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Can Lonmin plc (+393%), Anglo American plc (+258%) and Hochschild Mining plc (+237%) Continue To Surge?

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There’s never a day goes by in the world of investing that doesn’t surprise me in one way or another. Of particular note over the last three months is the frankly astonishing rebound of the under-pressure miners.

Indeed, three of the best performers over the last three months according to digital look are Lonmin (LSE: LMI) the under pressure South African platinum miner; the FTSE 100 diversified mining giant Anglo American (LSE: AAL); and last but by no means least Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) the UK-based miner with gold and silver assets in southern Peru and Argentina. Together, the shares have risen by an average of nearly 300% over a three-month period. That’s simply mind-blowing!

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The chart doesn’t lie

As we can see from the chart these shares have left the market for dust, despite the volatility, of which there has been plenty.

It seems that the shares have found favour from bargain hunters who spotted that the market had simply become too negative towards them owing to worries about the slide in commodity prices during 2015, not to mention the daily worries about how sustainable the growth in China is.

This left them looking cheap on certain metrics, but mainly the price-to-book ratio. This is a financial ratio used to compare a company’s book value to its current market price and is a key metric for value investors. Book value denotes the portion of the company held by the shareholders – in other words, the company’s assets less its total liabilities. This is calculated as the Current Price divided by the latest annual Book Value Per Share.

Indeed, despite these phenomenal price rises the shares still trade on price-to-book ratios ranging from 0.47 at Lonmin through to 1.07 at Hochschild Mining. This still leaves the shares in the sights of value investors, particularly as the price of many commodities have rebounded of late along with the price of oil.

Can you hold your nerve?

What isn’t in doubt is the massive price rise in these shares under review today. However, I do wonder if many investors would have been brave enough to buy these out-of-favour shares in the first place, and secondly whether they were brave enough to hold on through the volatility over the last three months.

You see, all of these stocks have a high Beta – this is a measure of a company’s common stock price volatility relative to the market. Anything higher than one means that you have a volatile share on your hands, anything lower than one should imply a defensive share.

Just to give you an idea of what this looks like in practice, National Grid is a fairly defensive share that has a Beta of 0.3, whereas Lonmin has a Beta of 2.89 according to data from Stockopedia. This means that the shares can be very volatile indeed, and in turn can cause investors to sell up sooner than they would have with a less volatile share.

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My congratulations go out to anyone who went against the crowd over the past three months and purchased these shares. At the same time, we can see the shares have underperformed the market over a longer period, leaving some investors out of pocket.

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Dave Sullivan 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.

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