• The S&P ASX 200 rose 1.19% in January to finish at a record high
  • Energy was the winner with a 5% gain due to the turnaround in oil prices
  • Health stocks up in January, including Singular Health Group and PharmAust

After some up days and down days to start 2024, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 benchmark rose 1.19% in January to finish at a record high of 7680.7 points.

The ASX 200 rose for eight days in a row at the end of January, its longest winning streak in the past 10 months.

Australia’s CPI inflation rate for the December quarter fell to 4.1%,  from 5.5% in the September quarter and while still above the RBA’s target of 2-3%, it was below the central bank’s November forecast of 4.5% and is heading in the right direction.

Furthermore, analysts and economists are increasingly confident that inflation is falling fast enough to enable interest rate cuts later this year. Australia has seen 13 interest rate hikes since May 2022, in the most aggressive monetary policy in decades.

It was a mixed month for Australia’s small and mid cap sector with the S&P ASX Small Ordinaries up 0.9% and the S&P ASX MidCap 50 falling 2.17%.

The S&P ASX Emerging Companies index was also in the red for January, tumbling 5.20% for the year, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

Energy lead winners, all equity factors up

Energy was the winner with a 5% gain due to the turnaround in oil prices, while materials was the worst performer with a 5% loss.

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

The S&P ASX 200 enhanced value was the best-performing factor with a 4% gain in January, while momentum and equal weight lagged with gains of less than 1%.

Against the bullish market backdrop, S&P Dow Jones Indices says equity volatility remained largely muted with the S&P ASX 200 VIX hovering at an 11 handle.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

With the prospect of rate cuts later this year the S&P ASX 200 A-REIT made a comeback in January as the best performing Australian thematic, followed by S&P ASX All Technology. On the other end, in line with a drop in the materials sector in January the S&P ASX 200 Resources equity thematic was down 3.57%, while S&P ASX Infrastructure also sustained a loss.

 

Fixed income mostly flat in January

Aussie bonds ended January mostly flat, with the exception of inflation-linked bonds, dropping on falling CPI figures. Global X product and investment strategist Marc Jocum told Stockhead local bonds initially witnessed an early steepening that propelled yields to reach levels as high as 4.3%.

However, he says bond yields fell sharply towards the end of the month following the release of softer-than-expected inflation data, causing government bond yields to end the month hovering at a yield of around 4%.

“While inflation-linked bonds outperformed government bonds in 2023, they encountered a tougher start to the year due to prospect of a continued deceleration inflation (known as disinflation),” he says.

He says Australian bonds remain a key tenant in diversified portfolios but nonetheless, their performance in the current year will likely be shaped by the anticipated central bank policy decisions by the RBA.

“Markets are pricing in a couple of interest rate cuts in 2024, especially with the recent softer inflation data,” he says.

“However, we could see the RBA holding rates for longer.

“We believe that investors should focus on geographic diversification within their bond portfolio.”

He says US bonds look more attractive, particularly given US inflation numbers are closer to target than Australia and the prospect of the Federal Reserve to cut rates may come sooner than the RBA.

“Bond prices could experience reasonable capital gains in 2024 given their prices are inversely related to interest rates with lower rates meaning higher capital appreciation,” he says.

He says investors could consider US treasury bonds and investment grade corporate bonds which can be accessed through ETFs like the Global X US Treasury Bond ETF (Currency Hedged) (ASX:USTB) or Global X USD Corporate Bond ETF (Currency Hedged) (ASX:USIG) respectively.

 

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

 

Here are the 50 best performing ASX stocks for January:

