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Please note: The Frank Talk articles listed below contain historical material. The data provided was current at the time of publication. For current information regarding any of the funds mentioned in these presentations, please visit the appropriate fund performance page.

The Newmont-Goldcorp Deal Is Positive News for Gold Mining
January 15, 2019

The Newmont-Goldcorp Deal Is Positive News for Gold Mining

Consolidation season has finally arrived in the goldfields, just as many experts and analysts have been predicting for some time now. With exploration budgets having been slashed since their 2012 peak, and because there are today fewer and fewer ounces of gold available to be mined, one way forward for producers of all sizes will be to ramp up mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity.

You might have heard that Newmont Mining will be buying Goldcorp in a massive $10 billion deal. The resultant company, to be headquartered in Denver, will be the world’s largest gold producer by number of ounces mined—larger even than what’s being called “New Barrick,” after the $6.5 billion merger of industry giants Barrick Gold and Randgold Resources, announced back in September. Whereas Barrick-Randgold produced a combined 6.6 million ounces of gold in 2017, Newmont-Goldcorp was responsible for as much as nearly 8 million ounces.

The Newmont Gold Corp deal will create the worlds largest gold producer
click to enlarge

I see this news as positive overall for the metals and mining industry, which has long signaled the need for consolidation. As I explained in a Frank Talk Live segment back in October, it’s when an industry has found a bottom that you start to see big M&A deals. A couple of years ago, the very talented people at Visual Capitalist showed in an infographic that mining M&As peaked in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

A Positive Case Study in M&As: Domestic Airlines

This tacit rule applies not just to metals and mining but also to most other industries. Look at domestic airlines. It’s easy to forget now that between 2005 and 2008, more than two-thirds of U.S. airlines were operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A huge wave of consolidation followed, giving us the “big four” carriers—Delta, American, United and Southwest. Profits surged to new highs. This year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global airlines should see their 10th straight year of profitability, and fifth straight year where “airlines deliver a return on capital that exceeds the industry’s cost of capital, creating value for its investors.”

Consolidation Could Speed Up the Closer We Get to “Peak Gold”

So will gold miners follow suit and consolidate (more so than they already are)? And will this lead to a similarly sustained period of outstanding profitability?

No one can say for sure, of course, but my guess is that we’ll continue to see more and more deals the closer we get to the idea of “peak gold.” As I’ve shared with you before, the yellow metal is getting exponentially more difficult and costly to mine. The “low-hanging fruit” has likely already been plucked, so to speak. Exploration budgets have been slashed, and the days of 20- and 30-million-ounce gold deposits could be behind us, to say nothing of 50-million-ounce discoveries.

The amount of gold in major discoveries has been trending down for years
click to enlarge

To replenish their own reserves, big-name miners such as New Barrick and Newmont might decide to absorb smaller-cap junior producers with provable mines instead of spend higher and higher costs to scour the world for progressively harder-to-find deposits.

Says Michael Siperco of Macquarie Research, the Barrick-Randgold and Newmont-Goldcorp deals could “spark a wider consolidation in the industry, where too many gold companies are chasing too few assets.”

Only time will tell if this happens. I’ll be curious to see what companies could be next to strike a deal!

Stay up-to-date on this potential trend by subscribing to our FREE, award-winning Investor Alert!

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

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 12/31/2018: Newmont Mining Corp., Barrick Gold Corp., Newcrest Mining Ltd., American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Southwest Airlines Co.

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Gold and Commodities Set to Soar in 2019
January 14, 2019

Summary:

  • An update to the Periodic Table of Commodity Returns.
  • Goldman Sachs issues an overweight recommendation for gold and commodities.
  • Paradigm Capital says royalty companies are the “best bet” in metals and mining.

Our ever-popular Periodic Table of Commodity Returns has been updated for 2018 and is now available on the U.S. Global Investors website! I invite you to get lost using the interactive feature, which easily allows you to highlight a certain commodity, the top performer, the most volatile and more.

Explore the new periodic table of commodity returns 2018

Palladium was the best performing commodity for the second year in a row, returning 18.59 percent in 2018 after ending the previous year up a phenomenal 56.25 percent. As we’ve noted before in the Investor Alert and elsewhere, palladium and gold prices are now near parity, with a razor-thin spread of only around $2 separating the two at the moment. Late last year, the white metal actually overtook the yellow metal for the first time since 2001 on increased demand from automobile manufacturers. More than 80 percent of world supply is used in the production of catalytic converters.

