The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX) lost 7.4% last week and the Global X Silvers Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) was barely better with a 6.4% weekly tumble. Over the past month, those two ETFs have lost an average of 15.8% as gold and silver prices have continued to slide.

Some have tried to call a bottom in the mining ETFs while others have said large-cap miners, such as GDX’s constituents, look inexpensive base on traditional valuation metrics. Neither strategy has proved accurate in a year in which GDX has lost almost 53%. Again, SIL is barely better with a 2013 slide of 51%. [A Bottom Could be in for Mining ETF]

Negative sentiment continues to build regarding the miners.

“If precious metals continue to fall on Monday and Tuesday of this week selling volume should spike as protective stops will be getting run and the individuals who are underwater with a large percentage of their portfolio in the precious metals sector could start getting margin calls and cause another washout, spike low similar to what we saw in 2008,” writes Chris Vermulen for Small Cap Network.

Last week, GDX made a series of new five-year lows. The ETF is more than 40% below where it debuted seven and a half years ago. As ETF Trends noted last Thursday, GDX’s trailing three-month average volume is about two and a half times that of the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA) and more than double that of the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO).

GDX now ranks near the top-10 ETFs in terms of daily notional volume at close to an average of $1 billion per day. [Gold Mining ETFs not so Golden]

SIL would need to rise just to get back to the price area at which it debuted in April 2010. This year’s woes for ETFs like GDX, SIL and rival funds indicate investors need to be patient. They also need to be careful about calling a bottom.

“While I am starting to get bullish for a long term investment in precious metals I know that a bottom has likely not yet been made. But even if it has been, it is better to buy during a basing pattern or breakout to the upside from a basing pattern than to be underwater with a position for an extended period of time along with all the other negatives that come along with it,” added Vermulen.

Global X Silver 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.

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