Shareholders of most gold exchange-traded funds have had a rough start to the year as gold ETFs that profit on gold or gold stock gains have trended downward. The opposite has been true for several gold ETFs that profit as gold and gold stocks fall. More on that later however.

Popular long-only physical gold funds SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) and iShares Gold Trust (IAU) have both declined about 6% so far this year. Among funds focused on miners, the Market Vectors Gold Miners Index ETF (GDX) is down 20%. The pain from these declines may have been a little less for gold investors if the S&P 500 had not accelerated more than 7% year-to-date.

It now appears the 2013 consensus for gold has turned bearish as investment banks around the world are downgrading their outlook. This is in spite of increased buying by central banks and Asian countries.

For investors who believe the scarcity of gold will ultimately prove to be a large return driver, this current slump may be a great entry point. As many gold bulls point out, dips over the past 10 years have led to healthy gains for investors. Whether gold can continue its 12-year streak of gains is the big question in 2013.

Meanwhile, gold ETFs that profit as gold falls are positive for the year. How positive you ask? The leading short gold ETF, Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (DUST), is up more than 76% year-to-date. The fund seeks to deliver -300% of the daily performance of an index of gold mining stocks.

As always, be sure to read and fully understand the prospectus available for every investment product––especially one that is leveraged––before considering an investment.

Christian Magoon is the publisher of ETF Web sites and