Not to be outdone, gold ended 2018 on a high note, beating global equities and commodities for the fourth quarter. And as I mentioned before, it was the sixth most liquid asset class, with daily trading volumes nearly identical to that of S&P 500 companies.

Goldman Bullish on Gold, Forecasts $1,425

With a majority of investors now betting that the current rate hike cycle has peaked, the U.S. dollar looks to be in retreat, having lost about 1.7 percent over the past month. Mike McGlone, commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, writes that he believes the “2019 dollar downtrend has legs.” This is constructive for metals and commodities in general, gold specifically. On Friday, in fact, the yellow metal achieved a “golden cross,” whereby the 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average—a very bullish sign.

Gold Achieves a Golden Cross
click to enlarge

Among those that are most bullish on the precious metal is Goldman Sachs. In a report last week, the investment bank maintained its overweight recommendation and raised its 12-month price forecast up from $1,350 an ounce to $1,425, a level last seen in August 2013. Goldman analysts contend that the gold price “will be supported primarily by growing demand for defensive assets, with a slower pace of Fed rate hikes in 2019 boosting demand only marginally.”

The World Gold Council (WGC) made a similar case in its 2019 outlook last week, predicting that global investors will “continue to favor gold as an effective diversifier and hedge against systemic risk.” The rise in protectionist policies around the world is chief among the risks since they tend to lead to higher inflation and slower economic growth over the long term, according to the WGC.

I believe the current government shutdown, over funding for a wall along the southern border, is evidence of the risks protectionist policies pose. Now the longest in U.S. history, and with no end in sight, the shutdown could start to take a toll on the economy the longer it lasts, according to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, and perhaps even cost the U.S. its triple-A credit rating.

Commodities Could Also Be a Buy Right Now

Goldman Sachs isn’t just bullish on gold. Commodities also look like a strong buy, the bank’s analysts say, after prices were slashed late last year. Before the fourth quarter, commodities were following the “late-cycle playbook.” Up 16 percent, they were the best performing asset class of 2018. But with the Fed now “on hold” and there being “low risk” of a recession, Goldman says it can now argue “with confidence” that the sell-off last year was a “mid-cycle pause.”

This is actually good news for commodities, as mid-cycle pauses have historically been a buying opportunity. Look at the chart below. It shows that, with few exceptions, commodity prices rallied in the days and weeks following a “pause” signal from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). And as you might already know, Powell recently commented that the Fed “can afford to be patient” and “flexible” when it comes to additional rate hikes.    

Mid-Cycle Pauses Have Historically Been a Buy Signal for Commodities
click to enlarge

Goldman maintains an overweight recommendation for commodities, with a 12-month forecast of 9.5 percent.

Gold Royalty Companies Are the “Best Bet,” Says Paradigm Capital

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of royalty and streaming companies. (You can read my posts featuring Franco-Nevada and Wheaton Precious Metals.) I’ve long admired these companies for generating profits and creating value, even when the metals market is flat or weak.

Last week, Paradigm Capital reaffirmed my conviction in the royalty model. The Canadian investment dealer shared its research into the long-term performance of the various tiers in gold mining, from juniors to seniors, from explorers to developers. The royalty companies—which include not just Franco and Wheaton but also Royal Gold, Sandstorm and Osisko Royalties—are the “best bet” when seeking to “make money in gold equities,” according to Paradigm’s senior analyst, Don MacLean. He adds: “Royalty companies have the best business model in the sector, by far.”

Below, you can see that royalty companies have outperformed all other tiers, including gold itself. They collectively delivered 16 percent in compound annual growth from 2004 to 2018. Put another way, they returned a massive 884 percent in cumulative change, compared to gold at 300 percent.

Gold Royalty Companies Have Outperformed All Other Tiers Since 2004
click to enlarge

Many junior and senior producers have struggled over the same time period, but Paradigm writes that gold equities are like “coiled springs” and should outperform the precious metal if a “meaningful” gold rally of 10 percent or more occurs. Right now large-cap seniors are leading the rally, having increased 24 percent over the past three months, followed by intermediates (up 18 percent) and royalty companies (up 15 percent). This is in line with past gold equity rallies, Paradigm says, as the largest producers have historically performed best at the start.

