Stress Testing Gold Miners / Sector Review As Gold Plunges :$1,100 Gold Is Critical

from Morgan Stanley

While the analysts expect gold will probably end up around $1,050, they do say an interest rate hike in the U.S., another correction in China’s stock market, and further selling of reserves by central banks could result in that worst-case scenario of $800 (and some very grumpy gold bugs).

Why the end of the era? Here’s what the analysts say:

But price stability in Precious Metals has ended. Indeed, gold and silver prices have been in trend decline since May. Why? The passing of deflation risk, anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s first interest rate hike, another debt resolution for Greece, and the collapse in China’s equity markets (prompting loss-covering asset sales) – have all hit these prices over 8-10 weeks. So the PBoC’s announcement last week, about China’s surprisingly low official gold holdings, was really just the latest in a string of bearish events. It’s possible that the next short-term driver in metal markets will be declining oil prices (WTI & Brent down 10-16% in 4 weeks).

 

from Royal Bank of Canada

July 21, 2015 Precious Metals & Minerals NA Gold & Silver Equities: Stress Testing the Balance Sheets (3) Equity value erodes below $1,100/oz. With gold having dipped below $1,100/oz and silver below $15.00/oz, we have once again run a balance sheet sensitivity analysis for the North American listed precious metal producers in our coverage universe over the H2/2015 to 2018 period. As highlighted in previous research, the difference for the equities in the current gold price sell-off, versus prior price declines, is that the precious metals producers now have significantly greater levels of debt (Exhibit 2).

In conclusion, the companies best positioned to operate in a $1,000/oz price environment are the royalty-streaming companies Franco-Nevada, Royal Gold, Silver Wheaton, and Osisko Gold Royalties.

The gold producers that are best positioned to withstand a sub-$1,100/oz gold price are Acacia, Alamos, Centamin, Fresnillo, Goldcorp, Goldfields, Klondex, Newmont, Randgold, SEMAFO, and Tahoe (Exhibit 1).

While a number of companies have already cut or eliminated their dividends, we believe Barrick, Centerra, Goldcorp, Goldfields, Pan American, and Yamana could reduce their dividends. Stress testing at lower gold prices after growth capital is frozen. Our base case is $1,100/oz gold & $14.50/oz silver with scenarios at $1,000/oz & $13.25/oz and $1,200/oz & $15.75/oz.

We provide a onepage summary for 35 gold producers (Page 5) that includes: (1) annual operating forecasts, liquidity estimates and key credit ratios; and (2) a discussion of our scenario analysis for each company. We assume that the companies do not draw down on their existing short-term credit facilities, as many banks are likely reviewing the credit risk of these facilities. We model similar levels of sustaining capital and assume that new mine development capital is suspended, with the exception of development capital that is more than 50% complete, such as Goldcorp’s Cochenour project and Eldorado’s Olympias and Skouries projects. Stress test highlights $1,100/oz as a critical level •

At $1,100/oz gold and $14.50/oz silver, the North American gold sector remains ex-growth. In addition to the cost-cutting measures that have occurred to date, producers will need to place their highercost mines in harvest and accelerated closure mode or on care and maintenance. We would expect to see a reduction in management and board compensation and the use of private aircraft travel curtained. And below $1,100/oz, we believe some companies could see their lines of credit reduced or withdrawn, and companies with elevated levels of debt may be forced to hedge revenues, sell streams on mining assets, and/or raise distressed equity.

At $1,100/oz, companies that would need to continue making cuts to discretionary and fixed costs to improve their balance sheets include AngloGold, Barrick Gold, Hochschild, IAMGOLD, Kinross, Pan American, Primero, Teranga, and Timmins. • At $1,000/oz gold and $13.25/oz silver, we would expect mine production to begin to contract as mines are placed on care and maintenance or moved into accelerated closure. In addition to the cost-cutting measures mentioned above, we believe a number of the gold producers would need to consider mergers to capture operating synergies or other financial benefits. At $1,000/oz, all of the gold/silver producers in our coverage universe would continue to make cuts to operating and discretionary costs and the most leveraged companies would seek alternative sources of equity. • At $1,200/oz gold and $15.75/oz silver, we believe most of the sector can sustain their current operating mines, but mines with AISC above $1,100/oz would likely go into “harvest mode” with significant development capital spending deferred. In addition, at $1,200/oz the producers can still implement cash-saving measures, with further cuts to G&A, exploration, and sustaining capital. Priced as of prior trading day’s

$1,100 gold is a critical level for North American precious metals companies

At $1,100/oz gold, most of the companies in our coverage universe are expected to continue to cut G&A, exploration, and sustaining capital spending. We could also see producers begin an accelerated closure process for their higher-cost, shorter-life mines by spending on reclamation rather than sustaining capital and mining out residual reserves over a 2- to 3- year period. Another alternative would be to place mines on care & maintenance, which would still require ongoing security/maintenance costs, although this would avoid burning cash for longer reserve life mines during a period of high sustaining capital spending associated with major waste stripping or underground development.

However, at or near $1,000/oz gold, we would expect companies to announce that their high-cost mines are being placed on accelerated closure, even mines that previously had long reserve lives given the potential for significant cash burn. We believe that most of the gold and silver producers in our coverage universe would struggle in a $1,000 gold environment if they do not defer discretionary costs, cut capital, and close cash-burning mines.

The companies that currently have the highest AISC costs include AngloGold, Centerra Gold, Detour Gold, IAMGOLD, Kinross, Newmont, Perseus, Pan American, Silver Standard, Teranga, and Timmins Gold. High-quality producers and royalty-streaming companies We believe the current gold price pullback presents an opportunity to buy gold mining equities with strong balance sheets that offer an attractive risk-reward.

In our view, in a sub- $1,100 gold price environment, the most resilient North American listed gold producers with solid yet flexible business plans and strong balance sheets would be Acacia, Alamos, Centamin, Fresnillo, Goldcorp, Goldfields, Klondex, Newmont, Randgold, SEMAFO, and Tahoe (Exhibit 1). These companies have low net debt, a low capital spending to cash flow ratio, and low-cost mines. The gold companies with the most robust business models and in a sharply lower gold price environment are the royalty and streaming companies, including Franco-Nevada, Royal Gold, Silver Wheaton, and Osisko, which have little or no debt and minimal operating and capital exposure. Exhibit 1: NA Precious Metal Producers leverage versus AISC margins clearly show

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Morgan Stanley Oil Warning: The Crash / Glut Continues

Morgan Stanley has been pretty pessimistic about oil prices in 2015,

drawing comparisons to the some of the worst oil slumps of the past three decades. The current downturn could even rival the iconic price crash of 1986, analysts had warned—but definitely no worse.

This week, a revision: It could be much worse

Until recently, confidence in a strong recovery for oil prices—and oil companies—had been pretty high, wrote analysts including Martijn Rats and Haythem Rashed, in a report to investors yesterday. That confidence was based on four premises, they said, and only three have proven true.

1. Demand will rise: Check 

In theory: The crash in prices that started a year ago should stimulate demand. Cheap oil means cheaper manufacturing, cheaper shipping, more summer road trips.

In practice: Despite a softening Chinese economy, global demand has indeed surged by about 1.6 million barrels a day over last year’s average, according to the report.

2. Spending on new oil will fall: Check 

In theory: Lower oil prices should force energy companies to cut spending on new oil supplies, and the cost of drilling and pumping should decline.

In practice: Sure enough, since October the number of rigs actively drilling for new oil around the world has declined by about 42 percent. More than 70,000 oil workers have lost their jobs globally, and in 2015 alone listed oil companies have cut about $129 billion in capital expenditures.

3. Stock prices remain low: Check 

In theory: While oil markets rebalance themselves, stock prices of oil companies should remain cheap, setting the stage for a strong rebound.

In practice: Yep. The oil majors are trading near 35-year lows, using two different methods of valuation.

4. Oil supply will drop: Uh-oh 

In theory: With strong demand for oil and less money for drilling and exploration, the global oil glut should diminish. Let the recovery commence.

In practice: The opposite has happened. While U.S. production has leveled off since June, OPEC has taken up the role of market spoiler.

OPEC Production Surges in 2015

Source: Morgan Stanley Research, Bloomberg

For now, Morgan Stanley is sticking with its original thesis that prices will improve, largely because OPEC doesn’t have much more spare capacity to fill and because oil stocks have already been hammered.

But another possibility is that the supply of new oil coming from outside the U.S. may continue to increase as sanctions against Iran dissolve and if the situation in Libya improves, the Morgan Stanley analysts said. U.S. production could also rise again. A recovery is less certain than it once was, and the slump could last for three years or more—”far worse than in 1986.”

“In that case,” they wrote, “there would be little in history that could be a guide” for what’s to come.

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The Banking Report Card : Stress-Test Results of Top Wall Street Banks

 

 

(Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc.’s plans to return capital to shareholders got the cleanest approval from the Federal Reserve among top Wall Street banks, one year after the firm failed the regulator’s annual stress tests.
Bank of America Corp. got a conditional pass requiring it to shore up internal processes and resubmit its plan for managing capital, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley cleared only after revising proposals, the Fed said Wednesday in a statement.

U.S. units of Deutsche Bank AG and Banco Santander SA failed because of qualitative concerns about their processes. The Fed didn’t place any conditions in passing Citigroup or 24 other firms, including Wells Fargo & Co.
Michael Corbat, Citigroup’s chief executive officer, had staked his job on passing this year’s test after the Fed found the bank’s processes inadequate last year. He spent more than $180 million to improve the bank’s systems and asked Eugene McQuade, a veteran executive with close regulatory ties, to delay his retirement to oversee this year’s submission.
The tests are a cornerstone of the Fed’s strategy to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis and another government bailout of the largest U.S. banks. The results released Wednesday are the annual exam’s second and final round, determining whether lenders can withstand losses and still pay dividends, buy back stock or make acquisitions.
Analysts estimated before Wednesday’s results that publicly traded U.S. banks subject to the review were strong enough to boost quarterly shareholder payouts 53 percent on average, disbursing $109 billion over the next 15 months. The Fed didn’t specify how New York-based Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley altered their proposals.
Citigroup’s Payout
Citigroup, which pays a token 1-cent dividend after last year’s failure, will lead increases with a 60-fold jump in quarterly disbursements through dividends and stock buybacks, according to seven analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. While payouts from Wells Fargo and JPMorgan will climb less than average, the rewards will remain the largest among the U.S. banks tested, the estimates show.
Banks can disclose details of their capital plans as early as Wednesday. If all of the banks that passed return the capital they asked for, they will pay out almost 60 percent of their projected income over five quarters, a senior Fed official said.
Failing the test can mean banks have to forgo increases to capital payouts, forcing executives to shore up balance sheets or internal systems while facing shareholders eager for more cash. The U.S. units of Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc failed last year because of the Fed’s so-called qualitative look at risk management, corporate governance and internal controls.
BofA Faulted
Citigroup’s Tier 1 common ratio fell to a minimum of 7.1 percent under the worst-case economic scenario in the test after taking into account the firm’s planned capital actions. With the pass, Corbat, 54, ends a year of turmoil that included the Fed’s rejection of the New York-based bank’s plan last March because of what regulators described as deficiencies in the firm’s processes for projecting revenue and losses across its global operations.
Bank of America’s revenue and loss models and parts of its internal controls were lacking and need to be resubmitted by Sept. 30, the Fed said Wednesday. If the lender hasn’t fixed its capital planning by then, the Fed can restrict payouts.
Bank of America, led by CEO Brian T. Moynihan, disclosed Feb. 25 that regulators had demanded changes to models, including those for wholesale credit, which would probably decrease the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company’s capital ratios. The Fed didn’t say whether the requested changes in models were related to its critique of Bank of America’s stress-test process.
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank Trust Corp. and Santander Holdings USA will be restricted from paying dividends to their foreign parent companies or to any other shareholders. That may not have a significant impact, because a Fed rule approved last year will require foreign banks to inject more capital into their U.S. units by July 2016.
That rule forces the largest foreign firms to consolidate U.S. operations into one subsidiary and abide by the same capital and liquidity minimums as domestic peers. It came after lenders including Deutsche Bank and Barclays Plc dropped the bank holding company status of their primary U.S. units.
Deutsche Bank Trust represents about 15 percent of the parent company’s assets in the U.S., a Fed official said last week. It’s a holding company for several units of the German lender, including a U.S.-based trust business that accepts deposits and groups that provide back-office services to the bank, and doesn’t include the firm’s broker-dealer unit, according to a regulatory filing last year.
Severe Scenario
Past Fed tests let banks make payouts in the four quarters that followed. This time, the test will determine payouts for five quarters.
Last week, the Fed said all 31 banks have sufficient capital to absorb losses during a sharp and prolonged economic downturn. That review didn’t factor in the companies’ capital plans. It was the first time since the central bank started stress tests in 2009 that no firm fell below any of the main capital thresholds.
Goldman Sachs got closest among the top six U.S. banks to breaching regulatory thresholds in the first phrase of the test, surpassing the 8 percent minimum for total risk-based capital by 0.1 percentage point. Morgan Stanley’s ratio in three capital measures fell to within 1 percentage point of the required minimum. Firms can modify their capital plans in the week before the second round results are released.
Goldman Sachs, which paid out the highest percentage of earnings among Wall Street firms in 2014, had to resubmit its capital plan to win Fed approval for a second straight year. The firm has pushed to give back capital to shareholders as it tries to boost return on equity, which has been 11 percent in each of the past three years.
Regulators don’t hold it against firms if their original capital plan is so aggressive that they are forced to resubmit, or if they do it in subsequent years, because it’s now a part of the process, a senior Fed official said.
The Fed subjects banks to two dire economic scenarios, with the most severe downturn marked by a 60 percent plunge in stock indexes, a 25 percent decline in housing prices and an unemployment rate that tops out at 10 percent.
Last week’s results showed that loan-loss estimates for the 31 banks totaled $490 billion under that worst-case scenario, down from $501 billion for the 30 banks tested last year. The losses include a $102.7 billion hit to trading, led by JPMorgan’s $23.6 billion. The heaviest damage was in consumer lending, with 39 percent of projected losses from such activity as mortgages and credit cards.

Cliffs Natural Off The Cliff AVOID

iron
iron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CLF

NYSE : US$18.46

Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources dropped on Wednesday after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock and Credit Suisse slashed its price target on the shares.

A big increase in the supply of iron ore pellets in the Great Lakes region over the next three years could hit earnings from Cliffs’ U.S. iron ore segment hard, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients. Credit Suisse also sees a looming pellet surplus in the Great Lakes and said Cliffs may need to consider “drastic solutions” to shore up its balance sheet in the next 12 months, from selling iron ore assets in the Asia-Pacific region to a multibillion-dollar equity offering. ”

Major reform is required if this business is to survive the next commodities cycle, in our view,” read the brokerage’s note. U.S. iron ore was responsible for about 60 percent of Cliffs’ earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in 2012, Kurtz said, and the segment’s EBITDA could drop by half.

Even before Wednesday’s decline, Cliffs’ stock had fallen 70% over the past 12 months. In February the company reported a quarterly loss, hurt by a $1 billion writedown and iron ore prices that swooned in the autumn on weak demand from China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of steel.

Morgan Stanley Turnaround

English: Morgan Stanley's office on Times Square
English: Morgan Stanley’s office on Times Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Morgan Stanley

(MS : NYSE : US$22.38)
Morgan Stanley swung to a fourth-quarter profit, boosted by sharp revenue gains in its investment banking and trading business.

Overall, the bank reported a fourth-quarter profit of $507 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $250 million. Per-share earnings came in at 25 cents compared with a loss of 15 cents a year earlier. Banks have to take an accounting charge when their earnings improve and the price of their own bonds rises. Stripping out the impact of a debt valuation change, or DVA, earnings from continuing operations were 45 cents, compared with a loss of 20 cents, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 32%  to $7 billion, though excluding DVA, it climbed to $7.5 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 27 cents on revenue of $7 billion.
The better-than-expected results should bolster Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman‘s strategy to reshape the company after the financial crisis. The Australian-born CEO, now in his third year leading Morgan, has preached patience to investors as the firm is in the midst of a multi-year turnaround, focusing on building up the client and advisory businesses, while moving away from areas like proprietary trading. “After a year of significant challenges, Morgan Stanley has reached a pivot point,” Mr. Gorman said in a statement.

Goldman Sachs Unveils Its Bullish 2013 Market Call

goldman sachs
goldman sachs (Photo credit: alyceobvious)

Nov.29

5 Big Investment Strategies

Goldman Sachs‘ equity strategy team led by David Kostin just published its 2013 U.S. Equity Outlook Report

And it’s bullish.

