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The Week of March 23rd to March 29th, 2015 “A Brief Look Back Into Tomorrow”

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The Week of March 23rd to March 29th, 2015 “A Brief Look Back Into Tomorrow”






The new trading week bean on Monday, March 23rd with investors buoyed by the fact that the major North American markets seemed to have shaken off their recent bout of weakness and that perhaps the long trek towards higher highs was back on course.




Ivanhoe Mines (IVN-T) shares’ rose by almost 13.5% to $1.10 on word that China based Zijin Mining Group would acquire 9.9% of the South African mineral explorer.




Similarly, Noront Resources (NOT-V) shares’ surged up by almost 39.5% to $0.50 when the company announced they would use a $22-million loan from mining giant Franco-Nevada (FNV-T) to acquire the northern Ontario ‘Ring of Fire’ chromite assets of Cliff Natural Resources.




Oftentimes small mineral royalties go unnoticed, but not this one, as Sandstorm Gold (SSL-T) announced they would pay about $56.8-million to acquire IAMGOLD’s 1% gross royalty of Rio Tinto’s (RIO-N) Diavik Diamond Mine in northern Canada.




And the power of the fifth estate were felt by the shareholders of Molycorp Inc. (MCP-N) as their investment jumped up by over 27.5% to US$0.46 when American investigative television show 60 Minutes ran a story on the importance of Molycorp’s rare earth minerals.




Tuesday, March 24th saw Freeport-McMoRan (FCX-N) follow the recent path of other resource companies when the copper giant announced it was cutting its quarterly dividend by 84% from US0.3125 to just US$0.05-per-share.




Abiomed Inc. (ABMD-Q) shares’ surged by almost 18% to US$72.48 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the company’s Impella 2.5 miniature blood pump system.




The weaker Loonie doesn’t seem to have curtailed Canadian’s travel plans as AltaCorp Capital reported that Canadian airline flights to the U.S. rose by 5.1% in January over a year earlier while our overseas flights increased by a record 8.1% over January, 2014.




The American Automobile Association or AAA reported that Americans drove a 7-year high of over 3-trillion miles in 2014.




Warren Buffett showed why he’s the master once again on Wednesday, March 25th as his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A-N) orchestrated an US$8-billion merger of food giants H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. (KRFT-Q) to form the world’s fifth largest food company.




Dollarama Inc. (DOL-T), the stores with fewer and fewer items priced at $1, handily beat the street with 4th quarter sales that were 8.5% higher than the same quarter one year ago.

Sandisk Corp. (SNDK-Q) shares took a hit of almost 18.75% on Thursday, March 26th to US$65.98 when the memory chip company reported lower than expected sales and also cut its sales forecast going forward.




Winnebago Industries (WGO-N) shares’ also dropped by over 13.5% to US$20.50 when the RV company sighted a 40% increase in costs for a weaker than expected 2nd quarter.




And Ontario based retailer Comark Inc., whose outlets include Ricki’s, Bootlegger and Cleo filed for bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. (CCAA).




Already skittish markets became more so on Friday, March 27th after U.S Fed Chair Janet Yellen commented that – “With continued improvement in economic conditions, I expect an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate may well be warranted later this year.”




The Conservatives in Ottawa continued their tight control on finances as the federal government reported a budget surplus of $1.3-billion for the first 10-months of the current fiscal year.




While on a related note, even Canada Post is doing better as the crown corporation reported a surprise $198-million profit for 2014.




Allana Potash Corp. (AAA-T) shares’ surged upward by over 44.5% to $0.48 on word that Israel Chemicals had made a $137-million all-cash offer to purchase Allana and it Danakhil potash project in Ethiopia.




And then suddenly on Saturday, March 28th U.S. based Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) announced it was immediately closing its 66 of its Future Shop electronic stores across Canada while converting another 65 to Best Buy outlets.




Copper rose during the week to a new 2½-month high of US$2.82-a-pound.




Great-West Lifeco (GWO-T) at $37.12, Progressive Waste Solutions (BIN-T) at $38.28, and Onex Corp. (OCX-T) all established new TSX 52-week trading highs while Laramide Resources (LAM-T) at $0.22, Painted Pony Petroleum (PPY-T) at $5.95 and Wi-Lan Inc.  (WIN-T) at $2.97 all set new 52-week trading lows.




For the Week – The Dow Industrials lost 2.79% to 17,713, with the S&P 500 Index off by 2.23% to 2061 and the NASDAQ Exchange down by 2.69% to 4,891. North of 49, the TSX Composite Index fell by 0.87% to 14,812 while the TSX Venture Exchange gained 1.49% to 681.




Gold bullion rose by 1.10% to US$1.198, with copper unchanged at US$2.76, while crude oil gained 4.02% to US$48.44 and natural gas fell by 5.36% to US$2.65. Overall, the CRB Spot Commodities Index improved by 0.32% to finish the week at 417.




The Canadian dollar lost 0.49% against its American cousin to end the week at US$0.7926.




And the closely watched CBOE Volatility Index rose by 1.95-points to finish the week at a little more nervous level of 14.97.




And Finally – Under the heading of ‘If You Let Them They Will Go’ – The Associated Press reports that in the few short weeks following Washington’s decision to renew ties with Cuba, American travel and tour agencies are reporting upwards of 250% more interest in people traveling to that Caribbean nation.

Posted March 30, 2015

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