Mining Discovery

“We curate top global news for you.” 12 april 2024 Morning chatter


Canadian futures are higher lifted by rising commodity prices. U.S. stock index futureswere lower, with investors assessing a slew of major U.S. bank earnings. In Europe, stocks rose while the euro dropped as investors turned optimistic after the European Central Bank hinted that it could begin interest rate cuts as soon as June. Meanwhile, Chinese shares dipped as shrinking trade in March hurt sentiment, while Japan’s Nikkei ended higher on a rally in chip stocks. Separately, the U.S. dollar rose against a basket of major currencies. 

Brookfield Asset Management is in advanced talks to acquire a majority stake in private credit manager Castlelake with an investment of more than $1.5 billion, the Financial Times reported on Thursday. The deal would also see Brookfield make a large investment in Castlelake’s funds, the report said, adding that talks between the companies are in the late stage and could still fall apart. Castlelake, an alternative investment firm, has about $22 billion in assets under management and invests in sectors such as specialty finance and aviation, according to the company website.

BacTech Environmental (CSE: BAC) (US-OTC: BCCEF) announced that it has filed an expanded patent applicationfor industry’s first zero-waste bioleach process using green technology for metals recovery and fertilizer and steel production from sulphide minerals.

BacTech has developed an eco-friendly bioleaching process to recover metals like gold, silver, cobalt, nickel, and copper, while removing harmful contaminants like arsenic.

The proprietary process uses bacteria to neutralize toxic concentrates and tailings while creating revenue streams from precious and base metals.

BAC’s technology is in sync with the mining industry’s desire to attract younger environmentally conscious investors.

“Global ESG assets are $30 trillion, and on track to surpass $40 trillion by 2030,” reports a January 2024 ESG report from Bloomberg Intelligence.

Itafos Inc. (TSXV: IFOS)  announced today that the Company has granted, in the aggregate, 1,005,987 restricted share units (“RSUs”) to directors and officers of the Company effective as of March 26, 2024. The RSUs vest on a one-third per annum basis for a three-year period. Certain grants are also subject to the fulfilment of additional conditions. Each vested RSU entitles the holder to receive one share of the Company or a cash payment equal to the equivalent of one share. All grants of RSUs are subject to the Company’s restricted share unit plan. The grants were made as part of Itafos’ annual compensation process and are intended to appropriately reward past and ongoing contributions and to incentivize contributions to Itafos’ success in the future.

Empire Company Ltd: Amount C$0.18
GFL Environmental Inc: Amount C$0.01
Paramount Resources Ltd: Amount C$0.12
World Markets
Euro STOXX 50 futures were up 31 points at 4,948, FTSE futures added 31.5 points to 7,972.5, and German DAX futures gained 100 points at 18,281, by 0430 GMT.

Most Asian equities were in a subdued mood as investors pondered the path for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts amid a murky U.S. inflation outlook.

Oil prices rose as heightened tensions in the Middle East raised the risk of supply disruptions from the oil-producing region, though prices are set for weekly losses amid expectations of fewer U.S. interest rate cuts this year.

