(Bloomberg) -- Investors seeking a hedge against a waning U.S. economic recovery and escalating conflict in Ukraine made twice as much money buying gold-mining shares rather than the metal the companies produce.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF climbed 27% this year, more than double the 13% advance for the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange-traded product backed by bullion. This is the first quarter the company fund is outperforming the metal ETF since 2012. Assets in the fund tracking the producers expanded 6 percent in the past four weeks, compared with a 2.7% gain for the Gold Trust, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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