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Why Is Southern Copper (SCCO) Down 3% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Southern Copper (SCCO - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 3% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Southern Copper due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Southern Copper Q2 Earnings Beat Estimates, Up Y/Y

Southern Copper reported second-quarter 2021 earnings of $1.21 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.15. The whopping 256% year-over-year improvement was primarily driven by higher metal prices and the company’s efforts to improve cost efficiency and productivity.
 
Net sales were $2,897 million, up 62% year over year. The top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,826 million. Revenues were mainly driven by higher metal prices for copper (81.8%), molybdenum (68.6%), silver (61.9%), zinc (48.3%) and gold (6.2%).

Operating cash cost per pound of copper, including by-product revenue credits, was 59 cents the second quarter, up 11.5% from 66 cents reported in the year ago quarter. Total operating costs inched up 0.9% year over year to $986 million. Operating profit soared 190% to $1,675 million on higher sales. Operating margin in the reported quarter was 57.8% compared with 32.3% in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA soared 142% year over year to $1,862 million in second-quarter 2021. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 64.3% compared with the year-ago quarter figure of 43.1%.

Operating Highlights

Copper: Southern Copper mined 237,110 tons of copper during the reported quarter, down 6.3% year over year. Decline in ore grades, due to stripping and maintenance works that were carried out this year after being postponed in 2020 on account of the COVID 19 pandemic, weighed on production numbers in the quarter.
The company expects copper production in 2021 to be around 960,000 tons.

Molybdenum: The company mined 6,982 tons of molybdenum during the reported quarter, reflecting a year-over-year drop of 10.8%. Higher production at Cuajone and La Caridad were offset by lower output at both the Toquepala and Buenavista mines.

Zinc: The company’s zinc production rose 8.9% year over year to 17,111 tons in the quarter under review. Higher production at both the Charcas mine and the San Martin mine was partially offset by lower production at the Santa Barbara mine.

Silver: Southern Copper’s silver production decreased 16.1% year over year to 4,644,000 ounces due to lower production at Buenavista, IMMSA and Toquepala operations.

Financials

Southern Copper generated net cash from operating activities of $1,061.5 million in the second quarter of 2021 compared with $419.3 million in the prior-year quarter. Cash and cash equivalents were at $2,394 million at the end of the second quarter, up from $2,183 million as of 2020 end. Long-term debt was $6,546 million at the quarter end compared with $6,544 million as of 2020 end. The company made capital investments worth $220 million during the quarter under review.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month.

VGM Scores

Currently, Southern Copper has a strong Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a D. However, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the second quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of this revision looks promising. Notably, Southern Copper has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.


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