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Sell the Jewelry & Fillings, The Gold Rush Is On!

Stocks in this article: GLDUXGNEMABXNGGS

Gold mining stocks are going nuts. Companies like NovaGold Resources (NG), which has seen its stock go through the skylight in 2010, make me nervous when I pull their stock charts, no matter how much stock newsletters may like them. That stock traded in the $6 range a year ago, and now fetches over $14. How much of that run up is from retail investors pouring their hard-earned savings into a stock that, they hope, will make them whole from all the losses they suffered in 2008? How many will cash out now, or make the same mistake as in 2008, and not cut their losses when the bubble (if any) bursts? like Barrick Gold (ABX), like Newmont Mining (NEM) Newmont Mining and like US Gold (UXG) are not going nuts to quite that extent, but all are trading close to the top of their 52-week highs. How will those shares react if bullion prices begin to slide?

That brings me to the most nervous-making aspect of gold mania, which are the inklings I'm seeing see that gold is one of those markets that is on a kind of perma-rise, just as real estate was back in 2006. "Gold Set For Fresh Highs in 2011," says the Wall Street Journal. Maybe. But somehow that has just has too much of a familiar ring to it.

So back to the point I raised at the beginning. Pulling gold caps out of your mouth may be a bit much, but this is not necessarily the worst time to sell off any extra gold that may be lying around the house. Sure, it's entirely possible that gold prices may "set fresh highs in 2011," but personally I'm taking another dive into the closet for that Phi Beta Kappa key that nobody ever believes I own.

Gary Weiss has covered Wall Street wrongdoing for almost a quarter century. His coverage of stock fraud at BusinessWeek won many awards, and included a cover story, "The Mob on Wall Street," which exposed mob infiltration of brokerages. He uncovered the Salomon Brothers bond-trading scandal, and wrote extensively on the dangers posed by hedge funds, Internet fraud and out-of-control leverage. He was a contributing editor at Conde Nast Porfolio, writing about the people most intimately involved in the financial crisis, from Timothy Geithner to Bernard Madoff. His book "Born to Steal" (Warner Books: 2003), described the Mafia's takeover of brokerage houses in the 1990s. "Wall Street Versus America" (Portfolio: 2006) was an account of investor rip-offs. He blogs at garyweiss.blogspot.com.
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