STOCK MARKETS — Resource stocks lead stubborn bull forward

The Toronto Stock Exchange moved slightly higher during the report period ended Nov. 21, drawn along by strength in the natural resource stocks. The TSE 300 composite index gained 52.54 points, or 1.1%, to finish Tuesday at 4,624.70, after a week of unspectacular but steady gains.

The Canadian dollar was steady against the U.S. dollar and had mixed results against other foreign currencies. The Tuesday noon rate was US73.93 cents, up 0.01 cents from the previous Tuesday. The Tuesday yield on 90-day treasury bills was 5.87%, setting the bank rate a quarter-point above it at 6.12%, down four basis points from the previous fix.

Precious metals were marginally lower on the London bullion market, with the Wednesday morning gold fix set at US$385.30 per oz., down 30 cents. Silver fell 4 cents to US$5.30 per oz., and platinum gave up $2.25 of its recent gains to be fixed at US$413.75 per oz.

Gold stocks were generally higher, and the gold and precious metals subindex moved up 248.34 points (2.5%) to 10,177.18. Placer Dome was the most active gold issue, closing at $32.62, up 88 cents; Barrick Gold moved up $1.50 to $35; TVX Gold lost 25 cents to close at $8.88; and Echo Bay gained the same amount to close at $13.25.

Other strong issues on the gold index included Teck B at $27.25, showing a gain of $1.25; Cambior at $14.75, up 75 cents; and Goldcorp at $13.75, rising by 63 cents.

Goldcorp was up on recent news from its Red Lake mine in northwestern Ontario. Drill intersections, which included a 54.5-ft. section averaging 0.58 oz. gold per ton and a 26-ft. interval averaging 3.77 oz., indicate the high-grade gold zone is larger than previously thought.

Spot prices on the London Metals Exchange moved higher, with all base metals posting gains for the week: copper (at US$1.36 per lb.) and zinc (at US47 cents per lb.) both gained 1 cents, with volatile nickel up 8 cents to US$3.87 per lb. and lead jumping 3 cents to US34 cents per lb. (a big gain in that metal’s tight world).

The TSE metals and minerals subindex was up 179.89 points to 5,141.11, a gain of 3.6% on the trading week. The integrated mines were all stronger, with Inco up $3 to $50, Cominco up 88 cents to $28.50, Noranda up 50 cents to $28.25 and Falconbridge up 50 cents to $31.38. Among the other mining stocks, results were mixed, with Cameco the big winner at $47.88, up $2.38. Inmet was unchanged at $10.12, Aur Resources lost 25 cents to close at $5.50 and Sherritt was down 13 cents to $19.75.

Sherritt announced plans for a rights offering, part of a restructuring program designed to split the company into two independent, publicly traded companies. Rights will be offered to shareholders, enabling them to buy exchange certificates. These certificates will, in turn, be exchangeable for shares in the new entity, Sherritt International, a company that will hold Sherritt’s Cuban interests.

Recent drilling at the West zone of the Daisey gold project in Nevada failed to impress market-watchers. The project is 35% owned and operated by Rayrock Yellowknife Mines and 65% owned by Inter-Rock Gold. The drilling has led to a reserve calculation of 542,000 tons averaging 0.025 oz. gold per ton. This figure, combined with other oxide reserves in the Secret Pass deposit, brings the total oxide reserves at Daisey to 12 million tons averaging 0.018 oz. Despite the good news, Inter-Rock shares dropped to a new 52-week low of 60 cents before rebounding to end at 75 cents, down 32 cents. Rayrock was also lower, down 25 cents to $10.

A proposed financing that fell through has forced VenCan Gold to reschedule a drilling program until later next spring. VenCan shares dropped 15 cents to 35 cents.

Sampling and geophysical surveys by Explorations Diabior and Virginia Gold Mines have confirmed the potential of two zones discovered at the Eastmain project. Channel samples have assayed as high as 0.52 oz. over 3.3 ft. on the LA showing and up to 0.06 oz. over 6 ft. on the K showing. Virginia shares jumped 35 cents to $1.70, while Diabior shares tacked on 2 cents to close at 70 cents.


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