While the summer months are traditionally slow months for precious metals, Blanchard Chairman and CEO, Donald W. Doyle, Jr., says the current strength gold is exerting only underscores what his investment firm has been predicting since the beginning of the bull market in 2002 – that gold is tremendously undervalued, and he sees new record prices by year’s end – potentially $1,150 or higher.

“Inflation, a weak dollar, the rising price of oil, Middle Eastern geopolitical tensions, and the new influence of emerging markets around the globe are all factors supporting the uptick in the gold price,” Doyle says. “However, the key fundamental driver over the next six months will be renewed investment demand by institutions and individuals who are looking for a safe haven.”

Doyle says the equities markets have not hit bottom, and as investors see negative returns in stocks and steep declines in their 401K holdings, they are seeking out alternative investments where ever they can, particularly as the value of the dollar remains near record lows.

“It’s not that the financials are over-bought” Doyle says, “it’s that investors just aren’t buying. They’re looking for non-traditional financial vehicles, such as gold, to save the money they have. The good news for these investors is that gold has generated very nice positive returns of 43 percent over the last year and 11 percent year to date in 2008, and Blanchard sees this trend continuing long term as the economy continues to grapple with major issues that aren’t going away anytime soon unfortunately.”

David Beahm, Vice President of Marketing and Economic Research for Blanchard says the firm has seen year-to-date new customer growth in 2008 that has already surpassed that of all of 2007.

“The markets are a very volatile and uncertain place to be for many investors,” Beahm says, “and people are waking up to the fact that there are other investment vehicles that can perform exceedingly well during times of economic crisis and uncertainty, and gold and other tangible assets are a great place to be right now, and long-term we see them continuing to outperform the equities markets.”