Millions of Australian news readers who get their information from Facebook may have to look elsewhere in future. (Stockhead, perhaps.)

The tech giant has decided “with a heavy heart” to restrict publishers and Facebook users in Australia from sharing and viewing Australian and international news content.

Facebook’s move is in response to the Morrison government’s proposed Media Bargaining law, and the US company gave advance notice of its opposition last August.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” said Facebook Australia and NZ managing director, William Easton, in a press statement.

The proposed Media Bargaining law had left Facebook with a “stark choice” said Facebook; “attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter,” said Easton.

Google is also embroiled in a tense stand-off with the Morrison government over the same new law, but Facebook said its position is different to Google’s.

Google’s search engine is “inextricably intertwined” with news and publishers do not provide it with content voluntarily, whereas publishers do willingly choose to post on Facebook as it enables them to grow their readership, subscriptions and advertising revenue, Easton said.

Facebook said it generated 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers last year worth an estimated $407m.

This story will no doubt generate extensive news coverage both inside and outside Australia in the weeks and months ahead. There are some obvious oversights already:

 

To markets:

At lunch time in Sydney, the ASX 200 index had eked out a small gain of 15 points, rising to 6,900 points and was only 100 points away from the critical 7,000 level.

Large companies reporting earnings results Thursday included CSL (ASX:CSL) and conglomerate Wesfarmers (ASX:WES).

Bitcoin ticked up nearly 6 per cent in early trade to $US52,380, ($67,545) and a new record high in Australian currency terms. Bitcoin’s market value is now $US975bn.

The price of gold in US dollars is back to mid-2020 levels at $US1,778 per ounce ($2,291/oz) and in Australian dollars the gold price has given up all of its gains from last year.

US 10-year bond yields at 1.28 per cent are slightly off yesterday’s high, as the market waits for US Congress approval of its $US1.9 trillion spending package.

 

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday February 18:

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market moving announcements
Code Name Price % Change Volume Market Cap
CI1 Credit Intelligence 0.096 109 290665594 $ 58,192,359.16
CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.0015 50 13174525 $ 17,034,968.31
DTR Dateline Resources 0.003 50 2530000 $ 16,420,156.15
RNE Renu Energy Ltd 0.115 44 12202188 $ 8,496,827.28
ADX ADX Energy Ltd 0.011 38 231513334 $ 19,721,181.34
AQS Aquis Ent Ltd 0.05 35 517106 $ 1,321,609.51
T3D 333D Limited 0.004 33 17671859 $ 4,131,465.82
CCA Change Financial Ltd 0.145 32 5871262 $ 44,303,008.20
HLX Helix Resources 0.013 30 60099665 $ 7,941,199.28
PAL Palla Pharma Ltd 0.72 28 271570 $ 70,530,867.12
EGL Environmental Group 0.062 27 744001 $ 13,571,781.32
CTE Cryosite Limited 0.265 26 21158 $ 9,840,508.23
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.03 25 38841877 $ 18,086,995.34
MLS Metals Australia 0.0025 25 1333666 $ 8,381,807.15
YPB YPB Group Ltd 0.0025 25 5120173 $ 9,442,102.58
MAY Melbana Energy Ltd 0.026 18 30118462 $ 50,970,731.06
TIA Tian An Aust Limited 0.33 18 31723 $ 24,250,472.40
EXR Elixir Energy Ltd 0.2 18 9999000 $ 137,699,671.90
BCT Bluechiip Limited 0.047 18 2947910 $ 23,721,905.88
FPL Fremont Petroleum 0.0035 171 1353938 $ 14,035,537.56
GTG Genetic Technologies 0.014 17 41186158 $ 108,170,720.92
MXC Mgc Pharmaceuticals 0.08 16 50591331 $ 153,787,773.11

Debt restructuring and personal insolvency business Credit Intelligence (ASX:CI1) displayed a strong share performance Thursday, its share price rising more than 100 per cent.

The company told the ASX Wednesday it was unaware of any market-moving information that should be announced to explain the rapid share price rise.

Investors may be keen on the company’s move into the BNPL sector with its technology platform that will “provide a better solution for the coming wave of millennial debts caused by BNPL”, the company said in an early February statement.

