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Gold and gold miners are the clear winners in Brexit sell-off

A worker pours molten gold into 25 kilogramm molds at the Verninsky GOK gold mine and processing plant, operated by Polyus Gold International Ltd., near Bodaybo, Russia.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker pours molten gold into 25 kilogramm molds at the Verninsky GOK gold mine and processing plant, operated by Polyus Gold International Ltd., near Bodaybo, Russia.

Had money invested in gold or gold miner stocks? Then Friday was a good day.

In the wake of the landmark United Kingdom referendum that saw a majority of citizens unexpectedly vote in favor of leaving the European Union, gold-related assets went through the roof as investors looked for a safe haven. Stock markets across the globe dropped, with the three major U.S. indexes falling about 3 percent.

"It was a shock, but at the same time we knew there was always the possibility of a Brexit," Anna Rathbun, director of research at CBIZ Retirement Plan Services, told CNBC by telephone. "I believe England has been very unhappy with the EU."

Gold futures for August delivery spiked more than 4 percent, or $59, to $1,322.10 per ounce. The SPDR Gold Trust also surged 4.9 percent, while Royal Gold and Goldcorp gained more than 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

GLD this week

Mining stocks also benefited from the flight to safety, with the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) popping 6 percent, led higher by Sibanye Gold's U.S.-listed shares, which gained nearly 10 percent.

"Anytime there's a shock to the market, there's always an overreaction," Rathbun said. "having said that, this isn't a company coming out with bad numbers; this is something that affects many countries."