3 Precious Metals Producers Poised to Prosper

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As Wall Street and Main Street await what I hope is surprisingly good news from the lips of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the precious metals sector is quietly poised for an explosive upside rally.

If Bernanke disappoints at Jackson Hole that rally will probably be put on hold.

We've seen this scenario play out before, and it reminds me of the summer of 2010. After Bernanke applied his version of "the golden rule" (He who has the gold makes the rules), the gold and silver producers had one heck of a rally.

Take a gander at this chart comparing the price moves of the Market Vectors Gold Mining ETF ( GDX) and the Global X Silver Miners ETF ( SIL) over the past four years.

GDX Chart GDX data by YCharts

You can plainly see that at the beginning of 2010 a bottom was established for both gold and silver producers, and that in the summer a base was established from which to launch an impressive skyward rally.

The chart also shows similar base-building that led to the current uptrend beginning in August 2012.

Caveat: The Man with the Golden Rule (Bernanke) may play cat-and-mouse with us for a while longer, causing the current rally to stall or retrace some its gains. But don't be fooled.

At some point between now and Sept. 13 when the Federal Open Market Committee gives its quarterly assessment of the U.S. economy and Dr. Ben gives the FOMC monetary policy statement, we're likely to experience "lift-off" in the precious metals sector.

There are two stocks I believe will do especially well in the gold sector and one in the silver-producing business.

Let's begin with Yamana Gold ( AUY), which has a revealing three-month chart that not only show its trajectory but also how flat the 200-day moving average has been. This stock has become a favorite of the better analysts like our own Jim Cramer for good reason.

Yamana is fully committed to the exploration, development and production of its mineral properties and it primarily focuses on gold.

AUY also explores for copper, molybdenum, zinc and silver metals. The company's portfolio of properties includes seven operating gold mines, including Chapada mine, Jacobina mining complex, and Fazenda Brasileiro mine in Brazil; El Peñón mine and Minera Florida mine in Chile; Gualcamayo mine in Argentina; and Mercedes mine in Mexico.

It also has a 12.5% indirect interest in the Alumbrera copper/gold/molybdenum mine in Argentina, as well as holding interests in various other advanced and near development stage projects and exploration properties in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

The concern about the Argentine political imbroglio has apparently been priced into AUY shares. Yamana Gold Inc. was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

It's my sincere hope you'll immerse yourself in its well organized Web site and see why this company has been so successful at meeting its production goals.

Yamana has taken on some manageable debt with acquisitions that are already beginning to pay off. Its 39% operating margin and almost 19% trailing 12-month profit margin speak to the potential profits ahead. AUY is trading at less than 12 times forward earnings and has $1.11 billion (trailing 12-month) in operating cash flow and almost $73 million in levered free cash flow.

It raised its dividend payout to 26 cents, which computes to a yield-to-price of 1.6% -- close to the yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond. I expect to see a 20% upside move in the stock price over the next 10 months, especially when earnings-per-share growth is reestablished to their historical norms.

Eldorado Gold ( EGO) is the other gold-producing company that has captured the attention of precious metals company analysts.

EGO has the biggest growth trajectory of any large gold producer, low operating costs, conservative management and strong financials. It's $9.1 billion market cap (compared to Yamana's $12.2 billion) speaks to the quality of its properties, production rates and their management.

As it says about itself, Eldorado Gold "is a Canadian international gold producer with seven operating mines, three mines under construction, three development projects and an extensive exploration program.

"We operate in China, Turkey, Brazil, Greece and Romania. We are one of the lowest-cost gold producers, with young mines, robust margins and a strong balance sheet. We pay a semi-annual dividend based on the ounces of gold sold and the realized gold price and are well-positioned for growth as we create and pursue new opportunities in gold and other resources. We plan to produce approximately 1.7 million ounces of gold annually by 2016."

With the situation in Europe (especially in Greece) starting to stabilize and gold prices poised for good upside during the rest of 2012, Eldorado's 47% operating margin and 27% profit margin should help their next quarterly earnings report .

The company has a reasonable amount of debt ($120 million) and in its most recent quarter it reported total cash of over $320 million. Its $363 million operating cash flow (trailing 12-month) and over $87 million of levered free-cash flow will allow it to grow organically and easily meet production costs.

If you have the chance to buy shares of EGO below $12 a share you'll have an even better chance of catching a nice gain if the stock makes an anticipated move upward along with the price of gold by the end of the year.

The one silver play that looks most promising to me is First Majestic Silver ( AG). This well-funded producer is selling at less than 11 times forward earnings with a 52% operating margin (on a trailing 12-month basis).

AG is committed to building a senior silver-producing mining company based on an aggressive development and acquisition plan with a focus on Mexico.

The company presently owns and operates four producing silver mines in Mexico and production from these four mines is anticipated to be between 9.2 to 9.5 million ounces of silver equivalents or 8.4 to 8.7 million ounces of pure silver in 2012.

Take a look at its exciting Web site and you'll convince yourself of the potential of this well-run, profitable silver miner.

If you have a chance to buy below $1 a share, that should allow you to begin accumulating shares more comfortably. Speaking of comfort, you won't have as much upside potential but you won't experience as much downside risk if you buy the ETFs I mentioned earlier; GDX and SIL. May your results shine brightly.

As of the time of publication the author had positions in all of the companies and ETFs mentioned except SIL.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

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