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DAILY NEWS Nov 26, 2012 3:26 PM - 0 comments

U.S. markets buoyant in holiday-shortened week

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U.S. stock markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22 and many Americans marked the occasion with an overnight shopping spree. According to the National Retail Federation, 89 million Americans shopped online and in stores on Black Friday, up from 86 million in 2011. Markets were more buoyant, too, with the S&P 500 index recording its second-best week of the year. The S&P 500 rose 3.6% to finish the shortened trading week at 1,409.15, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.4% to close at 13,009.68. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index advanced 5.23% to 174.34.

Molycorp. surged 40.6% or US$2.49 to end the Nov. 19-23 trading week at US$8.62 per share after news that two of its executives, including chief executive officer Mark Smith, and a director, had purchased shares in the company. Molycorp.’s shares have struggled this year with lower than expected prices for rare earths, and fell sharply two weeks ago when management said that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating the company over the accuracy of its public disclosures.

Shares of Agrium advanced US$4.22 to US$101.80 after the fertilizer giant said that it remains committed to its “highly successful integrated strategy” and that shareholder JANA’s attempt to run its own slate of board of directors “is almost certain” to fail. “JANA has been trying for over six months to obtain support for its idea that Agrium should spin off or sell its retail operations,” president and chef executive Mike Wilson said in a statement. “Agrium’s shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected JANA’s ideas.”

Cliffs Natural Resources dropped US$3.48 to US$31.23 per share after announcing significant adjustments to its 2013 operating plan. The company said that it would delay portions of its Bloom Lake Mine Phase II expansion plan in Quebec and idle a portion of its production at two of its U.S. iron ore operations, Northshore Mining in Minnesota and the Empire mine in Michigan.

Shares of MAG Silver were down US$1.03 to US$10.20 per share after Mexican media reported that landholders from the community of Benito Juarez had voted to expel the company from its Cinco de Mayo polymetallic property in Chihuahua State and ban mining in the area for 100 years. Shares of Banro Corp. were also punished after members of the rebel group M23 seized the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo and threatened to march on Kinshasa. Banro lost US$0.26 to close the week at US$3.22 per share.

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