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Resources woes drag the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) lower

Resources troubles weighed on the Australian share market on Thursday, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO) index share price falling for a fifth straight day, down 47 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,347, and the broader All Ordinaries (INDEXASX: XAO) index share price surrendering 46.9 points, also 0.6 per cent, to 7,575.

December’s official employment data surprised the market, with employment falling 65,100 in the month, against expectations it would rise 15,000. Hours worked also fell, with the unemployment rate steady at 3.9 per cent thanks to a sharp fall in the participation rate.

Mining heavyweight BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) share price leaked 84 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $45.73 despite saying its Western Australian iron ore production increased 5 per cent on the previous quarter. The market focused on BHP’s warning that its nickel division would not be immune to falling prices. Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) share price advanced 32 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $126.86, while Fortescue Ltd (ASX: FMG) share price gained 27 cents, or 1 per cent, to $27.05.

BHP share price

Lithium was not the sector to be in, as it reeled from Wednesday night’s news that US lithium giant Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) will sell its 4 per cent stake in Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR) and abandon plans to build a fourth lithium processing train at Kemerton in Western Australia, instead sticking with three trains. The decision comes three months after Albemarle’s $6.6 billion takeover bid for Liontown was scuppered by Gina Rinehart.

Liontown Resources share price was savaged on Albemarle’s news, losing 14.5 cents, or 10.7 per cent, to $1.215. Producer Arcadium Lithium CDI (ASX: LTM) share price lost 9 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $8.19; fellow producer Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) share price leaked 7 cents, or 2 per cent, to $3.46; IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO), which produces lithium and nickel, share price fell 33 cents, or 4.4 per cent, to $7.13; and Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN), which mines iron or as well as lithium, share price dropped 97 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $58.50.

A host of smaller lithium players were also hammered. Wildcat Resources Ltd (ASX: WC8) share price lost 5 cents, or 9.4 per cent, to 48 cents; Global Lithium Resources Ltd (ASX: GL1) share price sank 4.5 cents, or 7.3 per cent, to 57 cents; Piedmont Lithium Inc (ASX: PLL) share price shed 2 cents, or 6.5 per cent, to 29 cents; Sayona Mining Ltd (ASX: SYA) share price plunged 6.4 per cent, to 4.4 cents; Patriot Battery Metals Inc. CDI (ASX: PMT) share price was stripped of 5 cents, or 6.1 per cent, to 77 cents; Winsome Resources Ltd (ASX: WR1) share price dropped 4.5 cents, also 6.1 per cent, to 69.5 cents; Atlantic Lithium Ltd (ASX: A11) share price weakened 1.5 cents, or 3.7 per cent, to 39 cents; and Galan Lithium Ltd (ASX: GLN) share price walked back 2 cents, or 3.5 per cent, to 56 cents.

In coal, Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) share price lost 6 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $7.81; New Hope Corporation Ltd (ASX: NHC) share price gave up 1 cent to $5.17; and Coronado Global Resources Inc (ASX: CRN) share price dropped 9.5 cents, or 5.6 per cent, to $1.61.

In gold, Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) share price eked out a 1-cent gain, to $3.11; Newmont Corporation CDI (ASX: NEM) share price retreated 45 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $52.93; Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) share price fell 15 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $12.15; Genesis Minerals Ltd (ASX: GMD) share price lost 3 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $1.59; and Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX: BGL) share price softened 1 cent, to $1.42; but some did well, with Perseus Mining Ltd (ASX: PRU) share price adding 3.5 cents, or 2 per cent, to $1.745; and Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR) share price moved 1 cent higher, to $1.67.

In energy, Woodside Energy Group Ltd (ASX: WDS) share price dropped 30 cents, or 1 per cent, to $30.41; Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) share price eased 6 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $7.57; and Brazilian-based producer Karoon Energy Ltd (ASX: KAR) share price retreated 3.5 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $1.79. In uranium, Boss Energy Ltd (ASX: BOE) share price gained 8 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $5.58.

APM given a bath

Among the big banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price advanced 15 cents, to $112.48; National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price also gained 15 cents, in its case 0.5 per cent, to $30.89; and ANZ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: ANZ) share price was 3 cents to the good, at $25.79; but Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price slipped 3 cents, to $22.85.

CBA share price

Biotech heavyweight Csl LTD (ASX: CSL) share price gave up $3.10, or 1.1 per cent, to $282.81, and Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price eased 2 cents to $3.95.

But the highlight – or more correctly, the lowlight – on the industrial screens was international employment services group APM Human Services International Ltd (ASX: APM) share price plunging 54 cents, an appalling 40.8 per cent, to 78.5 cents after APM revealed its December-half profit would come in about one-third lower than market expectations. It blamed the downgrade on the tight labour market, which has dried up demand for its job placement and training services, and made it difficult to find workers in its health recruitment division.

Tech turns tide on Wall Street

Tech rode to the rescue in the US, lifting the major averages into positive territory and snapping a three-day losing streak. The 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) share price added 201.94 points, or 0.5 per cent, while the broader S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) index share price gained 41.73 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4,780.94, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ: .IXIC) index share price surged 200.03 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 15,055.65. Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) helped all three indices with its 3.3 per cent share price gain.

Apple share price

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturng Co Ltd (TPE: 2330), the world’s largest chipmaker, share price surged 9.8% after posting an earnings and revenue beat for the fourth quarter.

On the bond market, the US 10-year Treasury yield gained 3.7 basis points to 4.146 per cent, as fresh jobs data indicated ongoing tightness in the labour market. But the 2-year yield receded 0.8 basis points, to 4.355 per cent.

Gold elevated US$13.26, or 0.7 per cent, to US$2,023.13 an ounce, while the global benchmark Brent crude oil grade rose US$1.13, or 1.5 per cent, to US$79.01 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate oil spiked US$1.52, or 2.1 per cent, to US$74.08 a barrel.

The Australian dollar is buying 65.7 US cents this morning, up from 65.52 US cents at the ASX close on Thursday.

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