By Our Man in Oz
Minews. Good morning Australia, last week’s fall in most metal prices would not have been good news for your market.
Oz. The lower prices did put a bit of a dampener on things, as did a surprise rise in the value of the Australian dollar.
However, even with both of those negatives at work the overall result was a modest rise in all of the key indices except gold, which is the most directly affected by currency changes.
The end result, as measured by the metals and mining index, was a rise of 1.9 per cent for the week, which was better than a one per cent rise in the all ordinaries index, and a 1.7 per cent fall in the gold index.
Minews. How does next week look, because the latest short-term fix in Europe for its Greek problem must have come long after you had closed on Friday?
Oz. Good question and I wish there was an easy answer. Metal prices remain a worry, as does the Aussie dollar which refuses to lose ground but, having said that, the alternative for investors in government bonds and bank deposits are near-zero interest rates.
Minews. Perhaps we should put the crystal ball to one side and talk about prices, starting with any newsmakers or eye-catching moves.
Oz. That’s a bit easier because there were a few of those last week, including some reasonable rises thanks to that all-important factor, discovery news.
Sipa Resources (SRI) made a welcome return to the winner’s circle with a rise of A2.9 cents (74 per cent) to A6.8 cents after reporting encouraging assays from its Kitgum-Pader nickel and copper discovery in Uganda. At one stage on Friday Sipa traded up to A7.8 cents, a price which represented a 100 per cent gain over the week.
Mt Ridley Mines (MRD), which rarely gets a mention, also attracted attention for a nickel and copper discovery, this time in Western Australia, with encouraging assays pushing the stock up by A2 cents (95 per cent) to A3.9 cents.
Havilah (HAV), a company better known as a uranium explorer, caught the eye of gold investors after announcing plans to develop its Portia gold project near Broken Hill in New South Wales. That news lifted Havilah by A5.5 cents (38 per cent) to A20 cents, its highest since last May.
TNG (TNG), which is better known for its vanadium and titanium assets, was in the news thanks to encouraging zinc and copper assays from surface chip samples at its McArthur River project in the Northern Territory. Best assays were a spectacular 47% copper and 48% zinc. Surface samples are not always a reliable indicator of what lies at depth but those assays were good enough to lift TNG’s share price by A5.2 cents (53 per cent) to A15 cents.
Magnis (MNS) was the pick of the graphite explorers, rising by A4.5 cents (19.5 per cent) to A27.5 cents without any fresh news, though the rise was enough to earn a speeding inquiry from stock exchange regulators who got the standard “know of no reason” reply.
Minews. Not a bad selection of rises, which appears to show that there is life at the small end of the market. Now for the sector call, starting with gold, even if it was flat.
Oz. Not only was gold flat, but apart from the rises just mentioned the other sectors were equally flat.
Anyway, here goes the weekly call, starting with a handful of gold stocks that gained ground, including: Northern Star (NST), up A10 cents to A$2.07, Gold Road (GOR), up A2.5 cents to A37.5 cents, and Newcrest (NCM), up an infinitesimal A3 cents to A$13.93.
Gold stocks to lose ground included: Medusa (MML), down A3 cents to A85 cents, Regis (RRL), down A7 cents to A$1.92, Endeavour (EVR), down A2 cents to A60.5 cents, and Evolution (EVN), down A7.5 cents to A90.5 cents.
Perhaps more interestingly there were an awful lot of gold stocks that opened the week, and closed at the same price, including Beadell (BDR) at A31.5 cents. Norton (NGF) at A19 cents, and Tribune (TBR) at A$3.
Minews. Iron ore next please to see if that sector has stabilised.
Oz. It has, but at a low level. Moves, either way, included: Atlas (AGO), up half-a-cent to A20 cents. BC Iron (BCI), down A4.5 cents to A53 cents. Fortescue (FMG), down A14 cents to A$2.45, and Mt Gibson (MGX), up A1.5 cents to A24 cents, but probably because the latest management comments indicate a switch out of iron ore, perhaps back to gold.
Minews. The base metals next, please.
Oz. Generally down, especially nickel stocks, were the lower price for that metal knocked A21 cents off Western Areas (WSA) which closed at A$4.13, and A7.5 cents off Mincor (MCR) which fell to A66.5 cents. Sirius (SIR) slipped A7 cents lower to A$3.12, and Panoramic (PAN) lost A2.5 cents to A52.5 cents.
Copper stocks held up a little better. Hot Chili (HCH) added A2 cents to A14 cents, and Altona (AOH) crept up by half-a-cent to A9.9 cents. Sandfire (SFR) lost A10 cents to A$4.44 and PanAust (PNA) fell by A12 cents to A$1.26 after reporting a hefty loss.
Zinc stocks were mixed, but with an upward trend. Energia (EMX) added another three-tenths of a cent to A4 cents, but did get as high as A4.5 cents in the middle of the week, meaning it has almost doubled over the past two months. Kidman (KDR) rose by eight-tenths of a cent to A6.8 cents, while MacPhersons (MRP) did best of all with a rise of A2 cents to A15 cents.
Minews. Uranium, coal and graphite next please.
Oz. Paladin (PDN) was the pick of the uranium stocks with a surprise gain of A3.5 cents to A40 cents, but did trade up to A43.5 cents on Thursday, its highest since last March. Berkeley (BKY) added half-a-cent to A22.5 cents while Vimy (VMY) lost A3.5 cents to A35.5 cents.
New Hope (NHC) led the coal sector with a rise of A17 cents to A$2.52. Atrum (ATU) put on A1 cent to A$1.27 while Prairie Downs (PDZ) lost A2 cents to A31 cents.
Graphite stocks trended up, but not by much. Syrah (SYR) added A3 cents to A$4.28. Talga (TLG) also put on A3 cents to A42 cents, and Bora Bora (BBR) rose by A1 cent to A22 cents.
Minews. Minor metals to close, thanks.
Oz. Fertiliser stocks led the way among the minor metals as interest returns to that sector. Highfield (HFR) rose by A4 cents to A90 cents, taking its rise to A18 cents over the past five weeks. South Boulder (STB) put on A3 cents to A23.5 cents.
Titanium stocks were mixed. Iluka (ILU) added A24 cents to A$7.51. MZI (MZI) slipped A2.5 cents lower to A29.5 cents. Base (BSE) was steady at A12.5 cents.
Rare earth stocks trended higher. Arafura (ARU) added A1 cent to A5.9 cents and Lynas (LYC) crept up by two-tenths of a cent to A5 cents.
Minews. Thanks Oz.