In London and surrounding areas which has a 10-day sleep-in but since ASX has a positive simple trading week before the Easter break it was beneficial to bring the reader up to speed on what happened in this way, especially our reaction to an amazing gold and silver prices

Which may be attractive since your dollar might be problematic again.

Well spotted. The Australian currency is playing an increasingly important role as it continues a seemingly relentless upward march. Last week saw a gain of another US2 cents with the Aussie sitting at $US1.07 just before the Easter shutdown. That means we’re up (or the U.S. is down) by 16 per cent over the past 12-months, and a whopping 51 per cent over the past 24 months.

Which also means a considerably currency drag on export earnings.

It is becoming quite painful for farmers, miners, manufacturers and the service sector. But, since we’re into mining let’s look at what happened to share prices last week as the currency effect bit into higher U.S. dollar commodity prices. Gold and silver stocks, as you might expect, did best, but not excessively. Other miners did less well. The indices tell the overall story with the gold index up 2 per cent, the all ordinaries up 1 per cent and the metals a mining industry absolutely flat.

Let’s have a quick call of the card, starting with gold and silver, please.

Before prices a very stark example of what the currency change did to last week’s record upward surge in the gold price – it turned it into a fall on conversion to Australian dollars. When we spoke a week ago the U.S. dollar gold price was US$1476/oz, and exchange rate US$1.05 to produce an Australian gold price of A$1405/oz. This week the late Thursday gold price was US$1501/oz and the exchange rate US$1.07 to produce an Australian gold price of A$1402/oz, switching a US$25/oz rise into a A$3/oz fall. Enough of the big picture stuff. Let’s move swiftly through prices.

Medusa Mining (MML) was the pick of the gold stocks with a rise of A61 cents to A$8.33. Cobar Consolidated (CCU) was the pick of the silver stocks, adding A17 cents to A$1.13. Other good gold rises came from: Kingsgate (KCN), up A31 cents to A$7.81. Troy (TRY), up A4 cents to A$3.83. Olympus (OYM) up A2 cents to A41 cents. Gold One (GDO), up A6.5 cents to A50 cents, and Dampier Gold (DAU), a newcomer but one with its foot on the old Plutonic mines in Western Australia, up A1.5 cents to 58 cents. Losing ground: Catalpa (CAH), down A10 cents to A$1.52. Ausgold (AUC), down 3 cents to A$1.59 and Noble (NMG), down A5 cents to A67.5 cents.

Base metals and iron ore next.

Not a lot of action in the non-gold sectors. Best of the copper stocks were PanAust (PNA), up A5 cents to A80.5 cents. Sandfire (SFR), up A20 cents to A$7.17. Sumatra (SUM), up A5.5 cents to A36.5 cents, and Exco (EXS), up A5 cents to A67 cents, as it heads into an interesting time over an asset sale to Xstrata. Copper stocks to lose ground included: OZ Minerals (OZL), down A2 cents to A$1.50, and Bougainville (BOC), down A4 cents to A$1.57 despite optimistic comments in Papua New Guinea that a deal is close on reopening its mothballed Panguna mine.

Nickel and zinc stocks were mixed. Western Areas (WSA), the best of the pure nickels, up A13 cents to A$7.19. Mincor (MCR) led a handful to lose ground, down A3 cents to A$1.28. Kagara (KZL) was the best of the zinc miners, up a modest A1.5 cents to A64 cents. Meridian (MII), posted the heaviest decline, down A2 cents to A10.5 cents.

Most iron ore stocks marked time, or lost a few cents. Sherwin (SHD) slipped A1 cent lower to A20 cents, with Atlas (AGO) losing the same miniscule amount of A1 cent to A$3.64. Fortescue (FMG) added A1 cent to A$6.49, and Gindalbie (GBG) recovered A2 cents to A$1.06.

Coal, uranium and the minor metals and then you can have a hot cross bun.

A mixed bag in those areas with no discernible trend ahead of the Easter break, which for us combined this year with the annual April 25 Anzac Day holiday. Coal stock to rise included: Macarthur (MCC), up A25 cents to A$12.28. Continental Coal (CCC), up A0.6 of a cent to A6.1 cents, and Guildford Coal (GUF), up A3 cents to A$1.19. Going the other way were: Carabella (CLR), down A8 cents to A$2.21. Hunnu (HUN), down A6 cents to A$1.59, and Stanmore (SMR), down A11 cents to A$1.28.

Uranium stocks slipped, which was to be expected given the fresh slide in the short-term uranium price to US$57.25 a pound. Movements included: Berkeley (BKY), down A1.5 cents to A96 cents. Deep Yellow (DYL), down A2 cents to A22.5 cents, and Manhattan (MHC), down A1 cent to A69 cents. Takeover target Mantra (MRU), and leading producer, Paladin (PDN) went against the downward trend adding A16 cents and A2 cents to A$6.83 and A$3.66 respectively

Tin explorer, Kasbah (KAS) was the best performer among the minor metals, adding A3.5cents to A30 cents. MetalsX (MLX), which has offloaded a nickel project in central Australia, rose A2 cents to A31.5 cents. Rare earth stocks were down modestly. Alkane (ALK) lost A7 cents to A$2.54 and Lynas (LYC) shed A8 cents to A$2.45.


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