I'm Hedging My Bets on This Hedge

02/23/2011 3:18 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

I’m going to sell Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) out of Jubak’s Picks today.

Two reasons.

First, gold is looking kind of toppy, with traders edging toward an exit just in case the violence in Libya shows any sign of resolution. The noon price for gold of $1,414 an ounce is only about $20 an ounce below the record of $1,437.50, set on December 7.

Second, Newmont Mining hasn’t been as effective a hedge as I’d like. For example, on February 22, when events in Libya sent fear through the financial markets and stocks tumbled, shares of Newmont moved in the same direction—although they fell by just 0.6%, a much better performance than stocks as a whole.

Still, the best hedges zig when the market zags. Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) climbed yesterday, even if just a tiny 0.4%.

Today—when most gold stocks are up—Newmont isn’t keeping pace with, for example, Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM).

The problem reaches back further than just the last few days. From September 3, 2010, the date I added it to my Jubak’s Picks portfolio, Newmont Mining is down a little less than 2%. Goldcorp, also one of my picks, is up 7% in that period.

The big issue, I think, is that Newmont’s costs of production aren’t especially low and keep rising—and that’s not what the market (or this investor) is looking for in a gold stock.

Over the long term, I think inflation and worries over the value of the US dollar will drive gold higher. So today’s “sell” on Newmont is just a call for a temporary top and an effort to find a better gold hedge.

I’m selling with a 2.24% loss, since I added this stock to Jubak’s Picks on September 3, 2010, at $60.76 a share.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund (JUBAX), may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did own shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines and Goldcorp as of the end of January. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of January see the fund’s portfolio here.

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