The ASX 200 moved up 36 points to 7474 (0.5%) as enthusiasm waned slightly. Resources were once again the place to be as iron ore hit a 3-month high and lithium stocks surged further ahead. BHP moved 3.8% ahead of the crucial vote next week, RIO up 4.1% and FMG up 2.5%. In the white powder stocks, PLS rose 4.2%, MIN up 3.0% as a double whammy winner and IGO rose 3.8%. Base metal stocks were also in demand and energy stocks were better with WPL up 2.3% and STO moving 1.6% higher. Gold miners were slightly weaker as NST fell 0.7% and NCM down 0.2%. Elsewhere the banks were firm as CBA rose 0.5% ahead of US bank reports. ANZ up 1.3% and the Big Bank Basket up to $181.82 (0.7%). Healthcare was under the pump with CSL down 0.5% and SHL slipping 5.6%, industrials mixed, WES down 2.8% and TLS up 1.0%. Tech off led by APT down 1.3% and XRO off 1.7% as Nasdaq futures turned slightly lower. In corporate news, BWX fell hard down 15.1% on management changes, AXE pushed ahead 32.0% on some positive wafer news, CWN was the big story as Blackstone upped its bid to 1310c and the stock rose 8.8% although still trading below the bid. Nothing on the economic front today although more evidence of inflation as cattle slaughters significantly down on last season’s numbers. 10-year yields steady around 1.85%. In Asia, major markets slipped as Japan fell 0.5% and China off 0.7%.

Major Movers:

  • Winners: BRN, PNR, CWN, IMD, SSM, CEN, BLX, NIC
  • Losers: BWX, PNV, SPL, BFG, PBH, AVZ, SHL, ADO
  • Positive sectors: Iron ore. Lithium. Base metals. Oil and gas. Banks. Telcos
  • Negative sectors: Healthcare. Tech
  • High 7487 Low 7449. Iron ore hits 3-month high.
  • Big Bank Basket: Rallies to $181.82
  • All-Tech index: Down 0.9%
  • Gold: Weaker at $2506
  • Bitcoin: Slightly higher to US$43,638
  • Aussie Dollar:  Higher at 72.86c
  • 10-Year Yield: Steady at 1.85%
  • Asian Markets: Japan down 0.5% Hong Kong down 0.2% and China down 0.7%
  • US Futures: Dow futures down 67 NASDAQ futures down 40

Stocks on the Move

  • AXE +32.04% positive announcement.
  • BRN +17.65% buyers continue to push it higher.
  • PNR +16.67% recent Lamboo announcement helping sentiment.
  • CWN +8.77% new increased bid.
  • OCL +4.78% business update.
  • SYR +2.94% graphite stocks in demand.
  • CNB +34.94% positive first drill results from Lady Fanny.
  • ONE +15.38% quarterly report.
  • TPG +3.58% buying pushes on.
  • LTR +3.68% extends SPP for a week.
  • BWX -15.14% management changes.
  • PNV -10.08% profit taking after recent spurt.
  • BFG -5.88% trading update.
  • PBH -5.85% still under pressure.
  • RBL -4.15% well and truly burst.
  • OPY -7.59% broker downgrades.
  • CHL -4.17% volatility continues on low volume.
  • JHX +1.49% lawyers at ten paces in CEO case.
  • Speculative stock of the Day: AXE and CNB the stand outs but (RNT) up 25.00% on a capital raise for the acceleration of RentPay.

In the News

  • Bell Financial Group (BFG) unaudited full-year profit $44m vs year-ago $46.7m. Unaudited revenue was $292m vs year-ago $299m. BFG will release audited results in February. Market cap of ~$600m. Gearing at 216%, higher rates making its debt load more of a burden.
  • Crown Resorts (CWN) receives an upgraded offer from Blackstone of 1310c, up 4.8% on the prior offer of 1250c. Crown tells shareholders to vote in favour of the new offer. Crown told Blackstone in December its 1250c bid wasn’t enough. There was also speculation Star was considering another bid. CWN said it would engage further with Blackstone on a non-exclusive basis.
  • Archer Materials (AXE) – the company announced today that it had successfully integrated single-atom-thick graphene on a silicon wafer. Apparently a big deal.
  • BWX (BWX) CEO Dave Fenlon to step down. COO Rory Gration appointed replacement. BWX said it sees strong revenue growth, including acquisitions, for its half-year result, provided retail markets continue recovering. You would expect a solid revenue number if you are adding in sales from acquisitions through the year. In November, BWX told the market it is expecting strong revenue and EBITDA performance in FY22 so it is not exactly new information.

Economic News/Bond Markets

  • New analysis from agricultural data analytics firm Thomas Elder Markets says that east coast cattle slaughter for the first week of January is 60% under the levels for the same week based on the last five seasons. Weekly sheep slaughter is down 54%.

CV19 News

  • Woolworths has limited toilet paper again. Australian Open Draw postponed.
  • Coles chief executive Steve Cain says that it will take “a few weeks” before the supermarket giant has enough rapid antigen tests for everyone.

Asian Markets

  • Cruise operator Genting HK tumbled today in HK trade after resumption of trade and fell by as much as 56% at one stage.

US and European News

  • The U.K. and India will kick off negotiations on a free-trade deal on Thursday.
  • Blackstone says get boosted or get booted (out of the office).
  • UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is in the last round of negotiations with the EU over Northern Ireland. Boris has cancelled all garden parties.
  • Lael Brainard says fighting inflation is the Fed’s most important task. Looks like they have failed so far with inflation at levels not seen since 1982. Still ‘transitory’? Seems not.
  • Crypto exchange Coinbase has bought FairX which has oil and equity contracts on its futures platform.
  • IEA accuses Russia of worsening the gas crisis in Europe.
  • US natural gas prices up to levels not seen since November on cold snap.
  • Oreo is 110 and celebrates with sprinkles.

And finally…..