My focus lately has been on how the idea of “peak gold” might drive the need for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) within the metals and mining industry. It’s been almost a decade since the last round of deals, and because there’s a sore lack of big discoveries right now to replenish reserves, I feel as if we’re due for more M&A activity this year. The Barrick Gold-Randgold merger, announced last September, might have been just the start of a new wave of consolidation.

We learned just today, in fact, that Newmont Mining plans to buy Goldcorp for a reported $10 billion, thereby making the world’s biggest gold producer. Look for my thoughts on this later!

On a final note, our very own Ralph Aldis, precious metals expert and portfolio manager, shared his top stock pick for 2019 with MoneyShow. To find out which one it is, 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. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The S&P GSCI Total Return Index in USD is widely recognized as the leading measure of general commodity price movements and inflation in the world economy. Index is calculated primarily on a world production weighted basis, comprised of the principal physical commodities futures contracts.

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 12/31/2018: Franco-Nevada Corp., Wheaton Precious Metals Corp., Royal Gold Inc., Osisko Gold Royalties Inc., Sandstorm Gold Ltd., Newmont Mining Corp., Barrick Gold Corp. 

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These Are the Five Wealthiest Self-Made Texans
January 9, 2019

Mark Cuban
Photo: JD Lasica / Social Media.biz | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

A couple of months ago, Forbes updated its list of the wealthiest 400 Americans for 2018, with Jeff Bezos appearing at number one for the very first time. Worth some $160 billion, the Amazon founder and CEO finally dethroned Bill Gates, who had held the top spot for a remarkable 24 years straight.

I was particularly interested in learning about the Texans who made the list, including Mark Cuban, Ross Perot, Paul Mitchell-founder John Paul DeJoria, Lewis Energy CEO Rod Lewis and more. I’ve shared with you before my belief that, thanks largely to low taxes and reasonable regulations, there’s no better place in the U.S. to do business than Texas, the home state of U.S. Global Investors. Texas ended up with 38 billionaires on Forbes’ list in 2018, four more than it did the previous year. That’s also the third most of any state, following California (84 billionaires) and New York (73 billionaires). The wealthiest Texan on the list, and 12th richest American overall, was Walmart heiress Alice Walton, worth an estimated $44.9.

But I wanted to know which of those Texans were self-made, unlike Walton. To exclude those whose fortunes were mostly inherited, I cross referenced Forbes’ findings with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which measures people on how they make their money. This ruled out individuals like Walton and a few others.

So below is the countdown of the five wealthiest self-made Texans, beginning with number five.

5. Robert Rowling ($5.8 billion)

Robert Rowling is the chairman and owner of Dallas-based TRT Holdings, which holds recognizable brands such as Omni Hotels & Resorts and Gold’s Gym. It also holds the company founded by Rowling’s geologist father, Tana Exploration, which is where he initially made his extraordinary wealth. A Corpus Christi native, the media-shy 65-year-old now lives in Dallas. He and his wife have made significant donations to the University of Texas at Austin and support conservative political causes and candidates.

4. Richard Kinder ($6.6 billion)

Next on our list is Richard Kinder, who made his vast fortune in the oilfields. In 1997 he cofounded the company he’s best known for, Kinder Morgan, which owns and operates tens of thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines throughout North America. Before that, Kinder served as president and chief operating officer of Enron, the ill-fated energy company that, in 2001, declared bankruptcy after being caught in perhaps the most notorious accounting fraud scheme in U.S. history. Kinder, 74, stepped down as CEO of Houston-based Kinder Morgan in 2015 but remains its executive chairman and largest shareholder.

3. Jerry Jones ($6.9 billion)

Jerry Jones
Photo: flickr/Keith Allison | Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of Jerry Jones’ $140 million purchase of the Dallas Cowboys. Under his leadership, the Cowboys have been the most valuable team in the National Football League (NFL) for over a decade now, worth some $5 billion in 2018, according to Forbes. The 76-year-old Jones’ latest purchase? A “mega-yacht” measuring 360 feet long—about the same size as a football field—that features two helipads and a garage for water vehicles. The yacht’s reported price tag, $250 million, is over $100 million more than what Jones originally bought the Cowboys for. 

