The HUI continues to lose value against the price of gold bullion as evidenced by a continued deterioration in the ratio of the price of the HUI to the price of an ounce of gold.
We are reminded continually of two things that have led to this abysmal performance of the gold shares which are rapidly losing speculative interest in favor of the ETF.
The first is the risk of investing in companies that are subject to surprises which happened to Hecla and recently to Kinross. Hedge funds and other large investment groups or players seeing this say to themselves, "Why risk this sort of thing when we can get LEVERAGED EXPOSURE" to the gold price by buying the gold ETF on margin".
There is no such risk inherent in the ETF. No one worries about nationalization of the ETF or environmental lawsuits or some bureaucratic agency shutting it down to clean up debris in a mine.
Secondly -this then leads us to the ratio spread trade. Buy the actual metal either through the ETF or the physical stuff (or even the Comex) and take a corresponding short position in some of the mining companies to further minimize the risk of investing in gold.
This shows up in the rotten performance of the gold shares in general as they continue to decline against the price of bullion . Note that the line goes nearly straight down since the beginning of 2011 with a brief exception of a lousy two months last year.
If one wanted to devise a mechanism to deliberately depress the price of the mining shares they could not have come up with a better mechanism to do so than the gold ETF. The lesson in this is that investors must be extremely selective in choosing gold mining companies to invest in and not just blindly throw money into the sector and thereby hope to be successful. As long as the Gold ETF is in existence, the hedge funds are going to use it as the long leg of these spread trades and actively seek out the weaker gold mining companies to short. At this point I am not sure what it is going to take to reverse this trade as traders will stick with a strategy as long as it works and not a day longer. Long suffering gold mining share owners should continue to press management to take the steps necessary to make it more difficult to short their shares successfully. Failing that they can always pray for a takeover or acquisition!
"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat
Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput
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