Rising Gold Prices Fail to Benefit Gold Mining Companies

February 21, 2013 | Tom Salemy, CFA, CAIA, Managing Director

This week’s Chart of the Week compares gold prices to the MSCI ACWI Select Gold Miners Index. Typically, most investors would expect gold mining company returns to closely track those of gold prices. Perhaps surprising is that our chart shows that since 2010, gold prices have increased 52% while the gold miners index is down 8% over the same time-period.

Theoretically, gold mining company and gold returns should be relatively similar. In reality, though, there are many factors that cause a divergence between the two prices. For example, many mining companies will hedge a portion of their underlying commodity exposures, thus causing their earnings to vary. In addition, there are large capital costs involved with mining gold which can prevent a company from realizing the full benefits of rising gold prices.

Despite the continued lag in performance, gold miners appear attractively priced with a forward P/E ratio of 9.591. However, this week’s chart illustrates that investing directly in the bullion is the only way to ensure investors receive pure exposure to gold’s returns.

MSCI

Tom Salemy, CFA, CAIA
Managing Director

Get to Know Tom

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