Every time you think we are in for a peaceful stretch, it happens again, a terrorist attack in a major city with fatalities. This time it was London again, and once again, the attacker started things with a vehicle as a weapon. The omnipresent specter of terror combined with concerns over domestic and foreign policy have put a little bounce into the step of the price of gold.
With the price of gold once again trying to push through the $1,250 per ounce level and stay there shows that $1,200 may indeed be the floor for the precious metal. The bigger question is can gold breakthrough $1,300 and go higher or is it range bound? One thing is for sure: the terror threat isn’t going away and the policy concerns are legitimate.
We screened the Merrill Lynch research database for gold stocks that are rated Buy. We found four that make good sense now.
Agnico Eagle Mines
This top stock has remained a long-time Wall Street favorite. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (NYSE: AEM) is a senior Canadian gold mining company that has produced precious metals since 1957. Its eight mines are located in Canada, Finland and Mexico, with exploration and development activities in each of these regions, as well as in the United States and Sweden. The company and its shareholders have full exposure to gold prices due to its long-standing policy of no forward gold sales. Agnico Eagle has declared a cash dividend every year since 1983.
While the company missed fourth-quarter earnings estimates as sales were lower than production, the company unveiled plans to grow gold output to 2 million ounces by 2020 with new output from the Meliadine and Amaruq mines. The Merrill Lynch analysts feel that the company’s ambitious plans for 2020 are achievable.
Shareholders are paid a small 0.9% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $55, and the Wall Street consensus target is $51.78. The stock closed most recently at $44.33 a share.
This top company with a solid balance sheet makes sense for investors to consider. Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) engages in the acquisition, exploration, development and operation of precious metal properties in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. It primarily explores for gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc deposits.
Goldcorp’s principal mining properties include the Red Lake, Éléonore, Porcupine and Musselwhite gold mines in Canada; the Peñasquito and Los Filos mines in Mexico; the Marlin property in Guatemala; the Cerro Negro and Alumbrera mines in Argentina; and the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic.
Some Wall Street analysts feel that the company deserves a premium valuation to its peers due to its excellent balance sheet, growth profile with lower cost new mines, longer average mine life and a solid dividend yield. Over the past few years, Goldcorp has been altering its mine plans, cutting spending and disposing assets in order to reduce costs and focus on the most profitable production.
While Merrill Lynch reduced estimates for 2017 and 2018 recently, it is positive on the company’s growth strategy that intends to boost output by 20% and lower all-in sustaining costs by 20%, all by the year 2020.
Goldcorp investors are paid a 0.5% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $21 price target, and the consensus target is at $18.16. Shares closed on Thursday at $15.91.