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RBC Capital: 3 Top Gold Stocks To Buy Now

Gold prices are soaring right now. Last week gold hit a six-year high and broke through the critical $1,500/oz level. This was on the back of multiple factors, including market concerns around low global growth rates and trade, lower real rates in the US (and globally), and a weaker US dollar. For instance, the 10-year US Treasury yield is now at just 1.7% from highs of +3.2% in Q4 last year.

Let the good times roll for this classic safe-haven asset, says RBC Capital. The firm believes the industry is ‘now in a potential sweet spot’ and sees a number of compelling precious metal opportunities. “We think the coming 12 months could be a sweet spot for investors as higher prices boost margins and cash generation, but management teams don't have the mandate (yet) to pull the trigger on potentially value eroding "actions" such as new growth... This could lead to higher cashflow, rapid deleveraging and increased dividends,” says the firm.

As a result, it believes street upgrades could roll through in the coming quarters. And in the meantime, RBC Capital has pinpointed a few top stocks for investors to consider. Indeed, as the firm writes: “Whilst a rising tide to some extent lifts all boats, we believe there will be relative winners.” Here are three names that stand out right now:

Endeavour Mining (TSE:EDV)

Endeavour Mining is a West African gold producer with a number of producing and near-producing mines. According to RBC Capital, Endeavour screens well on both strategy and deleveraging. “With a refreshed senior management team and board of directors, we believe Endeavour is well positioned to drive long-term value through a "back-to-basics" approach” says the firm.

In its most recent report on the stock, analyst Wayne Lam reiterated a buy rating for EDV with a C$28 price target. This suggests significant upside potential of over 40%. “We expect the shares should benefit from a number of key catalysts over the coming months including the start-up of the Ity CIL project, inaugural reserve on the Kari Pump deposit at Hounde, and updated resource on the La Plaque deposit at Ity” the analyst told investors. He is forecasting annual production of 175 Koz at the Ity mine, on costs of $700/oz over a 19-year mine life.

Encouragingly, all six analysts covering the stock rate EDV a buy right now. And the average price target suggests that shares can surge over 20% from current levels in the coming months. "We forecast... very strong positive FCF in Q4, when the Ity CIL project in Côte d’Ivoire will be fully ramped up to the expanded production rate" stated Berenberg's Michael Stoner on August 2.

Following a very strong start for the Ity mine, Stoner (a 3-star analyst according to TipRanks) believes investors can look forward to "a sustained period of cash generation, de-gearing and the start of shareholder returns."

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd (NYSE:AU)

For global investors AngloGold looks like a catalyst rich story, cheers RBC Capital. This is the world’s third largest gold mining company (by production) with operations spanning Africa, the Americas, Australasia and South Africa.

Late last month RBC Capital’s James Bell hosted investor meetings with the company’s relatively new CEO Kelvin Dushnisky. Priorities for the business remain 1) Streamlining the portfolio, 2) Obuasi start-up (first gold is expected in the fourth quarter of this year) and 3) Reducing net debt towards 1.0x EBITDA. Discussions also covered dividends and growth projects, reported Bell.

Following the meetup, he reiterated his buy rating and price target indicating 17% upside potential from current levels. Bell believes that sales of both Cerro Vanguardia in Argentina and the remaining South Africa assets could be catalysts for the stock, “particularly as an exit from the SA operating could help remove a "layer" of the group's discount to global peers.”

Like Bell, BMO Capital’s Andrew Kaip (a 3-star analyst) also recently upgraded AU from hold to buy. Kaip cited a more constructive gold outlook and confidence in the delivery of the Obuasi project, adding: “we are of the view that AngloGold is one of the better large gold producers for exposure to a rising gold price.” These are the only two analysts covering the stock right now- hence the stock’s Moderate Buy consensus.

B2Gold (TSE:BTO) (NYSEMKT:BTG)

Canadian gold producer B2Gold is the third gold stock boasting a bullish rating from RBC Capital. That’s thanks to the company’s impressively strong growth profile. It owns five producing mines (in the Philippines, Namibia, Mali and Nicaragua), two development projects and several exploration assets.

BTO is buzzing right now after it reported stellar earning results for the second quarter. Results came in above consensus driven by higher production and lower costs at both Fekola and Masbate. “The ramp up of the mill expansion at Fekola appears to be ahead of schedule and full year guidance was reiterated with the strong operating result through H1/19” commented RBC Capital’s Stephen Walker (a 3-star analyst) post-beat.

He expects investors to continue to focus on 1) the expansion at Fekola, 2) ongoing deleveraging of the balance sheet, and 3) exploration updates.

Meanwhile top BMO Capital analyst Brian Quast (a 5-star analyst) marginally boosted his price target from $5.50 to $6, explainig “We have increased our P/NPV valuation multiple for B2Gold to 2.0x P/NPV from 1.5x to reflect the company's consistently strong execution and its divestiture of assets in politically riskier jurisdictions.” The analyst concludes: “We believe the company is a proven, competent operator with a well diversified asset base.”

In total, five analysts have published buy ratings on the stock over the last three months- giving the stock a firm ‘Strong Buy’ consensus. Meanwhile the average analyst price target translates into 18% upside potential from current levels.

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