Take a look at recent headlines on gold this week. It seems the mainstream financial media is taking a shine to the metal as the price jumps, over $1,150/oz today. A lot of the commentary has been positive – casting gold as the safe-haven asset as other financial asset classes tumble (like stocks). You may wonder if the splash of pixels helps reignite some broader appeal for gold buying among the masses, at least boosting some demand for coins and bars at the dealers. We’ll see. At any rate, it’s been a while since gold got this much play and interest as an investment in the mainstream media. Here’s a look at what publications are saying:
A snazzy little video accompanies this piece that focuses on gold as a safe-haven investment. A respectable-sounding narrator says, “Its value stems from its rarity” and notes that all gold mined through history would fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools. He links gold’s traditional use as a currency and recalls the gold standard in the U.S. that lasted up until Nixon, more or less.
“For investors, though, its value still glitters in times of crisis. Its value peaked at $1,900 an ounce in 2011,” the male narrator says. “And demand often spikes during times of market stress as investors look for a safe haven.”
He warns, however, of the downside, offering some not-so pithy analysis. “Despite the allure, gold is not immune to economic realities. A slowdown in China has pulled its price down, and its uses are limited. It’s primary purpose today is for jewellery.”
Not sure it’s fair to blame China, but moving on.
He ends, connecting gold to its emotional allure. “Still, many today follow in the footsteps of Spanish Conquistadors and Cortez, who said, I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart that can be cured only with gold.
More safe-haven talk here.
“People flock to gold when they think there are tough economic times on the horizon,” Time notes. “So it’s no surprise that the precious metal’s recent rise has corresponded with the stock market’s slide. The Dow is down more than 7% to date while the Nasdaq is off by about 10%. Falling oil prices and a slowdown in China have compounded fears about the economy.”
Further, Time says: “many investors are now betting that the Fed will hold off on its plan to raise interest rates four times.” The suggestion here: this could be good for gold. Time adds, however. “If they’re wrong, of course, gold prices could take a big dive.”
Bloomberg: There’s a Rush for Gold ETFs
Bloomberg goes for both a broadcast clip and an article. While the opening in the broadcast is negative, the article doesn’t cast gold in a hugely negative light. It reinforces the safe-haven appeal of gold albeit with strong language, like linking gold’s allure to market paranoia.
Bad stuff first. In the clip a Bloomberg broadcaster opens with a gold-nasty quote attributed to Bloomberg’s Matt Winkler, Emeritus Editor-In-Chief.
“On casual inspection, it’s easy to conclude that the price of gold has nowhere to go but up after a four-year slide. But look a little harder.”
“Gold has fallen a lot faster and a lot harder before.”
But the accompanying analysis isn’t so negative, reinforcing gold’s safe-haven status.
“As people pile into gold exchange-traded funds at the fastest rate in more than a year, it’s clear that the precious metal’s appeal as the ultimate safe haven now extends well beyond the universe of dollar-doubters and doomsayers otherwise known as ”gold bugs,'” a Bloomberg analyst says.
The analyst concludes, looking at gold ETF inflows: “Watching the flows on these four ETFs in the months to come will tell a lot about how much fear—and downright paranoia—there is in the financial markets.”
Barron’s: Gold is Winning Believers in 2016
Finally there’s Barron’s. It leads with: “It’s been a lonely few years for gold bulls.” It notes how the narrative of QE/gold-going-up didn’t work out as expected for gold bulls in recent years (or not yet?). But ultimately Barron’s highlights gold’s broader appeal to mainstream investors these days. Some may now be more willing to consider parking a bit more cash in gold, and for that matter, to take a harder look at the equities.
“But each passing day in 2016 seems to turn market watchers bullish,” Barron’s notes. “Pavilion Global Markets, a macro-oriented research firm, this week notes this week that the headwinds for the yellow metal appear to be abating. Moreover, they contend that the outlook for gold in 2016 is the best since 2011.”
Indeed, it has been a while since we’ve heard this kind of talk.