The White Knuckle Ride Is Over

'If you don't like roller coasters, gold is not a good investment for you," says Bruce L. Kaplan, the president of Kaplan & Co., a precious-metals consulting firm. Good counsel at any time, but rarely more true than in 1993. After bottoming out at an seven-year low of $326 an ounce in March, gold prices rallied during the spring and summer, reaching a summit of $409 in early August. Then prices rapidly sank to $343 in September before rebounding into a more recent range between $360 and $388. According to Morningstar Inc., precious-metals mutual funds, which are dominated by gold stocks, have posted total returns of 63% so far this year, compared with a 16% decline last year and a 5% drop in 1991.

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