• The ASX ended Friday flattish, but is at a 9-month high
  • Energy and Miners led today after a series of announcements by majors
  • Chinese lunar New Year ahead

 

The ASX 200 edged 0.20% higher on Friday, pushing the index to a 9-month high.

For the week, the ASX was up by 1.6% as key Asian markets head for a lunar new year holiday next week.

Gains in ASX Mining and Energy stocks were offset by losses in the Discretionary sector.

Whitehaven (ASX:WHC) jumped 6% and was one of the best large caps today after reporting another record half.

Whitehaven said it delivered coal production of 4.8Mt in the quarter, up 21% on the previous quarter and 50% on the pcp.

Lithium stock Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) meanwhile led as its shares surged by almost 13%, following a quarterly update after the bell last night.

Pilbara reported a 10% QoQ 10% increase in production to 152k dry metric tonnes (dmt), and an 8% lift in shipments to 148,627 dmt.

Liontown (ASX:LTR) meanwhile plunged 11% after telling investors that its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in WA will cost more than previous estimates.

Liontown however says ongoing optimisation has identified an opportunities to expand the initial plant capacity.

The lithium market is expected to be rather muted next week as China and many parts of Asia will be on holidays.

In economics news, the People’s Bank of China has pumped around 2 trillion yuan ($425 billion) of short-term cash this week to the banking system, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The massive cash infusion is expected to ease China’s benchmark rate, which is welcome news for property and other sectors.

In Australia, things are not looking so rosy according to the latest business turnover data released by the ABS today.

Business turnover decreased in eight of the 13 selected industries in November 2022, the first time that most of the industries experienced a monthly fall in turnover since January 2022.

Looking ahead to tonight’s session on Wall Street, US existing home sales data are due to be released.

 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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ProMedicus (ASX:PME) rose 2% after announcing the signing of a 7-year $25m deal with Seattle-based UW Medicine.

BHP (ASX:BHP) was up almost 1% and is back to the $50 level.

 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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