Now that the Fed may be tapering, which asset will be the better buy in the coming year – gold or stocks?
If you invested in gold instead of stocks at the start of the year, not only did you lose money, you also missed out on a great bull market. But, will all that change?
Since the beginning of 2013, gold is down 24% while the S&P 500 index is bullion's mirror image. Stocks are up 24% year-to-date.
One of the reasons for the market's run-up cited by investors – most notably, BlackRock's Larry Fink and Pimco's Bill Gross – is that the Federal Reserve Bank's "quantitative easing" (QE) policy is adding dollars into the markets and making markets "bubbly".
Yet one asset that hasn't been positive this year is gold. In the past year, the Fed has been buying US Treasury and mortgage bonds at a rate of $85 billion every month but gold has lost a quarter of its value. However, quantitative easing began five years ago and in that time, gold is up 75% versus stocks gain of 95%.
Now that the Fed may be tapering the rate of its bond-buying, which asset will be the better buy in the coming year – gold or stocks?
"I would be long equities," says Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors. "I would be perhaps short gold or, at least, flat gold."
Morganlander's portfolio sold gold six to nine months ago. He sees the economy growing at a rate of 2.0% to 2.5% next year and forecasts the S&P 500 index's earnings at $113. "Our expectations are for a 15 to 16 times multiple, which could get you to a 5% or 6% return on equities."
However, Morganlander is not as optimistic about gold. He expects the Fed will pare back its bond-buying in March, 2014. He expects a 10% decline in the yellow metal next year.
Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson, is also bearish on gold's outlook.
"Unfortunately, the technicals support that largely bearish view on gold," says Ross, looking at the metal's charts. "I think we see $1,000 before we see $1,500."
To see the rest of Morganlander's and Ross' take on gold versus equities in the coming year, watch the video above.
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