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Metals and Mining: Winners and Losers

Aluminum company Alcoa (AA) edged up 0.3% last week, after declaring a common and preferred stock dividend. The company recently agreed to partner and work with China Power Investment for $7.5 billion worth of clean-energy and smelting projects, as China strives to reduce its carbon footprint and cut energy costs.

Carpenter Technology (CRS) gained 1.2% after announcing an 18 cents per share quarterly cash dividend, payable March 3, 2011. However, the gains were capped after research analysts at Sidoti downgraded the stock's rating to neutral from the earlier buy.

Mines Management was the top loser last week, down 18%. James River Coal slumped 16.7% after Zacks Investment Research rated the company a top sell pick. Alpha Natural Resources fell 13.7% after the Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S. said it is revoking a permit given to Alpha to employ mountaintop removal to extract coal from its Spruce No. 1 mine in West Virginia.

Last Week, coal companies snapped its rally on concerns that China would hike interest rates. Additionally, a Goldman Sachs analyst warned investors last week that the rally in coal stocks is short-lived and downgraded ratings.

International Coal Group (ICO) and Walter Energy (WLT) were the other decliners, down 13% and 12.7%, respectively. Analysts at FBR Capital Markets downgraded Walter's rating to market perform from the earlier outperform. Patriot Coal (PCX) slumped 12.5% after receiving a downgrade to market perform from outperform from FBR Capital Markets. Arch Coal (ACI) dropped 10.9%. Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock's rating to sell from neutral last week.

Other major coal companies such as Peabody Energy (BTU), Massey Energy (MEE) and Consol Energy (CNX) declined 8.9%, 8.2% and 7.1%, respectively.

Meanwhile, as spot silver and gold prices dropped almost 3% and 1.5% last week, respectively. Following the metal prices, gold stocks such as New Gold (NGD), US Gold (UXG) and Goldcorp (GG) were down 15.4%, 13.7% and 4.3%, respectively, while silver companies like Mag Silver (MVG) and Endeavour Silver (EXK) dipped 9.9% each. Pan American Silver (PAAS) and Silver Wheaton (SLW) fell 9.4% and 5.9%, respectively.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
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