ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Mining stocks and the corresponding exchange traded funds have moved in fits and starts over the past few years. Unfortunately, there have been more fits than pleasantries, but the moribund industry could finally be putting in a legitimate bottom.

Though it is still down 27.5% over the past year, the SPDR Metals & Mining ETF (NYSEArca: XME) is up nearly 8% over the past month. That is a solid run for an ETF that started the year trading at its lowest levels since the first quarter of 2009. [Woes for a Mining ETF]

XME is meriting of consideration as some analysts believe the worst is behind the commodities space. Those were the sentiments of R.W. Baird when the research firm upgraded Dow component Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) and Joy Global (NYSE: JOY) to outperform on Monday, according to CNBC.

“Both Caterpillar and Joy manufacture mining equipment, and thus are highly exposed to the mining business, which has been dismal of late due to falling commodity prices. Over the past year, Caterpillar and Joy have seen their shares fall 15.5 percent and 25 percent, respectively. But if commodity prices turn higher, these stocks should turn as well,” reports CNBC.

XME does not feature Caterpillar or Joy Global among its 32 holdings. The ETF is, however, exposed to the highly cyclical coal and steel industries. XME’s coal exposure is concerning, though the fund has endured a 3.5% one-month decline by the Market Vectors-Coal ETF (NYSEArca: KOL). [Coal ETF Faces Headwinds]

Last month, Sterne, Agee & Leach lowered its average 2015 to 2016 international thermal-coal price forecast by $10 to $15 per ton in response to the mild weather, lower natural-gas prices and higher-than-expected coal stockpile build with utilities during the winter season. The strong production and exports out of Indonesia and Australia have led to the current glut in thermal-coal markets, and the financial firm projects the oversupply to persist through 2015 with supply outpacing demand growth.

Steel stocks, to which XME allocates almost 47% of its weight, have treated the ETF far better. The Market Vectors Steel ETF (NYSEArca: SLX) has surged more than 12% over the past month.

SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF