Risk On, Gold and Silver Off — A Little (GLD, IAU, SLV, SIVR, NEM, GG, ABX, GDX, GDXJ, SLV, DBS)

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Following an end-of-week rally last week, the DJIA has picked up where it left off and is up about 100 points just before noon today. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 are also up. And gold, while up a modest 0.25%, experienced a couple of down days at the end of last week, while silver has hovered just below $40/ounce.

The earlier sell-off in equities pushed gold prices about $1,800/ounce briefly as part of the fall-out from the downgrade of US debt. Demand for a safe haven separated gold and silver prices again, with the gold:silver ratio widening to nearly 45. Gold and silver ETFs as well as mining stocks are all affected by the sudden return to equities.

The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) is up marginally today, at $170.07, in a 52-week range of $118.36-$175.13, its highest level since last Thursday. The iShares Gold Trust (NYSE: IAU) is down marginally, at $17.01, in a 52-week range of $11.88- $17.56. Weakness in the Empire State manufacturing index has probably helped prop up gold prices even as equities gain more interest.

The iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV) is up about 0.5%, at $38.31, in a 52-week range of $17.48-$48.35, and the ETFS Physical Silver Shares Trust (NYSE: SIVR) is up by approximately the same amount, at $39.07, in a 52-week range of $17.80-$49.28. Silver’s status as a safe haven simply isn’t strong enough to keep its price increases on a par with gold’s. There could be a buying opportunity in physical silver, though, because it’s pretty likely that silver will break and stay above $40/ounce.

Mining stocks and ETFs are up as well today, with Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) posting a gain at around noon of 1%, at $57.97, in a 52-week range of $50.05-$65.50. Miners Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) and Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) have also risen by about half that amount.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) is also up about 1%, at $59.81, in a 52-week range of $49.57-$64.62. The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDXJ) is up more than 1.5%, at $35.57, in a 52-week range of $28.06-$44.86. The Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE: SIL) is also up more than 1.5%, at $25.57, in a 52-week range of $14.58-$31.34.

The mining stocks are rising pretty much in parallel with the overall rise in the Dow and the S&P 500. There is still not a lot of reason to be sanguine about equities, so the modest slide in gold probably won’t last long. Given the recent swings, caution and safety may be the most important forces at work for some time yet.

Paul Ausick

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