• The S&P ASX 200 rose more than 7% in December to finish up 12% for the year, just short of a record high
  • Real estate and health care had the biggest December gains, while all sectors finished the year up
  • Resources stocks top the winners board in December, including Arrow Minerals and Battery Minerals 

Easing inflation and potential for lower interest rates in 2024 saw Australia’s S&P ASX 200 soar to its best monthly return in three years by adding more than 7% in December.

The benchmark finished 2023 with a gain of 12%, closing just 0.3% away from a record high.

Small and mids caps had a strong end to the year, with the S&P ASX small ordinaries up more than 7% and the S&P ASX MidCap 50 up 6.88%.

The S&P ASX Emerging Companies index also rose 6.47% for the year, however was just short of ending 2023 in positive territory, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The final two months of 2023 was a welcome reversal in sentiment with the S&P ASX 200 looking like finishing the year in the red by October’s end.

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

End of year rally after tough 2023

After a challenging 2023,  the Aussie bourse and global financial markets finally hit a turning point in November which continued into December.

Despite ongoing conflicts, including the war in Ukraine and tensions between Israel and Hamas, there were signs macroeconomic conditions were improving with overall market sentiment more optimistic in the last two months of the year.

S&P reported a strong end to 2023 on Wall Street with the the S&P 500 finishing with an impressive 26% return for the year and nine consecutive weeks of gains.

“The relentless strength of the Magnificent Seven powered those gains throughout, pushing the mega-cap S&P 500 Top 50 up a stonking 38%,” S&P says.

In more positive news to end the year the US Federal Reserve’s December forecast of three interest rate cuts in 2024 was more aggressive than what officials had been indicating.

In its 2024 market outlook report Macquarie Asset Management(MAM) says it believes that the small cap end of the stock market could be ripe for buying,

MAM says listed equities may face headwinds in 2024 from the more volatile economic backdrop, while bonds may become a worthwhile alternative again.

“While US large-cap stock valuations look stretched, opportunities may remain in small-caps and listed real assets,” wrote MAM.

 

Real estate lead sectors, all equity factors up

All sectors in the S&P ASX 200 rose in December with real estate and health care continuing to lead the pack, rising 11% and 9% respectively, following over 10% gains in November.

Defensive sectors including utilities and consumer staples continued to lag with the least gains, along with energy accompanied by weak oil prices. All sectors finished 2023 in positive territory.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

All equity factor indices were in positive territory in December. The S&P ASX 200 Quality was the best performing factor with a more than 9% gain in December and ~21% in 2023, while Momentum barely closed the year in the green.

The thematically-targeted S&P/ASX All Technology index offered the highest annual return among reported indices, with a total return of ~36%.

 

Fixed income up in December

Fixed income indices also remained in positive territory again in December after being down in September and October. While all reported fixed income indices generated positive returns in 2023, inflation-linked government bonds topped the winners with 8-9% gains.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

Here are the 50 best performing ASX stocks for December:

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY LAST SHARE PRICE DECEMBER RETURN % MARKET CAP
AMD Arrow Minerals 0.005 233% $17,368,825
BAT Battery Minerals Ltd 0.12 216% $17,923,740
ETR Entyr Limited 0.018 200% $35,695,870
FHS Freehill Mining Ltd 0.006 200% $17,099,007
MTM MTM Critical Metals 0.068 143% $6,761,722
TTT Titomic Limited 0.043 115% $39,247,893
AWJ Auric Mining 0.12 107% $15,703,151
ATP Atlas Pearls Ltd 0.185 103% $79,336,417
RIM Rimfire Pacific 0.02 100% $44,404,895
WZR Wisr Ltd 0.048 100% $65,501,499
SZL Sezzle Inc. 27.94 95% $59,041,662
BLY Boart Longyear 2.75 94% $813,781,139
MIL Millennium Grp Ltd 1.08 85% $50,936,320
ST1 Spirit Technology 0.08 82% $58,955,043
AD1 AD1 Holdings Limited 0.009 80% $8,087,835
EYE Nova EYE Medical Ltd 0.24 78% $45,750,934
ATH Alterity Therap Ltd 0.007 75% $19,616,523
MKR Manuka Resources 0.077 71% $43,514,245
BIO Biome Australia Ltd 0.205 71% $43,457,058
FLX Felix Group 0.16 70% $32,719,954
8IH 8I Holdings Ltd 0.017 70% $6,075,052
ZIP ZIP Co Ltd 0.635 67% $617,210,251
BGE Bridge SaaS Ltd 0.05 67% $5,969,853
ENV Enova Mining Limited 0.015 67% $9,613,940
NGY Nuenergy Gas Ltd 0.033 65% $48,871,531
KNB Koonenberrygold 0.051 65% $6,107,203
LNR Lanthanein Resources 0.0115 64% $14,832,837
AGR Aguia Res Ltd 0.018 64% $9,098,656
LNK Link Admin Holdings 2.18 62% $1,125,724,709
CMP Compumedics Limited 0.28 60% $49,605,625
ATG Articore Group Ltd 0.69 59% $195,076,954
KCC Kincora Copper 0.041 58% $8,193,237
MTC Metalstech Ltd 0.22 57% $41,570,010
M24 Mamba Exploration 0.05 56% $3,049,167
IMB Intelligent Monitor 0.44 54% $106,237,057
TBN Tamboran 0.225 53% $443,604,960
EOF Ecofibre Limited 0.16 52% $60,619,824
DXB Dimerix Ltd 0.205 52% $87,346,959
MME Moneyme Limited 0.083 51% $66,406,514
ARN Aldoro Resources 0.125 51% $16,827,968
WA1 WA1 Resources 12.4 50% $527,306,280
AYM Australia United Mining 0.003 50% $5,527,732
BFC Beston Global Ltd 0.009 50% $17,973,422
FAU First Au Ltd 0.003 50% $4,985,980
GGE Grand Gulf Energy 0.0105 50% $22,000,094
LRS Latin Resources Ltd 0.285 50% $796,234,767
SPA Spacetalk Ltd 0.0265 47% $12,361,613
PVT Pivotal Metals Ltd 0.025 47% $17,001,395
TSI Top Shelf 0.22 47% $45,644,689
CU6 Clarity Pharma 1.9 46% $498,255,599
Wordpress Table Plugin

