Expectations that the Fed would raise interest rates in September — along with economic turmoil in Asia and Europe — weighed on U.S. markets over the trading period.
The Shanghai Composite Index plunged more than 8% on July 27 — the biggest one-day drop on the Chinese benchmark since 2007. In Europe, the International Monetary Fund fuelled uncertainty in Greece when it balked at extending a third bailout to the austerity-stricken nation.
In the U.S., the picture was rosier: gross domestic product rose by 2.3% in the second quarter — slightly lower than expectations, but much higher than first-quarter growth. The strengthening economy has raised expectations that rates will rise in September.
U.S. stock markets slid lower: the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,689.86, down 2.2%; the S&P 500 Index dropped to 2,103.84, or 1.1% lower; and the Nasdaq ended at 5,128.28, down 1.6%.
Freeport-McMoRan was the week’s most traded stock, ending at US$11.75, down 0.5%. The large copper miner reported its second quarterly loss in a row. For the second quarter, Freeport posted a loss of US$1.85 billion, or US$1.78 per share, compared with a profit of US$482 million, or US46¢ a share in the comparable period of 2014.
The second most traded stock, Barrick Gold, announced on July 30 that it is selling half its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile to Antofagasta for just over US$1 billion. The mine is expected to produce 250 million lb. copper this year at cash costs of US$1.65 to US$1.95 per lb. Barrick shares closed down US19¢ at US$7.06.
Comstock Mining led the percentage gainers, with shares up 57.4% to US60¢ on news that it is simplifying its capital structure. The company, a small producer with gold-silver properties in Nevada, has amended its joint-venture agreement with its largest investor, John Winfield. The agreement will reduce the company’s capital contributions to $9.8 million from $31.1 million in return for conversion of its preferred shares to common stock.