5 Winners in Metal and Mining Stocks

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Mining stocks Walter Energy ( WLT), James River Coal ( JRCC) and Cloud Peak Energy ( CLD) outperformed the S&P 500 Metals and Mining Index last week gaining 4% to 19%, compared to the latter's 2.2% increase. These stocks closed on a positive note last week, based on strong industry fundamentals and company developments.

At the close, gold and silver prices fell 0.2% and 1.1% respectively. Reversing its prior week's winning streak, Brigus Gold ( BRD) headed the pack of losers, down 5.9%. Gold producer Golden Star Resources ( GSS) followed with a 5% decline. Silver producers Stillwater Mining ( SWC) and Agnico-Eagle Mines ( AEM) shed 3.2% and 2.6%, respectively.

Below, the stocks are ordered in terms of one-week returns, highest to lowest.

1. Walter Energy ( WLT), a producer and exporter of metallurgical coal for the global steel industry, also engages in the production of steam coal, coal bed methane gas (natural gas), metallurgical coke and other related products. The company operates in three segments: underground mining, surface mining and Walter Coke. The stock gained 18.7% last week.

During the course of last week amid discussion regarding putting the company up for sale. A Citi analyst initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and price target of $144.

Even though shareholders lost hugely in recent months, they could benefit from a $4 billion windfall if the coal producer is acquired. Audley Capital Advisors believes that the company would obtain almost $192 per share, or 60% premium on $120 per share. Analysts believe Walter is a superior quality and that with metallurgical coal demand at record highs, it will attract good buyers.

Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 72% recommend a buy while the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts estimate 18.0% upside to $155.42 in value from current levels.

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2. Arch Coal ( ACI), a coal producer, supplies coal to power plants, steel mills and industrial facilities. The company operates in three segments: Powder River Basin, the Western Bituminous region and the Central Appalachia region. Arch's mines and access to export facilities enable shipments to coal-fired power plants, industrial facilities, and steel mills located in the U.S. and worldwide. The stock gained 8.0% last week.

Three major coal companies including Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and Patriot Coal are expanding their metallurgical coal production by investing in new mines and acquisitions to meet demand from China and India. Last week, ACI was raised to buy from hold at Citigroup.

Of the 26 analysts covering the stock, 65% recommend a buy and 31% remaining rate a hold. On average, analysts estimate 32.8% upside to $38.00 in value from current levels.

3. Steel Dynamics ( STLD), a U.S.-based steel producer and metals recycler, manufactures and sells steel products, processes and sells recycled ferrous and nonferrous metals. Broadly, the company structures its business into steel operations, metals recycling, ferrous resources and steel fabrication. The stock gained 5.1% last week.

Last week, the company reported second quarter 2011 earnings. Net income for the quarter stood at $99 million or 43 cents per share, compared to $49 million or 22 cents per share in the comparable quarter prior year. Meanwhile, net sales increased to $2.1 billion from $1.6 billion earlier. Meanwhile, steel shipments for the quarter expanded 15% to 1.5 million tons.

For the second half of 2011, the company believes that consumption by sectors like automotive, transportation, energy, industrial, agricultural, and construction equipment would remain steady and may improve gradually. Meanwhile, while it estimates a solid third quarter, it intends to provide quantitative guidance only in September.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 79% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts estimate 25.5% upside to $20.75 in value from current levels.

4. Consol Energy ( CNX), a multi-fuel energy producer and energy services provider, engages in serving the electric power generation industry in the U.S. The company operates in two segments: coal and gas. Consol produces pipeline coalbed methane gas from its coal properties in the Northern and the Central Appalachian basin, and oil and gas from properties in the Appalachian and Illinois Basins. Last week the stock gained 4.7%.

The company raised its annual metallurgical coal production guidance stating it does not expect any geological or production issues. It expects to produce 5 million tons currently, up 500,000 tons from the earlier estimate. Consol's chief executive said that the company's mines ran very well during the quarter.

Of the 27 analysts covering the stock, 78% suggest a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts estimate 14.1% upside to $62.52 in value from current levels.

5. United States Steel ( X) is an integrated steel producer of flat-rolled and tubular products with major production operations in North America and Europe. The company operates in four business segments: flat-rolled products, U. S. Steel Europe, tubular products and other businesses such as transportation services and real estate activities. The stock accumulated 4.2% last week.

The company is scheduled to release its second quarter 2011 results on July 26, 2011. Analysts expect the company to reverse the trend of nine consecutive quarterly losses and post its first profit. Higher pricing, offsetting raw material costs, and improved demand are likely to drive profit.

As per the American Iron and Steel Institute, U.S. steel production increased 1.7% to 1.88 million tons last week to reach 33-month highs as steel mills operated at an average capacity utilization rate of 76.8%. Additionally, the government reports that exports increased 11.4% year-over-year to 1.14 million tons in May 2011, led by significant improvement in the NAFTA region.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 47% suggest a buy while 41% recommend a hold. On average, analysts estimate 21.1% upside to $54.27 in value from current levels.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 5 Winners in Metal and Mining Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.