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Gold Funds Shine as Economies Sink

Stocks in this article: GLD ABX SMC

A week ago, the price of gold broke out to a three-month high of $916.30. For the week ending Thursday, Jan. 29, the spot price of gold rose 6% to $908.65. The move to gold for wealth preservation shows a lack of faith in the future value of the U.S. dollar and other currencies. That's happening as governments worldwide rev up their printing presses to spend billions of dollars to stimulate their flagging economies.

In comments from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Barrick Gold (ABX) Chairman Peter Munk predicts gold will top $1,000 an ounce this year as frightened investors seek protection from uncertain markets. A trade above $1,032.70 would break the high point set on March 21, 2008.

For the five trading days under review, the average precious metals fund we track gained 6.7%, excluding inverse funds that sell short metals miners or futures contracts linked to gold bullion.

Demand for gold as an investment has never been higher, with the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) setting a new record of 843.6 metric tons of gold in their bank vaults. The more cash invested in the SPDR Gold Trust, the more gold bullion bars this fund buys and stores.

The best-performing precious metals funds were closely tied or leveraged to the price of gold, with E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Gold ETN (UBG) topping the list at a 14.95% return for the period. PowerShares DB Gold Double Long ETN (DGP) did nearly as well at 12.67%.

At 150% leveraged to the mining shares in the Dow Jones Precious Metals Index, the ProFunds Precious Metals UltraSector ProFund (PMPIX) jumped 12.54%.

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