Shares of Kinross Gold Corp. (KGC) spiked upwards by more than 12.8% last Tuesday amid a volatile session that saw the major market indices lose their early gains.
Kinross closed the day at $3.33, or $0.38 higher than last Monday’s closing price, with more than 17.8 million shares changing hands. This compares to 15.9 million shares trading hands on a normal trading day.
The impetus behind KGC’s spike is the continued rise in the price of gold for a third day, the longest run of gains in two weeks.
Gold futures with a February delivery date climbed 1.1% to $1,218.70 an ounce by mid-day last Tuesday.
And with falling oil prices and the political uncertainty in Greece, investors should expect to continue seeing higher gold prices in the interim as investors look for a safe havens – at least until some of the dust settles.
So, does this mean a compelling case can finally be made for the rise of gold in general and KGC specifically? Not exactly…
Below, I have identified three reasons to avoid Kinross Gold Corp.
Kinross Headwind #1: Weak Financials. Kinross Gold’s troubles go much deeper than just a low price for gold, as evidenced by the company’s most recent quarterly financial report, in which the firm shows significant weakness.
First, the company’s net income declined a whopping 112.17% – falling from $41.9 million in Q3 2013, to $5.1 million in Q3 2014.
And it’s important to understand, here, that the company significantly underperformed in the net income category when compared to its peers in the metals and mining industry. So this isn’t solely an issue of commodity pricing.
Adding insult to injury, the company’s earnings per share declined 100% compared to the year-earlier quarter, which goes a long way in explaining why the stock lost 36.6% of its value in 2014.
But it’s not just the financials that portend continued weakness for the stock…
Kinross Headwind #2: Rising Interest Rates. As most investors know, gold prices have an inverse relationship with real interest rates, which means higher real interest rates don’t bode well for gold prices.
Now, we’ve been anticipating higher rates for a long time now, but the Fed has stubbornly refused to allow rates to normalize. That doesn’t mean the rates can stay artificially low for too much longer, though.
The more time that passes as the Fed waits to raise rates, the more money that’s being forced into risk assets in the search for yield. This, in turn, risks the creation of an asset bubble that becomes too big for the Fed to control.
In fact, a compelling case can be made that this is already the case.
This means interest rates must begin normalizing no later than the Q2 2015, which will depress gold and other commodity prices further.
And gold-backed ETFs such as SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and Goldex Resources Corp. (GDX) – as well as gold stocks like Goldcorp (GG), Newmont Mining (NEM), and Yamana Gold (AUY) – will get hammered when this happens.
Kinross Headwind #3: Russia in Shambles. Leading the economic decline in Russia is the fall of the ruble. The country’s currency fell another 3% to below 63.5 rubles to the dollar on Tuesday – despite efforts of the Russian Central Bank to curtail further declines by raising its key interest rate to 17%.
Now, what does this have to do with the gold-mining company Kinross?
Approximately half of Kinross’ cash flow emanates from Russian production sites, which puts the company in a bind should Putin follow through on implementing measures to stabilize the Russian economy.
The Russian leader has threatened to enforce capital controls if the ruble continues to fall further. If that happens, Kinross risks having its assets effectively nationalized to shore up the country’s currency crisis.
Kinross also risks the unintended consequences of the central bank’s recent increase in its key rate.
While the higher rate was seen as essential in stabilizing the ruble, higher interest rates put pressure on suppliers to Kinross’ operations – and could seriously affect future operations for the company.