S&P 500 Index Mini Futures: 5,246; up 0.05%; 2.75 points
DJIA Mini Futures: 38,772; up 0.1%; 40 points
Nikkei: 39,591.95; up 0.38%; 149.32 points
MSCI Asia, Ex-JP: 538.29; down 0.62%; 3.37 points
EUR/USD: $1.0712; down 0.13%; 0.0014 point
GBP/USD: $1.2540; down 0.11%; 0.0013 point
USD/JPY: 153.25 yen; down 0.02%; 0.03 point
Spot Gold: $2,384.46; up 0.47%; $11.22
U.S. Crude: $85.61; up 0.69%; $0.59
Brent Crude: $90.22; up 0.53%; $0.48
10-Yr U.S. Treasury Yield: 4.5746%; down 0.001 point
10-Yr Bund Yield: 2.4610%; down 0.016 point
(07:34 EDT)
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed higher, led by a surge in tech stocks. The S&P 500 increased 0.74%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.68% to end the day at a new high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the outlier, underperforming and slipping 2.43 points, or just 0.01%. Members of the “Magnificent Seven” excelled, as Nvidia jumped 4.1%, Amazon added about 1.7% and hit an all-time high, while Alphabet rose more than 2% and Apple popped 4.3%. Investors also got some relief as the producer price index reading for March came in below estimates. 
A rise in auto insurance costs contributed to higher inflation in March as expenses for vehicle owners continued to skyrocket. Car insurance prices as part of the consumer price index rose by an unadjusted 2.7% in March and 22.2% year over year, according to data released Wednesday. Auto insurance costs have only been on the rise since December 2021. “There’s not a single factor, but I think the biggest factor is a combination of new cars and more expensive, so if you total your car the replacement cost is really high and a fender bender is very expensive right now,” said Sean Tucker, senior editor at vehicle valuation and automotive research company Kelley Blue Book. “The technology in the cars, it’s a very specific problem.”
Applied Digital: The data-center operator reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday after power disruptions hampered operations at one of its facilities in January, sending the company’s shares down in extended trading. “The company anticipates that as new transformers are received and installed, the Ellendale facility will target operating capacity of approximately 65%-75% of full capacity by the end of May 2024,” Applied Digital said. Applied Digital posted an adjusted loss of 32 cents per share for the quarter ended Feb. 29, compared with estimates for a loss of 10 cents. The company posted revenue of $43.3 million, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $51.92 million. Its net loss widened to $62.8 million, from a loss of $7.3 million a year earlier.

BlackRock Inc: The company reported record assets under management (AUM) of about $10.5 trillion in the first quarter and posted a 36% jump in profit as a rebound in global equity markets boosted its investment advisory and administration fees. The company’s AUM jumped 15% in the first quarter from a year earlier, while investment advisory and administration fees, typically a percentage of AUM and BlackRock’s chief source of revenue, climbed nearly 8.8% to $3.63 billion. However, total net inflows fell to $57 billion from $110 billion a year earlier. Inflows continue to be soft as clients sit on the sidelines waiting for interest rate cuts to begin before dipping back into risky assets. The company’s total revenue jumped 11% to $4.73 billion in the quarter, driven by higher performance fees and technology revenue as well the impact of higher markets on average AUM. Net income for the company rose to $1.57 billion, or $10.48 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $1.16 billion, or $7.64 per share, a year earlier.​

Boeing Co & Southwest Airlines Co: The airline company expects aircraft deliveries from Boeing this year to come in at only about half of the airline’s estimate in March of 46, putting further pressure on the U.S. budget carrier’s growth plans, three people familiar with the matter said. The jetmaker’s woes have rippled throughout the industry, but Southwest, which operates an all-Boeing fleet, is one of the hardest-hit. The Dallas-based airline has already warned of a reduction in full-year capacity due to lack of aircraft. It has stopped hiring pilots and is spending more to repair older planes even as it seeks to rein in costs. Southwest originally planned on receiving 85 Boeing MAX jets this year. That estimate has already been slashed twice. It now expects only about 20 deliveries this year, compared with 46 estimated last month, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, adding that the number could change. Separately, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee said on Thursday it would hold a hearing next week with members of an expert panel that released a report in February criticizing Boeing’s safety culture and calling for significant improvements. 

Ford Motor Co: U.S. safety investigators said on Thursday a Ford Mustang Mach-E was using an advanced driver assistance system when it struck the rear of a stationary Honda CR-V on Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, Texas in a Feb. 24 crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said the Ford had “BlueCruise” in use. A San Antonio police report said previously the Ford had “partial automation” engaged at the time of the crash. Both the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are investigating the San Antonio crash and are also investigating a March 3 crash in Philadelphia involving a Ford Mach-E where an advanced driver assistance system is suspected of use. Separately, the NHTSA said it was opening an investigation into the recall of 42,652 Ford F.N SUVs over concerns of a fuel leak that could lead to fire hazards.

