STOCK MARKET — TSE hits another record high as gold majors rally — Precious and base metal prices remain lacklustre

The Toronto Stock Exchange continued to perform at an impressive pace during the report period of Oct. 8 to Oct. 14, with the TSE 300 composite index closing at 7168.77, a drop of 41.16 points, or 0.6%, over its level on Oct. 7. During the week, the index hit yet another record high, at 7223.42.

The Canadian dollar fell 51 basis points, to 72.36cents, against the American greenback. As well, the Loonie lost ground against the pound, the Deutschmark and the yen.

Gold slid back into its slough of despond, dropping US$6.30 over the report period to a noon fix of US$325.60 per oz. on Oct. 15. Silver also returned to its previous prices, shedding 26cents to close at US$4.99 per oz. Platinum bucked the trend to reach US$435.50 per oz., a gain of $3.50 for the week.

The TSE’s gold and precious metals index closed at 8779.56 points, a recovery of 86.6 points, or 1%, from the previous week’s 365-point plummet. It was a better week for most of the majors, with Barrick Gold gaining 20cents to finish at $33, Placer Dome rising 80cents to $26.15 and TVX Gold jumping 10cents to $8.25. Kinross Gold and Cambior both rose a nickel, climbing to $7.25 and $14.60, respectively. Teck was not so lucky, dropping 70cents to $25.30 for the week.

Royalty companies also posted gains for the week, with Franco-Nevada Mining gaining $2.40 to hit $35.40, and sister Euro-Nevada Mining rising 80cents to $25.50.

The base metals markets were lacklustre, with copper dropping 2cents to fall to US95cents per lb. and nickel falling 8cents to US$2.90 per lb. Both lead and zinc remained unchanged at US27cents and US59cents per lb., respectively.

The weakness in base metal prices was reflected by new lows in the TSE’s mining and minerals sub-group, which lost 75.51 points, or 1.6%, to close at 4597.61.

Canada’s major base metal producers had a humdrum week. Inco was off 35cents to $32.50, Falconbridge shed a quarter to close at $24.45, Noranda fell 5cents to $26.45, Rio Algom declined 75cents to $28.05, and Cominco dropped a dime to close at $32.90. As well, Cameco slumped $2.60 to $52.25. Only Inmet managed to hold steady at $7.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan continued its October climb, rising $5.95 to $118.45.

Several juniors had a good week, including Montreal-listed Lexam Explorations, which climbed 40cents to close at 90cents. In late September, Lexam and Toronto-listed Platinova reported the discovery of two white, translucent microdiamonds taken from a kimberlite dyke at their joint-venture property situated north of Nuuk, in western Greenland. The discovery is believed to be the first example of in situ diamonds ever found on the island. The diamond-bearing dyke is within 40 km of the diamonds that were found in kimberlite boulders by Platinova during the summers of 1996 and 1997. Platinova rose 20cents to $1.85 over the week.

Toronto-based Southern Africa Minerals managed to reverse its pattern of overall decline for 1997 by rising to 60cents from 37cents. In August, the junior staked 12 claims in Langmuir Twp. near Cross Lake Minerals and Golden Knight’s polymetallic discovery east of Timmins, Ont.

Among the week’s losers were Bema Gold, which continued its fall, dropping 40cents to close at $6. A recent prefeasibility study of its 49%-owned proposed Cerro Casale open-pit gold-copper mine in Chile gave a green light to the massive project. Vancouver-listed Arizona Star Resource holds the remaining interest in the project.

Toronto-based Nufort Resources fell 30cents to 45cents on news that Barrick Gold is terminating its option on the Michaud gold prospect, north of Kirkland Lake, Ont. The property is equally held by Nufort and Moneta Porcupine Mines, which dropped 4cents to 31cents.


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