U.S. equities post back-to-back weekly losses

U.S. stocks recorded their worst weekly loss since the middle of December with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 210.55 points or 1.61% to finish the Apr. 9-13 trading week at 12,849.59 and the S&P 500 index retreating 27.82 points or 1.99% to 1,370.26. Continuing fears of a China slowdown and worries about Spain’s debt and the sputtering economies of Europe helped drive safe haven buying, lifting the Philadelphia Gold and Silver index up a smidgen to 167.64, a gain of 2.34 points or 1.42%.

News of a political settlement in Mali and the military junta’s agreement to reinstate the constitution drove up the shares of Randgold Resources, which owns and operates the Loulo/Gounkoto mine complex in the West African nation and operates Morila, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti. The agreement—under which the president of the national assembly will act as head of state and oversee the appointment of an interim prime minister to manage the country’s return to democratic rule—sent shares of the gold producer up US$7.60 to close at US$89.04.  Randgold chief executive Mark Bristow said resolution of the crisis strengthened the company’s confidence in the political maturity of the West African region and its ability to settle conflict situations without external involvement.

Augusta Resources jumped 23.2% to US$2.76 per share following news that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has granted the base metals company an aquifer protection permit for its Rosemont copper project in Tucson, Arizona—the sixth major permit required to start construction. Augusta says the large copper/molybdenum reserve at Rosemont will account for about 10% of copper output in the U.S. once it moves into production in 2014.

Alderon Iron Ore advanced 11.9% to US$3.47 per share after announcing a US$195 million partnership with Hebei Iron & Steel Group, China’s leading steel producer. The agreement gives Alderon access to project debt facilities, including Chinese banks, which will be critical in developing the Vancouver-based company’s Kamistiatusset (Kami) iron-ore project on the Labrador-Quebec border. Hebei will initially invest US$88.5 million for a 19.9% stake in Alderon and will commit the balance of its investment following a review of Kami’s upcoming feasibility study, creating a limited partnership with an ownership split of 75% for Alderon and 25% for Hebei. The staged agreement also includes an off-take element.

Mosaic sank US$2.72 per share to close at US$50.24. On Apr. 12 the concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrient producer announced a quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share on its common stock, a 150% increase over its previous dividend.



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