Below are three opportunities to scoop up commodities exposure at a discount. These companies have been growing cash flows from operating activities while keeping costs in line, operate in near to mid-term bullish environments, but have also been punished (unfairly I believe,) as of late to flirt with YTD lows. With dozens of valuable metrics available from fundamental to technical analysis, sometimes it can't hurt to keep it simple.
Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) - This mid-cap Silver/Gold miner sported the lowest silver-production cost in North America for 2010 (it was actually negative,) and projects 2011 silver production to cost "approximately zero dollars per ounce." Having no silver hedges in place, Hecla has been able to take full advantage of the commodities price appreciation as of late, while keeping costs in line.
· Revenue growth almost doubled in relation to COGS increases.
· Net cash flow from operations, the lifeblood of any company, increased 70% from 2009 to 2010.
· Enough metrics, how has this stock been rewarded as of late? It has been punished, around 20% off its 52-week high.
Stillwater Mining Company (SWC) - This mid-cap Palladium/Platinum miner concluded an explosive 2010 followed by a bullish 4th quarter earnings call. While the CEO acknowledged that their success for 2010 was due largely to price appreciation of the underlying commodities, he stressed his support for current prices, citing a "more fundamental demand dynamic." This is currently driven by the overall global recovery (mainly auto sales no pun intended,) as well as supply shortages and volatility that have no signs of easing in the near future. From a larger growth perspective, they have a promising pipeline of acquisitions and properties which they hope to develop over the next 3-5 years. Earnings call link here - http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NDE2NDE2fENoaWxkSUQ9NDI4NzA4fFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1
· Revenue grew faster than COGS, 41% vs. 35% respectively.
· Net cash flow from operations doubled from 2009 to 2010, helped by net income turning positive for the first time since I bothered to look back, 2007.
· Around 20% off its 52 week high, and in an interesting technical position, SWC is certainly worth a look.
Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) - This large cap Copper/Gold/Moly miner could swallow HL and SWC whole (and maybe it should!) These guys are truly the best in breed, operating on a global scale with proven reserves and a proven track record to deliver. For a more detailed bullish FCX article, look no further than your fellow SA peers and read this article as well. seekingalpha.com/article/258141-freeport...
· Revenue growth outpaced COGS, 26% vs. 19%, ever more important I believe for larger companies.
· Net cash flow from operations increased 42.6% from 2009 to 2010
· Around 25% off its 52 week high, just having bounced off the 200-day EMA, FCX seems like a steal to scale in at these levels.Having already begun to scale into each of these three companies, I of course sport a positive bias. I will, however, stress that I believe any investment, especially in these times of volatility (debt crisis, future inflation, natural disasters, etc.) requires extensive personal due diligence as well as incremental buying. I believe strength in commodities is here to stay, and that a typical portfolio should have no less than 10% exposure. I'd also like to say that I have been a seeking alpha follower for a couple of years and this is my first attempt at publishing an article. Comments are strongly encouraged and are greatly appreciated!
Disclosure: I am long HL, FCX, SWC.