It is no secret that trading gold and gold miners exchange traded funds from the long side this year has been a perilous endeavor.

Making matters worse is recent price action for the major gold miners ETFs is giving investors little reason to believe 2015 will be much better than 2014 for the beleaguered group. Over the past month, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX) has lost about 9%, less than half the loss incurred by the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ) over the same period.

A technical look at the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index (HUI), which is not the index tracked by GDX or GDXJ, shows there could be reason for optimism with the downtrodden miners heading into 2015.

“When we look back on 2014, one thing is clear, it wasn’t a good year to ;Buy & Hold; the Gold Bugs Index,” notes Chris Kimble of Kimble Charting Solutions.

The Gold Bugs Index, which like GDX, includes significant weights to big-name miners such as Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) and Goldcorp (NYSE: GG), also includes companies that do not hedge future production beyond 1.5 years.

Miners hedge production to lock in current prices for future output and the lack of recent hedging could be a sign that the companies extracting gold from the earth do not expect the yellow metal to fall much further. However, miners are still not actively hedging future production in what a may be a sign that they do not expect bullion prices to fall much further. [Gold Miners ETFs Look for Good Cheer]

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