Spotlight on Gold and Silver Mining Share Indexes – Part 1

When glancing by means of information articles about valuable metals costs, you’ll usually come throughout references to the efficiency of assorted gold and silver mining inventory indexes, in addition to the alternate traded funds (ETFs) which are benchmarked in opposition to these indexes.

Whereas previous timers can be conversant in the XAU and HUI indexes, there are actually a plethora of different gold and silver mining firm fairness indexes to take care of, from GDM to IMI, and from indexes maintained by MSCI, to indexes calculated by MVIS, Solactive, and Prime, to call however a number of.

And with the gold and silver mining sector doubtlessly benefitting from renewed curiosity in commodities / arduous belongings, in addition to the shares on this sector being leveraged to any gold and silver value upside, now’s pretty much as good a time as any to brush up on what these indexes are all about. By the way, many individuals mightn’t know that I used to at one time handle fairness portfolios at Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), so I ‘m conversant in funds and indexes and issue investing.

A be aware about terminology. On the earth of monetary markets, it’s appropriate to seek advice from the plural of index as both indices or indexes, so for consistency, one have to be chosen, and on this event, I’ve chosen to make use of ‘indexes’. However ‘indices’ is equally appropriate. See right here on the NASDAQ web site for a dialogue of this indexes vs indices challenge.

One other be aware about indexes vs funds and ETFs. Generally within the monetary markets, an index supplier or a financial institution decides to create an index (fairness index, bond index, commodity index or no matter) as they suppose will probably be helpful for capturing the efficiency of a sector or a set of issue returns, and following this, varied funds or ETFs, in a type of pure evolutionary manner, would possibly begin to use that index as a efficiency benchmark.

Different instances, particularly extra lately, the creators of a fund or ETF that’s about to be launched will resolve to create a customized index in opposition to which to benchmark that new fund or ETF. This might be as to cut back monitoring error, but in addition in order to keep away from utilizing a widely known index which may make their fund / ETF efficiency look worse. Additionally they would possibly argue {that a} new index is extra ‘investable’ for his or her fund than a longtime index.

So on the planet of monetary indexes, it’s typically a rooster and egg state of affairs, i.e. which got here first, the Index or the ETF?

HUI Gold BUGS Index – Since late 1996 (launched by the AMEX). Supply:


The HUI was launched in December 1996 by the American Inventory Alternate (AMEX) because the AMEX Gold BUGS Index. BUGS is an acronym for – Basket of Unhedged Gold Shares. Because the title suggests, the index was launched to seize and observe the efficiency of the fairness shares of a gaggle of listed gold mining firms which don’t hedge their manufacturing (technically it’s gold miners who don’t hedge their manufacturing past 18 months). Notably, the HUI doesn’t embrace silver mining shares.

You possibly can see an previous archived web page from the AMX web site from 1997 right here.  In 2008, when NYSE Euronext took over AMEX, the AMEX Gold BUGS Index modified possession to the NYSE and adjusted title to the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index. Word, the ‘Arca’ comes from the truth that the NYSE acquired the Archipelago alternate in 2006 and shaped NYSE Arca. 

The HUI index is now owned by the Intercontinental Alternate (ICE), after ICE took over NYSE Euronext in 2013.

So immediately, HUI is owned by ICE, and generally known as the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index. As per its authentic remit, immediately HUI makes an attempt to “observe the efficiency of firms concerned within the mining of gold ore that don’t hedge their manufacturing past 1.5 years.” What the HUI is making an attempt to do right here is to ensure that the gold miners that it consists of have publicity to close time period actions within the gold value.

The HUI is a ‘modified equally weighted’ index, its eligible securities are restricted to US listed shares or American Depository Receipts (ADRs), and the index has quarterly reconstitutions (i.e 4 instances a yr firms will be kicked out or added to the index). ‘Modified equally weighted’ right here signifies that all eligible shares are ranked excessive to low by free-float market cap (MCAP) after which the 2 largest get a 15% weighting every, the third largest will get a ten% weighting, and all the remainder share the remaining 60% of the weighting equally.  

