3 Sinking Gold Stocks: ABX, AUY, and NEM

Gold's struggles are evident in the price action of the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) and the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA:DUST)

Jul 20, 2015 at 12:31 PM
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Gold prices are continuing to tumble today, amid speculation a large fund in China sold its holdings in the precious metal. Additionally, for the first time since 2009, the mainland released an update on its gold reserves -- saying they were 1,658 tonnes, or up 57% from six years ago.

Against this backdrop, the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) is off 2.1% at $106.40 -- and fresh off a five-year low of $105.62 -- while the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA:DUST) is up 24% at $33.17, and on track for its highest daily close since Dec. 16. Drilling down on specific gold-related stocks that are seeing significant moves to the downside -- and are on the short-sale restricted list -- are Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX), Yamana Gold Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AUY), and Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM).

ABX, for example, tumbled to a 25-year low of $7.76 earlier, but was last seen down 11.4% at $7.78. Today's negative price action only highlights the equity's longer-term technical troubles, with ABX off 59% year-over-year.

Option traders, meanwhile, have been quick to initiate long calls over puts in recent months. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), Barrick Gold Corporation's 50-day call/put volume ratio of 6.92 ranks in the 94th percentile of its annual range. In other words, calls have been bought to open over puts with more rapidity just 6% of the time within the past year.

AUY, meanwhile, hit $2.15 earlier -- its lowest point since September 2004. More recently, the stock was off 7.7% at $2.20, widening its year-to-date deficit to 45%.

Put players have been increasing their presence in AUY's options pits of late. At the ISE, CBOE, and PHLX, Yamana Gold Inc.'s 10-day put/call volume ratio has jumped to 0.42 from 0.16 over the past two weeks, and now sits higher than 81% of all similar readings taken in the last 12 months.

To the delight of short sellers, NEM is off 11.1% this afternoon at $18.38. Unlike ABX and AUY, the security was in the green for 2015 heading into today's session. Thanks to today's bear gap, though, the stock is now down 3% on the year.

In the stock's options pits, put buying has been popular, per NEM's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 0.90, which rests in the 71st annual percentile. Echoing this put-skewed bias among short-term traders is Newmont Mining Corp's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.93, which sits above 65% of comparable readings taken in the past year.

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