Last week, gold hit its lowest level in over a year, and inflation hawks who have been rattling their gold sabers ever since quantitative easing began are finding it harder and harder to support their long-held contentions. It's a situation leading ETF strategists to be very careful, and limited, with commodities exposure.
Gold and other commodities that traditionally move in the opposite direction of the dollar—crude oil touched a two-year low last week—could continue to see bearish pressure.
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"The shocking thing about gold is that no one seems to care anymore," Hougan said. "It's been cast off to the irrelevancy it had in 1992; investors are not bearish or bullish on it; they have simply stopped caring."
The gold bugs' day may have passed, but even an investment shop that is more bullish than it's been in two decades about the U.S. economy thinks there is still a place for gold in the portfolio, especially as a geopolitical insurance contract. Cougar Investments is hedging its U.S. stock strategy by investing 5 percent of its holdings in gold ETFs.
"We have gold because we see a 6 percent probability of chaos from the situation with ISIS, Ukraine, Gaza, and the trouble in the South and East China Sea," Breech said.