By Our Man in Oz
Minews. Good morning Australia, your market seems to have run out of steam after a strong start to the year.
Oz. That was the case with the mining sector last week, particularly gold stocks, though the overall trend as measured by the all ordinaries index remained positive.
Minews. Gold continues to look interesting from an Australian perspective if your dollar keeps falling.
Oz. There’s no doubt about that, after the ASX closed on Friday you could see the effect of the double-barrelled move with gold rising modestly and the Aussie dollar retreating to around US77.6 cents, producing a local gold price of more than A$1,650 an ounce.
The rise above A$1,650 will probably be reflected in Monday trading when the market has a chance to make up the four per cent fall in the gold index last week, a correction probably caused by profit taking after some strong rises since mid-December.
While gold stocks were losing ground the rest of the mining sector was effectively steady, slipping by an insignificant 0.3 per cent, while the bank-heavy all ordinaries rose by 1.5 per cent.
Minews. Let’s move along to prices, starting with any news-making moves, please.
Oz. There were a few of those, some up, some down, and some making a return after a few years in the wilderness.
Fortescue Metals (FMG), the biggest of the pure play iron ore stocks, surprised the market with a better than expected December quarter result which saw it recoup A23 cents to A$2.36, after hitting a multi-year low of A$1.92 on Tuesday.
On the other side of the ledger the one-time copper darling, Tiger Resources, disappointed its supporters with a poor December quarter report, and immediately suffered a heavy A6.1 cent (55 per cent) fall to A4.9 cents, but that was up on the 12-month low of A3.4 cents reached in early Friday trade.
Another interesting move came from a gold explorer which has been flying beneath the radar screen for some time. Central West Gold (CWG) which is exploring in the Lachlan Fold Belt of New South Wales rose by A6 cents (32 per cent) to A25 cents, but did get to a 12-month high of A26.5 cents, earning itself a stock exchange speeding inquiry – which produced the standard “know of no reason” response.
Minews. Time to call the card, starting with gold to see who suffered in the modest sell-off.
Oz. Northern Star (NST), the local favourite over the past three months, was whacked with a fall of A31 cents (15 per cent) to A$1.79, with most of that almost certainly due to profit taking.
Troy (TRY) filed a disappointing December quarterly and lost A16.5 cents (23 per cent) to A55.5 cents, and Silver Lake (SLR) lost its new-found friends to post a drop of A7.5 cents (25 per cent) to A22.5 cents.
Other gold moves, mainly down, included: Medusa (MML), down A2.5 cents to A82.5 cents. Perseus (PRU), also down A2.5 cents to A34.5 cents. Scotgold (SGZ), down A1 cent (50 per cent) to A1 cent. Resolute (RSG), down A5.5 cents to A37 cents. Kingsrose (KRM), down A4 cents to A25 cents, and St Barbara (SBM), up A2.5 cents to A21 cents to be one of the few gold stocks to rise in a down week.
Minews. Iron ore next, please, to see if Fortescue’s rebound rubbed off.
Oz. Not really is the quick answer. There were a few modest rises, but the overall trend was flat, trending down. Mt Gibson (MGX) and Atlas (AGO) both managed to rise by half-a-cent to A21.5 cents and A17 cents respectively. Grange (GRR) lost A1.5 cents to A10 cents, and Iron Road (IRD) fell by A3 cents to A15.5 cents.
Minews. Over to the base metals next, please.
Oz. OZ Minerals (OZL) was the pick of the copper sector after an upbeat presentation by the company’s new chief executive. It added A42 cents to A$3.87. Sandfire (SFR) did less well, rising by A5 cents to A$4.27. Other copper moves included: Talisman (TLM), up A1.5 cents to A15 cent. PanAust (PNA), down A12 cents to A$1.21, and Hot Chili (HCH), down half-a-cent to A16 cents.
Mincor (MCR) was the top nickel stock thanks to more good exploration news. It put on A5 cents to A72 cents. Panoramic (PAN) slipped A2 cents lower to A45.5 cents, and Sirius (SIR) lost A27 cents to A$2.51 after announcing a diversion into an exploration project in Finland.
Zinc stocks barely moved. Exceptions were Ironbark (IBG) which added A1 cent to A10.5 cents, and Mungana (MUX) which rose by three-tenths of a cent to A9.8 cents.
Minews. Uranium, graphite and coal next, please.
Oz. Paladin (PDN) was the recovery story among the uranium stocks with a surprise rise of A5.5 cents to A38 cents. Most other U-stocks drifted lower. Berkeley (BKY) and Havilah (HAV) slipped half-a-cent each to A23.5 cents and A14 cents respectively.
Bora Bora (BBR) was the best of the graphite stocks with a rise of A5 cents to A23 cents. Talga (TLG) wasn’t far behind, adding A4 cents to A33 cents. Local favourite, Syrah (SYR) also put of A4 cents to A$3.60.
Coal stocks barely moved. Atrum (ATU) slipped A2 cents lower to A99 cents. New Hope (NHC) lost A8 cents to A$2.36, and Whitehaven (WHC) was A3 cents weaker at A$1.24.
Minews. Minor metals to close, please.
Oz. Lynas (LYC) was the bad news story among the rare earth stocks, shedding A1.7 cents to A4.5 cents, which close to a 12-month low. Alkane (ALK) another rare earth player, continued to benefit from its gold production, rising by A1 cent to A26 cents.
Base (BSE) was whacked again thanks to its exposure to erratic behaviour by government authorities in Kenya, losing A2 cents to A14 cents. Other titanium minerals producers were mixed. Mineral Deposits (MDL) added A1 cent to A86 cents.
Diamond stocks weakened with Lucapa (LOM) down A3 cents to A26 cents, and Kimberley (KDL), down six-tenths of a cent to A9.4 cents.
Tungsten and tin stocks were mixed. Wolf (WLF) added half-a-cent to A24 cents. King Island (KIS) lost A1.5 cents to A12 cents, and Metals X (MLX), which is the biggest local tin producer, rose by A6 cents to A$1.10.
Minews. Thanks Oz.