Investment Update $GG – Selling GG For a 30% Gain

by Enis February 14, 2014 9:35 am • Commentary

I discussed the move higher overnight in gold and silver in this morning’s CotD post.  The entire precious metals complex has been quite impressive to start 2014, especially the precious metals miners.

Earlier this week, we put on cheap put protection ahead of the earnings report in GG yesterday.  The stock ended the day at a new 3 month high, and is higher again this morning off the strength of gold and silver.

We’ve had a very nice run owning GG in our investment portfolio.  The stock is up more than 30% since our purchase a little more than 2 months ago.  With today’s bounce higher, the stock is rapidly approaching the 30-31 resistance area that could be difficult to breach in the near-term.

GG weekly, Courtesy of Bloomberg
GG weekly, Courtesy of Bloomberg

While we don’t expect a major correction, we like the idea of selling the stock here, giving us the flexibility of watching the price action in the miners over the next month with a clear mind.

Action:  Sold GG at $27.77 for a $6.32 gain (including the loss on the weekly put protection)

Depending on how the technicals progress, we might get involved in the sector once again later this year.

Investment Update $GG – Protecting Gains Ahead of Earnings, February 11, 2013

One of our first investments for our investment portfolio was GG, which we bought for $21.19 back in early December (full post below).  The crux of the thesis was that valuations in the precious metals mining sector had gotten to very distressed levels where buying a miner like GG at 0.84x Price/Book offered asymmetric risk/reward to the upside.  Moreover, we outlined on a number of occasions why we thought the precious metals complex as a whole might be putting in a longer-term technical bottom, and we expected the miners to outperform the metals on the way back up.

Fast forward to today, and the long GG position has been our best performing stock in the portfolio, up more than 25% from initiation a littler more than 2 months ago.  The company reports earnings on Thursday morning.

Goldcorp management made a hostile bid in January for Osisko, another Canadian miner worth about $3 billion.  Though Osisko is resisting that bid, it is a potential sign of confidence from Goldcorp management about the state of the industry going forward.  However, with earnings later this week, and nice gains since initiation, we decided on a short-term put protection position ahead of the event.  Newmont Mining fell 10% on January 31st after a weak 2014 outlook.  Though Goldcorp has not moved more than 7% on earnings on any occasion in the past 10 years, NEM’s move spurred us to buy cheap, just-in-case protection for the event:

Action:  Bought the Feb14th 26 put for 0.26 against long GG ($26.62) stock position

We still own the stock, with no intent of selling it, particularly given the nice breakout above the 200 day moving average this week, GG’s first close above in more than a year.  But the cheap protection helps us in case of any disappointment on earnings this week, and sacrifices only 1% of spot if nothing happens.

New Investment – A Distressed Gem, December 6, 2013

Here’s our next addition to our investment portfolio:

I discussed the slide in the gold miners to new 5 year lows in yesterday’s Morning Word post:

Gold miners have broadly underperformed gold because many of them took on high-cost projects with leveraged financing, leaving them doubly exposed to a decline in gold prices.  In the case of the junior gold miners represented by GDXJ, the risk is even greater given their riskier balance sheets and more speculative projects.  As to be expected, GDXJ has been an even worse investment than GDX over the past few years, down around 85% from its peak.

However, there are companies with better balance sheets and cost structures, such as GG and NEM which I citied above.  While precious metals prices have declined, many of the companies own valuable assets that will still yield cash flow over the long run.  Moreover, as the less competitive projects are forced off of the market (junior miners go bankrupt, other companies shelve projects), supply will of course lessen, and the remaining miners will have a healthier market in which to compete.

Some bargains are being offered in the current selloff in the sector (as hard as that may be to believe at the moment).  GG is at the top of my list given the low cost of its outstanding mines and its obvious staying power.  GDX is still the best proxy for those wanting the simple macro exposure.  Most importantly, though, is whether gold is close to a near term bottom, or has more room to move lower.

Goldcorp has been on my watch list since the summer, when I first dug deeply into the company’s financial statements.  The main question I was curious to answer was, at what underlying price of gold will the various gold miners get into trouble from a break-even perspective?

Goldcorp’s marginal cost for operating its mines is in the $700-$900 area, much lower than the vast majority of gold miners in the world.  On top of that low cost, Goldcorp’s projects are very well diversified geographically, limiting geopolitical risk as well.  While Goldcorp looks more expensive vs. peers on a P/E basis, in distressed situations like this, I prefer to look at the balance sheet and asset/liability structure rather than the current earnings power.  In that regard, Goldcorp has limited near-term debt, a Price/Book ratio of 0.84, below the industry average, and much better long-term mining assets than the bulk of its peers.

Finally, from a timing perspective, on a technical basis, the stock has fallen down to near the $20 level, which acted as support on a couple occasions in 2006 and 2007 (not quite in 2008, but really a false break then):

GG weekly chart, Courtesy of Bloomberg
GG weekly chart, Courtesy of Bloomberg

We like the entry point for a longer-term investment.

TRADE: Bought GG for $21.19

We simply bought the stock for our investments.  However, we wanted to present an alternative using options that we also found worthwhile, though did not do ourselves.


ALTERNATE TRADE STRUCTURE: Sell the GG Apr 20 Put, Buy the Apr 22/28 Call Spread for Even Money

Break-Even on Apr Expiration:

Profits: Profits up to 6.00 between $22 and $28, max gain of 6.00 at $28 or above

Losses: 1 for 1 with the stock below $20

Trade Rationale:

The main benefit of this trade structure vs. just owning the stock is that the options structure does not start to lose money until $20, though it also gives up the upside above $28 in return for that initial protection.  Given how extended the stock has become on the downside, we don’t want to limit our potential upside over the next 6 months, so we are just buying the stock outright ourselves.