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Eight base metal stocks to watch Add to ...

The company recently reported its second quarter and first half 2011 financial results. Second-quarter net income stood at $1.4 billion or $1.43 per share, compared to $649 million or 70 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Consolidated sales for the quarter came in at $5.8 billion vs. $3.9 billion in the second quarter of 2010. For the first half of 2011, net income and sales were up 93.3% and 39.2%, respectively.

For full year 2011, Freeport estimates consolidated sales from mines at 3.9 billion pounds of copper, 1.6 million ounces of gold and 77 million pounds of molybdenum. Full year capital expenditure is forecast at $2.6 billion, including $1.4 billion for major projects and $1.2 billion for sustaining capital.

With a dividend yield of 1.67%, the company declared a cash dividend of 25 cents per share payable Aug. 1, 2011. In addition to a regular dividend, the company paid a supplemental common stock dividend of 50 cents per share.

Of the 20 analysts covering the stock, 75% recommend a buy and 20% rate a hold. A Bloomberg poll expects the stock to gain an average 21.5% to $67.40 over the next 12 months.

5. Alcoa engages in mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, recycling, and the production and management of aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina combined. The company operates in 31 countries and has investments and operating activities in Australia, Brazil, China, Guinea, Iceland, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Globally, the company's products find application in industries ranging from aircraft, automobiles, commercial transportation, packaging, building and construction, oil and gas and defense.

Net income for the second quarter 2011 was $322 million or 28 cents per share, compared to $136 million or 13 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Increased demand escalated sales by 27% to $6.59 billion, topping analysts' estimates.

Analysts believe that new products and solutions have led to significant earnings growth. Alcoa recorded reduced days working capital of 37 as compared to 43 in the second quarter of 2010.

The company's board of directors recently declared a quarterly common stock dividend of 3 cents per share payable August 25, 2011. Besides, it also declared a quarterly dividend of 93.75 cents per share on its $3.75 cumulative preferred stock payable October 1, 2011. Looking ahead, Alcoa has reaffirmed 12% growth in global aluminum demand for 2011.

Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 56% recommend a buy and 28% suggest a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 24.8% to $19.54 in the upcoming 12 months.

4. Noranda Aluminum Holding is a vertically integrated producer of aluminum products and rolled aluminum coils in North America. The company operates through two segments: metals, or the upstream business; and rolled products, or the downstream business. The upstream business consists of an aluminum smelter near New Madrid and supporting operations at its vertically integrated bauxite mine and alumina refinery.

The company is scheduled to release its second-quarter earnings on July 27, before the market opens. As per a Bloomberg consensus, Noranda is likely to report sales of $370.5 million for the second quarter of 2011, increasing 11% from $334.9 million recorded in the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter is seen increasing to $28.5 million, or 41 cents per share, compared to $17.6 million, or 35 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. EBITDA for the quarter is seen doubling to $71.75 million from $25.93 million in the comparable quarter last year.

Early June, S&P upgraded its long-term corporate credit rating on Noranda Aluminum Holding to "B+" from "B". The rating agency has assigned a stable outlook, as it expects the company's operating performance to improve modestly over the next 12 months, consequent to the gradual recovery in end-market demand.

Of the 7 analysts covering the stock, 57% recommend a buy and 29% rate a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 25.7% to $17.13 in the upcoming 12 months.

3. Vale, the Brazilian metals and mining giant, produces iron ore and iron ore pellets, manganese ore, ferroalloys, copper, thermal and coking coal, phosphates, potash, cobalt, kaolin, and platinum group metals, or PGMs. Besides investing in the energy and steel business, Vale operates large logistics systems in Brazil that are integrated with its mining operations.

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