• ASX rises +0.5pc driven by tech, banking, and property sectors
  • This comes as US Fed maintains rates, now plans only one cut in 2024
  • Aussie unemployment drops to 4pc in May, but analysts predict further rises


Aussie shares rose by +0.5% on Thursday,  led by interest rate-sensitive sectors such as tech, banking and property stocks.

This came as Wall Street hit new record highs last night after the release of the eagerly awaited US CPI data, which shows that inflation is slowing down to its slowest annual rate in over three years.

Following the CPI data, the Fed Reserve kept interest rates unchanged as expected, but revised its forecast to cut rates only once in 2024, instead of the three times previously projected.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated during the post-meeting press conference that the central bank will not lower rates until further data confirms that inflation is really cooling.

“We see gradual cooling, gradual moving toward a better balance,” he said. “We’re monitoring it carefully for signs of something more than that, but we really don’t see that,” Powell said.

Tech was the biggest winner today, with stocks like NextDC (ASX:NXT) and Codan (ASX:CDA) leading the charge. 

The Real Estate sector was led by Goodman Group (ASX:GMG), which jumped by over +3%.

In Financials, shares in National Bank (ASX:NAB) rose +1% to its higher ever level since 2015.

Still in large caps, Telix Pharma (ASX:TLX) put its shares on a trading halt as it prepares to launch a public offering in the US, where its American Depositary Shares (ADSs) will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Market.


Source: MarketIndex


Unemployment rate falls

Meanwhile, Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 4% in May, down from 4.1% in April – according to ABS data today. 

The ABS explained that April had an unusually high number of people waiting to start work, and many of them began working in May, which contributed to the improved figures.

However, the “trend” unemployment rate, which smooths out monthly fluctuations, actually rose slightly from 3.9% to 4%. This is the highest trend rate since the ABS reintroduced this data in April 2022.

Analysts predict that the unemployment rate may continue to rise in the coming months, and the RBA is expected to maintain its cash rate at current levels.


Chinese commodities trader duped

Elsewhere in the region, Japanese stocks declined ahead of the Bank of Japan’s interest-rate decision on Friday. 

Stocks rose in Hong Kong, and South Korea, driven by a rally in the US markets last night.

Meanwhile, a report by Bloomberg revealed that a major state-owned Chinese commodities trading company is facing steep losses after a US$20 million shipment of copper from Russia disappeared, raising concerns about fraud in the often opaque raw materials market.

Wuchan Zhongda Group Co., which had sales of 580 billion yuan (US$80 billion) in 2023, purchased 2,000 tons of refined copper from a Russian smelter that was supposed to be delivered last month. 

However, it never arrived at the port, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Instead, the shipment was labeled as much cheaper granite and has likely ended up in Turkey, based on the records of the shipping line that handled the cargo, the sources said.

Employees from Wuchan Zhongda have traveled to Russia to investigate, but they have been unable to locate the smelter.



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MRG Metals (ASX:MRQ) had a solid burst today after it signed a binding joint venture (JV) agreement with Sinowin Lithium subsidiaries, including Sinowin Lithium Cobalt (SLC), to develop its Mozambique Corridor Sands projects and its other Mozambique Heavy Mineral Sands projects. Under the terms, MRG Metals is to be free carried, including all capital expenditure and operating expenditure, through to 440,000 tonnes of annual concentrate production.

Additionally, MRG shall retain equity of 30% of the JV through mine start-up at 110,000 tonnes of annual concentrate production, reducing during production expansion to a floor equity of 20% when the JV production has grown to 440,000 tonnes of annual concentrate.

Pacific Nickel Mines (ASX:PNM) made a strong charge up today after the company announced a significant production milestone at Kolosori, with two nickel ore shipments now achieved monthly. It also has plans to ramp that up further soon in the dry season, to what it deems full production of 1.5mtpa, which would be the equivalent of three ore shipments monthly.

Under the terms of an Offtake Agreement with Glencore, the company receives 85% of the value of the shipment once loaded, with the balance payable upon adjudication at the discharge port. The company has had to deal with challenges such as unseasonal rainfall, but despite this has managed to improve its mining operations and expects stronger production with the arrival in July and August of new equipment including additional articulated dump trucks to facilitate the ramp-up

The company is targeting an average nickel ore grade of 1.7% over the next nine months, as per its Project Feasibility Study.

Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) rose after releasing a trading update to crow about improved sales data from the US, where weekly scan revenue now exceeds US$1m per week with over 24,000 tins sold, up from the Q3 average weekly scan revenue US$750k, and the company’s current position as the #1 best-selling infant formula product on Amazon USA in May 2024.

Tesoro Gold (ASX:TSO) rose after returning grades up to 173g/t gold in first pass drilling at the Drone target, 700m from its 1.3Moz Ternera deposit in Chile. Drone Hill is one of four high–priority drill targets located within a 1.5 km radius of Ternera, and the new find is considered shallow and “very high grade”, comprising the following highlights:

  • 1.8m at 77.15g/t Au from 59.2m, including: 0.8m at 173.00g/t Au from 59.2m
  • 3m at 2.48g/t Au from 111.0m including 1.0m at 7.06g/t Au from 111.0m

A further four diamond drill holes have been completed, two at the Buzzard target and two at Ternera East, with assay results expected in the coming weeks.

