• Mining stocks push ASX 200 index higher today
  • Lithium miners also bounce back
  • Neuren Pharma drops 15pc after short seller attack


The ASX 200 climbed by around +0.7% on Friday, taking its weekly gains to around +0.2%.

Stocks rose today on the back of higher commodity prices overnight, with oil, gold and iron ore all trading higher. Mining and Energy stocks led, but Staples lagged.

Lithium miners rebounded as Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and IGO (ASX:IGO) closed at the top of the winners’ list.

Energy stocks also climbed after crude prices lifted by around 2%.

But the biggest headline today was market darling Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU), which slumped by as high as 15% after scathing claims from a short seller – see more below.

Meanwhile, Asian stock markets mostly closed higher today. China is still closed for Lunar New Year.

“There is a bit of revenge consumption this Lunar New Year compared to previous years,” Helen Zhu of  Nan Fung Trinity told Bloomberg Radio.


Neuren attacked by short seller

Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU) plunged by as much as 15% today after a report from NYC-based short seller, Culper Research.

Culper alleged that Neuren’s US partner, Acadia, has “misrepresented” the safety of Neuren’s blockbuster drug DAYBUE, which was launched in 2023 as the world’s first effective drug to treat Rett syndrome.

In its report, the short seller argued that Daybue had been a “total flop” since launch, and has a low patient retention rate.

“The sell-side calls for over $US800 million in peak Daybue revenues, but our research suggests that DAYBUE new patient starts already topped this past summer, peak revenues will be a mere fraction of sell-side estimates,” said Culper.

Neuren has released a statement to the ASX today to dismiss Culper’s claims.

“There are numerous analyst research reports published on Acadia and on Neuren, many incorporating surveys of US physicians, that present a different view to Culper,” said Neuren’s statement.

“In its J.P. Morgan Conference presentation on 9 January 2024, Acadia reiterated guidance for net sales of DAYBUE in Q4 2023 of US$80 million to $87.5 million. Net sales of US$67 million and US$23 million were reported for Q3 2023 and Q2 2023 respectively.

“In that presentation, Acadia updated the data on persistence of DAYBUE treatment, with 76% remaining on therapy after 6 months based on confirmed discontinuations, or 68% based on confirmed discontinuations and patients who were 60 days past their scheduled refill.”

Acadia lost -1.5% last night.



Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Wordpress Table Plugin

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) jumped 105% today on no specific news.

Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) rose +1.5% after providing an update on the cyber incident that happened on January 2nd. Eagers says it has now become aware of a claim by the third party suggesting it has published data online that it alleged was removed from the company’s IT environment. Eagers is investigating this claim. However, Eagers said the operational impact of the IT outages on the company initially experienced as a result of the incident have been largely mitigated across all regions and business divisions.



Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Wordpress Table Plugin

Inghams Ltd (ASX:ING) crashed by -15pc today after retaining its October guidance that H2 results will be lower than H1. However, Inghams reported strong numbers in H1. EBITDA was $253.7 million, up 28.8% on pcp. NPAT was $63.4 million, an increase of 268.6% on pcp. Interim fully franked dividend was 12.0 cents per share, representing growth of 166.7% on pcp.

Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) reported gross written premium of $7.9bn at the end of H1, up 12.5% on pcp. NPAT was $407m, down from $468m on pcp. Interim dividend will be 10 cents per share. IAG has reaffirmed its FY24 financial guidance announced previously.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) reported its full year FY23 results today. Gross written premium was US$21.75bn, up 10% from FY22. In FY23, investment return was 4.7%. NPAT was $1.355bn, up from $587m in the pcp. Dividend is declared at 48c per share.

Market operator, ASX Ltd (ASX:ASX), reported underlying NPAT of $230.5 million for H1, down 7.8% on pcp. Interim dividend per share was declared at 101.2 cents, down 12.9% on pcp. In terms of guidance, ASX says FY24 total expenses growth is expected to remain within the previously stated range of between 12% and 15%.

Cleanaway Waste (ASX:CWY) announced H1 statutory NPAT of $74.3 million, up 51.6% on the pcp. Net revenue was up 7.9% to $1.587bn, driven by growth in new business and price increases. The company has reaffirmed FY24 EBIT of approximately $350 million.