U.S. markets edge slightly lower, Mar. 19-23

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index lost some ground during the Mar. 19-23 trading week. The Dow was down 1.15% to 13,080.73 and the S&P posted its second negative week so far this year falling 0.50% at 1,397.11. It was the Nasdaq’s sixth-straight week of gains, up 0.4% at 3,067.92.

Harry Winston Diamond climbed 7.9% or US$1.12 per share to US$15.25, on no news. Speculation that the diamond miner and luxury jeweler could be among potential bidders for BHP Billiton’s majority stake in the Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Territories may have driven up the stock. Harry Winston is already a partner with Rio Tinto at the Diavik mine, about 100 km from Ekati. Harry Winston will release its fiscal 2012 fourth quarter and year-end results on April 4, including an updated Diavik life-of-mine plan presenting anticipated annual production by pipe, revenue, operating costs, and capital costs.

U.S. Antimony edged 60¢ or 19% higher to US$3.75 per share after reporting Mar. 15 that sales hit a record US$13.12 million last year, up 45% from 2010, with pre-tax income jumping 138% to US$742,530. The Montana-based company produced 204,985 pounds of antimony metal in Mexico in 2011 while awaiting the start-up of mining at Los Juarez and the completion of the flotation mill. In February the company reported the start-up of its Mexican flotation mill in Guanajuato and that a large crusher was being installed to handle the oversize rock from its Los Juarez open pit and dumps, where mining has started at five faces. The company is also expanding furnace capacity at its Madero smelter in Coahuila to handle flotation concentrates.

In other news, Franco-Nevada reported 2011 financial results and saw its share price rise 56¢ to US$41.95 for the week. Last year its revenues reached US$411.2 million, up by 81% over 2010 levels, and the royalty company expects revenues this year will be in the range of US$430 million to US$460 million before payments under stream agreements. Franco Nevada added twelve new royalties and streams investing over US$1.2 billion in 2011 and has already made three acquisitions so far this year totaling about US$110 million.

Molycorp advanced US$1.10 to US$29.32 on no news. The company is still basking in the glow of news earlier this month that it will acquire leading rare earth processor Neo Material Technologies for US$1.3 billion.





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