The benchmark S&P 500 index reached its highest close since December 2007 during the holiday-shortened trading week, which saw politicians strike a deal of sorts to avert the fiscal cliff while data from the Institute of Supply Management showed that activity in the service sector expanded the most in ten months. The S&P 500 climbed 4.6% to 1,466.47 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.9% to close at 13,435.21. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index gained 4.9% to 168.47.
Alpha Natural Resources advanced US$1.11 to end the Dec. 28-Jan. 4 trading week at US$10.38 per share. The company announced it was shutting down four mines in Kentucky and laying off 200 people as part of the restructuring plan it unveiled in September to cope with poor market conditions.
Shares of Rare Element Resources surged 16.6% to US$3.71 after China, the world’s largest supplier of rare earth elements, cut its first-lot export quota on rare earths by 27% year-on-year to 15,501 tons, according to a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce on Dec. 28.
Alderon Iron Ore jumped 15.2% to US$1.97 per share, one of a handful of Canadian iron ore companies that rallied after Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal announced it was selling a strategic 15% stake in its Canadian iron-ore unit to an Asian consortium for US$1.1 billion.
Results of a feasibility study on Uranium Resources’ Churchrock Section 8 project in the Grants Mineral Belt of northwestern New Mexico sent the company’s shares up 14.2% to US$0.36 apiece. The feasibility study outlined 6.5 million pounds of mineralized uranium material at a grade of 0.11% U308. The study also concluded that the best extractive technology for the deposit is in situ recovery and estimated a six-year production life with peak production at more than one million pounds a year. Pre-production costs are estimated at US$35 million with direct operating costs of between US$20 and US$23 per lb. U308 produced.
Approval to build a key power line in Nevada pushed shares of General Moly up 13.1% to US$4.23 per share. Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission granted the company a permit to build a 230-kilovolt power line that will connect its Mt. Hope molybdenum project to the grid. General Moly also announced that the Bureau of Land Management had notified the company that its surety bonds were approved for rights-of-way grants for the power transmission line. The Mt. Hope project, in which General Moly holds an 80% stake, is one of the world’s largest and highest grade molybdenum deposits, according to the company’s literature.
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