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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Record high

gold prices

have investors looking for new ways to get in on the trade and

invest in gold

.

Mining stocks are volatile but can offer a 3-to-1 leverage to

gold's spot price

.

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Shares Report

, which tracks gold prices, are up 18.43% year to date while

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF

(GDX) - Get VanEck Gold Miners ETF Report

has popped 25.06%.

TheStreet Recommends

Adam Graf, director of emerging miners for

Dahlman Rose & Co.

, has ideas if you want to buy mining stocks without an ETF. Gold prices are "a currency reaction to inflation and subject to big overall trends in investment demand for gold as an alternative asset class." Graf uses value and leverage models to find the best stocks. Here's how he laid out the strategy:

What are your favorite large cap miners?

Graf

: Of the large names I like, the large-cap, liquid, major gold producers, I like

Newmont

(NEM) - Get Newmont Corporation Report

,

Kinross

(KGC) - Get Kinross Gold Corporation Report

and

Yamana

(AUY) - Get Yamana Gold Inc. Report

. In my view, they are all trading at approximately .8 times NAV. In other words, they are trading at 80% of their full intrinsic value. That's how they fall on a value metric.

On a leverage metric, Newmont gives you ... almost the most leverage in the space, Barrick's

has

lightly higher leverage. And the way I measure leverage is the change in the theoretical forward-looking change in the stock prices over the current stock price. ... So Newmont and Barrick

have

the most leverage to gold. But I like Newmont better because it gives you almost as much value as Barrick ... but it's much cheaper vs. Barrick.

I like Yamana because it's a smaller company with good growth. While it gives you slightly less leverage than

Agnico-Eagle

(AEM) - Get Agnico Eagle Mines Limited Report

and

Goldcorp

(GG)

, and a similar growth profile, again it trades much cheaper. My call on Yamana is not so much of a leverage call, but a value call.

The third company I like

is

Kinross. The leverage there is not quite as high as Newmont and Barrick, but

is

still very attractive ...

and

it also gives value.

And what about some speculative names like NovaGold? (NG) - Get Novagold Resources Inc Report

Graf

: NovaGold, I have followed that name for a long time. I think it has value. I give the name full credit for all of its assets regardless of the fact that I don't see how a company of the market cap of NovaGold ... can raise the $2 billion, more or less, it would need to either develop Galore Creek or Donlin Creek at 50% interest. ... It's not a favorite name of mine, just because I don't see how they can raise the capital to develop any of the projects that give them value, and I don't see how the pieces of the projects that they own would be interesting to anyone else with the possible exception of the Chinese. And we've seen in the past how strong NovaGold feels about being bought out. It fought tooth and nail to prevent getting taken over by Barrick.

But value wise you still like it?

Value wise it doesn't look bad and actually gives you decent leverage. ...

but

there are two other names that I think are more interesting and trade cheaper than NovaGold and to a large extent provide the same or superior leverage to NovaGold. On the gold side,

Seabridge Gold

(SA) - Get Seabridge Gold Inc Report

... actually provides more leverage than NovaGold does, also provides more leverage on copper side than NovaGold does. And

they

have been very forthright that they are not interested in developing their projects. They're taking their projects to pre-visibility and have the full intention of selling them to a major for shares. So that is a very different, radically different, path than NovaGold.

Another name that also comes to mind is

Northern Dynasty

(NAK) - Get Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Report

... Anglo American is earning in 50% of their project and they have a monstrous copper and molybdenum project in Alaska called Pebble. ... In my mind,

they

offer superior copper leverage vs. NovaGold and actually have a huge gold resource.

>>Slideshow: How to Invest in Gold

--

Written by Alix Steel in New York

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