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Gold

Can investors/speculators use gold as a hedge for equities or as a general safe haven? Does it hedge against inflation? These blog entries relate to gold as an asset class.

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Gold as Diversifier Versus Safe Haven

Has increasing use of gold as a portfolio diversifier changed the response of its price to crises? In their August 2012 paper entitled “The Destruction of a Safe Haven Asset?”, Dirk Baur and Kristoffer Glover examine the potential of investor behavior to extinguish the safe haven property of gold. Specifically, they consider how widespread inclusion of gold as a diversifier in investment portfolios affects gold price behavior in times of crisis. Based on theoretical conjecture and price data for gold during major financial market crises, they conclude that: Keep Reading

Safe Haven Asset Dynamics

How does the effectiveness of safe havens vary over time? In the February 2012 draft of their paper entitled “Safe Haven Assets and Investor Behaviour under Uncertainty”, Dirk Baur and Thomas McDermott examine the roles of gold and U.S. Treasury instruments as safe haven assets during times of financial markets uncertainty. They define a safe haven asset as an asset that is either uncorrelated or negatively correlated with other assets when those other assets are in distress. They focus on the effects of changes in uncertainty (shocks) on asset values and on the pairwise relationships between stocks, bonds and gold. Using daily returns in U.S. dollars for a global stock market index, U.S. Treasuries (2-year, 10-year and 30-year) and gold bullion (spot and futures) from 1980 through 2010 (more than 8,000 daily returns over 31 years), they find that: Keep Reading

Gold Seasonality Drivers

Does seasonal fear of stock market weakness or demand for jewelry drive gold prices? In his January 2012 paper entitled “The Seasonality of Gold – Jewelery Demand and Investor Behavior”, Dirk Baur examines calendar month seasonality of the price of gold. Using daily gold bullion spot prices (London fixing) and COMEX gold futures prices during 1981 through 2010 (30 years), along with contemporaneous stock market index and gold jewelry demand data, he finds that: Keep Reading

Multi-year Performance of Non-equity Leveraged ETFs

An array of leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETF) track short-term (daily) changes in commodity and currency exchange indexes. Over longer holding periods, these ETFs tend to veer off track. The cumulative veer can be large. How do leveraged ETFs perform over a multi-year period? What factors contribute to their failure to track underlying indexes? To investigate, we consider a set of 12 ProShares 2X leveraged index ETFs (six matched long-short pairs), involving a commodity index, oil, gold, silver and the euro-dollar and yen-dollar exchange rates, with the start date of 12/9/08 determined by inception of the youngest of these funds (Ultra Yen). Using daily dividend-adjusted prices for these funds over the period 12/9/08 through 11/4/11 (almost three years), we find that: Keep Reading

Comparison of Gold Alternatives

Do the different ways of investing in gold produce similar outcomes? In their September 2011 paper entitled “A Comparative Analysis of the Investment Characteristics of Alternative Gold Assets”, Tim Pullen, Karen Benson and Robert Faff examine the diversification, hedging and safe haven properties of gold bullion, ten gold stocks, 11 gold mutual funds and two gold exchange traded funds (ETFs). A diversifier exhibits a positive (but less than one) average correlation with a reference asset/portfolio. A strong (weak) hedge exhibits negative (zero) average correlation with a reference asset/portfolio. A strong (weak) safe haven exhibits negative (zero) correlation with a reference asset/portfolio during market crises. They consider non-linearity by amplifying or pre-selecting intervals of extreme negative returns for the reference asset. Using daily levels of alternative gold assets and the S&P 500 Total Return Index as a reference asset during July 1987 through June 2010 (for bullion and gold mutual funds) and February 2005 through June 2010 (for all gold alternatives), they find that: Keep Reading

Gold Bubble? No

Has the strong appreciation of gold since 2001 produced a price bubble? In their March 2011 paper entitled “Is There a Speculative Bubble in the Price of Gold?”, Jedrzej Bialkowski, Martin Bohl, Patrick Stephan and Tomasz Wisniewski measure deviations of actual gold price from its fundamental value to identify gold bubbles. They use the convenience yield model and associated monthly commodity “dividends” (benefit of holding gold rather than gold futures) to derive gold’s fundamental value. They then apply a regime-switching test to estimate whether deviations of actual gold price from fundamental value enter bubble territory over their sample period. Using daily gold spot and nearby futures contract prices and the Treasury bill yield (risk-free rate) during November 1978 through March 2010 (377 months), they find that: Keep Reading

Required Yield Theory of Gold Valuation

What is fair value for gold, which has no earnings and pays no dividend? In their 2005 paper entitled “The Price of Gold: A Global Required Yield Theory”, Christophe Faugere and Julian Van Erlach present a model of gold valuation based on a view of gold as a global store of real (inflation-adjusted) wealth. This model generates the price of gold as a function of the global investment yield required to produce a constant real after-tax return equal to long-term real growth in global GDP per capita. Capital flows to (from) gold depend on decreases (increases) in expected returns from other asset classes. Using quarterly data over the period May 1979 through May 2002, they find that: Keep Reading

Hedges and Safe Havens Across Asset Classes

How effectively and consistently do equities, bonds, oil, gold and the dollar serve as hedges and safe havens for each other? In their September 2010 paper entitled “Hedges and Safe Havens – An Examination of Stocks, Bonds, Oil, Gold and the Dollar”, Cetin Ciner, Constantin Gurdgiev and Brian Lucey investigate pairwise hedging and safe haven relationships among these five major assets/asset classes. The define an asset as a hedge (safe haven) for another if respective returns are uncorrelated or negatively correlated on average over the long term (during relatively short intervals of stress). They define the long term (relatively short intervals) as their entire sample period (rolling four-month subperiods). They define intervals of stress as returns in the lowest fourth of observations. Using daily levels of the S&P 500 Index, an index of 10-year Treasuries, nearest-month gold and oil futures and the Federal Reserve Nominal Trade Weighted Effective Index for the dollar from January 1985 through October 2009 (nearly 25 years), they find that: Keep Reading

Gold as Hedge and Safe Haven

Is gold a prototypical hedge (based on average uncorrelated or negatively correlated behavior) and safe haven (based on uncorrelated or negatively correlated behavior during a market crash)? Two recent papers address this question. In the February 2009 update of their paper entitled “Is Gold a Hedge or a Safe Haven? An Analysis of Stocks, Bonds and Gold”, Dirk Baur and Brian Lucey examine the hedging/haven behavior of gold for stocks and bonds during normal market conditions and during extreme market events. In their September 2009 paper entitled “Is Gold a Safe Haven? International Evidence”, Dirk Baur and Thomas McDermott investigate whether gold represents a safe haven with respect to stocks of major emerging and developing countries. These studies conclude that: Keep Reading

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