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Metals and Mining: Winners & Losers


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Mines Management (MGN), Harmony Gold Mining (HMY), U.S. Gold (UXG) and International Coal Group (ICO) rallied higher, whereas Penn Virginia Resource Partners (PVR), Golden Star Resources (GSS) and Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) ended the week in red. This compares to a 2.7% increase registered by the S&P 500.

Most metal and mining winners last week comprised of precious metal stocks in the U.S. Both gold and silver touched all-time highs last week. Concerns that Portugal may need a bailout coupled with the political turmoil in Libya and events in Japan triggered investment demand for the yellow metal. Gold touched an all-time high of $1,448.60 an ounce on March 23 before closing at $1,430 on March 25. Gold miners, such as Minera Andes and U.S. Gold, are forecasting gold price at $5,000 per ounce in the next three to four years.

Silver, on the other hand, experienced the longest rally since early December. The white metal touched $38.18 an ounce, the highest since February 1980, before closing at $37.33 on March 25. The metal gained 5.9% during the past week.

Leading the advancers' list at the back of this rally was Mines Management, which gained 21.2% last week. The stock had erased an identical percentage during the week ended March 21. Gold producers Harmony Gold Mining and U.S. Gold accumulated 18.8% and 13.2%, respectively. Last week, Royal Bank of Canada upgraded its rating on Harmony Gold to outperform from sector perform and noted that the company's Papua New Guinea mine could be a takeover target.

International Coal Group gained 10.5% on reports that it may be the most attractive takeover target in the eastern U.S. coal belt. The report said that the acquirer could pay $13 per share, implying a premium of 17% over current levels. Australia-based miner Alumina (AWC) and U.S.-based gold and silver producer Coeur d'Alene Mines (CDE) accumulated 9.9% each last week.

Another coal producer, Massey Energy (MEE), advanced 9.8% on concerns of a nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and the safety of nuclear energy. These concerns sparked a rally in alternative energy producers. Walter Energy (WLT) gained 8.6% during the past week.

Silver producer Silver Wheaton (SLW) and palladium/platinum miner Stillwater Mining (SWC) rose 9.8% and 9.7%, respectively. Silver Wheaton reported a 9% increase in its proven and probable reserves in 2010, largely attributable to an increase of 80 million ounces of silver and 23,000 ounces of gold, to a record 954 million silver equivalent ounces.

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