In mid-October, we took a look at target prices and implied gains among 11 metals and materials stocks. The companies we examined were United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X), Nucor Corp. (NYSE: NUE), Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD), Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM), Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX), Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW), Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), Southern Copper Corp. (NYSE: SCCO), Titanium Metals Corp. (NYSE: TIE), Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), and Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP).
Gold prices have gained about $60/ounce, about 3.6%. Silver prices are up roughly 9%. Copper prices are up by about 8.6%. Titanium prices are unchanged, steel prices have been drifting though more varieties appear to be selling at lower prices, and rare earth minerals vary widely depending on the particular mineral. Lanthanum oxides are selling for about $61/kilogram, while terbium oxide goes for $605/kilogram.
All stock data comes from Yahoo! Finance and current prices were gathered in the early afternoon today.
Of the companies we survey, all but one enjoys a higher stock price today than they did last month. The single exception is Molycorp, which is getting punished today for missing both EPS and revenue estimates. At yesterday’s closing price of $38.70, Molycorp’s share price was higher than it was a month ago.
More interesting, perhaps, were recent changes in median price targets. Only Nucor and Titanium’s price targets have remained the same in the last month. Two stocks, Newmont and Barrick, had their price targets raised and the other seven had price targets lowered.
Newmont’s target price was raised from $77 to $81. At the new target price and a current price of $70.41, Newmont’s implied gain is $10.59, or 15%. The stock put up a new 52-week high last week, and its forward P/E also rose from 10.2 to 11.47. In the past month, shares have gained more than $7, or 11%. The company’s pledge to raise dividends if gold price targets are met is another reason to look carefully at this stock.
Barrick’s target price was raised from $66.50 to $68. At the new target price and a current price of $52.61, Barrick’s implied gain is $15.39, or 29%. Shares are trading at less than 6% away from the 52-week high of $55.95. Over the past month, Barrick’s shares have gained 12%.
The largest drop in target price was settled on Molycorp, which saw its target price fall from $80- to $70. Even at that, the implied gain for the shares, based on today’s price of $34.04, is 106%. The wide gap is due not so much to any failure on Molycorp’s part but to what might be “irrational exuberance” for the stock by investors. There is also the fact that Molycorp’s mineral reserves tend to be heavy on the lower-priced rare earths and light on the higher-priced metals.
The largest percentage drop in target price was claimed by US Steel, which saw its target price fall from $40 to $34.50, nearly 14%. The company posted a new 52-week low on October 3rd. At the current price of $26.08, the implied gain is $8.42, or 32%. US Steel is widely expected to be acquired — and fairly soon — which is attracting short sellers in droves.
Freeport-McMoran’s target price fell from $55 to $53 in the past month, even though shares have added $5.05, or about 15%, in the same period. The implied gain based on the new target price and the current price of $39.83 is 33%. Freeport’s problem is that demand for copper might be stagnating or worse, given the construction slowdown in China.
Silver Wheaton’s target price fell from $51.50 to $49.50, while the share price has gained 17%. At the new target price and based on today’s price of $36.18, the implied gain here is 37%. There is plenty of headroom for Silver Wheaton’s share price to continue rising, but demand for silver will be the driver.
Alcoa’s target price dropped from $15.50 to $13 in the last month, even as the share price has risen by about 8%. At the new target price and based on the current price of $10.58, the implied gain in Alcoa stock is nearly 23%. Given that shares rose by 8% in the last month, anything’s possible, even that Alcoa may hit the lower target.
The target price for Steel Dynamics fell from $18 to $16, while share prices gained a substantial 23% in the same period. At the new target price and a current price of $13.51, the implied gain in the stock is 18%. EPS estimates for the current quarter have fallen by nearly -20% in the past month, following lowered guidance from the company.
Southern Copper’s target price fell from from $36.75 to $36.25 in the past month, even though the share price rose by 21%. At the new target and at the current price of $32.41, the implied gain for Southern Copper is nearly 12%.