Gold prices rocketed higher Tuesday, as geopolitical chaos brought a new round of uncertainty to the markets.
Industrial and technology stocks, in particular, fell as investors sold off in reaction to President Donald Trump's controversial series of executive orders, most notably a travel ban involving immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries. Concerned with the volatility that the first week of the new administration alone has brought, investors are clearly nervous.
But where does the smart money go when the stock markets look shaky?
Traditionally, gold has been a so-called safe haven for investors worldwide. After all, the intrinsic value of physical gold will remain even as stocks come and go.
On Tuesday, the price of gold shot to $1,212 per ounce, fueled by stock market uncertainty, as well as by remarks by both Trump and his adviser Peter Navarro criticizing the foreign-exchange market and by the simple fact that the Federal Reserve kicked off a two-day round of meetings on Wednesday.
James Steel, a bullish gold analyst at HSBC, has called for the price of gold to hit levels as high as $1,575 per ounce by the end of this year. That would make gold not only a hedge but a major profit maker in its own right.
So with the potential for four more years of market tumult and new highs for the price of gold, how should savvy investors take advantage of the coming gold rush, other than burying bullion in the backyard?
Gold exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Shares ETF, which is backed by physical gold and moves correspondingly with the price of the precious metal, is one way to play the rise of gold without owning coins or bullion.
In addition, a sister fund, SPDR Long Dollar Gold Trust, made its market debut Monday. This is the first gold-backed ETF that also hedges against a strong dollar, gaining both when gold prices shoot up and the value of the dollar increases.
There are also the major gold mining companies such as Barrick Gold,Goldcorp and Newmont Mining. Although gold producers don't exactly mimic the price of gold because they have other pricing considerations such as production costs, in general, they stand to gain when demand for gold rises.
However, one gold producer in particular looks appealing. Pershing Gold (PGLC) is looking for profits from the reopening of the Relief Canyon Mine in Nevada to commercial production.
Insider buying can be a good measure of a company's health and outlook. Two Pershing Gold directors, Douglass Barr and Barry Honig, recently scooped up a total of 13,500 shares in two separate transactions last month, indicating that they feel bullish about both the company and the price of gold.
Barr purchased 3,500 shares on Jan. 17 for $3.30, while Honig, who owns 10% of the company, grabbed 10,000 shares on Monday for $3.09 apiece.
Pershing Gold is trading at about $3.20 a share, close to an all-time low. That makes it a good time to buy this stock at a bargain price before gold prices really take off.
As the company continues to explore its holdings at Relief Canyon and as it starts up its fast-tracked production there, investors stand to see some golden gains.
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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.