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Should you put some gold miners in your share portfolio?

Credit: Szaaman

Gold investors are feeling the heat again today.

While shares across the sector rose strongly on Thursday, reflecting another rise in the spot gold price, most are trading in the red again today after gold prices retreated overnight. Beadell Resources Ltd (ASX: BDR), for instance, has retreated a little over 4%, while EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) has also declined 3.2%.

Indeed, this is something investors have rightfully come to expect from investing in the resources space. Most resources businesses are heavily reliant on a rising – or at least a steady – price for the commodities they produce in order to grow or maintain their earnings.

So just as BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX: BHP) earnings are impacted when iron ore or oil prices fall, Beadell Resources and Evolution Mining, as well as Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) are impacted when gold prices fall.

Gold has generated significant gains for many investors since the beginning of the year in large part thanks to global uncertainty surrounding U.S. interest rates and the U.K.’s Brexit vote in June. But while it enjoyed one of its strongest rallies in living memory earlier this year, gold prices have since faltered. One ounce of the shiny metal is now fetching US$1,265, compared to more than US$1,360 in August.

It’s impossible to tell with any certainty where it will go from here. While some think it will continue to rise, it’s also fair to assume the spot gold price will decline when the U.S. Federal Reserve resumes its interest rate hikes. After all, gold doesn’t yield anything, so when higher interest rates (and thus higher returns) are offered elsewhere, many investors will sell their gold in favour of bonds or term deposits.

In reality, gold can be viewed as a vehicle for speculation. Doug Turek of Professional Wealth takes a similar stance, with The Australian Financial Review quoting him as saying:

Gold is worse than a nil-income producing asset, because it actually costs you to hold gold physically or via a financial instrument,” Turek says. “Since gold produces no income it is technically fair to say it is not an investment. It is something you speculate on – that its price will rise before you sell it.”

Gold prices could rise from their current levels. And if they do, expect the gold producers mentioned above to benefit. But gold is by no means guaranteed to continue rising. If it falls instead, it’s reasonable to expect the miners themselves would follow suite. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman 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.

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