Castle Minerals (ASX:CDT) rose on Tuesday’s news where it announced that it was gearing up for a major gold hunt at its Kpali gold project in the West African Republic of Ghana. Eearlier this week, the company revealed plans for a 3500m drilling operation to test for extensions of mineralisation defined from a series of high-grade past intercepts.First phase holes will test for downdip and strike extensions to previous Castle intercepts which included 22m at 2.85 grams per tonne gold and 17m at 3.4g/t. A mineral resource of 107,000 oz has already been defined at Kpali, and the company anticipates extending the mineralisation significantly.

Firebrick Pharma (ASX: FRE) jumped by almost 20% this morning after announcing the availability of its product, Nasodine Nasal Spray, for sale in Singapore.

Customers can now purchase Nasodine through Firebrick’s dedicated website for Singapore sales at www.nasodine-sg.com.

In Singapore, Nasodine is classified as a topical antiseptic and does not require approval or licensing by Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) before being sold.

Doctor Care Anywhere (ASX:DOC) also lifted after announcing an upgrade to its revenue growth guidance for the first half of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The revised guidance now anticipates a growth range of 10-15%, up from the previously forecasted 5-10%. This adjustment reflects robust consultation volumes observed during the period. As outlined during the Annual General Meeting presentation released on April 29, DOC has been embarking on a strategic restructuring of its clinical operations. This initiative aims to optimise the mix of clinicians and reduce operational costs.

And.. Pioneer Lithium (ASX: PLN) has begun summer field work at the Root Lake Lithium Project in Ontario, Canada. The company’s geological team is conducting targeted mechanical stripping and trenching to uncover rock outcrops at three promising locations on the property. This effort aims to gather vital geological data to plan their upcoming maiden drill program. Pioneer will focus on expanding known lithium-rich pegmatite fields near the property borders, including potential extensions of significant resources at Consolidated McCombe and Root Bay pegmatite fields.



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Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) dropped after competition watchdog, the ACCC, raised concerns about its proposed merger with unlisted Chemist Warehouse.

ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway highlighted that combining Sigma, a major pharmaceutical wholesaler, with Chemist Warehouse, the largest pharmacy chain by revenue, could significantly alter the pharmacy sector’s landscape.

This merger involves integrating a key wholesaler for independent pharmacies that compete directly with Chemist Warehouse.

Preliminary concerns from the ACCC include potential impacts on competition at both the retail and wholesale level. The watchdog says it will gather feedback from various stakeholders, including rival pharmacies, to assess these concerns thoroughly.



Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) has uncovered more silver-base metal mineralisation over the Kempfield NW Zone, along strike from its Kempfield deposit in New South Wales.

GreenTech Metals (ASX:GRE) is finalising plans to carry out a staged ~2200m reverse circulation drill program at its 6.2Mt Whundo copper-zinc project in WA’s West Pilbara region.

Pursuit Minerals (ASX:PUR) is raising $2.5m through a placement to continue development of its Rio Grande Sur lithium brine project in Argentina.

Tesoro Gold’s (ASX:TSO) first pass drilling at the Drone Hill target within its El Zorro Project in Chile has returned bonanza grades of up to 173g/t gold.

Trinex Minerals (ASX:TX3) is starting on-ground exploration at its Canadian lithium projects, where hundreds of outcropping pegmatites dot the landscape.

Magnetic Resources’ (ASX:MAU) drilling has extended mineralisation at the Lady Julie North deposit within its Laverton project in Western Australia. The drilling returned assays of up to 25m grading 3.86g/t gold.

Aura Energy (ASX:AEE) has increased the global mineral resources at its Tiris project in Mauritania by 55% to 91.3 Mlbs uranium, up from 58.9 Mlbs.

Lithium Universe (ASX:LU7) has completed two environmental field studies at the proposed site of its lithium refinery at the Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park in Québec. These found no significant biological issues including the absence of the short-eared owl, a species of concern – likely due to the site’s proximity to the CEPSA chemical plant, railway, and highway. Additionally, the identified wetlands were found to have low ecological value. Further environmental surveys are planned in the coming months.

Maronan Metals (ASX:MMA) has received strong support from shareholders who subscribed for ~$3.37m worth of shares priced at 24c each, well above the $1.5m that it had originally sought. Due to the overwhelming demand, the company has decided to accept all eligible applications, which it said was a strong endorsement of its namesake project in Queensland.

Along with the $5.65m placement completed in May, proceeds will be used to support exploration and development of the Maronan project through internal scoping studies, drilling programs to expand high-grade zones, and environmental and metallurgical studies. Funds will also support the start of pre-feasibility study work streams.



Calima Energy (ASX:CE1) – pending an announcement in reply to an ASX price query.

National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) – pending an announcement in relation to a proposed joint venture to establish a fund that will pursue the development and operation of storage centres across Australia.

Vinyl Group (ASX:VNL) – to finalise and execute a pro rata accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer.

Booktopia Group (ASX:BKG) – pending a material announcement in relation to further outcomes from the strategic review.

Anax Metals (ASX:ANX) – pending an announcement in respect of a capital raising.

BMG Resources (ASX:BMG) –  pending an announcement regarding a capital raising.

Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) –  pending release of details of a flow through capital raising.

Prospech (ASX:PRS) – pending an announcement regarding a material capital raising.

Trigg Mining (ASX:TMG) – pending an announcement regarding a proposed acquisition.

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) – pending an announcement in relation to the completion of the pricing and allocation processes for Telix’s proposed United States (US) initial public offering.


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Argent Minerals, GreenTech Metals, Pursuit Minerals, Tesoro Gold, Trinex MineralsAura Energy, Lithium Universe, Magnetic Resources, and Manoran Metals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.