Gold Sucks, but Is There Really This Much Value in Gold Stocks?

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It’s been a rough ride for gold. Traders and speculators have spent 2018 dumping gold as interest rates have risen. After all, gold won’t ever pay interest or dividends. Some central banks have been expected sellers of gold rather than buyers in 2018. And finding a gold bug who is very enthusiastic about gold is becoming a chore.

With gold having dropped from over $1,350 per ounce earlier in 2018 to under $1,200 of late, how on earth can analysts and investors maintain a positive view on gold miners? It turns out that the markets are still maintaining their effort of trying to discount current news with a view of what is likely to occur in the future. And this brings the point to the major gold stocks: Is there still value in gold miners even if the underlying commodity is in the toilet?

Gold miners have had to endure a lot in their quest to mine gold at profitable levels in recent years. Uprisings and local political issues can arise, and environmental issues are more than obvious risks. Wage pressures continue. And many traditional gold buyers may simply be seeking gold-alternatives or are just buying less gold. And the rising dollar certainly hasn’t helped matters this year. The geopolitical risks also haven’t been strong enough to force investors and speculators into what some deem the ultimate safety trade. And cryptocurrencies haven’t exactly been sucking away all the interest in this hard asset.

After looking at the major gold miners and processors, analysts are still calling for higher share prices. This may be less upside expectations than in recent months, but it’s almost amazing that price targets have not come down much further if you were only looking at gold prices.

This is a time, with many gold-related shares trading close to 52-week lows, when it feels like it may be too late for short sellers to call for endless downside after the pullbacks that already have been seen. It also feels like the expected upside is not as realistic as many of the analysts are sticking with at this time.

24/7 Wall St. has taken a look at the U.S.-listed top gold shares by market value. This review includes a projected upside by sell-side analysts in the Thomson Reuters consensus target prices, and trading data has been added for additional color. Here’s how five of the top gold companies by market value look at the current time.

Franco-Nevada Corp. (NYSE: FNV) was last seen up at $67.33, with a $12.6 billion market cap, and its 52-week trading range is $64.50 to $86.06. Its consensus analyst target price of $82.33 is not even 1% lower than it was 90 days ago.

Goldcorp Inc. (NYSE: GG) was up almost 3% at $11.19, with a $9.8 billion market cap, but the consensus target price of $17.39 is not even 5% lower than it was 90 days ago. Its 52-week range is $10.38 to $15.55. Is it really fair to assume that the shares will be putting in 52-week highs or to rise 50% over the coming 12 months? That consensus is still for 22% upside.

Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) was trading at $32.20, with a market value of $17 billion and a 52-week range of $31.45 to $42.05. The consensus target price of $44.16 is not even 1% lower than just 90 days earlier. If the analyst community’s continued bullish calls prove true, that’s a projected 37% upside.

Randgold Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: GOLD) trades close to $65.50, with a $6.5 billion market cap and a 52-week range of $62.55 to $108.29. The consensus analyst target of $99.84 is barely $3.00 lower than it was just 90 days ago. The analysts are still targeting the share price to be 50% higher.

Royal Gold Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLD) recently traded at $77.50, with a market cap of $5 billion. Its 52-week range is $76.02 to $98.53. The consensus target price of $96.42 may be $1.00 lower than a month earlier, but it’s actually right where the analyst community was 90 days ago. The analysts are still hoping for 24% upside here.

Analysts on Wall Street tend to maintain upside price targets on most of the stocks they cover. And as share prices fall, they generally lower their targets. This feels like one of those scenarios in which there may still too much hope from analysts and investors compared with what’s been happening with the underlying commodity.

The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) was last seen trading at $18.94, in a 52-week range of $18.15 to $25.58. That’s only about 4% higher than the 52-week low, and this exchange traded fund would have to rise by 35% to hit its 52-week high.