What are we looking for?
Leaders and laggards among precious metals bullion and equity funds this year.
Given that the price of gold has retreated to around $1,780 (U.S.) an ounce from a record high of over $1,920 in September, let's see how these funds stack up. Gold is up about 25 per cent this year.
We ranked the eight best and eight worst performers for the first 10 months of this year. U.S. dollar, segregated and duplicate versions of the funds were excluded.
What did we find?
Bullion outshining precious metals equity funds.
And some bullion funds outshining other bullion peers despite investing in the same metal.
Claymore Gold Bullion (hedged) exchange-traded fund led the way with a 21.5-per-cent gain followed by Sprott Gold Bullion, up 19.5 per cent and BMG Gold Bullion, up 18.6 per cent. All funds store their bullion at ScotiaMocatta, the precious metals unit of Bank of Nova Scotia.
The return differences can stem from a fund's fees, which eat away at returns. Performance can also be affected by whether a fund hedges its exposure to U.S. dollars, the currency in which gold is priced. Other factors include the price bullion is purchased at, and whether a fund invests in other metals or stocks as well.
Lower fees helped Claymore Gold Bullion, which charges 0.56 per cent, and Sprott Gold Bullion, which charges 1.2 per cent. Mackenzie Universal Gold Bullion Class, which gained 17.5 per cent, is nearly all invested in gold bullion but has tiny amounts in platinum, silver and palladium. BMG Bullion, up 8.1 per cent, is invested in gold, silver and platinum.
But CI Signature Gold Corporate Class, up 5.7 per cent, and Dynamic Strategic Gold Class, off 1.7 per cent, have less glitter to their numbers because they hold bullion and stocks.
All precious metals equity funds, however, have been in the red this year as their stocks have been pummelled in the market downdraft. They have also been hurt by profit-taking and concerns about the miners' margins and the sustainability of a surging gold price.
HOW PRECIOUS METALS BULLION AND EQUITY FUNDS ARE FARING THIS YEAR
|Last Reported||YTD to||Annual Returns (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31)|
|Fund||Category||MER||Assets ($ Mil.)||Oct. 31, 2011||2010||2009||2008||2007||2006|
|Claymore Gold Bullion ETF||Misc. - Commodity||0.56||602.9||21.45%||26.58%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Sprott Gold Bullion Fd-A||Misc. - Commodity||1.20||245.8||19.53%||21.38%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|BMG Gold BullionFund-A||Misc. - Commodity||3.06||111.0||18.57%||14.95%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Mackenzie Univ Gold Bullion Cl A||Misc. - Commodity||2.61||82.9||17.54%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|BMG BullionFund-A||Misc. - Commodity||3.30||311.3||8.05%||31.10%||19.29%||-4.08%||2.54%||24.52%|
|CI Signature Gold Corporate Class||Misc. - Commodity||2.45||51.9||5.71%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Dynamic Strategic Gold Class||Misc. - Commodity||2.47||318.0||-1.69%||41.29%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Mackenzie Univ Wld Prec Metal Class||Prec. Metals Equity||2.57||112.6||-4.64%||49.07%||68.61%||-45.03%||7.63%||53.82%|
|CIBC Precious Metals||Prec. Metals Equity||2.42||133.2||-28.19%||66.95%||63.11%||-41.96%||6.59%||58.16%|
|Middlefield Precious Metals Class||Prec. Metals Equity||2.73||32.0||-24.48%||89.26%||33.81%||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Sprott Gold and Precious Minerals||Prec. Metals Equity||2.84||676.3||-19.65%||74.73%||113.82%||-49.63%||-16.43%||56.19%|
|Altamira Precious & Strategic Metal||Prec. Metals Equity||2.46||82.7||-18.36%||73.34%||58.34%||-29.41%||-2.39%||42.73%|
|TD Precious Metals||Prec. Metals Equity||2.27||290.8||-18.04%||44.85%||61.57%||-33.40%||4.64%||49.39%|
|Claymore S&P/TSX Glob. Mining ETF||Prec. Metals Equity||0.59||50.3||-18.00%||26.54%||54.28%||-38.85%||n/a||n/a|
|RBC Global Precious Metals||Prec. Metals Equity||2.09||1400.0||-17.52%||75.12%||65.68%||-26.18%||9.04%||52.40%|
|Dynamic Precious Metals||Prec. Metals Equity||2.60||973.8||-16.92%||68.39%||60.92%||-27.65%||5.60%||62.67%|
|S&P/TSX Total Return||-6.94%||17.61%||35.06%||-33.00%||9.83%||17.26%|
|S&P 500 composite ($ Cdn)||1.38%||7.18%||5.51%||-23.76%||-12.21%||13.56%|
|Source: Globe Investor, Bloomberg|
© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.
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