After struggling through much of this year, the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the world’s largest exchange traded fund backed by physical holdings of gold, is up more than 3% in the fourth quarter and some market observers see the potential for more upside ahead for the yellow metal.

“As many of you know, December has historically been a strong month for stocks,” reports ETF Daily News. “But fears of a slowdown in global growth, rising interest rates and the U.S.-China trade war have prompted many investors to pare down their stocks in favor of gold, often perceived as a safe haven in times of economic and financial instability.”

Over the past three months, GLD rose almost 4%, whereas the S&P 500 posted a double-digit loss. Since the start of October, when U.S. equities began to fall off, GLD has attracted $865 million in net inflows on increased safe-haven demand.

The World Gold Council also noted that money flowed back into gold-backed ETFs in October and November after four consecutive monthly outflows.

“So far this quarter, gold has crushed the market, returning more than 5 percent as of December 18, compared to negative 11.9 percent for the S&P 500 Index,” according to ETF Daily News,.

Looking For Upside

Data indicate professional traders have been nibbling at gold from the long side and if the Federal Reserve slows its pace of rate hikes next year, bullion could benefit.