When it comes to gold, it could be feeling like the 1980s all over again and one factor is exchange traded funds (ETFs). Break out the leg warmers and dance like Jennifer Beals, right?

Not so fast — please. Investor’s Business Daily says that while the recent behavior of gold might seem similar to what happened way back in the days of ill-advised fashion choices, looks can be deceiving. In 1980, gold was pushed up to $870 an ounce, a spike that lasted just a few days before eventually dropping to $500. The price hike followed on the heels of a falling dollar.

In 2007, gold is up and the dollar is down. This time around, those who watch the precious metal are betting the the high prices stay that way, thanks to changes in the way gold is regulated and sold.

That other factor in the price spike? ETFs. They’ve provided a hassle-free way for ordinary people to invest in the commodity. It’s estimated the 80% to 90% of gold ETF shareholders are people who haven’t previously bought or sold it.

A few of the gold-related ETFs and their performance this year:

  • iShares COMEX Gold Trust (IAU), up 22.5% year-to-date
  • PowerShares DB Gold (DGL), up 22.5% year-to-date
  • streetTRACKS Gold Shares (GLD), up 22.9% year-to-date

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.