Strong Jobs Report Only Adds More Uncertainty for Gold and Gold Miners

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Gold has had a rough month, and the major gains of 2016 have not been repeated across the board in 2017. It turns out that a strong payrolls report from the U.S. Department of Labor is just that much more uncertainty. Gold has managed to rise and fall by 0.4% so far on Friday.

The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added some 222,000 jobs in June, almost 50,000 more jobs than expected. Payrolls were revised higher for May and April as well. Lackluster wage growth and a slightly higher unemployment rate may have helped gold from selling off even more on Friday.

24/7 Wall St. has noticed that the largest gold stocks have generally had a rough 2017, and most are way down from a year ago and from their 52-week highs. A screen from FINVIZ showed just how bad some of the performance has been after gold recently hit a four-month low. Gold was recently down 0.5% at $1,217 but then was back up by the same 0.4% to $1,225 per ounce — but at 11:00 am Eastern time the shiny yellow metal was down 0.2% at $1,217.35.

The pressure on gold of late has been after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and set the path for more rate hikes ahead. It seems that the big-zero interest rate and dividend from gold matters if rates are going to start rewarding savers again.

24/7 Wall St. has screened the top gold stocks with a market cap of $5 billion or more. The performance metrics have been weak almost unilaterally in the past week and the past month. Still, some are still up year to date and from this time a year ago. And all these have come down substantially from their 52-week highs.

Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) was down just 0.25% at $15.62 on last look, but its shares are down about 2% so far in 2017. What matters here is not that the shares were down 8% over the past month but that they are down 32% from this time in 2016. Barrick has an $18.0 billion market cap. Its shares were last seen down 0.8% at $15.53, in a 52-week trading range of $13.81 to $22.94.

Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) is barely behind Barrick in market cap at $17.0 billion. Newmont shares are now down 5% so far in 2017, but the stock is down almost 9% in the past month and down 22% from a year ago.  Newmont shares were last seen down 0.7% at $32.04, and they have a 52-week range of $30.19 to $46.07.

Franco-Nevada Corp. (NYSE: FNV), also Canadian, has a $12.6 billion market cap and is still up 18% so far in 2017. Even though it is down 7% over the past month, Franco-Nevada shares are down 11% from this time in 2016. They were last seen down 1% at $69.79, and the 52-week range is $53.31 to $81.16.

Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) is next in line at $11.1 billion. Its shares are down 6% so far in 2017, and after a 9% drop in the past month the stock price is down about 36% from this time a year ago. Goldcorp was last trading down 2.6% at $12.46, and its 52-week range is $11.91 to $20.14.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (NYSE: AEM) is still valued at $10.0 billion, but its shares are still up more than 4% so far in 2017, even after dropping by 13% over the past month, and it is down 22% from this time a year ago. Agnico Eagle was down 1.3% at $43.40, and it has a 52-week range of $35.05 to $60.10.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD) still has a market cap north of $8.1 billion, but its shares were down 1.7% at $85.89. They are up 14% so far in 2017, but the stock is down 30% from this time a year ago. Randgold Resources shares were last seen down 1.7% at $85.90, and they have a 52-week range of $67.54 to $124.00.

Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD) was last seen down only 0.3% at $77.06, and the company still has a $5 billion market cap. Shares have done the best of the larger gold plays in 2017, with its stock up 22% so far this year. Despite being down almost 4% in the past month, the stock is down just 1% from this time last year. Royal Gold shares were last seen down 0.7% at $76.78, in a 52-week range of $60.21 to $87.74.

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) shows how the gold miners as a whole have done, and what matters here is that its total investor net assets of $7.9 billion means that it can swing the gold stocks wildly. That exchange traded funds was down 1.8% at $21.10 on Friday morning. It has a 52-week trading range of $18.58 to $31.79, so it has also lost a third of its value from the peak, and would have to rally almost 50% to challenge its 52-week high again.