Materials Sector Weekly Round-up: Cabot at the top; Sigma Lithium reaches bottom

Stack of gold bars


The S&P 500 Materials sector was down -1.83% and the Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLB) -1.81% this week as markets continued to react to the third quarter earnings season and hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Gold futures had their first weekly loss in five weeks, weighed by negative sentiment after the central bank chief’s hawkish remarks at a conference hosted by the International Monetary Fund on Thursday.

The precious metal was also weighed by a drop in safe-haven sentiment as fears of the Israel-Hamas conflict spilling to other regions eased. Front-month Comex gold (XAUUSD:CUR) ended the week -2.9% to $1,932.60/oz, while November silver (XAGUSD:CUR) settled -4.2% to $22.215/oz.

Copper and aluminum futures also dropped to a two-week low Friday following Powell’s comments. According to Reuters, benchmark three-month copper (HG1:COM) on the London Metal Exchange dropped -0.9% at $8,074.50/metric ton and aluminum (LMAHDS03:COM) was -1.1% at $2,218/ton, their lowest levels since October 27.

Take a look at this week’s top gainers among basic material stocks ($2B market cap or more):

Cabot (CBT) +9.52%; The specialty materials company closed its fiscal year with a Q4 earnings beat and was positive expectations about its cash flow for the coming year despite macro challenges.

James Hardie Industries (JHX) +8.42%; The building materials firm reported a top-line beat for Q2 and set out net income guidance for its next quarter.

Compania de Minas Buenaventura (BVN) +5.69%; The stock has had a strong year so far, rising +17.21% YTD.

CRH (CRH) +4.96%; Shares have surged +45.89% YTD and +20.39% in the past six months.

Suzano (SUZ) +4.43%; The stock has risen +32.50% in six months after a bear run between March and May.

Here are the top losers among basic material stocks:

Sigma Lithium (SGML) -16.58%; Sigma and many other lithium stocks have seen a sharp downturn so far in 2023 but the sector may have a more bullish 2024.

Sibanye Stillwater (SBSW) -14.31%; The precious metals mining company was weighed down by metal prices. This week it also announced the acquisition of U.S. metals recycler Reldan.

Corteva (CTVA) -12.90%; Shares touched a two-year low after reporting a Q3 loss and slumping revenue.

Pan American Silver (PAAS) -12.71%; The stock nearly reached a three-and-a-half year low after missing Q3 earnings estimates and reporting silver production at the low end of guidance.

Newmont (NEM) -12.31%; The gold producer had a poor week as the metal’s price dropped.

Other materials ETFs to watch: iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF (WOOD), Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF, Vanguard Materials ETF (VAW), iShares Global Materials ETF (MXI), SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME), VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (RING), Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX).

Harry Byrne

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