• ASX 200 floating comfortably above 7510 points at lunchtime
  • Lithium prices plumb fresh lows, putting pressure on producer Core (ASX:CXO)
  • ASX small cap winners: Millennium (ASX:MIL), Aguia Resources (ASX:AGR), Botala Energy (ASX:BTE)

 

Aussie futures were pointing to a slight drop early this morning. That didn’t matter, because history tells us that gains on the last trading day before Xmas is almost a sure thing.

Since 2000, the benchmark ASX 200 index has posted losses just three times, one of those by a singular basis point (0.01%).

Since 2017, the bourse has only posted wins.

(pastperformanceisnoguaranteeoffutureresults.)

We’re off to a winning start today, with the ASX 200 perched comfortably above 7510 points at lunchtime, eastern time.

Oil prices were back under pressure last night and lithium looks dire, with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reporting spot lithium carbonate prices in China of US$13,772/t.

A far cry from the equally unsustainable ~US$80,000/t producers were getting just 12 months ago.

Gold is up to US$2050/oz, while copper is looking strong at US$8580/t; a 9.6% gain on October lows.

Meanwhile, uranium continues its inexorable march toward US$100/lb. Amazing stuff.

And bitcoin’s outstanding 2023 is, once again, rustling the gentry’s collective jimmies:

@equitymatesDo we think this timing is a coincidence?♬ original sound – EquityMates

 

HOW ARE THE BIG ASX STOCKS FARING TODAY?

Winners 🚀

Neuren Pharma (ASX:NEU) +6%

Boss Energy (ASX:BOE) +5.9%

Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) +3.8%

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) +2.4%

Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) +2.1%

 

Losers 👎

Telix Pharma (ASX:TLX ) -2.2%

Monadelphous (ASX:MND) -1.8%

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) -1.6%

ResMed (ASX:RMD) -1.6%

IPH (ASX:IPH) -1.6%

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 21 December [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

Cleaning and security services stock Millennium Group (ASX:MIL) could be acquired by SoftBank Robotics Singapore for $1.15/sh – a big 85% premium to the last closing price.

The MIL board recommends the deal.

Another takeover transaction, this time between Aguia Resources (ASX:AGR) and South American gold hunter Andean Mining.

AGR wants to acquire Andean and its operational Santa Barbara gold mine and Atocha silver-gold exploration project in an all-share offer.

Botala Energy (ASX:BTE) will raise $2.4m via placement – including $775,000 from the board – at an 8.4% premium to the 10-day VWAP.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 21 December [intraday]:

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

Wordpress Table Plugin

New lithium miner Core (ASX:CXO) says plummeting spodumene prices prompted a strategic review of operations at Finniss in the NT.

“The price of spodumene concentrate has declined more than 80% year to date, including by more than 40% since the end of October 2023,” it says.

“The review will prioritise preserving business value and future options.

“Given the difficulties associated with mining and construction in the wet season and the focus on reducing expenditure, BP33 [underground mine] early works have been suspended.”

You can read more here.

Fellow lithium plays Sayona (ASX:SYA) and Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) are also being sold on volume today, with project developer AZL down 22% this week on no news.

SYA reported an A$1,231/t operating cost from its North American Lithium (NAL) operation in the September quarter, which wouldn’t give it much margin to play with a current spodumene prices.