Stocks to Watch: October

OCTOBER kicks off the final quarter of the year. What does it have in store for miners?
Stocks to Watch: October Stocks to Watch: October Stocks to Watch: October Stocks to Watch: October Stocks to Watch: October

Staff reporter

According to UBS, the ASX 300 Metals and Mining index fell 3% in the September quarter, while the broader ASX 300 rose 3%.

The worst performers were Syrah Resources, down 41%, Iluka Resources, down 27%, and South32, down 15%.

"A change in the US-China trade war with the announcement of increased tariffs in August coupled with Brexit has seen consumer sentiment fall and with that demand," UBS said.

"Add to that increased production as productivity measures kick in and commodity prices have fallen faster and further than expected.

"While a number of commodities are now approaching or trading below marginal cost of production, we need to see demand lift or production cuts implemented to potentially see commodity prices move higher."

The weak quarter prompted UBS to cut its commodity price forecasts, with nickel and gold being the only metals to escape a downgrade.

Gold was upgraded to US$1600 an ounce next year and $1650/oz in 2021, while nickel's forecast was lifted to $7.50 per pound for 2020 and 2021.

"At this stage we forecast little recovery in price into 2020 awaiting signs of demand improvement or production cuts physically being enacted," UBS said.

UBS maintains a preference for BHP over Rio Tinto, and downgraded Alumina and Fortescue Metals Group to sell and Coronado Global Resources to neutral.

On BHP and Rio, investors will be watching closely when the majors release quarterly reports for iron ore figures. Supply interruptions out of Australia have contributed to the rise in iron ore prices.

Dacian Gold's quarterly will also be one to watch as the company works to restore market credibility.

The stock has been on the up of late which could also suggest takeover interest as part of a strategic process being run.

Investors will be looking for a continuation of the positive trajectory at Northern Star Resources' Pogo mine in Alaska, while St Barbara will unveil guidance for its new Atlantic assets in Nova Scotia.

Discoveries have excited the market in recent weeks and further news from Stavely Minerals, Alkane Resources and Anglo Australian Resources will be eagerly awaited.

Cardinal Resources is set to release the definitive feasibility study for its Namdini gold project in Ghana any day now, while Breaker Resources is set to put some numbers around its Lake Roe project in WA for the first time.

Gateway Mining is set to release a maiden resource for its Gidgee gold project any day now.

Beacon Minerals is expected to declare commercial production at its new Jaurdi gold mine in WA's Goldfields.

Outside gold, Salt Lake Potash's bankable feasibility study is due, which is merely a formality given the company already secured Taurus financing.

Peninsula Energy will also be watched after a write-down triggered repayment demands from its lenders. It has until the end of the month.

There are also a number of takeovers underway.

Northern Star Resources' offer for Echo is due to close on October 14, unless extended. The miner declared the offer unconditional last week and had reached a 30.1% interest as of this morning.

Silver Lake Resources has also reached just over 30% of Egan Street Resources in a friendly scrip bid.

The offer has recently been extended to November 1.

There are quite a few mining conferences in October, with ResourceStocks in Sydney concluding today with presentations from Evolution Mining's Jake Klein and Clean TeQ Holdings' Sam Riggall.

The Australian Nickel Conference will be held in Perth, while the Gold and Alternative Investments Conference (formerly the Precious Metals Symposium) will return to Sydney on October 24.

October also brings the start of AGM season, with companies like St Barbara and Fortescue Metals Group getting in early before the November rush.

Rio Tinto will hold its capital markets day on October 31.