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Bear of the Day

Precious metals miners have had a rough ride this year due to the slide in metals’ prices. Though they have somewhat stabilized in the past couple of weeks, the outlook still remains cloudy.

About the Company
 
Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, Golden Minerals Company (AUMN - Snapshot Report) owns mining operations and precious metals exploration properties in Mexico and South America. 
 
Disappointing Second Quarter Results
 
The Company recorded a net loss of $217.8 million for the second quarter 2013 as compared to a net loss of $7.6 million in the second quarter 2012. EPS for the quarter was a negative $0.32, substantially worse than the Zacks consensus estimate of a negative $0.14.
 
The company has delivered negative surprises in three out of the last four quarters, with an average negative surprise of 29.3%.
 
The company had a $6.7 million negative operating margin for the first half of 2013.
 
Production Suspended
 
Due to depressed precious metals prices and legacy inefficiencies in mining operations, AUMN decided to suspend operations at its key Velardena mine in June.
 
The company expects $3.0 million one-time suspension related expenses and $2.5 million care and maintenance expenses in the second half of 2013.
 
Downwards Revisions
 
Due to disappointing outlook for precious metals miners, quarterly and annual estimates have been revised sharply downwards in recent months.
 
Zacks consensus estimate for the current quarter now stands at a negative $0.14 per share versus a negative $0.13 per share, 60 days ago, while the next quarter’s estimate has worsened to a loss of $0.05 per share now, from a loss of $0.01 per share. The company is expected to lose money next year as well.
 
The Bottom Line
 
While the management continues to look for ways to reduce expenses and enhance production, there is still a lot of uncertainty related to resumption of operations at Velardena. In view of the cloudy outlook, investors may like to stay away from this stock for the time being.
 
AUMN is currently Zacks Rank # 5 (Strong Sell) stock and it also has a longer-term recommendation of “Underperform”.  
 
Better Play

Investors hoping for a turnaround in precious metals prices and looking for exposure to precious metals miners could consider Platinum Group Metals (PLG), currently ranked #2 (Buy) by Zacks.
 
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