For investors and movie critics alike, much is gained by formulating strong and defensible opinions resulting in a clear thumbs-up or thumbs-down on a given company or cinematic release. Roger Ebert didn't become a household name by awarding movies a thumbs-sideways, but on occasion it's perfectly OK for investors to straddle the fence.
Adjusted quarterly earnings of $150 million came as a very welcome development following a gut-wrenching $897 million loss for the full year of 2008. Production of 1.1 million ounces at a respectable cost of $445 per ounce marked a 13% sequential decline, but the company reported progress in addressing major operational snags at African mines involving mine safety and mill maintenance. AngloGold Ashanti paused South African operations for three days last quarter as a result of mine fatalities, and sadly reports four more fatalities so far in the second quarter.
Fools will recall that South African miners like Gold Fields
AngloGold Ashanti continues to make headway against its oppressive hedge book covering 5.84 million ounces of future production. 154,000 ounces were surrendered to the effort during the first quarter, and the overall position has now been sliced in half during the past year. Still, with abundant unhedged miners like Newmont Mining