US markets move marginally higher, Sept. 26-30

The U.S. Conference Board reported that consumer confidence increased in September for a second straight month and is now at its highest level since the recession. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 18,308.15 and the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.2% to 2,168.27. Spot gold fell US$21.20 to US$1,315.90 per oz., while West Texas Intermediate crude finished at US$48 per barrel.

Rio Tinto’s decision to launch a bond-purchase plan for up to US$3 billion drove the company’s shares US99¢ higher to US$33.40 apiece. The company announced on Sept. 26 that it wants to take advantage of its strong liquidity position to lower gross debt. Under the plan, Rio Tinto has issued a redemption notice for US$1.5 billion of its 2017 and 2018 U.S. dollar-denominated notes, and began cash tender offers to buy up to US$1.5 billion of its 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 U.S. dollar-denominated notes. The move follows the company’s completion of US$4.5 billion cash tender offers earlier this year.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan advanced US37¢ to US$16.32 per share. The company said that after a relatively slow start to the year during which time many buyers drew down inventories, management expects stronger buy engagement will support demand through the second half of 2016. Potash Corp. expects full-year global shipments in 2016 of 58 to 61 million tonnes and says there is potential for record demand in 2017, with annual shipments of 61 to 64 million tonnes.

Yamana Gold’s shares fell US18¢ to US$4.31 per share. The company said an action taken by the municipal committee of Andalgala, a town near its Agua Rica project in Argentina’s Catamarca province, “is not binding or legal, and is mostly symbolic.” Yamana said the ordinance passed by the municipal committee to ban open-pit mining in the high river basin of the town is not legal because under the Argentine Constitution, environmental matters fall under the purview of the provincial government. Yamana is committed to developing Agua Rica and is improving project design to boost the project’s economics and decrease the environmental footprint. One development scenario contemplates the integration of Agua Rica into the infrastructure of the neighbouring Alumbrera mine.


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