Why own coins or gold bars when you can own gold exchange traded funds(ETFs) and not have to store the precious metal? It seems gold-focused ETFs are cutting down the trade of the metal through physical means. Despite a steady increase in the price of gold, sales of U.S. bullion coins are are the lowest since second quarter 2002, reports Terry Wooten of Barron’s. Two years ago, gold sales were at their highest levels since the 1999 Y2K computer scare, but since then bullion coin sales have declined. There are big commissions to be made and inefficiencies when buying and selling physical gold. More convenient ways to own gold include:

  • streetTracks Gold Shares Fund (GLD) – up 6.8% year-to-date
  • iShares Comex Gold Trust (IAU) – up 6.7% year-to-date
  • PowerShares DB Gold (DGL) – This ETF invests in gold futures, not the bullion; it was launched early in 2007.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.