Amazingly, the Olympics are still going ahead in Tokyo – despite the city being in a state of emergency and recording its highest daily numbers of new COVID-19 infections in six months.

And there have already been 58 cases in athletes and officials.

But that hasn’t stopped the games, today Australia and Japan are facing off in… softball?

The sport has returned to the Olympics for the first time since 2008 and to be honest did we really miss it?

To Markets …

The Aussie bourse has followed Wall Street by bouncing sharply higher after a few days of losses “as a string of upbeat earnings reports and revived economic optimism fuelled a risk-on rally”, Morningstar says.

All three major US stock indexes gained more than 1% with the blue-chip Dow leading the charge.

“It’s a buy-the-dip mentality coming into the market,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services told Morningstar.

The benchmark ASX 200 index was up 1% by midday eastern time.

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks in morning trade for Monday, July 19:

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

The biggest gainer today was Apollo Mineals (ASX:AON) up 33.3% off the back of news that its drilling program at the province-scale Kroussou zinc-lead project in Gabon discovered shallow high-grade zinc and lead mineralisation within 40m of surface.

“These first drilling results confirm the potential of the Dikaki Prospect and of the larger Kroussou system,” executive director Neil Inwood said.

“We are delighted our maiden drilling campaign is demonstrating grade and mineralisation continuity at Dikaki at very shallow depths which have the potential to be amenable to simple low-cost open pit mining.

“The results highlight a shallow, flat-lying, broadly mineralised system, with potential for mineralisation to link up across multiple areas; demonstrating that Kroussou has the potential to deliver a significant, large scale, base metal project.”

Next up was Alderan Resources (ASX:AL8) which rose a healthy 16% after confirming potassic altered, copper and molybdenum mineralised porphyry at its Detroit project in Utah, USA.

Managing director Scott Caithness said the results reinforce the company’s view that Basin Main is a high priority porphyry copper target within the larger Basin Complex

“Results have confirmed increasing potassic alteration plus copper and molybdenum mineralisation closer to the modelled Basin Main magnetic anomaly,” he said.

“Additional distal disseminated, skarn and structure related prospects such as Copperhead, Southern anomaly and Northern extension have also been identified as high priority targets at Detroit.

“Preparations are underway for Alderan to commence a drilling program in September.”

And Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG), Sabre Resources (ASX:SBR) and Scorpion Minerals (ASX:SCN) are all up 12.5%, with Sabre announcing plans to acquire the Ninghan gold exploration project near the 0.9million ounce Mt Gibson gold mine in the southern Murchison of Western Australia.

Scorpion director Bronwyn Barnes said the company’s technical review of the available historical data from the Pharos iron ore JV has identified several compelling iron ore drill targets within our JV tenements that warrant immediate follow-up drill testing.

“As a result, we have expedited our plans to drill test these high-quality targets across both the Ulysses and Iron Ridge Extension Prospects,” she said.

LOSERS

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

It’s no surprise that Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL) is one of the biggest losers today down 21.3% after reports it repeatedly delayed seeking approval from Gaston County in North Carolina for its proposed lithium mine.

Close on its heels was Love Group Global (ASX:LVE) who dropped 20% after reporting quarterly customer cash receipts were $690,000 for Q4 – down 17% quarter-on-quarter (but up 11% YoY).

And trailing the pack was Gti Resources (ASX:GTR) down 13% off the back of announcing that drilling and logging at its Henry Mountains uranium and vanadium project in Utah, USA had confirmed mineral extensions.

Then there was Great Southern (ASX:GSN) down 11.5% even after releasing an indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate for Mon Ami of 1.56 million tonnes at 1.11 g/t gold for 55,500 ounces.