Mining Funds Hammer Ahead As Gold Hits 3-Week High; Oil Sags Below $40

Gold and silver mining ETFs bored higher Tuesday, but closed well off session highs, as a soft dollar drove bullion prices to their best level in three weeks. The broad market shuffled lower in tandem with oil prices , which breached $40 for the first time in months.

Precious metals are gaining ground as soft GDP growth in the second quarter has set back expectations for the Federal Reserve's next interest-rate hike. A longer period of low interest rates is viewed as a boon for gold, which struggles to compete with yield-bearing rival assets when rates rise.

VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX ) popped 1.3% on the stock market today . GDX posted a 52-week high of 31.64 but finished in the bottom half of the day's range.

In the mining group, highly rated IBD stocksRichmont Mines ( RIC ) and Alamos Gold ( AGI ) both advanced in early trade but closed mixed.

Global X Silver Miners ( SIL ) jumped 1.3%, brushing against a new high of 53.14 before trimming gains.

Their small-cap counterparts, VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ( GDXJ ) and PureFunds ISE Junior Silver (SILJ), also hit their highest levels in a year.

The PureFunds junior silver ETF is the best-performing ETF of 2016 among non-leveraged exchange traded funds, with a 267% gain so far this year.

[ibdchart symbol="silj" type="daily" size="full" position="leftchart" ]

IBD'S TAKE:VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF has been a solid performer year to date but is extended in price after its rally. To find other highly rated ETFs from the best industry groups, check outETF Center .

A lower dollar bolstered prices of precious metals Tuesday, as a weaker greenback tends to put foreign buyers of dollar-denominated commodities at an advantage. The yen strengthened sharply after Japan unveiled a new fiscal package to stimulate its tepid economy.

The dollar's slide briefly propped the oil market before crude reversed lower. U.S. crude futures settled below $40 for the first time since April on worries of a supply glut.

United States Oil (USO), a commodity ETF investing in near-month West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, gave back intraday gains of more than 2% to end in the red.

However, Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE), investing in oil and gas stocks, advanced 0.9%. Energy was the only S&P 500 sector to manage a gain Tuesday.

[ibdchart symbol="xle" type="daily" size="full" position="leftchart" ]

XLE and USO have fallen sharply in recent weeks amid renewed worries about global growth and signs of rising output among major world oil producers.

USO has fallen more than 20% in the month ended Aug. 1.

12 Bellwether ETFs

Here's how major exchange traded funds across major asset classes performed today, with IBD RS ratings.

The RS (Relative Price Strength) rating is a measure of a stock's price performance over the last 12 months, compared to all stocks and ETFs, on a scale of 1 to a best-possible 99.

Following daily ETF market action can be key to successful investing:

SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), -0.6%, RS 55

PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), -0.8%, RS 63

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA), -0.5%, RS 55

IShares Core S&P Mid-Cap (IJH), -1.1%, RS 66

IShares Russell 2000 (IWM), -1.4%, RS 63

IShares MSCI EAFE (EFA), -0.5%, RS 27

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO), -0.5%, RS 63

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), +0.8%, RS 79

United States Oil (USO), -0.9%, RS 10

IShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond (AGG), -0.3%, RS 48

PowerShares DB U.S.$ Bullish (UUP), -0.7%, RS 37

IPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX), +3.7%, RS 2

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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