The Australian sharemarket closed in negative territory on Monday after US stocks fell overnight amid fears that the world's biggest economy could be heading for a recession.
Take heart. Good news from several of our portfolio stocks helped to push us into further recovery this week. Both our zinc-lead-silver hopefuls - Prairie Downs Metals (ASX code: PDZ) and TNG (TNG) - came up with encouraging results that enhance the scope of their projects. As well, heavy minerals prospector Image Resources (IMA) - which is still "cum" a free nickel spin-off to shareholders - scooped up some handy millions of dollars from an institutional placement.
Prairie Downs has lifted its resource base nearly fivefold and is looking at opening a mine on its Pilbara project. Managing director Mark Hansen confirmed last week a resource of 4.9 million tonnes of 5.4% zinc, 2% lead and 14 g/t of silver at a cut-off grade of 1% zinc. The contained metal within that resource amounts to 269,000 tonnes of zinc, 45,000 tonnes of lead and 1.4 million ounces of silver.
Holders of our other zinc-lead-silver hopeful, TNG, as at September 6 should be entitled to an expected one-for-20 distribution of free shares in Western Desert Resources (WDR) which TNG shareholders voted on this week to give back to themselves from the parent company holding. WDR shares last traded at 20c.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 249.97 points, or 1.87 per cent, to 13,113.38.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 25 points to 1,453.55 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 48.62 points to 2,565.70.
The decline followed US non-farm payrolls data, which showed US employers cut nearly 4,000 jobs in August.
Financial markets had expected the non-farm payrolls report to show jobs growth of 110,000.
The result has increased fears the US sub-prime mortgage crisis could force the wider US economy into recession.
At close, BHP Billiton shrank $1.45 to $38.30, although the stock was trading ex-dividend today.
Rio Tinto dropped $2.72 to $98.28 and Alumina dipped 11 cents, or 1.59 per cent, to $6.83.
The big banks all closed down, with ANZ dipping 11 cents to $28.31, National Australia Bank losing 79 cents to $38.21, Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropping 32 cents to $54.35 and Westpac shares shrunk 10 cents to $26.55.
Macquarie Bank shed $1.53 to $69.86.
Shares in property company Mirvac Group were 10 cents lower at $5.30 on news it has launched its first joint property trust in the United Kingdom that involves residential property .
Valad Property Group closed down 4.5 cents to $1.945 after announcing it is investing in the redevelopment of the $840 million Top Ryde Shopping Centre in Sydney.
The retailers were mixed, with Coles losing 11 cents to $14.46, David Jones dropping 14 cents to $4.97 and Harvey Norman up five cents at $5.65.
Woolworths closed down 44 cents to $29.51 after it announced it would lease a Melbourne industrial building from Goodman Group and Linfox Property Group.
In the media sector, PBL lost nine cents to $18.40, News Corp lifted 11 cents to $27.20 and its non-voting shares added two cents to $25.53.
Fairfax Media dropped four cents to $4.45 after it reported it had bought online managed funds business InvestSMART for $12 million and will merge it with its Direct Access service.
Renewable energy group Wind Hydrogen Ltd has debuted on the Australian stock exchange at a discount to its initial public offer (IPO) price.
Wind Hydrogen shares closed down 4.5 cents at 15.5 cents.