• The ASX 200 rose up 0.65% and ASX XEC was also up 1.07%
  • Only four out of 11 sectors were higher, with Materials leading the way
  • Australia ranks 6th in most stock obsessed countries, Singapore ranks 1st

 

The ASX 200 gained 0.65% today and so the ASX XEC was up 1.07%, but only four of 11 sectors were higher, led by Materials (mining) which rallied by 3.03%.

Coal players had a decent day, with Yancoal (ASX:YAL) up 6.75% and New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) up 2.90% and 1.67% respectively.

And if you’re keeping a close eye on the stock market, you’re not alone.

It turns out Australia ranks as the 6th most stock-obsessed country worldwide, according to a study by UK financial services provider CMC Markets.

They examined Google Trends data of search terms frequently used by people interested in stocks and trading, which were then combined to give each English-speaking country a ‘total search score’ to discover which countries have been the most interested in stocks in the past 12 months.

It turns out Singapore was the winner, something that didn’t surprise Stockhead’s Bevis Yeo who said: “Yeah of course because there’s nothing else to do save shopping, eating, more shopping and eating.”

Australia is sixth on the list with a total search score of 338 out of a possible 700 (compared to Singapore’s 555 out of 700).

“Australia has the sixth-highest proportion of its population searching for the phrase ‘invest in stocks’ and is interestingly the country most interested in ‘day trading’ worldwide, meaning that they may like to hold their stocks for the shortest period of time!” CMC says.

 

NOT THE ASX

In the US weekly jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 204,000 in the final week of 2022 – compare that to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal who had expected 223,000 claims. 

Meanwhile, ADP data showed private sector hiring accelerated in December. 

Both readouts suggest the labor market remains resilient despite interest rate increases.

“Fed pivot in my mind is going to occur when the data is bad, not when the market feels the Fed has tightened enough,” Oak Associates chief investment officer Robert Stimpson said.

Stimpson said that investors should be ready for more bear market rallies this year.

Among Thursday’s losers was Amazon.com, whose stock fell 1.4% after the Wall Street Journal reported the company would lay off more than 18,000 employees — a larger total than originally expected and the latest sign that tech firms are concerned about an economic downturn.

Another major unknown for markets in 2023 is how China’s reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns will proceed. 

Investors hope Beijing can return its economy to full steam without sparking a dangerous new virus wave – but its unclear whether the reopening would reduce inflation as logistical bottlenecks ease or propel it higher as Chinese consumers spend more.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LEADERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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The biggest winner was Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) who flagged strong lithium mineralisation from assays at its Adina project in Quebec, Canada.

The best result included 1.34% Li20 over 107.6m, which included 2.21% Li20 over 30m.

“Having an average of 1.34% Li2O for over 100m of pegmatite from surface speaks of a world-class lithium project and paves the way for the much expanded drill program we now have planned at Adina,” MD Chris Evans said.

“It is also very encouraging for the other impressive pegmatite intersections and visual estimates from drilling of subsequent holes up until the Christmas break.”

Winsome has now expanded its drilling program at the project from 5,000, to more than 20,000m – and a second drill rig is currently being mobilised on site to assist with the expanded drilling and resource definition program.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LAGGARDS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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TRADING HALTS

Tempus Resources (ASX:TMR) – pending an announcement regarding significant assay results.