U.S. stocks rise after Egypt’s Mubarak steps down in Feb. 7-11 period

Increasing consumer confidence led to a second straight weekly advance for U.S. stocks. Oil prices fell on news that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally resigned and handed power over to the military, removing some of the uncertainty and political risk surrounding Egypt and other Middle East oil-producing countries.

After nearly three weeks of anti-government demonstrations and protests, investors feared that civil unrest could spread to countries like Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest exporters of oil. The price of crude oil dropped US$3.45 to US$85.58 per barrel, a 10-week low.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished the report period Feb. 7-11 at 12,273.26 for a gain of 181 points, or 1.5%, while the S&P 500 index was up 18.28 points, or 1.4%, at 1,329.15. Nasdaq was also up 1.4% on the week at 2,809.44.

As the price of gold advanced US$11.40 to US$1,360.40 per ounce, the Philadelphia Gold and Silver index went the other way, closing down 1.7% at 203.73. Barrick Gold was off US62 cents at US$47.49, while Goldcorp finished up US$1.34 to US$42.98 after announcing a 23% increase in proven and probable gold reserves to 60.1 million contained oz. at year-end 2010. Goldcorp’s proven and probable silver reserves now total 1.3 billion oz.

With the spot price for silver up US78 cents at US$29.89 per oz., Silver Wheaton gained US37 cents at US$34.23, while Hecla Mining slipped US13 cents to US$9.54. Hecla will release its 2010 fourth quarter results after the markets closed on Feb. 16.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ended the week at US$53.52 for a loss of US$3.24 as the spot price of copper slipped 4 cents to US$4.52 per lb.

Crystallex International lost US10 cents, representing 41.6% of its value, to end the week at US14 cents on receiving news that Venezuela’s state mining company CVG had unilaterally terminated Crystallex’s mine operating contract covering the long-disputed Las Cristinas gold project.

With 12 active coal mining complexes in the northern and central Appalachia, and one in the Illinois basin, International Coal Group jumped US92 cents to US$9.30 per share. The company reported a net income of US$9.6 million, or US5 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to a net loss of US$11.3 million, or US7 cents per share, for the same period of 2009. Net income for 2010 totalled US$30.1 million, or US15 cents per share, versus US$21.5 million, or US14 cents per share, in 2009.

Li3 Energy, an early-stage company focused on lithium mining opportunities in the Americas, closed up 41% at US38 cents. The company has hired a consultant to conduct a preliminary review of the Maricunga lithium project in Chile, which is subject to a letter of intent to acquire.

Up 29% at US$1.15, American Energy Fields reported that it had acquired ground in the Aquarius Mountains mining district in Mohave County, Arizona, that has potential for uranium and rare earth metal mineralization.


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