Is Gold Overvalued?

Includes: DGL, GLD, IAU
by: Moses Kim

Gold bears will always reveal their biases in the way they analyze gold. Gold is consistently derided as an asset that, unlike stocks, doesn't pay dividends. While true, savvy gold investors have been profiting from the gold bull market via equities, many of which do pay dividends.

A chart of the type below that values gold against stocks would suggest that it is time to get out of gold and into stocks. The peak in the gold to S&P ratio occurred almost 2 years ago, which appears to be a bearish signal.


However, using the HUI index as a proxy for gold stocks, you can see that even after a steep correction, gold stocks have held up rather well. In fact, they seem to be consolidating for the next move up.

Another critical point is that the 2009 lows in stocks were a panic move, which means the directional trend was amplified. Gold bubble callers are implicitly saying that a parabolic move is coming, since this is the hallmark of bubbles. This move in itself will sharply skew relative return considerations in gold's favor.

People tend to compare gold to prior bull markets, such as the bull market of the 1970's, but the situation is more nuanced since our debt problems are much more advanced. Since gold topped out in 1980, the national debt has outpaced the price of gold by a factor of 20. Take the 1975 gold price of $175 and the national debt has still outperformed gold by a factor of 4.

People keep on waiting for the gold bubble to pop, but I think the government debt bubble is far more likely to pop first. As long as our government doesn't impose discipline on their finances, gold will find strong fundamental support.

Disclosure: I am long GOLD.