Energy, Commodities and Gold Strong: Gold’s Role In Asset Allocation (USO, DBE, GLD, DBP, SLV)

Last week saw a typical volatile reaction in commodity prices during international turbulence: the violence in Libya was a major cause for energy, commodities’ ascent. It was believed that the uncertain situation in Libya, one of the major oil producers, would stress oil supplies. In the week, United States Oil (NYSE:USO) shot up 9.13%, PowerShares DB Energy (NYSE:DBE) gained 6.6%. 

Precious metals functioned again during such a volatile event: SPDR Gold ETF (NYSE:GLD) gained 1.46% while the PowerShares DB Precious Metals (NYSE:DBP) gained 1.76%. For more detailed performance update, please refer to here.

Assets Class Symbols 02/25
Silver (SLV) 44.61% 45.2% v
Agriculture (DBA) 18.17% 18.71% v
Energy (DBE) 17.3% 10.83% ^
Commodity (DBC) 16.74% 13.62% ^
Precious Metals (DBP) 15.56% 14.73% ^
Base Metals (DBB) 13.17% 13.41% v
Gold (GLD) 9.84% 8.93% ^
US Oil (USO) 9.09% 0.88% ^
Natural Gas (UNG) -13.96% -20.35% ^

The trend score is defined as the average of 1,4,13,26 and 52 week total returns (including dividend reinvested).

A natural question arises from such an event: going forward, are precious metals better positioned than energy commodities as hedges? We make the following observations:

  • Oil and other energy commodties, on the other hand, are very much tied to shocking events that may have concerns on their supply. They are more closely tied to short term political and geographical developments, making them very reactionary to such events. 
  • In the current environment, because of massive monetary stimulus by global governments, investors are conditioned by the fact that the world will eventually enter a high inflationary period (inflationary expectation, not current inflation). Paper currencies are no longer trusted. Such a belief makes precious metals (gold (NYSE:GLD) or silver (NYSE:SLV)) as sought after assets. They are more likely go up in any stressful future event. 

In the following, we compared with the two portfolios that use a tactical asset allocation strategy. Both have broadbase commodity index DBC as a candidate fund. But one has additional gold GLD ETF. The MyPlanIQ Diversified Core Allocation ETF Plan Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate is one of the model portfolios in MyPlanIQ Diversified Core Allocation ETF Plan. The plan consists of 35 funds. It covers 6 major asset classes and 28 minor asset classes. The major asset classes it covers are US Equity, Foreign Equity, Emerging Market Equity, REITs, Commodity and Fixed Income.

Portfolio Name 1Yr AR 1Yr Sharpe 3Yr AR 3Yr Sharpe 5Yr AR 5Yr Sharpe
MyPlanIQ Diversified Core Allocation ETF Plan Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate No Gld 14% 114% 8% 66% 12% 84%
MyPlanIQ Diversified Core Allocation ETF Plan Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate 16% 123% 9% 73% 13% 90%

From the above table, adding gold GLD to the commodity asset class adds extra 1% annualized return in the last 1, 3 and 5 years. It also enhances portfolio Sharpe ratios. 

Disclosure: MyPlanIQ does not have any business relationship with the company or companies mentioned in this article. It does not set up their retirement plans. The performance data of portfolios mentioned above are obtained through historical simulation and are hypothetical.

Written By The Staff Of

LTI Systems, Inc. is the operator of and The founders of LTI Systems have extensive technology and business background in computer and semiconductor industries. They have been using the strategies provided by MyPlanIQ for their own personal retirement and taxable investments. The mission of LTI Systems is to make wealth management investment strategies that are used to be only accessible to institutions and high net worth individuals available to private investors with a fraction of flat cost and ease of use. The founders of LTI Systems, investors themselves, take pride in creating such a system and service for investors by taking the perspective from the investor side. They are using the system and the strategies for their own investment and align their interests with their customers.  

MyPlanIQ’s blog provides periodical articles to discuss issues related to retirement plans (401(k), 403(b) and IRAs), deferred compensation plans (457), college savings plans (529), taxable brokerage investment accounts, variable annuities and universal life insurance plans. It also covers investment strategies, specifically strategic and tactical asset allocation and investment products such as ETFs and mutual funds. In addition, it syndicates daily articles that are related to retirement planning, personal finance, investment strategies, annuities, insurance, college savings and market/economic outlooks. It provides a comment and discussion community for readers.

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