Short Sellers Make Mixed Bets on Gold-Mining Stocks

In the two-week short interest reporting period that ended September 15, the price of gold slipped less than 1%. For the year to date, gold futures have gained about 23%, and they posted an all-time high at $2,089.20 in July. Early Friday, the yellow metal traded at around $1,860 per ounce.

Short interest decreased on four of five gold-mining stocks and on two of three gold exchange-traded funds in the first two weeks of September.

Newmont Corp. (NYSE: NEM) saw short interest fall by 2% to 8.9 million shares, which represent about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two-week short interest period, Newmont’s share price rose by about 0.8%. The 52-week range is $33.00 to $72.22, and shares closed at $61.44 on Thursday, up by about 2% for the day.

Barrick Gold Corp.’s (NYSE: GOLD) short interest tumbled by 22% in the two weeks through September 15. About 17.9 million shares were short, roughly 1% of the miner’s total float. Days to cover dipped from two to one. Shares added about 1.2% in the period, and the stock closed at $27.65 on Thursday, up about 1.9% for the day. The 52-week range is $12.65 to $31.22.

Freeport-McMoran Inc. (NYSE: FCX) short sellers added 20% to their positions during the period. Some 38 million shares were short, or about 2.6% of the stock’s float. Days to cover remained at two. The stock added about 5.1% in the initial two weeks of September. Shares closed at $15.38 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $4.82 to $17.50, up by about 4.1% for the day.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (NYSE: AEM) had short interest tumble by 19% in those two weeks. About 1.1% (2.5 million) of the company’s shares were short. Days to cover dipped from three to two. The stock price increased by about 4.1% during the short interest reporting period. Shares closed up about 3.6% Thursday, at $78.28 in a 52-week range of $31.00 to $89.23.

Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC) added about 4.7% to its share price during the two-weeks through September 15. Short interest soared by 33% to about 20.1 million shares, or 1.6% of the stock’s float. Days to cover rose from one to two. Shares closed at $8.84 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $2.72 to $10.32.

The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA: GDX) saw short interest dip by 3% in the two-week period to 43.7 million shares. Days to cover remained at two. The shares gained about 1.2% during the two weeks and closed Thursday at $38.66. The 52-week range is $16.18 to $45.78.

The VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA: GDXJ) short interest decreased by 8% to 6.7 million shares. Days to cover remained at one. Shares rose by about 2% during the period. The 52-week range is $19.52 to $65.95, and shares closed Thursday at $54.83, up by about 3.2% for the day.

SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA: GLD) had short interest increase by about 12.4% during the two week period to 15.2 million shares. Shares slipped by about 0.8% in that time. The 52-week range is $136.12 to $194.45, and shares closed up about 0.4% Thursday at $175.44.

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