US stocks post slim gains, Dec. 4-10

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to finish the trading period at 17,574.75, while the S&P 500 Index inched up 0.1% to 2,052.23, and the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index rose 0.4% to 47.37.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold was the most actively traded, falling US32¢ to US$$7.36 per share. The company announced additional cuts in copper and molybdenum production, the suspension of its common stock dividend, and further revisions to its oil and gas capital spending plans (cutting expenditures to US$1.8 billion in 2016 and US$1.2 billion in 2017.)

Shares of Harmony Gold were up US21¢ to US87¢ a share. Earlier this month, the South African gold producer announced it had repaid 1.1 billion rand of its debt. The repayment makes up US$50 million of its US$250 million revolving credit facility and another 400 million rand of its 1.3-billion rand facility. Harmony said the increase in the rand gold price in October and November further strengthened its cash position. With over 90% of its operating revenue generated in South Africa, the company benefits from the weak rand, which more than offsets the impact of the low U.S. dollar gold price, the company said.

Uranium Energy’s shares gained US3¢ to US$1.11. The company reported that it had completed a 25,000-foot drill program at its Burke hollow ISR project in Texas, and extended the Eastern Lower B trend from 1.7 miles to 3.7 miles. The Eastern Lower B trend will be the first area scheduled for potential production at the project. The company also reported that leach amenability testing indicated a recovery of greater than 90%.  The Eastern Lower B trend is one of seven trends discovered to date at the Burke Hollow project by the company. The company has also installed baseline monitor wells along the Eastern Lower B trend.

Rio Tinto’s shares fell US$1.90 to US$29.90. The company reported Dec. 8 that by the end of 2015, its aluminum business will have delivered US$300 million of cash cost improvements, a US$45-million reduction in sustaining capex and a cut in working capital of US$400 million, compared with 2014. Rio Tinto forecasts its company-wide capital expenditure next year will be about US$5 billion, down from previous forecasts of less than US$6 billion.


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