What: Shares of Royal Gold, (RGLD 0.85%) fell 25.5% in November. The stock has plummeted around 50% since February. The big drop in November came early in the month at around the time the company announced earnings.
So what: It would be easy to say that falling gold prices are hurting Royal Gold's business. But this isn't your typical gold miner. Royal Gold is a royalty and streaming company. In other words, it pays miners upfront for the right to buy gold later on at reduced prices. In fact, revenues for the company were up 7% year over year. That said, earnings were deep in the red because of one-time events, but on the whole the quarterly update was good and falling gold prices weren't the reason for the loss.
In fact, shortly after the quarterly results were announced, Royal Gold upped its dividend by 5%, the 15th consecutive annual increase. And while some of the company's investments aren't working out as planned, it's been using the weak market to ink new deals that should increase production and revenues even further in the upcoming year, and for years into the future. Moreover, it's probably most appropriate to view Royal Gold's investments as a portfolio, in which some investments will work out and others won't. It's the overall result that's most important.
So, yes, times are tough for gold companies. But Royal Gold isn't your typical precious-metals company and it appears to be doing quite well through this deep downturn, rewarding investors with continued dividend hikes. The takeaway here is that this could be a situation where Mr. Market is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Now what: If you're a contrarian investor looking at the down-and-out precious-metals market for bargains, Royal Gold is a stock worth a deep dive. It isn't your typical gold miner, but that's a huge benefit right now.