Rio Tinto Surprises Investors With Dividend Hike; US Copper Up

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Rio Tinto had some good news. The company “surprised investors with a 15 percent dividend hike after reporting a huge jump in second-half profit on Thursday, putting it in a strong position for a big capital return in 2015,” reports Reuters.

“Rio’s result will set the pace for other mega miners, who have shelved projects, axed costs, sold assets and cut debt over the past 18 months to satisfy shareholders wanting a bigger share of spoils from the mining boom.”

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“‘It’s a pretty clear signal … on how they intend to allocate capital in the future – more back to shareholders and less into the business,’ said Richard Knights, an analyst at Liberum in London.”

“Rio Tinto met or exceeded all the targets set out by Chief Executive Sam Walsh for 2013, cutting capital spending by 26 percent to $12.9 bln, cutting costs by $2.3 billion and paring net debt to $18.1 billion, down 18 percent from June.”

In metal price news for copper…

The price of US copper producer grade 110 saw the biggest increase at 1.3 percent for Thursday, February 13. The price of US copper producer grade 122 increased 1.3 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 102 rose 1.2 percent. The Japanese copper cash price saw a 1.2 percent decline.

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Chinese copper prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese copper bar remained essentially flat. The cash price of Chinese copper held steady on Thursday. Chinese copper wire saw little change in its price yesterday. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap saw little movement.

At $7,174, the primary copper cash price finished the market day on the LME up 0.8 percent per metric ton. After a 0.5 percent increase, the 3-month price of copper finished the day on the LME at $7,136 per metric ton.