Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Will UK Interest Rate Rises Crash House Prices? - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Full on Crash Alert for Major World Stock Markets... - Clive_Maund
3.Gold And Silver Market Bottoming? Big Rally Imminent? Reality Check Says NO - Michael_Noonan
4.The Coming Silver Price Rally Will Outperform All Previous Ones - Hubert_Moolman
5.The Trigger For The Upcoming Stock Crash - Harry_Dent
6.Imploding Department Store Results - James_Quinn
7.Dr. Copper is Speaking, are you Listening? ... - Rambus_Chartology
8.Pandemonium in the Stock Market, Dow falls 1,000 points in a week - EWI
9.Asia's Whirling Dervish of Devaluations Has Encircled China's Exports - Keith_Hilden
10.China Weakens the Yuan; Rattles Global Stock and Financial Markets - Gary_Dorsch
Last 5 days
The Real Threat from China’s Stock Market Crash - 2nd Sept 15
How Our “Mixed Economy” Created These Mixed-Up Markets - 2nd Sept 15
'Gravity' Is Returning to Stocks and Bond Markets - 2nd Sept 15
OPEC Divorce And Self-Destruction Thanks To Saudi Crude Oil Strategy? - 1st Sept 15
The Beginning Of A New Financial / Stock Market Cycle - 1st Sept 15
Three Things Every Master Trader Knows About Trading Options - 1st Sept 15
Chinese Yuan Revolution? - 1st Sept 15
Take Advantage of Record-High Auto Sales… Before This Bubble Bursts - 1st Sept 15
Pondering Hitler's Legacy - 1st Sept 15
Mainstream Media Goes Berserk - 1st Sept 15
Your Decisive Stock Market Plan to Follow Whilst Most Investors Shiver With Fear - 1st Sept 15
Are There Stock and Financial Markets Investing Opportunities For The Remainder Of 2015 - 1st Sept 15
Crude Oil Price Forecast 2015 and 2016 - 1st Sept 15
REPO Window Hidden $Trillion QE Monthly Volume - 31st Aug 15
Silver and Warnings From Exponential Markets - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Calls Fed’s Bluff - 31st Aug 15
Why Some ETFs Led the Stock Markets Down Last Week - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Collapse - Take The Opportunity To Bail Before It’s Too Late! - 31st Aug 15
The Most Important Market Chart on The Planet - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market 50% Retracement - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Crash Red Alert for 2nd Downwave... - 31st Aug 15
Independant Scotland 1 Year on, UK Civil War If the SNP Fanatics Had Succeeded - 30th Aug 15
Gold’s 7 Point Broadening Top - 30th Aug 15
The Day the Stock Market Shook the Earth: Takeaways From the Dow’s 1,000-Point Drop - 30th Aug 15
Gold Price Rally Marked by Short Covering - 30th Aug 15
Aging Stocks Bull Market - 29th Aug 15
Economic Destabilization, Financial Meltdown and the Rigging of the Shanghai Stock Market? - 29th Aug 15
The Stocks You Should Be Buying After the Market Drop - 29th Aug 15
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Market Fluctuations - 28th Aug 15
China's Yuan Devaluation: Why It Was "Expected" - 28th Aug 15
Stocks Go Nuts But the Question Remains – Will the Rally Stick? - 28th Aug 15
Fed’s Stock Market Levitation is Failing - 28th Aug 15
The Eight Energy Systems Driving The Stock Market Rout - 28th Aug 15
Silver Sold, then Squeezed - 28th Aug 15
U.S. Economic Fundamentals 'Look Good' - Bullard of St. Louis Fed - 28th Aug 15
Stock Market Margin Calls Mount - 28th Aug 15
Einstein, Physics, Gold and The Formula To End Economic Decay - 28th Aug 15
The 10 Best Stocks for Options Trading Plays in This Market - 28th Aug 15
Economics of a Stock Market Crash - 28th Aug 15
Currency Wars Detonate; Gold Refuses to Budge - 28th Aug 15
UK Immigration Crisis Hits New Record, Trending Towards Becoming a Catastrophe - 28th Aug 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Global Stocks Slide

Mining Stocks: How Long Will the Downturn Last?

