Closing Bell: ASX drops 0.55% but Aussie economy grows for the 4th consecutive quarter
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The ASX200 was down 0.55% today, and the ASX Emerging Companies (XEC) index was 0.96% lower.
A total of 10 out of 11 sectors were lower, led by Information Technology, which lost 3.09%. Only Materials (mining) kept its head above water – barely- up 0.60% at close.
Late today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics flagged that the economy is in its fourth consecutive quarter of growth..
CBA economist Stephen Wu was only slightly off in his estimation that the economy grew by 0.7% in the September quarter. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) actually grew 0.6%.
“GDP rose 5.9% through the year, reflecting sustained economic growth since the effects of the Delta outbreak in September quarter 2021,” the ABS said.
Growth was largely driven by strength in household spending, which grew 1.1% this quarter driven by discretionary goods and services.
The terms of trade fell 6.6% for the quarter with export (-2.8%) and import (+4.1%) prices both contributing to the fall.
Mining commodities drove the fall in export prices with weaker overseas demand for iron ore, and coal prices falling from record highs in previous quarters – and they’re not the only things falling, with demand for oil dropping yesterday.
Reuters noted that “the market was weighing the production impact of a price cap of US$60 per barrel on Russian crude imposed by Group of Seven (G7) nations, the European Union and Australia.”
The Brent crude oil price fell by US$3.33 or 4.0% to US$79.35 a barrel and the US Nymex crude oil price fell by US$2.68 or 3.5% to US$74.25 a barrel.
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The biggest winner was freshly listed lithium explorer Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT) who raised $4,200,000 at an issue price of $0.60 per CDI.
At close today the company was a whopping 110% up at $1.26.
Patriot owns 214sqkm of prime spod exploration ground including the Corvette discovery, a 50km trend littered with spodumene outcrop it hopes could be the next major North American lithium discovery.
Among the leadership team is a lithium legend – Ken Brinsden who not only helped turn Pilbara Minerals from a penny dreadful into a $15 billion lithium giant, but also drove the development of its Battery Material Exchange auction platform to uncover the true market value of Australian lithium concentrate.
Drilling results have included hits of around 1% Li2O over intercepts greater than 100m and there’s more to come. PMT says it “will be receiving a backlog of assay results, with further announcements expected over the coming weeks.”
Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE) is building on the success of its first successful exploration well at the Red Helium project in Utah with plans to drill a second well before the end of this year.
The company has finalised the site of the upcoming Jesse#2 well with the aid of 2D seismic data combine with results from Jesse#1A and historical well results.
It will exclusively target the gas zone and a priority to complete well above the gas/water contact to manage the risk of water ingress.
The company is also planning to drill a third well in early 2023 with three priority locations identified.
Then there’s Red Mountain Mining (ASX:RMX) who’ve picked up two new assets in an emerging lithium district in Nevada, US, from Chariot Corporation.
The Lithic Lithium Project and the Mustang Lithium Project consist of 153 claims covering 1,178ha prospective for claystone hosted lithium in the prolific Big Smoky and Monte Cristo Basins of Esmeralda County.
This region currently hosts the only operating lithium mine in the USA – the Silver Peak Lithium Mine owned by Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB).
The Lithic project adjoins Jindalee Resources’ (ASX:JRL) Clayton North Project and Victory Resource’s Smokey Lithium Project – and has not been the subject of extensive exploration activities to date.
And the Mustang project is just 9km south of Belmont Resources (CVE:BEA) Kibby Lake project and 40km east of American Lithium’s (CVE:LI) TLC deposit with similar host rocks.
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BlackRock Australia has implemented stock splits on three of its most popular iShares ETFs – iShares S&P 500 ETF (IVV), iShares S&P 500 (AUD Hedged) ETF (IHVV) and iShares S&P Mid – Cap ETF (IJH).
BlackRock Australasia Head of iShares and Index Investments Jason Collins said the stock splits aim to make it easier for Australian investors to access the most popular US equity markets at a low cost and in one simple trade.
“ETFs are essential building blocks in model portfolios so our decision to lower the unit price will help advisers to be more precise in portfolio construction without over or underweighting the core US equity exposure,” he said.
“Similarly, smaller investors will have the choice to stay invested without leaving meaningful cash amounts on the sidelines.”
Still on ETFs and Global X ETFs Australia today launched the Global X Uranium ETF (ASX:ATOM) to give local investors exposure to the growing uranium and nuclear power sector.
Global X said ATOM tracks the Solactive Gloabal Uranium & Nuclear Components Total Returns Index to provide access to a broad range of companies involved in uranium mining nuclear components production, including those in extraction, refining, exploration, or manufacturing of equipment for the uranium and nuclear industries.
Reece Pharmaceuticals (ASX:RCE) – pending an announcement relating to Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Approval for a Phase II study of RECCE® 327 as a topical anti- infective therapy for Diabetic Foot Infections.
Bigtincan Holdings (ASX:BTH) – cap raising.
Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) – cap raising.
Cygnus Gold (ASX:CY5) – cap raising.
Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) – pending an announcement in relation to the Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate at the Colina Lithium Project.
Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) – pending an announcement regarding exploration results for the Faraday Lithium prospect at its Mt Edwards Project.