In a surprise move, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has declared a force majeure on customer contracts at its Richards Bay Minerals project in South Africa, due to an escalation in the security situation at the operations.

In contractual terms, a force majeure is declared where events take place that are deemed outside the reasonable control of one party, that prevent it from meeting its obligations.

Rio said it’s calling a timeout at Richards Bay until the safety and security situation improves. Its share price rose by 2 per cent today following the announcement.

Meanwhile, the ASX200 looks to be heading into the new financial year on a positive note.

At lunch time, the index was trading 0.61 per cent higher, with all sectors in the green save for Utilities which dropped 2.2 per cent.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) gained 4 per cent after selling a 49 per cent stake in its mobile infrastructure business InfraCo Towers, with half of the sale proceeds to be retuned to shareholders.

Fast fashion and jewellery retailer Lovisa (ASX:LOV) rallied by almost 6 per cent after its biggest shareholder, BB Retail Capital, struck a deal to sell lingerie chain Honey Birdette to Nasdaq-listed PLBY.

It seems the deal is interpreted by investors to be a sign of things to come for Lovisa.

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks in morning trade for Wednesday, June 30:

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

3D metal printing specialist, AML3D (ASX:AL3) jumped by 20 per cent after receiving a purchase contract to produce a 3D printed tooling component from Boeing.

Organic rock phosphate explorer, Fertoz (ASX:FTZ), rose by 14 per cent after announcing that it will commence mining operations at Fernie, Canada in July due to orders exceeding 10,000 tonnes in North America.

Nutritional Growth Solutions (ASX:NGS) rose by 24 per cent after saying it has surpassed US$500k in wholesale sales for its Healthy Height shake range in Italy since its debut in March this year.

Accounting software stocks IODM (ASX:IOD) and Reckon (ASX:RKN) were also among the ASX’s biggest winners this morning.

Reckon rose by 20 per cent after announcing that payments fintech Novatti (ASX:NOV) was taking a 17 per cent stake in the business for $17 million.

IODM meanwhile rose by 16 per cent after revealing it had signed its first client in the UK within the education sector, which would contributed over 30 per cent of the company’s full year revenue.

 

LOSERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks in morning trade for Wednesday, June 30:

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

The emabattled Nuix (ASX:NXL) dropped 15 per cent and hit an all time low of $2.16 earlier today, as ASIC begins investigations into its former CFO.