During periods of crisis, investors often flee risky asset classes and invest in assets or commodities that they feel will hold value. Gold is a prime example.

Gold is relatively rare and it is respected across borders; therefore, unlike currencies, it is believed to hold its value over time. And gold's value isn't just speculation: Historic charts show that gold spiked from about $150 dollars an ounce in the mid-1970s to around $1,400 an ounce in 2010. As fears of volatility took hold in 2010, gold prices skyrocketed. The question is, what's the best way to invest in it? (Think the value of gold is unshakable? Read The Gold Standard Revisited to learn about its rise and fall.)
IN PICTURES: 10 Tips For The Successful Long-Term Investor

Investing in Gold
While collecting jewelry with a high gold content or gold coins is the method preferred by some, there are downsides to consider. For example, there is the issue of finding a safe place to store such merchandise. Finding a buyer for a particular piece may also be difficult. Plus, there is sometimes a very big markup on certain pieces. The simplest method would be to buy a Gold ETF, such as SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSE:GLD) or the iShares Gold Trust ETF (NYSE:IAU).

But there is an alternative for investors who want to gain exposure to gold: the stock market. Check out these five simple gold stock plays.


Company Market Capitalization YTD %Return
Fronteer Gold Inc (NYSE:FRG) 1.74B +202%
Nevsun Resources Ltd. (AMEX:NSU) 1.39B +192%
US Gold Corporation (NYSE:UXG) 0.89B +158%
Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE:ABX) 51.43B +32.1%
Entree Gold Inc. (AMEX:EGI) 0.36B +30.5%

The Risks
Investors need to also understand is that the price of gold can fluctuate widely. In 1980, the price of gold had risen to about $850 an ounce, a huge increase given that just a couple of years prior it was trading under $200. But not too long after that spike, gold lost a bit of its luster, and the price floundered until 2005 when interest started to pick up again. As such, investors who purchased at or near the top of the market in the 1980s had to wait about 25 years to recoup their investments. (To learn how to combine technicals and fundamentals to confirm trends in this commodity, read A Holistic Approach To Trading Gold.)

Bottom Line
Investors tend to flock to gold in times of market crisis. Widespread international acceptance and recognition of this circumstance makes it likely that this trend will continue in the future. Adding a little gold to your portfolio might help you mitigate risk; the five stocks presented here are a great starting point for your gold stock search. (For further reading, check out Does It Still Pay To Invest In Gold? and Getting Into The Gold Market.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Mkts

    Learn more about the PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets ETF, a fundamentally weighted fund that tracks emerging market equities.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Cali AMT-Free Muni Bond

    Learn more about the iShares California AMT-Free Municipal Bond exchange-traded fund, a popular tax-advantaged ETF that dominates its category.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend

    Learn more about the SDPR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend Fund, a yield-focused exchange-traded fund tracking global emerging economies.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: First Trust Dow Jones Global Sel Div

    Find out about the First Trust Dow Jones Global Select Dividend Index Fund, and learn detailed information about characteristics and suitability of the fund.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: U.S 12 Month Natural Gas

    Learn about the United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund, an exchange-traded fund that invests in 12-month futures contracts for natural gas.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Floating Rate Bond

    Explore detailed analysis and information of the iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF, and learn how to use this ETF as a defense against rising interest rates.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares UltraPro Short S&P500

    Find out information about the ProShares UltraPro Short S&P 500 exchange-traded fund, and learn detailed analysis of its characteristics and suitability.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR Barclays Investment Grd Fl Rt

    Learn more about the SPDR Barclays Investment Grade Floating Rate Fund, which tracks an index of highly rated floating debt securities.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ALPS Medical Breakthroughs

    Learn more about a unique and innovative exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the biotechnology industry: the ALPS Medical Breakthroughs Fund.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares US Healthcare

    Learn about the iShares U.S. Healthcare exchange-traded fund, which invests in a wide range of health care providers, hospitals and home care facilities.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

    A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets ...
  3. Exchange-Traded Mutual Funds (ETMF)

    Investopedia explains the definition of exchange-traded mutual ...
  4. Hard-To-Sell Asset

    An asset that is extremely difficult to dispose of either due ...
  5. Sucker Yield

    When an investor has essentially risked all of his capital for ...
  6. Lion economies

    A nickname given to Africa's growing economies.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does a high turnover ratio signify for an investment fund?

    If an investment fund has a high turnover ratio, it indicates it replaces most or all of its holdings over a one-year period. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Does index trading increase market vulnerability?

    The rise of index trading may increase the overall vulnerability of the stock market due to increased correlations between ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!