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

CODE COMPANY LAST SHARE PRICE JANUARY RETURN % MARKET CAP
RGS Regeneus Ltd 0.008 167% $2,451,495
SHG Singular Health 0.094 147% $13,283,165
OEQ Orion Equities 0.155 128% $2,425,630
KOB Koba Resources 0.155 121% $15,812,500
AKM Aspire Mining Ltd 0.215 105% $111,680,137
VPR Volt Power Group 0.002 100% $10,716,208
EEL Enrg Elements Ltd 0.011 83% $10,099,650
FHS Freehill Mining Ltd 0.011 83% $34,486,013
FFG Fatfish Group 0.031 82% $41,707,191
WCN White Cliff Minerals 0.016 78% $20,037,890
ERA Energy Resources 0.061 65% $1,240,304,755
CBE Cobre 0.072 64% $19,796,859
CXU Cauldron Energy Ltd 0.039 63% $40,366,275
CE1 Calima Energy 0.105 62% $67,264,983
MSG MCS Services Limited 0.016 60% $3,169,594
ACR Acrux Limited 0.07 59% $20,274,169
FND Findi Limited 1.62 57% $75,153,880
PXX Polarx Limited 0.011 57% $21,315,018
BMG BMG Resources Ltd 0.017 55% $11,408,349
BSN Basin Energy 0.185 54% $10,587,601
PAA PharmAust Limited 0.185 54% $75,068,291
AI1 Adisyn Ltd 0.026 53% $4,197,689
CG1 Carbonxt Group 0.098 51% $33,168,273
EMU EMU NL 0.0015 50% $3,037,157
RBR RBR Group Ltd 0.003 50% $3,236,809
A1G African Gold Ltd 0.04 48% $6,772,448
SMI Santana Minerals Ltd 1.48 47% $250,742,426
XST Xstate Resources 0.019 46% $6,430,383
CZR CZR Resources Ltd 0.305 45% $74,256,413
EQX Equatorial Resources 0.18 44% $22,345,710
VMS Venture Minerals 0.01 43% $19,890,117
DAF Discovery Alaska Ltd 0.027 42% $6,324,337
CPO Culpeo Minerals 0.049 40% $5,839,001
IPB IPB Petroleum Ltd 0.014 40% $6,216,347
NMR Native Mineral Resources 0.028 40% $5,663,264
VAR Variscan Mines Ltd 0.014 40% $5,306,005
ICI Icandy Interactive 0.039 39% $52,415,258
TML Timah Resources Ltd 0.036 38% $3,195,351
GTR Gti Energy Ltd 0.011 38% $19,474,497
DEL Delorean Corporation 0.037 37% $6,471,627
LBT LBT Innovations 0.015 36% $18,901,067
EL8 Elevate Uranium Ltd 0.605 36% $175,814,551
MRL Mayur Resources Ltd 0.265 36% $75,622,769
CMP Compumedics Limited 0.38 36% $69,093,550
HUM Humm Group Limited 0.67 35% $337,939,285
ARE Argonaut Resources 0.135 35% $22,780,250
NWF Newfield Resources 0.135 35% $122,740,997
BMN Bannerman Energy Ltd 3.63 35% $550,226,772
FLC Fluence Corporation 0.155 35% $161,427,707
DYL Deep Yellow Limited 1.46 34% $1,074,331,797
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Healthcare names were among the winners for January including Singular Health Group (ASX:SHG), which has experienced a surge in success after announcing a enterprise licence order for 5,000 annual licences of the 3Dicom Patient software in the US.

TechWorks 4 Good, acting on behalf of U.S. Veterans, acquired the licences with the aim of enhancing the comprehension and transferability of medical records for veterans.

PharmAust (ASX:PAA) was on the winners list after several positive announcements in January, including receiving approval for an open-label extension study of lead asset monepantel, in patients with Motor Neurone Disease (MND)/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

All Phase 1 MEND Study patients have expressed interest in continuing treatment and participating in the study, which is forecast to kick off  in February.

Read more here: ASX Health January Winners

As the price of uranium hits a new high due to a resurgence in nuclear power, ASX stocks focused on the commodity,  which has been labelled by pundits as “the new lithium”, have seen an uplift in their share price.

Koba Resources (ASX:KOB)  rose in January after announcing it has expanded its recently acquired Yarramba uranium project in South Australia following the grant of two new tenements covering 1,085km2, just 17km north of the Honeymoon uranium mine – where production recently resumed from resources totalling 71.6Mlb @ 620ppm U3O8.

Among other uranium plays on the ASX January winners list was Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL). In its December quarterly activities report DYL  says recent metallurgical test work at its Mulga Rock project in Western Australia yielded promising outcomes, suggesting a potential increase in the uranium resource estimate at the site and an expansion of its critical minerals suite.

Simultaneously, ongoing studies at DYL’s Alligator River project in the Northern Territory are progressing, with the results of a heritage survey currently pending.

Internationally, DYL in collaboration with the Japanese Government agency JOGMEC, is poised to enhance the resource estimate of its Nova joint venture project in Namibia following promising results from a recent drilling program.

