News - Prospector's Diary

Gold first. Daylight second. Those four words perfectly sum up the state-of-play on the Australian stock market as more investors join the flight to safety while the international geopolitical and trade backdrop worsens.

Gold first. Daylight second. Those four words perfectly sum up the state-of-play on the Australian stock market as more investors join the flight to safety while the international geopolitical and trade backdrop worsens. A measure of the gap between strongly performing gold (and goldminers) could be gleaned from a unique mid-week piece of research by Macquarie Bank which looked at the damage done by the China v US trade war and past crises.

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The risk-chickens came home to roost this week as the compounding effect of trade war jitters were magnified by the start of a debilitating US Presidential impeachment process

The risk-chickens came home to roost this week as the compounding effect of trade war jitters were magnified by the start of a debilitating US Presidential impeachment process, leaving gold as the only clear winner – but with another precious metal tailing along. Palladium, a sister of platinum but not a mainstream commodity, has emerged as the star of the year, though there are very few entry points for Australian investors unless they’re prepared to look to South Africa or Russia – where entirely new levels of risk abound.

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Positive discovery news at a number of exploration projects partially offset the effects of a $US20 an ounce fall in the gold price yesterday

Positive discovery news at a number of exploration projects partially offset the effects of a $US20 an ounce fall in the gold price yesterday, and the negative influence of international political shenanigans, to leave financial markets in an eerie truce. Stavely’s exceptional copper assays from its Thursday’s Gossan project in Victoria (the subject of Barry Fitzgerald’s column, above) lit up the market, along with Mincor’s high-grade nickel hit at the Cassini project in WA and Azure Minerals’ exceptional zinc recoveries at its Oposura mine in Mexico.

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Oil, gold and copper have emerged from the fog of the China v US trade war as clear leaders in a “beauty parade” of commodities most likely to succeed over the next 12-months, and perhaps longer.

Oil, gold and copper have emerged from the fog of the China v US trade war as clear leaders in a “beauty parade” of commodities most likely to succeed over the next 12-months, and perhaps longer. The case for gold, which is well understood by most investors, was strengthened by the same issue which pushed oil higher this week; global economic and political uncertainty, with a whiff of cordite in the air as the Middle East stumbled into a fresh crisis.

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Just as one swallow does not a summer make, according to an old proverb, neither does one week of falling gold and rising copper signal a sea-change in investment markets

Just as one swallow does not a summer make, according to an old proverb, neither does one week of falling gold and rising copper signal a sea-change in investment markets – but it could, and that’s interesting. The switch, so modest that not many people noticed, saw gold slip by $64 an ounce to around $US1491/oz and copper rise by US10 cents a pound to $US2.62/lb. In percentage terms, those moves look a little more thought-provoking because they are both roughly 4% - gold down by 4%, copper up by 4%.

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It’s not easy being an optimist during a trade war, but there is a positive pattern emerging from negative events such as Brazil’s iron ore crisis and Indonesia’s nickel export ban, and if you look closely there could be another outage-event looming.

It’s not easy being an optimist during a trade war, but there is a positive pattern emerging from negative events such as Brazil’s iron ore crisis and Indonesia’s nickel export ban, and if you look closely there could be another outage-event looming. Rare earths, which have been on investor radar screens for the past year, have come off the boil lately, with local sector leader Lynas Corporation sliding over the past month by 44c (15%) to $2.41.

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Congratulations to readers who took seriously last week’s departure from the norm with mention in this column of the long-neglected small oils sector because some of them could have doubled their money on Strike Energy.

Congratulations to readers who took seriously last week’s departure from the norm with mention in this column of the long-neglected small oils sector because some of them could have doubled their money on Strike Energy. Interest in Strike, and a number of other small oil stocks, such as Cooper Energy, Carnarvon Petroleum and Warrego Energy, has been building as a recovery in exploration accelerates after the painful oil-price crash of five years ago.

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Picking winners in a flat market is not easy but over the past week there has been a sector swimming against the tide - small oils.

Picking winners in a flat market is not easy but over the past week there has been a sector swimming against the tide - small oils. Once a favorite among Australian investors, and still quite large when you look beneath the dominance of a handful of mega-oilers such as Woodside and Santos, the small oil sector was almost universally up last week when almost everything else was down.

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