like we saw in 2008 where it bailed out the big banks and financial institutions.  It is possible that the Fed will give in to pressure to boost the economy if the stock market turns down significantly or even if unemployment stays high.

If the Fed starts creating new money out of thin air again on a regular basis, then I would expect gold to start another run up.  I would also expect that gold stocks would then reverse the downtrend and go up. If that happens, then now might be the deal of the decade with how much of a beating the gold stocks have taken.

If the Fed stays tight and the economy falls into recession, then gold stocks will likely continue their fall, especially with a fall in the broader stock market.

Owning investments that reflect the price of gold are still much safer than owning gold mining companies.  If you try to speculate on some gold stocks, or funds that invest in gold stocks, just be sure that it is money you can afford to lose.

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