ETF Trends
ETF Trends

An exchange traded fund indexed to gold miner stocks was down 2% on Monday. The miner ETF has run into resistance at its 200-day moving average, while trading volume has been declining during the October rally.

Yet some investors think valuations in gold miners are compelling, especially if the precious metal can push to new highs.

Market Vectors Gold Miners (NYSEArca: GDX) has bounced this month following the steep drop in late September. The ETF was stalling a bit Monday at the 200-day average, a closely watched technical indicator.

“Whenever there is general equity weakness and risk aversion, miners underperform,” Jeb Handwerger, editor of market analysis provider, said, reports Myra P. Saefong for MarketWatch. “When markets turn around, miners usually make huge strides far outpacing bullion.” [Investors Weigh Gold Miner ETFs, Dividends]

While precious metal prices, namely gold, have receded from their record highs, gold futures are still up around 17% year-to-date and silver futures are up around 2.4%. The recent pullback may be attributed to “indiscriminate stock dumping by investors afraid of falling equity markets, regardless of fundamentals,” Martin Hennecke, associate director at Tyche Group Ltd., said. [Gold ETF Safe Haven Status]

“During periods of financial crisis or worry about the same, it is normal for the physical price of gold to far outperform the gold miners,” Robert Barone, a principal and investment adviser representative of Ancora West Advisors, said.

“Gold stocks are still equities and continue to be treated like them so far this year,” Amaury Conti, analyst for The Trust Company, said. However, “their underperformance is an opportunity as the gold and silver prices should stabilize for the rest of the year and gold companies should report strong earnings and growth profile.”

Nevertheless, metals producers have some additional “moving parts” that need to be considered, such as debt levels, free cash flow, environmental concerns and regulations, mining safety issues, reserves and exploration prospects, quality of management and earnings history, Barone added in the MarketWatch report.

“Assuming you accept the thesis that precious metal prices are not going to collapse, then the competent mining companies are finally going to be rolling in dough showing very low cash flow multiples,” Brent Cook, geologist and author of investment letter Exploration Insights, said. “When you begin valuing these miners as profitable companies rather than a call on the gold price, many look quite cheap.”

Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners (NYSEArca: GDXJ) follows small-cap miners.

Market Vectors Gold Miners

For more information on the gold miners, visit our gold miners category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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.