Gold was beat up again in COMEX trading pits Wednesday and wobbled through the overnight market to extend the decline. Still, spot gold is $24 an ounce higher than last week's finishing level. Some technical indicators are, in fact, flashing "bullish" now, though a close above $775 would be needed to confirm the presence of a short-term low.
COMEX Spot Gold
There's a much more dramatic story on gold's equity side. Lately, gold mining shares have rebounded dramatically in the wake of their wholesale dumping by speculative funds. In the past 1-½ weeks, gold issues tracked by the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (AMEX: GDX) have shot up more than 43%.
Whether this represents a coda to the drubbing gold stocks have endured this year remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though: Year-to-date, bullion's fared a lot better than gold equities. The gold-to-stock ratio, pitting the bullion-owning SPDR Gold Shares Trust (NYSE Arca: GLD) against GDX, more than doubled as financial markets have soured.
Some traders believe that bullion may have gotten ahead of itself, though it may not appear that way when the metal's regarded on a stand-alone basis. For the year, GLD's lost nearly 12%. GDX, however, has sunk 49%.
Bullion-To-Gold Stock (GLD/GDX) Ratio
The relative undervaluation or, more appropriately, underappreciation, of gold mining issues has been a burr under the saddle of many gold aficionados.
Perhaps it's finally time for stocks to shine, but investors shouldn't forget that gold mining issues are still highly correlated to bullion. As gold goes, so goes - more or less - mining shares. The correlation of daily price returns between GDX and GLD, in fact, stands at 73%, even after counting the seemingly disparate performance records this year.
The recent rebound in the U.S. disinflationary trend has been a balm for gold stock investors, though the cautionary advice of Van Eck portfolio manager Joe Foster ought to stay in the forefront of investors' minds (see "Golden Opportunities"): "We look for companies that are well-managed and have growth and can fund that growth."
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