#GoldStocks – talking trees when there’s a forest out there…

To state the obvious, most stocks move with the general market, and more obviously almost all stocks move like all stocks in their sector.

And this may be no more obvious than with the gold stocks.

I’m always surprised at the endless discussions of which gold stock to buy. Gold bugs, particularly, love this stuff — this one, or that one, or maybe that one. One stock picker or another has very good arguments for each of their choices, fundamentals, technicals, some buddy’s opinion, whatever, but they all ignore the obvious — they’re talking about trees when there’s a forest out there.

Take a look at the charts below.

Five of those charts are stocks and three are ETFs, but hide the symbols and company names for each chart and who would be able to tell which NEM and which GOLD, which is AEM and which is NUGT? The patterns essentially all look the same (like fir trees in a fir forest).

But actually they are not the same. I have the same swing-trading system on each of those charts. Now look at the numbers in the white flags on the lower left of each chart. Those are the total returns year-to-date per $100K committed to each swing trade (calculated also to easily show percentage gains for the system).

Obviously, there is a difference between the stocks and the ETFs. The leading stock in the sector, KL, is up 17%, while RGLD, lagging, is up only 1.4%; a prominent name like Newmont Mining (NEM) is up 14%. On the other hand, the leveraged ETFs, NUGT and JNUG, are both up 82% and even GDX, not leveraged, is up 25% – same time frame, same trading system.

The trading system here is not the point. It is just here to illustrate that too often traders and investors can’t, as they say, see the forest for the trees.