NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX), Goldcorp ( GG) and Newmont Mining ( NEM) are among metal and mining stocks that received an upgrade on fourth-quarter earnings per share estimates over the past four weeks.

The run-up in copper, silver and gold prices during the fourth quarter prompted analysts to upgrade the earnings potential of the relevant stocks. We have not included North American Palladium ( PAL), Stillwater Mining ( SWC), AngloGold Ashanti ( AU) and ArcelorMittal ( MT) in this list, although they received a great EPS revision, because only a few analysts cover these stocks for adjusted earnings per share upgrade.

Analysts expect the following 10 metal and mining stocks to provide attractive investment returns during 2011, based on the upside implied from their respective 12-month price targets. These stocks are expected to gain in the range of 23%-40% over the next 12 months, with a mean upside value of around 20%. In addition, most of these stocks received favorable buy recommendations.

The stocks are stacked by percentage of EPS upgrade in ascending order.

10. International Coal ( ICO) is a leading coal producer in Northern and Central Appalachia and the Illinois Basin.

The company is scheduled to announce its 2010 fourth quarter results on Feb. 2. Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) are 7 cents on Jan. 18 from 6 cents as on Jan. 6. Analysts polled by Bloomberg foresee the company reporting earnings of 28 cents per share for 2010, 67 cents per share for 2011 and $1.27 per share for 2012, in comparison to earnings of 14 cents registered during 2009.

Over the past one year, the stock topped coal producers with gains of 117%. Meanwhile, Natural Resource Partners ( NRP), Patriot Coal ( PCX), Westlandmore Coal ( WLB) and Penn Virginia Resource Partners ( PVR) increased around 41%, 21%, 27% and 25%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 24% with a 12-month target price of $11.1, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the eight analysts covering the stock, six recommend buying and two rated holding.

9. Newmont Mining ( NEM) is a gold producer with assets, or operations, in the U.S., Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) were $1.19 on Jan. 17 from $1.08 as of Dec. 19. Meanwhile, for the full-year 2010, the company is expected to report earnings of $4.01 per share, a significant turnaround from earnings of $1.82 per share and $2.68 per share for 2008 and 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Going forward, earnings per share are estimated to be more robust at $4.91 for 2011 and $5.87 for 2012, respectively.

Over the past 12 months, the return-on-equity stood at 14.4%, one of the highest for gold producers. Meanwhile, Barrick Gold ( ABX), Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM), Gold Fields ( GFI), Eldorado Gold ( EGO) and Randgold Resources ( GOLD) have ROEs of -28.2%, 3.3%, 8.8%, 6.0% and 6.0%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 39% with a 12-month target price of $77.4, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 19 analysts covering the stock, 10 recommend buying, and 7 rated holding, while 2 advised selling.

8. Pan American Silver ( PAAS) is a silver mining company with operations in Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) reached 48 cents on Jan. 13 from 35 cents as of Dec. 20. The company is set report earnings of $1.03 per share for 2010, $2.38 per share for 2011 and $2.50 per share for 2012, in comparison to earnings of 71 cents per share in 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.

On Nov. 30, after preliminary assessment, the company announced positive results from its Navidad project, which is slated to become the world's largest primary silver mine. Eight deposits that comprise the Navidad project contain 632 million ounces of silver, and 3 billion pounds of lead. "I am confident that we will discover additional mineralization during the coming years in this new and prolific silver district," said Michael Steinmann, Executive Vice President of Geology and Exploration, in a press release.

The stock is expected to gain 31% with a 12-month target price of $45.9, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 9 recommend buying, and 3 rated holding, while 2 advised selling.

7. Hecla Mining ( HL) has two operating mines and exploration properties in four world-class silver mining districts in the U.S. and Mexico.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) reached 11 cents on Jan. 11 from 9 cents as of Dec. 19. Analysts polled by Bloomberg anticipate the company will report earnings of 29 cents per share for 2010 and 48 cents per share for 2011, in comparison to earnings of 23 cents per share in 2009.

