US equities dip slightly, April 30-May 4

Underground operations at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa gold mine in Ontario. Credit: Kirkland Lake Gold.Underground operations at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa gold mine in Ontario. Credit: Kirkland Lake Gold.

Uncertainty about the future of the central bank’s monetary policy and concern about a U.S.-China trade war kept a lid on U.S. equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.68 points (0.20%) to finish at 24,262.51, while the S&P 500 Index lost 6.49 points (0.24%), falling to 2,663.42. Spot gold dropped US$7.60 per oz. (0.58%) to US$1,315 per ounce.

Strong operational and financial results in its first quarter as an independent public company propelled Consol Energy to the top of the charts, rising 25.2%, or US$7.87, to US$39.08 per share. In the first quarter, the company posted net income and cash flow from operations of US$71 million and US$115.7 million. Total dilutive earnings came in at US$2.20 per share. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) reached US$150.3 million. The company also lowered debt and equity by US$26 million and US$1.3 million, respectively. “Our equity and debt are currently undervalued in the marketplace,” CEO Jimmy Brock said in a news release. “We deployed some of our free cash flow to opportunistically repurchase portions of every category of our debt and equity that were issued or distributed in November 2017, as part of the spin-off process.” The company expects cash spending this year will decline US$10 million through lease conversions, and said next year it plans to invest US$20 million in efficiency improvement capital spending.

Shares of Kirkland Lake Gold rose 8.5% to US$18.69, also on solid first-quarter results. The company reported net earnings of US$53.8 million (25¢ per share), up from US$13.1 million (6¢ per share) in the first quarter of last year, and US$41 million (20¢ per share) in fourth-quarter 2017. The company also posted record quarterly EBITDA of US$105.9 million, up from US$66.9 million in the same quarter in 2017, and US$103.9 million in fourth-quarter 2017. Free cash flow came in at US$50.2 million, versus US$38.5 million in the year-earlier quarter, but was down from US$64.5 million in fourth-quarter 2017. Production increased to 147,644 oz. in the first quarter, up from 130,425 oz. in the same period of 2017, but down from the fourth quarter’s 165,579 oz. gold. TNM


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