Market Update & Important Indicators:
U.S. stocks were little changed after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady Wednesday. Some analysts said the Fed's statement showed officials looking past recent signs of slow economic growth and holding course toward raising rates again in June. "This is showing the Fed is dismissing the weak data — it hasn't altered any of their plans," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management. Materials shares in the S&P 500 fell 1.1%, weighed down by a sharp decline in copper prices that came as growing inventories coincided with fears about slowing demand from China. The U.S. gold price was a big decliner overnight dropping 1.5% to 1,237.70 US$/oz.
European stock markets finished down slightly from a 20-month high on Wednesday, holding lower after a reading on Eurozone economic growth matched the market's expectations. Investors also erred on the side of caution ahead of the latest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve, due after the close for European markets. The Stoxx Europe 600 index lost less than 0.1% to end at 389.37, after closing at the highest level since August 2015 on Tuesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed 0.2% lower at 7,234.53 on Wednesday, while France's CAC 40 index gave up 0.1% to end at 5,301. Germany's DAX 30 index bucked the negative trend, rising 0.2% to finish at 12,527.84.
Chinese equities were mostly weaker as investors sold stocks related to the Xiongan economic zone, a proposed megacity a two-hour drive south of Beijing. The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.3%. Markets in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were closed for holidays. Taiwan stocks closed a touch higher even though a number of Taiwan firms are major suppliers for Apple.
Australian shares fell for a second day in a row Wednesday as banks again pulled back from recent gains after a lacklustre earnings report from Australia & New Zealand Banking. A drop by materials stocks added to the day's selloff, more than offsetting a recovery by oil and gas companies after the price of crude rebounded in Asian trading. The market closed at a two-year high Monday, as the big banks continued to rise in anticipation of first-half earnings reports from some of the country's biggest lenders. Sentiment shifted Tuesday with ANZ results, which showed a deterioration in its net interest margin as it was squeezed by higher funding costs and heightened competition. Extending the retreat, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 58.1 points, or 5892.3, to 5892.3. The four largest banks collectively knocked almost 33 points from the index. The conclusion of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting overnight isn't expected to result in another increase in short-term U.S. rates, although the statement will be scrutinized by investors for insight into future rate moves as well as any further comment on shrinking the central bank's balance sheet.
The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract closed down 3.48% at $5,600/t. All other base metals finished down on Wednesday. Nickel prices fell 3.0% at 9,177/t, tin prices fell 0.3% at 19,945/t, zinc prices fell 3.1% at 2,567/t, aluminium prices fell 0.3% to 1,916/t, whilst lead prices also dropped 2.4%, closing at 2,207/t.
In this Issue:
Salt Lake Potash (SO4) | Momentum | SPEC BUY
Market Cap $79m | Current Price $0.45
Recent announcements confirm SO4’s position as a leading participant in WA’s prospective SOP industry, with the recently completed $17.6m capital raise providing the funding to maintain momentum. Investors do not need to wait for cash flow before seeing valuation uplift; rather we expect it to be driven by the likely increased interest from global fertiliser producers / distributors as feasibility studies tighten numbers and regulatory hurdles are passed. SO4 is well into this journey and we maintain our speculative buy call.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
Doray Minerals Limited (DRM), Capricorn Metals Ltd (CMM) Independence Group (IGO), Cardinal Resources Limited (CDV), Metal Bank Ltd (MBK), MOD Resources Ltd (MOD) Quintis Ltd (QIN), Regis Resources Ltd (RRL), Apollo Minerals Ltd (AON), Ironbark Zinc Ltd (IBG), Sovereign Metals Ltd (SVM), Pilbara Minerals Ltd (PLS), Laconia Resources Ltd (LCR), Hazer Group Ltd (HZR), Transerv Energy Ltd (TSV), Ausquest Ltd (AQD), Quintis Ltd (QIN), Paradigm Biopharma Ltd (PAR), Pharmaust Ltd (PAA), Strandline Resources Ltd (STA), PharmaNet Group (PNO), Emerald Resources NL (EMR), Echo Resources (EAR), Investigator Resources Ltd (IVR), Beadell Resources Ltd (BDR), Pantoro Ltd (PNR)