TSX falls on fears of slowdown in China

The TSX Composite Index fell 29 points to finish the March 19 to 23 period at 12,465.66 points. The sell-off came after market participants were surprised by bad manufacturing numbers out of China and Europe.

The numbers fed the thesis of slower growth in China going forward and that meant commodities had a hard time gaining traction. The Capped Metals & Mining Index fell 28 points to finish up at 1,064.90 points. The drop came as investors feared that less growth in China would mean less demand for Canadian resources and as a result prices for copper, aluminum, nickel, tin, lead and zinc all fell.

The move out of resources hurt the Canadian dollar as it shed 0.8 of a cent against the greenback, but the flight to safety meant the price of gold firmed up after its previous period’s sell-off. The yellow metal was up US$3 to US$1,662.40 per oz. and the Global Gold Index was flat 337.82 points.

Long term investors in Laramide Resources were given a sign that all of their patience may be set to pay off. The company’s flagship Westmoreland Project, situated in northwestern Queensland Australia, has had its development stalled for many years as the ruling Labour Party upheld a moratorium on uranium mining. But after five consecutive terms in office the party was defeated by the Liberal National Party (LNP). While the provincial party hasn’t yet voiced its view on uranium mining the Federal LNP is supportive of uranium mining. Westmoreland is considered one of the largest and highest quality uranium development projects in Australia. Laramide shares were up 26% to $1.40 for the period.

Jaguar Mining felt the pinch of rising costs rise and falling profits fall despite increasing gold production for 2011. The company reported its year end results that showed a loss of US$33.7 million or 78¢ after reporting a gain of US$22.2 million or 26¢ per share for the year previous. The news helped send the company’s shares down 75¢ to $5.02 for the period.

Nautilus Minerals gained 18% to wind up at $2.25 after announcing that it ended 2011 in a solid financial position with US$149.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. It was an eventful year for the company as it was granted the first deep sea hard rock mining lease for its Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea. Despite the positive momentum, Nautilus still suffered a loss of US$34 million for the year.

Katanga Mining saw its share’s gaining 14% to reach $1.11 for the period despite announcing a decrease in resources at Kamoto Copper Company— the copper mining company which the Katanga has a 75% stake in. While overall resources decreased by 9.9 million tonnes, which represents just 2% of total resources, the average copper grade actually increased by 2%. The cut to resources didn’t dent the company’s shares because proven and probable reserves fell by just 1 million tonnes despite the fact that 4.5 million tonnes were mined in 2011.


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