The first trading week of the month begins with the media refocusing its attention from the Sochi Olympics in Russia to that of Russian troops occupying the highly strategic Crimea peninsula of the Ukraine. While the mining industry assembled is in Toronto for the annual Prospectors and Developers Conference (PDAC), the world’s largest mining convention.
The North American markets opened sharply lower on Monday, March 3rd as investors sold and headed to the comfort of the sidelines to assess the political and military uncertainty of the Ukraine.
Another large mineral deposit that was thought to be in a mining friendly jurisdiction is put on the shelf after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sights the obscure Clean Water Act as it officially opposed Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM-T) proposed Pebble copper/gold mine in southwest Alaska, and thereby causing NDM’s stock price to plunge by over 19.5% to $0.94.
While you and I might be struggling to make ends meet, Microsoft’s (MSFT-Q) Bill Gates, with a net worth of some US$76-billion, is feeling a little more comfortable now that Forbs Magazine has reported that he has overtaken Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu and recaptured his position as the world’s richest person.
RadioShack Corp. (RSH-N) shares’ take a 16.7% hit to US$2.27 on Tuesday, March 4th when the giant electronics retailer failed to meet the street’s expectations with its 4th quarter financials and worse yet, said it would close up to 1,100 of its underperforming store locations.
Technical analysts David Tippin & Ron Meisels – “Marginal new highs at the end of February, if not followed through immediately, could be a short-term trap for the bulls. We think the correction has more room to run and chasing the markets at this point is high risk. A new buying opportunity should appear as spring approaches”. (To see the full report send a request to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’).
As gasoline prices start to move up in anticipation of the approaching driving season, it was of interest to see the share price of Parkland Fuel (PKI-T), rise by almost 7% to a new 52-week trading high of $21.50 on Wednesday, March 5th when Canada’s largest independent gasoline retailer posted stronger than expected 4th quarter financials.
Smith & Wesson Corp. (SWHC-Q) shares’ also had a good day by surging up by over 16.5% to US$13.75 as the gun maker posted not only beat the street with its 4th quarter financials, but also raised its outlook for sales in the year ahead.
Conversely, the share price of USEC (USU-N) plunged by almost 21% to US$4.40 when America’s sole supplier of low-enriched uranium for the use in commercial power plants filed for a pre-arranged bankruptcy.
And while it is not as yet a front page story, we thought it of interest that a class action lawsuit has been filed in New York a court against five major banks, including the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS-T), alleging price manipulation of the price of the twice daily London price fix of gold bullion.
The ever changing face of retail shopping was brought to the forefront once again on Thursday, March 6th when Staples Inc. (SPLS-Q) saw their stock price plunge by over 15% to US$11.36 after the office supply retailer announced it was closing up to 225 outlets due to a greater than expected drop in walk in traffic and average sales order size.
Meanwhile, Cerberus Capital Management, owners of the Albertsons grocery chain, announced they had reached to purchase America’s number two grocer Safeway Inc. (SWY-N) in a cash & considerations deal worth some US$9.4-billion.
Endeavour Mining (EDV-T) shares’ got a double boost of almost 11% to $0.92 from a rising gold price and the company’s announcement that their Agbaou Gold Mine in West Africa was performing at better than planned levels.
Investor attention was focused on employment numbers on Friday, March 7th, when Statistics Canada announced the economy shed an unexpected 7,000 jobs in February but kept the unemployment level steady at 7.0%. On the American side, the U.S. Labor Department reported their labor force grew by a better than expected 175,000 new jobs in February, but their unemployment rate increased by 0.1% to 6.7%.
Several new intermediate and long term market highs were established during the week with the TSX Venture Exchange finding a new 11-month closing high of 1,043, the TSX Composite Index closing at a new 3-year high of 14,304, while the NASDAQ Exchange rose to a new 14-year high of 4,358 and the S&P 500 Index reached a new record closing high of 1,878.
Individually, Ballard Power Systems (BLD-T) at $6.51, Husky Energy (HSE-T) at $34.20 and Molson Coors Canada (TPX.A-T) at $64.05 all established new TSX 52-week trading highs during the week, while Cash Store Financial Services (CSF-T) at $0.32, Fortress Paper (FTP-T) at $3.24 and Westport Innovations (WPT-T) at $16.90 all fell to new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials rose by 0.79% to 16,453, with the S&P 500 Index up on the week by 1.00% to 1,878 and the NASDAQ Exchange up by 0.65% to 4,336. On the north side of the border, the TSX Composite Index advanced on the week by another 0.63% to 14,299 while the TSX Venture Exchange rose by an additional 1.65% to 1,043.
Gold bullion gained another 1.02% to US$1,340, while copper fell by another 3.45% to US$3.08. Elsewhere, crude oil eased by 0.3% to US$102.49 and natural gas softened by another 1.08% to US$4.56. And overall, the CRB Commodities Index advanced by another 4.77-points to end the week at a new 13-month high of 307.87.
The Canadian dollar eased by 0.17% to finish the week at US$0.9017.
And the close watched CBOE Volatility Index or VIX eased by 0.11-points to end the week at a slightly calmer level of 14.11.
And Finally – A recent Bank of Montreal survey found 37% of men and 36% of women feel their partner is the one in their relationship that overspends, while 23% of men and 25% of women admit that they that are actually the one in the relationship that overspends.
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