For the longest time, my go-to to play gold is GLD , which is intended to emulate the price of gold bullion. However, this can tie up a disproportionate percentage of buying power due to the price of the underlying.

Naturally, there are alternatives out there to GLD that are either ETF's (like GDXJ and GDX ) or outright securities in companies that acquire, develop, and operate precious metals properties (e.g., AUY , GG , AEM , KGC , ABX ). Although some of the individual names are better than others, they all seem to be struggling to varying degrees in this market, and it is possible that some of them will not survive bullion's downturn from the atmospheric highs gold experienced in late 2011. Because of this possibility, I would opt going for an ETF over an individual name in this sector to reduce the risk that taking a position in an individual name entails (i.e., total implosion; AUY comes to mind).

Neither a GDX short strangle nor a short straddle will yield much premium here. Selling a naked short put at the edge of the expected move to the downside in the underlying (around the 12.5 strike for the Feb 12th weekly) will yield about $30 in premium/contract; not that great a figure after fees and commissions are considered. Additionally, doing a covered call here isn't quite up to my standards, since a Feb 19 covered call setup with a short call at 14 would only yield a max profit of $99 if called away with a $13.01 per share cost basis ($99/$1301 < 10% ROC ).

The best thing to do is probably wait for higher volatility in the underlying to make a play (it's below the 50th percentile right now for the past 52 weeks), since this will make premium richer for a covered call setup. Right now, then, good for the watchlist as an alternative to a GLD trade going forward ... .
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