How to buy silver and gold on Firstrade. Beginner investing in gold bars, coins, stocks, ETFs, and precious metals mutual funds on Firstrade.

How to Invest in Gold and Silver at Firstrade

Although Firstrade doesn’t offer trading in physical gold and silver bars, the brokerage firm does provide several indirect ways to trade the precious metals markets. Keep reading. We’ll show you everything you need to know.

Gold Funds on Firstrade

Firstrade clients have access to all of the exchange-traded funds on the major U.S. exchanges. Some of these ETFs invest one way or another in gold. Perhaps the most popular of these funds is GLD.

The SPDR Gold Trust trades on NYSE Arca with ticker symbol GLD. It is a very popular ETF with over $68 billion in assets. It is not a small fund by any stretch of the imagination.


Firstrade GLD


The really fascinating thing about GLD is its portfolio. While most ETFs invest in stocks and bonds, GLD only holds gold bullion. Yes, the fund invests in actual physical bars of gold. They are stored in vaults whose locations are confidential for obvious reasons.

Because the fund holds only physical gold, the market price very closely tracks the spot price of gold. Thus, GLD is a really effective way to make an investment in gold without actually holding onto physical gold, storing it, buying insurance on it, etc.

Firstrade’s profile for GLD displays lots of information, courtesy of Morningstar. The fund’s expense ratio is 40 basis points, which is about average nowadays. The bid-ask spread on the day we conducted our research was just $0.02, which is really tight. The cost of trading GLD is further reduced at Firstrade with the broker’s $0 commission policy.

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Silver Funds on Firstrade

There are also funds on the U.S. exchanges that invest solely in silver bullion. The largest of these is SLV, the iShares Silver Trust. Like GLD, the iShares fund doesn’t hold any stocks or bonds. As a result, it does a really good job of closely tracking the spot price of silver. Because the prices are so closely correlated, it’s just like owning actual silver, except there’s no need to physically store the metal. The fund does that for you.

Firstrade’s profile for SLV shows a lot of activity on the fund, with volume over 36 million shares per day. The expense ratio on SLV is a little higher than GLD. It is 0.50%.

During the past 10 years, Firstrade’s report on SLV shows the worst year of -36% and the best year of 47%. Because the fund only holds physical metal, there are no dividends.

SLV can be traded at Firstrade like any other ETF. This means either the broker’s website or mobile app can be used. The website has a very good trade ticket at the bottom of the site, which allows for quick order entry.

Gold Stocks on Firstrade

If you really do want a quarterly dividend, there are always mining stocks. These are equities of companies principally engaged in the mining of gold, silver, and other metals. These can be both precious and industrial.

A mining company that digs up both industrial and precious metals is Newmont Corporation. The company trades on the NYSE under ticker symbol NEM. It also has shares on the stock exchange in Toronto with ticker symbol NGT.


Firstrade Gold


Newmont currently pays a dividend of $0.55 every three months. At a current market price of around $86, this results in an annual dividend yield of roughly 2.6%.

Firstrade’s website profile for Newmont has tons of information, thanks to stock research from Morningstar. The analyst gives the company three stars out of five, which is a hold rating. Morningstar’s price target for Newmont is $78.

Several mutual and exchange-traded funds own NEM. Common fund families include Vanguard, State Street, iShares, and Fidelity.

Although Firstrade’s mobile app has far less information on Newmont, there are still company events, news articles, and trade statistics. The company has a P/E ratio of 60.99 and a P/B ratio of 3.05.

Options on Precious Metals Securities

Firstrade customers can buy and sell option contracts, and because many of the precious metals securities have vibrant options activity, this is another great way to gain exposure to the gold and silver markets at Firstrade.

Firstrade’s website offers free use of OptionsPlay. This is a discrete derivative platform that can be used to research potential option trades and place them, too. During our trial run of it, we found it easy to use and we really liked the graphical interface that made analyzing hypothetical trades easy.


Firstrade gold options


The three precious metals securities mentioned above (GLD, SLV, and NEM) all have option contracts trading on them. Other precious metals securities do as well.

For example, for Barrick Gold (ticker: GOLD), we found several trade suggestions across a variety of option strategies. These include diagonals, straddles, and verticals. It’s possible to modify these to suit your own taste, and the software does a good job of explaining everything.

On top of its $0 base commission, Firstrade has a $0 per-contract fee for option trades. Even assignments and exercises are free.

Over-the-Counter Instruments

Besides the options market, Firstrade customers also have access to the OTC marketplace. This opens up thousands of additional securities, some of which are foreign stocks not available on the major U.S. exchanges.

Using Firstrade’s equity screener (available under the Research & Tools tab in the website menu), we found Calibre Mining Corp. on the OTCQX market, the highest tier of the over-the-counter marketplace. This means the company is subject to strict disclosure regulations and is in compliance with U.S. securities laws.

Calibre trades on the over-the-counter marketplace with ticker symbol CXBMF. The “F” in the ticker means it is a foreign stock. Based in Canada, Calibre has mining operations in Nicaragua, Nevada, and Washington State.

Although Calibre trades over the counter, Morningstar does cover the stock. The analyst has a grade of four stars on the mining company with a price target of $1.93. The stock price is currently $1.28. Morningstar reports that the only revenue stream the company currently has is the mine in Nicaragua.

Firstrade does not impose any surcharges on OTC trades, so they are simply $0.

Precious Metals Mutual Funds

One last security type that Firstrade customers can use to tap into the precious metals market is mutual funds. The brokerage house has eliminated transaction fees on mutual funds, so it costs nothing to trade them. There is a minimum hold time of 90 days, however, and there’s a $19.95 surcharge on sales less than $500.

A precious metals mutual fund we found at Firstrade is EKWAX. This is the Allspring Precious Metals Fund. It invests in stocks of companies engaged in the mining of precious metals. Examples of companies that the fund owns include Newcrest Mining, Kinross Gold, and Evolution Mining.

Firstrade’s profile for EKWAX shows a Morningstar return rating of average and a risk rating of below average. At the top of the profile, there is a link to all fund documents, including the prospectus and annual report.

At Firstrade, there is a $500 minimum investment amount for the Allspring fund. It is actively managed, and the expense ratio is 1.09%. EKWAX is a class A fund, which means there’s a front-end load.

Firstrade Gold Investing Summary

Multiple avenues to the precious metals marketplace are available to Firstrade clients. Combined with low fees and commissions, it could be an ideal value.

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