Newmont Mining (NEM +2.5%) is upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays, despite fears of a Fed rate hike that have driven gold prices lower.
The firm says it remains comfortable with its forecast for $1,350/oz. gold over 2017 as investors move past their immediate focus on the U.S. election and the next Fed move to consider what it sees as a continued high-risk, low growth global economy.
Barclays thus believes NEM shares look increasingly attractive ahead of potentially favorable company-specific events; over the next several months, it looks for NEM to complete the sale of Batu Hijau, recalibrate and increase its dividend payout, and affirm development of its promising expansions in Ghana.
The firm also likes OceanaGold (OTCPK:OCANF +2.4%), which has been hit by political risks in the Philippines, and thinks the miner will reaffirm its operations in the country and begin the ramp up of its key Haile project, its first in the U.S.
The Philippines has ordered the suspension of 20 more mines for environmental violations, mostly nickel producers, sparking a jump in nickel ore prices.
In addition to 10 mines already shuttered as part of an audit completed last month, the action brings to 30 the number of suspended mines, 18 of them nickel producers that account for 55.5% of the country's total nickel ore output based on last year's production.
OceanaGold (OTCPK:OCANF -9.1%), the top gold miner in the Philippines and one of the companies facing a suspension, says it has not violated any environmental regulations.
The 20% YTD rise in gold and silver prices should continue over the medium term, the firm says, lending to price targets of $1,400/oz. for gold and $22.50/oz. for silver by the end of Q1 2017.
BMO upgrades Yamana Gold (NYSE:AUY), Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW), Coeur Mining (NYSE:CDE), Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS) and Detour Gold (OTCPK:DRGDF) to Outperform from Market Perform, and hikes Oceana Gold (OTCPK:OCANF) to Market Perform from Underperform; price targets are $5.50 for AUY (raised from $1), $24 for SLW (jumping from $4.50), $11 for CDE (up from $3), and $19 for PAAS (from $7.50).
However, the firm downgrades Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM), Franco-Nevada (NYSE:FNV) and Fortuna Silver (NYSE:FSM) to Market Perform from Outperform, saying their stocks already have factored in higher gold and silver prices.
Newmont Mining (NEM -3.7%) agrees to sell its Waihi operations in New Zealand to OceanaGold (OTCPK:OCANF) for $101M, in a deal NEM says strengthens its balance sheet and gives it more financial flexibility.
The deal also includes a $5M contingent payment and a 1% net smelter royalty on a recent discovery north of Waihi’s current operations.
NEM shares are lower amid a broader selloff in mining stocks.
Austerity moves clearly have helped gold miners navigate through the lower price environment, but Citigroup analysts warn that further belt-tightening will be difficult, and may even hurt long-term prospects.
Citi cautions that the slowdown in capex invariably will result in a fall in production, which in turn will lead to a faster rise in unit costs; also, the recent increase in head grades across the global mining space is an unsustainable mining practice that can have further detrimental effects on future mine plans and ore bodies.
Among miners Citi sees as most vulnerable to a low gold price environment are Sibanye Gold (NYSE:SBGL), Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY) and DRDGOLD (NYSE:DRD), which the least vulnerable are Goldcorp (NYSE:GG), Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX), Yamana (NYSE:AUY), Medusa Mining (OTC:MDSMF) and OceanaGold (OTCPK:OCANF).