Some investors refuse to seriously consider gold and silver producers as legitimate choices for investment capital.
Where such decisions are based upon thorough and objective research, I take no issue.
Unfortunately, I observe that many refusals to invest in the sector are born of suppositions, misconceptions, and even prejudices. The result, often, is that decisions are made to avoid the sector without a trace of real consideration.
All the while, one company in particular continues to shine so brightly that it commands the attention of every Fool ... whether you view silver as a de facto currency or merely an industrial commodity. If you haven't taken a long, hard look at Silver Wheaton
As the world's only silver stream specialist, Silver Wheaton resides in a class all its own. With silver prices showing persistent strength under the shadow of gold, the company's fixed-cost business model permitted a 44% expansion of cash operating margin for the second quarter to a healthy $14.45 (for each of the 5.1 million silver equivalent ounces (SEOs) sold during the period). Fool favorite Hecla Mining
More impressive still, record earnings of $0.16 per share ($53.3 million) represent a 129% year-over-year increase, even after absorbing the impact of shares issued in connection with the strategic acquisition of a silver stream from Barrick Gold's
At the intersection between rising sales volume (up 74%) and an expanding operating margin, the brightest indicator of Silver Wheaton's strength stands for all to see: a net profit margin of 56%! That's a 1,200-basis-point surge over the prior-year margin, and any additional price gains in silver stand to improve that margin further still.
For serious silver investors stymied by disappointing bottom-line results from Coeur d'Alene Mines
Silver Wheaton shares have appreciated nearly 700% since I highlighted an unmistakable opportunity back in 2008, and more recently I expressed my expectation for the stock to reach $100 before this precious-metals bull market has finished running its course. So whether you view silver through the lens of a hard currency in a world of papier-mache, or a commodity play on rising industrial demand, what exactly are you Wheaton for?