Newmont Mining Tops Street Views

Newmont Mining sails past earnings targets.
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(Newmont item updated for further detail from the company's earnings release, and for closing stock prices.)

DENVER (

TheStreet

) --

Newmont Mining

(NEM) - Get Report

, the gold producer that made its fortune extracting so-called "invisible gold" out of Nevada, topped analysts' expectations with its first-quarter results.

The miner has acquired a reputation as a slow-growth outfit relative to its large-cap gold mining peers, such as

Barrick

(ABX)

,

Goldcorp

(GG)

and

Kinross

(KGC) - Get Report

. (Newmont expects to produce 5.3 million and 5.5 million ounces in 2010, basically flat with a year earlier.) But the elevated price of the yellow metal, which has traded in a range above the mythic $1,000-level since touching its all-time high in early December, has helped Newmont reap profits.

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Gold prices have risen 20% since the same period a year ago. Newmont's profit, meanwhile, more than doubled to $546 million, or $1.11 a share, from $189 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago.

The rise sailed past Wall Street expectations for the

second period in a row

. According to a

Thomson Reuters

survey of the sell side, analysts were expecting the company to earn 79 cents a share.

Newmont posted revenue of $2.24 billion for the first quarter, up 46% from the same period of 2009. The consensus among analysts called for $2.15 bilion.

Despite Newmont's explosive profit gains -- which have resulted from the much-discussed operating leverage of gold producers to the price of the yellow metal -- Newmont stock has risen only 36% since a year ago, underperfoming the broader market.

One of Newmont's more auspicious new projects, the Boddington gold mine in Australia, which had previously suffered from ramp-up snafus, produced 158,000 ounces of gold in the first quarter and 14 million pounds of copper. Newmont expects the mine put out 800,000 to 875,000 ounces of gold in 2010, which represents a small widening of the previous target range of 850,000 to 875,000 ounces.

The closely watched cash cost metric, which measures how efficient a miner is at extracting metal from the earth, came to $480 an ounce, up from $431.

On a sharp down day for equities generally as Eurozone debt fears ignited once again,

gold prices surged

and gold miner shares edged higher. Shares of Newmont finished trading Tuesday at $53.26, up 7 cents.

Similarly, Goldcorp shares rose 38 cents to $41.01, while Barrick added 21 cents to $40.67 and Kinross gained 24 cents to $18.37.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.