HUI guidelines and methodology will be seen right here. 

Again within the Nineties there have been about 18 gold mining shares within the HUI. At this time, there are 24. The elements will be seen in XLS format right here. All the large and well-known names are elements within the HUI corresponding to Newmont, Barrick, Franco Nevada, Gold Fields, Concord, Eldorado, Royal Gold, Agnico, and so forth. and so forth.

Origins – XAU was launched by the Philadelphia Inventory Alternate in 1979

XAU – From Philadelphia

The opposite ‘well-known’ valuable metals mining inventory index is the XAU, which is formally known as the Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index. As per the title, this index was created by the Philadelphia Inventory Alternate (PHLX). Nevertheless, in 2007, NASDAQ acquired PHLX, and likewise the identical yr NASDQAQ merged with OMX. So now the PHLX known as NASDAQ OMX PHLX. You possibly can see an previous imprint of the PHLX web site right here from 2007 which lists the XAU as one of many tickers on the left hand body.

XAU was launched in January 1979, so has been round for a powerful 43 years to date. XAU is a modified capitalization weighted index, and because the title “Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index” suggests, its elements are drawn from the equities of alternate listed gold and silver mining firms. There are presently 30 gold and silver mining firm shares within the XAU, an inventory of which will be seen right here.

Eligible securities for inclusion in XAU are largely frequent equities and ADRs, and securities must be listed on one in all 4 US based mostly exchanges, particularly NASDAQ, NYSE, NYSE American or CBOE BZX Alternate (BZX = formally BATS). The minimal market cap (MCAP) of a inventory for potential inclusion in XAU is at the least US$ 100 million. XAU is rebalanced 4 instances a yr in March, June, September and December.

As a result of a number of the valuable metals miners having very massive MCAPs and to stop then dominating the index, the XAU has a bunch of guidelines to restrict the utmost weight of a part and the weighting calculations iterate by means of varied levels beginning with 1) get the burden of every part by dividing its MCAP by the mixed MCAP of all of the elements, after which 2) limiting the 5 largest names to a max weighting of 8% every and all different elements to a max 4% weighting every.

Past this, there are an entire lot extra parameters and guidelines round capping the part weights. For these , the index development methodology of the XAU will be seen right here. 

Well-known part shares of the XAU embrace massive and medium sized gold miners corresponding to Barrick, Eldorado, Concord, Newmont, Gold Fields, Seabridge, AngloGold Ashanti, and Kinross, and the massive major silver miners corresponding to First Majestic, Hecla, Coeur, and Pan American. Mainly the XAU is a who’s who of all of the very well-known gold and silver miners which have listings on US exchanges.

I first got here throughout the HUI and XAU in about 2001 after the web inventory bubble had burst and when gold and silver mining shares had been starting to take off. I keep in mind again then studying commentary and charts concerning the HUI and XAU from Adam Hamilton at ZEAL.

Past HUI and XAU there are various different valuable metals indices. Let’s have a look.

GDM – The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index. 10 yr chart to April 2022. Supply:

NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index

Many readers can be conversant in the enormous Van Eck Gold Miners ETF (ticker GDX), an ETF which has belongings of about US$ 15.3 billion.

GDX is an index tracker and goals to trace the efficiency of an index known as the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (GDM), or within the phrases of Van Eck, GDX “seeks to copy as intently as potential, earlier than charges and bills, the worth and yield efficiency of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index”.

Just like the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI), the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index is owned and maintained by Intercontinental Alternate (ICE), particularly ICE Knowledge Indices.

The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (whose ticker is GDMNTR however we’ll name it GDM) measures the efficiency of the publicly listed fairness (shares) of the ‘bigger’ capitalization major gold and silver mining firms worldwide (largely miners however some streamers). So GDM is a world index. The GDM methodology doc refers back to the eligible universe of potential index elements as ‘highly-capitalised’ gold and silver miners, and it units a minimal MCAP of $750 million (not free float adjusted) for any inventory to be eligible for inclusion within the index, in addition to varied common day by day buying and selling metric minimums. Eligible securities of GDM embrace frequent fairness, ADRs, and World Depository Receipts (GDRs) listed on US or Canadian exchanges.

