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Msg  312 of 322  at  1/14/2012 11:15:52 AM  by


Why gold could lose its glitter in 2012

Why gold could lose its glitter in 2012
Metals long-term case seems intact, but speculators face hurdles
By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch
Jan. 13, 2012, 5:35 p.m. EST
Golds blistering bull run may become more modest as the global economy slows further, some analysts predict.
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) The bloom is off the golden rose.

Investors who have recently jumped on the gold bandwagon will need plenty of patience this year, as the anemic global economy and better prospects for the U.S. dollar combine to dim golds allure.

While buyers are likely to see their gold holdings rise in value for a 12th consecutive year, any advance is expected to be more modest than in recent years.

Muted returns from gold would test short-term traders. Yet those who own gold as a long-term answer to currency concerns and for portfolio diversification could find their patience is rewarded. Investing in gold-related companies is also a reemerging trend.

I dont think (gold) will be the slam dunk that it has been, said Jay Feuerstein, chief investment officer at 2100 Xenon Group, a Chicago-based managed futures fund. Short-term gold speculators are likely to have a tougher time with the metal this year, he added.

Dollar disciple
The absence of catalysts to drive buyers to gold is affecting both demand and price.

Gold ended at a record $1,891.90 an ounce last Aug. 22 as talk of additional quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve reached a fever pitch. But gold is down about 15% since then, closing Thursday at $1,647.70 an ounce. Prices fell 10% in December alone.

Still, gold managed a 10% gain for 2011, much better than the Standard & Poors 500-stock index /quotes/zigman/3870025 SPX -0.50% , which finished the year flat on a price basis.

Large and small investors alike have cut gold positions over the past year. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust /quotes/zigman/41663/quotes/nls/gld GLD +0.09% , the largest exchange-traded fund backed by gold, offer a good picture of the fund liquidation that has taken place in recent months.

The ETFs gold holdings have remained around 1,250 metric tons for most of December and so far this year, but thats still a 2.4% decrease from December 2010, when the fund had 1,281 metric tons. Holdings jumped 13% in 2010.

Gold investors have seen no signs that the Fed will ease anytime soon, while the euro zone debt crisis has taken the euro down several notches. /quotes/zigman/4867933/sampled EURUSD -.00%

European headlines still impact gold futures, to be sure, but increasingly the metal has traded on U.S. dollar moves.

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