Rio leads resource stocks up

THE big miners led the Australian market higher today, buoyed by a jump in base metal prices on the London Metal Exchange overnight.

Kristie Batten

Rio Tinto had a particularly good session, jumping 4.4% or $A2.19 to $51.79.

But it wasn’t just base metals that brought positivity to the bourse today.

The overall market was higher, thanks mainly to the International Monetary Fund’s assessment of the Australian economy.

The IMF acknowledged the slowdown in growth of the economy, but said the downturn was milder than in other advanced economies.

“This is because of strong commodity exports, a flexible exchange rate, a healthy banking sector, and a timely and significant macro policy response,” the IMF said in its analysis.

Growth is expected to decline 0.5% in 2009, before rebounding to 1.5% in 2010.

The S&P-ASX 200 rose 1.29% or 49 points to 3856, while the All Ordinaries increased 1.3% or 49.3 points to close on 3851.5 points.

BHP Billiton made gains today, rising 2.3% or 79c to $34.52.

Both Comex and spot gold were trading around $US10 higher today at $934.10 per ounce and $935/oz respectively.

Newcrest Mining gained 1.8% to $A30, Lihir Gold added 2.1% to $2.91, and Centamin Egypt jumped 11% to $1.85.

Jervois Mining was heavily traded with more than 142 million shares traded after it announced a new nickel discovery in New South Wales.

The junior’s shares rocketed 40% or 0.2c to 0.7c and had almost five times more shares changing hands than the second most traded stock, PanAust.

PanAust had good news of its own after announcing its retail entitlements offer had closed heavily oversubscribed.

The copper-gold miner set out to raise $69 million, but received applications for $120 million worth of shares.

PanAust shares closed 7% higher to 37.5c.

Thundelarra Exploration jumped 26% to 17c on a new uranium discovery in the Northern Territory.

Meanwhile, Alternative Investment Market-listed producer Norseman Gold debuted on the bourse today after a $9 million initial public offering.

After having an issue price of 45c, shares jumped to 62c, before cooling to 53c by the end of the session.

While reports out of China of a 3 billion tonne iron ore discovery got analysts talking yesterday, more details of the find have emerged today.

The discovery is located 1.2-2.0 kilometres beneath the surface, which will boost production costs.

“The depth alone means that it is unlikely to be producing sizable production in under three years, more likely five years," an unnamed analyst from Merrill Lynch told Dow Jones Newswires.