Gold prices have been on quite a tear in 2016, and the SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSE:GLD) is now up 28.4 percent year-to-date.
Citigroup analyst Alexander Hacking just initiated coverage on North American gold miner stocks. According to Hacking, after an incredible first half of 2016, gold investors need to be selective at this point.
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Gold appears well supported at current levels as the worlds central banks pursue a low interest rate strategy, Hacking explained. Yet, we are not inclined to aggressively chase the recent rally, especially given that technical positions are very long.
Hacking has a neutral overall outlook for gold miners, but his top stock picks in the space are Buy-rated Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) and Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM). Citigroup sees the most upside for Barrick due to its turnaround program and deleveraging efforts. The firm sees Newmont as the company with the most capital return potential due to its simplified, high-quality portfolio.
On the other end of the spectrum, Citi placed a Sell rating on Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (USA) (NYSE:AEM). Despite Hackings praise for the companies best-in-class assets and execution, the stock is currently priced at a steep premium above 2.5x NAV.
Citi also placed Neutral ratings on Goldcorp Inc. (USA) (NYSE:GG), Kinross Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:KGC) and Silver Standard Resources Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:SSRI).
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Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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