Report on China manufacturing lifts mining stocks

Signs that China's manufacturing is recovering drive BHP Billiton and other big miners up

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- More signs that manufacturing is recovering in China, the world's biggest buyer of raw materials, drove mining stocks up sharply Thursday.

HSBC Corp. said the preliminary version of its manufacturing survey for China revealed an unexpected increase in activity. Its monthly purchasing managers index rose to 50.1 from 47.7 last month, trumping economists' projections for another weak month. Numbers higher than 50 point to rising activity.

The report helped lift shares in some of the world's largest mining companies by more than 3 percent, outpacing the overall stock market. BHP Billiton Ltd. surged $1.62 to $653.06. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. jumped $1 to $31.36.

HSBC's survey showed an increase in output and new orders, while export orders and employment continued to decline.

Economic data out of China often sends commodity prices swinging. It's the world's second-largest economy behind the U.S. but the largest importer of raw materials. As a result, reports on China's economy also lead to sharp moves in shares of companies that unearth copper and other commodities.

Earlier this month, for instance, news that China's trade rebounded in July after a six-month slowdown lifted many big mining-company stocks. Freeport-McMoRan is now up 11 percent in August.

Here's a look at how some other stocks in big mining companies fared in Thursday trading:

— Newmont Mining Corp., up 78 cents, or 2 percent, to $32.61.

— Barrick Gold Corp., up 57 cents, or 3 percent, to $19.64.

— Arcelor Mittal, up 38 cents, or 3 percent, $13.51.

— Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., up $1.55, or 7 percent, to $22.74.

— Vale S.A., up 45 cents, or 3 percent, to $14.87.

— Rio Tinto Plc., up 65 cents, or 2 percent, to $30.52.

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