Global tensions over the world's ongoing economic crisis were high going into last week's G20 summit. Ostensibly, the meeting should have cooled things down. But it seems instead to have only turned up the heat. And as a result, gold, after soaring for months to new heights, may have finally reached its melting point.

Leaders met to tackle the economic woes plaguing the entirety of the developed and developing world. But there seemed to be a lot less globally minded problem-solving than domestic agenda-pushing.

Instead of addressing the most pressing issues, like Ireland's meltdown, or Europe's debt crisis, G20 got mired down in conflicts of interest between nations. Like the showdown between the U.S. and China.

China is fed up with the influx of hot money flowing from low-interest rate U.S. to its high-interest rate self, destroying its asset prices. Meanwhile, the U.S. keeps pressing China to boost its yuan. In the end, the conference failed to move past the impasse, producing even more uncertainty.

And all this global discord makes for a whole lot of nervous investors. Concerns over Ireland and the spread of its banking crisis caused the U.S. dollar to rally to its highest level since September -- bad news for gold prices, since a strong dollar tends to weaken the appeal of commodities.

But in spite of its recent decline, don't count out gold altogether. Apart from adding fuel to the global fire, this next round of quantitative easing also devalues the dollar. And with the state of currency so precarious, there may still be more upside for gold yet to come ...

If you're interested in investing in gold stocks, where do you begin? One way to start is to look to the Motley Fool community's CAPS ratings, a measure of readers' sentiment about an investment. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

Here is a list of four-star gold stocks, according to the Motley Fool community, ranked by annual performance. These are the gold stocks with the highest CAPS ratings ...

Company

Performance Over Last Year

Motley Fool CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Great Basin Gold (NYSE: GBG)

63.86%

****

Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSE: NAK)

20.27%

****

Central GoldTrust (NYSE: GTU)

15.15%

****

Rubicon Minerals (NYSE: RBY)

-4.94%

****

Royal Gold (Nasdaq: RGLD)

-5.16%

****

Northgate Minerals (NYSE: NXG)

-8.46%

****

Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC)

-10.15%

****

Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY)

-15.03%

****

Jaguar Mining (NYSE: JAG)

-42.10%

****

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare analyst ratings for all the stocks mentioned above.


Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Alicia Sellitti do not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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