Victoria has just experienced its biggest earthquake in 24 years with a magnitude 6 quake hitting Mansfield early this morning.

We’re used to fires and floods, but earthquakes are “right out of leftfield” according to Mansfield mayor Mark Holcombe.

“We don’t have earthquakes, that I am aware of, none of the locals I spoke to this morning had that experience with earthquakes here before, so it is one right out of leftfield,” he said.

And speaking of straight out of leftfield – judging by this pitch Connor McGregor should probably stick to MMA.

To Markets …

The ASX 200 swung into the green today, and was up 36.80 points or 0.51% at midday.

That followed news that embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande has reportedly reached a deal with its bondholders, and will make an interest payment tomorrow.

On Tuesday, US Federal Reserve officials kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting that will be scrutinized by investors for insight into the central bank’s plans for its bond purchases and interest rates.

“We have had a great run but it is going to get tougher from here, with lower returns and more volatility,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer at CIBC Private Wealth.
Global oil prices fell ~2% overnight and base metals like copper and zinc saw similar losses as concerns mount over the possible fallout from the Evergrande debt crisis.

Iron ore slumped another 6.7% and is now trading at US$94 per tonne, a 16-month low.

Major iron ore miners such as BHP Group (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) both rose in morning but remain near the lowest levels of the year. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is 2.7% higher but still at the lowest levels in over a year.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for September 22 [intraday]:

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

Former Saracen/ Northern Star (ASX:NST) boss Raleigh Finlayson will cornerstone a $20.8m funding package for Genesis Minerals (ASX:GMD), which will also include Northern Star itself and former FMG chief exec Neville Power.

Pepinnini Minerals (ASX:PNN) says blending brines from its ‘Rincon’ and ‘Incahuasi’ salares in Argentina creates a super high lithium concentration of 8,500 mg/kg.

And under the new agreement, Lilac Solutions will contribute tech, engineering teams, and an on-site demonstration plant to earn a maximum 25% in Lake Resources’ (ASX:LKE) advanced Kachi lithium project.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

GWR Group (ASX:GWR) dropped 18% today after a production halt at its C4 iron ore mine in Western Australia off the back of the low iron ore prices.

The company has halted mining operations from the 19th September for 30 days, however the mine will be left in a ‘production ready’ state with around 315,500 of ore either on the ROM pad, crushed and stockpiled ready for transport to port or blasted in the pit and ready for digging.

“It is important to note GWR remains in a strong position to resume operations as the mine will be left in a production ready state in order to take advantage of a recovery in iron ore prices,” GWR chairman Gary Lyons said.