Gold made a decent recovery last week, and gold for immediate delivery ended the week up by 3.6% at $1,465 per ounce.
Of course, the only practical way for most private investors to invest in gold is through exchange-traded funds. The largest gold ETF, the $51bn SPDR Gold Trust , ended the week 2.1% higher at $140.91, while London-listed Gold Bullion Securities climbed 3.9% to end the week at $142.32. So far this year, shareholders of Gold Bullion Securities have seen the value of their holdings fall by 8.6%, while the value of SPDR Gold Trust shares has fallen by 13.6%.
Gold's big movers
Several miners strongly outperformed the rising price of gold last week. Here are three of the biggest risers:
Randgold Resources climbed 10.4% to 5,026p last week, helped by news that asset manager BlackRock (NYSE: BLK - news) had increased its holding in the company to more than 14% -- equivalent to around £670m. Randgold's production costs are lower than many of its peers and the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) company has net cash and adequate financing in place to meet its requirements, setting it apart from many other gold-mining firms, which are struggling to maintain profitability, service debt and raise new funding.
Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG.L - news) climbed 6.9% to 154p last week. Investors were cheered by news that first-quarter gold production was 136,800oz, 13% higher than the same period in 2012, and that the company has hedged almost half of its gold production through to March 2014 at $1,663/oz, considerably higher than the current sub-$1,500/oz gold price. However, Petropavlovsk's net debt of $1.2 billion remains a worry, and there is a possibility that the firm may breach its banking covenants in 2014, when a substantial portion of its debt is due for repayment.
Alamos Gold (NYSE: AGI - news) gained 9.6% to $13.39 last week after it reported first-quarter earnings of $0.21 per share on revenues of $86.3m, beating analysts' expectations of $0.20 per share on revenues of $82.9m. Alamos expects to produce between 180,000 and 200,000 ounces of gold this year at an attractively low cash operating cost of between $415 and $435 per ounce, which should enable it to remain profitable at lower gold prices than some of its peers.
Further company comment can be found at www.fool.co.uk.
> Roland does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.