CLOSING BELL: The cry of ‘clucking bell’ rings out as Aussies face national chicken meat shortage
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I don’t want to alarm anyone unduly, but while I was preparing this afternoon’s market wrap up, I heard – from a very reliable source – that Australia has its toes dangling over the edge of a major, nationwide chicken meat shortage.
So, let me just put this in writing: should I happen to disappear tonight, never to be seen again, it’s most probably because I’ve had to tell my kids that we can’t have chicken nuggets for dinner and they’ve murdered me on the spot.
Having said that, there’s better news from the ASX today, with the market moving in a gentle, predictable way from open to close – albeit, the direction being a slow, ponderous sag from a high of just +0.7% this morning to around 0.3% by the time we all put our feet on the desk.
Most of the news and extraneous data is generally the same as it was around lunchtime. Real Estate has performed well, up 1.24% and Materials is up there as well with a +0.79% lift.
At the bottom of the scale, things are a little different, after a large downward slide by the Energy sector saw it down 1.15% by market close, overshadowing the InfoTech sector’s comedown from yesterday’s jump, to end the day on -0.38%.
Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) was the biggest mover at the expensive end of the market today, climbing more than 9.0% after coming out of a trading halt and announcing that it has completed a $180 million placement to fund its purchase of UK luxury travel company Scott Dunn.
Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei ticked up 0.08%, Shanghai climbed 0.30% and Hong Kong added 0.38% before I got bored and stopped watching.
It’s been a tough day at the office for Agricultural chemical company Nufarm (ASX:NUF) boss Greg Hunt, following a shareholder revolt at the company’s AGM today.
Shareholders voted down the company’s recommended remuneration report, earning the company its first strike and CEO Hunt a $2.43 million boot to the nards, as he watched this year’s bonus disappear.
It sets up a difficult period ahead for Nufarm, which – should shareholder sentiment not improve and more than 25% of shareholders give next year’s remuneration report a rousing thumbs-down, the board faces being made to walk the plank.
And if the aforementioned Great Aussie Chicken Meat Disaster unfolding isn’t scary enough, data from supermarket giant Woolworths revealed that (most) Aussies have managed to live through a stunning three months of rising food prices.
Woollies’ numbers nerds have crunched the data, and found that in the final three months of 2023, food prices climbed 9.4%.
Chief commercial officer for Woolworths Paul Harker said that while the number is high, Australians have gotten off comparatively lightly – in the US and Canada, consumers have been dealing with food price inflation of around 13%.
The rising food costs form part of the ongoing Cost of Living issues facing the nation, with data from the Australian Bureau of Counting Stuff revealing that the cost of living for an “average employee” jumped 3.2% over the December quarter and 9.3% over the past year.
Increasing mortgage payments has played a major role in those rises, without which the ABS says would have seen cost of living up by a more modest 6.8%.
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The Big Blue Ribbon for biggest gains of the day belongs to Lode Resources (ASX:LDR), after the explorer drilled into an extraordinary silver find of 116.1m at 1003g/t silver eq from 90m, including 3.1m at 3325g/t silver from 201m at the flagship Webbs Consol project in NSW.
At the feeding frenzy around Lode slows down while investors start putting the chairs up on the table in preparation for going home, Lode is up a whopping 175% for the day… and no, I didn’t miss a decimal place in there.
175% is correct, and LDR is trading at $0.330, up from yesterday’s closing price of $0.12.
Also flying high today was exploration minnow Admiralty Resources (ASX:ADY), with the penny stock smashing through a 57% gain on absolutely no news whatsoever, aside from a quarterly report that didn’t have much to say, aside from “Yeah… we’re gonna start digging stuff out of the ground soon. This year, for sure. But not right now, no.”
Meteoric Resources (ASX:MEI) continues to live up to its name, adding 27.1% today to take its gains for the past 12 months to a wallet-bursting 837.50%, and AML3D (ASX:AL3) has stacked on 35.7% today with a late-ish surge on news that it’s sold a large-scale, industrial ARCEMY® ‘X-Edition 6700’ Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing metal 3D printing system to support the US Navy’s accelerating adoption of Wire Arc additive manufacturing technology.
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Tombador Iron (ASX:TI1) has news today highlighting one of the issues that a number of mineral explorers and miners face when working overseas, after the company had to halt production following blockades on Bahia state public roads, which are affecting both inbound and outbound logistics.
Tombador’s operation affected by the blockade is in northern Brazil, a country that has seen serious political upheaval in the wake of recent presidential elections that saw far-right president Jair Bolsinaro unseated by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Bolsinaro’s supporters have clearly gone a bit mental about it all, and a series of protests – including what many are calling an attempted coup – have all but crippled Brazil in recent months.
Bolsinaro himself is currently holidaying in the US state of Florida, and has applied for a 30-day tourist visa (I’m not making this up) in a bid to avoid having to return to Brazil to face investigations into his role in the post-election chaos.
Tombador says that the safety of its workers is first and foremost, and the company is working towards resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
In less dramatic and far more local news, Global X ETFs Australia has torn the wrapping paper off a suite of new investment options, designed to allow investors to “gain direct access to two of the largest covered call funds in the world”.
That access comes via the Global X Nasdaq 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD) and Global X S&P 500 Covered Call ETF (UYLD), which form two thirds of the new offering – the third in the trio being the locally-flavoured Global X S&P/ASX 200 Covered Call ETF (AYLD) tracks the S&P/ASX BuyWrite Index, providing income with added yield and dividend potential.
And last for today, news from a couple of small miners and explorers has delivered an announcement to the market that is pretty exciting – and 100% sounds like it would form the basis of the single most epic heavy metal album cover, ever.
Falcon Metals (ASX:FAL) has managed to spend over the $1 million exploration requirement to earn into a joint venture with Metal Hawk (ASX:MHK, and take a 51% interest in Metal Hawk’s tenement E63/1963 at the Viking Gold project.
Falcon has elected to proceed with Stage-2 of the Agreement, which would see it spend another $1.75 million on exploration at the site which, if completed on time, would deliver a further 19% joint venture interest.
With all this talk of falcons and metal hawks and vikings and gold, I’d be very surprised if metal legend Lemmy isn’t smiling down from his seat on top of a galaxy-sized Marshall stack outside the halls of Valhalla.
Openpay Group (ASX:OPY) – Halt called pending an announcement regarding discussions with financiers regarding Openpay’s financing arrangements.
Winsome Resources (ASX:WR1) – Capital raising.
Cyprium Metals (ASX:CYM) – Capital raising.
Strickland Metals (ASX:STK) – Capital raising.
Horseshoe Metals (ASX:HOR) – Capital raising.
Siren Gold (ASX:SNG) – Capital raising.
Xstate Resources (ASX:XST) – Halt called pending an announcement to the market regarding a material acquisition.