If pressed to make one buy recommendation (other than farm land and/or distressed real estate), I would still pick gold. Make no mistake; all the price of gold needs to do is stay about the same and 99% of gold miners will be making money hand over fist.
I love reading the headlines on gold. They are always overblown. “…gold prices slammed by Brazil rate hike…” Well, not really. The spot price only went down a little percentage wise. Frankly, I have a real hard time with headline writers. Everything now is a formula for your eyeballs. Don’t believe everything you read.
Consider Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE/ABX), which is off almost 10 points from its recent 52-week high. Here is one of the best senior gold producers in the world, which has an excellent long-term track record of generating wealth for shareholders. Consensus earnings estimates predict solid growth for the next several years and the company pays a dividend. This stock actually looks very reasonably priced now.
Then there’s Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE/GG), which isn’t quite a big as Barrick. This company also pays a dividend to shareholders, has strong growth expectations for both revenues and earnings, and is down about nine points from its recent high.
It’s also the same story with Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE/NEM), another large-cap producer. Yielding about the same as GG and ABX, this stock is down about 10 points from its recent high and earnings are looking very strong for 2010 and 2011.
My best guess is that the spot price of gold will actually trade around its current level for most of this year (barring any major new shocks) and this doesn’t worry me. A lot of resource stocks have been sold off in recent weeks for the sole purpose of profit taking. When it comes to precious metal equities, institutional investors do have a herd mentality.
There are a lot of reasons you can cite in making the case for strong gold prices. The biggest one in my mind is debt—sovereign debt in Europe and the United States. Eventually, someone is going to have to pay for all this re-inflation and debt financing. Unless there are some serious spending cuts in government budgets, investors won’t really want to own U.S. dollars. In any event, gold is a worthy asset in any investment portfolio. The risk in the global marketplace is that great.