Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
With gold falling hard yesterday when the stock market rose, you'd expect that the yellow metal might rebound when stocks dropped today. Yet, the gains for gold prices were muted, at best, with spot gold finishing up just $3 per ounce, to $1,246, giving the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEMKT:GLD) a gain of about a quarter of a percent. Silver's moves were even less inspiring, with a tiny $0.03 per ounce spot-price gain translating to a 0.2% loss for the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT:SLV) due to the slight differences in timing between the close of the spot market and the end of the trading day for ETFs. Platinum fell $10 per ounce, to $1,369, and palladium gave back $5, to an even $700 per ounce, extending their gains from recent days.
Still, from a slightly longer-term perspective, investors can't be too upset about January's performance. Gold climbed about $50 per ounce for the month, posting its first winning month in five months. One negative factor that's hurting gold, however, is that weakness in emerging markets is driving investor demand in the U.S. dollar as a safe-haven currency, and dollar strength tends to pressure gold prices. In addition, with the key Chinese market taking its New Year pause, a key driver of physical demand for gold will be temporarily absent from the trading arena.
Gold miners overall were relatively flat, with the Market Vectors Gold Miners Index (NYSEMKT:GDX) finishing down $0.01 per share. But that flat performance masked volatility among individual gold stocks, with Newmont Mining falling 10% in reaction to the preliminary figures it released last night that suggested higher costs ahead for the gold giant. Yet, Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) moved in the opposite direction, rising more than 3%, as indications look more favorable that its hostile takeover bid for Osisko could succeed. Despite threats of litigation, Goldcorp investors hope that the company can cash in on Osisko's Canadian Malartic mine, which boasts relatively inexpensive costs that make it look even more attractive after gold's price declines. In the end, Goldcorp might have to boost its bid, but that might still be a good deal for the miner in the long run once gold prices recover.
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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.