• ASX to fall on the last trading day of the year
  • S&P 500 edges close to a new record high
  • Mining and Energy stocks on watch as commodity prices fell overnight


Aussie shares are poised to open the last trading day of the year lower as commodity prices fell overnight. At 8am AEDT, the ASX 200 index futures was pointing down by -0.4%.

In New York, the S&P 500 rose +0.4%, edging ever closer toward resetting a new record high. The blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.14%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by -0.03%.

Prices of major commodities iron ore, gold and oil declined last night, and will likely put pressure on ASX mining and energy stocks today.

China’s blue-chips Alibaba and JD.com staged their biggest jump in five months, rising by 3% and 5% respectively.

Boeing fell almost 1% after requesting airlines to inspect for a possible loose bolt in the rudder control system of its newer 737 MAX airplanes.

The biggest mover last night was medical device maker CytoSorbents, which fell -33% after saying that its investigational blood purification system, DrugSorb-ATR, did not meet the primary effectiveness endpoint in a pivotal trial.

Meanwhile, fresh data shows that US jobless claims ticked slightly higher in the week ending December 23rd, above what economists predicted.

And in housing data, the rate on the US 30-year fixed mortgage declined to 6.61%, the lowest since May, from 6.67% the previous week.

“Heading into the new year, the economy remains on firm ground with solid growth, a tight labor market, decelerating inflation, and a nascent rebound in the housing market,” said Freddie Mac’s chief economist,  Sam Khater.


In other markets …

Gold price fell by -0.5% to US$2,065.83 an ounce.

Oil prices plunged by -3%, with Brent now trading at US$77.28 a barrel.

This came after another build in US Stockpile numbers published overnight at 1.837 million barrels, against 0.939 million last week.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield climbed back by 5 basis points (bond prices lower) to 3.84%.

Iron ore futures tumbled by almost -2% to US$138.70 a tonne.

The Aussie dollar slipped by -0.3% to US68.29c.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin fell by almost -2% in the last 24 hours to US$42,573.


5 ASX small caps to watch today

Burley Minerals (ASX:BUR)
Burley announced it has signed a binding agreement with the vendors of Aurora Lithium to acquire five lithium projects in the heart of the emerging lithium province of Manitoba, Canada. Aurora is the legal and beneficial owner of the two granted mineral exploration licenses over the Cormorant Project and the White Rabbit Project. The tenure provides exposure to Superior Province rocks in Manitoba, an emerging and extremely underexplored lithium region. Outcropping pegmatite dykes have been mapped and pegmatite intersections logged in historic drill cores, which will be assayed.

Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL)
Arizona announced the results of a positive PFS (Preliminary Feasibility Study) for the 100% owned Prairie Lithium Project. The PFS shows average annual operating costs of US$2,819/t over the operating life of the project, which makes the Prairie Project one of the lowest cost global projects. The PFS also shows base case pre-tax Net Present Value (NPV) of US$448 million and IRR of 23.9%. Recent resource upgrades1 means the modelled 20-year commercial operating life is less than 3% of the Indicated Resource of 4.5 million tonnes of LCE (Lithium Carbonate Equivalent), which is based on Phase One production of 6,000 tonnes per annum (tpa).

DY6 Metals (ASX:DY6)
Assays have been received from the 8-diamond drill hole program (totalling 900m) at Machinga. Significant intercepts include: 15.1m @ 1.01% TREO, 0.36% Nb2O5 from 23.9m, and 9m @ 0.70% TREO, 0.3% Nb2O5 from 3m. The results returned an average of 29% HREO:TREO and 3.6% DyTb:TREO at a cutoff grade of >0.25%TREO (consistent with RC holes’ final results).

Lithium Universe (ASX:LU7)
LU7 announced the completion of its 2023 summer/fall exploration work programme at the Apollo Lithium Project. An exploration crew flew in to commence fieldwork campaign at Apollo in August and September. The company has now received all the final soil laboratory analysis and has devised a drilling strategy for 2024 along a major east-west trending fault shear corridor feature that extends from the Apollo project to Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1)’s Adina Lithium project to the east. Some potential targets have been generated that may be incorporated into a future maiden drilling program in 2024.

Horizon Minerals (ASX:HRZ)
The 2022 independent Mineral Resource estimate stood at: 270,000t grading 4.99g/t Au for 43,000 ounces with 81% in the Indicated Category. During 2023, a total of 10 RC and diamond tail drill holes were completed for 3,298.4m. An updated underground (<260 m RL) Mineral Resource Estimate has now compiled by the company and stands at: 429kt grading 4.57 g/t Au for 63,000 oz at a 1.5g/t Au lower grade cut-off. The Indicated Resource now stands at: 305kt grading 5.19 g/t Au for 51,000 oz at a 1.5g/t Au lower grade cut-off.


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Burley Minerals, Arizona Lithium, DY6 Metals, and Lithium Universe are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.