ETF Chart of the Day: Gold Miners

Despite the very weak price action in the underlying ETF yesterday, GDX (Market Vectors Gold Miners, Expense Ratio 0.52%) continues to “net” pull in new assets over time (+$118 million), bringing the total year
to date to about $2.5 billion added year to date via creations.

The fund now has more than $4 billion in assets under management and averages an eye popping 41.8 million shares traded daily. As Gold and Precious metals have been pummeled in recent sessions, so have the Miners and GDX has top holdings exposure tothe following: GG (11.97%), ABX (10.50%), NEM (8.51%).

Despite the drubbing, investors appear to be averaging into long positions which has always appeared to be the trend in this very popular product. Several related products have also capitalized on the extreme volatility this year and rising popularity in trading the miners as a strategy or a hedge, specifically NUGT (Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares, Expense Ratio 0.95%) and DUST (Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares, Expense Ratio 0.95%).

NUGT, on the long side, despite decimation in terms of price recently, has still net pulled in $1.32 billion year to date and it now averages more than 5 million shares traded daily. On the flipside, DUST has not attracted a ton of inflow interest lately, with only $119 million in net assets, which is perplexing given the fact that being short the miners at any point basically in 2013 would have been a profitable trade indeed.

Of course, both of these products are designed to be short term leveraged trading devices, if not used as part of aggressive hedging strategies, so asset flows will rarely be “sticky assets,” at least in theory. GDXJ (Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners, Expense Ratio 0.54%) despite the bruising the fund has taken year to date in terms of price, has benefitted from asset growth as well, pulling in more than $260 million year to date, making this a $1.17 billion fund.