Why the Newcrest Mining Limited share price is falling today

Shares of Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) have dropped 3% today after the gold mining giant released its June quarterly report to the market.

Unfortunately for investors, the miner missed gold production estimates during the final quarter of financial year 2016 (FY16), which is likely one of the reasons why the miner’s shares have fallen today. It experienced an extended suspension of production at Gosowong following a geotechnical event in February 2016, although that was partially offset by a stronger result at its Lihir mine.

At 598,037 ounces, gold production was 6% lower compared to the March quarter and 11.2% below the June 2015 quarter. Thankfully, full-year production still rose 0.7% to 2.44 million ounces which was near the bottom end of the guidance range provided (2.4 million ounces to 2.6 million ounces).

On a more positive note, Newcrest did manage to reduce its net debt by 27%, or US$0.8 billion, during the year to $2.1 billion, aided by a stronger gold price and a weaker US dollar. Meanwhile, its group all-in sustaining cost (AISC) also decreased by 2.3% to US$762 an ounce.

Despite the production miss, shares of Newcrest have experienced significant gains since the beginning of the year. In fact, they have nearly doubled in price, adding billions of dollars to the group’s market value.

This is mostly thanks to a rising gold price. Indeed, the precious metal experienced its strongest quarter in more than three decades to begin the year as investors around the world fretted about the prospects of a hard landing in China as well as a collapsing oil price.

More recently, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union – dubbed Brexit – also catapulted gold prices to fresh heights which acted a huge boost for shares across the sector.

Fear and uncertainty have settled somewhat in the time since which has seen shares of the gold miners retreat in price again. Gold prices are down again today at around US$1,318 an ounce, which would also be acting as a drag on Newcrest’s shares. Meanwhile, shares of Independence Group NL (ASX: IGO), St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX: RRL) are all trading between 1.4% and 2.9% lower as well.

Given the meteoric rise experienced by the gold miners so far in 2016, together with the risk that gold prices could retreat from these levels, investors may want to focus their attention on better opportunities elsewhere in the market.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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