U.S markets rally on brighter economic picture

The bulls continued to have their way in U.S. markets over the Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 period as a strong jobs report combined with continued signs a strengthening U.S. economy to lift the Dow Jones Industrial Average to heights not seen since before the 2008 collapse. The Dow was up 203 points for the period to finish at 12,862.25; the S&P 500 was up 28 points to 1,344.90, and the Nasdaq, thanks to a rejuvenated sector, was up115 points to 2,905.66 points.

Some of the key indicators that investors south of the border were drawing optimism from were: improving manufacturing activity, the emergence of a bottom in the housing market and signs that consumer spending is finally picking up

Anooraq Resources cut a deal with Anglo American Platinum and saw its share price climb 16% to 58¢ as a result. Anglo American Platinum is buying Anooraq’s Boikgantsho project and the eastern section of the Ga-Phasha project in the Bushveld Igneous Complex of South Africa for $222 million. Anooraq plans to use the money to reduce its debt to Amplats. The move will cut its debt by 66% to $125 million from $375 million. Anooraq will still hold a 51% stake in the enlarged Bokoni Platinum mine with Amplats holding the rest.

Alpha Natural Resources says it will suspend operations at four of its mines in Kentucky and West Virginia. The company said weaker coal demand from the utilities it sells to led to the decision. And that’s not all. The company said it will also idle two more mines in the Appalachians by early 2013 and it is shrinking output at its still operating mines in an effort to bring total production down to 3.6 million tonnes per year. The market took the scale back as good news sending the company’s shares up $1.13 to finish at $22.78 per share.

And Newmont Mining said it is putting the development of its Hope Bay gold project near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, on hold. It was only a month ago that the company announced it wanted to expand the project, but now it says all work is being suspended indefinitely while the project is under review. The company offered that it wasn’t satisfied with the “geological package” as it currently understands it. Newmont’s shares were off 50¢ to $61.012 per share for the period.


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