January 23, 2012
The SPDR Gold (NYSE: GLD ) ETF is up more than 240% since 2004. The S&P 500 stock index is about flat over that period.
Gold has unquestionably been one of the best, if not the best, assets to own in recent years. While high-quality blue chip stocks that more than doubled earnings have stagnated -- Wal-Mart and Microsoft fit that bill -- precious metals stocks like Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW ) and Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY ) have been staggering successes.
But when it comes to the question of what comes next, there is room for debate. It is a classic investing miscalculation to assume that what has done well in the past will do well in the future. History proves it's usually the other way around.
A recent Gallup poll asked investors what they think will be the best long-term investment. Thirty-four percent said gold; 17% said stocks. I asked Yale economist Robert Shiller what he thought about that statistic in an exclusive interview last month. Here's what he had to say:
More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
If you are looking for a company whose success is determined by the metals market, but without involving itself in the risks of physically mining the metals, then Silver Wheaton provides a unique play on the future of silver. SLW chooses to finance the mining of silver; it has grown sales and net income every year since 2008, and also has increased competitive advantages over its limited peer group. More details
about our outlook for Silver Wheaton can be found here
in our Motley Fool analyst report.