Why Delta Could Mean Alpha for Commodity Plays (CEI, X, TECK, MOS, FCX, PAAS, VKIN, NUE)

The Delta Variant. It has become a question mark growing in the subconscious of the collective mind of the financial world. Will it continue to spread out of control and eventually break through the vaccine barrier or give rise to a related variant that can?

Will we start to see mask and social distancing guidelines return in the developed world and lockdowns spread in the developing world?

According to the available research at this point, the answer to all of those questions is somewhere between “probably not” and “definitely not”, but you can bet policymakers like OPEC+, central banks, the IMF, and major governments around the world are less comfortable than they were a few weeks ago after hearing reports from Israel that vaccinated people are starting to get sick.

Of course, the reality is that 4-6 people out of every 100 who get one of the mRNA vaccines will catch Covid-19, whether the Delta or another variant. That’s already part of the test results. When you are talking about a sample size of a billion vaccinated people, that means 40-60 million vaccinated adults may get diagnosed with Covid-19 without implying some flaw in the efficacy of the vaccine.

But optics are important, and so is PTSD. And global policymakers have a bad case of PTSD. We can expect everyone to err increasingly on the side of caution the more Delta gets into the headlines, which implies a slower output hike rate from OPEC and a decreasing willing to tighten fiscal and monetary policy measures despite strong growth and inflation data.

All of that plays toward one big potential winner: the commodities space.

With that in mind, we take a look at some interesting stocks involved in the production of major commodities, including: United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X), Teck Resources Ltd Class B (NYSE:TECK), Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS), Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), Pan American Silver Corp. (NASDAQ:PAAS), and Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE).

We take a closer look at some of the more interesting names in the space below.

 

United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) United States Steel Corp. engages in the manufacturing and selling of steel products. It operates through the following business segments: Flat-Rolled Products, U.S. Steel Europe, and Tubular Products. The Flat-Rolled Products segment includes managing steel plants and production facilities that manufacture steel slabs, rounds, strip mill plates, sheets, tin mill, iron ore, and coke. The U.S. Steel Europe segment offers producing and marketing strip mill plates, spiral welded pipe, heating radiators, refractory ceramic materials. The Tubular Products segment involves in manufacturing and trading seamless and electric resistance welded steel casing and tubing. line pipe, and mechanical tubing.

United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) most recently announced execution of a non-exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Equinor US Holdings Inc., an affiliate of Equinor ASA (NYSE: EQNR). Under the MOU, the companies will study the potential for carbon capture and storage (“CCS”) and hydrogen development in the tri-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

“The successful development of hydrogen and CCS technology in the tri-state region will require investment, cooperation, and exploration across political and perceived barriers,” said Richard Fruehauf, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer. “As we build momentum toward our ambitious goal targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the opportunity to explore the potential for a hydrogen hub in this region – anchored in the Mon Valley – is cause for optimism.”

And the stock has been acting well over recent days, up something like 2% in that time. Over the past month, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -8%.

United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) managed to rope in revenues totaling $3.7B in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 33.7%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($760M against $3.1B, respectively).

 

Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN) has been seeing increasing attention following strong operating results. The company has assets in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kansas. It is also currently the majority-owned subsidiary of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI), and a merger agreement is in the works that could increase the value of both companies through geographic and operational synergies.

The company describes itself as an independent exploration and production company focused on acquiring, enhancing, and developing oil and natural gas properties in the Gulf Coast and Mid-Continent regions. That’s a hot-spot right now in the market as oil continues to dominate the financial world performance leadership table.

Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN) recently posted sturdy results for Q1, including revenues of nearly $10.5 million and an adjusted EBITDA of $4.63 million.

James Doris, President and Chief Executive Officer of both Camber and Viking, commented, “We are pleased with Viking’s Q1 results, especially following the unprecedented conditions experienced in 2020. We are extremely encouraged with the foundation we have established, and are intensely focused on pursuing growth opportunities.”

Importantly, the company was able to drive nearly 20% sequential quarterly topline growth ahead of any clear sense of full economic “reopening”, when analysts expect energy demand to grow significantly.

Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN) shares have been on the move higher in recent action, trending off key range support in the $0.40 area in late May. That has led to strong momentum and big breakout above the stock’s key 50-day MA. VKIN appears to gaining attention over the past month, with a strong oil tailwind helping to drive the trend.

 

Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) engages in the production and marketing of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. The company operates its businesses through its wholly and majority owned subsidiaries. It operates through the following segments: Phosphates, Potash, and Mosaic Fertilizantes. The Phosphates segment owns and operates mines and production facilities in North America which produces concentrated phosphate crop nutrients and phosphate-based animal feed ingredients, and concentrated crop nutrients.

The Potash segment owns and operates potash mines and production facilities in North America which produce potash-based crop nutrients, animal feed ingredients, and industrial products. The Mosaic Fertilizantes segment produces and sells phosphate and potash-based crop nutrients, and animal feed ingredients, in Brazil.

Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) most recently announced that it has submitted an early redemption notice to the trustee of its $450 million 3.75 percent senior notes. The notes, which mature on November 15, 2021, are expected to be called at par on August 15, 2021, and will result in an immaterial expense in the third quarter. The annual interest expense on these bonds was approximately $17 million.

“In 2019, Mosaic set a goal of decreasing total long-term debt by $1 billion, and this is the first step in reaching that milestone,” said Joc O’Rourke, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Through disciplined cost management and favorable markets, we have generated significant free cash flow, which will continue to be allocated in a balanced approach across the three primary pillars of our capital allocation philosophy: strengthening the balance sheet, investing in the business, and returning capital to shareholders.”

The context for this announcement is a bit of a bid, with shares acting well over the past five days, up about 3% in that timeframe. Over the past month, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -14%.

Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) managed to rope in revenues totaling $2.3B in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 27.8%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($702M against $3.4B, respectively).

 

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) operates through the following segments: North America Copper Mines, South America Mining; Indonesia Mining, Molybdenum Mines, Rod and Refining, Atlantic Copper Smelting and Refining and Corporate, Other and Eliminations. The North America Copper Mines segment operates open-pit copper mines in Morenci, Bagdad, Safford, Sierrita and Miami in Arizona and Chino and Tyrone in New Mexico. The South America Mining segment includes Cerro Verde in Peru and El Abra in Chile. The Indonesia Mining segment handles the operations of Grasberg minerals district that produces copper concentrate that contains significant quantities of gold and silver. The Molybdenum Mines segment includes the Henderson underground mine and Climax open-pit mine, both in Colorado.

The Rod and Refining segment consists of copper conversion facilities located in North America and includes a refinery, rod mills, and a specialty copper products facility. The Atlantic Copper Smelting and Refining segment smelts and refines copper concentrate and markets refined copper and precious metals in slimes.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) recently announced a cash dividend of $0.075 per share on FCX’s common stock payable on August 2, 2021, to stockholders of record as of July 15, 2021.

According to the company’s release, as previously reported on February 2, 2021, the Board adopted a financial policy for the allocation of cash flows aligned with FCX’s strategic objectives of maintaining a strong balance sheet, increasing cash returns to shareholders and advancing opportunities for future growth.

Even in light of this news, FCX hasn’t really done much of anything over the past week, with shares logging no net movement over that period. Over the past month, shares of the stock have suffered from clear selling pressure, dropping by roughly -14%.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX) managed to rope in revenues totaling $4.6B in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 53%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels exceeding current liabilities ($4.7B against $4.6B).

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Published by Lisa Ray

Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Purdue University and 3 years of experience in the publishing field.

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