Following a jittery week on global markets, Wall Street booked a strong session on Friday night as the Nasdaq led gains across the major US indexes.

And local stocks have followed the US lead, with the microcap Emerging Companies index ripping higher by more than 1.7%.

After being repeatedly shelled last week amid the iron ore price rout, some buyers stepped in for the big miners as BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) both edged higher, although Fortescue (ASX:FMG) is down by another ~3%.

Another central narrative from last week — the ongoing selloff in Chinese tech stocks — also reversed today, as the Hang Seng technology index jumped by almost 5% in morning trade.

And even the Aussie dollar — a barometer of global risk appetite — was stronger this morning, after the country’s ongoing struggles to contain COVID-19 almost saw it fall back below US71c for the first time since November last year.

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Monday, August 23:

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

While today’s winner’s list was strongly populated by resources players, a few other companies turned heads with market-moving announcements.

IDT Australia (ASX:IDT) jumped out of the gates and held its gains into midday trade, following an update on its involvement in the development of an Australian-made COVID-19 candidate.

The mRNA-based vaccine — the same technology used in the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines — is under development at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, with the support of the Victorian Government.

IDT confirmed today that it has signed a Sterile Readiness Agreement with the government to bring its sterile manufacturing facility into a state of readiness to potentially produce the vaccine.

In the resources space, nickel-copper play Azure Minerals (ASX:AZS) topped a string of double-digit gainers after announcing the size of its Andover project — a potential company-maker — keeps getting bigger. Azure’s maiden mineral resource estimate is scheduled for completion next year. Stockhead’s Reuben Adams has the full resources wrap here.

And in tech, fintech lender Prospa (ASX:PGL) made an appearance on the winner’s list after announcing its full-year results.

The company said loan originations grew 8.1% to $483.7 million, and its core earnings snuck into positive territory ($400,000) after a $15.8 million loss last year.

A ~16% gain this morning helped PGL shares climb off the mat, although at around $1.15 the stock remains well below its 2019 listing price of $3.78.

LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks at 12pm Monday, August 23:

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