It has been yet another day of disappointment for shareholders of Australia’s gold miners. In early afternoon trade the S&P/ASX All Ords Gold (Index: ^AXGD) (ASX: XGD) is lower by over 2.5% as the gold price continues to trade at low levels.

At the time of writing the spot gold price is fetching US$1.171 an ounce, down around 3.5% since last week.

As you can see on the chart below, today’s decline means the gold index is down by a whopping 16% in the last month as traders head for the exits.

Source: Google Finance

Source: Google Finance

 

Notable declines today include the likes of Beadell Resources Ltd (ASX: BDR), Regis Resources Limited (ASX: RRL), St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM), Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM), Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG), and Perseus Mining Limited (ASX: PRU).

Each of these gold miners is down at least 2%, with Beadell Resources the worst of the bunch with an 8% decline today.

I suspect the prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and traders turning their attention to speculative oil shares has played a role in these declines.

Barring any market turmoil caused by the referendum in Italy on Sunday, I see no real catalyst driving the gold price higher in the next few months. For this reason I would suggest investors avoid the sector no matter how tempting it may appear after recent declines.

Instead of speculating on gold and oil shares I would suggest investors go where the smart money is going in 2017 and invest in these hot stocks.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.