Discovery Data & Confusion in Rare Earths (REE, MCP, AVL, REMX)

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Rare Element Resources Ltd. (AMEX: REE) is leading the rare earth sector higher today after disclosing last night about its progress in North American rare earth element deposits.  The numbers look good on the surface, but it may take a geologist to truly break out the data.  The reason this matters is simple: this is the week that fears have crept back up that China is going to tighten down on its export quotas in rare earth elements again.

The data summary from Rare Element showed that the discovery of heavy ‘rare earths’ was at the Whitetail Ridge resource area and the East Taylor and Carbon target areas.  The full details of those findings, along with tables, is here at their website.  This had been up over 2% but the gain is only 0.3% at $9.48 this morning.

Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP) had fallen nearly $10 this week during the panic selling and shares are up 2.4% at $57.00 this morning against a 52-week trading range of $13.05 to $79.16.  Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (AMEX: AVL) is up 2.6% at $4.73 against a 52-week range of $2.30 to $10.11.

Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSE: REMX) has overseas components which tanked so there can be a lag, but its shares are actually down by 0.2% at $21.69 in early trading this morning. To show just how bad the price drops were… Lynas Corporation Ltd. (LYC.AX) was down 11% and Iluka Resources Limited (ILU.AX) was down 6.5% in Australia today.  Those have high weightings and act as a drag on this ETF.

The biggest issue on rare earth elements may boil down today to the same issues elsewhere: it’s the economy.  As orders in tech and defense drop and as alternative energy continue to run into austerity woes, rare earth needs just are not as high.