Despite the drubbing that has already taken place in the Gold Miner stocks amid the plunge in Gold and precious metal prices, GDXJ (Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners, Expense Ratio 0.54%) options are beginning to trade actively.

The ETF, which debuted in late 2009 and holds seventy-eight individual equity names, has shed more than a third of its market capitalization inside of fifteen trading sessions.

It is trading with an $8 handle at the moment, an all-time low in the product, and we have seen action in January 5 and 6 strike puts. [Gold Miner ETF Eyes 2008 Low]

These options are no question significantly out of the money, but the trades express concern in the form of downside hedges being enacted here, if not outright bearish speculation on another leg-down in the Miners.

Notably, related ETF GDX (Market Vectors Gold Miners, Expense Ratio 0.52%) has also seen above normal activity lately, but the product is characterized largely by large cap Miner exposure, owning names like ABX (11.50%), GG (10.81%), and NEM (8.16%).

In fact, about 54% of GDX’s underlying portfolio is composed of mega to large cap names. GDXJ is however, another story, and times of day after day distress, which is exactly what is going on here in June in any industry related to spot Gold and Precious Metals prices amid this multi-year move.

GDXJ has exposure to a number of companies where the primary market for their publicly issued stocks is located in a country outside of the U.S.

For example, top holdings in GDXJ are currently AR (4.21%), TXG (3.76%), PMNXF (3.06%), OGC (2.91%), and CGG (2.91%) and about 94% of overall portfolio is invested in internationally based names (as compared to GDX’s 80% weighting outside of the U.S.).

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