Like many countries, Australia’s economy is struggling through a pandemic-related supply chain crunch.

With Omicron off the leash across the east coast capitals, multiple industries are experiencing varying versions of logistics hell.

To ease the burden, Prime Minister Scott Morrison hatched a new idea; allow kids under 18 to drive forklifts.

ScoMo subsequently backed down after the premise was met with a swift rebuke.

But not before the story got wide media attention, providing us with a prism to contribute by way of this classic scene which opened the UK series of The Office:

Note to all Aussie teenagers: your forklift dreams might still stand a chance, as long as the man who gives the forklift drivers test ‘is a personal friend’ of your boss. (Ed note: Don’t apply for a fake licence).

To markets, and US stocks got battered again overnight as investors continue to reposition for the prospect of tighter financial conditions, following a two-year COVID-19 liquidity dump.

In turn, local stocks are getting a major clip ’round the ears to end the week. The ASX 200 is down more than 1% in midday trade, while the microcap Emerging Companies index is ~3% lower — on track for its biggest fall since early December.

BNPL stocks are getting sold off again, but the main drag was a big reversal in energy and resources stocks, which partially reversed a strong recent winning streak with sharp falls on Friday.

Other risk assets are also under pressure, with a similar sea of red in crypto markets as Bitcoin again looks to hold above the US$40,000 level in Asian trade.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for January 21 [intraday]:

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Code Company Price % Market Cap
VPR Volt Power Group 0.003 50% $18,689,067
CAV Carnavale Resources 0.015 25% $29,162,764
MLS Metals Australia 0.0025 25% $10,477,115
PCL Pancontinental Energ 0.0025 25% $14,308,446
XRG Xreality Group Ltd 0.066 22% $18,181,805
EMU EMU NL 0.025 19% $11,546,104
99L 99 Loyalty Ltd. 0.032 19% $31,311,435
MTB Mount Burgess Mining 0.007 17% $4,555,027
OMX Orangeminerals 0.185 16% $6,595,200
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.004 14% $17,335,941
ORN Orion Minerals Ltd 0.03 13% $114,821,196
CNJ Conico Ltd 0.043 13% $38,008,165
CTO Citigold Corp Ltd 0.009 13% $22,669,273
EVE EVE Health Group Ltd 0.0045 13% $15,372,568
MEB Medibio Limited 0.0045 13% $8,244,204
XST Xstate Resources 0.0045 13% $12,860,727
DGR DGR Global Ltd 0.068 11% $63,546,169
HAW Hawthorn Resources 0.105 11% $31,683,983

VR/AR based entertainment company XReality Group (ASX:XRG) — formerly Indoor SkyDiving Australia — was one of few stocks to outperform, jumping back towards its recent highs near 7c after announcing the appointment of John
Diddams as chairman.

Diddams returns to the company after previously serving as a director and assisting with its 2013 IPO. He also sits on the board of two other companies — Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT) and Aroa Biosurgery Limited (ASX:ARX).

Among junior explorers, Alderan Resources Limited (ASX:AL8) posted a morning gain of as much as 10% after advising that a UAV (drone) magnetic survey carried out by a Rio Tinto subsidiary had identified three new targets at Alderan’s Frisco project in Utah, USA.

Key exploration targets at the site are “porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposits, and high-grade copper deposits associated with known breccias such as Cactus”, AL8 said.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for January 21 [intraday]:

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Code Company Last % Market Cap
OXT OreXplore 0.13 -48.0% $25,916,049
FEX Fenix Resources Ltd 0.235 -25.4% $158,197,385
ANL Amani Gold Ltd 0.0015 -25.0% $45,751,128
BAS Bass Oil Ltd 0.0015 -25.0% $9,225,363
AAJ Aruma Resources Ltd 0.09 -21.7% $14,485,573
BEZ Besragoldinc 0.11 -21.4% $24,058,994
TSC Twenty Seven Co. Ltd 0.004 -20.0% $13,304,070
NXL Nuix Limited 1.675 -18.7% $653,668,476
BMM Balkanminingandmin 0.41 -17.2% $16,211,250
CGS Cogstate Ltd 1.93 -16.8% $402,137,195
CGB Cann Global Limited 0.0025 -16.7% $19,006,460
SMI Santana Minerals Ltd 0.265 -15.9% $41,780,746
4DS 4Ds Memory Limited 0.097 -15.7% $166,413,607
CRR Critical Resources 0.12 -14.3% $184,109,957
DDD 3D Resources Limited 0.003 -14.3% $13,581,302
REE Rarex Limited 0.12 -14.3% $63,223,049
GO2 Thego2People 0.031 -13.9% $14,638,977
ESS Essential Metals Ltd 0.505 -12.9% $140,096,596
ATU Atrum Coal Ltd 0.027 -12.9% $21,319,888
SP3 Specturltd 0.068 -12.8% $8,291,812
ARR American Rare Earths 0.375 -12.8% $168,503,619
PLY Playside Studios 1.1 -12.7% $181,804,417
SPN Sparc Tech Ltd 1.855 -12.5% $135,194,965
PNT Panthermetalsltd 0.245 -12.5% $7,840,000
CHR Charger Metals 0.775 -12.4% $28,347,466

Among the laggards, Orexplore Technologies (ASX:OXT) fell sharply on debut, after raising $2.5m at 25c a share in its IPO.

Elsewhere, iron ore play Fenix Resources (ASX:FEX) fell following the release of its quarterly 4C filing, where it booked net operating cash outflows of more than $11m on cash receipts of ~$34m.