Credit Intelligence is taking a new approach to debt management, opting to freeze debtors’ borrowings and interest payments and managing the debt as a balance sheet loan.

The company’s Australian subsidiary ChapterTwo is engaged in building a customer portal and app — the first in the debt restructuring industry.

The app and portal will allow Australian customers to see all of their debts in one place and make payments towards these over a five to seven-year period without entering insolvency.

Another fast riser Thursday was Renu Energy (ASX:RNE), despite the renewable energy company not issuing any fresh updates in February.

The company is actively seeking new investment opportunities after moving away from its geothermal energy project in WA’s Cooper basin and selling its solar power assets.

“Opportunities are being explored actively by ReNu Energy. If discussions in relation to any of these are successful and lead to a definitive transaction, it could be transformational for ReNu Energy,” said the company in answer to an ASX price query in January.

 

LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday February 18:

Swipe or scroll to reveal the full table. Click headings to sort.

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market moving announcements
CODE NAME PRICE % CHANGE VOLUME MARKET CAP
PRL Province Resources 0.095 -34 151916817 $ 110,988,772.60
ECT Env Clean Tech Ltd. 0.001 -33 580000 $ 14,401,549.18
ANL Amani Gold Ltd 0.0015 -25 28499999 $ 18,773,993.49
OEX Oilex Ltd 0.003 -25 14601887 $ 16,667,104.10
BGL Bellevue Gold Ltd 0.75 22 9764579 $ 821,405,561.45
NWH NRW Holdings Limited 2.33 -17 7675683 $ 1,202,959,153.20
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0025 -17 78530988 $ 36,175,049.76
BPH BPH Energy Ltd 0.185 -15 33988380 $ 144,423,279.47
DYL Deep Yellow Limited 0.72 -15 2131068 $ 214,839,570.14
BSM Bass Metals Ltd 0.006 -14 3901125 $ 28,151,730.15
FGO Fargo Enterprises 0.012 -14 9251638 $ 16,600,593.84
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 0.003 -14 18750 $ 13,582,185.13
NPM Newpeak Metals 0.003 -14 8819252 $ 16,773,648.28
ODM Odin Metals Limited 0.024 -14 5883536 $ 7,272,141.38
BUY Bounty Oil & Gas NL 0.037 -13 18992370 $ 47,145,242.23
DAF Discovery Africa Ltd 0.032 -14 234561 $ 7,519,683.83
AON Apollo Minerals Ltd 0.052 -14 50483 $ 20,176,341.00
SHH Shree Minerals Ltd 0.013 -13 3492064 $ 12,138,553.38
XST Xstate Resources 0.013 -13 85294527 $ 40,268,812.74
OAR OAR Resources Ltd 0.02 -13 19595173 $ 37,238,433.94
SPA Spacetalk Ltd 0.12 -13 714969 $ 22,739,948.69
RNX Renegade Exploration 0.007 -13 972221 $ 6,901,013.10

 

After its strong rally Wednesday, rising 458 per cent in one day, flat-pack furniture company turned resources explorer  Province Resources (ASX:PRL) suffered a heavy price fall in Thursday trade.

PRL soared yesterday after announcing it had acquired a green hydrogen project in WA — reportedly the first such project to be listed on the ASX.

The company’s management has a number of feasibility studies to complete over the next one to two years for its Gascoyne project near the coastal town of Carnarvon in WA.

The explorer is targeting a number of resources in the Gascoyne region including salt, sulphate of potash, minerals sands and a renewable energy, hydrogen project.

Province Resources has had previous incarnations as a furniture assembly business named AssembleBay and as a vanadium explorer called ScandiVanadium.

Another ASX company to lose ground in its share price Thursday is Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) despite announcing significant discoveries and extensions to its gold project in WA.

Bellevue Gold announced a stage one feasibility study for its eponymous project outlining a clear pathway for it to become a top 25 Australian gold mine.

The Bellevue gold mine project has a production profile of 160,000 ounces per year of gold over its first five years of operation, at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,079 per ounce.

Stage one of the mine is expected to deliver a pre-tax cashflow of $1.1bn. The company unveiled a new discovery, Lucknow, for its Bellevue project after step-out drilling results.

 

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Credit Intelligence is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.