Searching for a heart of gold
The spot price of gold woke up in late May, surging to double-digit returns while large-cap equities' first-half gains lost some ground. For the year through August, SPDR Gold Shares added a net $4.7 billion while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, the world's largest exchange-traded fund, lost a net $17.7 billion. The influx of interest in gold comes as equity volatility and low interest rates have spooked investors on more risky bets, sending them to more traditional safe havens. SPDR Gold shares had $3 billion in net inflows during August while its S&P counterpart lost $9.8 billion to redemptions as the broad equity index fell 1.6%, but was down at 4.6% at one point.
Through Wednesday's close, the year-to-date total return of the S&P 500 index was 16.95%, down significantly from the previous day, with gold prices rising to 16.92%, year-to-date.
At the end of August, the SPDR S&P 500 had $262 billion in net assets; the SPDR Gold Shares ETF managed $43.1 billion. The net assets of the gold fund were up 33% since the end of 2018 compared to the 8% growth of the S&P 500 fund.