ETF Trends
ETF Trends

In an effort to cut costs amid slumping gold prices, several major gold miners have slashed their dividends this year. That roster includes Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) and Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC). Those stocks combine for 20.4% of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF’s (NYSEArca: GDX) weight.

The comparable silver miners funds, including the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL), are being slammed by similar scenario Tuesday. Shares of Fresnillo, the Mexico-based silver miner that trades in London, plunged after the company slashed its interim dividend by 68% citing sliding precious metals prices.

Fresnillo, the world’s largest silver miner and the second-largest Mexican gold producer, holds no debt and had $570.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the second quarter, reports Sarah Young for Reuters. Investors seemed unimpressed with the cash hoard, opting to focus more on yet another dividend cut from the mining sector.

The Fresnillo news has decked the Global X Silver Miners ETF, which is off 5.3% on volume that is already close to the daily average. Fresnillo is SIL’s second-largest holding with a weight of 12%, just behind Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW) at 12.3%. Accounting for today’s slide, SIL is off more than 12% in the past week, a loss that comes just as things were starting to look up for mining ETFs. SILV gained 10.3% last month. [Investors Flock Back to Silver ETF]

The iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SLVP) is down 4.7% on volume that has already eclipsed the daily average. Fresnillo is SLVP’s third-largest holding at a weight of 5.5%. [Obscure Silver Miners ETF up 10% This Month]

Fresnillo is not the only dividend offender among silver miners and that could be part of the reason why SIL and SLVP have been punished by news of this dividend cut. Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL), a top-10 holding in both ETFs, previously reduced its payout. Earlier this year, Silver Wheaton, the largest holding in both funds, readjusted its dividend policy.

Silver Wheaton now calculates its dividend using 20% of cash flow from the previous four quarters rather than using just the previous quarter’s cash flow. The stock is 22% of SLVP’s weight.

Global X Silver Miners ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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