6. Hecla Mining (HL), established in 1891, is the largest and lowest cash-cost silver producer in the U.S. The company has two operating mines and exploration properties in four world-class silver mining districts in the U.S. and Mexico.
Hecla has an equity beta of 1.30, the highest among major silver producers, implying that Hecla is more volatile and will likely outperform its peers and broader markets in the current silver rally. Hecla, with a market cap of $2.75 billion, has a higher beta than stocks with lesser market capitalization. Coeur d'Alene Mines (CDE), Silver Standard Resources (SSRI) and Mag Silver (MVG), with market cap in the range of $600 million-$2.4 billion, have lower betas of 1.25, 1.02 and 0.85, respectively.
Analysts polled by Bloomberg anticipate the company will report earnings of 28 cents per share for 2010 and 44 cents per share for 2011, in comparison to earnings of 23 cents per share in 2009. Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, three recommend buying, seven advise holding and one selling.