 

Here are the 50 worst performing ASX stocks for January:

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

CODE COMPANY LAST SHARE PRICE DECEMBER RETURN % MARKET CAP
WML Woomera Mining Ltd 0.005 -83% $6,090,695
GL1 Global Lithium 0.505 -58% $144,447,241
ME1DA Melodiol Glolbal Health 0.017 -58% $4,019,500
S3N Sensore Ltd 0.04 -56% $5,227,730
BRX Belararox Ltd 0.14 -55% $10,286,883
MRC Mineral Commodities 0.015 -53% $25,596,288
IBX Imagion Biosys Ltd 0.17 -52% $5,713,146
LM8 Lunnon Metals 0.29 -52% $65,208,371
OZM Ozaurum Resources 0.073 -51% $11,906,250
CXL Calix Limited 1.685 -51% $326,531,173
M4M Macro Metals Limited 0.002 -50% $4,934,156
FL1 First Lithium Ltd 0.26 -50% $17,863,175
IND Industrial Minerals 0.385 -49% $27,504,000
CY5 Cygnus Metals Ltd 0.069 -49% $19,242,903
APX Appen Limited 0.325 -48% $74,542,236
LNR Lanthanein Resources 0.006 -48% $8,383,777
OCN Oceana Lithium 0.063 -48% $3,406,820
C7A Clara Resources 0.01 -47% $2,079,429
29M 29Metalslimited 0.34 -47% $294,552,439
WR1 Winsome Resources 0.555 -47% $112,563,180
NRZ Neurizer Ltd 0.009 -47% $12,401,511
GRE Greentech Metals 0.245 -47% $19,789,276
CTM Centaurus Metals Ltd 0.29 -46% $148,457,290
GT1 Greentechnology 0.155 -46% $46,001,554
GMN Gold Mountain Ltd 0.003 -45% $7,941,775
DCL Domacom Limited 0.011 -45% $5,661,523
KTA Krakatoa Resources 0.02 -44% $9,442,144
NET Netlinkz Limited 0.005 -44% $23,118,599
REY REY Resources Ltd 0.1 -44% $22,230,342
PLL Piedmont Lithium Inc 0.24 -44% $102,265,753
MKL Mighty Kingdom Ltd 0.009 -44% $3,331,466
MI6 Minerals260 0.18 -44% $42,120,000
SYA Sayona Mining Ltd 0.04 -44% $432,318,433
SLB Stelar Metals 0.155 -44% $7,861,189
CVB Curvebeam Ai Limited 0.235 -43% $55,755,071
MEG Megado Minerals Ltd 0.02 -43% $5,852,478
WC8 Wildcat Resources 0.4 -42% $520,189,584
WHK Whitehawk Limited 0.014 -42% $5,935,273
DLI Delta Lithium 0.275 -41% $206,427,696
JBY James Bay Minerals 0.185 -41% $6,164,550
8IH 8I Holdings Ltd 0.01 -41% $3,573,560
A8G Australasian Metals 0.1 -41% $6,515,062
TG1 Techgen Metals Ltd 0.046 -41% $5,190,377
BNR Bulletin Res Ltd 0.083 -41% $25,250,746
LRS Latin Resources Ltd 0.17 -40% $475,363,554
KGD Kula Gold Limited 0.009 -40% $3,385,695
VTX Vertexmin 0.087 -40% $5,805,800
ASN Anson Resources Ltd 0.084 -40% $120,859,482
PNM Pacific Nickel Mines 0.05 -40% $20,076,149
APM APM Human Services 0.74 -40% $692,472,369
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As lithium prices continue their downward trajectory, on the losers list in January were several ASX lithium stocks.

Woomera Mining (ASX:WML) topped the January losers list, dropping 83% for the month.  The company was hit by an ASX price query, requesting details relating to the change in its share price from a high of 2.6 cents/share on January 15 to a low of 1.75 cents/share on January 17, together with a significant increase in the volume of the securities traded between those dates.

In response WML confirmed that it was not aware of any undisclosed information that could explain recent trading activity in its securities.

However, WML did note an ASX announcement on January 17 – the day of the ASX price query –  about completion of RC drilling at its Ravensthorpe Project.

“The ASX announcement also refers to the receipt of assay results from the first 2 drill holes of 26 from its Ravensthorpe drilling program,” WML says.

“Given the assay results received were only a small portion of the wider assay results yet to be received, the board considered that it was not required to release this information to the ASX at this stage.

“However, as a result of the change in price and increase in volume of the Company’s securities, the board decided in the abundance of caution to bring forward the disclosure of these initial results to ensure the market is fully informed.”

Furthermore on January 29 WML released its December quarterly activities report, which noted “results received for first two Mt Short RC holes, no significant lithium results returned”.

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. Although PharmAust and Koba Resources are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.

The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interview in this article are solely those of the interviewee and do not represent the views of Stockhead. Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.