For the Brave, Opportunity With Mining ETFs

December 24th at 12:07pm by Tom Lydon

It is one of 2013’s most prominent themes in the world of exchange traded funds. That being the epic declines experienced by precious metals mining ETFs.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX) and the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) are down an average of 54.5%. As a result, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: DUST) will end the year as one of the top-performing leveraged ETFs. DUST has more than tripled on the year. [Wild Ride for a Leveraged Gold Mining ETFs]

But there is the saying about blood on the streets being a sign to buy and when it comes to mining stocks and ETFs, there has been plenty of blood in 2013. J.P. Morgan sees opportunity ahead, though. “The metals analysts at J.P. Morgan think it is easy to look at the cost of new mines and conclude that current prices are unsustainable. But new mine projects may not be needed for several years if more of investors’ above-ground gold horde is unwound,” reports Lee Jackson for 24/7 Wall Street.

While there are scant signs of inflation right now, central banks’ running the printing presses in overdrive over the past few years could mean inflation is anything but avoidable in the future and J.P. Morgan thinks slumping gold prices mean opportunity.

The bank likes two silver miners, Buenaventura (NYSE: BVN) and Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW), the latter of which accounts for almost 12.2% of SIL. Silver Wheaton is not a miner in the traditional sense, but a buyer of royalty interests in mines. The company “provides cash upfront to miners looking to expand or develop a mine and in return gets an extremely low fixed cost on some portion (or all) of the metal being produced at that mine,” according to 24/7 Wall Street.

J.P. Morgan has a $20 price target on the shares, well above the $20 area where the stock resides today.

The bank also sees the potential for up to 60% upside in Goldcorp (NYSE: GG), the second-largest holding in GDX at a weight of 12.6%. Assuming the bank is correct, investors could capture even more upside in New Gold (NYSE: NGD) as the bank’s forecast on that name is about 65% above current levels. New Gold is 2.1% of GDX’s weight. [Tax-Loss Selling Could Plague Mining ETFs]

J.P. Morgan also has a $28 price target on Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM). The stock, GDX’s third-largest holding with a weight of 8.4%, trades around $23.

Those looking for a no-expiration call option on a rebound in small-cap silver miners can consider the PureFunds ISE Junior Silver Small Cap Miners/Explorers ETF (NYSEArca: SILJ). Though not a leveraged ETF, SILJ can pack a punch. For example, there was a five-day stretch in August when the ETF shot to around $13.50 from around $10.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.