Market Update & Important Indicators
The S&P 500 gave up earlier gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged but reiterated plans to gradually raise them moving forward. Concerns about higher inflation and less accommodative central-bank policy have led to a pause in this year's torrid stock-market rally. The Fed's statement Wednesday said officials expect inflation will move higher this year and stabilize around 2% over the medium term. Some analysts said they think investors are bracing for the possibility of a more aggressive central bank, pushing up Treasury yields and weighing on stocks. After years of forecasts for higher interest rates and inflation turned out to be inaccurate, some investors think steady economic growth will finally translate this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined less than 0.1% after earlier rising as much as 261 points. The S&P 500 declined 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%. Even with recent declines, the Dow industrials were on track for their largest one-month percentage gains in more than 18 months. Some investors said a positive earnings and economic backdrop remains intact following tax changes, though concerns interest rates have become more pronounced in recent sessions. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, rebounding 0.5% to finish at 1,345.00 US$/oz.
European shares closed mostly lower, with the STOXX Europe 600 index ending down 0.2% at 395.46, pressured by month-end selling. The FTSE 100 index saw the steepest falls, losing 0.7%, while Germany's DAX was down 0.1%. French and peripheral European stocks made small gains, however, with the CAC 40 ending up 0.15%, while Italy's FTSE MIB rose 0.1% and Spain's IBEX 35 increased by 0.2%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.9% as gains accelerated near the end of trading, finishing the month up 9.9%- its best month since April 2015. Japan's Nikkei ended down 0.8% as the yen strengthened against the dollar. The ICE Dollar Index was last down 0.2%, around its lowest since late 2014, on track to end the month down around 3.4%. Chinese equities fell amid the expiration of futures contracts Wednesday and as an official gauge of China's factory activity fell for a second straight month in January, pointing to a slowing of growth in the manufacturing sector. Still, the Shanghai Composite Index notched its best month since March 2016.
Though the market recovered from early declines, the uplift wasn't enough for Australia's S&P/ASX 200 to erase January's slight decline, ending a 3-month winning streak. Settling near session highs amid broad gains outside of commodity stocks, the index rose 0.2% to 6037.7. But it fell 0.5% for January in moving back to the regional underperformance seen most of last year. Beyond further metals- and oil-stock weakness, holding the benchmark back today was CBA falling 0.3% after being hit with a suit alleging past rate manipulation. The bank denied the charge. In January, the financial sector fell 0.8% while energy shed 0.5%. But materials finished up 0.5% despite their recent pullback.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, finishing 0.9% stronger at $7,118/t. The other base metals all finished higher. Aluminium prices bounced 0.8% to 2,219/t, while lead prices bounced 1.2% to close at 2,621/t. Zinc prices added 1.4% to 3,596/t, and Tin prices gained 0.3% to 21,855/t. Nickel prices were strongest, increasing 1.8% to close at 13,560/t.
In this issue
Salt Lake Potash (SO4) | De-risking the GSLP | SPEC BUY
Market Cap $85m | Current Price $0.485
After another busy quarter SO4 is, in our view, one of the Australian SOP projects more likely to progress to development. Location, attractive Scoping Study numbers, and development optionality are key attributes. We expect ongoing testwork, together with Demonstration Plant and PFS progress, to increasingly demonstrate the project’s value and attract interest from players in the global fertiliser market.
Recent Contacts & Presentations
Proteomics International Laboratories Ltd (PIQ), Ramelius Resources Ltd (RMS), MOD Resources Ltd (MOD), Greenland Minerals & Energy Ltd (GGG), Walkabout Resources Ltd (WKT), Marindi Metals Ltd (MZN), Volt Power Group Ltd (VPR), PharmAust Ltd (PAA), Alice Queen Ltd (AQX), Jervois Mining Ltd (JRV), St George Mining Ltd (SGQ), Overland Resources Ltd (OVR), Metro Mining Ltd (MMI), Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd (BOT), Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM), Orthocell Ltd (OCC), Whitebark Energy Ltd (WBE), Atrum Coal Ltd (ATU), Minotaur Exploration Ltd (MEP), Panoramic Resources Ltd (PAN), Sino Gas & Energy Holdings Ltd (SEH), Great Boulder Resources Ltd (GBR), Metallum Ltd (MNE)