Gold has been among the best investments in 2011.
Shares of gold miners? Among the worst.
Gold is up 12% this year but shares of gold miners have fallen almost 16%. Smaller gold miners are down almost 40%, based on the returns of leading exchange-traded funds tracking those stocks.
The surprising gulf has caused pain for some of the biggest names on Wall Street-including John Paulson, George Soros, David Einhorn, Seth Klarman and Thomas Kaplan-many of whom piled into gold shares over the past year, sometimes by shifting away from gold itself.
Bulls figured that gold miners had more upside than gold, partly because mining stocks outperformed during past bull markets for the metal.
But this year, gold miners have been hit by concerns that haven't tarnished gold prices. Investors have worried that mining costs are rising, and that governments around the world are becoming more aggressive in taxing resources companies. They're also concerned that gold miners might squander any windfall with ill-conceived acquisitions or other moves.
David Fuller's view Gold has had a good year relative to many other investments but it has had a weak performance since its accelerated peak in August. This has understandably weighted on gold mining shares recently.
In a difficult year for stock markets, the best relative performances have come from the Autonomies, many of which are also Dividend Aristocrats.
(See also Eoin's comments on gold shares below and yesterday's update on the technical action of futures traded precious metals.)