Commodities / Metals & Mining May 22, 2012 - 06:49 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: Over the last twelve months mining stocks have substantially underperformed the market.

In fact, the Standard and Poor's Metals and Mining select industry index (INDEXSP: SPSIMM) is off 35% in the past year, while the overall market is up 2.5%.


Admittedly commodities prices are down, but only by 14% in the last year. Meanwhile, the cost of some commodities -- notably gold prices -- are much higher than they were.

Given the buoyancy of global monetary policy, this is surprising. For investors, the big question is: will the downturn in mining stocks last?

It truth, though, when you look more closely at operating numbers, the weakness in commodity shares is easier to explain.

Mining Stocks: Breaking Down Barrick Gold
For example, Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX), a gold and copper miner that is generally well regarded, posted first quarter earnings which were up just 3% from the previous year. That was a surprisingly weak performance given that its gold sales price was up 22% -- even though its copper price realized was down 11%.

However, gold cash mining costs were up 25% and copper cash mining costs were up a startling 66%. So even though copper production and sales were also up sharply, margins on those sales were down 43%.

In other words, even though Barrick enjoyed a favorable operating quarter with good prices, mining costs for both gold and copper were up so sharply that Barrick enjoyed little benefit from this success.

The same picture is clearly seen around the mining sector, and indeed in the related energy sector.

Strong sales prices over the last few years have had two effects.

They have led producers to extend operations to higher-cost mines that were not previously viable. Further, they have increased wages in the mining sector.

Additionally, energy prices -- which represent around 25% of the operating costs of the average gold mine -- are also higher, putting more pressure on margins.

Naturally, with commodities prices somewhat weak and costs increasing much faster than general inflation, mining profitability has been hit.

A further problem is that, for mining companies engaged in major expansion projects, which many of them are, escalating construction costs have caused them to run seriously short of cash.

That has forced them to raise equity at prices that are currently unfavorable.

The molybdenum producer Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE:TC) is a good example of this. In the middle of a $1.5 billion gold mine project at Mount Milligan, Thompson Creek sold equity shares at 50% of book value.

Even so, many mining stocks are trading at low single-digit price-earnings ratios-- far below the value of their operations.

For these companies, the best solution would be to cut back capital expansion plans as far as possible and sharply increase dividends to maximize the benefit to shareholders.

If that were the case, their stocks would then trade up because of their dividend yields, and shareholders would benefit from both the dividends and the higher share price.

After all, a large surplus cash flow with a mining company is a recipe for trouble in the form of foolish acquisitions or ill-thought-out exploration.

The Fundamental Case for Mining Stocks
Going forward, the outlook for gold and silver prices, at least, remains bright.

It seems inconceivable that the Eurozone crisis can be resolved without the European Central Bank pumping more money into the system, while Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke needs only modest encouragement to engage in another bout of inflationary "quantitative easing."

Inflation itself has not disappeared as many predicted. It may in fact accelerate quite rapidly if conditions are right, as unemployment has declined and the labor market has tightened.

Further, the deflationary boost we all gained from easier global sourcing and the entry of India and China into the world economy seems to have ended, with both India and China experiencing substantial inflation. For energy and other commodities, the future depends on global growth.

Of course, if China really is entering a downturn, with losses in the banking system causing a recession, then the bull case for commodities such as iron ore and coal is much weakened. With overall inflation continuing, producers of those commodities may continue to suffer earnings stress, and therefore remain somewhat undervalued compared to the market as a whole.

For gold and silver miners, however, the outlook is bright.

Their output prices should increase, while their inputs of energy and mining engineer talent will become cheaper as supply increases and energy prices remain at around current levels.

That should bring them both increasing margins and profits. As gold and silver prices increase, it should also raise their valuations relative to those profits.

In short, if you own gold and silver mining stocks, hold tight. You shouldn't regret it.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/05/22/mining-stocks-will-the-downturn-last/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History