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Plus, Strandline hints at sale of a stake in large WA mineral sands project and South Africa Inc lines up to back Orion’s base metals project   

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Gold down, iron ore up - perhaps with a lot further to go. In a nutshell, they were the highlights of an Easter holidays-shortened week on the Australian stock market.

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Production cuts have revitalised Australian iron ore stocks, delivering bumper profits and attracting new players, including London’s super-rich property magnates, the Reuben Brothers

Production cuts have revitalised Australian iron ore stocks, delivering bumper profits and attracting new players, including London’s super-rich property magnates, the Reuben Brothers. But how long the good times can last is a critical question for investors. Few analysts are prepared to stand in the way of the surging iron ore price, which this week hit a five-year high of $US95 a tonne, driving share prices up sharply, with most hitting fresh highs.

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Sydney-based institutional broker Blue Ocean Equities has upgraded its recommendation on copper-zinc developer Venturex Resources (ASX: VXR) to “Top Pick” and lifted its price target for the stock to 70c – a healthy premium to its closing price on Friday of 21.5c. Blue Ocean analyst Steuart McIntyre – who made some big (and accurate) early calls on stocks like Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) and Dacian Gold (DCN) – said in a new research note released last week that Venturex is pursuing two key opportunities which could “materially enhance” its value proposition.

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A capital-raising rush over the past week by small mining companies is a clear signal that the downturn of the past few years is coming to an end.

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Australia's big miners have rallied hard, but that hasn't stopped Credit Suisse moving overweight (reports The Australian Financial Review). Australian mining giants might have had a stellar run over the past 12 months, but Credit Suisse’s head of global equities, Andrew Garthwaite, believes they’ve got scope to push higher still on the back of some big global trends. Credit Suisse moved overweight on the mining sector earlier this week, after seeing signs that the slump in global industrial production in the final quarter of 2018 was starting to bottom out.

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The zinc price has been one of the surprise packages in the year to date. By now, most forecasters had the galvanising metal coming off its 2018 highs to be trading at $US1-$US1.10/lb (reports Stockhead). But zinc has had other ideas. It was last quoted at a near 8-month high of $US1.29/lb, making it the second best performed metal of the year to date behind nickel. The metal’s price strength is a response to stocks on the London Metal Exchange falling to the lowest levels since October 2007.

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Currency values, rather than commodity and share prices, have emerged as the key force in shaping financial markets over the rest of 2019

Currency values, rather than commodity and share prices, have emerged as the key force in shaping financial markets over the rest of 2019, with the likelihood of a continued decline in the Australian dollar ensuring increased interest in gold. Westpac Bank this week joined the “dollar down” club with a forecast of a slide in the Aussie currency to US68 cents over the remainder of the year, and while that might not be a big fall from its current US70.8c it would lift gold above $A1900 an ounce.

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3rd Dec 2019

RRS Summer Series 2019 - Sydney Conference

One-day investor conference in Sydney on Tuesday 3 December 2019.

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