Last Week’s Top Gold Movers: Centamin PLC, Petropavlovsk PLC And SolGold plc

Gold slipped lower last week, as positive macro-economic news continued to threaten the future of central banks’ money-printing programmes. At the end of the week, gold was down 1.5% at $1,229 per ounce.

Of course, the only practical way for most private investors to invest in gold is through exchange-traded funds. The largest gold ETF, the $38bn SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD.US), ended last week down by 0.5% at $118.55, while London-listed Gold Bullion Securities (LSE: GBS) ended the week down 0.8% at $118.62. So far this year, shareholders of Gold Bullion Securities have seen the value of their holdings fall by 28%, while the value of SPDR Gold Trust shares has fallen by 27.0%.

Centamin (LSE: CEY) rallied 6.6% to 45.9p last week. The Egyptian gold miner climbed after Egypt’s proposed new constitution gained support from a major political party, paving the way for new elections. Egypt’s central bank also moved to boost growth last week by announcing a surprise 0.5% cut to interest rates. A final item of good news came on Wednesday, when the Egyptian government promised to repay $1.5bn of the $6bn it owes to foreign oil companies, which may help improve sentiment among UK investors towards Egyptian natural resources firms.

Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) slid 9.1% to 57p last week, after a heavy wave of selling broke out, which may have been triggered by news that the Vanguard Precious Metals and Mining Fund has continued to reduce its stake in the Russian gold miner, cutting it by nearly 1% from 8.7% to 7.8%. The sale follows an earlier sale in November, when the fund reduced its stake from more than 9% to 8.7%.

SolGold (LSE: SOLG) fell 8.4% to 9.8p last week, despite the Ecuador-based explorer issuing a positive drilling update relating to its fifth drill hole on the Alpala Prospect. SolGold’s Managing Director Alan Martin said that the core from the drill hole looked “very exciting”, but after a brief pop on Monday, the firm’s share price gradually slid as the week progressed, suggesting that after rising by 185% so far this year, the SolGold’s share price may need more concrete news to support any further gains.

The firms mentioned in this article have all delivered big gains for investors at different points in their histories. The secret to successful growth investing is learning when to buy -- and when to sell -- fast-growing stocks. The Motley Fool's "Millionaire Report" covers this topic and others in depth, and explains how building a life-changing million-pound portfolio may be more realistic than you think. For full details, click here to download your free copy of this exclusive special report, while it's still available.

> Roland does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.