Morning Market Breakdown, March 21: Commodities Spring Forward

While the major markets wavered in anticipation of the US Federal Reserve's meeting, commodities picked up speed and recovered from recent losses.

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The S&P/TSX Composite Index (INDEXTSI:OSPTX) managed to stay in the green by Tuesday’s (March 20) close, gaining 26.97 points to reach 15,616.36.

Wednesday (March 21) morning it gradually continued into the green with a 13.9-point boost to 15,630.26.

Slipping downward through Tuesday was the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index (INDEXTSI:JX), which fell 4.23 points to reach 831.21. Wednesday morning saw a minor boost of 0.32 points to reach 831.53.

Energy shares on the TSX got a boost from rising oil prices on Tuesday, while tech stocks also managed to gather some strength for a positive close. Birchcliff Energy (TSX:BIR) was a big contributor on the energy front as it picked up 9.1 percent, and Trican Well Services (TSX:TCW) gained 1 percent.

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Meanwhile, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) got some traction and gained 3.1 percent, while Constellation Software (TSX:CSU) grabbed 1.2 percent.

Making a recovery from a tough Monday was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), which picked up 116.36 points on Tuesday to close at 24,727.27. Wednesday morning the Dow lost its grip, however, falling 32.03 points to 24,695.24.

The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) pushed back into positive numbers on Tuesday, increasing by 4.02 points to close at 2,716.94. Wednesday morning it dropped 2.13 points as it hit 2,714.81.

American stocks strengthened yesterday as the US Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting began. Boeing (NYSE:BA) was the Dow’s best-performing stock that day, while tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) made gains by close.

Note: All numbers shown above were accurate as of 10:00 a.m. EST.

Daily metals

Gold recovered slightly on Tuesday when it closed at US$1,311.53 per ounce. It got a much-needed boost on Wednesday morning when it reached US$1,320.23. Silver cut its losses on Tuesday to end at US$16.20 per ounce. Wednesday morning it saw gains similar to gold as it hit US$16.41.

Copper ended a tough Tuesday by closing at US$3.03 per pound. Wednesday morning it saw a small boost when it reached US$3.04.

Major miner news

  • First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM): The company has responded to claims made by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) about underpayment of customs duties. First Quantum Minerals said it received a letter from the ZRA on March 19 that described an assessment for import duties, penalties and interest on consumables and spare parts equivalent to US$8 billion. In a statement, First Quantum refuted the assessment, saying it did “not appear to have any discernible basis of calculation.”
  • Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL): Hecla Mining is currently trying to fight “bad actor” allegations from Montana, as the state is holding the company responsible for $30 million in cleanup costs from past projects. Phillips S. Baker Jr., Hecla’s president and CEO, was an executive at Pegasus Gold, which went bankrupt in 1998 and left Montana to foot its cleanup bills. Now, the state wants Baker and Hecla to clean up Pegasus’ mess before it will allow Hecla to construct two mines in Northwest Montana.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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