Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the U.S. economy is going to get worse before it gets better, up from 53% in January, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Aug. 11. Some of that sentiment was reflected in the markets during the Aug. 9-13 trading week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 3.3% or 350.4 points to finish at 10,303.15, and the S&P 500 index dropping 3.8% or 42.4 points to 1,079.25. Many sought refuge in gold and prices rose accordingly, up US$9.70 per oz. to close in New York Aug. 13 at US$1,215.40 per oz. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver index lost 1.8% or 3.1 points to close at 172.40.
Agnico-Eagle Mines advanced US$2.08 per share to finish at US$61.77. A 116% increase in gold production and a 151% rise in gross mine profit in the second quarter of 2010 contributed to record financial and operating results with all six of the company’s mines operating throughout the quarter for the first time, the company said. Second quarter net income reached US$100.4 million or US$0.64 per share, up from US$1.2 million or US$0.01 per share in the second quarter of 2009.
Buenaventura advanced US$1.48 to close at US$37.92 per share. On Aug. 6, Peru’s largest publicly traded precious metals mining company received permits to initiate metallurgical operations at La Zanja. Buenaventura owns 53% of La Zanja with Newmont Mining owning the remaining 47%. Buenaventura expects gold production at La Zanja will surpass 100,000 oz. gold per year. Aurizon Mines gained US$0.48 per share to finish at US$5.82 per share. On Aug. 12 the company reported net earnings for the second quarter of $5.3 million or 3¢ per share and noted it was debt-free with $124 million in cash and working capital of $122 million.
Fertilizer giant Agrium advanced US$0.98 per share to finish at US$67.27. In early August Agrium announced that its second quarter results were the second highest in the company’s history. Net earnings reached US$506 million (US$3.20 diluted earnings per share) for the second quarter of 2010, despite “a record-level of unseeded acreage” in Western Canada and poor conditions in the U.S. Corn Belt in the late spring.
On the negative side of the ledger, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold sank US$4.54 to US$70.07 per share; BHP Billiton dropped US$4.23 to US$71.28 per share; and Rio Tinto lost US$3.74 to US$51 per share.