With shares in Glencore (LSE: GLEN) having risen by 60% since the start of the year, many investors may feel that now is a bad time to buy them. After all, a period of such strong capital gains can sometimes be followed by profit-taking and weakness in investor sentiment. And with the outlook for commodity prices being highly uncertain, Glencore’s shares could come under pressure in the short run.

However, for long term investors Glencore remains a top-notch buy. That’s at least partly because of its strategy, which is seeing the company reduce its leverage and become leaner and potentially more profitable through the disposal of non-core assets.

Clearly, there’s still a long way to go before Glencore is viewed as financially sound relative to a number of its resource-focused peers, but it seems to be on the right track towards doing so. And with its bottom line forecast to rise by 43% next year, investor sentiment could improve yet further and push Glencore’s share price significantly higher.

Margin of safety

Similarly, the outlook for Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOCH) remains positive. Like Glencore, Hochschild’s share price has soared in 2016, with it being up by 22% year-to-date. However, there could be much more to come over the medium-to-long term since the price of precious metals including gold and silver could increase yet further as investors remain uncertain regarding the prospect for the global economy.

Alongside the potential for rising commodity prices is the forecast return of Hochschild to profitability in the current financial year. This has the scope to cause a substantial improvement in investor sentiment towards the company, with a forecast doubling of Hochschild’s pre-tax profit in the 2017 financial year having the potential to deliver a rapidly rising share price. And due to Hochschild trading on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.3, there seems to be a wide margin of safety on offer in case silver and gold prices fall over the medium term.

Upward rerating?

Meanwhile, Amec Foster Wheeler (LSE: AMFW) is set to endure further pain in the current financial year, with its bottom line due to fall by 20%. This follows two years of earnings declines and could cause the company’s share price rise of 7% since the turn of the year to be somewhat eroded.

However, looking beyond the current year, Amec Foster Wheeler has considerable total return potential. That’s because it currently yields 4.8% from a dividend covered 2.5 times by profit. This means that even if profitability falls, dividend cuts may not be severe and with Amec Foster Wheeler expected to return to earnings growth next year, the outlook for shareholder payouts remains positive.

Furthermore, with Amec Foster Wheeler trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 8.4, there appears to be scope for a major upward rerating over the medium-to-long term to add to its impressive income potential.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.