Tennis fans the world over enjoyed the finale of the Australian Open at the weekend with Novak Djokovic lifting his ninth trophy for the tournament.

His three sets victory over Danill Medvedev was all the more sweeter as he lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup because of the trying circumstances around the competition.

COVID-19 social distancing restrictions for the sparse audience and hotel quarantine for all of the tournament’s players tested their mettle to the extreme.

Pop singer Gordi gave the critics something to do, singing the pre-January update of Advance Australia Fair which didn’t include the amended line “one and free”.

Gordi recently took a break from her work as a doctor working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said she last sang the National Anthem when she was 11.


To markets:

At lunch time in Sydney, the ASX 200 index was slightly in the green at 6,797 points, up 3.3 points from Friday’s close.

Starry-eyed cryptocurrency watchers were probably pleased to see Bitcoin trading at $72,150 in Australian dollars ($US56,970).

The price of gold slipped a little in Australian dollars to $2,263 per ounce ($US1,787/ounce).

The yield on US 10-year bonds continued to press forward and was at 1.37 per cent Monday, its highest in a year.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Monday February 22:

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

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market moving announcements
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Strong performer in early Monday trading was gold explorer Emu (ASX:EMU) which advanced 90 per cent after revealing some stunning drilling results for its Gnows Nest project.

Acquired only last year, Gnows Nest – located 30km southeast of the WA town of Yalgoo – delivered drilling hits including 4m at 20.40 grams per tonne gold (g/t) from 51m.

There was also a hit of 1m at 89.57 g/t gold from 78m, and the drilling results demonstrate that gold mineralisation at Gnows Nest remains open at depth and along strike.

“These results provide early and strong encouragement for the potential of a materially large gold deposit emerging at Gnows Nest and could be the catalyst for the company to transition from explorer to producer near term,” chairman Peter Thomas said.

EMU said it will continue to test the depth and strike extensions of the high-grade gold lode that was historically mined along five levels between 1923 and 1941 to a depth of 145m.

Another gold explorer Indiana Resources (ASX:IDA) was also a top mover Monday, after delivering exceptional high-grade results for its Minos gold prospect in South Australia.

Assay results from the first five holes of Indiana Resources’ drilling program recorded a hit of 5m at 24.35 g/t gold from 106m and confirm the prospect is open along strike.

Located in South Australia’s Gawler Craton, the Minos prospect is within the Lake Labyrinth shear zone host to the Tarcoola gold mine.

Also up is agricultural asset manager Australian Rural Capital (ASX:ARC) a significant shareholder in Namoi Cotton which supplies the product to markets in Asia.

The company has not issued any fresh news since a mid-month update, and said in its January annual meeting statement it was seeking further asset investments.



Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Monday February 22:

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

Stocks highlighted in yellow made market moving announcements
SAN Sagalio Energy Ltd 0.027 -40 311312 $ 9,209,705.85
AQS Aquis Ent Ltd 0.265 -34 2211964 $ 14,287,670.40
ECT Env Clean Tech Ltd. 0.001 -33 4202475 $ 14,401,549.18
TTA TTA Holdings Ltd 0.039 -33 1066670 $ 7,970,557.78
CAQ CAQ Holdings Ltd 0.02 -23 15000 $ 18,662,443.31
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0025 -17 12692239 $ 36,175,049.76
UUV UUV Aquabotix Ltd 0.0025 -17 27960245 $ 7,165,124.43
MXC Mgc Pharmaceuticals 0.105 -16 22888655 $ 278,601,038.25
BCK Brockman Mining Ltd 0.038 -16 260000 $ 417,565,445.90
TMH The Market Herald 0.55 -15 20383 $ 123,677,201.05
ALT Analytica Limited 0.003 -14 500001 $ 12,318,643.16
BPP Babylon Pump & Power 0.028 -13 101922 $ 27,534,215.07
FPL Fremont Petroleum 0.0035 -13 376250 $ 18,714,050.08
PNX PNX Metals Limited 0.007 -13 9268413 $ 29,217,548.09
CBY Canterbury Resources 0.105 -13 401740 $ 10,561,799.40
IOU Ioupay Limited 0.54 -12 20007940 $ 277,572,294.98
LEX Lefroy Exploration 0.18 -12 7400 $ 24,601,981.74
MEG Megado 0.18 -10 17140 $ 8,109,759.60
FAU First Au Ltd 0.018 -10 1318372 $ 12,267,575.08
GMR Golden Rim Resources 0.009 -10 861053 $ 25,292,941.35
KMT Kopore Metals Ltd 0.018 -10 1837156 $ 12,907,778.00
TMR Tempus Resources Ltd 0.195 -9 1517895 $ 18,579,537.18
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Investors curbed their enthusiasm for Canberra casino operator Aquis Entertainment (ASX:AQS) Monday after its 900 per cent run-up last week without any specific news.

The company responded Friday to a query from the ASX about the sudden rise in its share price and said it was unaware of any yet-to-be announced company information that could explain the move.

Rival casino operator Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has been through a tough week with announcements on the the future of its gaming operations in NSW and WA.

The company announced Friday a 62 per cent decline in its revenue for the 2020 year to $581m, and a net loss of $120.9m, with its Australian casinos affected by COVID restrictions.

Crown Resorts executive chairman said the company recognised the need for “immediate and swift action” following adverse findings in the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s report into the company’s NSW operations.

“We see it as an opportunity for a complete and comprehensive corporate reset,” said Helen Coonan, referring to the ILGA’s report.

Another company to suffer a heavy share price fall Monday was electronic goods retailer TTA Holdings (ASX:TTA) which has seen strong demand because of the COVID pandemic.

The company said in a weekend response to the ASX it was otherwise unaware of any market-moving information that could explain its recent share price moves.

“The strong sales growth has continued in the current quarter and the company is cautiously optimistic it remains on track to generate positive cashflows from operations in coming quarters,” it told the ASX.

TTA Holdings also made $4m on a deal for the disposal of a property in Victoria.