The broad rally to start 2023 has included big gains for one of the world’s oldest investment tools and the companies that mine it. The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) , which tracks gold prices, has a return of more than 5% in January, roughly matching the S & P 500. It’s also now up more than 16% over the past three months. The rally for the precious metal has coincided with growing confidence in bond markets that central banks would pause their rate hikes and potentially start cutting in 2023, said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Non-interest bearing gold, the kryptonite for it is surging yields. And we’ve seen the bond market for the most part really push back against the Fed, and you’re seeing yields tumble,” Moya said. But the best way to play the precious metals rally in January has been not the commodities themselves but mining stocks — and by a wide margin. Gold miner ETFs have outperformed the broadly traded gold fund this month. The VanEck Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has doubled up the SPDR Gold Trust this month, while the small cap Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) has gained more than 8%. Silver mining ETFs are also doing well, even though the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is negative for the month. One advantage of the mining stock funds is that they can generate cash yield for investors, unlike holding just gold or silver. “If you don’t want to hold the zero-yielding physical commodity, buying the equities are a way to, if things move higher, potentially generate cash flow while holding something linked to a commodity,” said Stephen Gardner of ETF Managers Group. That yield could come at the expense of increased volatility, however. “Typically when precious metals rally, the miners outperform in a lagged way. … And the same thing happens on the downside,” Gardner said. ETFMG’s Prime Junior Silver Miners ETF (SILJ) has gained more than 8% this month. While silver’s industrial uses could present downsides during a recession, Gardner said that a “huge supply-demand imbalance” provides strong fundamentals for silver going forward. To be sure, the rally in gold has lost some steam in recent days. The SPDR Gold Trust had dipped less than 1% for three straight trading sessions entering Tuesday. Moya said that traders may be shifting their positions ahead of this week’s Federal meeting. “Now it seems like we’re getting to the nitty gritty in terms of when the Fed is going to be done. … The Fed’s going to push back, and I think there are a lot of traders thinking this is a good time to lock in profit,” Moya said.