Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



What's Behind Stillwater's 2011 Collapse

As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at Stillwater Mining (NYSE: SWC  ) . As one of the only platinum and palladium mines in North America, Stillwater has a strong position in an important niche market. But volatility in the precious metals along with some questionable strategic decisions sent the shares for a loop this year. Below, I'll take a closer look at the events that moved Stillwater Mining's shares this year.

Stats on Stillwater Mining

Year-to-Date Stock Return (50.8%)
Market Cap $1.21 billion
Total Revenue, Trailing 12 Months $791 million
Net Income, Trailing 12 Months $136 million
1-Year Revenue Growth 54.2%
1-Year Profit Growth 384.9%
CAPS Rating (out of 5) ****

Sources: S&P Capital IQ; Motley Fool CAPS.

How did Stillwater Mining do this year?
Stillwater Mining operates two mines in Montana that produce platinum and palladium. Much rarer than gold, platinum group metals haven't seen quite the run-up that gold and silver have in recent years, but they've still climbed sharply.

Stillwater has been able to capitalize on those high prices with better-than-expected production as well. In its most recent quarter, the company reported 6% production volume growth, combining with higher metals prices to beat analyst estimates soundly.

But Stillwater made a move earlier this year that investors really didn't like. It paid a huge premium to buy Peregrine Metals, which owns a big gold and copper project in Argentina. Not only is the mine not yet producing any metal, but it also takes away Stillwater's status as a pure-play platinum-group metal company -- leaving only North American Palladium (AMEX: PAL  ) as an alternative.

Still, the popularity of platinum and palladium as alternatives to gold seems to remain strong. The ETFS Physical Platinum (NYSE: PPLT  ) and ETFS Physical Palladium (NYSE: PALL  ) combined own about $1 billion in platinum and palladium, showing that investor demand could underpin platinum-group metal prices going forward.

Given how rough a year it was for miners like Brigus Gold (AMEX: BRD  ) and Great Panther Silver (AMEX: GPL  ) with highly volatile metals prices, Stillwater's poor performance shouldn't be all that shocking. If platinum and palladium prices stay high, though, Stillwater should do well going forward.

If you like companies that pull money out of the ground, we've got just the stock for you. Read the Motley Fool's latest special report and find out the tiny gold stock digging up massive profits. The report is free but only available for a limited time.

Click here to add Stillwater Mining to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 21, 2011, at 10:00 AM, davidcavner wrote:

    Just one comment about North American Palladium being the only pure player left in palladium. Have you forgotten that NAP also owns gold mines in Quebec. Specifically Sleeping Giant Gold Mine.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2011, at 1:28 PM, bellbell63 wrote:

    SWC looked to diversify into copper, NAP is diversifying into gold. NAP gold operation should be ramping up to full operating capacity by the end of 2012. In addition to Sleeping Giant, they also have the Veeza mine coming on-line Q1/2012.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1745553, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 10:29:18 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 hour ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.27 -53.76 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,143.16 -8.17 -0.38%
NASD 5,283.40 -26.43 -0.50%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/25/2016 4:02 PM
SWC $12.89 Up +0.04 +0.31%
Stillwater Mining CAPS Rating: ****
BRD.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Brigus Gold Corp. CAPS Rating: ****
GPL $1.40 Up +0.09 +6.87%
Great Panther Silv… CAPS Rating: ****
PALDF $3.73 Up +0.15 +4.15%
North American Pal… CAPS Rating: *****