Equities Slump, Gold Rallies as Contrarians Predicted

Jeffrey Gundlach and others had warned of a possible correction, as well as an improvement in gold

What a difference 10 days can make.

Back then, DoubleLine CEO and CIO Jeffrey Gundlach warned investors to think twice about the "metaphysical certitude" of many analysts, who saw a rosy equities market and expressed a "giddy" distaste for gold.

Fast forward to Friday’s trading, and experts like Gundlach — along with those at Vanguard and other investments group — appear to have been right on the mark.

The U.S. equities markets fell more than 1% both Thursday and Friday over concerns regarding slower growth in China, along with political problems in Turkey, Argentina and Ukraine.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) tells the story. It’s down about 1% year to date.

What’s up? SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) has improved 5% so far in 2014, while the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has soared 12%. (Gundlach had pointed to miners as a potential winner for this year in his Web-based outlook talk.)

After moving aggressively into equities, especially in the second half of last year, “investors may view gold as part of a way for them to balance risk affecting their portfolios this year,” said Juan Carlos Artigas, head of investment research for the World Gold Council, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“Plus, people realize that risk is not going away, and gold — as a strategic asset — can be a component of their risk management strategy,” Artigas said.

In contrast to the 5% jump in GLD, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up a modest 2% in January. The Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL), though, is on a tear — rising about 11% in early 2014.

Other areas that are heating up include those with a focus on natural gas. The United States Natural Gas ETF (UNG) has rocketed 10% in January.

To some market watchers, commodities aren’t getting the attention they deserve. They did rally from 2001 to 2011, but weakened after that. Now, however, it’s “probably in our best interest to not only care, but really take a good look at them,” said J.C. Parets, president of Eagle Bay Capital, in an online report Thursday.

Downside Movement

Not all commodity plays have turned the corner. The S&P Global Natural Resource ETF (GNR) has declined 2% year to date, as has the iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG).

But it’s the emerging-market plays that are really hurting.

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) is down 6% as of Friday, as is the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (BKF).

The iShares MSCI China Index Fund (MCHI) has dropped closer to 7% year to date.

On the upside, the ProShares Ultra-Short MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEV) has improved 12%.

In addition, the ProShares Ultra-Short China FTSE 25 (FXP) has jumped 18% through trading on Friday — a strong start for those with a bearish take on 2014 in China, just a week ahead of that country’s Lunar New Year.

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Check out Gundlach Looks to ‘Giddily Despised’ Investments in 2014 on ThinkAdvisor.

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