Gold prices popped higher on Thursday as traders sought safe-haven plays with Russia invading Ukraine.
Spot gold prices popped 2.1% to $1,970 an ounce, hovering around a one-year high. The move in gold comes alongside a major risk-off trade in markets globally as Russia launched an attack on Ukraine.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures plunged more than 600 points as of 5:45 a.m. ET. Russia's main stock market tanked about 45% at the open. Markets in Europe were also under considerable pressure, with sentiment hurt further by crude oil breaking through to $104 a barrel.
As for gold, the yellow metal has been a solid performer even before Russia's invasion as traders have looked for bets against elevated inflation.
Gold prices have gained by about 8.3% since early January. The SPDR Gold Shares ETF is up 4.3% year-to-date, compared to a more than 11% decline for the S&P 500.
Shares of gold producers have shot up in empathy. Barrick Gold shares are up 18% in the last month, while Newmont Mining has shot up 8%.
Jefferies strategy team said today in a new note they were initiating new long positions in gold miners.
"The last 50, 60 years gold has always been a stabilizer in a portfolio. You should have around 5% of your portfolio in some sort of gold package. That really helps you through difficult times," Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow said on Yahoo Finance Live.
Count now as one of those difficult times.