The price of gold broke through $1,600 an ounce earlier this month and rose to a record high of $1,632.30 on Friday.A jump in spending by the world’s top gold companies is clouding the outlook for their stocks, even as share prices lag bullion’s surge and miners are booking record profits.The price of gold has risen about 15 per cent this year as the eurozone debt crisis and fears of a US default have boosted investment in the precious metal, often viewed as a safe haven and a store of value.That came after anemic US economic growth data raised the prospect of a recession if Congress can’t break the deadlock over the US debt ceiling. Newmont Mining’s Chief Executive Richard O’Brien, for one, expects gold to reach $1,750 an ounce next year.“Everybody’s asking, ‘why aren’t the stocks higher, gold is making new highs?’ And basically it’s because gold stocks are stocks and right now everybody is being fairly cautious,” said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.“The second reason is that there’s fear of a pullback, so people are saying let’s wait for the pullback. The third reason is competition from the gold ETFs they are gobbling up much of the dollars out there the haven dollars,” he said.ETFs, or exchange traded funds, let investors participate in the run-up in bullion prices without exposing themselves to project delays, labor issues and other risks that companies might face. That has made ETFs an attractive alternative to gold stocks.Even with those concerns, some say current valuations make gold stocks an compelling buying opportunity.“There is a huge opportunity that’s been overlooked in some of these major gold mining companies such as Newmont and Barrick, which are selling at very cheap valuations,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist of broker-dealer Janney Montgomery Scott, which oversees $54 billion in assets.
From / Gulf Today