We woke up to three M&A headlines affecting our sector this morning: a merger between AuRico and Alamos Gold, the acquisition of Soltoro by Agnico Eagle, and the investor response to the as-yet unsubstantiated rumor that Mick Davis may be buying Capstone Resources. Of these, the most significant by far is the $1.5 billion AuRico/Alamos merger, but, collectively, it certainly is all evidence of a surge in M&A activity this year.

Why do we care? Because many of our top picks are takeover targets. A good deal at a hefty premium to market can hand us a tidy win, even if gold continues dragging along the bottom. And, of course, if the market turns up, that could add even more steam to the M&A pressure cooker. Win-win, either way.