Over the past 12 months, the return-on-equity stood at 7.2%, one of the highest for silver producers. Hecla's peers such as Mag Silver ( MVG), Endeavour Silver ( EXK), Alexo Resource ( AXU), Silver Standard Resources ( SSRI) and Mines Management ( MGN) have ROEs of -15.4%, -2.8%, -7.2%, -3.3% and -41.3%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 13% with a 12-month target price of $10.8, based on consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 2 recommend buying, 8 advise holding and 1 rates selling.

6. Yamana Gold ( AUY) is a Canada-based gold producer engaged in exploration, extraction, processing and reclamation.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) reached 22 cents on Jan. 15 from 18 cents as of Dec. 28. Meanwhile, for the full-year 2010, the company is expected to report earnings of 58 cents per share, a significant improvement from earnings of 29 cents per share in 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Going forward, earnings per share are estimated to be more robust at 87 cents for 2011 and 89 cents for 2012, respectively.

Last week, Yamana announced 2010 production of 1.04 gold equivalent ounces (GEO), in-line with the earlier guidance. Meanwhile, cash costs were less than $125 per GEO after by-product credits, lower than the previous guidance of $175 per GEO. The company expects to produce 1.04-1.14 million GEO for 2011, 1.20-1.32 million GEO for 2012 and 1.46-1.68 million GEO for 2013.

"Planned production increases result from the start-up of development projects, for which construction decisions have already been made. In addition, the optimizations and expansions that are ongoing at our currently operating mines will further maximize value. Yamana is in a unique position as we deliver significant production growth, all of which is fully-funded from cash flow and available cash, and, at the same time, we expect to generate free cash flow throughout this growth phase and increase our cash balances," commented Peter Marrone, chairman and CEO, in a press release.

The stock is expected to gain 37% with a 12-month target price of $15.8, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 19 analysts covering the stock, 17 recommend buying, 1 rated holding, and 1 advised selling.

5. Goldcorp ( GG) is engaged in the exploration, development, and operation of gold mines in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South Americas.

The company is scheduled to announce its 2010 fourth quarter results on Feb. 24. Consensus estimates for earnings per share (adjusted) reached 44 cents on Jan. 17 from 42 cents as of Dec. 14. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the company to report earnings of $1.94 per share for 2010, $2.02 per share for 2011 and $2.49 per share for 2012, a significant turnaround from earnings of 33 cents per share in 2009.

Last week, the company announced record gold production of 2.52 million ounces for 2010 and forecasts to produce around 2.7 million ounces during 2011. Goldcorp expects five-year gold production to increase by 60%, while cash costs are expected to continue to trend below $300 per ounce.

"Goldcorp's accelerating cash flows will allow us to internally fund our leading growth profile while also allowing for the continuing return of value to shareholders, which we accomplished in 2010 through a doubling of our dividend," said Chuck Jeannes, President and Chief Executive Officer, in a press release.

The stock is expected to gain 51%, the highest upside for U.S.-listed gold producers, with a 12-month target price of $61.4, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Kinross Gold ( KGC), Royal Gold ( RGLD), Harmony Gold Mining ( HMY), U.S. Gold ( UXG), Golden Star Resources ( GSS) and IAMGOLD ( IAG) followed Goldcorp with upsides of 45%, 43%, 43%, 43%, 41% and 40%, respectively.

Of the 23 analysts covering the stock, 18 recommend buying, 4 rate holding, and 1 advises selling.

4. Coeur d'Alene Mines ( CDE) is engaged in the operation, ownership, development, and exploration of silver and gold mines in South America, the U.S. and Australia.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) reached 30 cents on Jan. 14 from 24 cents as of Dec. 19. Meanwhile, for the full-year 2010, the company is expected to report a loss of 74 cents per share, after recording losses for the first three quarters. Analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate the company to report robust earnings at $2.95 for 2011.

The stock is expected to gain 40% with a 12-month target price of $68.4, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. In comparison, Silver Wheaton ( CDE), Pan American Silver and Compania de Minas Buenaventura ( BVN) have upsides of 35%, 31%, and 23%, respectively.

Of the 18 analysts covering CDE, 12 recommend buying, 4 rate holding, and 2 advise selling.

3. Teck Resources ( TCK) mines copper, zinc, molybdenum, gold, and metallurgical coal in the U.S., Canada, Peru and Chile.

