Want to Trade Gold? Let Us Count the Ways

by Michael Shulman | August 22, 2011 3:57 pm

I am not a gold bug — I make fun of people who fear inflation, I make fun of people who think even European governments will let their banks fail, I make fun if people who have gold coins in case the apocalypse comes up on us.

Sorry if I offended you, but take heart — I have been recommending buying gold and its cousins for a long time and am still doing so. Why? First, the fearful are buying and driving up prices, and they will continue to do so as long as there is political uncertainty — and that means several years.

Second, central banks, especially in emerging nations including India and China, are buying gold.

Third, institutional money managers are boosting portfolio allocations to gold from the typical 2%-5% to as high as 15%.

And last, as they should be, are the traders. However, they get the headlines, and that is why the chart readers – remember that people who predict fortunes and read palms read charts as well – say we are in a bubble.

Nope, we are not. And here is how to trade gold.

Investing Approach – Buy the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:GLD[1]) exchange-traded fund. the ETF for gold.  Go to the beach for 10 years and hope it is higher when you return.

Investing with Intelligence Approach – Buy the GLD, put in a reasonable stop loss (down 20% or so, or the last three-month low) and start selling calls. Five seconds after you buy the GLD, sell some monthlies or the weeklies. If you have time, you should be able to put on between 15 and 25 call positions a year, moving in and out as needed.

Sell the strike closest in that gives you a 15% gain on the underlying GLD. Buy them back and sell another one, if the math works, as GLD rises. If it goes down temporarily, buy them back and wait until GLD rises a bit — and then sell them again. If GLD doesn’t move, you should be creating your own dividend of 1%-15% a year, probably more.

Trading Without Caution: Buy the calls, and you could make a lot of money. I write for two services, and the speculative trading service (Michael Shulman’s Short Side Trader, a contrarian service where shorting is a state of mind) has done quite well with GLD and related calls. If and when you get busted out of your calls on a reversal, come back to this link and re-read. You’re ready to sell puts.

Trading with Caution: Sell puts on the GLD and its cousins (more on that in a minute). Sell a put at a strike price at which you would be willing to own GLD. Since you will ignore this advice, be prepared to “roll” the position if you are near being put the GLD. Subscribers to my other service (Options Income Blueprint) do this all the time, and not one position in the history of the service has ever lost one dollar of capital or been put a stock or ETF. — no kidding.  You just have to be willing to ”roll” a position and tie up your capital a bit longer. Remember, when you sell a put you are not risking capital – you are using it to support a position. That’s a big difference from buying a put or call. It’s a  lower reward, but it’s lower risk.

What are the cousins?

Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSE:GDX[2]): This is the ETF for gold miners. In part due to pressure on other industrial and mining ETFs, the miners have lagged GLD, and when things stabilize a bit, they will take off. It could be a week, could be a year, but they will — they are trading well below the historical norm.  Puts and calls on GDX are very liquid and it also offers weekly options.

iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV[3]): This ETF  ran up, blew up, crashed and is now trying very hard to punch through $40. It will race to $50, hit a wall and once speculators are flushed out, it will climb back to its historical relationship to gold, which puts it near $80. A short-term strategy is to sell puts; over time, if you can handle the volatility, a buy/write strategy – buy the ETF, sell the call – will produce greater returns.

Individual Miners: There are several heavily traded gold miners, the market leader being Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM[4]). You must have seen their name, on the two days when every stock in the S&P 500 was down, NEM was the only that went up. The stock is very undervalued if you look at its historical relationship to the price of gold. NEM also will increase its dividend a fixed amount based on every $100 increase in the price of gold — a built-in stock accelerator for the foreseeable future. The options are very liquid.


  1. GLD: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GLD
  2. GDX: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GDX
  3. SLV: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=SLV
  4. NEM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=NEM

Source URL: https://investorplace.com/2011/08/want-to-trade-gold-let-us-count-the-ways/
Short URL: http://invstplc.com/1nC3qVu