Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.The Greatest Stock Market Crash Of Your Life Is Just Ahead… – Warns Harry Dent - GoldCore
2.Budget 2016: Borrowing, Lifetime ISA, House Prices, Economy, Syria, Brexit and Stocks - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Gold Price Intermediate Top - Clive_Maund
4.Brussels Terror Attacks, Death of the European Union, BrExit Wake up Call - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Stock Market Maybe This Time is Different? - Tony_Caldaro
6.UK House Asking Prices Break Above £300k! Housing Market Paralysis - Nadeem_Walayat
7.A Big Reason Why Silver Price Is Set To Soar - Hubert_Moolman
8.The Financial Crisis Has Just Begun; Is The American Dream Is Over? - Chris_Vermeulen
9.Gold Stocks Spring Rally - Zeal_LLC
10.GLX, GLDX, Baby Gold Bull Market Stillborn? - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
arclays 100% Mortgage Pours Fuel on UK House Prices Bull Market - 5th May 16
Central Planners Versus Contrarian Logic - 5th May 16
Euro Desperation will achieve Self Destruction - MAP Wave Analysis - 5th May 16
Stocks Extended Their Short-Term Downtrend But Will They Continue Lower? - 5th May 16
Monetary Liquifaction, Gold And The Time Of The Vulture - 5th May 16
US 2016 Election Is a Global Risk - 5th May 16
A Few Facts About Gold That Nay-Sayers Conveniently Ignore - 5th May 16
Save the Environment and Your Retirement: Sell Tesla - 4th May 16
Silver Bullion Has Key New Player – China Replaces JP Morgan - 4th May 16
Gold Stock Picks Up Over 400%, What's Next ? - 4th May 16
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: Puerto Rico Needs Urgent Action - 4th May 16
Technical Trading Mastery for Traders & Investors - 4th May 16
Derivatives Crisis Of Banks…Worldwide - 3rd May 16
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California? - 3rd May 16
Stock Market Technical Analysis - 3rd May 16
Central Banks Need a Higher Gold Price : Hello GATA - 3rd May 16
A Currency War Battle That Europe and Japan Can’t Afford To Lose - 3rd May 16
When the Truth is Found to be Lies, Confidence in Currency Dies - 2nd May 16
How Brexit Could Help All of Europe - 2nd May 16
US House Prices Outpacing Official Inflation Rate, Household Income - 2nd May 16
USD Still Declining... - 2nd May 16
Gold & Silver Rally Huge as Central Bankers & Analysts Flub - 2nd May 16
Stock Market Bounce Day - 2nd May 16
Stock Market Uncertainty Following Two-Month Long Rally - Will It Continue? - 2nd May 16
Stock Market Correction Underway "Upside Objective Reached" - 2nd May 16
USD, Yen and an ‘Inflation Trade’ Update - 2nd May 16
Gold Commitments of Traders and More - 1st May 16
The Magic of Gold Ratio Charts - 1st May 16
Consensus Forming: China Heading Back Into Financial Crisis - 30th Apr 16
The Next Technical Price Targets for Gold & Silver - 30th Apr 16
Stock Market Downtrend Should be Underway - 30th Apr 16
Gold And Silver – A Clarion Alarm Call For All Paper Assets - 30th Apr 16
US Economic Statistics LIES, LIES AND OMG, MORE LIES - 30th Apr 16
Stock Market Strong Elliott Wave Relationship is Developing - 29th Apr 16
Fed's Kaplan: Brexit to Factor in US June Interest Rate Decision - 29th Apr 16
Silver Miners Strong in Grim Q4 - 29th Apr 16
Is Silver a better bet than Gold in the Near Future? - 29th Apr 16
How to Use the CoT Report in Gold Investing? - 29th Apr 16
Sri Lanka is Intriguing: Areas to Consider for Value Investing - 29th Apr 16
Gold “Chart of The Decade” – Maths Suggest $10,000 Per Ounce Says Rickards - 29th Apr 16
Are We or Are We Not in a New Gold Bull Market? - 29th Apr 16
Silver: The “Five Year Plan” and the Great Leap Forward - 28th Apr 16
Michael Hudson: The Wall Street Economy Has Taken Over The Economy and Is Draining It! - 28th Apr 16
AUD/USD - Trend Reversal or Just a Bigger Pullback? - 28th Apr 16
A Gold Revaluation Could Transform Your Financial Status - Overnight - 28th Apr 16
Monetary Policies Misunderstood - 28th Apr 16
Gold Bullion vs Gold Miners - 28th Apr 16
OECD Suggests BrExit Would Cut Net Migration by 1.2 Million by 2030 - 28th Apr 16
MP Naz Shah Punished for Tweets Made During Israel's Genocide of Gaza Palestinian People - 28th Apr 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Catching a Falling Financial Knife

How to Trade Gold with ETFs and Options

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2012 Mar 21, 2012 - 05:39 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleLarry D. Spears writes: With few exceptions, most leading financial gurus agree that every portfolio should include some physical gold.

But while the yellow metal itself is great as a long-term hedge against turmoil and inflation, it's a lousy trading vehicle.


Here's why.

For shorter-term trading purposes, most gold investors look first to the futures markets, generally focusing on either the CME Group's full-size COMEX contract, which represents 100 ounces of the metal, currently valued around $165,000, or its little brother, the 50-ounce miNY gold future.