 

Resources stocks topped the winners list in December with Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) topping the leader board. AMD announced in December that it had appointed iron ore executive and previous MD of Atlas Iron David Flanagan as its new MD to unlock the potentially significant value of its Simandou North iron project in Guinea, West Africa.

Flanagan also subscribed to $175k of a $3.5 million placement at 1 cent/share.

Battery Minerals (ASX:BAT) also had a good end to the year with its share price surging 216% in December. The company announced reprocessing of historic induced polarisation (IP) geophysical data had “upgraded the Spur and Spur South Prospects, defining a strongly resistive, southerly plunging anomaly away from existing mineralisation, including 86m @ 1.56g/t Au, 536ppm Cu”.

Furthermore,  BAT says assay and screen fire results had been received from the Stawell Project, upgrading the prospectivity of the Frankfurt Prospect for large scale IRG mineralisation.

Results from the latter looked like this: 118.9m @ 0.1g/t Au, 11.8ppm Mo from 17.1m, including 16.1m @ 0.34g/t Au from 108.4m.

BAT was issued with a please explain from the ASX on December 14 after strong share price movements. The company responded it was unaware of any news the market didn’t know about but pointed to a placement at a premium price of 38 cents/share to strategic resources investors on December 8, followed by subsequent substantial shareholder notices from those investors over the following days as the possible reason for share price growth.

Tyre recycling co Entyr (ASX:ETR) rose 200% after announcing an offtake deal with Trafigura, which could earn it ~$18 million a year.

Based on early market feedback, ETR says it anticipates “acceptable” market prices of ~$200/t for recovered carbon black and $750/t for oil.

 

Here are the 50 worst performing ASX stocks for December:

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

CODE COMPANY LAST SHARE PRICE DECEMBER RETURN % MARKET CAP
NPM Newpeak Metals 0.016 -84% $1,599,228
PBL Parabellum Resources 0.07 -80% $4,361,000
JAV Javelin Minerals Ltd 0.002 -70% $2,176,231
NFL Norfolk Metals 0.155 -65% $5,475,374
SHN Sunshine Metals Ltd 0.014 -62% $17,136,118
TG6 TG Metals 0.385 -57% $20,823,174
KGD Kula Gold Limited 0.015 -55% $6,290,487
MSG Mcs Services Limited 0.01 -50% $1,980,997
ICU Investor Centre Ltd 0.035 -48% $10,611,931
STK Strickland Metals 0.095 -47% $155,018,447
GTG Genetic Technologies 0.135 -46% $15,581,328
BME Black Mountain Energy 0.012 -45% $4,598,690
PHL Propell Holdings Ltd 0.011 -45% $1,323,911
FME Future Metals NL 0.031 -43% $13,708,811
NHE Noble Helium 0.105 -43% $32,781,365
HCD Hydrocarbon Dynamic 0.004 -43% $2,598,664
WNX Wellnex Life Ltd 0.023 -43% $24,908,439
RIE Riedel Resources Ltd 0.0035 -42% $7,783,425
NIS Nickelsearch 0.073 -42% $15,588,599
OEQ Orion Equities 0.068 -41% $1,064,148
KLI Killi Resources 0.045 -39% $2,680,878
LBT LBT Innovations 0.011 -39% $13,856,447
NKL Nickelx Ltd 0.037 -38% $3,249,161
NSB Neuroscientific 0.044 -38% $6,362,614
T88 Taiton Resources 0.093 -38% $5,001,033
CHR Charger Metals 0.165 -38% $11,997,871
HTG Harvest Tech Grp Ltd 0.015 -38% $10,589,450
ERW Errawarra Resources 0.094 -37% $9,016,543
VMS Venture Minerals 0.007 -36% $15,470,091
FG1 Flynn Gold 0.052 -36% $7,577,661
NOX Noxopharm Limited 0.071 -35% $20,748,894
CI1 Credit Intelligence 0.155 -35% $13,647,008
RGL Riversgold 0.011 -35% $10,644,276
HMD Heramed Limited 0.024 -35% $7,710,341
VML Vital Metals Limited 0.0065 -35% $38,317,935
GTE Great Western Exploration 0.026 -35% $7,382,651
IND Industrial Minerals 0.755 -34% $51,913,800
ADS Adslot Ltd 0.002 -33% $6,448,991
AMM Armada Metals 0.028 -33% $5,824,000
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.001 -33% $10,471,172
NIM Nimy Resources 0.14 -33% $19,343,372
PEC Perpetual Res Ltd 0.01 -33% $6,300,294
SNT Syntara Limited 0.02 -33% $16,620,127
XPN Xpon Technologies 0.02 -33% $6,072,163
SPQ Superior Resources 0.013 -32% $26,015,865
SCL Schrole Group Ltd 0.2 -31% $7,191,010
MXC MGC Pharmaceuticals 0.475 -31% $17,333,525
LRV Larvotto Resources 0.07 -30% $14,874,940
MXR Maximus Resources 0.035 -30% $11,221,202
RNX Renegade Exploration 0.007 -30% $6,998,066
Wordpress Table Plugin