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The Role of Gold in an Investment Portfolio: An empirical study on diversification benefits of gold from the perspective of Swedish investors
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Human interaction with gold can be traced far back in history, and throughout history, the metal has been both worshipped and fought for. People almost intuitively place a high value on this yellow metal and gold has always had a special place in the human heart. Nonetheless, the question many irresolute investors seek the answer to today is whether gold deserves a special place in their investment portfolios. The main purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether gold is an appropriate diversifier for Swedish investors, and to find the optimal weight of gold in a Swedish equity portfolio. Corresponding properties of other precious metals silver and platinum were also investigated for comparative purposes. One of the reasons for augmented interest in investing in gold is the perceived risk in the economy. The theoretical framework for the study was Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). The insight of MPT is that efficient diversification handles the risk better than individual assets. Risk management is especially crucial in an era of heightened economic, financial and political uncertainty as today. At the same time, rising correlation among traditional diversifiers make diversification more difficult. Gold, influenced by its history as a currency, has often taken the role as an inflation hedge and a portfolio stabilizer during turbulent financial markets. Inflation hedge assets like gold should be negatively correlated with the market and should give the best diversification benefits in a portfolio. This indicates that gold may be an appropriate diversifier in an equity portfolio. The study took the perspective of Swedish investors, and a Swedish equity index was therefore used as proxy for a well-diversified portfolio. Registry data for past prices of assets over a period of 47 years were obtained via a study published on the official website of the Swedish central bank and Thomson Reuters Datastream. Excess returns were then calculated and processed to obtain descriptive and inferential statistics. The optimal weights of gold and the other precious metals in an investment portfolio were calculated under the optimization framework of maximization of the Sharpe ratio where reward to volatility is highest. The calculations were performed for eight different holding periods. Results show near 0, or weak positive correlations between Swedish domestic equity and gold during the examined periods. On stand-alone basis, gold is superior to other precious metals in most of the studied periods, but all three precious metals have potential to function as diversifiers in an investment portfolio that is only devoted to Swedish domestic equities. Therefore, weightings of 9% gold, 12% silver and 9% platinum are preferred to improve the performance of the Swedish equity portfolio. However, the Sharpe ratio does not take into account the ethics of investing and possible environmental and social consequences. Therefore, the suggested allocation of gold in this study may not be a sustainable investment at long term. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 57
Keywords [en]
Gold, Investment Portfolio
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-139208OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-139208DiVA, id: diva2:1139896
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Available from: 2017-09-11 Created: 2017-09-10 Last updated: 2017-09-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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