Gold stocks are a speculative stock market sector specifically dealing with publicly traded gold miners and exploration companies. They fall under the category of risk-capital equity securities and, because their underlying businesses are based on a resource commodity, are mostly considered to be speculative.
Up until recently, gold stocks have been good performers on the stock market, following the spot price of gold commensurately. The current market for gold stocks is subdued due to the significant price consolidation taking place in the gold market. In addition, higher production costs on an industry-wide basis have made profitability more difficult for many gold mining companies.
Gold stocks come in all sizes and market capitalizations. Some large-cap gold miners offer shareholders quarterly dividends. Many micro-cap explorations companies are just that; they raise money to explore for gold and then come back to raise additional money if they find the precious metal in sufficient deposits to warrant building a mine.