U.S. stocks tumbled during the first week of March as investors worried the strong monthly jobs report might trigger the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates sooner than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 276 points, or 1.5%, during the trading week, to finish at 17,856.78. The S&P 500 Index fell 33 points, or 1.6%, to 2,071.26 points, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 36 points to 4,927.37. The Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index plunged 12% to 67.60, as the spot gold price gave back US$45 to close at US$1,168.70 per oz. The U.S. economy created 295,000 jobs in February, up from the estimated gain of 240,000. The unemployment rate fell from 5.7% to 5.5%, its lowest level since May 2008.
The week’s percentage winner was Ur-Energy, gaining 16%, or US14¢, to finish at US$1.02 per share, after reporting its 2014 financials. The company, which operates the Lost Creek in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium facility in Wyoming, recorded a gross profit of US$11.5 million on sales of US$29.3 million, reflecting a 39% gross profit margin. Ur-Energy realized an average sale price of US$51.22 per lb., while total cost per lb. sold was US$34.49. It exited the year with cash and equivalents of US$3.1 million, and a US$8.7-million net loss. After completing two sales in February 2015, the company’s unrestricted cash position has jumped to US$7.5 million, leaving it well funded for the year. Raymond James has a $2 target and an “outperform” rating on the stock.
Uranium Energy topped the value gainers’ list, adding US18¢, or 13%, to finish at US$1.54 per share on no company-related news. The junior owns the fully licenced Hobson processing plant in South Texas, along with the Palangana ISR mine, and two other ISR projects.
Colorado-based junior Midway Gold was the biggest percentage loser, dropping 23% to US56¢. On March 3, the firm announced that it has built 93% of its Pan heap-leach gold mine in Nevada. Midway notes it has had some delays, but expects first production by the end of March. It estimates the project’s total capital expenditure at US$84 million, of which it has spent US$76 million as of Jan. 31, 2015.