However, that can be a fairly costly proposition, with initial margin requirements on a single 100-ounce contract running in excess of $10,000.

And, as anyone who has held those contracts in recent weeks can attest, it can also be an extremely risky one.

For example, the single-day loss on a 50-ounce miNY future on Feb. 29 was $3,845, with the intraday trading range topping $5,200.

Similarly, last Wednesday's one-day decline of $51.30 an ounce in the price of the full-size April future would have cost traders on the wrong side of the move a whopping $5,130.

Even recent intraday moves have been scary.

On March 9, April gold futures plunged $27.70 an ounce shortly after the open, only to rebound and trade as much as $39.50 an ounce higher later in the day.

That swing had a total value of $6,720 - in a single 5-hour and 10-minute trading period!

So, if those numbers give you pause, but you'd still like to mine for profits in the gold market, what can you do?

How to Trade Gold ETFs
For trading purposes, you can find some pretty good proxies for gold futures that require substantially less cash up front and carry significantly lower risk.

Tops on my list of alternatives to futures are exchange-traded funds (ETFs) linked to gold, and the highly liquid put and call options available on the leading ETFs.

There are now more than two dozen ETFs tied to the gold market in one way or another - either backed by physical gold, portfolios of futures and options positions, or linked to gold and mining stocks.

Some almost precisely mimic the price movements of the metal itself. Others are leveraged to produce price changes two or three times as large as physical gold, and some are structured to move in the opposite direction from the yellow metal (so-called "inverse" funds).

The two largest and most actively traded gold ETFs - and the two that most accurately mirror gold price movements - are:

•The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEArca: GLD), recent price $160.73 - Backed by holdings of physical gold, this is by far the largest of the gold ETFs with a market capitalization of around $68 billion and an average daily trading volume of more than 150,000 shares. The fund's shares, which are issued by the Trust in minimum blocks of 100,000, are priced at roughly one-tenth the one-ounce price of physical gold, less management expenses equaling 0.40% of assets.
•The iShares Gold Trust (NYSEArca: IAU), recent price $16.13 - IAU is a grantor trust that's also backed by holdings of physical gold. Shares are initially issued in minimum blocks of 50,000 and are valued at roughly 1% of the gold's current market price. IAU is the second largest gold ETF with a market cap of around $9.2 billion and an average daily trading volume approaching 100,000 shares. The fund's expense ratio is one of the lowest in the business, running at just 0.25% compared to the industry average of 0.53%.
Shares of both funds trade just like those of any common stock or other ETF, with prices quoted on a per-share basis.

Thus, if you want your gains and losses to roughly mirror those on a single ounce of physical gold, you would buy 10 shares of GLD or 100 shares of IAU.

So that you can see exactly how these ETF shares track actual gold prices, Table 1 compares prices for GLD and IAU with the price of the nearby April COMEX gold futures contract at key points over the past couple of weeks:

src="http://moneymorning.com/images2/gold_prices.png alt="Best Gold Prices to Trade ETF's" title="Best Gold Prices to Trade ETF's">

For cost-comparison purposes, 100 shares of GLD would cost about $16,150, or half that if purchased on margin, versus the $10,250 margin deposit and $165,000 value for a COMEX gold future. A hundred shares of IAU would cost just $1,620 or so, again about the value of one ounce of gold.

More importantly, with both funds, the losses would be proportionately smaller than the risks on a gold futures trade - a key consideration when the market is highly volatile as it has been recently.

As an example, when April futures prices plunged $51.30 last Wednesday to give contract holders a loss of $5,130, the owner of 100 shares of GLD would have lost just $256 ($162.13 - $159.57 = $2.56 x 100).

Of course, any gains would also be proportionately smaller, but the percentage returns would be roughly the same - or even larger if trading on margin.

Trading Options with Gold ETFs
Note: Options are also available on IAU, but because of the lower share price only the first couple of months and nearest strike prices are actively traded.)

That means, based on quotes early in Friday's trading session, you could purchase an at-the-money GLD April $161 call option for around $3.30 a share, or $330 for a full 100-share contract.

That option would give you the right to buy 100 shares of GLD at a price of $161.00 a share ($16,100) at any time between now and the April 20 expiration date.

If gold rebounds to its March 1 level of $1,720 in the next month, carrying GLD to around $167, that call would increase in value to $6.00 a share (or slightly more), giving you a gain of $270 or so - a return of more than 80% on your initial $330 investment. In under a month!

Similarly, if you've turned bearish on the yellow metal for the short term, but don't want to unload your physical gold, you could buy put options on GLD.

As quoted Friday, an at-the-money June $161 GLD put would cost you about $5.25, or $525 for the full contract.

That option would give you the right to sell 100 shares of GLD at $161.00 per share any time between now and June 15, at least partially offsetting the losses on your gold holdings should the price continue to drop over the next three months.

To illustrate how the option premiums track both GLD share prices and the overall price of gold, Table 2 shows the price changes in the April $166 GLD call and put (the at-the-money options on March 2) in response to gold price movements over the past couple of weeks:

Obviously, both the outright call purchase and the outright put purchase just described would be speculative plays, but that's not the only way you can use them.

The options on gold ETF shares can be used in any of the conservative or hedging strategies detailed in the "Options 101" articles Money Morning has published the past few months, or with any of the techniques discussed in our earlier "Defensive Investing" series.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/03/21/how-to-trade-gold-with-etfs-and-options/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife