David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff and the former Chief North American Economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is bullish about dividend-paying gold stocks. He has been known for his consistently bearish view of the global economy and his strategic focus on high quality dividend stocks. He currently believes that, in a zero-return environment, cash flow is king. In line with this focus on cash flow and his positive views about gold, Rosenberg considers gold dividend stocks as attractive income investments. He holds that gold mining equities, which have started to outperform gold bullion after a decade of bullion's outperformance, have "attractive valuations, widening profit margins, and (strong) cash flow generation."
With this in mind, here is a closer look at four dividend-paying gold stocks that can be good sources of income for dividend investors. Most of these gold dividend plays have generated robust cash flow and dividend growth over the past several years. With gold prices expected to remain near current levels or to climb higher in the coming year, these stocks have the capacity to continue to produce strong cash flows and to pay generous dividends.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) is a $37.5-billion copper and gold producer. The company currently pays a dividend yield of 3.2% on a payout ratio of 40% of trailing earnings and 29% of last year's free cash flow. Over the past five years, the miner's EPS grew at an average annual rate of 7.6%. Since 2008, its free cash flow has increased 6.2 times. While the company suspended dividend payouts in 2009, dividends have seen a strong rebound since reintroduction in 2010. In fact, earlier this year, the miner boosted its quarterly payout by 25%. While the outlook for copper has deteriorated due to the slower demand in China and a forecast boost to the metal's physical stock in 2013-the largest since mid-1990-predictions for the gold market are more sanguine. In fact, Deutsche Bank recently lifted its gold price forecast for gold prices by 3% to $2,113/oz. in 2013 and by 11.1% to $2,000/oz in 2014. The bank sees the price of gold as high as $2,200/oz. next year. This bodes well for a continued strong cash flow generation. This miner has a high profit margin of 22% and low debt-to-equity ratio of 21%. As regards its valuation, this stock has a forward P/E of 9.1x. The gold mining industry has an average forward P/E of 13.0x. The stock is down 2% over the past twelve months.
Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) is a $24-billion gold and copper producer. It currently has a dividend yield of 2.9% and a payout ratio of 89% of last year's free cash flow. Over the past five years, the miner's EPS contracted at an average annual rate of 4.4%, while its dividends grew at an average rates of 28.5%. The brunt of the dividend increase was in 2011 and 2012. Analysts are very bullish about the company's EPS growth for the next five years, forecasting increases averaging nearly 40% per year. Barclays has just initiated coverage on the stock with an overweight (strong buy) rating and a price target of $73.00 per share, which would represent a 51% gain from the current price level of $48.39 per share. The stock is trading at a forward P/E of 9.6x. The stock is down 30% over the past year.
Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) is a $9-billion gold producer, one of the largest unhedged gold producers and the second largest in South Africa after Anglo-Gold Ashanti (AU). It has eight operating mines in South Africa, Peru, Ghana, and Australia. This gold stock is well positioned in terms of dividend yield, growth, and coverage. It pays a dividend yield of 3.1% on a payout ratio of 30% of trailing earnings and 37.5% of last year's free cash flow. Over the past five years, Gold Fields' EPS and dividends grew at average rates of 37.8% and 14% per year, respectively. Analysts forecast that the company's EPS will expand by more than 45% next year. It should still be noted that, unfortunately, the miner has seen some lower production volumes recently due to labor strikes in South Africa. The stock has a profit margin of 17% and low debt-to-equity ratio of 37%. In terms of its valuation, the stock is trading on a forward P/E of 8.1x. Over the past twelve months, the stock is down 31%.
Compania de Minas Buenaventura SAA (BVN) is a $9-billion miner of gold and silver with operations in Peru. It also produces industrial metals such as copper, zinc, and lead. The company pays a dividend yield of 2.2% on a payout ratio of 25% of trailing earnings and 78% of last year's free cash flow. Over the past five years, the company's EPS and dividends grew at average rates of 15.1% and 15.2% per year, respectively. Analysts forecast that the miner's EPS will expand at an average annual rate of 12.8% per year for the next five years. Notwithstanding its increased capital spending in the past three years, the company has been able to generate sufficient free cash flows, exceeding those before 2009. This miner has an exceptionally large profit margin of 55% and a low debt-to-equity ratio of only 4%. As regards its valuation, the stock has a forward P/E of 10.7x. The stock is down 21% over the past year.
As regards the hedge fund ownership in the gold equities universe, value investor Ken Fisher is bullish about Freeport McMoRan, while another value investor, Jean-Marie Eveillard's First Eagle is a big fan of Newmont Mining. Gold Fields is quite popular among billionaire investors. Ken Fisher reported nearly $550 million in the stock in his latest 13F filing with the SEC. At the same time, famed John Paulson reported owning some $231 million in that stock. Also bullish about Gold Fields has been RenTech's Jim Simons. As regards BVN, the stock is popular with fund managers Crispin Odey (Odey Asset Management Group) and Jim Simons.