Gold, Silver Shares Turn Higher, XAU Climbs 1.1%

Gold and silver shares opened lower alongside precious metals on Thursday, but quickly turned positive while the broader markets slid into negative territory.

The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) climbed 1.1% to 209.66 this morning.

Over the past ten months, however, the XAU has essentially gone nowhere.  Although it has rallied and declined several percentage points from its current level over, it traded near 209.00 on August 11, July 7, June 1, May 4, March 9, February 22, January 13, November 26, and October 14 – among many other dates as well.

Moreover, gold and silver shares have substantially lagged gold and silver futures in 2011.  On a year-to-date basis, the XAU remains lower by 7.5%, while gold and silver are higher by 22.3% and 29.7%, respectively.

The primary laggards in the sector have been the large-cap gold and silver companies. Barrick Gold (ABX) and Newmont Mining (NEM), two of the world’s largest gold producers, have fallen 6.8% and 2.3% in 2011, respectively.

Pan American Silver (PAAS) and Silver Standard Resources (SSRI), two of the world’s largest pure-play silver companies, have dropped 24.2% and 6.6% this year, respectively.

On Thursday, however, notable advancers in the sector included XAU components Angico-Eagle Mines (AEM), Goldcorp (GG), and Silver Wheaton (SLW).  In late morning trading, AEM, GG, and SLW rose 0.6%, 0.5%, and 1.6%, respectively