One of the supposed benefits of owning a hard-asset stock is diversification. These stocks will do well when the rest of the market is in trouble, the thinking goes, thus providing a hedge against losses.
In 1993, when most of the market treaded water, Barrick's shares almost doubled in price. In the following year, it gave back some of those gains while the S&P 500 held steady. In 1997, Barrick lost 34% of its value while the S&P 500 gained the same amount. In the past, at least, Barrick has often zigged when the market has zagged.
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