Best/Worst Weekly ETF Returns: Gold Miners Hit

July 13, 2012

Gold miner ETFs were caught in a downdraft in the week ended Thursday, July 12, while ag funds shot higher.


Gold miner ETFs were some of the worst-performing funds in the week ended Thursday, July 12, with the iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners Index Fund (NYSEArca: RING) leading the pack with losses of 10 percent.

The big trading action, however, was focused on the $7.59 billion Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX). The fund lost 8.87 percent of its value as more than 15 million shares traded hands, on average, on a daily basis. That’s a lot of turnover, especially when you consider that fewer than 5 percent of the 1,400-plus U.S.-listed ETFs see daily volume above 2 million shares on a regular basis.

The $1.97 billion Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ) was also caught in the sell-off, tallying losses of 9.15 percent on average daily trading volume that neared 3 million shares.

Gold miners stocks have been hit by a bit of a double whammy lately. On one side, gold miner funds are portfolios of companies mining for or looking for new sources of gold. In other words, they’re equities, and stocks haven’t performed particularly well in the face of mounting concerns over global economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed lower for six straight days, and gave up 323 points, or 2.5 percent between Thursday, July 5, and Thursday, July 12. In that time frame, investors pulled more than $689 million out of U.S. equities ETFs, according to IndexUniverse’s “Weekly ETF Fund Flows” report.

Gold miner ETFs have also been affected by the recent slump in gold prices. Spot gold values dropped roughly 3 percent in the past five days, also impacted by economic jitters and a stronger U.S. dollar.

Still, the worst-performing ETF was the Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSEArca: KOL), bleeding 10.65 percent in the five-day period. News that Patriot Coal was filing for bankruptcy this week pressured several coal companies’ stock prices like Alpha Natural and Peabody Coal, all names that KOL holds.

Ags On Fire

On the flip side, agriculture-linked funds were again some of the best-performing ETFs this past week, as the commodities markets continued to rally on deteriorating crop yield prospects due to the ongoing droughtlike weather across the U.S. grain belt.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week cut its projection for corn yields by 12 percent, the latest tidbit to add fodder to concerns that grains and oilseed supplies could be much tighter this year.

The Teucrium Agricultural ETF (NYSEArca: TAGS) was the best-performing fund in the week ended Thursday, with gains of more than 16 percent, followed closely by the PowerShares DB Commodity Long ETN (NYSEArca: DPU), which rallied 13.3 percent this week.

Another segment that also did well was Treasurys, as U.S. government debt remained the safe haven of choice for many investors.

The Pimco 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury Fund (NYSEArca: ZROZ) gained 4.68 percent in the five-day trading period, while the Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF (NYSEArca: EDV), now a $213.9 million fund, tagged on gains of 4.6 percent on the week.

Demand for U.S. Treasurys in recent days helped push both the 10-year and 30-year bond yields to near their all-time lows Thursday, July 12. Bond yields drop when prices rise.


Top 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
TAGS Teucrium Agricultural 16.08% 1,866 2.68
DPU PowerShares DB Commodity Long ETN 13.31% 1,582 6.06
USMI United States Metals Index Fund 12.32% 4,530 2.42
DIRT iPath Pure Beta Agriculture ETN 8.98% 1,469 3.00
LEDD iPath Pure Beta Lead ETN 6.80% 2,270 0.69
ONG iPath Pure Beta Energy ETN 5.82% 2,500 2.29
ZROZ PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury 4.68% 100,774 179.99
EDV Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury 4.59% 111,441 213.92
UGEM EGShares Utilities GEMS 4.29% 30,202 2.62
CAFE iPath Pure Beta Coffee ETN 4.14% 3,800 1.40

Bottom 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
KOL Market Vectors Coal -10.65% 771,455 164.29
RING iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners -10.00% 30,265 28.51
PXQ PowerShares Dynamic Networking Portfolio -9.88% 222,117 53.60
PKOL PowerShares Global Coal Portfolio -9.45% 10,376 9.35
PSAU PowerShares Global Gold and Precious Metals Portfolio -9.18% 6,232 30.24
GDXJ Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners -9.15% 14,377,015 1,970.61
COPX Global X Copper Miners -8.95% 105,437 25.68
GDX Market Vectors Gold Miners -8.87% 76,420,870 7,590.42
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy -8.83% 6,452 9.12
GLDX Global X Gold Explorers -8.78% 208,841 27.91

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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