News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Shares rise on mining's new, unlikely reputation as safe; Alcoa bounces back from tough start to 2016; and data looks good for Fortescue.

Lou Caruana

Shares rise on mining's new, unlikely reputation as safe

The Australian Financial Review reports that tund managers have driven the share prices of miners such as South32 and Fortescue Metals Group to 12-month highs because while many sectors are offering uncertain returns, mining stocks are gaining a reputation as “the lesser of evils”, they say.

South32 was the best-performing stock among the S&P/ASX200 on Tuesday after climbing 5.4% or 10¢ to $1.95 a share.

The stock is slowly creeping back towards its May 2015 market debut of $2.13 per share, up about 120% from a January low and 20% in the past month alone, buoyed by investors' more favourable approach to mining stocks.

Alcoa bounces back from tough start to 2016

Alcoa continues to grow its Australian bauxite export business, and its alumina division bounced back strongly from a weak March quarter, according to the Australian Financial Review.

While aluminium and alumina prices are weaker than the same time last year, they have improved since their nadir in the March quarter of 2016.

Alumina prices have particularly bounced, rising 22% between the March and June quarters.

Data looks good for Fortescue

Iron ore shipments data from Port Hedland confirms to many analysts that Fortescue Metals is firmly on track to beat its stated production target of 165 million tonnes for 2016, according to the Australian Financial Review.

UBS analyst Glyn Lawcock reckons the miner shipped 170 million tonnes in the year to June 30, while Citi's Clarke Wilkins is tipping 168 million tonnes.

Of course, every tonne over the target elicits wry smiles and some weary shaking of heads from inside Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

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