GDM presently has 56 part shares from the very massive corresponding to Newmont, Barrick Franco-Nevada, Newcrest, Kirkland Lake, and Goldfields, right down to mining firms with the smallest index weights corresponding to Westgold Assets and Argonaut Gold. All the massive North American listed major silver mining firms corresponding to First Majestic, Hecla, Coeur and Pan American are additionally elements of GDM.

The index is a modified market cap weighted index and has a algorithm to attempt to restrict the weights of the very massive gold miners, in order to stop them dominating the index and to offer extra diversification potential among the many different elements.   

Nonetheless, Canadian listed firms dominate the nation weightings with a whopping 43%, highlighting the powerhouse which is the Canadian listed useful resource sector. That is adopted by the US, with a 20% weighting and Australia with a 13% weight. Collectively the highest 10 holdings of the index signify over 60% of the whole weight, that means that the worth actions of those handful of main gold mining firms can have a really massive affect on the index and the GDX ETF.

Whereas the GDM index has an inception date of 1 October 2004, the Van Eck Gold Miners ETF (ticker GDX) was launched in Might 2006, and it could have been the case that the GDM index (NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index) was created particularly for the Van Eck GDX ETF to trace it, however that it was calculated again to 2004 simply to offer index information for GDX to align with.   

The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index methodology doc will be seen right here.

Sectoral publicity – Gold and Silver Mining Indexes

MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index

Staying with the ETF supplier Van Eck, Van Eck additionally presents a widely known ETF known as the “VanEck Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ)”, which tracks an index known as that “MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index”. GDXJ has belongings of about US$ 5 billion.

Van Eck says that GDXJ “invests within the shares of small gold miners, a few of that are within the early levels of exploration”. So it consists of each valuable metals producers and explorers. Greater than 50% of the shares in GDJX are labeled as ‘Canadian’ (i.e. GDXJ holds the Canadian line of the inventory), a reality which highlights the powerhouse of the Canadian useful resource sector. The second highest nation focus is Australia, making up 17% nation weighting.

The MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index has a ticker MVGDXJTR – the TR that means Whole Return. Let’s name it “MV GDXJ”.

The GDXJ ETF was launched in November 2009, and the MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index has an inception date of 31 August 2009, so this appears to be like like a transparent case of the index having been created particularly for the Van Eck GDXJ ETF to trace.

The MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index is calculated and maintained by a German firm known as MV Index Options, whose head workplace is in Frankfurt, and which is an entirely owned subsidiary of Van Eck. By the way, Van Eck’s European headquarters can also be in Frankfurt.

On its web site, MVIS says that the MVIS World Junior Gold Miners Index “tracks the efficiency of probably the most liquid small-cap firms within the world gold and silver mining industries”.

“MV GDXJ” is a “modified market cap-weighted index”, and “solely consists of firms that make investments primarily in gold or silver, generate at the least 50% of their income from gold or silver mining”. The minimal MCAP for inclusion within the index is a gold or silver miner with a market cap of at the least US$ 150 million and there are additionally varied buying and selling liquidity minimums for eligibility. The index is rebalanced quarterly, and presently has 97 gold and silver miner inventory elements, which will be seen right here. The max weight per inventory part is capped at 8% and the biggest weights presently are in Pan American Silver (5.52%), Yamana Gold (5.21%) and Evolution Mining (5.13%).

With each GDX and GDXJ standard amongst valuable metals traders who additionally need publicity to the gold and silver mining sector, its good to at the least know what GDX and GDXJ are investing in.

Solactive Indexes

Subsequent up is the Solactive Gold Miners Customized Elements Index. Solactive is a German monetary index supplier, and like MVIS, it’s headquartered in Frankfurt. If you happen to haven’t heard of Solactive or the Solactive Gold Miners Customized Elements Index, you most likely have heard of the Sprott Gold Miners Alternate Traded Fund (ticker SGDM) which tracks the Solactive Gold Miners Customized Elements Index.

