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Mom-and-Pop Buyers Lift ETF’s Gold to a Record as Traders Bail

Justina Vasquez
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Mom-and-Pop Buyers Lift ETF’s Gold to a Record as Traders Bail

(Bloomberg) -- Gold’s rally is showing signs of stalling, and that’s highlighting a fissure among exchange-traded fund investors.

Retail fervor for gold, shown in holdings in SPDR Gold MiniShares, hasn’t wavered, even with the price of the metal on course for a third straight weekly loss. Meanwhile, assets in the pricier SPDR Gold Shares, the biggest ETF backed by the metal, have slipped as institutional investors pull back.

The waffling on the bigger ETF illustrates shifting perceptions over the economic landscape that have boosted equities and prompted some speculators to head for the exits –- for now -- on gold. At the same time, individual investors spooked by the U.S.-China trade war and cuts in economic forecasts have underpinned demand for gold as a haven. Lower costs that come with owning the smaller gold ETF gave it an added advantage.

“A lot of people who have piled into gold-backed ETFs space are more the speculative investors rather than the long-term physical holders of gold,” Rory Townsend, head of gold research at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview Tuesday. “With prices so high at the moment, I think they’ve backed off a little bit.”

Holdings in SPDR Gold Shares have slipped 1.5% since reaching a more than two-year high last week. Assets in SPDR Gold MiniShares have held steady at a record high since last week. SPDR Gold MiniShares is the third-least expensive among gold-backed ETFs traded in the U.S., with an expense ratio of 0.18%. That compares with the bigger fund’s 0.4% ratio.

Spot gold climbed 0.8% to settle $1,497.20 an ounce in New York Wednesday, while futures for December delivery advanced 0.3% to $1,503.20 an ounce on the Comex.

To contact the reporter on this story: Justina Vasquez in New York at jvasquez57@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Luzi Ann Javier at ljavier@bloomberg.net, Joe Richter

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