Here’s how Kostin’s team sees the S&P 500 unfolding next year:

Valuation: 12-month target of 1575 reflects 12% potential return
Our 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month forecasts are 1450, 1500, and 1575. We use six valuation approaches including DDM, uncertainty-based P/E multiple, cyclically-adjusted P/E multiple, price/book and ROE relationship.

“S&P 500 sales, which are measured in nominal terms, will rise by 4.4% in 2013 and 4.7% in 2014,” wrote Kostin.  “We forecast net margins will remain static as they have for the past 18 months, hovering in the 8.8%-9.0% band through the end of 2014. Given this environment, S&P 500 EPS will rise from $100 in 2012 to $107 in 2013 and $114 in 2014.”

Kostin first launched that 1,575 price target last month.  But this massive new 50-page report includes much more detail on strategy.

Strategies to capture growth: market, sectors, stocks
(1) Stocks will outperform Treasuries;
(2) Equities will beat credit returns, although not on a risk-adjusted basis;
(3) Cyclical sectors will beat defensive sectors (Materials, Industrials, Information Technology will outperform Consumer Staples, Telecom, and Health Care);
(4) Double Sharpe Ratio stocks offer both high risk-adjusted earnings growth and prospective returns; and
(5) Stocks with high BRICs sales exposure will beat domestic-facing firms.

Here’s what would make Goldman more or less bullish than it is:

The greatest positive catalyst that might lead us to raise our index forecast would be a “grand bargain” addressing the nation’s long-term fiscal imbalances along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles report. It would spark a P/E multiple expansion and a higher target. Downside risks include political discord in US or Europe, the effectiveness of the Fed’s QE policy, higher US Treasury yields, and the sustainability of record high profit margins.

Here are the firm’s 2013 total returns expectations for four big asset classes:

 

goldman 2013 forecast

Goldman Sachs

 

 

 

Skullcandy Given “Buy” Rating at DA Davidson (SKUL) : Is A Short Squeeze On?

Nov.28

Skullcandy Inc logoDA Davidson reissued their buy rating on shares of Skullcandy (NASDAQ: SKUL) in a research report released on Monday morning.

“2012 Black Friday weekend appeared to be a success, with NRF estimating combined instore and online shopping visits grew 9% year-over-year (y/y) to $247 million, with the average weekend shopper spending 6% ($25) more than they did in 2011. With this backdrop, we tracked headphone promotions across all retail channels looking for signs of headphone category strength and Skullcandy brand positioning. We came away convinced Skullcandy remains a top headphone brand and consumer interest in the category is strong.,” the firm’s analyst wrote.

A number of other firms have also recently commented on SKUL. Analysts at Jefferies Group cut their price target on shares of Skullcandy from $20.00 to $17.00 in a research note to investors on Friday, November 2nd. They now have a buy rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Raymond James downgraded shares of Skullcandy from a strong-buy rating to a market perform rating in a research note to investors on Thursday, October 18th. Finally, analysts at Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of Skullcandy from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating in a research note to investors on Thursday, September 13th.

Shares of Skullcandy traded up 1.26% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $8.0499. Skullcandy has a one year low of $7.70 and a one year high of $17.76. The company has a market cap of $221.7 million and a P/E ratio of 8.34.

Skullcandy Up 7%; Is a Short-Squeeze On?

Skullcandy Inc. (SKUL), maker of fashionable headphones, is up about 7% today to $8.50, as it slowly claws back some of its losses this month.

The stock is down 30% in November after it lowered its full-year earnings outlook, but in the past few days there have been some pretty bullish calls on the stock — analysts at D.A. Davidson & Co. on Monday reiterated their Buy rating and target price of $19, writing:

We believe current valuation (6.9x our 2013 EPS estimate) does not adequately reflect SKUL’s double-digit organic growth and mid-teens operating margin profile.

Despite its November whacking, the stock is a consensus Buy rating at the firms that cover it. (We’ll note here that on Monday TheStreet downgraded it to Sell.)

There could be an additional reason behind the move, however: as of Oct. 31, short interest in the stock was 57% of the float — a huge number and one that suggests today we could be seeing a short squeeze.