There’s been a lot said about market volatility so far in 2022.

While that means stocks can fall, it also leaves the door open for some impressive relief rallies.

Case in point; the tech-focused Nasdaq almost chalked up a gain of 10% inside the space of five days last week.

Local stocks picked up the baton on Monday morning, but early gains of almost 1% were tempered into midday trade where the ASX microcap Emerging Companies index was up by around 0.4%.

Across the commodities complex (the dominant driver of Australian equity markets so far this year), prices largely remained elevated into the weekend.

Gold is trading comfortably above US$1,900/oz while Brent crude oil pushed back above US$110/barrel in Asian trade on Monday.

Copper, predicted to be the best-performing commodity of 2022 in the annual analyst survey by law firm White & Case, is holding above US$10,000/tonne.

Nickel prices are still recalibrating after the market broke, but CBA analyst Vivek Dhar said prices “are unlikely to reach pre-invasion levels given Russia accounted for ~17% of Class 1 (high purity) nickel supply”.

But if you’re into base metal (as opposed to base metals), feast your eyes on this barnstorming karaoke cover of Rob Zombie, performed by what looks like someone’s…grandma?

Reflecting the improved risk appetite across markets, ASX tech stocks continued their strong rally led by Afterpay parent Block Inc (ASX:SQ2).

Shares in SQ2 have now ripped higher by around 60% to ~$185 since the stock’s low of ~$116 at the start of Russia’s attack on the Ukraine on February 24.

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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

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

Code Company Price % Market Cap
RAP Resapp Health Ltd 0.093 50.0% $53,270,219
WMG Western Mines 0.25 28.2% $7,143,338
CCE Carnegie Cln Energy 0.0025 25.0% $30,205,147
AL8 Alderan Resource Ltd 0.022 22.2% $7,660,189
RGL Riversgold 0.044 22.2% $16,727,275
WSR Westar Resources 0.11 19.6% $3,770,396
ROG Red Sky Energy. 0.007 16.7% $31,813,363
TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.014 16.7% $156,800,428
AGH Althea Group 0.215 16.2% $58,372,661
NOX Noxopharm Limited 0.37 15.6% $93,516,144
NFL Norfolkmetalslimited 0.23 15.0% $5,655,399
FIN FIN Resources Ltd 0.031 14.8% $15,022,930
ICG Inca Minerals Ltd 0.12 14.3% $50,527,223
YOJ Yojee Limited 0.12 14.3% $118,531,511
AGE Alligator Energy 0.09 13.9% $254,211,369
BSA BSA Limited 0.125 13.6% $47,985,902
KNO Knosys Limited 0.11 13.4% $20,965,454
FRB Firebird Metals 0.345 13.1% $16,008,781
STA Strandline Res Ltd 0.39 13.0% $387,745,328
MMC Mitremining 0.18 12.5% $4,333,616
WEL Winchester Energy 0.0225 12.5% $20,204,396
CUS Coppersearchlimited 0.315 12.5% $14,283,403
CYQ Cycliq Group Ltd 0.018 12.5% $5,560,267
MEB Medibio Limited 0.0045 12.5% $9,587,960
TPD Talon Energy Ltd 0.009 12.5% $56,190,316

While tech stocks led the big end of town, today’s small cap winner’s list had a heavy resources vibe as a number of junior explorers found demand.

Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT) was among them, after rock chip assays at its Gascoyne project in WA revealed some “exceptional high-grade rare-earth results”, the company said.

Shares in FNT rose by around 30%, and there were similar gains for Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL), after its Kalgoorlie nickel project was granted Major Project Status by the Australian government.

“This recognition will assist in advancing the KNP towards development through streamlining the approvals process and providing access to additional sources of potential project funding,” ARL managing director Andrew Penkethman said.

Leading the market on no news was Terramin Australia (ASX:TZN), which climbed by almost 40% in morning trade.

The stock has now risen by more than 200% since it announced regulatory approval for its Tala Hamza zinc joint venture in Algeria.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

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

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

Red-hot oil play Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) cooled off a bit on Monday, giving back around 15% in morning trade.

The company announced the issue of 31,812,050 Performance Rights to executive chairman Andrew Purcell.

Around half of those Rights vested because MAY shares posted a volume-average weighted gain of at least 200% in a 20-day trading period. The other ~15m vested when MAY shares chalked up a 400% gain over the same period.

All up, Melbana shares are still up more than 500% since the end of January.