S&P/ASX 200 falls 0.85% as China reports 2.3% GDP growth in 2020

Brent crude oil prices fell more than 2% to settle at US$55.10 per barrel on Friday as concerns about Chinese cities in lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreaks tempered a rally.

Lithium Australia NL - S&P/ASX 200
Gold prices dropped to their lowest in 1-1/2 months today as a stronger US dollar made it expensive for other currency holders.

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) has made a soft start to the new week as the index fell 57 points or 0.85% lower to 6,659 points at 1.57 pm.

Losses are being led by the materials (-1.94%) and financial (-1.32%) sectors, with energy (-0.82%) also among the larger decliners.

Afterpay surpasses Tesltra

On Friday, Afterpay Ltd (ASX:APT) leapfrogged telco giant Tesltra (ASX:TLS) in terms of market cap, rising to $38 billion.

The buy-now-pay-later company again touched a new all-time high on the open today, popping 5.5% to $140.40 before falling back and is now reversing 0.62%.

Chinese GDP grows

China reported a 2.3% rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 as the world struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s GDP grew by 6.5% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, official data from National Bureau of Statistics showed.

However, Chinese consumers remained reluctant to spend, as retail sales fell 3.9% for the year. Retail sales for the fourth quarter rose 4.6% from a year ago.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (+31.31%), Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (+11.69%), Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) (+20.00%), Anson Resources Ltd (ASX:ASN) (+23.33%), Lake Resources N.L. (ASX:LKE) (+30.43%), Jindalee Resources Limited (ASX:JRL) (+14.22%) and CardieX Ltd (ASX:CDX) (+10.00%).

Proactive news headlines:

Pan Asia Metals has drill spinning at Reung Kiet Lithium Project in Thailand

Pan Asia Metals Limited (ASX:PAM) has started drilling the first-ever hole at the highly prospective Bang I Tum prospect within Reung Kiet Lithium Project (RKLP) in southern Thailand.

Salt Lake Potash’s Lake Way Project nears completion with process plant commissioning expected next month

Salt Lake Potash Ltd's (ASX:SO4) (LON:SO4) (OTCMKTS:WHELF) (FRA:W1D) Lake Way Project near Wiluna in Western Australia is nearing completion, with the process plant 88% complete and the overall project, including all on-lake infrastructure 81% complete.

Northern Minerals drill results at Browns Range indicate potential for mineral resource growth

Northern Minerals Ltd (ASX:NTU) has received encouraging results across several targets from the first phase of its latest exploration drilling program at Browns Range Project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, indicating the potential for mineral resource growth.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers begins public exhibition for traffic, biosecurity and engineering design at proposed seaport

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers Ltd (ASX:KPT) has released information around aspects of the development of a proposed seaport at Smith Bay for a four week period of public consulation.

Horizon Minerals now debt-free after early repayment of $4 million loan

Horizon Minerals Ltd (ASX:HRZ) is debt-free upon the early repayment of a Sparta AG $4 million loan facility with the company paying approximately $4.6 million including interest.

Oklo Resources new gold assays from resource drilling expand SKI South at depth and along strike

Oklo Resources Ltd’s (ASX:OKU) (FRA:JYA) new assay results from resource drilling at Seko within the flagship Dandoko Project in west Mali have expanded SKI South prospect at depth and along strike.

MMJ Group to broaden investment portfolio beyond cannabis sector

MMJ Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:MMJ) OTCMKTS:MMJFF) (FRA:2P9) will broaden its existing investment mandate to include strategic investments in sectors outside cannabis as approved at the company's annual general meeting held in November 2020.

Great Boulder Resources intersects thick gold zones in Blue Poles maiden drilling

Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) has confirmed the discovery of new gold mineralisation during maiden reverse circulation (RC) drilling at Blue Poles Prospect within the Whiteheads Gold Project north of Kalgoorlie.

Legend Mining assays confirm mineralised intrusive package extends south and east of Mawson discovery

Legend Mining Ltd’s (ASX:LEG) assay results and geological logging from reverse circulation (RC) drilling at Mawson prospect within the Rockford Project on Western Australia's Fraser Range has confirmed an extension of the mineralised intrusive system.

Alta Zinc set to expand Gorno metal inventory as drilling confirms new thick, high-grade extensions south of Pian Bracca

Alta Zinc Ltd’s (ASX:AZI) (FRA:8EE) drill holes PBD36 and PBD37 have returned multiple intersections of zinc, lead and silver mineralisation from either side of a new drill area, Pian Bracca South, at the flagship Gorno Zinc Project in northern Italy.

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