Saturday, 15 October 2011

Gold ETF bestseller for retail investors?

The three most heavily bought shares (by value) were the same as the three most heavily sold shares by investors using Hargreaves Lansdown on Friday. These were Barclays, Lloyds and the iShares FTSE 100 exchange traded fund.

The ETFS Physical Gold ETF (PHAU) was one of the few shares on the top twenty list that didn't also make a showing on the list of shares being dumped at high speed by investors.

On Thursday Hargreaves Lansdown published an interim management statement which said that the number of clients opening accounts had increased but added that it wasn't expecting much action from them: "Whilst uncertainty remains about sovereign debt and default and a possible second recession, it is increasingly likely the retail investor will feel they need more pounds in their pocket and may continue to defer new investment decisions."

It's hard to tell if their buying and selling lists illustrate this prediction, or whether retail investors see gold as a kind of cash.

Also on Thursday the Sterling denominated PHGP was the gold ETF of choice (At close on Friday the spreads for PHGP were bid 10,382 offer 10,385 or 0.028% which were narrower than the spreads for the dollar denominated PHAG $164.09 and $162.3 or 0.12% - I was under the impression it was usually the other way around.)