Local markets were somewhat directionless today as Wall Street took time out for the Martin Luther King Jr holiday overnight.

The ASX 200 failed to maintain early momentum, finishing the day in the red down by 0.11%.

The Mining index was higher by around 0.5%, despite a weak fourth quarter from the world’s biggest iron ore exporter Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).

Rio suffered production falls across every division, but says it expects to deliver growth across every commodity in 2022 with its Pilbara iron ore empire to ship 320-335Mt this calendar year. The Rio stock price was up by 0.3% after the announcement.

Lithium stocks extended their rally and lit up the mining sector on the back of the continuing rise in lithium prices this year.

Meanwhile, the Healthcare index was the worst performer today, down by 1%.

And there was a mild surprise in China too, where the PBoC’s first interest rate cut on medium-term loans since April 2020 was bigger than expected.

President Xi Jinping called for Western nations to not raise interest rates.

Xi reckons if major economies “take a U-turn in monetary policies, there will be serious spillovers that will present challenges to global economic and financial stability”.


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Brainchip (ASX:BRN) was up by another 25% today, taking its rally by more than 150% in the past month. Strangely, there has not been any significant news release to justfy the move in the stock price.

On the 11th January, the company got a speeding ticket from the ASX enquiring about its recent prices moves. The company pointed to a 10 January press release which reported that an “Early Access Program” customer, Information Systems Laboratories, is using BrainChip technology in an artificial Intelligence-based radar research project for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Home entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) reported a 1.6% fall in sales to $4.86 billion for the first half of FY22, compared to the previous corresponding period (pcp). EBIT was also down 9.1% on the prior year to $420.5 million. However, the company noted that over a two-year period, sales rose by 23%, and EBIT by 60%.


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