NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Once an investment darling, gold has run into troubling headwinds during the opening quarter of 2012 as improving economic conditions have driven investors out of safe-haven asset classes. The Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, have done little to instill confidence either; hints have been dropped, but with no solid word on additional rounds of quantitative easing, the yellow metal has struggled to regain any solid footing.As gold has foundered, other members of the precious metal spectrum have managed to gather steam. Platinum, in particular, has become a high riser. The ETFS Physical Platinum Shares ( PPLT) has gained nearly 20% since the start of the year. Comparatively, the iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) has seen only 7.5% returns.
While I remain bullish looking forward, I recognize that the road ahead will likely be marked by potholes. For this reason, I am hesitant toward the idea of diving headfirst into a metal like platinum. 9 Oil, Gold Stocks That Rise on Bad News A better way to play the precious metal spectrum at this time is to spread assets across a mix of bullish and bearish metals. By allowing funds like PPLT and IAU to reside under the same roof, investors can position themselves for continued strength from platinum while maintaining an element of protection for when the road gets rocky. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.