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Market Highlights: ASX Goldies get busy and Energy in focus on oil squeeze

  • ASX opens lower on Day 3, 2024
  • Wall St extends losses
  • Energy stocks on watch as oil prices jump

Yes. Eddie’s still training to defend his Wollongong Iron Man title so it’s more of the other Eddy until all is right in the surf triathlon world again.

For now, with the SPI 200 futures index pointing down by -19 points, or -0.25%, we’d better get to work.

In New York, stocks have just finished lower as investors chewed over the mins from the last FOMC hoedown for a cheatsheet on the future of US monetary policy.

As per, the Fed minutes provided no crumbs on the timing of potential rate cuts, and officials were fulsome in their appreciation of  the “unusually elevated degree of uncertainty” about everything economic.

Also uncertain – The Dow Jones Index fell 286 points or 0.76% on Wednesday. The S&P 500 (down -0.7%) and the Nasdaq Composite (down -1.2%) lost as well, a day after logging its worst session since October.

Mega Tech led the leaking  – that’s four in a row for the Mag-7.

Elon’s Tesla lost -4% and chip maker Nvidia lost -1.3%. Elsewhere in New York, Walgreens Boots Alliance (lost -4%), Boeing was hit (-3.4%) as was Caterpillar (-2.8%).

With oil on a tear overnight, the top gainers included Chevron (+2%), Merck (+1.3%) and Exxon Mobil (+1%). Over the past four weeks, Chevron gained +5.5%, but it’s still down -11%, YTD.

The big news – WTI crude futures climbed to US$73 a barrel overnight – the biggest single daily gain since November.

Behind the bump are new supply concerns out of Libya and renewed Middle East tension as well as a smaller than expected read on US output.

Natural gas was up +4.40%.

On the US data front, the ISM Manufacturing PMI has US manufacturing still in contraction, though less so than anticipated.

Iron ore is looking a decent bet on expectations that Beijing would bolster economic stimulus, with the PBoC (People’s Bank of China) wading into the property market by offering low-cost financing to Chinese largest banks.

And crypto majors are back out of currency – both Bitcoin and Ether look busy unwinding the last inexplicable surge.

Via TradingEconomics

Bitcoin soared near US$46k near New Year’s day. BTC’s up almost 20% since the start of December as a January 10 deadline for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to give its blessing for a BTC ETF nears.


In other markets …

The gold price fell by -0.8% to US$2,042.89 an ounce.

Oil prices jumped  – both Crude WTI and Brent added about +3.6 to +4%.

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield is steady at 3.92%.

Iron ore futures are up +1.40%

The Aussie dollar slipped by -0.49% to US67.05c.


5 ASX small caps to watch today, the copper/gold edition

Out at Edjudina, M3 Mining (ASX:M3M) says it’s encountered ‘minor gold mineralisation in the fresh rock beneath previously intersected mineralisation.’

The recent RC drilling, according to exec dir Simon Eley, shows that the variability in grade within the quartz veining highlights the localised ‘nuggety’ nature of the mineralisation.

The company is currently awaiting assay results for soil samples obtained along the El Capitan ‘magnetic low’ trend, which continues a further 7.5km to the southeast – due sometime in Q1.

Staying on gold with a production update from Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX) showing prelim numbers for Q2, with some 59,238 ounces of gold coming out of its operations, at an average sale price of $3,041/oz.

WGX says its cash, bullion and liquid assets increased by $21m at the end of Q2, FY24, taking the total to $238m.

“Westgold remains debt free, unhedged and on track to deliver FY24 production guidance of 245,000–265,000 ounces.”

More gold: Vertex Minerals (ASX:VTX) has published the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for its Reward Gold Mine, at Hill End in lovely NSW.

VTX says the PFS demonstrates ‘strong economics and a robust base for future growth.’

The Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Reward gold deposit at Hill End totals 419,000 tonnes at 16.72g/t Au for 225,200oz Au. The Indicated Mineral Resource contains 70,500 ounces of gold while the Inferred Mineral Resource contains 154,700 ounces (VTX Announcement of 21 June 2023).

Culpeo Minerals (ASX:CPO) reports that results returned from first pass rock-chip sampling at its La Florida Prospect, Fortuna Project  in Chile, indicate the presence of a copper-gold porphyry system outcropping at surface. Results from surface sampling returned grades up to 3.96% Cu and 2.61g/t Au.

CPO says the Mineralisation styles are analogous to Culpeo’s Lana Corina Prospect which returned drill intersections of 257m @ 1.10% CuEq1 and 169m @ 1.21% CuEq2.

Noronex (ASX:NRX)  says it’s got the drill results from an ongoing campaign at the company’s 100% owned Humpback project, providing a new understanding of mineralisation at Fiesta which NRX now says ‘significantly extends’ the known length of the mineralised horizon and ‘the potential size of the deposit with a number of new targets defined.’

The highlights include:
• Fiesta intercept of 45m @ 1.0% Copper Equivalent reported from hole 23FIERC02
• Intercept of over 0.5% Cu over 750m east of any previous intercept on the main Fiesta horizon in 23FORRC03
• Intercept of over 0.5% Cu 500m west of any previous intercept on the main Fiesta horizon in 23FIERC07.

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