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TheStreet Open House

Gold: The World's Friend for 5,000 Years

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By Frank Holmes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Facebook's (FB) highly anticipated initial public offering helped the company raise $16 billion, a record for tech IPOs. It's refreshing to see investor excitement rally around the stock, as the U.S. needs innovative businesses to thrive and attract capital. However, as behavioral finance warns, be cautious of a herd mentality.

Last November, the IPO deal of the day was Groupon (GRPN). On the first day of trading, shares rose to a high of $31 from an initial offering price of $20.

By Thanksgiving, the stock had fallen below the IPO price, and only a few months later, uncertainty popped up around the company's accounting methods and financial controls. The stock fell further, with the market devaluing Groupon by about 50% in only six months. How's that for a group buy?

It's interesting to note that the value of Groupon's stock has lost more than $13 billion since the peak on the first trading day through April 30. For comparison, if you look at the total net assets in Lipper's precious metals mutual fund peer category, assets fell $8.3 billion over the same timeframe. Investors lost more than $5 billion more in one tech stock alone than in all of the precious metals funds combined.

Gold -- A Reality Check

Investors have "defriended" gold recently in favor of the dollar, as Greek and French voters rejected austerity measures. Greeks have been responding to their escalating debt issues for a while by steadily pulling money from overnight deposits. I often say, money goes where it is best treated, and these deposits will need to find a safe haven.

It's not only Greece the market is worried about, says BCA Research. In a special report aptly named, "In Case of Emergency Grexit," the firm says there's extra pressure on Spain and Italy, "which imminently needs a large bailout of its banking system." The 10-year yields for each country have reached 6% today, and while there are funds to sufficiently cover Spain, there aren't enough funds for Italy, too, says BCA.

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