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Basic Materials – Metals & Mining: First

Michael Gambardella
J.P. Morgan
“Mike is rational and thoughtful with his recommendations in this historically cyclical sector.”

It’s five straight years at
No. 1 for Michael Gambardella. The J.P. Morgan analyst, who publishes research on 25 companies, “is not afraid to take a stand,” observes one money manager. Case in point: In September 2011, Gambardella, 55, broke with the consensus and issued a valuation-based downgrade on Molycorp from overweight to neutral, at $53.01, because widespread speculation about new export restrictions in China had pushed the stock price artificially high. In early August, after the stock had plummeted 69.7 percent, to $16.07, he reduced it to underweight, on management’s announcement that the Greenwood Village, Colorado–based producer of rare earth minerals was short of funds to finance new projects. By the end that month, the shares had tumbled 28.4 percent, to $11.51, and trailed the sector by 35.1 percentage points. Gambardella’s advice going forward: Stay away from this one. He is “the dean of metals stocks,” declares one ally, while another praises the analyst for being “an independent thinker.”

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