I’ve been sceptical over the durability of rocketing gold prices in 2016, and with it the share price gains enjoyed by the likes of Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS).

The yellow metal has been driven skywards mainly by a decline in the value of the US dollar — a factor that makes greenback-denominated commodities cheaper to buy — rather than by robust underlying demand.

But last week’s Brexit vote has changed the game as investors fret over the political vacuum created by David Cameron’s resignation, over a protracted withdrawal process from the EU, and the long-term impacts of a UK exit on global economic growth.

These factors pushed the ‘safe-haven’ metal to its loftiest since July 2014, above $1,320 per ounce yesterday, dragging Randgold Resources to fresh record highs of above £80 per share. And I believe gold prices could receive further fuel given the muddy political and economic outlook.

While recent share price rises leaves the gold digger dealing on a hefty P/E rating of 33.4 times, I believe the scale of market nervousness could keep sending Randgold Resources higher.

Pharma star

The pharmaceuticals sector’s giants like GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) have proved more immune to the jitters washing out the markets in recent days. And this comes as little surprise to me.

Regardless of the wider economic climate, people still need drugs and other medical treatments to stave off the reaper and treat a variety of ailments. And this makes GlaxoSmithKline a classic defensive play for many investors.

It could be argued that the ‘lumpy’ nature of drugs R&D undermines this line of thought, however. Indeed, GlaxoSmithKline is no stranger to testing setbacks that have resulted in higher developments costs, not to mention many lost millions in product delays and cancellations.

But on the whole, it has a great track record in the R&D stakes. And with the firm doubling-down on organic investment and acquisitions to bolster its product pipeline, I expect the Brentford business to deliver robust shareholder returns in the years ahead.

And I reckon a forward P/E rating of 15.6 times is a great level at which to tap into the pharma play’s hot growth potential.

Smoking share prices

Tobacco’s reputation as a go-to destination for frightened investors has come to the fore yet again, and British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) has risen to all-time highs around £45.60 per share just this week.

The evergreen appeal of cigarette stocks is one of the surefire certainties in increasingly-turbulent times, and is a factor that should keep sending British American Tobacco’s share price higher.

And even though aggregate industry volumes are falling as health concerns weigh, British American Tobacco is able to bat away the worst of these problems through colossal brands like Lucky Strike.

Such labels are keeping earnings ticking higher through market share grabs, while their enduring popularity with smokers the world over allows British American Tobacco to hike prices regardless of wider pressures on buyers’ purses. And I expect heavy investment in these products to keep driving the bottom line.

I therefore reckon British American Tobacco remains a great stock pick irrespective of a slightly-heady forward P/E rating of 17.7 times.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.