Gold bullion prices may have perked up over the past few days, but investors have continued a broad sell off of listed gold and silver stocks, in place for two weeks now, mainly to the benefit of specialist miners of copper, zinc and nickel.On Tuesday, copper prices made an assault on USD 2.20/lb before profit taking took the price lower, but these levels are way above multi-year lows of USD 1.28/lb, seen in December, and more than half the record highs of USD 4.08/lb seen in mid-2008. Other base metals have also moved broadly higher in the past few months, even aluminium, which remains the most problematic industrial metal on the supply-demand front.Where the MSCI Barra dollar index for all global equities has so far scored a bounce of nearly 27% from multi-year lows seen late in 2008, the top 100 global miners, measured on a value basis, are up by 104% on average, measured on a weighted basis. The top 100 performing mining stocks have jumped by 313% on average, from lows. Among industry groups, the most resounding bounce has been scored by copper miners, at 174%, overhauling the top position held for months by listed gold stocks, currently with a number of 131%.Copper-focused listed miners have seen the way led up the price ladders by the likes of Chariot, Northern Dynasty, First Quantum (Canada), Jiangxi Copper and Yunnan Copper (China) and Pan Australian and Aditya Birla (which produced a stock price explosion on Tuesday) (Australia). Specialist zinc stocks have risen by an average of 155% from lows, led by Australia-listed CBH Resources (where its bigger peer, Oz Minerals, one of the world's top five zinc miners, may have now sorted out its financial woes), China-listed Hunan, Sichuan Hongda, and Canada-listed Inmet.As almost always, most miners produce more than one metal; a stock like Inmet has also been lifted by its copper output, and, until recently, gold output. Nickel miners, which have been confronted by the most percentage-damaged industrial metal price since a collapse started in mid-2007, have seen the price stabilise, in a sense, during 2009 so far, around USD 5.00/lb. Investors have been flocking to the survivors, led by Independence Group and Minara Resources (Australia), Braemore, European Nickel and Toledo Mining (London), and Xinjiang Xinxin and Jien Nickel (China).The past fortnight has also witnessed strong flows into coal stocks, particularly in the Asian region, led by the likes of Shanxi Xishan, Shanxi Lu'an, SDIC Xinji, Hebei Jinniu, Shanxi Guoyang, and Huolinhe. There have also been strong, but far more individual, flows into listed diamond stocks, which remain however, as a grouping, the most damaged global mining subsector. The individual charges have been led by medium sized stocks such as Pangea Diamondfields, Kopane Diamonds, and Peregrine Diamonds, and a few smaller ones such as Tsodilo Resources.
Investor portfolio flows into certain aluminium stocks have also picked up sharply, as see in the cases of Madras Aluminium, US-listed Century Aluminium, and Henan Shenhuo, but flows into listed potash and platinum stocks remain mild to light.
GLOBAL LISTED RESOURCES STOCKS
Composite weighted 12-month net price gains/losses
Tier I coal stocks (Asia)**
Tier II iron ore stocks**
Iron ore stocks
Tier I coal stocks (non-Asia)**
Tier I iron ore stocks**
Uranium producer stocks**
Tier I platinum stocks**
Oil sand stocks
Tier I gold stocks**
Tier II gold stocks**
* Investable market capitalization
** IMC counted in other sub-sectors
Source: Analysis by Barry Sergeant
Note: All samplings are operating companies, with the exception of ETFs
Note: the 12-month price gain/loss calculation assumes
1. A weighted amount of USDs are invested in each of 968 stocks
2. At the stock's lowest price in the past 12 months, and
3. That each stock is still held at the current date.