2. Andrew Beal ($9.9 billion)

Although not a household name, Andrew Beal is one of the more fascinating individuals on this list. A true self-made billionaire, Beal dropped out of Baylor University and even had a job for a time fixing broken TVs. At the age of 19 he began buying distressed properties, renovating them and selling them for a large profit. In 1988 he founded Beal Bank, headquartered in Plano, Texas, which specializes in purchasing undervalued real estate and savings and loan assets. The firm, of which the Dallas-based Beal owns 96 percent, held close to $8 billion in total assets as of September 2018. What sets the 65-year-old Beal apart from the others on this list is that he’s also an amateur mathematician and highly gifted poker player. The eponymous “Beal conjecture” math problem, formulated by the billionaire in 1993, is as-yet unsolved, and in 2004, he won one of the largest single hands of poker in Las Vegas history, totaling $11.7 million.

1. Michael Dell ($27.6 billion)

Michael Dell
Photo: Hartmann Studios | Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

And here we are at number one. The wealthiest self-made Texan, and the 39th richest person in the U.S., is Michael Dell, who, in 1984, founded his computer company in his University of Texas at Austin dorm room at the age of 19. According to an interview with NPR, Dell said that one of the things he noticed about the computer business at the time was that it was “very inefficient.” He added: “It took a really long time for the technology to get from the people that made it to the people that were buying it.” Interestingly, one of his earliest customers was fellow Texan and future self-made billionaire Mark Cuban, who bought some hard drives from Dell for his budding software company, MicroSolutions. Four years after the Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Computer went public in 1988, Dell became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The company went private in 2013 but, a little more than five years later, is seeking to go public again. The move has set up a legal fight with activist investor Carl Icahn, who filed a lawsuit against the computer company late last year for allegedly withholding “material information.” It was revealed last year that Dell, 53, was the mystery buyer of a $100.47 million Manhattan penthouse in 2014, making it the highest price ever paid for a New York City residence.

Interested in reading more? Check out 10 Living, Self-Made American Billionaires.

Also, be sure to subscribe to the FREE, award-winning Investor Alert!

 

The Forbes 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by Forbes magazine of the wealthiest 400 American residents, ranked by net worth. The 400 was started by Malcolm Forbes in 1982 and the list is published annually around September. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world's richest people. In calculating net worth, Bloomberg News strives to provide the most transparent calculations available, and each individual billionaire profile contains a detailed analysis of how that person's fortune is tallied.

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. None of the securities mentioned in the article were held by any accounts managed by U.S. Global Investors as of 9/30/2018.

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Is the Fed Done Hiking Rates? Watch the Price of Gold
January 7, 2019

Is the Fed Done Hiking Rates? Watch the Price of Gold

King Dollar was on top in 2018, one of the few major assets to close the year in the black on steady interest rate hikes and robust economic growth in the U.S. But greenback strength is a double-edged sword, as you know. Although good for U.S. consumers, it can hamper exporters, commodities, oil, gold and more.

So will rates continue to rise in 2019? If so, the dollar will follow suit, putting additional pressure on other assets. I think there are a number of signs that the rate hike we saw in December could be the last one this cycle. Just this past Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell commented that “we will be patient” with further rate hikes, which I believe is good news.

I’ll have more to say on rates in a second.

Under the circumstances, I’m very pleased with how well gold performed last year. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Stocks began to sell off late in the year, boosting investor demand for safe haven assets. As I explained in a Frank Talk last week, the yellow metal beat the S&P 500 Index for the month of December, the fourth quarter and the year. It’s also outperforming the market so far in the 21st century.

Gold was one of the top performing assets of 2018
click to enlarge

Gold was also one of the most liquid assets of 2018, with daily trading volumes in the same neighborhood as S&P 500 companies, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). I can’t stress enough how important this is, as it underscores the maturity and trustworthiness of the gold market. The WGC puts it well: “Clarity and transparency in financial markets is beneficial to investors as it increases their level of comfort and their understanding of an asset.”

gold was the sixth most liquid asset class of 2018
click to enlarge

Investors Are Betting That the Fed Hits the Pause Button

Back to interest rate policy. Again, I think Powell’s pledge to “be patient” is good news and shows that he’s willing to listen to those who have very publicly expressed their objection to further rate increases, including investing heavyweights such as Jeffrey Gundlach and Stanley Druckenmiller. Last Thursday, the Dallas Fed president, Robert Kaplan, said he supported putting additional rate hikes on hold to see how the global economy plays out.

