US markets move lower, Dec. 27-30

Revisions to gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2016 showed the U.S. economy grew at a pace of 3.5%, rather than the previously reported 3.2%, and double the 1.4% recorded for April, May and June, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.86% to 19,762.60 and the S&P 500 dropped 1.1% to finish the year at 2,238.83. Gold was up 2%, or US$22.60 per oz. to US$1,150.90, and the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index rose 6.2% to 78.86.

Freeport-McMoRan announced at the end of December that it had completed the previously announced sale of its onshore California oil and gas properties to private energy company Sentinel Peak Resources California LLC for US$592 million in cash, before closing adjustments. Under the agreement, Freeport can receive additional proceeds of US$50 million per year in 2018, 2019 and 2020, if the price of Brent crude oil averages US$70 per barrel or higher. During 2016, the company completed US$6.6 billion in asset sale transactions. Freeport is the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer and its assets include the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia and mining operations in the Americas. Freeport’s shares were the fourth most traded, and finished the last week of 2016 at US$13.19 per share, down US62¢, or 4.5%.

Shares of Primero Mining were up 8.6% to US79¢, despite an announcement by the company on Dec. 27 that it had received notice from the New York Stock Exchange of its non-compliance with listing standards for minimum trading prices. In a press release the company said it intended to restore compliance within the prescribed time by “delivering on a number of key strategic and operational initiatives,” including lowering costs and returning operations to “industry-leading profitability, as historically reported at its flagship San Dimas mine” in Mexico; delivering more cash flow from its Black Fox mine near Timmins, Ont., with production on the high-grade Deep Central Zone; and exploring and identifying high-quality mineral resources around its mines and projects. In addition to its San Dimas mine in Mexico, Primero’s portfolio includes the Cerro del Gallo gold-silver-copper development project.


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