Globe Life Inc: Shares of the company plunged to their lowest in over a decade on Thursday after Fuzzy Panda Research disclosed a short position in the company, alleging multiple instances of insurance fraud. The short-seller in a report said it had uncovered “extensive allegations of insurance fraud ignored by management despite being obvious and reported hundreds of times”, including policies written for dead and fictitious people. Reuters could not independently verify the claims in the report. Globe Life denied the allegations, saying “the short seller analysis by Fuzzy Panda Research mischaracterizes facts and uses unsubstantiated claims and conjecture to present an overall picture of Globe Life that is deliberately false.”

Grail Illumina Inc: Illumina’s plan to divest cancer diagnostic test maker Grail has received the green light from EU antitrust regulators which blocked the deal two years ago. “The divestment plan foresees that Illumina can select the appropriate divestment method (either via a trade sale or a capital markets transaction),” the Commission said in a statement. It said the sale would restore Grail’s independence and allow it to operate it as a viable and competitive business. U.S. antitrust regulators had also opposed the deal.

JPMorgan Chase & Co: The lender has appointed Florence Kui as the head of China markets for the bank’s private bank business, it said. Kui will join the bank at end of May, and will be based in Hong Kong. She will report to Harshika Patel, CEO of JPMorgan’s private bank business and its Hong Kong CEO, it said in a statement. Kui most recently was the chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs’ asset management business after a 25-year tenure with the bank. She currently chairs the Finance Committee of the Private Wealth Management Association in Hong Kong, the statement said.

Lockheed Martin Corp: The company said on Thursday it had won a contract worth up to $4.1 billion from the U.S. government’s Missile Defense Agency to continue the development of its battle command system. The contract will aim at developing and upgrading the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC)-Next system. The ordering period of the contract is from May 1, 2024 through April 30, 2029, with an option to extend through April 30, 2034. The defense company added that it will perform the upgradations at a new Huntsville, Alabama facility and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Microsoft Crop: The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Russian government-backed hackers have used their access to Microsoft’s email system to steal correspondence between officials and the tech giant, an emergency directive by the U.S. watchdog released on Thursday showed. In the directive dated April 2, the agency warned that hackers were exploiting authentication details shared by email to try to break into Microsoft’s customer systems, including those of an unspecified number of government agencies. The warning that government agencies are being targeted using stolen Microsoft emails follows the company’s announcement in March that it was still wrestling with the intruders, which it nicknames “Midnight Blizzard.”

Wells Fargo & Co: The bank’s profit fell as it earned less from customer interest payments in the first quarter. Net income declined to $4.62 billion, or $1.20 per share, for the three months ended March 31, the lender reported. That compared with $4.99 billion, or $1.23 per share, a year earlier. Wells Fargo’s net interest income (NII) fell 8% to $12.23 billion. Wells Fargo is operating under a $1.95 trillion asset cap that prevents it from growing until regulators deem the bank has fixed problems from a fake accounts scandal.

0830 Import prices mm for March: Expected 0.3%; Prior 0.3%
0830 Import prices yy for March: Prior -0.8%
0830 Export prices mm for March: Expected 0.3%; Prior 0.8%
1000 University of Michigan Sentiment preliminary for April: Expected 79.0; Prior 79.4
1000 University of Michigan Conditions preliminary for April: Expected 82.2; Prior 82.5
1000 University of Michigan Expectations preliminary for April: Expected 77.6; Prior 77.4
1000 University of Michigan 1-year inflation preliminary for April: Prior 2.9%
1000 University of Michigan 5-year inflation preliminary for April: Prior 2.8%
Europe / Asia
The ranks of Federal Reserve officials saying there is no rush to cut interest rates continue to grow, with still-too-hot-for-comfort U.S. inflation a rising concern at home and casting a shadow over expectations for policy easing abroad as well.

The European Central Bank held interest rates at a record high on Thursday but signalled it could start cutting as soon as June, even though stubbornly high U.S. inflation could stop the Federal Reserve from following close behind.​

The European Parliament voted on Thursday to pass rules allowing European governments to ban Russian liquefied natural gas imports, by preventing Russian firms from booking gas infrastructure capacity.

