NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I have a confession. I'm the guy who wrote an article back on March 4 titled "The Death of Gold and Silver Stocks".That seems like ages ago, and in the article I lamented that Barrick Gold ( ABX) had plunged to "new 52-week lows" of around $29 a share. Little did I know that this was not the bottom of the canyon but one of the "ledges" on the way to the abyss. In fact, if on March 4 you'd told me that by July 5, just four months later, ABX would hit an intraday low of $13.43, I probably wouldn't have believed it. On June 28 the spot price of gold had cratered down to below $1,200 an ounce and finished the day close to $1,215. Capitulation selling of precious metals and the mining sector was ubiquitous. Since that gut-wrenching day for the precious metal investor, gold has rebounded a sterling 11% to $1,334. The gold mining stock sector as measured by the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX) has surged over 23%. The one-year chart of GDX is a picture that paints a thousand words. For those of us who have ridden this terrifying roller-coaster we are sadly reminded of what the one at Six Flags over Texas must feel like. GDX data by YCharts
So the current rally off the most recent bottoms for precious metals and the producing miners is a big relief. Is that what analysts mean by a relief rally, or is this the beginning of a huge move skyward? That is the $100 billion question. For those daredevils who bought GDX and some of the gold mining stocks about 17 days ago, the collective sighs are being heard around the world. But the questions remain. The answers to these questions are tricky at best. What I can offer you are some of the interesting facts about the gold mining stocks that are unequivocal and available for subjective interpretation. Fact #1: Precious metals and the mining stocks are easily manipulated by both short-selling and those who swing both directions, both short and long. With futures contracts and derivatives it's done regularly.