There’s a gold rush on Wall Street


Gold bugs are rejoicing as their favorite precious metal continues to reach new heights.

The price of gold rose on to settle at $2,141.90 a troy ounce, notching another record high as investors continue to bet the Federal Reserve will cut rates in the back half of the year.

Gold is considered to be one of the most resilient investments. When interest rates fall, holding income-paying assets (like bonds) becomes less appealing than owning the precious metal. However, some investors also believe gold to be a hedge against inflation, wagering that it will hold its value even if it begins to surge.

It’s not just traders trying to get in on the gold rush. Costco started selling gold bars last September and sold more than $100 million during its fiscal first quarter of 2024. The precious metal tends to be popular during times of global economic unease, since it’s a tangible asset and less risky than stocks.

Physical imitation of Bitcoins are pictured at a cryptocurrency exchange branch near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul on October 20, 2021.

Bitcoin surges to a new record high as mainstream money flows into crypto

The Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, rose 2.4% for the 12 months ended in January. That’s a cooldown from December’s 2.6% increase and in line with economists’ expectations, according to Commerce Department data released last week.

On a monthly basis, the core PCE price index that strips out the more volatile food and energy categories rose 0.4%. And while the rise was in line with projections, the index, which Fed officials view as a crucial gauge of underlying inflation, rose at the fastest monthly pace since February 2023.

Currently, traders see a roughly 69% chance that the Fed will cut rates at its June policy meeting, according to the CME Fed Watch Tool. That’s a lower chance than at the beginning of the year, when investors seemed convinced that rate cuts were imminent.

Investors are looking to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony slated for Wednesday, hoping to get a clearer idea of what to expect from the Fed in the months ahead.

Bitcoin, dubbed by its staunch supporters as digital gold, has also surged in recent weeks. The cryptocurrency on Tuesday topped its previous record of $68,789 reached on November 10, 2021, snapping a two-year rut as the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs helped turbocharge a rally. Bitcoin pulled back from its highs on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, stocks have soared higher this year, though the rally stalled somewhat this week. The S&P 500 index has set repeated record highs this year, and the Nasdaq Composite index reached an all-time high for the first time since 2021 last week as the artificial intelligence boom continues to sweep Wall Street.