Morgan Stanley upgrades this mining stock that can surge more than 20%
"Uncertainty begets opportunities" — meaning now is a good time to play Rio Tinto shares, according to Morgan Stanley. "Demand concerns and falling iron ore prices have de-rated Rio Tinto PLC shares, presenting an opportunity to gain exposure to a business with high-quality assets, growing Copper footprint, improving operating performance and best-in-class capital return prospects," the firm said in a Friday note. Analyst Alain Gabriel upgraded shares to overweight from equal weight. His price target on the company's UK-traded shares implies 22% upside from Thursday's close. RIO YTD mountain RIO in 2023 Gabriel said that while iron ore still dominates Rio Tinto's revenue portfolio, "its copper footprint remains underappreciated, with volume growth through 2028 outpacing peers', and copper's contribution to group EBITDA rising to ~25% over that period, the highest among diversified miners." He added that after a series of production setbacks and ESG challenges, the company is "rebuilding trust, one asset at a time." "Production and shipment run-rates in the Pilbara have increased to the top end of their historical ranges over the last 2 quarters, mining rates at the Oyu Tolgoi UG project are making new highs, and management is engaging with stakeholders to rebuild its social license," Gabriel said. We see minimal risks to consensus volume, operating cost and capital expenditure expectations in the near and medium term. The company's U.S.-traded shares were up 2.9% Friday morning. Meanwhile, the stock remains down 14.2% over the past 12 months. —CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.