Investors recently learned that Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining, two of the world's largest gold miners, discussed a merger before talks broke down. But some experts say that a deal could still be imminent. And what is noteworthy is that if Barrick and Newmont do combine to become the world's biggest gold company, that could lend a positive bias to gold prices.
"I certainly do think it's possible this time," said Sterne Agee precious metals and mining analyst Michael Dudas on Tuesday's episode of "Futures Now." "It's interesting—I've found over the years following this industry that mergers of this size happen at the peaks of markets and at the troughs of markets. And given where gold prices are, and where cash costs are, I think it's closer to a trough to the marketplace."
Gold mining stocks have gotten crushed recently, as gold prices have fallen even as production costs have surged. But Dudas says a merger could smother expensive gold projects. This would lead to a slower expansion of supply, which would help gold prices.
"Any capital discipline, I think, is going to be positive for these companies in combination, and for the gold market in general," Dudas said.
Interestingly, there have already been $102.8 billion worth of announced mergers in the materials sector year to date, according to S&P Capital IQ. That's a 210 percent increase over 2013 up to April 22—the biggest jump of any sector.
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