As much as we'd all like significantly higher silver and gold prices, Chris Thompson of Raymond James doesn't expect them.
The good news, he argues, is that the relative stability now characterizing the market permits investors to make informed decisions about which companies can build value and demonstrate cash flows at today's prices. In this interview with The Gold Report, Thompson lists a handful of gold and silver miners prepared to do just that.
Chris Thompson, PGeo, is an analyst for Raymond James specializing in precious metals and small to mid-cap developers and producers. He worked previously for Haywood Securities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mining and exploration geology, a Master of Science in mineral economics and a graduate diploma in mining engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He was awarded the 2011 StarMine Top Analyst Award for Stock Picker in the Metals and Mining sector.
The Gold Report: In your previous Gold Report interview of Dec. 31, 2013, you predicted 2014 prices of $1,400 per ounce ($1,400/oz) for gold and $25/oz for silver. Do you think that gold and silver can still meet those prices this year?
Chris Thompson: Those figures referred to the high side of the anticipated trading range for both metals. Today, our prediction for the high side in 2014 is $1,350/oz for gold and $22/oz for silver. In other words, we see silver potentially trading up to $22/oz this year but do not imply in any way that we expect silver to average $22/oz this year.
TGR: Several recent Gold Report interviewees have expressed surprise and even astonishment that the deteriorating global political situation combined with continuing weak U.S. economic performance has not resulted in significantly higher precious metals prices. What's your view?
CT: We think gold and silver have performed relatively well this year and showed strength toward the end of the second quarter. My feeling is that stronger gold and silver prices that we have seen earlier than anticipated this year is a reflection of global political tensions and maybe just a reminder that we are not out of the woods as far as U.S. economic performance is concerned. Earlier is better, and so we look for gold and silver prices to retain most of their gains in the third quarter.
TGR: After gold fell significantly under $1,200/oz, there was a loud chorus to the effect that gold had been overvalued and overbought for a long time. Has this negative atmosphere been dissipated?
CT: It was not just gold bullion that was hurt by this negative atmosphere. It was the gold-mining companies—in fact, the entire gold industry and its participants.
TGR: Could you elaborate on that?
CT: What we're seeing at the moment is a restoration of market credibility, especially from the mining company side of things. The mining industry enjoyed for a long time a never-ending climate of strengthening metal prices; that was reversed last year. As a result, companies have had to deal with this reverse by slashing costs, revising their operating plans and, frankly, delivering what investors have always wanted from them: real growth and the generation of real cash flows at current metal prices, not growth at any cost.