Oil prices surged higher on Thursday and Friday, following a tweet from President Donald Trump that promised progress on the stand-off between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
A bet on higher oil prices is anything but a sure bet. Gold and gold stocks look far better to me.
So far in April, the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSE: BNO) and the United States Oil Fund LP (NYSE: USO) are up 25% and 30%. And we’re only three days into the month!
Sort of makes you wonder if getting into oil is now a good idea …
Of course, focus on oil’s recent, three-day rally doesn’t tell the whole story. Since the Feb. 19 peak in stock prices, USO and BNO are still down 50%.
This 50%-plus drop in oil prices is worse than any other major commodity market’s loss over the same time. It’s also worse than the drops of every major U.S. industry group, with the exception of two — oil & gas exploration (XOP, -55%) and oil & gas equipment (XES, -67%).
And that’s partly why you may be tempted to get into a bullish oil play right now … it’s seemingly offering “bargain-basement” prices for anyone willing to step in and buy the dip — perhaps the bottom.
But there’s another commodity market that’s a far better buy than oil right now: gold.
Oil or Gold?
You see, the true test of a good investment is how it performs during both up and down markets. It’s not enough to outperform during a rally (as oil has over the past few days), if you’ve underperformed severely on the way down (as oil has since February).
One particularly interesting “test” of global assets recently came during the short window of time between Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 24.
That Monday, the Dow dropped more in one day than it had during any day during the 1929 crash.
And then on Tuesday, March 24, the Dow gained more in a single day than it ever had.
Talk about whiplash!
Overall, the Dow lost 11% over the course of those seven trading days. Nearly every equity-market ETF I track was negative. And oil ETFs lost between 20% (BNO) and 28% (USO), bringing up the rear.
Meanwhile, there was a lone, positive standout during this time: gold.
Well, two positive standouts: gold (GLD) and gold-mining stocks (GDX).
Have a look…
I’m sure if you’re like me, you’re preparing for both ups and downs ahead …
What if this isn’t the bottom in oil prices? In stocks?
What if things get worse before they get better?
As prudent investors, we have to prepare our minds and our portfolios for all potential outcomes ahead — not just the rosy, best-case scenarios.
And on that mandate, gold most certainly fits the bill better than oil.
Gold and gold stocks have already begun to prove themselves during what is being called an “unprecedented” market crash.
We can debate whether oil prices caused the crash or intensified it, or whether or not Trump will succeed at brokering his biggest deal ever, between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.
But to me, a bet on higher oil prices is anything but a sure bet.
Gold and gold stocks look far better to me.
• Adam O’Dell is the Chief Investment Strategist for Money & Markets and editor of Green Zone Stocks, Cycle 9 Alert and 10X Profits.