Qantas is standing down around 2,500 staff today with COVID in Greater Sydney and knock-on border closures in other states and territories meaning a massive drop in flying lately.

“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people,” CEO Alan Joyce said.

“We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume,” he said.

Whether or not the Federal Government will announce a support package for aviation workers remains to be seen but Qantas says employees will be given two weeks’ notice before the stand-down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

 

To Markets …

Softer than expected manufacturing data sent US bond yields to their lowest since July 20 overnight, and knocked the blue-chip Dow off an intra-day record high hit in early trading.

The S&P 500 Index closed slightly lower.

“An issue for the market… is the rise of the growth scare,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at US Bank.

“Whether it’s more restrictions in China with infections rising in 14 provinces now, or questions about how far the US is going to have to go with mask mandates.”

Australia’s bourse – which is tackling “growth scares” of its own – was softer in early trade.

The benchmark ASX 200 index was down 0.28% to 7,470.4 by 12:30pm eastern time but remains up by 0.53% over the last five days.

 

WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks in morning trade for Tuesday 3rd August:

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

The biggest gainer today is Parkd Ltd (ASX:PKD) up 62% after signing a binding heads of agreement with Axiom Properties Ltd (ASX:AXI) to exclusively and jointly seek opportunities for developing and constructing car parks nationally.

Essentially, the agreement allows Parkd the opportunity to provide fully funded multi-level car parking projects to the private and public sectors.

“Providing fully funded projects via Axiom would be a game-changer and will provide the impetus for Parkd to realise opportunities that are currently impeded by lack of available funding,” Parkd chair Bronte Howson said.

The company also signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of South Australia to undertake due diligence works on the university’s Adelaide CBD site and to explore and assess the feasibility of a multi-storey car park development for an exclusive 90-day period.

Next, up 27% was Hartshead Resources (ASX:HHR) and Lepidico (ASX:LPD), up 23% – both on no news.

Comet Ridge (ASX:COI) was up 22% with news it’s set to acquire Australia Pacific LNG’s 30% interest in the Mahalo Gas Project, taking ownership to 70% on completion.

The company has also executed a funding and option agreement with the continuing Mahalo JV partner, Santos Ltd (ASX:STO)

“The terms we have been able to agree with APLNG and Santos unlocks the potential of the entire Mahalo Gas Hub area to become a significant supplier of gas to the east coast market where industry dynamics have strengthened considerably as we continue to see a tightening of gas supply,” Comet Ridge managing director Tor McCaul said.

And Frontier Resources (ASX:FNT) was up 19% after announcing it had entered into a conditional binding heads of agreement to acquire all of the shares in Southern Rare Earths, which holds four exploration licence applications in the Murray Basin region in South Australia that are considered to be prospective for ionic clay hosted rare earth elements.

 

LOSERS

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

The biggest loser was Cyclone Metals (ASX:CLE) down 56%, followed by Classic Minerals (ASX:CLZ) down 50% and Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE). All were down on no news.

Newpeak Metals (ASX:NPM) dropped 25% after releasing a maiden drilling program for the Cap Burn gold project in the Otago District of New Zealand.

This was followed by Pancontinental Oil (ASX:PCL) also down 25% but on no news.