First some good news – Australia’s economy gained a massive 178,800 jobs in the month of October, beating estimates of a negative jobs number of 27,500.

Full-time jobs leapt 97,000 last month, compared with a drop of 20,100 in full-time jobs numbers in September.

The number of people working in Australia is still 230,000 off from levels in February before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian dollar was trading steady after the cheerful news was delivered, at 72.8c to the US dollar.

Meanwhile, there was more cheer for iron ore miners, and lead and zinc producers.

Prices for these metals advanced overnight. In the case of iron ore, it was up nearly 1 per cent to $US127.25 per tonne.

Zinc prices climbed 2.3 per cent to $US2,742 per tonne, and its sister metal lead gained 0.7 per cent to $US1,932 per tonne.

Making diamonds from lumps of carbon

Here’s a way to make a quick buck.

Scientists at Australian National University have found a way to make diamonds in a laboratory within minutes.

The room-temperature process bypasses nature’s way of producing sparklers; that is, applying huge pressure and super-hot temperatures to rocks over billions of years.

Instead, the ANU team can produce two types of diamond, one for engagement rings, and another found in meteorite impact sites called Lonsdaleite.

The ANU diamond-making process applies pressure equivalent to 640 African elephants on the tip of a ballet shoe.

“As well as high pressures, we allow the carbon to also experience something called ‘shear’ – which is like a twisting or sliding force,” said ANU physics professor, Jodie Bradby.

“We think this allows the carbon atoms to move into place and form Lonsdaleite and regular diamond,” she said.

Superman had a neat trick of turning lumps of coal into diamonds:

But this only works in Hollywood.

The ASX All Ordinaries index went down from its opening on Thursday morning, and was 7.8 points lower (-0.12 per cent) at 6,718 by lunchtime in Sydney. The index is up 1.5 per cent over the week.

US stock markets — the Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 — all fell overnight between 0.8 and 1.1 per cent, with sharp declines occurring in the last hour of trading.

The growing pandemic in the US — another 150,000 cases were reported Wednesday — is overshadowing vaccine breakthroughs, analysts said.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday November 19:

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


CXM Centrex Metals 0.048 100 $ 7,816,448.57
CMD Cassius Mining Ltd 0.032 52 $ 6,032,174.19
MGL Magontec Limited 0.025 47 $ 19,565,721.70
APH AP Hemp Ltd 0.29 45 $ 11,217,027.20
GLN Galan Lithium Ltd 0.26 44 $ 37,422,858.96
MEM Memphasys Ltd 0.135 29 $ 79,251,257.40
ARO Astro Resources NL 0.005 25 $ 11,623,907.14
VAL Valor Resources Ltd 0.005 25 $ 7,683,392.34
LNU Linius Tech Limited 0.034 21 $ 42,115,585.90
MEP Minotaur Exploration 0.175 21 $ 71,564,414.76
AUH Austchina Holdings 0.006 20 $ 8,170,621.81
BRK Brookside Energy Ltd 0.006 20 $ 6,750,000.00
RMP Red Emperor Resource 0.012 20 $ 5,252,927.76
WNB Wellness and Beauty 0.006 20 $ 6,740,901.44
AUQ Alara Resources Ltd 0.013 18 $ 6,983,749.47
AHL Ahalife Holdings Ltd 0.007 17 $ 7,979,931.20
AOA Ausmon Resorces 0.007 17 $ 4,083,956.06
COY Coppermoly Limited 0.014 16 $ 25,526,567.87
EN1 Engage:Bdr Limited 0.007 16 $ 10,341,334.03
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Two companies rocketed more than 100 per cent in Thursday trade, Magontec (ASX:MGL) and Centrex Metals (ASX:CXM).

Magnesium and titanium anodes maker Magontec, which also produces magnesium ingots for the automotive sector, moved on no news.

The company has built a primary magnesium alloy casting house with a 60,000 tonnes per year capacity in China.

Another strong advancer was Centrex Metals whose share price took off before the ASX placed the company in a trading halt.

The ASX was waiting for the company to respond to its letter asking why Centrex Metal’s price had jumped.

The company has recently signed some off-take deals for its phosphate production.

Cassius Mining (ASX:CMD) put on 50 per cent after its shares were released from a trading halt that was put on Wednesday.

The gold explorer with projects in Africa said it was unaware of any information that had not been announced to the market.

And the company could not offer any explanation for a jump in its share price this week.

Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) was another good performer Thursday as it announced a “huge increase” in the lithium resource for its Hombre Muerto West project in Argentina.

The project is now host to an estimated resource for lithium of 2.3 million tonnes LCE at 946 mg/l.

The company said its resource upgrade puts it in the number three spot in the Hombre Muerto salt flat basin for lithium.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Thursday, November 19:

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


PSL Paterson Resources 0.003 -25 $ 18,022,132.24
VIC Victory Mines Ltd 0.003 -25 $ 17,665,285.96
IKW Ikwezi Mining Ltd 0.004 -20 $ 20,325,000.00
ATS Australis Oil & Gas 0.049 -17 $ 58,171,857.00
JAL Jameson Resources 0.1 -17 $ 36,399,826.80
ATP Atlas Pearls Ltd 0.01 -17 $ 5,134,461.10
RMI Resource Mining Corp 0.011 -15 $ 3,851,475.51
FUN Funtastic Limited 0.12 -14 $ 33,656,570.50
GMR Golden Rim Resources 0.012 -14 $ 25,078,786.19
TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.012 -14 $ 106,604,357.27
CGN Crater Gold Min Ltd 0.02 -13 $ 28,232,404.94
HNR Hannans Ltd 0.007 -13 $ 15,903,636.31
GUL Gullewa Limited 0.105 -13 $ 18,983,172.00
TMZ Thomson Res Ltd 0.105 -13 $ 21,688,422.60
AEV Avenira Limited 0.017 -11 $ 16,394,203.54
LCK Leigh Crk Energy Ltd 0.18 -10 $ 131,510,375.60
SCT Scout Security Ltd 0.135 -10 $ 16,408,757.40
AYM Australia United Min 0.009 -10 $ 18,425,774.85
MSE Metalsearch Ltd 0.027 -10 $ 41,371,535.52
PSL Paterson Resources 0.003 -25 $ 18,022,132.24
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Paterson Resources (AS:PSL) dropped significantly without any news disclosure since its last announcement on November 12.

This announcement said it had been awarded $200,000 in funding by the WA government for exploration at its Grace gold deposit.

Atlas Pearls (ASX:ATP) rolled downhill Thursday without relaying any fresh news to the market.

The Australian pearling company with operations in Indonesia produces “the queen of all gems”, the South Sea pearl.

Sales revenue for the September quarter at $1.7m was slightly below expectations and it has sought alternative distribution networks as its traditional routes to market have been affected by restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company had several sales events planned for the December quarter including meetings in Japan, and an online auction.

Gold and phosphate explorer Avenira (ASX:AEV) dipped in morning trade without releasing any news.

The company has a gold project in WA, Jundee South, and a phosphate project in the Northern Territory, Wonarah, in one of Australia’s largest deposits of the mineral.

Papua New Guinea explorer Resource Mining Corporation (ASX:RMI) went down too on an absence of news flow.

Operations at the company’s Wowo Gap nickel-cobalt project have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions, the company has said.