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ASX looks cautious as this strategic metal play pushes ahead

The Australian All Ordinaries started 2016 off on a weak note, but energy stocks bucked the trend along with this uniquely prospective strategic metals company.

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The Australian All Ordinaries kicked off the first trading day of the year with a 0.4% erosion to 5,323 points on a lacklustre performance from mining stocks and weak showing from the big banks.

Only the energy sector managed a strongly positive finish on the day, up 3% after oil prices firmed up in the last moments of a difficult 2015 for crude.


MARKET ACTION

Altech Chemicals (ASX:ATC) was one of the standouts in today’s session, up 14.3% to A$0.12 per share, which represents a 155% climb since the midpoint of last year.

The momentum builds on a string of encouraging updates from Altech going into the close of 2015, notably including moves to secure German credit cover for the company’s HPA high-purity alumina project, which consists of kaolin mining in Western Australia and a proposed HPA processing plant in Malaysia.

Last month, Altech received a letter of interest from the administrator of Germany’s export credit agency (ECA) confirming that the group would, in principle, support the project.

ECA debt is expected to cover about US$40 million of the project’s total capital expenditure of about US$77 million.

After including an expected additional senior debt requirement of about US$15 million, total project debt financing would be around US$55 million.

High-purity alumina is a high-value, high-margin and highly demanded product as it is the critical ingredient required for the production of sapphire substrates which are used in the manufacture of LED lights as well as the manufacture of alumina semiconductor wafers and the scratch-resistant artificial sapphire glass used by various smartphone manufacturers.


BLUE CHIPS

Major miners

 
BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) down 0.3% to $17.80
Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) up 0.5% to $1.88
Newcrest (ASX:NCM) up 0.9% to $13.09
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 0.1% to $44.77


Energy or Oil and Gas

Oil Search (ASX:OSH) up 1.6% to $6.81
Santos (ASX:STO) up 4.1% to $3.83
Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 3.0% to $29.58


Big 4 banks

ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) down 1.4% to $27.53
Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) down 1.3% to $84.38
National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) down 1.4% to $29.78
Westpac (ASX:WBC) down 1.7% to $33.00


Other banks, financials and industrials

AMP (ASX:AMP) down 0.7% to $5.79
Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) down 1.1% to $13.78
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) down 0.7% to $11.86
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) down 1.3% to $81.69
Suncorp (ASX:SUN) down 0.6% to $12.06
Telstra (ASX:TLS) down 0.5% to $5.58


Retailers

JB Hi-FI (ASX:JBH) up 3.0% to $20.10
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) down 0.1% to $41.56
Woolworths (ASX:WOW) down 1.4% to $24.15


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