Newcrest Mining Limited is a Brexit winner: Are its shares a buy?

Australian mining giant Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) has seen its shares follow the rest of the gold miners lower in early trade, despite the release of a solid first quarter update.

In the first quarter Newcrest delivered an increase in production for both gold and copper. Gold production rose 3% to 615,498 ounces and copper production jumped 12% to 23,723 tonnes.

As a result the company is on target to meet its guidance of 2.35 million to 2.60 million ounces of gold and 80,000 to 90,000 tonnes of copper.

Although its all-in sustaining costs rose 3.7% on FY 2016’s average to US$790 an ounce, this was more than offset by a higher realised gold price. In the first quarter, Newcrest benefitted from an average realised gold price of US$1,328 an ounce, compared to just US$1,166 an ounce in FY 2016.

During the quarter gold prices surged to their highest levels in over two years in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. Since then the price of gold has retreated considerably and at the time of writing is fetching US$1,265 an ounce.

But with the US Federal Reserve looking increasingly likely to raise interest rates before the end of the year, I would be surprised to see the price of gold finish the year at these levels.

Traditionally gold and the U.S. dollar have an inverse relationship, so when one goes up the other will go down. With the U.S. dollar likely to strengthen when rates rise, it seems inevitable that the gold price will start to fall.

But considering Newcrest has an all-in sustaining cost of just US$790 an ounce, the gold price would have to fall to decade-low levels before its operations became unprofitable.

The same applies for fellow low-cost gold miners such as Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) and EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN), which have all-in sustaining costs of US$693 an ounce and US$804 an ounce respectively.

However, the bumper profits that the miners are currently making will come under threat if there’s a significant fall in the gold price. If this happens it would certainly be hard to justify paying the 30x full year earnings that Newcrest’s shares are changing hands at today.

I’m quite bearish on gold, thus I would suggest investors take their profits and invest elsewhere in the market. But if you’re bullish on the precious metal then the three miners I’ve mentioned today would be good investment options.

Instead of investing in the gold miners I would suggest investors take a look at these quick-growing ASX shares. Each has solid earnings growth ahead and a real chance of bolting higher if you ask me.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro 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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