It was a case of another day, another nervous wait for NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s daily 11am COVID-19 update.

As it turns out, the numbers are still tracking well. Eight new cases, with seven linked to the original Northern Beaches cluster (and one contact of a transport nurse who was identified yesterday).

Today’s announcement was seen as the key barometer for whether authorities had saved Christmas from the coronavirus Grinch.

And broadly speaking, there were no major changes except the Northern Beaches have been split in two; everyone north of the Narrabeen Bridge will stay in lockdown with Chrissy visitor numbers capped at five.

Residents from the south will be allowed up to 10 (including from different areas). For all other states the policy remains the same: that wall stays up.

Local stocks have stabilised (somewhat) from the COVID-19 shock, with all the major indices on track to post their first gain in three days.

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Wednesday December 23:

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Code Name Price % Change Volume Market Cap
BNZ Benzmining 0.95 90 353,704 $ 2,000,000
AVE Avecho Biotech Ltd 0.032 78 142,550,804 $ 28,754,234
CLZ Classic Min Ltd 0.0015 50 24,549,997 $ 15,268,268
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.002 33 11,449,372 $ 16,994,679
OEX Oilex Ltd 0.002 33 400,000 $ 6,243,195
RFN Reffind Limited 0.002 33 2,500,000 $ 2,523,655
XST Xstate Resources 0.004 33 1,543,588 $ 5,433,723
NPM Newpeak Metals 0.003 20 9,557,175 $ 11,670,406
VIC Victory Mines Ltd 0.003 20 55,959,660 $ 11,040,804
WEL Winchester Energy 0.025 19 1,336,382 $ 14,487,891
DXB Dimerix Ltd 0.225 18 1,958,691 $ 37,596,116
BCK Brockman Mining Ltd 0.059 18 190,471 $ 463,961,607
AFR African Energy Res 0.02 18 350,000 $ 10,590,331
LMG Latrobe Magnesium 0.021 17 1,455,878 $ 23,337,055
MSR Manas Res Ltd 0.007 17 330,000 $ 16,561,642
TPD Talon Petroleum Ltd 0.0035 17 1,350,000 $ 13,055,369
LCD Latitude Consolidate 0.029 16 1,327,000 $ 6,989,769
PF1 Pathfinder Resources 0.24 14 233,226 $ 10,442,080
KZR Kalamazoo Resources 0.595 13 133,987 $ 68,744,253
MDI Middle Island Res 0.345 13 716,354 $ 36,976,281
BUD Buddy Tech 0.052 13 1,684,634 $ 132,698,291

One of the busiest December IPO seasons in recent memory is wrapping up, and gold explorer Benz Mining (ASX:BNZ) snuck in before year-end with a strong debut in morning trade.

Raising just $2m at 50c a share, the stock opened at 95c — a listing gain of almost 100pc.

Benz’ debut gives it a dual-listing. The stock is already listed in Canada where it operates the Eastmain project, which has a current JORC resource of 376,000 ounces at 7.9g/t of gold.

Also high up on the winner’s list was Avecho Biotechnology (ASX:AVE). The stock jumped more than 75 per cent after Avecho announced that it’s joining the CA Clinics Observational Study (CACOS) of medicinal cannabis products.

Avecho said the study will allow it to “test the performance of its enhanced oral cannabidiol (CBD) TPM formulation in human patients” who are currently being prescribed medicinal cannabis products.

LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Wednesday December 23:

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

Code Name Price % Change Volume Market Cap
ANL Amani Gold Ltd 0.001 -33 5,177,506 $ 14,080,495.12
KP2 Kore Potash PLC 0.026 -24 4,042,309 $ 7,921,812.05
XTC Xantippe Res Ltd 0.002 -20 250,000 $ 10,186,411.01
ADX ADX Energy Ltd 0.005 -17 1,003,750 $ 11,749,799.09
HNR Hannans Ltd 0.005 -17 2,785,119 $ 14,159,863.15
SHN Sunshine Gold Ltd 0.056 -14 1,395,841 $ 23,186,255.17
CCG Comms Group Ltd 0.095 -14 261,699 $ 21,053,148.49
RIE Riedel Resources Ltd 0.02 -13 175,978 $ 19,359,239.43
KEY KEY Petroleum 0.0035 -12 1,051,873 $ 7,871,712.50
MTB Mount Burgess Mining 0.007 -12 833,333 $ 5,281,190.39
CAG Caperangeltd 0.21 -12 5,674 $ 22,777,992.24
FEL Fe Limited 0.036 -12 1,143,356 $ 20,993,091.42
PNN PepinNini Minerals 0.275 -11 8,989,568 $ 10,246,901.20
LCY Legacy Iron Ore 0.04 -11 21,404,149 $ 281,125,733.27
NWE Norwest Energy NL 0.004 -11 2,866,800 $ 21,305,101.83
PYR Payright Limited 1.07 -11 943,103 $ 71,234,089.20
WC8 Wildcat Resources 0.025 -11 2,306,427 $ 14,056,000.00