Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Gold prices fell for the first time in five sessions on Wednesday and by the most since March 31, after rising to their highest since late 2012 on Tuesday. A stronger dollar helped clip the value of the precious metal, which has risen by nearly 10% so far this month.

What's happening: In an unusual trend, gold has moved largely in concert with stock prices recently, upending their typically inverse relationship.

What it means: The correlation with equities is largely explained by the actions of central banks, which have unleashed an unprecedented level of monetary policy easing, experts say.

  • The IMF said Tuesday that "central banks have announced plans to expand their provision of liquidity — including through loans and asset purchases — by at least $6 trillion and have indicated a readiness to do more if conditions warrant."

One level deeper: While gold is a safe haven, it is also an alternative to both fiat currency and other assets. Gold pays no interest or dividends, so it is sought by investors when inflation expectations are low.

  • Central bank easing has buried expectations for inflation to rise and also pushed investors out of assets like U.S. Treasury bonds and into risky assets like stocks, pumping up the price.

What to watch: Even at its current value, "gold is a rational trade," Alicia Levine, chief strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management, tells Axios.

  • "Central banks printing money is part of the reason that gold has and will probably continue to have a bid for a while."
  • "It’s not just an expression of a safe-haven play, it’s also a way of protecting from fiat currency being devalued."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.