The company is scheduled to announce its 2010 fourth quarter results on Feb. 8. Consensus estimates for earnings per share (adjusted) reached $1.18 on Jan. 12 from $1.06 as of Dec. 22. Meanwhile, for full-year 2010, the company is expected report earnings of $3.56 per share, an improvement from earnings of $1.49 per share in 2008 and $3.27 per share in 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Going forward, earnings per share are estimated to be more robust at $5.68 for 2011 and $5.73 for 2012, respectively.

During November, Teck announced a 50% increase in the semi-annual dividend rate. "This dividend increase reflects our confidence in our current balance sheet strength and our ability to fund our strong portfolio of growth assets," said Don Lindsay, president and CEO, in a press release.

Exposure to high-growth emerging markets through copper, coking coal, and zinc exports will likely benefit the stock in the long-run. The company targets to increase copper production by 40% from 2009 to 2013 and triple production over the next decade. While long-term projects will likely be expensive and complicated, CEO Lindsay is confident that the company could self-fund the projects and meet other cash commitments, according to a JPMorgan report.

The stock rose 58% during the past one year, in comparison to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold's and Southern Copper's ( SCCO) gains of 42% and 40%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 9% with a 12-month target price of $68.4, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 12 recommend buying, 4 rate holding, and 2 advise selling.

2. Cloud Peak Energy ( CLD) is a coal producer, headquartered in Gillette, Wyoming.

Consensus estimates for 2010 fourth quarter earnings per share (adjusted) reached 49 cents on Jan. 14 from 38 cents as of Dec. 21. Meanwhile, for the full-year 2010, the company is expected to report earnings of $1.64 per share, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Going forward, earnings per share are estimated to be more robust at $2.16 for 2011 and $2.75 for 2012, respectively.

Despite gaining 70% after the recent lows tested on July 6, the stock is trading at an attractive forward PE multiple of 11.6. The current EV to EBITDA ratio stands at 5.9 relative to Peabody Energy's ( BTU) 9.8, Consol Energy's ( CNX) 11.0, Alpha Natural Resources' ( ANR) 9.2, Arch Coal's ( ACI) 9.8 and Massey Energy's ( ANR) 17.4.

Over the past 12 months, the return-on-equity stood at 61.7%, ahead of all major coal producers, except Alliance Resource Partners' ( ARLP) 63.1%. Alliance Holdings ( AHGP), James River Coal ( JRCC) and Walter Energy ( WLT) follow with ROEs of 44.8%, 43.3% and 30.8%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 21% over the next 12 months with a target price of $27.1, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 13 analysts covering the stock, 6 recommend buying and 7 rate holding the stock.

1. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX) is a copper, molybdenum and gold mining company.

The company is scheduled to announce its 2010 fourth quarter results on Thursday. Consensus estimates for earnings per share (adjusted) reached $3.11 on Jan. 17 from $2.63 as of Dec. 16. Meanwhile, for the full-year 2010, Freeport is expected to report earnings of $8.83 per share, a significant turnaround from losses of $29.72 per share in 2008 and earnings of $5.86 per share in 2009, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. Going forward, earnings per share are estimated at $12.52 for 2011 and $13.82 for 2012, respectively.

Last month, Freeport announced a cash dividend of 50 cents per share payable on Feb. 1, benefiting from a strong cash position. Over the past six months, the stock price almost doubled, providing attractive returns to investors. Starting Feb. 2, the stock will begin trading on the NYSE on a split-adjusted basis, a two-for-one split.

During the past 12 months, the return-on-equity has been a remarkable 60.8%, far ahead of other mining giants. In comparison, Vale ( VALE), Rio Tinto ( RIO), BHP Billiton ( BHP), Alcoa ( AA) and AngloGold Ashanti ( AU) have ROEs of 10.7%, 15.1%, 28.7%, 2.0% and -12.4%, respectively.

The stock is expected to gain 13% with a 12-month target price of $133.6, based on the consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 15 recommend buying, 2 rated holding, while one advised selling the stock.

>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Metal and Mining Stocks Analysts Favor portfolio on Stockpickr.
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