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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) - Get Gold Fields Ltd. Report are lower by 3.68% to $4.19 in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, as gold mining stocks decline along with the price of gold.

Gold is down today following reports the Swiss are in favor of a "no" vote, on a referendum that would force the Swiss National Bank to hold a minimum of 20% of its reserves in gold, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The initiative has the support of 38% of the Swiss voters, while 47% are against the referendum, which is set for November 30, the Journal added.STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Gold for December delivery was down 1.6% or $19 at $1,178.10 per troy ounce on Wednesday morning, the Journal noted.

Other gold mining stocks falling today include Harmony Gold Mining (HMY) - Get Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. Report , lower by 9.09% to $1.70, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU) - Get AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. Report , down by 8.57% to $9.39, and B2Gold Corp. (BTG) - Get B2Gold Corp. Report , falling by 7.22% to $1.80 this afternoon.

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TheStreet Recommends

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates GOLD FIELDS LTD as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate GOLD FIELDS LTD (GFI) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • GFI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.22% from its price level of one year ago. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, GOLD FIELDS LTD has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.51, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.
  • GOLD FIELDS LTD reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GOLD FIELDS LTD swung to a loss, reporting -$0.78 versus $0.44 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.13 versus -$0.78).
  • 35.57% is the gross profit margin for GOLD FIELDS LTD which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, GFI's net profit margin of 2.61% significantly trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GFI Ratings Report

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