Although central banks do not generally announce gold purchases in advance, some, such as Russia, have expressed interest in growing their gold reserves again as of late 2005. In early 2006, China, which only holds 1.3% of its reserves in gold, announced that it was looking for ways to improve the returns on its official reserves. Some bulls hope that this signals that China might reposition more of its holdings into gold, in line with other central banks. Chinese investors began pursuing investment in gold as an alternative to investment in the Euro after the beginning of the Eurozone crisis in 2011. China has since become the world’s top gold consumer as of 2013.
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For many centuries, gold coins were the primary form of money. They started to fall into disuse by the early 20th century. In 1933, most countries switched from the gold standard to define the value of a dollar. This was because of the hoarding that occurred during the Great Depression. As a result, most countries stopped making gold coins to use as currency. The United States did not make a complete change until 1971 when it finally ended the draconian ban on investment ownership. For numismatic purposes, gold coins must not include alloys such as manganese brass. Some legal tender coins are not circulated, which means they are primarily for investment and collectors.
So why is the yellow metal so expensive and sought after? In ancient times, gold's malleability and luster led to its use in jewelry and early coins. It was also a lot harder to dig gold out of the ground before modern mining methods were created, so gold hasn't always been as "easy" to get as it is today -- and the more difficult something is to obtain, the higher it is valued.
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If you’re investing in gold, remember that it’s a commodity, and it’s up to you to make sure you’re not overpaying. The day you buy, check the spot price of gold (available at many Web sites, such as www.goldprice.org). Don’t pay more than a 5% to 8% markup over the spot price -- that’s the typical premium, according to Michael White, spokesman for the U.S. Mint.
Franco-Nevada has consistently beaten EPS estimates over the past five quarters. The stock is currently trading at $67.19, so there is some room for growth into its average 12-month price target of $81.27, and the dividend yield of 1.45% could be attractive to some investors. Furthermore, there is a chance that the stock could exceed expectations as the company's diversification efforts begin to bear fruit.