In response to Sprott, the Solactive Gold Miners Customized Elements Index (ticker (ticker SOLGMCFT  however let’s name it SOLGM) “goals to trace the efficiency of larger-sized gold firms whose shares are listed on Canadian and main U.S. exchanges.

In response to Solactive, the SOLGM index goals to “observe the worth actions of a portfolio of gold mining firms, which are weighted based on a rules-driven mannequin the place gold mining firms with sturdy elementary information are rewarded and these with weak elementary information are penalized.

Right here’s a current pdf reality sheet for the SOLGM index right here. Because the title suggests, this index solely accommodates gold mining firms and never major silver miners. There are 33 names within the index proper now, the biggest weights being Barrick and Newmont (each with 13% weights), adopted by Franco Nevada (10%), Wheaton, Royal Gold, Yamana, and Agnico, which in whole signify about 58% of the whole weight of the index.  

Sprott says that SGDM and the index SOLGM take note of ‘Elements that Matter’ which have been collectively designed by Sprott and Solactive and which look like a proprietary manner of tweaking the inventory choice and weights of the gold mining shares with an overlayed multi-factor strategy. Classical Eugene Fama and Ken French components are things like measurement (small vs massive) , worth (development vs worth) and typically momentum, and whereas Sprott doesn’t speak an excessive amount of about what components it takes into consideration, it does say that its “personalized components are chosen as a result of they’ve traditionally confirmed to be sturdy predictors of inventory efficiency, and embrace elementary metrics corresponding to income development, long-term debt-to-equity and value momentum.

In a short time, there may be additionally a gold pric (ticker SOLJGMFT) which one other Sprott ETF, known as the Sprott Junior Gold Miners ETF (SGDJ) tracks. This index goals to trace “the efficiency of small-capitalization gold firms whose shares are listed on regulated exchanges”, and targets shares with an MCAP vary of between US$ 200 million and US$ 2 billion. Just like the Solactive massive cap gold miner ETF, the junior model additionally overlays an element strategy on things like income development and value momentum.

There are presently 37 shares within the SGDJ, and apparently, about 39% of the part shares are Australian juniors, about 39% are Canadian listed juniors, and about 13% are UK listed juniors. The biggest elements of the index are Aurelia Metals (Aus), Pan African Assets (UK), Skeena Assets (Can), Eldorado Gold (Can), Wesdome Gold Mines (Can) and Westgold Assets (Aus). A current pdf factsheet for the index will be seen right here. 


The above provides a fast rundown on the well-known HUI and XAU, in addition to the indexes (NYSE Arca and MVIS) behind the Van Eck GDX and GDXJ ETFs, and the Solactive indexes behind the Sprott gold miners and gold junior minors ETFs.

Whereas that’s fairly sufficient indexes to absorb in a single go, there are lots extra, so half 2 of this text will take a look at a number of such because the MSCI ACWI Choose Gold Miners Investable Market Index, the US World GO GOLD and Treasured Metallic Miners Index, the Barron’s Gold Mining Index (BGMI), and possibly some nation particular valuable metals mining indexes corresponding to on Canada’s TSX, South Africa’s JSE and the Aussie ASX.

For the silver surfers and silver foxes, Half 2 will even take a look at some silver mining indexes from Prime (Prime Junior Silver Miners & Explorers Index), Solactive (Solactive World Silver Miners Index) and MSCI (MSCI ACWI Choose Silver Miners IMI Index).

Half 2 will even take a look at the truth that investing in valuable metals mining shares or gold and silver mining ETFs shouldn’t be the identical as holding the bodily valuable metals, and that even in the event you diversify away inventory particular danger by holdings a basket of valuable metals mining shares, you’re nonetheless left with the sectoral danger. However that might not be a foul factor, in the event you imagine that gold and silver costs are going to go quite a bit increased.

If anybody has recommendations of different gold and silver mining indexes to incorporate in Half 2, please add a suggestion within the Disqus feedback beneath.


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