STOCK MARKETS — TSE 300 up on rising precious metal prices

The Toronto Stock Exchange enjoyed a gentle climb over the 5-day trading period ended Nov. 28, with precious-metals and technology sectors taking the lead. The TSE 300 composite index was up 49.48 points (or 1.1%) to a close of 4,674.18.

The Canadian dollar, steady for much of the week, lost a quarter of a cent in U.S. terms, closing at US73.75 cents. The loony gained ground against the principal European currencies, while the yen and the Bank of Canada set its interest rate five basis points lower, at 6.07%.

London bullion markets saw higher prices for gold and platinum this week, as strong demand for physical metal brought spot prices above those for future delivery. The Wednesday morning price fix for gold was US$388.95 per oz., a gain of $3.65 on the week. Platinum was up $1.25 to US$415 per oz. and silver was down 8 cents to US$5.22 per oz.

The spike in the gold price pushed TSE gold issues higher, and the gold and precious metals sub-index climbed 396.45 points for a gain of 430.43 points (4.2%) on the week. The close on Nov. 27 was 10,607.61.

Barrick Gold was the most actively traded stock, gaining $1.50 to close at $36.50, and Placer Dome added $1.62 to close at $34.75. Other heavily traded golds included: TVX Gold, up 38 cents to $9.25; Echo Bay Mines, advancing $1.25 to $14.50; Kinross Gold, 25 cents higher at $11.50; and Cambior, picking up 50 cents to close at $15.25.

Affiliated royalty companies Franco-Nevada Mining and Euro-Nevada Mining were up on news of drill results from their Midas joint venture at the northern end of Nevada’s Carlin Trend. Stepout holes extended the size of the high-grade core of mineralization, while infill holes added confidence to the previously released resource figure. Euro-Nevada shares closed at $51.88, up $2.25, while Franco-Nevada shares tacked on $4 to close at $81.

Prices for most base metals were generally steady on the London Metals Exchange, but the nickel price was hit with a 16 cents loss to finish its trading session at US$3.71. The TSE metals and minerals sub-index was marginally higher, closing at 5,179.42, a gain of 38.31 points (or 0.8%) for the trading period.

The market actually took note of metal prices, and nickel-sensitive issues lost ground, while other base metal producers posted minor gains. Diamond Fields Resources was down $2.38 to $24, and Inco and Teck, both of which have large interests in the company, were drawn down with it. Inco lost 50 cents to close at $49.50 and Teck B-series shares were off 38 cents to $26.88. Sherritt fell $2.50 to $17.25, and Falconbridge lost 12 cents to close at $31.25.

Among other metal miners, Cameco was the star performer, adding $3.12 to close at $51. Noranda took on 75 cents, rising to $29, and Rio Algom was up 25 cents, in relatively heavy trading, to a price of $26.75. Aur Resources, which announced a gold discovery at its Coleman Canyon property in Nevada, moved up 88 cents to $6.50.

Joint-venture partners exploring the Parker Lake project in the Northwest Territories continue to see their stocks rise to new 52-week highs. Comaplex Minerals was the big winner, jumping $1 to close at $2.75. Cumberland Resources hit a new high of $3.40 before rolling back to $3.35, up 35 cents, and Manson Creek vaulted to 95 cents before edging back to 92 cents, up 19 cents on the week.

Junior explorer Nufort Resources saw its stock more than double, rising from $1.25 to $2.57. The company reportedly signed a deal with Barrick Gold, granting the senior an option on the junior’s Michaud Twp. property.

The closing of two private placements for Madsen Gold appeared to have a negative effect on the existing shares. The two placements, totalling 340,00 units, will raise gross proceeds of more than $400,000. Nevertheless, shares fell 30 cents to end at $1.20.


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