“I would be an advocate of taking no action… in the first couple of quarters this year,” Kaplan told Bloomberg.

Investors seem to agree. Last month, the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool showed an 87 percent probability that the fed funds rate would either stay where it is now or be lowered by the end of 2019. That’s up dramatically from less than 10 percent in October. Meanwhile, bets that the rate would rise in 12 months’ time have dropped to around 12 percent.

most investors believe that rates will stay steady or be lowered next year
click to enlarge

In a note to investors last week, Stifel shared its belief that the Fed “has reached historical maximum tightness,” arguing that the central bank must “wait for the neutral rate to rise” before tightening again, or else risk “credit deterioration, recession and a deep bear market.” (The “neutral rate” is not set by the Fed but a reflection of the fed funds rate that “keeps output growing around its potential rate in an environment of full employment and stable inflation,” in the words of Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard.) According to the investment bank, we’re right at the peak of the interest rate cycle, somewhere between phase two (characterized by tightening) and phase three (characterized by easing).

the U.S. may have reached maximum monetary tightness
click to enlarge

“The Fed has taken restrictive policy to its very limits, and we see further S&P 500 downside if they do not stop tightening for most (or all) of 2019,” writes Stifel strategist Barry Bannister. “There are signs the Fed may stand down and wait for the neutral rate to rise.”

Possible Implication? A Weaker U.S. Dollar

One of the possible implications of a less aggressive Fed in 2019 is a weaker dollar—especially if the European Central Bank (ECB) begins tightening later this year, as some analysts predict. As I’ve explained before, once the dollar starts to lose ground relative to other world currencies, gold could rocket up to as much as $1,500 in the blink of an eye.

Among those that are bearish on the greenback is Citi, which wrote in a note last week that the greenback “may more than reverse [2018’s] rally over the medium term.” The bank predicts 12 percent downside versus other major currencies, citing the flattening (and, in one case, already inverted) yield curve as a signal of weaker economic growth.

Mike McGlone, commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, believes dollar mean reversion will be the theme in 2019, which would favor gold and commodities. “It’s unlikely for 2019 that the dollar will remain atop the list of best-performing assets,” according to McGlone, who adds that “markets appear in the transition phase of passing the bull market baton from U.S. stocks to commodities.”

Manufacturing Expansion Continues to Slow

Besides a strong dollar, the big risk to commodities right now is weaker demand from factories, which is turning up in the purchasing manager’s index (PMI).

The JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI fell to a 27-month low of 51.5 in December, down from 52.0 a month earlier. Amazingly, business confidence among global manufacturers dropped to its lowest level in the series history, according to David Hensley, JPMorgan’s director of global economic coordination.

China’s manufacturing sector, meanwhile, contracted last month. Its official PMI reading fell slightly, from a neutral 50.0 in November to 49.4, as declining domestic demand and U.S. trade tariffs are squeezing the world’s second-largest economy. The price of copper hit a three-and-a-half-month low this week on the news.

China's manufacturing sector deteriorated for first time since July 2016
click to enlarge

U.S. factories also slowed in December, down sharply from 59.3 in November to 54.1 in December. That’s the most the gauge has fallen, in percentage-point terms, since the Great Recession.

Because the PMI is a forward-looking indicator of economic health, I urge investors to be cautious. And keep your eyes on the yield curve. The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and three-month Treasury yield narrowed to only 15 basis points last Thursday, its lowest level since September 2007—just a couple of months before the start of the financial crisis. An inverted yield curve, remember, is a sign that investors believe economic trouble could be near at hand.

The dollar looks positioned to revert back to its mean, and that’s when you want to have some exposure to gold. Keep in mind the 10 Percent Golden Rule—5 percent in gold bullion, the other 5 percent in well-managed gold mutual funds and ETFs.

Peak gold could be a major tailwind for the price of the yellow metal. Listen to my interview with Bloomberg Radio by clicking here!

 

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. By clicking the link(s) above, you will be directed to a third-party website(s). U.S. Global Investors does not endorse all information supplied by this/these website(s) and is not responsible for its/their content.

