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How to Buy Silver Stocks

Stocks in this article: SIL SLW

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Pan American Silver (PAAS) represents 11.58% of SIL, or 1 million shares worth $43.2 million.

Company Profile

Pan American Silver has seven operating mines in the Americas and Bolivia. At the end of 2009, the time period with the most recent reserve estimates available, Pan American had proven and probable reserves of 40.6 million tons or 1.3 trillion ounces.

The company's exploration budget for 2010 was $23.6 million as the company actively explored existing operations and surrounding land areas. Its two main projects are Brownfield and Greenfield. The focus on the former will be on reserve replacement and drilling 89,000 meters to examine known deposits; Greenfield's operations will focus on new discoveries as well as 94,000 meters of drilling.

Income Statement

Pan American reported third-quarter net income of $28.8 million, or 27 cents a share, up 66% from a year earlier. Silver production was 6.2 million ounces, down slightly from a year earlier, due to lower silver grades at its Peruvian mines. The company did announce record sales of $161.3 million due to a higher quantity of silver, zinc and lead which offset a lower amount of gold and copper. Gold production was 21,277 ounces.

Cash costs for silver were $6.08 an ounce, higher than expected due to stronger local currencies and higher operating costs. Pan American was still able to lock in near record cash flow of $50.7 million, or 47 cents a share. Pan American says it's on track to produce 23.4 million ounces of silver in 2010 at cash costs of $5.90.

Balance Sheet

As of the end of the third quarter, Pan American had net working capital of $360.5 million and cash and short-term investments of $288.4 million. The company has $21.05 million in total debt, up $20 million from a year earlier.

The company pays a dividend of 5 cents a share, and, according to TheStreet Ratings, can cover any short-term cash needs. TheStreet Ratings has a buy rating on the stock.

Analyst Ratings

Pan American Silver currently has nine buy ratings, three holds and two sells with an average price target of $45.44. The stock trades at a P/E ratio of 44.01, well above its peers. Shares returned 74.56% in 2010.

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