Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Fear factor driving gold higher

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“Gold is not an investment. It doesn’t pay you interest and it doesn’t increase wealth,” complained one investment advisor recently as he perused exploding client demand for the yellow metal.

“It’s just a cautious asset for scared investors,” he grumbled as he waved a chart showing prices had once again hit an all-time high.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests he may have a point.

Bankers at this week’s Reuters Private Banking Summit said investors were loading up on gold to the tune of some 7 to 10 percent of their portfolios.

The traditional motive of hedging against inflation was conspicuous by its absence.

That’s rich. I meant the wine.

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Jeffrey Rubin

What do gold and wine have in common?

Price.

Well, too high of a high price, according to Jeffrey Rubin, director of research at Birinyi Associates, the stock market research and money management firm.

Rubin told the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit on Tuesday that he thought gold prices were “certainly a little frothy” at current levels and that he would rather be a buyer of the gold miners such as Newmont Mining Corp, Barrick Gold Corp, or Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. Gold hit an all-time high  above $1,250 an ounce on Tuesday as investors piled in due to fears that European credit contagion could lead to a double-dip recession.

Audio – The family jewels

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This week’s annual Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit has been a pretty rich event.

Oh, the guests have been stellar, for sure, but there’s also been a lot of talk about gold and jewelry and the prospect that maybe someday this lousy economy will turn around.

Investors hoarding gold?

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This week we’ve brought you interviews with some of the world’s best-known mining and steel companies. One thing that we’ve heard over and over again is: gold is king. Industry watchers say thinking of gold as an investment is not a bad idea. Check out Conway Gittens’ story:

Audio – Kinross in the ‘Sweet Spot’

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In the M&A world, this is where you want to be.

Kinross Gold’s CEO Tye Burt said at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit on Wednesday that as far as mergers and acquisitions go, his company is in a pretty good place — there are more deals hitting his desk, sellers are getting more motivated and Kinross, the third-largest of the Canadian gold miners, has the cash to do a little shopping.

While Burt did not expect to be party to one of those huge mega-deals, he did indicate the company was keeping its options open — and was listening for bargains.

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