The United Arab Emirates’ state-owned oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)​ recently considered buying Britain’s BP but the deliberations did not progress beyond preliminary discussions, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

UBS might need to retain $10 billion to $15 billion in excess capital after Switzerland’s government this week laid out plans for tougher capital requirements for the enlarged lender, Autonomous Research estimated on Thursday.

The head of Airbus told Reuters it is “not unlikely” that the European planemaker takes control of two U.S. and UK plants run by Spirit Aerosystems if Boeing goes ahead with plans to buy one of the industry’s key suppliers. 

BP Plc: The United Arab Emirates’ state-owned oil company recently considered buying Britain’s BP but the deliberations did not progress beyond preliminary discussions, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) ultimately decided BP would not be the right fit for its strategy, three people said. Political considerations also weighed on the potential move, one of the people said. The 88 billion-pound company has underperformed its competitors for years, which investors and analysts say has made the British firm a potential takeover target. 
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc: The Japanese lender is buying a 20% stake in HDFC Bank’s non-banking unit HDB Financial Services, valuing the IPO-bound subsidiary between $9 billion and $10 billion, the Economic Times reported. The final decision is likely to take place next week at the HDFC Bank board meeting, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter. MUFG is set to pick up the stake in the unit for $2 billion, and the deal is being done at five times the book value, the Economic Times reported.
Novo Nordisk A/S: The European Union drug regulator found no evidence that a class of diabetes and weight-loss drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s hugely popular Wegovy, are linked to suicidal thoughts, it said following a nine-month probe. After reviewing the available evidence, the European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, which monitors drugs’ side effects said that no updates to the product information is warranted. EMA also analysed about 170 other case reports on suspected adverse reactions registered with the EU’s EudraVigilance database.
VinFast Auto Ltd: As Vietnam’s biggest conglomerate Vingroup doubles down on its electric vehicle business with ambitious global expansion plans, it faces growing financial risks stemming from loss-making unit VinFast Auto. VinFast’s rapid growth has hinged on sales to affiliated companies that are set to continue this year, according to Reuters’ analysis of a recent securities filing and information provided by the firm, as it struggles to attract retail buyers and faces weakening global EV demand. The findings also underscore the risks for parent Vingroup, as VinFast lost a combined $5.7 billion over the past three years. Vingroup’s share price has plunged 38% since VinFast’s U.S. listing last August, and its borrowing costs have increased.

0600 Germany CPI Final mm for March: Expected 0.4%; Prior 0.4%
0600 Germany CPI Final yy for March: Expected 2.2%; Prior 2.2%
0600 Germany HICP Final mm for March: Expected 0.6%; Prior 0.6%
0600 Germany HICP Final yy for March: Expected 2.3%; Prior 2.3%
0600 United Kingdom GDP Estimate 3m/3m for Feb: Expected 0.1%; Prior -0.1%
0600 United Kingdom GDP Estimate mm for Feb: Expected 0.1%; Prior 0.2%
0600 United Kingdom GDP Estimate yy for Feb: Expected -0.4%; Prior -0.3%
0600 United Kingdom Industrial Output mm for Feb: Expected 0.0%; Prior -0.2%
0600 United Kingdom Industrial Output yy for Feb: Expected 0.6%; Prior 0.5%
0600 United Kingdom Manufacturing Output mm for Feb: Expected 0.1%; Prior 0.0%
0600 United Kingdom Manufacturing Output yy for Feb: Expected 2.1%; Prior 2.0%
0600 United Kingdom Goods Trade Balance for Feb: Expected -14.500 bln GBP; Prior -14.515 bln GBP
0645 France CPI (EU Norm) Final mm for March: Expected 0.3%; Prior 0.3%
0645 France CPI (EU Norm) Final yy for March: Expected 2.4%; Prior 2.4%
Does Your Company Need an Issuer Designated Market Maker / Liquidity Provider, contact me direct to discuss further.
Source (but not limited too) Reuters, CNBC, Financial Post, Financial Times, Globe & Mail, InvestorIntel, Kitco, Refinitiv

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