ASX shakes off mornings gains: Aus shares down 0.15% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

The ASX hit a fresh nine-month high this morning, after earnings from US tech companies helped lead US markets to big gains. However, since then, the ASX has fallen. At noon it was 0.15 per cent or 11.50 points lower at 7,440.70.

Lithium stocks have rallied today. Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) is up 2.1 per cent, Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) is up 4.87 per cent and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is up 6.48 per cent.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.07 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Consumer Staples, down 0.61 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 6.37 per cent higher at $4.84. It is followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

The worst-performing large cap is Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation (ASX:FPH), trading 2.92 per cent lower at $23.61. It is followed by shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

Asian news

Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher on Friday as investors digested Japan’s inflation data. The nationwide core consumer price index rose 4 per cent in December on an annualised basis, the fastest pace since 1981.

The Nikkei 225 gained 0.56 per cent to close its session at 26,553.53 and the Topix traded 0.59 per cent higher to end at 1,926.87. The yield on the 10-year Japanese Government Bond slightly fell 0.386 per cent, falling further cnb below the central bank’s upper ceiling of its tolerance range.

Fed set to slow rate pace of rate hikes, could deliberate when to pause this spring

WSJ's Nick Timiraos noted Fed officials preparing to slow rate hikes to 25 bp next week and could begin debating what they need to see on labour demand, spending and inflation before deciding to pause this spring. Officials are unlikely to provide specific guidance, but instead stress data-dependency. On inflation, Chair Powell and other officials have narrowed their focus on labour-intensive services by excluding prices for food, energy, shelter and goods. Compared two scenarios officials are considering, one where they will want to see sharper slowdown in hiring if high wages drive services inflation, and another where services inflation might moderate faster if driven largely by lingering effects of global dislocations. Policymaker views mixed with some potentially pushing to delay pause if economy doesn't weaken in coming months while others may argue for earlier pause if impact of rate hikes takes longer to play out or are more potent. Some policymakers suggested they will make a point of not ruling out future rate hikes even if they pause.

Company news

Conico (ASX:CNJ) has announced outstanding cobalt, nickel and scandium results at their Mt Thirsty joint venture with Greenstone Resources (ASX:GSR). In response, Managing Director and CEO from Greenstone commented, ““These most recent results continue to highlight the prospectivity of the Mt Thirsty project and, importantly, the suite of target commodities, all of which serve to play a critical role in the continued decarbonisation of our economy.” Shares are currently trading 100 per cent higher at $0.018.

Sezzle (ASX:SZL) announced a December Business update for the month ended December 31st, 2022. The company reported strong revenue growth and profitability for December, with total income increasing 15.7 per cent year on year, reaching a new high of US$13.6M. In response, Charlie Youakim, Sezzle’s Chairman and CEO stated, “We are excited, as we have shown investors that we are clearly on the path to profitability with a well-capitalised balance sheet that does not require additional capital.” Shares are currently trading 17.43 per cent higher at $0.64.

RareX (ASX:REE) announced outstanding New 500m and 280m Intercepts at their Cummins Range Rare earth projects. In response, RareX Managing Director, Jeremy Robinson, said: “We are now closing-in on what is expected to be a highly significant resource upgrade for Cummins Range, with the latest drilling results clearly highlighting the enormous scale of the rare earths-phosphate mineralisation. Shares are currently trading 11.54 per cent higher at $0.058.

The 3rd dose cohort of Chimeric Therapeutics' (ASX:CHM) CHM 1101 (CLTX CAR T) cell therapy phase 1 clinical trial has completed successfully, with all patients advancing past the 28-day safety follow up period without experiencing any dose-limiting toxicities. The patients in the 3rd dose cohort received a total dose of 240 X 106 CHM 1101 (CLTX CAR T) cells through dual routes of intratumoral (ICT) and intraventricular (ICV) administration. The phase 1 clinical trial will now advance to the 4th and final dose cohort with dual routes of administration at a total dose of 440 X 106 CHM 1101 (CLTX CAR T) cells. Shares are currently unchanged at $0.082.

TerraCom (ASX:TER), an ASX listed company, has presented its quarterly activities report for the three months ending December 31, 2022. The report highlights that the company has seen a 5 per cent increase in total coal sales compared to the prior corresponding period, and an operating EBITDA of $150 million for the December quarter. Additionally, the report notes that Blair Athol (BA) is on track to deliver forecast coal sales of 2.2Mt for the 12 months ending June 30, 2023 and achieved an operating EBITDA of $112.2 million. Comments from Managing Director, Danny McCarthy include ““Coal prices remained buoyant allowing TerraCom to deliver another solid result for the December Quarter with a combined operating EBITDA3 result of $150 million being achieved from the Australian and South African operations.” Shares are currently trading 3.86 per cent lower at $0.995.

LBT Innovations (ASX:LBT), an Australian medical technology company specializing in artificial intelligence automation, has released its quarterly cashflow report and business update for the quarter ended December 31, 2022. The report highlights that the company has secured over $3 million in non-dilutive funding for strategic product development and has initiated product development for a new $10 billion pharmaceutical microbial quality control testing market with AstraZeneca and Thermo Fisher. Additionally, the report notes that the company has raised $0.5 million from eligible shareholders through an entitlement offer and had a cash balance of $2.5 million plus $1.0 million in near term receivables as of December 31, 2022. Brent Barnes, CEO and Managing Director said: “In the past 3 months, the Company has made significant progress against the delivery of both our go-to-market and product pipeline strategies. Securing agreements with AstraZeneca and Thermo Fisher takes time, as they go through their internal Page 4 of 4 due diligence and approval processes. Shares are currently trading 5.63 per cent higher at $0.075.

Novatti Group (ASX:NOV), a leading fintech that enables businesses to pay and be paid, is pleased to announce that an anti-money laundering fintech project it will lead, has been approved for a $2.3 million grant under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants program. Managing Director of Novatti, Peter Cook, said: “Concerns over cybersecurity have greatly increased over recent years where it has become the most critical corporate risk. Shares are currently trading 5 per cent higher at $0.21.

The Australian Foundation Investments's (ASX:AFI) half-year results for the period ending December 2022 show a 12.2 per cent increase in profit after tax compared to the prior corresponding period. Revenue from operating activities also increased by 10.1 per cent. The company will be paying an interim dividend of 11 cents per share, fully franked, which is an increase from the previous year. Shares are currently trading 0.67 per cent higher at $7.55.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.4 per cent higher at US$126.65 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.76 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.86 US cents.

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