Gold bulls wagering the bullion rally has more room to run may have history on their side with the arrival of a new U.S. president.
A look at recent presidential transitions supports optimism among traders over the metal’s prospects. Gold has averaged gains of almost 15 percent in years marking the inauguration of a new president since the 1970s, advancing in five of those seven years. In contrast, the S&P 500 index of equities declined in four of those years for an average loss over the period of 0.9 percent.
From Presidents Gerald Ford to Barack Obama, bullion has often served as a haven in times of political flux. The metal has climbed about 5 percent this year as questions over the possible economic impact of Donald Trump’s policies add to investor angst over Brexit and mounting trade frictions. Bulls reason that gold will extend its gain as scant details of Trump’s fiscal stimulus program and tensions with trading partners including China unnerve investors.
“We have no idea what’s going to happen with some of Trump’s policies — everybody is a little nervous,” said Axel Merk, San Francisco-based founder of Merk Investments LLC, which manages $300 million in assets. “Gold is relatively undervalued and will push higher.”
Bullion posted a gain of 72 percent in 1974, the biggest annual increase of any modern presidential transition year. That was the year Ford took over for Richard Nixon, who resigned. The second-highest gain for a recent changeover year was 24 percent, in 2009, as Obama assumed the helm amid a global financial crisis.