LONDON -- After falling on Friday and Monday, gold has regained its losses and is almost unchanged since last Friday, with the April futures contract down just 0.3% at $1,668.

Of course, the only practical way for most private investors to invest in gold is through exchange-traded funds. The largest gold ETF, the $72 billion SPDR Gold Trust , has lost just 0.04% to $161.37 since last Friday's open, while London-listed Gold Bullion Securities  has slipped 0.5% to $160.87 over the same period. So far this year, shareholders of Gold Bullion Securities have seen their holdings rise by 0.3%, while SPDR Gold Trust holders have lost 0.4%.

Gold's big movers
Many investors prefer to invest in gold-mining stocks, rather than gold itself, as gold miners are able to use their operational gearing to outperform the price of gold. Let's take a look at some gold stocks that have gained strongly recently.


Highland Gold Mining  has climbed 8% to 112 pence so far this week, doubling its gain for the year-to-date to 16%. The Russia-focused gold miner issued a trading update on Wednesday revealing an 18% increase in gold production during the 2012 financial year, which took the group's gold output to a record 216,885 oz. Highland Gold also confirmed that it expects first gold from its Belaya Gora processing facility in April 2013, and announced an increase of 2.2 million ounces in its JORC-compliant resource base.

Nautilus Minerals  has soared 35% to 30 pence so far this year, amid a swirl of rumors relating to an unconfirmed takeover offer. Nautilus has spent the last few years attempting to become the first company to mine gold and copper from the sea bed, but the project has recently been placed on hold following a dispute over costs with the government of Papua New Guinea, where Nautilus' Solwara 1 prospect is located.

Aurizon Mines  has gained 33% to $4.63 this month, following a $4.65 per share takeover offer from fellow Canadian gold miner Alamos Gold, which would like to own Aurizon's only producing mine, the Casa Berardi mine in Quebec. However, Aurizon's board has asked shareholders to reject the offer, which they say fails to fairly value Aurizon's assets and was "timed to take advantage" of the fall in Aurizon's share price that followed the publication of its revised guidance for 2012.

Shares vs. commodities
Shares in commodity companies have outperformed their underlying commodities many times over the last 10 years, thanks to their ability to magnify their gains through successful development of new resources. This free report from the Fool, "10 Steps to Making a Million From the Market," contains some excellent tips on identifying and investing in potential multibagger shares, including resource shares like gold miners. I strongly recommend that you click here and download it now, as it will only be available for a limited time.

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The article 3 Gold Shares Rising Strongly originally appeared on Fool.com.

Roland Head has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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