February was a great month for silver. After closing January at $33.60 on the London Fix market, silver climbed 10.8% to finish February at $37.23 per ounce. Gold, by contrast, gained just 1.5% for the month – underperforming stocks: the S&P 500 gained 4.1%, the Dow 2.5%, and the Nasdaq 5.4%. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar lost 1.79%, closing February at 0.75 euros.
February 1 fell on a Wednesday, and the big news that day was Facebook’s IPO filing. For the abbreviated week (Wednesday through Friday), the S&P 500 gained 2.4%, the Dow 1.8%, and the Nasdaq 3.2% – the Nasdaq actually hit a new 11-year high on Friday, February 3. Gold fell 0.6%, while silver gained 1%.
The first full week of February began on Monday, February 6. Stocks were down across the board, as were gold and silver, as Greek debt talks were put on hold, and the U.S. closed its Syrian embassy amid the country’s political turmoil. Stocks were up across the board each of the next three days, as gold went from $1,719 to $1,748 and silver went from $33.52 to $33.80. Then Friday saw stocks get slammed with their worst day yet in 2012: the S&P 500 and Dow each lost 0.69%, while the Nasdaq fell 0.8%. Gold and silver were both down, too. For the week, the S&P 500 lost 0.2%, the Dow 0.5%, and the Nasdaq 0.1%. Gold and silver underperformed stocks, losing 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively.
Stocks posted really nice gains for Week 3, with the S&P 500 adding 1.4% to close at 1,361.23; the Dow gaining 1.2% to close at 12,949.97; and the Nasdaq gaining 1.6% to close at 2,951.78. In financial news, Facebook game-maker Zynga posted disappointing earnings, while Chinese game-maker Baidu had a blowout quarter. The company formerly known as General Motors – now more accurately known as Government Motors – posted its best ever quarter. Gold underpeformed stocks, gaining just 0.7% for the week, while silver was in the red, posting a 0.2% loss.
The stock market was closed on Monday, February 20, in observance of Presidents’ Day. The London Fix market for precious metals, however, was not, and gold gained $10 to close at $1,733 per ounce, while silver gained eight cents to close at $33.56. Silver would post gains every day for the rest of the week, ending at $35.57 on Friday, up 6.2% for the week. Gold gained 3.2%. Stocks were comparatively weak, with the S&P and Dow each gaining 0.3%, while the Nasdaq posted a 0.4% gain.
In the final three days of February, the S&P 500 posted successive gains of 0.1% and 0.3%, followed by a loss of 0.5%. The Dow was roughly unchanged on Monday, February 27; posted a 0.2% gain on Tuesday, February 28; and then a 0.4% loss on Leap Day, Wednesday, February 29. The Nasdaq posted gains of 0.1% and 0.7% on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a loss of 0.7% on Wednesday. Gold lost 0.3% on Monday, gained 0.5% on Tuesday, and then lost 0.6% on Wednesday.
Silver was the star of this abbreviated final week. On Monday, it lost 1.3%. On Tuesday, it gained all that back, closing up 1.5% at $35.60. Then on Wednesday – despite word from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that further “quantitative easing” would be less likely than previously thought – silver posted an astonishing 4.6% gain on the London Fix market, ending the month at $37.23. Silver easily outperformed all other asset classes for the month of February, just as it was in January. 2012 is definitely shaping up to be silver’s year!