Gold just took the jobs report on the chin. As our readers will know, the US jobs report from Friday was nothing short of stellar, with the job creation numbers blowing away all expectations, and in doing so, lowering the odds and potential pace of Fed rate cuts. That led to a big sell-off in gold on Friday that followed an even larger one Monday. Gold lost almost 4% over just two days last week.
FINSUM: The jobs report simultaneously sapped gold of the fear boost it gets from worries about the economy, as well as the potential benefit of lower rates.
Gold is doing well, and it is no surprise. Markets are worried about an economic downturn, and yields are falling, both of which are bullish for gold. The metal is up almost 7% in July alone. But what is the best way to play the commodity using ETFs? Owning gold directly is costly, so passive structures are great. Consider the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (0.40% fee), the iShares Gold Trust (0.25%), and the GraniteShares Gold Trust.
FINSUM: Passive is definitely the best way to play gold. We like the outlook for the metal as rates and yields are definitely headed lower, which helps gold in multiple ways.
Gold has been doing well, and it is no surprise as to why. Both the economy and the trade war are having a bullish effect on gold, which has responded in line with investor fears. Additionally, worries over tensions in the Middle East and the protests in Hong Kong have offered a short-term boost to prices. Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets, says “Today’s price action suggests the market is not long enough gold, especially by historical standards, for this elevated level risk as investors have remained far too complacent to mounting risk in Hong Kong and the smolder explosive political powder keg in the Middle East”.
FINSUM: Gold has been in a bear market for so long that it had many times seemed to have lost its role in a portfolio. However, it appears to once again be finding its footing.
Precious metals are heating up, much to the joy of the investors that have stuck with the shiny laggards. Gold has been enjoying a good rally, and that should help pull up silver, which has been in a slump. “It is difficult to be pessimistic about silver at these levels”, says one portfolio manager. Silver is down more than 9% this year, even as gold has rallied. However, eventually gold will start pulling investors into silver. “Silver has lacked retail investment demand, so a sustained rally in gold will lead to the speculators coming and buying silver”, says the portfolio manager.
FINSUM: Precious metals have not been getting much attention for years, but gold is off on the right foot this year. Importantly for silver, a recession doesn’t hurt demand because it isn’t an industrial commodity.
Tell us an investment that does well when inflation is rising AND when rates are falling? Most investments are sensitive to one or the other, but gold can benefit from both. Rising inflation (and rates) can lead to gold-buying as a hedge, helping prices, while falling rates make the metal’s zero yield look more attractive (and make it easier for overseas buyers). Yet, conditions in the middle of those two extremes—which have prevailed since the Crisis—are usually bearish for the metal, as it does not have a natural place in the portfolio in such conditions. That said, gold’s outlook is now the best it has been in years, as the economy is weakening and rates look likely to fall, weakening the Dollar and clearing the path for appreciation.
FINSUM: Gold is in the most interesting position we have seen for some time and we are inclined to think it might start to rise out the doldrums.
Al the stars are aligning for gold. The metal has been in an epic slump for years. The great post-Crisis recovery has not been so for gold, with the asset falling in value considerably from its Euro crisis-era peak. However, yields are coming down and the threat of recession is rising, both factors which make gold likely to do well. Not only would both factors help gold because of its relationship to interest rates (i.e. the lower the better), but a weaker Dollar also helps overseas buyers of the metal.
FINSUM: The other interesting non-macro factor that may help gold is the recent huge merger of Barrick Gold and Randgold, which consolidates the market and offers a more compelling mining stock to own. It may also put a lid on supply, which could boost prices.