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5 Gold ETFs Riding the Safe Haven Rally

Sweta Jaiswal, FRM
·4 min read

The deadly coronavirus eruption continues to rattle the global markets with new cases being reported from Philippines and India. Globally, confirmed cases have already been reported from the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, France, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, Macao and Nepal with the epicenter being Wuhan in China. The death toll  rose to 170 in the world’s second-largest economy. Moreover, the total number of confirmed cases shot up to around 7,711 globally.

Health experts are comparing the coronavirus outbreak with severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS epidemic that spread during the years of 2002-2003, which wreaked havoc for 38 trading days. Moreover, total cases registered during the SARS epidemic in China are now surpassed by the coronavirus eruption. Notably, the SARS epidemic had infected 8,098 people globally causing around 774 official SARS-related deaths (read: 5 ETFs to Protect Your Portfolio From Coronavirus Threat).

The rapidly-spreading coronavirus is sparking fears of global economic slowdown among investors. Moreover, it is believed that China will face immense difficulty in keeping its commitments under the phase one trade deal with the United States due to its dwindling domestic demand. As a result, investors are seeking refuge in safe haven picks. Gold, which has proven to be beneficial in times of market turmoil has been rallying to a near six-year high (per a Bloomberg article). The bullion already gained more than 4% in 2020.

Per Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp Financial Services Pty, the coronavirus-driven “sell-off in equity markets will likely drive gold demand over the short term. The more rapid pace of contagion will represent another significant headwind to global growth, bullish for gold.”

The yellow metal's price was also supported by the Federal Reserve’s concerns over weaker US investments and exports and the central bank’s move to keep the interest rate steady (read: ETF Strategies to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak).

Gold ETFs to Shine

Gold ETFs mostly move in tandem with gold prices. The SPDR Gold Trust ETF GLD, iShares Gold Trust IAU, Physical Swiss Gold Shares ETF SGOL, SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust GLDM and GraniteShares Gold Trust BAR are some of the popular ETFs. These funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold). Below we have discussed them in detail:


This is the largest and most-popular ETF in the gold space with AUM of $45.69 billion and average daily volume of around 9.4 million shares. The fund reflects the performance of the price of gold bullion, less the Trust's expenses. Expense ratio is 0.40% (read: 10 Power-Packed ETFs to Buy for 2020).


This ETF offers exposure to day-to-day movement of the price of gold bullion. It has AUM of $18.71 billion and trades in solid volume of 19.9 million shares a day, on average. The ETF charges 25 bps in annual fees (read: Gold to Cross the $2000 Mark? ETFs to Gain).


This product also tracks the price of gold bullion and is backed by physical bullion under the custody of JPMorgan Chase Bank. It has amassed $1.34 billion in its asset base and trades in volume of 870,000 shares per day. The product has an expense ratio of 0.17% (Gold Surges to 7-Year High: ETFs to Tap).


This product seeks to reflect the performance of the price of gold bullion. Being one of the low-cost products with an expense ratio of 0.18%, GLDM accumulated $1.24 billion in AUM and trades in average daily volume of 1.3 million shares.


With AUM of $643 million and expense ratio of 0.17%, the fund tracks the performance of gold price. It trades in moderate volume of 203,000 shares per day, on average (see: all the Precious Metal ETFs here).

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SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports
Aberdeen Standard Physical Gold Shares ETF (SGOL): ETF Research Reports
iShares Gold Trust (IAU): ETF Research Reports
GraniteShares Gold Trust (BAR): ETF Research Reports
SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust (GLDM): ETF Research Reports
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