INVESTMENT FOCUS-With metals slumping, investors seek miners that can weather storm
* Some investors focus on cheap valuations of miners
* Focus on sharp drop in metals prices and mining stocks
* Polls suggest metals prices likely to recover
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) - A slump in metals prices this week and worries over China's growth prospects have heightened investor scrutiny of whether mining companies have the ability to weather the storm ahead.
China accounts for almost half of global copper demand, 70 percent of iron ore consumption and vies with India to be the top gold consumer. China's economy is seen growing at 7 percent this year, the slowest in a quarter of a century.
While miners tend to track commodity prices closely, with the European index down 8 percent in a week following a tumble in copper and gold prices to their lowest in more than five years, firms also have the ability to fight back with job cuts, project cancellations and restructuring.
Some have fared better than others. Lonmin shares sank 13 percent on Friday on restructuring costs, while Anglo American traded flat as investors did not punish it for job cuts and asset sales plans.
Some fund managers are simply staying away. Stephen Mitchell, head of global equities strategy at Jupiter, said mining "was the sector to avoid". Continuación...