• The ASX 200 rose up 0.57% but the ASX XEC slipped -0.08%
  • A solid 8 out of 11 sectors were higher, with Materials leading the way
  • ABS says high participation and low unemployment continues to reflect a tight labour market


The ASX 200 gained 0.57% today and the ASX XEC was down 0.08%, with 8 out of 11 sectors higher, led by Materials which rallied by 1.02%.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) rose 3.25%, Fortescue (ASX:FMG) was up 1.71% and BHP (ASX:BHP) gained 1.22%.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) jobs data showed unemployment remained steady at 3.5% for December, that’s 0.1% higher than expected by CBA senior economist Belinda Allen.

She predicted that after outsized jump in employment of 64k in November, there’d be a more subdued +25k increase for December – close, employment increased by around 26,500 people or 0.2%. 

“The strong employment growth through 2022, along with high participation and low unemployment, continues to reflect a tight labour market,” ABS head of labour statistics Lauren Ford said.


Employed Dec people ABS


Allen says while this is generally a very positive development, labour shortages persist as the supply and demand of labour is mismatched. 

“The return of overseas migration will, in time, help with these issues, as will slowing demand,” she said.

“Job vacancies are down but remain elevated meaning there is still plenty of demand for workers.” 




Chinese shares ended mixed yesterday after better-than-expected Q4 GDP data raised expectations that the central bank would slow the pace of its policy easing. 

The market was supported by China Vice-Premier Liu’s comments at the World Economic Forum overnight suggesting the economy would return to pre-pandemic growth this year.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended flat at 3224.41, the Shenzhen Composite Index rose 0.2% and the ChiNext Price Index slipped 0.1%.

Indian shares ended higher, led by gains in financial and tech stocks, as hopes continued for earnings growth and concerns eased about domestic inflation. The benchmark Sensex index closed 0.64% higher at 61045.74.

European markets ended a volatile session with mixed results after Wall Street opened lower. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.18% and the French CAC 40 managed a 0.09% gain. Germany’s DAX index lost 0.04%.

he British index once again underperformed after the latest U.K. inflation data served to put upward pressure on the pound, CMC Markets UK’s Chief Market Analyst Michael Hewson said in a note.
“On the plus side for the UK benchmark, basic resource stocks are leading the way higher, as copper prices rise to their highest levels since June last year, pulling the likes of Glencore, Antofagasta and Anglo American higher,” Hewson said. 

In the US, Wednesday morning data showed retail sales fell 1.1% in December, with higher interest rates and inflation hurting spending on vehicles, gasoline, and furniture. 

Wholesale price inflation fell to its slowest pace since March 2021, brightening the price outlook for consumers and policymakers but casting a cloud over hopes for a “soft landing.’



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The biggest winner was Patriot Battery Metals (ASX:PMT) who drilled an incredible 156.9m-long interval grading 2.12% Li2O from 176m — including 25m of 5.04% Li2O – at the CV5 Pegmatite, part of the Corvette property in Canada.

The ore grade of most hard rock lithium mines around the world ranges between 0.8% and 1.5% Li2O.

“It is hard to find words to adequately describe the impressive nature of the lithium mineralisation in drill hole CV22-083,” says Darren Smith, Vice President of Exploration.

“Visual estimates of spodumene abundance may give you a sense, but assays are the true measure and have certainly astounded with this hole.”

It is the widest, highest grade lithium drill intercept returned to date at the CV5 Pegmatite, where mineralisation has been traced over a strike length of at least 2.2km, so far.

Assay results for 24 drill holes from the 2022 drill campaign remain to be reported.

Smith says a recently commenced winter drill program will continue to probe and delineate this area ahead of an initial mineral resource estimate planned for the first half of 2023.

“Drill hole CV22-083 has raised the bar ever higher with respect to the considerable potential at CV5 as we continue to delineate it, and by extension, the rest of the CV lithium district held by the company that has yet to be drill tested,” he says.

PMT dual-listed on the ASX late last year, raising $4,200,000 at an issue price of $0.60 per CDI.

It spiked hard on debut, thanks in part to the magic touch of modern lithium legend Ken Brinsden.

Brinsden, who sits on the board as non-exec chair and director, helped turn Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) from a penny dreadful into a $15 billion lithium giant.

Structural Monitoring Systems (ASX:SMN) says certification program for its Aft Pressure Bulkhead (APB) sensors continues to remain on track for Q2 approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The certification is a requirement of the company’s recent purchase order from Delta Air Lines for an initial four Comparative Vacuum Monitoring (CVM) Sensor Kits for its Boeing 737NG aircraft. 

“Recent supportive testing has been successfully concluded at a Boeing laboratory, further solidifying the confidence in CVMTM technology,” CTO Trevor Lynch-Staunton said.

“The Compliance Report is currently being written and is expected to be completed before the end of February. 

“The next major program milestone is scheduled for early March, an APB installation on another Delta aircraft. 

“This installation will be supervised by Boeing to finalize changes to the Service Bulletin. 

“Invitations to observe this installation have been extended to the FAA as well as another major airline operator. 

“We then expect FAA Approval of Deliverables by 15 April 2023 and the Service Bulletin Release from the FAA by 21 April 2023.” 



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Bio-Gene Technology (ASX:BGT)
has made a deal with Israeli based STK Bio-AG Technologies (STK) for the commercialisation of its Qcide product in crop protection and other market segments.

STK applies advanced botanical science and bio-ag tech in the development and commercialisation of botanical crop protection solutions for growers globally with operations and product registrations in more than 30 countries.

The two companies entered a Material Transfer Agreement back in 2021 enabling STK’s internal assessment of Qcide tech across a range of potential applications.

Marquee Resources (ASX:MQR) along with its Canadian-based joint venture Global Energy Metals Corporation (TSXV:GEMC) have completed the sale of its Werner Lake Cobalt Project to High-Tech Metals (ASX:HTM).

MQR Executive Chairman Charles Thomas said the sale allows the project to move forward while the company maintains exposure to any upside that may be unlocked without the associated costs and risks.

“As one of the major shareholders in HTM, MQR looks forward to participating in the exploration success of the project through the new public entity HTM,” he said.

Med tech Control Bionics (ASX:CBL) has a new head with the appointment of Jeremy Steele as CEO and a member of the bord, effective from today.

CBL said Steele brings more than 25 years of global corporate experience across healthcare, software, financial services and retail sectors in senior roles.

He was most recently the executive chairman and subsequently CEO of Cardio Scan. CBL said Steele is set to be initially based in his current location of Singapore but may transition to its Melbourne office over time.

CBL assists people with speech and movement disabilities such as Motor Neurone Disease (MD) to make connections with innovative devices.



Adelong Gold (ASX:ADG) – capital raise

Indiana Resources (ASX:IDA) – pending Rare Earth Element assay results from the company’s Central Gawler Project.