The year 2018 has been a downer for gold prices, and the only good thing to say about it is that 2019 might be better. Gold prices should rebound from about $1,225 in mid-October 2018 to as much as $1,400 in 2019 if the U.S. dollar weakens, according to Bloomberg. That would be a price level last seen in 2013.
You don’t have to stash away a Canadian Maple Leaf or a South African Krugerrand to dabble in gold investing. There are mutual funds that invest in foreign and domestic gold-mining stocks, physical gold and any security linked to the underlying metal's price.
The Toqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX)
The Tocqueville Gold Fund ("TGLDX) has been a consistent top performer in its category. It is one of few that invest a large portion of their assets directly in physical gold, which has less price volatility than the stocks of gold mining companies. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the fund has 73% of its assets in foreign stocks, 6% in domestic stocks and nearly 15% in gold bullion. Its top holding as of late 2018 was in gold bars, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the fund.
TGLDX was having a bad year in 2018, dropping from $39.36 at the start of the year to $29.60 as of Oct. 11, 2018. Over five years, it dropped about 25 percent.
It has no sales load, but its 1.43% expense ratio is above average for its category.
The Vanguard Global Capital Cycles Fund Investor Shares (VGPMX)
Formerly called the Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund ("VGPMX"), this should be considered a top choice in its category because of its extremely low expense ratio. Its assets are diversified well beyond gold-related securities, with holdings in companies engaged in the exploration, mining and processing of gold, silver, diamonds, platinum and other precious metals or minerals. The fund may invest up to 100% of its assets in foreign securities.
Its top holdings as of late 2018 included Aqnico Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM), Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) and B2Gold Corp (NYSEAMERICAN:BTG).
It is a no-load fund with one of the lowest expense ratios for its category at 0.35%.
VGPMX sank in 2018, from $10.87 at start of year to $7.97 in mid-October. Over five years, it was practically flat.
Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio (FSAGX)
Although its primary focus is on gold-related securities, the Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio ("FSAGX") is diversified into other precious metals and minerals, such as silver, platinum and diamonds. It invests a minimum 80% of its assets in gold-related securities as well as physical gold. Its top holdings in mid-October 2018 included Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM), Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD) and B2GoldCorp (NYSEAMERICAN:BTG).
The fund has an expense ratio of 0.93%.
FSAGX started 2018 at $20.92 and dropped to $16.25. For the five-year period it was down about 20 percent.
U.S. Global Investors Gold & Precious Metals Fund (USERX)
U.S. Global Investors introduced the nation’s first no-load gold fund in 1974 and it has been a consistent top performer since.
The U.S. Global Investors Gold & Precious Metals Fund ("USERX") was one of the best-performing gold-focused funds of 2015, losing only 14.66%. The fund invests primarily in companies engaged in the mining, fabrication and processing of precious metals and minerals including gold, silver, platinum and diamonds. It actively seeks opportunities in emerging markets that offer greater upside potential.
As of Sept. 30, 2015, it held 79% of its assets in foreign securities, 6% in domestic securities and 9% in cash. Among its top holdings as of mid-October 2018 were St Barbara Ltd (OTC:STBMY), Klondex Mines Ltd (OTC:HAVXF) and Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd. (OTC:WDOFF).
It has a 2.05% expense ratio, which is high for its category.
USERX started 2018 at $8.03 and fell to $6.54 by mid-October. For the five-year period, it was down a fraction of a percent.