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Despite hitting a low earlier this month, gold miner exchange traded funds have attracted greater interest among bargain hunters trying to time the bottom in the underperforming sector.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) dipped to $23.05 on Oct. 11, the third-lowest price on record and the ETF's second-lowest price in five years, reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.

However, on the same day, the fund attracted $8.1 billion in assets, according to IndexUniverse data, and hit a record high 299 million shares outstanding, the 14th-highest among all ETFs.

While some of the interest may be attributed to market-makers lending shares to investors for short selling, the uptick in interest is more likely a result of investors trying to call a bottom.

Additionally, there may be some tailwind that could help propel gold miners. For instance, the falling U.S. dollar provides a boost for gold assets, both miner stocks and gold are beginning to move in tandem and earnings estimates are stabilizing, writes Daniel Putnam for InvestorPlace.

GDX has lagged behind physical gold prices, declining 42.8% year-to-date, compared to the 19.4% fall in SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD) so far this year.

Investors have exited GLD in droves this year, pulling $22.1 billion out of the physical gold ETF this year. On the other hand, GDX has attracted $2.3 billion in assets year-to-date.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF

(click to enlarge)

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon's clients own GLD.

Disclosure: I am long GLD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Source: Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF: Catching A Falling Knife