Gold was on a stellar ride in the second quarter thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has raised the appeal for the metal as a great store of value and hedge against market turmoil. Notably, the bullion topped $1800 per ounce for the first time since 2011, having gained nearly 17% in the quarter. This marks the biggest quarterly gain since 2016. In the first half of the year, gold beat equities and bonds.
The central banks across the globe have adopted aggressive stimulus measures and kept interest rates low to combat the sharp economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has added to the metal’s strength. Additionally, the recent rise in geopolitical tension made investors scurry to safety. A weak U.S. dollar also contributed to gold’s hefty gain in the quarter as the benchmark ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 1.7% (read: 2 Top Sectors of Q2 & Their Top ETFs). As a result, investors continued to pile into gold-backed exchange-traded funds, with holdings at a record. The solid trend is likely to remain this quarter given the impact of coronavirus on the U.S. and global economies, increased stock market volatility, the upcoming presidential election, civil unrest in the country, and global trade friction. This coupled with the continuation of massive monetary and fiscal stimulus lent strong support to gold prices. Given this, we highlight five gold mining ETFs and stocks that led the market over the past three months. These could be excellent plays for investors who believe that gold will continue to move higher given the fundamentals remain the same. U.S. Global GO GOLD and Precious Metal Miners ETF ( GOAU Quick Quote GOAU - Free Report) : Up 56% This fund provides investors with access to companies engaged in the production of precious metals either through active (mining or production) or passive (owning royalties or production streams) means. It tracks the U.S. Global Go Gold and Precious Metal Miners Index, holding 29 stocks in its basket. Canada takes the lion’s share at 60.9%, followed by the United States (14.5%) and Australia (12%). It has amassed $91.7 million in its asset base and charges 60 bps in fees per year. Sprott Junior Gold Miners ETF ( SGDJ Quick Quote SGDJ - Free Report) : Up 54.2% This fund follows the Solactive Junior Gold Miners Custom Factors Index, which measures the performance of junior gold producers with the strongest revenue growth and junior exploration companies with the strongest stock price momentum. It holds 42 stocks in its basket with Canadian firms making the largest share at 47.6%, followed by Australia (17.3%) and the United States (17.1%). The fund has amassed $72.3 million in its asset base and trades in moderate volume of around 31,000 shares a day. It charges 50 bps in annual fees from investors. VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF ( GDXJ Quick Quote GDXJ - Free Report) – Up 54.2% GDXJ is a small-cap centric ETF that tracks the MVIS Global Junior Gold Miners Index. Holding 79 stocks in its basket, Canadian firms dominate the fund’s portfolio at 46.2%, while Australia (22.9%) and South Africa (9.9%) round out the top three. The product has AUM of $5.2 billion and charges 53 bps in annual fees. It trades in heavy volume of around 18.1 million shares a day on average (read: Get Ready for a Gold Rush: ETFs in Focus). Global X Gold Explorers ETF ( GOEX Quick Quote GOEX - Free Report) : Up 53.8% The ETF provides exposure to companies involved in the exploration of gold deposits and tracks the Solactive Global Gold Explorers & Developers Total Return Index. It is home to 50 stocks, and Canadian firms dominate the fund’s return at 50.6% followed by Australia (25.8%) and the United States (5.9%). The fund is unpopular and illiquid with AUM of $46.2 million and average daily volume of 17,000 shares. Expense ratio comes in at 0.65%. VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX Quick Quote GDX - Free Report) : Up 38.6% This is the most-popular and actively traded gold miner ETF with AUM of $15.8 billion and average daily volume of around 52.4 million shares. The fund follows the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, holding 54 stocks in its basket. Canadian firms account for half of the portfolio, while the United States (19.5%) and Australia (14.3%) round off the next two spots. The fund charges 52 bps in annual fees. Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited ( HMY Quick Quote HMY - Free Report) : Up 86.4% It is engaged in the exploration, extraction, and processing of gold. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of A. It has a market cap of $2.4 billion. Gold Standard Ventures Corporation : Up 73.1% This precious metal exploration & gold mining company is focused on district scale gold discoveries within North Central Nevada. With a market cap of $253.5 million, it has a Zacks Rank #2 and Momentum Score of B (read: Sector ETFs & Stocks to Explode as Fed Remains Dovish). Sandstorm Gold Ltd ( SAND Quick Quote SAND - Free Report) : Up 66.1% This gold streaming company is engaged in providing upfront financing for gold mining companies. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of F. Sandstorm Gold has a market cap of $1.8 billion. Agnico Eagle Mines Limited ( AEM Quick Quote AEM - Free Report) : Up 37.8% With AUM of $15.2 billion, this gold producer has mining operations in Canada, Mexico and Finland, and exploration activities in Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States. It has a Zacks Rank #2 and Momentum Score of A. Asanko Gold Inc. ( GAU Quick Quote GAU - Free Report) : Up 30.4% This mining services company is principally engaged in the exploration and development of gold fields. It has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and VGM Score of B. The stock has a market cap of $309.1 million. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>