What: McEwen Mining (MUX 3.67%) saw a price increase of 29.99% in August. That end number, however, doesn't do justice to the gyrations investors lived through in the one-month span.
The shares started August with a 12% rally and then fell back around 10 percentage points. And then they really rallied, reaching a roughly 35% gain for the month. Then they fell back nearly 10 percentage points again. Then they rallied again, pushing the monthly advance to around 38%. Then they plummeted over 30 percentage points. And then they rallied once more to end the month up just about 30%. Talk about a roller coaster ride -- this is not a stock for the faint of heart.
So what: If you can get past the whipsaw-like share price movements, the background story here is earnings, which were reported on Aug. 5. Gold and silver production was up an impressive 36% year over year in the second quarter. Costs, meanwhile, fell 20% year over year.
Although the company lost $0.05 a share in the quarter, that was much improved from the $0.35-per-share loss last year. That said, pulling out one-time charges in each period, McEwen pegged its adjusted net income at $0.01 a share, up from an adjusted net loss of $0.03 in last year's second quarter.
In fact, McEwen was cash flow-positive in the second quarter. And that allowed it to declare an annual dividend of a penny a share, to be split into two annual distributions of a half-cent each. The first $0.005-per-share payment was made in mid-August, just before the shares plummeted 30 percentage points.
Now what: McEwen is a very volatile stock issued by a company that operates in a very volatile commodity business. Unless you have strong feelings about the company's operations or the gold and silver markets, you shouldn't be putting your money here.
Things do look like they're getting better. But that doesn't make this a good investment option, especially if you're a conservative investor. In fact, even aggressive investors should view McEwen with a healthy dose of skepticism.