The bout of geopolitical risks have revealed weak openings in the ongoing rally in U.S. equities.
Given the markets’ susceptibility to short-term swings as witnessed by recent events, investors should still consider safe-haven plays like precious metals-related exchange traded funds to help keep their portfolios steady in times of uncertainty.
“Expect that hype in geopolitical volatility to be a short-term driver to boost safe haven demand for gold and to a lesser extent silver,” Maxwell Gold, Director of Investment Strategy at ETF Securities, told ETF Trends in a call.
Specifically, investors funneled $42 million into long-gold exchange traded products as bullish sentiment soured following the launch of U.S. missile strikes on Syria in response to chemical attacks, Morgane Delledonne, Fixed Income Strategist for ETF Securities, said in a research note.
The attack on Syria triggered a stern condemnation from Russian President Putin, whom suspended agreements with the U.S. to avoid hostile standoffs in the Syrian airspace. The subsequent escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Russia added to market concerns and led to a rise in safe-haven assets, like gold.
Further adding to the jittery markets, North Korea warned of a nuclear strike if provoked and President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the U.S. would “solve the problem.”
“It seems like a perfect storm of factors re-pricing the reflation trade that we’ve seen since the election,” Michael Lorizio, a senior trader at Manulife Asset Management, told Bloomberg. “As the global macro picture gets muddied a bit by some strong words from North Korea and the president’s tweets, that’s spooked markets that were already in a bit of a risk-off tone to begin with.”
Comex gold futures were up 1.8% Tuesday to $1,276.2 per ounce, climbing to a five-month high.
While these events may help prop up precious metals over the short-term, gold may still have legs in the long-term as well.
“But at the same time, macro factors that drive the U.S. economy are going to continue to be beneficial for investment demand for gold globally,” Maxwell told ETF Trends. “The likelihood of two further rate hikes by the Fed this year have already been priced in. And we’ve been seeing this behavior as we approach closer to June.”
Given the negative effects of a Federal Reserve rate hike and a strengthening U.S. dollar would have on gold have already been priced in, other fundamental factors, such as increased demand from the emerging markets, may continue to support gold’s outlook over the long-haul.
Consequently, investors who want to use precious metals as a short-term hedge and even a long-term play on improving fundamentals may consider a number of physically backed metals-related ETFs as a way to diversify a traditional stock and portfolio, including ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL), ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR), ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSEArca: PPLT) and ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEArca: PALL). ETF investors can also use the ETFS Physical Precious Metals Basket Shares (NYSEArca: GLTR) as a catch-all of all four precious metals.
For more information on the metals market, visit our precious metals category.