Since hitting $1,900 an ounce through the beginning of October, gold has declined nearly 11 percent. Over the same timeframe, the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index lost almost 13 percent. That’s a closer performance correlation than the roughly 3-to-1 gold equities to bullion ratio we’ve historically seen and could mean the miners are finally closing the gap.
However, TD Securities Equity Research points out this interesting fact: Over a period of 18 months prior to hitting $1,900, gold rose 79 percent but TD’s basket of gold equities only increased 57 percent. The firm says this performance gap “ranks as the worst relative performance of gold equities to gold since 2001.” During the July through September period of 2008, TD Securities’ universe of gold equities declined 46 percent, while gold bullion only lost 24 percent. In October through November of 2008, the same gold equities lost 37 percent; while gold decreased 22 percent.
What’s behind today’s record disparity?
Part of it may be due to the underperformance of the explorers and developers, which, TD says, “have been hit the hardest.” The chart below shows gold miners by capitalization and their returns since April 2011. Explorers and developers have declined the most, losing 21 percent, small- and mid-cap producers have declined 6 percent and large producers lost 5 percent.
Because of the dramatic price decline in these early-stage companies, investors have the opportunity to purchase explorers & developers (E&D), often referred to as juniors, at about half of the company’s net asset value (NAV). In simplest terms, the NAV means assets minus liabilities. In fact, you can see from the chart that the current price-to-NAV level for E&D equities is sitting near record low levels…levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008.
TD found that in seven of the past 10 rallies, gold equities beat gold—averaging a beta of 1.4 times. Looking over the next year or so, we believe the smaller gold miners may be poised to outperform this time. As TD says, “on a rebound, we expect the best performing equities to be among the ranks of the explorers and developers.”
From the article entitled, “Which Gold Miners Have Largest Upside?” by Frank Holmes. Frank Holmes is chief executive officer of U.S. Global Investors – a registered investment adviser that manages approximately $2.8 billion. The information provided herein has been provided to MiningFeeds.com by the author and, as such, is subject to our disclaimer: CLICK HERE.