The S&P/TSX Composite Index rebounded 2.1% over the week to finish at 14,222 on Dec. 28 and finish the year at 14,322.90 on Dec. 31 — or an 11.6% drop year over year. The S&P/TSX Global Mining Index surged to 66.98 on Dec. 28 and closed the year at 67.77, off 6.3% over the year. The S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index rose to 101.48 on Dec. 28 and closed the year a 102.58, or down 23.6% from the end of 2017. The S&P/TSX Global Gold Index rose to 183.42 and closed the year at 186.80, or down 4.4% year-over-year.
The top five most heavily traded mining stocks were all major gold miners: Barrick Gold falling 22¢ to $17.63; Kinross Gold rising 13¢ to $4.35; B2Gold up 19¢ to $3.94; Yamana Gold off two cents to $3.16; and Goldcorp surging 64¢ to $13.20. Barrick Gold entered the new year trading as the fully merged entity that combines its assets and management teams with those of Randgold Resources. To reflect the new structure, Barrick Gold has dropped the “Gold” from its name and is now “Barrick”. It is keeping its “ABX” ticker on the Toronto Stock Exchange but on the New York Stock Exchange it has adopted Randgold’s catchy old ticker “GOLD” and dropped “ABX” on the NYSE.
Gold miner Mandalay Resources was the top gainer amongst the miners, rising 36% to 8¢. Toronto-based Mandalay has its Costerfield gold-antimony mine in Australia and its Bjorkdal gold mine in Sweden, plus care and maintenance, and development projects in Chile.
Toronto-based junior Loncor Resources was the biggest percentage loser, off 17% to 8¢. The company is focused on two projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo named Ngayu and North Kivu. Loncor holds exploration permits covering 1,696 sq. km of the Ngayu Archaean greenstone belt in Tshopo province in the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo and is its main focus. Loncor also controls exploration permits covering an area of 13,000 sq. km in North Kivu province. Loncor had been working with Randgold Resources in its Ngayu joint venture whereby Randgold would earn 65% to manage and sole fund an exploration program, including delivery of a prefeasibility study on any gold discovery that would meet Randgold’s investment criteria. It’s unclear whether Barrick will continue the joint venture, as it reviews its newly expanded global portfolio, which it has pledged to trim amidst a wider, post-merger, cost-cutting effort.
The biggest value gainer over the period was fertilizer giant Nutrien, which rose $2.15 to $63.12. Nutrien is the product of the year-old merger between PotashCorp and Agrium. In December, Nutrien boosted its share-repurchase program to a maximum 50.4 million shares, or 8% of float. Previously, Nutrien repurchased and cancelled an initial maximum of 32.2 million shares.