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Will Gold Bugs Buzz Again Soon?

With gold prices much higher and gold stocks also up sharply after a 20-year slump, most investors think it's over for this gold rush. Prices of gold and gold shares have been sliding in recent days. "Investors think the party is over for gold. Wrong," says Vince Carino, president of Brookhaven Capital Management. "Gold shares will continue to outpace the market this year at least," he says. It's simply a case of demand for the metal outpacing supply, argues Carino, who has been buying shares of Newmont Mining (NEM) and Barrick Gold (ABX). Newmont is up from 17 last July to 32 on June 4, 2002--before easing to 28 on June 19. Barrick, at 13 in November, rallied to 23 in late May--before slipping to 19 on June 19. Michael Du-rose of Morgan Stanley says the recent drop in gold stocks is healthy, given the group's upswing year-to-date. The XAU gold index, which tracks a basket of stocks, is up 38% this year, and the metal has risen from $280 an ounce to $320. Durose says the weak dollar, geopolitical uncertainty, low real interest rates, and industry consolidation are positive for gold.

Carino predicts the price will leap to $350 this year and rise to $400 an ounce in 2003. At those prices, Newmont and Barrick will double, he figures. With that, he says, "gold will again gain acceptance as a solid investment vehicle." By Gene G. Marcial

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