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Has Goldcorp Lost Its Lustre?

05/03/2010 3:44 pm EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

A work stoppage here. Higher taxes there. And soon you’re talking about an earnings miss for the first quarter.

That’s what’s behind the 22 cents a share that Goldcorp (NYSE: GG) reported for the first quarter. The results were three cents a share below Wall Street projections.

Nothing significant happened to the down side in the quarter that I can find. There was a temporary work stoppage at a port that the company uses to ship ore concentrates from its Alumbrera mine in Argentina and a buildup of inventory at its Red Lake mine in Canada. That resulted in the company producing 625,000 ounces of gold in the quarter, but selling just 569,100.

Revenue climbed 20% from the first quarter of 2009, but costs climbed because of higher taxes at Alumbrera, higher costs from some consumable goods used in mining, and a lower US dollar versus the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso.

Cash costs (in which the value of byproducts—in this case, copper and silver—are deducted from the costs of producing the gold) climbed to $325 an ounce from $295 for all of 2009. Despite the increase in costs in the first quarter, Goldcorp remained the low-cost producer in the industry.

The big story for Goldcorp in 2010 and 2011 is the production ramp-up at the company’s Penasquito mine in Mexico. The mine produced 30,700 ounces of gold in the first quarter, and Goldcorp says the mine, which has required a large capital expenditure of $1.6 billion to develop, is on schedule to reach full capacity by the fourth quarter of 2010.

For the year, Goldcorp expects total company production to accelerate to a total of 2.6 million ounces of gold.

I still think that 2010 will prove to be a year of rising inflation, especially in the developing economies. And in that environment, I’d like to hold some gold in Jubak’s Picks. (For more on emerging market inflation, see this recent post.)

As of May 3, I’m tweaking my price target for Goldcorp to $51 a share by December, up from $50 a share by that month. (It traded near $42.50 Monday afternoon.)

Full disclosure: I own shares of Goldcorp in my personal portfolio.

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