• The benchmark is firing nicely after a decent lead-in from Wall Street overnight
  • Iron ore prices jump beyond US$140/t to hit a 1.5-year high
  • Small Cap Winners: Aldoro, Aguia, Boart Longyear


Local markets are up this morning, as we head into our first post-Christmas “I can’t believe the market’s open and I have to be at work” lunch.

Historically, it’s a quiet time of year, because – let’s be honest – anyone with enough clout to take time off between now and New Years will have done so, leaving the rest of us plebs to carry the can for a few days and hope like hell nothing terrible happens while the Important People are away.

That said, there are a few small caps making use of the fact that most (if not all) eyes are firmly focussed elsewhere today – and there are some tidy gains being made.

I’ll get to that in a minute, but first to news out of China, where social media has been melting down over the past few days following the release of footage showing a surgeon punching his patient in the head during surgery.

The footage, recorded in 2019 but only recently leaking to the public sphere, purports to show an unnamed eye surgeon working on an 82-year-old woman who was having eye surgery performed under local anaesthetic.

A language barrier issue arose during the surgery – the patient only spoke a local dialect and didn’t understand the surgeon’s instructions to keep still, according to hospital officials – and when she kept moving her head and eyes during the procedure, the surgeon “treated the patient roughly in an emergency situation”, according to hospital officials.

He did so by calmly, yet firmly, punching the old woman in the head… which is admittedly a lot further down the ‘outright assault’ end of the medical treatment scale than most people would be comfortable with, leaving her with a decidedly non-surgical bruise on her melon.

The hospital’s management apologised to the woman and paid her 500 yuan ($105 Aussie dollars) in compo – so… all’s well that ends well, I guess.



In local market news, things are progressing pretty well for a day when it’s all meant to be “a bit quiet”.

The benchmark is firing nicely after a decent lead-in from Wall Street overnight, where Boxing Day isn’t a thing so they all had to go to work through a haze of ‘beer and turkey’ burps.

Locally, the Materials sector is leading the pack, thanks to a Christmas miracle in the form of a rally in iron ore prices that saw it jump beyond US$140/t to hit a 1.5-year high.

That has helped a number of the Big Aussie Diggers to healthy gains today – BHP (ASX:BHP) is up +1.44%, Fortescue (ASX:FMG) is up +0.34% and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is up +0.65% at lunchtime today.

But the big news is that drilling operator Boart Longyear (ASX:BLY) is way up this morning, climbing through +55.0% after dropping news that it has agreed to be bought holus bolus by private equity firm American Industrial Partners, in a deal that values Boart at more than $540 million.

Under the terms of the deal, major Boart shareholders Ascribe II Investments and Centerbridge Partners will receive $US1.2351 cash for their stock, while every other shareholder will pocket $US1.9554 per share, a 64% premium to the company’s previous price at close.


asx winner Aldoro
Chart via Marketindex.com.au


The good mood looks like it’s somewhat infectious, too – a lunchtime snapshot of the sectors shows that everything’s on the happy side of zero for the day, with Real Estate above the +1.0% barrier and the Telcos bringing up the rear on +0.17%.



In the US overnight, the S&P 500 rose by +0.42%, the blue chips Dow Jones index was up by +0.43%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lifted by +0.54%.

That climb puts the S&P within spitting distance of its January 2022 record high of 4,797 after posting eight consecutive weekly gains, Earlybird Eddy reported this morning.

“The focus will quickly pivot to whether the market will be able to sustain its momentum into the New Year, and that may depend on how long the good vibes surrounding potential Fed rate cuts last,” said Chris Larkin at E*Trade, speaking on that topic with Bloomberg.

In US stock news, Apple fell -0.28% after appealing its US sales ban of smartwatches as the White House refused to veto a government tribunal.

Intel surged +5% on news that the company will be building a US$25 billion new manufacturing facility in Israel, with aUS $3.2 billion help from the Israeli government.

Meanwhile, buyers piled into Treasury bond sales on Tuesday, seeking to lock in higher yields as the market prices in Fed rate hikes in 2024.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei is up 1.14%, Shanghai markets are basically flat and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is 0.87% higher in early trade.



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for 27 December [intraday]:

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Aldoro Resources (ASX:ARN) is leading the small caps race this morning  after revealing updated results from rock chip sampling, ranging from 5.77% to 9.03% Nb2O5 for all six (6) selected niobium samples submitted for testing.

The company says the samples were initially located within a pyrochlore-rich dyke which has limited exposure due to its presence along the colluvium rich shadow of the giant carbonatite, with a diameter spanning 1.4km and rising to 275m in height, at its Kameelburg REE Project in Namibia.

The company says that the next step involves drilling the dyke, with discussions advancing with experienced local drilling contractors.

Next best small capper is Aguia Resources (ASX:AGR) , ostensibly off the back of its pre-Christmas announcement of plans to buy all of (but no less than 90% of) Andean Mining in an off-market takeover.

Aguia and Andean have entered into a Bid Implementation Agreement pursuant to which Andean’s Independent Board Committee has recommended that Andean shareholders accept the offer, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to the outcome of an independent expert’s report to be commissioned by Andean.

Also worth a mention this morning are EV Resources (ASX:EVR) and OzAurum Resources (ASX:OZM), both of which have posted relatively chunky gains for the morning, but without anything hot off the presses to explain why.



Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for 27 December [intraday]:

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