Flows to This ETF Show Traders Prepping for Miners Pullback


Well-documented has been the resurgence of gold mining stocks and the exchange traded funds that hold those stocks.

Entering Wednesday, seven of the 10 best non-leveraged ETFs this year were gold or silver mining funds. That roster includes popular funds such as the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) as well as less heralded fare like the PureFunds ISE Junior Silver Small Cap Miners/Explorers ETF (SILJ) . [More Good News for Mining ETFs]

Last year, mining ETFs were an easy short. This year, the reverse is true and although GDX would need to nearly double to get back to the price it opened 2013 at, that ETF and others have punished bearish traders this year.

That is not stopping some traders from betting on a gold miners pullback. Their weapon of choice is a familiar name: The Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (DUST) . DUST was one of last year’s best leveraged ETFs, more than doubling while undergoing a forward split. Reverse splits are commonplace among leveraged ETFs, forward splits not so much.

But things can literally turn on a dime with leveraged ETFs. The same negative sentiment that bolstered DUST last year has turned more sanguine. With GDX up 16.4% year-to-date, DUST is down more than 41%. That is not enough to keep some trying pick a possible short-term top in gold miners. [Rare Trade in Gold Miners]

Cash has pouring into DUST. To be precise, $26.6 million last Friday, the same day almost $27 million was pulled from the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NUGT) .  Another $29.1 million went into DUST Monday as almost $38 million was yanked from NUGT and onTuesday, DUST’s creation activity totaled almost $32.5 million while $11.7 million in NUGT shares were redeemed, according to Direxion data.

The chart at below shows the 30-day net value of creation and redemption activity at various Direxion ETFs. Note DUST is positive while NUGT is negative.  That despite DUST being the second-worst leveraged ETF in Direxion’s lineup this month and the second-most volatile over the past 30 days.

Inflows to leveraged ETFs are not foolproof in terms of telling traders where to go. There is, after all, no such thing as a free lunch in financial markets. However, the flows into DUST are interesting to observe, particularly a day before nearly 30% of GDX’s weight delivers earnings.

Source: Direxion