U.S. stocks ended in positive territory during the March 4–8 trading week, helped by strong jobs data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had a historic week, closing at a record high of 14,397.07, up 2.2% or 307.41 points. The broader S&P 500 Index advanced 2.2% or 32.98 points to 1,551.18, coming near its high of 1,565 reached in October 2007. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.4% or 74.63 points to 3,244.37. The spot price of gold tacked on US$2.40 per oz. to US$1,579.20, off 5% from last year’s close.
For the year to date, the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq jumped 9.9%, 8.8% and 7.5%, respectively.
The U.S. Labour Department showed employers created 236,000 jobs in February, sailing past expectations, while the unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 7.7% – the lowest since December 2008.
Rare Element Resources, one of the week’s top percentage gainers, climbed 21% to US$2.57 per share after announcing bench-scale metallurgical tests have improved recoveries of rare earth elements and the grade of the concentrate from 45% to over 90%. The junior is advancing the Bear Lodge rare earth property in Wyoming, where the final results from the new metallurgical process will be incorporated in Bear Lodge’s upcoming feasibility study, slated to start in June.
Vista Gold rose 20% to US$2.17 following a positive preliminary economic assessment for the Guadalupe de los Reyes gold-silver project in Sinaloa, Mexico. The project is envisioned as a 1,500-tonne-per-day open-pit operation, generating a total payable production of 327,681 oz. gold and 4.39 million oz. silver over an 11-year mine life. Initial costs are estimated at US$89 million. The project has an after-tax net present value of US$57.3 million and a 21% internal rate of return at an 8% discount rate. Payback is expected in 3.6 years.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold was the most actively traded stock, with 82.6 million shares changing hands. It recently closed the sale of US$6.5 billion of senior notes, generating net proceeds of US$6.4 billion. This along with the net proceeds of the company’s US$4-billion term loan will be used to fund the acquisitions of Plains Exploration & Production Company and McMoRan Exploration Co., expected to close in the second quarter. The stock added US$1.79 to US$33.28.
Compass Minerals topped the value-added list, soaring US$3.84 to US$77.34, on no news.
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