Even as gold mining stocks are poised for a third straight year of losses, Citi analysts say it could get worse, with companies likely to "struggle to make ends meet" after failing to pass on benefits from the past four years’ heyday in gold to shareholders.
Citi recommends investors play it safe with companies that can adapt to a lower gold-price environment, such as Buy-rated ABX and Medusa Mining (MDSMF.PK); it tags Sell ratings on Harmony Gold (HMY), African Barrick (ABGLF.PK) and Polymetal (POYYF.OB).
Nomura thinks gold prices have reached a near-term equilibrium, making it a good time to try for a bounce in gold mining stocks (GDX). As a result, its analysts upgrade Randgold (GOLD -6%) to Neutral from Reduce, African Barrick to Buy from Reduce, and Polymetal to Buy from Neutral. But the firm doesn't expect the good times to last, as it sees sellers dominating again by Q4 and sending gold prices down.