• The ASX 200 was in the red again, down 0.21% today
  • 9 out 11 sectors finished lower led by Real Estate, with Energy and Materials gaining
  • Stockmarkets head into the festive period in a downbeat mood, Oanda says


The ASX 200 was down 0.21% today but the ASX XEC crept up ever so slightly at 0.067%.

A total of 9 out of 11 sectors were lower, led by Real Estate which lost 1.08%.

The sector leading the winners was Energy, up 0.52%, followed closely by Materials (mining) up 0.45%.

The final piece of communication from the RBA for the year is due tomorrow in the form of the Board meeting minutes for Decemeber.

Already this month the RBA lifted the cash rate target by a further 25 basis points to take the cash rate target to 3.1%. 

Since its September meeting, the RBA Board had debated between a 25 basis point and a 50 basis point increase. 

The critical information from the December minutes will be whether the Board continued to debate between a 25 or 50 basis point increase, or if other options were considered, Commsec economist Stephen Wu says. 

“The RBA Board did note interest rates are not on a ‘pre-set course’, indicating the Board could be ‘prepared to keep rates unchanged for a period’,” he said.



European stocks fell in closing trade Friday after the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of England, and other central banks all raised interest rates last week and signaled further hikes.

“Stock markets are going into the festive period in a downbeat mood, as central banks this week reaffirmed their commitment to raising rates,” Oanda analyst Craig Erlam wrote. “Considering the eagerness of investors to embrace the imminent end of the tightening cycle, you can understand the positions being adopted by central banks.”

In the US, investors who had been growing optimistic because of moderating inflation now find themselves worried about a slowdown in economic growth after new services and manufacturing data was released.

However, some investors are less concerned about the equity selloff, seeing a buying opportunity.

“I think that finally, there’s an opportunity for investors to start putting money to work,” said Nancy Tengler, chief executive and chief investment officer of Laffer Tengler Investments.

Many investors pared back from the stock market during the early stages of Fed tightening, and the looming recession has kept money on the sidelines.

Tengler said that once investors’ focus shifts to corporate earnings and margins — which she believes will prove more resilient than Wall Street expects — sentiment will improve.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks:

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The biggest winner was Polarx (ASX:PXX) after major gold miner Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) became 10% shareholder in the junior explorer.

“Northern Star is an ASX-listed gold company with a current market capitalisation of ~A$12Bn,” the company says. “A top 10 global gold producer, Northern Star own and operates mines in Western Australia and Alaska.”

“PolarX welcomes Northern Star’s entry into the share register as a fellow Australian company operating in North America and looks forward to a mutually rewarding relationship.”

PolarX is looking for giant deposits, and has has now raised ~$3.63 million since 30 November as drilling continues at Star Canyon, part of the Humboldt Range gold-silver project in Nevada.

A May 2022 drill program at Star Canyon returned a highlight 9.1m at 124.4g/t Au and 48.6g/t Ag.

PXX also owns most of the Alaska Range project in south-central Alaska, which includes the Zackly skarn deposit, comprising 4Mt at 1.1% copper and 1.6g/t gold from surface, along with the Caribou Dome sedimentary copper deposit, which hosts a JORC2-12 compliant resource of 2.8Mt at 3.1% copper.

And Sprintex (ASX:SIX) nabbed its first 50 S15 6kW hydrogen fuel cell compression production order from UK tech company Aeristech for US$72,500 (A$108,000).

“I was really excited to see the level of interest and activity in this market segment, as well as the level of demand for our high efficiency electric compressors to meet the upcoming mandated reduction of carbon emissions from road vehicles in many advanced markets around the world,” MD Jay Upton says.

“There’s no doubt that end user demand is ramping up in this sector”



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks:

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BPH Energy (ASX:BPH) – BPH has asked for time to prep a response to an ASX query.

European Lithium (ASX:EUR) – Halt requested pending an announcement regarding a long-term offtake agreement.

Osteopore (ASX:OSX) – Capital Raise.

Cosmos Exploration (ASX:C1X) – Acquisition and a capital raise.

Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) – Material acquisition.

Image Resources (ASX:IMA) – Looks like there was an oopsie in this morning’s ore reserves announcement.