Unfortunately, this 1500 basis point outperformance has since reversed to a massive underperformance, with the SIL finding itself down 35% year-to-date. The sharp reversal can be attributed to the plunging silver price, combined with inflationary pressures, which have severely impacted margins for the group.
In fact, some of the worst producers, like Endeavour Silver (EXK), now operate at negative all-in-sustaining cost margins.
While Endeavour Silver is an obvious name to avoid from an investment standpoint, given that it’s producing at $21.00/oz and selling its ounces below $20.00/oz, a few names have been dragged down unjustifiably by the terrible sentiment sector-wide.
In this update, we’ll look at which is best suited for one’s portfolio:
Hecla Mining and Wheaton Precious Metals (“Wheaton”) have two very different business models. While they both sell a significant amount of silver, Wheaton is a streaming company, while Hecla is a producer.
This means that Hecla actually operates its four mines in Canada and the United States, a business model that carries higher risk and makes Hecla more sensitive to inflationary pressures.
In Wheaton’s case, the company receives deliveries from several operating partners and is immune from inflationary pressures.
The reason is that Wheaton provides an upfront payment and, in exchange, gets a portion of metal produced over the mine’s life without worrying about rising labor/fuel costs or growth/sustaining capital. The result is that WPM has a much higher margin business, enjoying 76% gross margins and 63% operating margins on a trailing twelve-month basis. Continue reading "WPM vs HL: Which Silver Stock is a Buy?"