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Van Eck Launches Gold Miners Index
For its initial exchange-traded fund, Van Eck Associates chose a historic first from the firm’s past: a fund focused on the gold mining industry.
For its initial exchange-traded fund, Van Eck Associates chose a historic first from the firms past: a fund focused on the gold mining industry.
The Market Vectors-Gold Miners ETF, which began trading on the American Stock Exchange Monday, along with options on it, is based on Amexs Gold Miners Index, created in conjunction with Van Eck in 2004 to track the gold-mining equity market. Van Eck, which launched the first gold-mining mutual fund in 1968, calls the new fund the first ETF in the U.S. to track the industry, though two wildly popular gold ETFs, which hold physical bullion, rather than stock in mining companies, began trading in 2004 and 2005.
The Gold Miners Index holds 44 gold- and silver-mining names, and is, according to Van Eck principal Jan van Eck, the only gold mining index large enough to support a 1940 Act mutual fund. The other U.S. indices, the Amexs Gold BUGS Index, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Gold Index and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Gold and Silver Index, include only between 8 and 16 stocks.
The two gold bullion ETFs, State Street GlobalAdvisors streetTRACKS Gold Shares and Barclays GlobalInvestors iShares COMEX Gold Shares, have between them more than $8 billion in assets under management, and are some of the most popular funds available. But Van Eck portfolio manager and gold expert Joe Foster says the new ETF will be more volatile than the existing funds, with a gold beta of approximately two.
The shares have an extremely high correlation to the underlying metal, he says. However, they are also leveraged to the metal.
The new fund is part of a bevy of commodity ETFs that have debuted in 2006. Fellow first-time ETF sponsors Deutsche Bank and Victoria Bay Asset Management unveiled first-of-their-kind funds earlier this year, with the DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund a diversified commodity fund covering oil, gold, aluminum, corn and wheat and the United States Oil Fund, respectively. In addition, market leader BGI unveiled its long awaited iShares Silver Shares last month, as well as a pair of funds covering oil and gas exploration and production, and oil equipment and services, earlier this month.