The S&P 500 Stock Index is a widely recognized capitalization-weighted index of 500 common stock prices in U.S. companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry. The Shanghai Composite Index (SSE) is an index of all stocks that trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The STOXX Europe 600 Index is derived from the STOXX Europe Total Market Index (TMI) and is a subset of the STOXX Global 1800 Index. With a fixed number of 600 components, the STOXX Europe 600 Index represents large, mid and small capitalization companies across 18 countries of the European region: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The J.P. Morgan Global Purchasing Manager’s Index is an indicator of the economic health of the global manufacturing sector. The PMI index is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

The FedWatch Tool calculates unconditional probabilities of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting outcomes to generate a binary probability tree. CME Group lists 30-Day Federal Funds Futures (FF) futures, prices of which incorporate market expectations of average daily Federal Funds Effective Rate (FFER) levels during futures contract months. The FFER is published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York each day, and is calculated as a transaction-volume weighted average of the previous day’s rates on trades arranged by major brokers in the market for overnight unsecured loans between depository institutions.

In finance, mean reversion is the assumption that a stock's price will tend to move to the average price over time.

A basis point, or bp, is a common unit of measure for interest rates and other percentages in finance. One basis point is equal to 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01% (0.0001).

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Gold Has Beaten the Market Over Multiple Time Periods
January 2, 2019

gold has beaten the S&P 500 Index so far this century
click to enlarge

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 market. I’m pleased to report that this inverse relationship held firm in 2018, proving again that investors continue to see gold as a valuable asset in times of financial instability. 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.

gold beat the S&P 500 Index for the Month of December
click to enlarge

gold beat the S&P 500 index for the fourth quarter
click to enlarge

gold beat the S&P 500 Index for the year
click to enlarge

With stocks down, gold’s outperformance shouldn’t come as such a shock to most readers.

What might surprise you is that the precious metal has also beaten the market for the century, 345.39 percent versus 70.62 percent, since December 31, 1999.

This tells me that, 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.

gold is on track for its biggest monthly advance since January 2017
click to enlarge

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?

I believe a good way to participate is with our gold fund, the Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX), which provides access to producers with well-established mines. I’m thrilled to tell you that the fund, managed by precious metals expert Ralph Aldis, holds a four-star rating overall from Morningstar as of September 30, 2018. USERX also holds a four-star rating for the three-year, five-year and 10-year periods.  

Curious to learn more? Explore the Gold and Precious Metals Fund (USERX) overview page by clicking here!

 

Please consider carefully a fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. For this and other important information, obtain a fund prospectus by visiting www.usfunds.com or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS (1-800-873-8637). Read it carefully before investing. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Distributor. U.S. Global Investors is the investment adviser.

Gold, precious metals, and precious minerals funds may be susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory developments due to concentrating in a single theme. The prices of gold, precious metals, and precious minerals are subject to substantial price fluctuations over short periods of time and may be affected by unpredicted international monetary and political policies. We suggest investing no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio in these sectors.

Morningstar Rating

Overall/67
3-Year/67
5-Year/65
10-Year/46

Morningstar ratings based on risk-adjusted return and number of funds
Category: Equity Precious Metals
Through: 9/30/2018

Morningstar Ratings are based on risk-adjusted return. The Morningstar Rating for a fund is derived from a weighted-average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five- and ten-year Morningstar Rating metrics. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a fund’s monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads, and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.)

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.

Fund portfolios are actively managed, and holdings may change daily. Holdings are reported as of the most recent quarter-end. Holdings by region in the Gold and Precious Metals Fund as a percentage of net assets as of 9/30/2018: Nevsun Resources Ltd. 0.82%, Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. 0.00%, SSR Mining Inc. 1.07%, North American Palladium Ltd. 0.00%.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

 

 

Share “Gold Has Beaten the Market Over Multiple Time Periods”

Net Asset Value
as of 06/14/2019

Global Resources Fund PSPFX $4.43 No Change Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX $7.21 -0.01 World Precious Minerals Fund UNWPX $2.66 0.02 China Region Fund USCOX $8.38 -0.06 Emerging Europe Fund EUROX $6.90 -0.02 All American Equity Fund GBTFX $24.23 -0.09 Holmes Macro Trends Fund MEGAX $16.59 -0.09 Near-Term Tax Free Fund NEARX $2.21 No Change U.S. Government Securities Ultra-Short Bond Fund UGSDX $2.00 No Change