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The ASX200 came out the gate in the green on Friday, but slipped well below the red line within the first hour of trade. 

This movement follows a red Thursday in the US which saw tech stocks stall, pushing down both the S&P500 and NASDAQ. 

The utilities sector was in the lead in morning trades, up 1.23%  followed by communications, which grew 1.04% and health care, 0.89%. Brent Crude stayed above US$85 per barrel – on a two-month high – and energy was up 0.74%. 

The international oil benchmark was up 4.6% month on month near 11.00am Sydney time.

The materials sector was faring the worst, down 0.4%, exacerbated by Commonwealth declining from its recent all-time high.

Company news

Strike Energy (ASX:STK) has secured up to $153 million from Macquarie Bank (ASX:MBL) to fund production upgrades, pre-development, and development costs across its Perth Basin portfolio of assets.

The Perth-based explorer and producer announced that the financing package comprises three facilities, primarily focusing on its Walyering West, and South Erregulla Gas Projects.

STX has been trading 3.5% up at 22.3 cents.

Talga Group (ASX:TLG) has signed an earn-in agreement with lithium miner and producer SQM. This allows SQM to fund and conduct exploration at Talga’s Aero lithium project in Sweden, potentially earning up to 70% ownership in the project.

Under the joint venture, SQM will invest a total of US$19 million in stages over the next seven years to explore the project.

TLG’s stock has risen 8% to 61.5 cents.

West African Resources (ASX:WAF) has drawn the final US$100 million under its US$265 million secured loan facility with Sprott and Coris to complete construction of its Kiaka Gold Project in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

WAF’s cash and gold bullion balance now stands at US$320 million (A$484 million), with significant unhedged free cash flow available to cover the remaining Kiaka construction costs.

The project remains on budget and schedule, with the first gold pour expected in Q3 CY2025.

WAF has been trading at 2.4% up at $1.49.

That’s market update, we’ll see you later for a market close.

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