Global uncertainty made gold a holiday winner for investors seeking a relatively safe haven. U.S. stocks just logged their worst year since 2008—their worst December since 1931—as fears over global trade, ballooning debt, the end of accommodative central bank policy and a U.S. government shutdown unsettled investors. Against this backdrop, the price of gold rallied late in 2018, reversing a trend of negative returns and weak investor demand that prevailed for most of the year.
The yellow metal, after all, has historically had a strong negative correlation with the U.S. stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index. Since gold is priced internationally in U.S. dollars, it’s important for investors globally to pay attention to policy changes and economic conditions in the U.S. as well.
As you can see in the charts below, gold beat the S&P 500 Index for the month of December, the fourth quarter and the year.
With stocks down, gold’s outperformance shouldn’t come as such a shock. What might be surprising is that the precious metal has also beaten the market for the century, 345.39 percent versus 70.62 percent, since December 31, 1999. Even though gold is still down from its 2011 peak, investors continue to value it as an attractive store of value.
Strong Gold Investment on Heightened Stock Volatility
Indeed, gold bulls added substantial positions to ETFs backed by bullion in December as the metal headed for its biggest monthly advance in two years. Gold-backed ETF holdings surged by more than 100 tons between October and December, helping to boost prices even further. During last Thursday’s trading session, ETFs bought 662,080 troy ounces of gold, the biggest one-day increase in at least 12 months, according to Bloomberg.
Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, explains why this buying is no fluke. Speaking to Bloomberg, she said that “the market is questioning whether the [Federal Reserve] is making a policy mistake, and that could not only lead to slower growth, but perhaps to a recession.” Krosby went on to say that when you see this heavy selling in equities, “it’s indicative of fear, and gold [historically] becomes [favored as a relatively] safe-haven allocation.”
Gold Miners Ended the Year on a High Note
It wasn’t just bullion that had a good quarter. Precious metal miners, as measured by the FTSE Gold Mines Index, gained a remarkable 15.85 percent in the three months ended December 31. Among the leaders in 2018 were Nevsun Resources, up 106 percent for the 12-month period; Kirkland Lake Gold, up 81 percent; SSR Mining, up 45 percent; and North American Palladium, up 38 percent.
So should you consider exposure to the gold market?
We believe an attractive way to invest in the gold space is with the U.S. Global GO GOLD and Precious Metal Miners ETF (TSX: GOGO), which provides investors with access to companies engaged in the production of precious metals through active or passive means.
This article is not a solicitation to sell any funds managed by Galileo Global Equity Advisors.
Past performance does not guarantee future results. Please consider caref ully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. To obtain a prospectus for the U.S. Global GO GOLD and Precious Metal Miners ETF (TSX: GOGO) please click here.
All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.
Holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more accounts managed by U.S. Global Investors as of 09/30/2018: Nevsun Resources Ltd., Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd., SSR Mining Inc.
The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The FTSE Gold Mines Index encompasses all gold mining companies that have a sustainable and attributable gold production of at least 300,000 ounces a year, and that derive 75% or more of their revenue from mined gold.