Lithium players spark ASX to close 2% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian sharemarket started 2022 with a bang propelling to a four month high, its daily best surge in over a year. The advance was across the board led by energy stocks, consumer discretionary, materials, and technology stocks.

The local bourse’s performance was the best out of the eight sessions after it dipped on the last day of 2021. The moves today have pushed the XJO close to the last peak seen in August last year.

Following a strong lead from Wall St after the Dow and the S&P 500 hit a record high after Apple danced near the US$3 trillion market cap intraday. The advance also supported the Santa rally where historically, the S&P 500 notches around a 1.5 per cent gain with one more trading day to see if it lives up to the period.

Lithium players hogged the spotlight amid news from Tesla overnight on Wall St after the EV-maker smashed its deliveries for the quarter. Shares in Tesla galloped 13.5 per cent on the news after deliveries of 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter, exceeding expectations for 263,000, and surpassing the company’s previous record of 241,300 from the prior quarter.

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) accelerated by 10 per cent at $3.52, Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) gained 8.5 per cent at $11.03, Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) rose 7.4 per cent at 94.5 cents while Novonix (ASX:NVX) closed 14.5 per cent higher at $10.52 to be the best performer of the session.

EV battery materials maker GreenTech Metals (ASX:GRE) surged in its debut session on the ASX today after raising $5 million. They opened at 20 cents a share and closed at 27.5 cents. The company currently owns projects focused on nickel, copper and cobalt in the West Pilbara, the Fraser Range and the Windimurra igneous complex in Western Australia.

Iron ore miners closed mixed with Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) losing momentum to close 0.4 per cent lower. BHP (ASX:BHP) jumped 2.1 per cent, while Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) skyrocketed 3.3 per cent after a slow start.

Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) surged 5 per cent at $2.76 as coal prices climbed amid Indonesia banning coal exports due to its concern on its ability to meet its own power demands.

The major contributors to the energy sector leading the market was Santos (ASX:STO) soared 4.8 per cent, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) galloped 3.6 per cent, while Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 3.4 per cent higher.

The major banks were lifted with strong gains led by National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) surged 1.9 per cent, ANZ (ASX:ANZ) added 1.8 per cent, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) gained 1.5 per cent followed by Westpac (ASX:WBC) closing 1.5 per cent higher. However, the standout was from Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) after hitting a record high of $211.73, surging almost 3 per cent. The bank is now the third largest in the nation behind Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA), and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

Gold players firmed up with Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) adding 0.5 per cent, Northern Star (ASX:NST) rose 0.1 per cent while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) eked out a 0.04 per cent gain.

Meanwhile, Asian markets are trading mixed while US futures are pointing to Wall St to rally again as investors await FOMC minutes on Wednesday.
 
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 2 per cent or 145 points higher at 7,590.

Local economic news

CoreLogic Home Value index rose 1 per cent in December, up 22.1 per cent on the year. It was the slowest rise in prices in 11 months.

Company news

Australian listed radio broadcaster Here There & Everywhere (HT&E) (ASX:HT1) has completed the $307.5 million acquisition of Grant Broadcasters. HT&E owns the Australian Radio Network managing iconic stations such as KIIS, where The Kyle and Jackie O show lives and Pure Gold Network. Shares closed 1.4 per cent lower at $2.07.

Asset manager Pacific Current Group (ASX:PAC) has snapped up a 35 per cent stake in US- private equity real estate player Banner Oak for $48.2 million (US$35 million). Shares closed 1.9 per cent higher at $7.45.

Artificial intelligence technology pioneer Brainchip (ASX:BRN) welcomes Pia Turcinov as non-executive director as of today. Shares surged 15.4 per cent at 78.5 cents. 

Imricor Medical System (ASX:IMR) has expanded its footprint to Greece after inking a deal with the Henry Dunant Hospital Centre to outfit an existing  facility for cardiac imaging procedures. Shares closed 7 per cent higher at $1.07.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 49 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 39 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 163 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was energy up 3.9 per cent with consumer staples as the sector with the fewest gains, up 0.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Novonix (ASX:NVX) closing 14.5 per cent higher at $10.52, followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) closing 7.1 per cent lower at $8.92, followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM), and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.8 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1804.85 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.2 per cent higher at US$112.24 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.22 higher at US$76.30 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.15 US cents.

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