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Investors are dumping gold at the fastest pace in years

Gold has been on a wild ride since the U.S. election, plummeting immediately after Election Day and regaining a bit of ground since the final week of 2016.

But despite its recent gains, gold just saw its eighth consecutive week of outflows, according to a recent report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch in which gold was deemed "shunned" by investors. Those eight weeks, according to the report, mark gold's longest outflow streak in three years.

The price of gold, often considered a reliable asset for investors in times of market turbulence, rose nearly 2 percent in the month leading up to the U.S. election, and then sunk over 5 percent in the two weeks following the election. These moves are largely a result of investors' capital reallocation to areas that were likely to work in a fiscal stimulus environment, according to Stacey Gilbert, head of derivative strategy at Susquehanna.

"That I don't think is necessarily a bad thing, and it's $6 billion [out] of gold over just about two months. That's not going to bring gold down substantially; it's those smaller outflows that have come out relative to what went into it, which is why I think you can have the price rising while the money is coming out," she said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"I don't think it's that investors are wrong; I think investors said, 'I only have so much capital, I thought that this was a monetary stimulus type of environment.' That has shifted," she said, adding that "nobody has dumped it completely from their portfolio."

Gilbert pointed out that gold-related ETFs saw about $16 billion of inflows ahead of the election. Despite this, gold slid over 5 percent in the two months before Election Day. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and the S&P SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) are down 8 percent and over 7 percent over the last two months, respectively. Susquehanna is a market maker in GLD.

Monday, gold rose above $1,183 an ounce as the U.S. dollar weakened against a basket of foreign currencies.

Investors are wise to stay away from gold at these levels, said Eddy Elfenbein, editor of the Crossing Wall Street blog. While gold became a sort of "risk play" leading up to the election, it then became unwound after Election Day.

"I think the broader picture for gold is pretty bleak," Elfenbein said on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

The Federal Reserve expects to raise the federal funds rate three times this year, he pointed out, which will prove to create headwinds for gold as it boosts the strength of the U.S. dollar.

"Every one of those rate increases will take a big bite out of gold. So I think for now, investors are best to stay away from gold," he said.


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Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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