'' ... The conference call was dominated by a question and answer period filled with inquiries and some long-winded statements from both private investors and analysts. There was a fair bit of conversation about gold stocks, and some wanted to know McEwen's take on the current state of the market.

McEwen described the current landscape for gold stocks as being the worst since 1999 - a real nadir - but sounded hopeful for a resurgent market by year's end. “I do think we're close to the bottom for gold and gold shares,” he said.

He trotted out an interesting statistic: a gold price phenomena he called the White House effect, which has been noted by some analysts in the past. With one exception, since 1984 gold shares have fallen in every US election year, McEwen said, as they did last year. The year that follows, however, gold shares have risen.

That would be this year, of course.

If you use the AUX index they have risen between 10 and 80 percent in the years that have followed a presidential election in seven of eight periods,” McEwen said. “The one year they went down was during Bre-X and it pulled the whole sector down.”

In McEwen's estimation this year will not be the second exception since 1984.

“There's a high probability gold shares are going to be higher at the end of the year than the beginning of the year,” he said.