• The S&P ASX 200 rose 6.2%, in its best start to a year ever as global markets rally
  • In a strong start to 2023 the S&P/ASX Emerging Companies index (XEC) rose ~8% in January
  • Graphite explorer Lincoln Minerals soars more than 500% since re-listing in January

Out with the old and in with the new. Global share markets have started 2023 in a surprisingly optimistic mood with a midnight kiss, and a glass of champagne.

All that’s left now is to find out just how good the fireworks are going to be for the new year ahead.

With a tough December and the traditional Christmas rally nowhere to be seen, markets worldwide have rallied in January despite news on the economic front that wasn’t always so good.

Australia’s inflation rate shot to a 33-year high in the last quarter to 7.8% YoY, or 1.9% QoQ. The headline figure, which was 7.3% in the previous quarter, came in better than the RBA predicted at 8%, but higher than the economists’ consensus of 7.5%.

Furthermore, China’s economy or GDP grew by just 2.9% in the October–December period, the second slowest pace since the 1970s.

And despite all the big tech layoffs, the US jobs market remained hot. First-time claims for weekly unemployment benefits in the US dropped by 15,000 to 190,000, the lowest levels since September prompting further concerns the economy hadn’t slowed enough yet to curb inflation.

But despite the economic headwinds which may still present in 2023,  global markets have been showing signs of resilience.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose more than 11% in January, the most since July.  The S&P 500 shot up 6.16%, while bourses across Asia and Europe also rose strongly.

At home the benchmark S&P ASX 200 rose 6.2%, its best month since March 2022 and according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, its best start to a year ever.

In a solid start to 2023 for the smaller end of town, the S&P/ASX Emerging Companies index (XEC) — a benchmark for Australia’s micro-cap companies — was up ~8% for January.

Here’s how the markets performed in January:

World Equities

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Coal prices have taken a tumble in January. Shaw and Partners senior investment advisor Adam Dawes told Stockhead they’re back down to a normal level.

“When Newcastle coal prices were up around the $400 plus level back in September 2022, it was probably one of the higher prices ever,” he said.

“Now the coal prices have come back down again to around $262-$270 because it was totally unreasonable back there.”

Dawes said if you look over the last 10 to 20 years, generally prices track ~$100.

“It won’t go back down to $100 because there are no new coal projects coming online, so coal will continue to be in demand,” he said.

“That is the reason why in 2021–2022 the price rallied up to that $400 plus level but now that exuberance is starting to come out of the coal price.

“I also think that the European winter isn’t as bad as what we originally thought it was going to be, they were able to keep the gas prices and coal prices moving, so in my opinion the prices are back down to a normal level.”


Here are the top 50 performing ASX stocks for January:

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Heading the leaders table is graphite explorer Lincoln Minerals (ASX:LML) which rose more than 500% since relisting on the ASX in January.

In 2022, LML received an unsolicited takeover offer from fellow South Australian project developer Quantum Graphite (ASX:QGL).

The initial all share offer was rejected, but QGL recently extended its offer again for the third time. LML has a large graphite resource on the highly prospective Eyre Peninsula.

Also making its way to the January winners board is newly listed Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT), which as Stockhead’s Jessica Cummins reported returned “a beautiful hit of 52.2m at 3.34% Li20, including 15m at 5.10% Li20 at the CV5 pegmatite discovery in Quebec”.

The strongly mineralised drill intersection further delineates the high-grade zone previously identified in drill holes CV22-017, 042, 066, and 083 with PMT president and CEO Blair Way stating the company could not be more thrilled.

The LML & PMT share price today:


Here are the worst 50 performing ASX stocks for January:

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But for every winner there’s a loser and among those was Allegiance Coal (ASX:AHQ), which announced this week clean coal production in Q2 FY23 compared to Q2 FY22 was significantly higher, although production for the quarter compared to the previous quarter did not meet expectations.

The company generated cash receipts from customers in the December quarter of $25.4 million compared to $32.1 million in the prior quarter.

AHQ said with the thermal coal market weakening recently it is evaluating pivoting back to metallurgical coal sales, as the metallurgical coal market indices have strengthened over the last three months.


The AHQ share price today: