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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Rio Tinto's (RIO)  price target was raised to $33 from $32.50 at Jefferies, which also maintained its "buy" rating on the stock on Wednesday.

The London-based mining company operates through product groups such as aluminum, copper, diamonds, minerals, energy product and iron ore.

Rio is one of the firm's "top picks" over a 12-month horizon.

"We remain positive on the long-term outlook for Rio Tinto shares due to the company's high quality assets, relatively low operating risk, strong free cash flow through the cycle, and inexpensive equity valuation at this very weak point in the cycle," Jefferies wrote in an analyst note.

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The miner has significant long-term growth potential in copper, iron ore, bauxite and alumina, the firm noted.

Rio is also likely to pursue growth via mergers and acquisitions in the near-term as distressed miners begin to sell high quality assets, particularly in copper, Jefferies said.

Additionally, the company has the strongest balance sheet out of all the major diversified miners, according to the firm.

Shares of Rio closed higher by 3.37% to $28.53 on Wednesday.

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