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Gold’s Cascade to Ominous Levels Bad News for ETFs


Gold futures are clinging to the $1,238 an ounce level during Monday’s session, but for some gold bulls, that is not far enough away from $1,200.

That is a price point at which some analysts and traders believe things can get dicey in a hurry for already downtrodden gold miners.  The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) is off 2.1% Monday. GDX, the largest and most heavily traded gold miners ETF, was off 15.5% in the past month prior to the start of trading Monday.  [Negative Sentiment Rising for Mining ETFs]

Some traders believe $1,200 is the “line in the sand” for gold on the downside. If that level is breached, gold could test $1,000. With bullion below, $1,300 an ounce, speculation has increased regarding ability of some of GDX’s 37 holdings to profitably extract gold from the earth.

Earlier this year, it was reported that costs for Gold Fields (GFI) are just under $1,300 an ounce while Iamgold (IAG) has costs in the $1,200 to $1,300 per ounce range. Those stocks combine for about 4% of GDX’s weight. Other GDX holdings will not be severely crimped unless gold drops below a $1,000 or lower.  [Gold Miners Inch Back to Profitability]

If gold labors below $1,200 an ounce for much of next year, Credit Suisse warns that investors should be aware Newmont Mining (NEM) could pare its dividend, Brendan Conway reports for Barron’s.  Eldorado Gold (EGO), New Gold (NYSE:NDG) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) could defer capital spending if gold resides below $1,200 for an extended period, according to Barron’s.

Newmont is GDX’s third-largest holding with a weight of 8.2%. Agnico-Eagle, Eldorado and New Gold combine for about 10% of GDX’s weight.

Newmont has already cut its dividend this year, as have Barrick Gold (ABX), Kinross Gold (KGC) and Fresnillo, the world’s largest silver miner and the second-largest Mexican gold producer. [Silver Miners ETF Slammed on Fresnillo Dividend Cut]

GDX had a 30-day SEC yield of 1.39% as of Nov. 22.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.