Gold, at least when priced in Australian dollars, saved the day for investors in what was a lacklustre and short trading week of falling values as the threat of a global economic slowdown grew larger and rising US interest rates helped build a wall of worry.
Nickel with a 7 in front of its price and oil moving closer to a price with an 8 in front were two highlights in a week dominated by geopolitical events, but there was perhaps a subtler shift underway with mid-tier resources stocks possibly being acquired as yield plays.
Oil at a three-year high and gold not far behind were the best indicators this week that financial markets are becoming more volatile and while it might seem hard to pick winners at times like these, they are actually quite obvious – they’re stocks exposed to gold and oil.
Cobalt stocks led the way up in a short week on the ASX but the more interesting issue which is yet to be picked up by investors is the potential for a sea-change in iron ore, where the sell-off in low-grade producers could be coming to an end.
Takeover time in the mining sector gathered pace in the shortened pre-Easter week when OZ Minerals launched a bid for copper explorer Avanco -- prompting a sell-off in OZ shares and serving as a warning for investors to watch out for over-eager managers.
Two men dragged two old-fashioned minerals back into the limelight on stock markets this week with US President Donald Trump boosting gold as he arced-up his trade war with China and Glencore boss Ivan Glasenberg reminding everyone that coal is not going away.
A whiff of takeover activity livened up an already fully-charged battery metals sector during the week with lithium stocks moving higher but with even more interesting off-market action in cobalt that could have set the scene for roof-raising cobalt boom over the next few months.
Daimler, the German company which makes Mercedes Benz cars, gave investors in nickel stocks cause to smile this week even if the news of what its head of research said at the Geneva motor show has been slow to filter through to the Australian mining industry.