ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Gold and its exchange traded funds (ETFs) are real attention hogs. Sure, the metal is pretty to look at. It’s shiny. But it’s also being outperformed by other decidedly less sexy metals.

streetTRACKS Gold Trust (GLD) and iShares COMEX Gold (IAU) are not too shabby: they’re up year-to-date by 6.3% and 5.7%, respectively.

That’s all well and good, but consider:

  • Market Vectors Steel (SLX) is up 14% year-to-date
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 12.7% year-to-date
  • PowerShares DB Base Metals (DBB) is up 17.2% year-to-date

So, why does gold get the lion’s share of the headlines, even as it’s retreated from record prices? It dipped below $900 on Thursday, falling almost 15% off those records, reports Atul Prakash for Reuters. The metal rose slightly today but it’s expected that more downward pressure lies ahead, as some concerns about the credit crisis have eased.

Growth in emerging markets is fueling much of the demand for steel and other metals with industrial applications, such as silver and copper (futures for which are held in DBB, along with aluminum and zinc).

Yesterday, we noted that China has doubled its number of steel factories in the last few years. Silver is scarce, as well, with dealers paying a premium over the spot price. A strike at a Chilean copper mine run by the world’s largest copper producer also raised concern that prices will increase as supplies fall, reports Claudia Carpenter for Bloomberg.

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For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GLD.

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.